Wednesday 30 September 2015

Sitting in a hospital

Sitting in a waiting area of a big, commercial private hospital is one activity that can give you some major insights related to love, life and family. Forget the banks of river Ganga, true moksha awaits right here.

Behind the cleverly designed billing desk sits a clerk. The walls of the desk are such that body parts that are used for smiling i.e. lips remain hidden and only those stern, fierce eyes are visible. Eyes that are used to sternly ward off any medical insurance claims that you are about to make. Eyes that are shaped like a giant 'nope'.

In the gallery you will see some wandering souls. Some walk fast because they have to leave for work and are here to just 'drop off' some flowers or sweets. Fast-walking feelings are more lifeless than the slow ones. But you can't blame people for detesting hospitals. Nobody wants to stay back. All the young ones leave quickly while the zombies with their walking sticks and loose skin are left behind. They wait in their wheelchairs for the attendant to come and help them with bathroom stuff. People turn away their faces because no one wants to hear about a senior lady with bladder problems. Jesus, the canteen is right there and it is lunch time. You got to maintain the appetite for the overpriced cafeteria.

I see old people- confused and waiting for something or the other and I shudder with fear. This could have been a handsome man in his day. Now he sits with that loose wrinkly skin, trying to get up with support. He may be coming out of the operation theater or going in. Who knows? He just wants his life prolonged and we all approve of that but we still make faces and shrug when asked about his health. I, for one, do not want to live after I am past my prime. I may have a prolonged prime like one Mr Clooney but not a moment after that. It doesn't matter what I want though.Old people- they all look the same on one level. Yes, you can tell one from the other but, they all are one community- like babies. You can be Hispanic or an Asian man but once you are an old man, you are more of an old man than anything else. I don't want to be more of something than anything else.

Then I look at the walls and architecture. It is designed to be soothing to the soul. There is a painting of a flower and then there is a giant vase with giant artificial red flowers. I don't understand how fiery red flowers representing passion can be soothing. A painting of the same is soothing because it assures the observer that the passion of the flower is contained and chained within the frame and won't jump out to bite you. The flower in the vase, on the other hand, looks angry to me. I also don't understand these plain walls without paintings. The government hospitals have crafted a much more intelligent way to get their walls decorated with modern art which gives a much more friendly atmosphere to patients of glaucoma who can't see a thing. They sell paan and gutka etc outside the hospital and the people who work in the hospital use their mouths to mix all the shades of red colour and then spit them on the walls to create great, soothing modern art. This private hospital should learn this technique from those hospitals.

The nurses wear floral patterns and are Malayalis for some strange reason. All good nurses are Malayalis they say. But, why? Well, because they are well-trained. I don't understand this reasoning but I nod. I think people from Kerala have a nice, friendly vibe about them. I ask a Malayali nurse if Mr Verma is admitted in the ICU. She rammed the door on my face in the most friendly manner.

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