Out of the surreal experience of having to battle the virus with a team of doctors who did not care at all or enough or either or or, I had not thought that I would be writing this piece today.
For starters I was extremely upset with the ‘halo’isation of the teams in some of these corporate hospitals and hence am making that necessary segregation that all are not what I encountered. And many thanks, Almighty for that.
And secondly once experiences rattle you especially those far beyond your control, for someone who always even with a glass of bhang down on a Holi function as a young 24 year old officers wife had not let that concoction lead her to do stupid things, fast(!) and self-control was a question of immense pride. Then not surprising that I am writing out this piece today.
I have been announcing my third book, working on the content and the intro letter to everyone I wanted to contribute towards it – love to personalize them all, was reading up material as the NEP 2020 had also been thrust upon us quite so suddenly, basically life was meandering along and I was feeling I might definitely change into an oxbow lake soon when a combination of various aspects and illnesses’ decided to strike without a warning.
The meander was jumpstarted into a storm and I couldn’t turn into my favourite geographical lake which I would so painstakingly draw on the board for friends and explain with much elan as a 10 year old in another Hogwarts type school here in the city itself. The only thing I loved about St. Anns, Secunderabad was the amazing geography we had, the rest was a big blurr of a “shall rap you across the face” Ms. Robinson. Goodness even the teachers sounded witchy!! Did not realize it till this moment.
Anyways, back to the present with a snap of my keyboard and here I am reminiscing the after-effects of getting back home.
It was fun to notice that my rag-tag staff was trying their best to scurry out of my sight while maintaining a steady eye-contact with my more even- tempered son when it comes to house staff. I lose it at the very sight of a crookedly placed chair or short-cut furniture placement or randomly gathered curtains.
It was different that that afternoon, I did not care.
Everything seemed placid and calm, even the A/C had decidedly kept up a very robust cooling schedule and my room was looking right out of a Bali resort, summery and quiet and inviting. And no one was hiding behind curtains to help put the act, so everything was real.
It was different that that afternoon, I noticed how decidedly extra effort each day goes a long way in making your home bliss. My staff had helped my husband and son set up the environment well.
Then started the calls from friends and others and acquaintances and all and sundry. It was nice to have people concerned about you and wanting to know how you were doing. It would have remained all staid and mundane but fortunately I loved the share of amazing questions directed at me in between my monologue of how unreal my experience was with the Team Blue PPE. It started with the one which I knew would soon be directed at me: how did Covid feel? “Mast” was how I was tempted to reply. How was dengue? “Mast” again. So here was this cantankerous lady who got this Covid and Dengue jolt of a lifetime and ends it by just saying: “Mast”. Yaar, give her some lines!!! I would have loved to have my ten minutes place under the cameras of our baffling reportage and said that word with elan!
It was different that that evening, I saw zero humour in questioning of this kind.
The more unexciting and commonplace things had to be dealt with from the next days onwards. For one, my pile of clothes from the presswala (laundry is for the more sophisticated, Not us. Nah! Lovelies!). The kaftans – poor things aren’t as fancy as the Insta profiles of the Kareenas or the Khans or was it the both (?) – either way did not matter because mine are all cotton and rock solid sun dried with zero sheen and all, the normal nighties with their pinafores to go with it – all sad and scurrying to hide behind the odd dupattas or a t-shirt and not to forget the ‘forgiving’ pyjamas. Now I am no Mrs. Funnybones – neither rich man’s nor poor man’s, with not a single shingle riding on any project in Bollywood and not even having the access to ask our Prime Minister as to how he loves to have his mangoes – I just know how I love mine. Straight washed and cut and with a small fork to devour the world’s best fruit with!
It was different that that evening the much loved and lived-in clothes felt like the best little friends I had, for they let me know that I was home.
Finally as the sun set in on that Friday and the past week soared away into my calls and talks and some writing and some discussions and some more of each and everything, I looked across at the next room where my smallest of small world sat on two recliners. One had overgrown hair and now even a hairband to go with the look while the other seemed to have dozed off at six in the evening with an ear piece in one ear, a phone dangling on the edge of the armrest and an expression which told me that their world had almost come to a stop while I was away. I didn’t need anyone of them to say anything to me nor to tell me that I was missed, for my rap loving son had decided to become deaf again to Mom’s shout outs till it seemed ominous enough to need to respond to them and my tired husband had probably lived a whole lifetime in the four days that a hospital had taken to respond or be forced to respond to treating his wife as someone precious from anyone’s family. Why did it have to be a Home Secretary of a state if a response was required, for we’ve always loved to keep it simple: be us?
It was different that that evening all I cared for was the fact that Almighty had made it possible for me to be back with them and I had my time for my goodbyes. Still. And thank Goodness for that!
As I close my piece today, I ask myself – Was I lost somewhere? And the answer is: No, I was not. Amid the fake and unreal, the others found it hard to relate to someone real.
Hoping they found themselves!