Crematoriums are sad. But hospitals are sadder. For starters, they are mostly painted in the colour that managed to put an entire era into depression -Blue (To know more about the depressing aura of blue, read Picasso’s Blue Period). Either that or white, which again dulls your senses. While such colours make sense in a crematorium where the grimace of death is already present, they might not be as felicitous in a milieu where some strands of hope of recovery of the patient are squashed within the first few moments itself, without a word spoken by the doctor, or a test done.

That is pain no. 1 –colour, and it hits the patient mostly subconsciously. The major pain hits after admission and it is severely acute in India. It’s called relatives.

Even before the surgery, hordes of people start pouring in to offer their support. These includes the patient’s brothers, sisters, maternal uncles and aunts, paternal uncles and aunts… No it’s not done yet. These are just from the patient’s side, then there are the spouse’s brothers, sisters, maternal uncles and aunts, paternal uncles and aunts, unborn children, ghosts of dead grandparents, vampires, zombies, dogs, cats,… You get the idea.

Considering Indian obsession for matchmaking, if the patient were in his full senses, he might have been the perfect matchmaker for eligible batchelors and spinsters. After all, his/her network now is easily much stronger than padoswali aunty. May be, hospitals can start match-making as an alternate revenue stream, hitching up people from the intra-patient network and inter-patient network:

“Welcome to Plunder, a Tinder for patient’s relatives, since we believe in plundering patient’s peace.”

The most interesting bits about the whole thing are the conversations. They start with the small talk about the situation:

Relative (R): What happened?

Patient (P): (Gives context)… So I needed an operation.

Relative: Was it so serious that you had to be operated?

Patient: (Why else would I spend so much money!) Yes. (More context)

Relative: The doctor’s good?

Patient: (Else I would not have come here; Else this garland that you brought would have had dead leaves; Else you would have met my ghost instead and my organs would have been floating around like balloons in sky; Else you would have operated kya?) The best in town. 🙂

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The conversations then move from being R-P to R-R. In most of the initial R-R conversations, each party tries to go back in and across time, from its Neanderthal ancestors to its distant relative in Antarctica, just so that they could find a mutual connect and say, “Oh, so aap X to jaante hai? Maine hi to uske diaper dhoye the.” [1] The conversations then veer to sports, business, current affairs, politics and before you know it, they are fighting at the top of their voices as to whether Deepika should have been with Ranveer or not. All this completely oblivious to the plight of the poor patient lying nearby, who helplessly looks, as this pain of enduring them seems much more intolerable than the heart attack he had.

And just when you think the patient would have some respite after he gets discharged, the same flock comes grazing to his/her house, for a cursory second and sometimes, even a third visit. While I will don the hat of political correctness for a while and say that relatives are there because they are concerned and want to show their support, a lot of the times they ruin the patient’s peace just when he/she requires it the most.

May be, that’s just some of the many pains the vast populace brings with itself. But, God forbid, when you lie down on that reclining, white steel cot, you will at least have people by your side when you wake up from anaesthesia.

  1. Transation: “So you know X? I was the one that cleaned his diapers.”

Nishad is one of those pseudo-intellectuals who believes in the power of pen. He is a recent alumnus of IIM Ahmedabad and previously, IIT Bombay, and uses them frequently to get into doors.

This is his first attempt at writing a satire. Let him know how he fared, either through comments or by reaching him on Facebook, but more favorably by following him.

His stronger suits are TravelSports and Life in general. Follow him to encourage him to write more 🙂