DR ISHAN MALHOTRA
I invited Avni over to my place for a dinner, after the surgery was successful. She readily agreed, because she finds me too handsome to resist! She was wearing a seductive tank-top with a pair of jeans and her hair were open and messed up, just as I like. We ordered pizza from Dominos and talked about our pasts and futures. She was thanking me again and again for saving her father’s life and she wanted to thank me in a ‘special’ way tonight. I told her that there was no need of such a favour, but she wouldn’t listen!
After a few moments of argument and dilemma, we started kissing each other and in a minute or two, we both landed on my bed.
‘Aah…ouch…aah…baby…aah…harder…push it…aah…Ishaaaan..!’ Avni screamed in oblivion and I gasped in exhaustion.
And the dream ended!
I woke up with a massive erection, though I never wanted the dream to end! Avni, sitting on top of me, and we both engaged into a passionate make-out session…what a dream! I’d rather say – what a morning! But just one look around disgusted me enough to bring me back to the self-abuse once again. The mattresses were falling apart from the bed, the pillow was lying in one corner, the tooth-brush was spotted in the flower pot, my socks were hanging from the ceiling fan – hell, what were my socks doing on the ceiling fan? Maybe they were signalling me to commit suicide now!
I walked out and gave a quick look to the surroundings. The mood worsened as I sensed a weird smell coming from the kitchen. I rushed towards the kitchen but found nothing unusual. I opened the fridge…BAM, all the erection was gone in nanoseconds!
A mouse had died inside, and that was the reason the entire kitchen smelt so bad. I picked it up with bare hands and tossed it in the bin. No, I didn’t feel awkward, not even a bit! That’s the coolness of medical-profession – you’re no more scared of dead or living or flying animals anymore because at some point of time, you get a golden opportunity to dissect them all and take a revenge! Without wasting any more time, I rushed into the bathroom and started with my routine. Brush, pee, bath, three in one tasks in shower and there I was, standing in front of mirror with blood red eyes. I slept for barely three hours last night, thanks to Avni’s father’s surgery and Mumbai traffic even at 01 am!
‘Avni…’ I was reminded of her as I looked at my shirt that I wore yesterday. She hugged me tight in this one. I smelt it. It was awful! Instead of keeping it, and getting it framed like mad, passionate lovers, I tossed it in washing cabin of my washing machine and rushed to work. I had to check Avni’s father too and see how he was recovering.
My first task after reaching the hospital was to see the attendance record and look for Avni’s name. Yes, it was there! I was delighted as I found that I’ll get to see her for one more day. No, I wasn’t dying but leaving this place is no less than dying either and every new morning in Mumbai reminds me of the days left here in the city, and the hospital. Though I want to renew my contract, but my parents want me back in Indore now. I can’t ditch my old folks for so many years altogether. They also deserve to have me with them, after all they’re the ones who made me capable to be a part of this profession and this hospital. I felt proud inside, for being a good son!
Weirdly enough, instead of abusing myself today, I was happy about everything, especially my own self, the way I had turned out (leaving the dirty apartment – apart!). As I was about to enter the ICU, I saw Avni standing on the door with her mother. It was 08.30 am sharp, maybe they were about to visit her father. I greeted her mother with folded hands, and she smiled coldly enough to signal me to stay away from her daughter. I gulped in nervousness this time, as I looked at Avni, who stood there still and firm. I was reminded of the dream that I had this morning and I was immediately hard down-stairs! I looked at the ceiling to avoid any awkwardness, it’s funny how your brain reminds you of the weirdest things at places when you don’t want to remember any of them?
‘Are you okay?’ Avni asked me.
‘Yeah, I’m perfectly fine, I was just…never mind, how are you?’
‘I’m fine too, doctor…just a little worried.’ She pressed her lips.
‘Oh, don’t worry, everything will be okay! He’s fine, his vitals are fine and he’ll be discharged in a week more, then you can take him home.’ I tried to be as reassuring of my statement as I could.
None of them, spoke a word. Without making this more awkward, I walked inside the ICU to check upon the three patients who were under Dr Abhimanyu’s supervision. Dr Abhimanyu was the cardiologist who was keeping a check on these patients, but today, I broke some rules for Avni’s sake. I wanted to be the one to check her father’s reports so I could have something to talk to her about. I walked inside with a team of junior interns who were telling me about the previously conducted tests and medicines prescribed to the patients. First I visited Avni’s old father, though his turn was last according to the schedule given. But when your heart makes the schedule, you can’t prioritize your brain in that matter! I looked at him, he was having soup, so he couldn’t express his emotions, what-so-ever!
