The blue coloured uniform clad watchman opened the door as I marked my steps. The sun was setting in peacefully yet he had decided to wear over-the-top black shades. Inside, there was a huge Ganesha idol just next to the reception, I stood there and tried smiling at Him, a practice I had long forgotten since I gave my last college exam.
My toes impatiently played with the tip of my shoes at the reception for about the next minute or so, as observed the relatives and friends of the patients inside the ICU. The receptionist just didn’t want to leave the handset as she kept smiling at me, asking for another couple of seconds before her beloved let her.
‘Which doctor do you want to see?’ she asked me, finally.
‘Anyone’, I said, clearing my throat.
She gave me a what the hell does that mean look, ‘What is the problem with you?’
‘A plenty..’ and I started off with whatever was ‘my problem’ and settled with repeating my name twice and then spelling it out to her.
‘He’s on a regular round on the second floor, will see you in the next fifteen minutes. Till then, you may sit in the waiting room, take the first left.’
‘Dr. Creepy Name, Cancer specialist’ the board on the front door of the waiting room welcomed me, may be this was my problem, maybe it is cancer.
Five minutes onto this chair, my eyes had scanned through the entire chamber; a three star air conditioner to my right, three rows of series of chairs, a RO system in front of me, an art-work behind that, various other creepy names and their specialities to my left.
The delicate hands of the golden dial on my left wrist kept running, tick-tock tick-tock, as I realized I was losing on my already cut-off time. I saw my reflection in the up-side down water container of the RO in front, Me; a fever that rocked me a couple of weeks back and stayed for five days, swelled gums and liquid diet post that, a forever running nose with the water dripping out from my nostrils and my breathe desperately trying to hold it back in, a sudden pain in my left ear and it’s numbness now. *Cough! Cough!*, oh thank you for the reminder, a sour throat.
I knew something was terribly wrong with my system after the dengue that caught my immunity system napping. And this sudden outburst of pain and then the numbness had made me believe that my time had come. I quickly searched for a paper in my pockets and borrowed a pen from the receptionist who now was on phone, again.
My bucket list-
- A life in Paris (whatever of it is left now)
- Witness the great Manchester United vs Chelsea, Barclays Premier League.
- To create an animated movie ( at least a documentary now)
- Scuba diving
- Certainly not get admitted in a hospital
- A snack with these pretty African ladies in the painting in front of me
- (not die a virgin)
‘The doctor will see you now, take the lift and board to the second floor’, a man said.
I got up and walked straight on the path that the man with orange tooth guided me to. There was a lady inside and her daughter, sitting on a chair in the corner, holding on to her stomach.
‘What happened to you?’ she said with pitiful eyes, may be the cancer was now visible.
‘Oh there’s a pain in my ear and..’
‘That’s my daughter; she suddenly developed a pain in her stomach in the afternoon! God the lift these days, so slow, are you alright beta?’
I looked at the girl who saw me with eyes of a chicken who was soon going to be slaughtered, please help me, they said. I wish I could, I’m dying too. I quickly reminded myself of adding a no non-veg, no more killings, to the bucket list.
‘You go first’, I said to the girl because I knew her mother would already have been half way through the course. I wanted to do good in the minimal time I was left with.
‘Open your mouth’, the doctor said, ‘Say aaaaa!’ I obliged.
‘Stick out the tongue’, he searched for the cancer cell inside with his torch, ‘Again, aaaaa!’
The doctor, with a belly that must have inside it an entire universe, went to write something on his prescription. His face wore a look that suggested that he had been forced to take up this profession and then made to sit on this chair and given a pen in his hand while he could have sat in his room in front of a pizza box and eaten a triangular pizza that came in the shape of a circle enclosed within a square box; may be death makes you notice tiny things in life.
‘You have cold, cough?’ he repeated because for the first time, I assumed he was yawning.
‘That has blocked your nose and the ear’, he handed me the paper, ‘Buy these medicines and take one three times a day, the other just once.’
‘You mean, there’s nothing serious?’
‘No young man’, he smiled looking at my why in this world won’t you directly say to a dying person that he is dying expression.
I walked down the stairs with my bucket list in one hand and the prescription in the other. Strangely, when my mind made up a supposed story that I was dying, none of the things that I was currently doing in my life made through to my bucket list. Will I ever have a chance to know that I’m dying? No right? What about this bucket list then? I take it with me to the doom? I die with unfulfilled dreams and wishes?
I walked out, smiling at the receptionist, and almost forgot the Ganesha idol who was to be my great saviour until some minutes back. And what about Him? Why do I always think of him when in need and not when everything is awesome?
The watchman opened the door; he still had his spectacular shades on when the darkness had descended. But, it didn’t matter to me anymore, maybe he enjoyed wearing it, maybe it was his wish. I smiled back.