FROM MY NEW BOOK
ROOM IN THE ARMY R R HOSPITAL AND THE WARD BOY
VERY TIME THERE IS AN
ADVERTISEMENT for Body Odour or
Perfume cylinders with or without gas, targeted at the minds of the
impressionable youth, creating a delusion of their potent effect on the female
of the specie, on the TV screen and these are many and frequent, I am reminded of the dreary
room in the VIP ward of the RR Army
I had been running a low temperature,
especially in the evenings, progressively loosing energy and becoming weak in
addition my gate was getting prone to loosing balance and falling down.
Specialists of the local Kailash
Hospital despite advising tests after
tests, all giving negative results, had not been able to provide any succour,
Even a desperate visit to the local Homeopath did not help.
a last resort I thought it better to get admitted in R R Army Hospital, where
they could conduct research on me,
diagnose and hopefully treat me back to health...
With the ECH cover now provided to the retired
personnel of the Services getting referred, to RR is a bit tricky. However, I did manage and landed in the
Neurology Department OPD. After a long
wait, with the department chockfull of patients, my number flashed and I was
wheeled in the consulting room by my son, Ranjit, where a young Lt Col recorded my
case history in detail. I was also made to walk in a straight line and do some
twists and turns, a few question were thrown at a me regarding my various
a short consultation among the Head of Department and the junior doctors it was
decided that I was a fit case to be admitted:
for research leading to the advancement of medical science. And that is
how I landed in the dreary room with
two of the three beds already occupied.
from the routine blood and urine
tests soon started the daily trips to the more exotic X rays, ECGs, EEGs and
MRIs and other labs with State of Art equipment, recently
acquired requiring testing and
practice on the recently acquired
I was subjected to electronic pin pricks, on
my legs, calves, on my forehead ,temples
and many more places, by transducers
connected to shiny boxes with knobs, dials , flashing lights and flat
panel displays, adding their own electronic hum and crackles, coupled my sighs and
ouches uttered at each prick, to the
hum of the Split AC.
was every day a new lab, every day a new box, some so recently acquired that
the test was conducted by the supplier’s engineer, and a new instrument of torture
these test revealed or did not, was the result
negative or positive I was never made privy to: a National secret or an
RR secret, except the usual assurances by the doctor on his daily morning
Coming back to the room, and the main story,
with thee beds occupied by so called VIP patients
in various stages of disrepair, all in a
state of flux moving in and out of the room to and back from laboratories,
Operating theatre, ICU or getting
discharge as the case may be.
“We are near the diagnosis,” was the usual
refrain; with me eagerly awaiting the Final Diagnosis. That did come on one
have Tubercular meningitis”
B was a dreaded word, remembered from child hood, as dreaded then as Cancer is
took the announcement bravely and with out betting an eyelid
Next “I asked
we treat you”
did you come to this conclusion? ’
did a Lumber Puncher”
started the long and slow treatment, a number of capsules taken couple of times a day, I remained in the hospital
for a few days more till the fever was brought under control.
discharge, my son drove me to our flat in Greater Noida, where there was no
help waiting to look after and provide support , this onerous duty falling
in the willing hands of Ramjet , by
default, but that is another story to be told some other time.
The treatment which could be effective, partly
effective or totally ineffective, this I was told much later on one of the
review visit to the Hospital., by then I had progressed well on the path to
recovery and possibly considered in a fit mental state to be
apprised of the severity of my affliction and possible consequences.
to the main thread of the story, when in room,
I become a silent spectator to the comings and goings around me.
Visitors arriving with broad grins,
move straight to their near and dear ones ignoring the others like me.
The wives, soon on arrival getting busy with setting house from the various
carry bags, brought along, moving items from one bag to other from the bag to
the cupboard top and back in the bag, a frantic activity to keep the mind busy
narrating stores from old times, while
in service and sharing their own ailments and nicks, hoping to cheer up the
disinterested patient albeit making him tired, who has to, Wily Nelly,
suffer them, with a wane smile in
addition to his own predicaments of the moment.
The bed next to me is occupied by one not
only with medical problems but also burdened with other more pressing issues. His
diatribes, soliloquies and angry mumblings have the poor wife a suffering and
The two daughters, one of them unmarried,
hover around. The son -in- law, not part of the inner circle,
with a deadpan expression, a bit distraught, a bit fore lone, there but not there, stands slightly away..
The junior sisters who tend and look after us
watch us with compassion and curiosity. The senior sister, a Lt Col, a bit of a
battle axe, is there to keep every one, the staff and the patients included,
under control and check with her sharp
is also a young ward boy, meticulous in his grooming, shrouded in an envelope
of liberally doused with one of the sprays being advertised on the TV. Not too welcome but always hovering around
and over zealous to tend to the patient behind the cloth screen, in the process
creating additional tension in the mother, and the married daughter.
smitten with the young daughter is under the illusion, thanks to the
suggestive power of TV
advertisements, convinced of the power
of the perfume cloud enveloping him, that he has made a mark on her
and has some thing going for him: possibly a small smile, a long eye contact had
acted as a the trigger, or may be
there was really more than some thing gong between them .
day he looses his object of desire, the daily visits come to a stop as the
father is discharged to home.
happened to his short lived romance, remained one sided or was responded? Did
he stalk her or set up a vigil at her house on his off days? I wonder.
The social gap, between the two, that was too
large to bridge or did it get bridged?
is to be blamed : the barrage of
suggestive advertisements on the TV showing
a gaggle of lissom ladies in various stages of undress, getting willingly entrapped in the cloud of the
perfume spray or the gullible youth of
today getting misguide and away
from the reality of life..
the real charm of youth : experimenting, without fear of the outcome and consequences, having
immense faith and confidence in self,
ever willing to experiment,
taste and enjoy. Hang the consequences.
Live life, Live for Now.