It’s true that I am under travel restrictions, yet I do make occasional forays into the clinics of radiologists, gynecologists, and their ilk. And by god, there are still some sights to be seen in this world!
This passage in the hospital houses both the gynaecology and paediatrics department. Waiting for the doctor in here is like spending time in a fertility forest. Unborn ones, newborn ones, young ones, old ones, wrapped-in-pink-blanket-ones…they are everywhere. And the cacophony! Yelling, blabbering, laughing, squeaking, crying, fidgeting….phew! Its a conspiracy-laden introductory class to child rearing, i tell you.
As for the adults, they are an entirely different matter. Stomachs of all shapes and sizes bulge out from under silk saris, satin burqas, or lace dupattas. As if a growing belly and breasts ain’t heavy enough already. And what’s with the elephant-chain mangalsutras, the half-kg pendant, sweating red forehead or gloves and socks with the burqa? What is this undying urge to flaunt matrimony or religion on every inch of your body? Get a grip, women!
And then there are the accompaniments. A visit to the gynaec is like a family outing here. The mother-in-law, three sisters, 4 kids, a husband and six bags of i-don’t-know-what come trooping in. All seats get filled, and the oxygen in the air just gets sucked up. Of course some people have to break a casket of perfume over their heads before they set out anywhere. Lady Macbeth, I think you were a bit off the mark about the perfumes of Arabia. It may not have been enough for your little hand, but in a Malabar hospital, Gulf Perfume is a bloody fumigator.
The worst of the lot in this jungle is the Protective Husband. What a species! The wife goes in for a check-up, and he hovers around the door like a bee, stinging any other woman and her bump that needs to go in next. A few minutes later, the doc’s door suddenly opens, and a hand pops out. The Protective Husband puts in a few notes, and the hand disappears. Heelloo! Nobody’s going to gulp in your wife in there. So MOVE from that door. And if your wife is capable of carrying your child for nine months, the least you can do is to trust her with 50 rs before she enters the doctors’ cabin.
As it turns out, I am an exhibit in this maternal zoo myself. With my close cropped hair, a forehead shorn of sindoor or bindi’s , a dupatta-less kurta, I am looked upon as a oddity. From the radiologist to the nurses, each of them has probed me not for fetal growth but for details about my married life, mine and K’s careers, my relations with my mother-in-law, and my father’s job. Surprisingly they often carry on the conversation from where they left off, at our next meeting, almost a month later. This in a hospital where they see at least 200 patients a day! Wow, I simply love my gilded cage existence.
Yeah, bulging belly, bursting bladder, suffocating hospital, three hours to kill before the doctor resumes her consultation after a Cesarean surgery…life’s so full of #%$^%^#@ fun.