‘Hello Mr Singh, I am your doctor – Ishan Malhotra. I performed a surgery on you last night.’ I smiled.
I thought he would smile back, or at least thank me, but the old man frowned. I could clearly see my father-in-law in him now – grumpy and nasty!
‘What happened? Are you feeling alright?’ I tried to calm him down. Of course, he had his chest cut open, and his heart messed up with, how can anybody feel alright after such a brutal operation?
‘Well, don’t worry, these bandages will soon be taken off and the stitches will dissolve in your skin, I know it’s uncomfortable and very problematic, but it will be okay soon.’ I smiled like a fool again, checked his vitals which were stable and walked to see my next patient – technically, the first patient, and then I realized one thing – damn brain is always right! I should have checked the patients according to schedule and visited this old, frowning man in the end.
Nevertheless, I walked up to another heart patient, a lady in her sixties, who had a bypass surgery three days ago. Her daughter-in-law was accompanying her.
‘How is your mother now?’ I asked her, while I opened her file and checked her status from last night.
‘She’s feeling very low, doctor. Since yesterday she’s saying that she’s going to die soon. What should I do? She says she’s seeing reapers around her who have come to take her away. My husband lives out of city, and he can’t leave his job…’
‘Well, it’s about his own mother, can’t he come to see her? She needs emotional support of her son…’ I asked a personal question, though I generally don’t involve myself into personal lives of the patients, but sometimes out of curiosity I end up asking certain questions.
‘It’s not that, doctor. We need the money flowing to keep her in this hospital. I can take care of her here, while he can earn there and send us money. If he will come here, how will we be able to get her a treatment?’
For a moment, the young girl in her twenties, put me into thoughts. I was earning a six digit salary, no doubt, but not everybody was as rich as me. With time, I had almost forgotten what it meant to be doing something for someone by being far away. Don’t know why, but unwillingly and unwantedly enough, I kept myself at that guy’s place for a moment, and thought if my mother was in such a condition, and we needed money, will I come to her or keep working to support her? The former seemed to be an easier option. Anybody can come to see his mother if she’s in such a condition, but not everybody can work in another state, knowing that his mother may die someday, and he may not be able to meet her for the last time. There is only one thing that keeps such people going and that is – HOPE. A thin ray of hope. That someday, they’ll be able to reunite with their family in a better condition, and that someday, everything will be alright and their efforts will be fruitful. I felt sad for the family and I felt happy for the old lady. I felt proud of her for she gave birth to such a son, and then I felt her to be lucky enough to have such a daughter-in-law by her side.
Changing some medicines and writing a new prescription slip, I handed over the file to the daughter-in-law and moved on to my next patient – a little boy in his teens. He had a heart transplant a few weeks ago which was performed by our senior-most doctor and head of the cardiology department Dr Vinay Mathur. The boy was an orphan technically, as his parents and sister died in a car accident three years ago. Being the youngest and luckiest, he was the only survivor after three casualties.
‘How do you feel now?’ I smiled and checked his file.
‘I’m okay, but I don’t want to go home…’ the boy replied sadly.
I looked into his eyes, which had lost all hope to live. He was being accompanied by his uncle and aunt, who were taking care of him now. In ICU, he was there with his aunt, who didn’t seem much interested in knowing the health status of the boy anyways.
‘Your son is doing very well…’ I checked his echocardiogram report and the ECG report which were both normal.
‘He’s not my son.’ The lady spoke up bluntly.
I gave her a sharp glance. I didn’t expect such a rude behaviour from her knowing what the boy must be going through after losing his entire family, but what could I do?
Without getting myself involved into some personal brawl, I silently made some notes into the file, gave her a slip of prescription, patted the little guy’s head and walked out of the ICU. The morning round was over with a lot of questions and worries in my mind. Worries about their future and their lives ahead.
Avni’s father was fine, but don’t know why he was frowning. The old lady, was stable too, but she was sad for she couldn’t see her son, and my third patient, the little boy, he was much more hopeless and gloomy for his survival, than his family’s death even after three years.
Once a senior doctor said to me – Never attach yourself to any patient, if you want to be successful. He asked me to work emotionlessly and focus only on my career, but one thing was not understandable – how can you be so emotionless to the people who rely upon you and put their faith into you? People who hand over your life to you with a hope that you’ll save them, how can you be emotionless to them?
Some people do become emotionless with time, but I wasn’t one of them. Some of my patients and their stories left such deep impacts on me that I started believing in God, something that I had stopped doing since the day I knew about human body and its mechanism. For me, it was just a machine, which could be repaired with the instruments we had. We were the Gods on this earth. But then, sometimes, more than instruments, you need a miracle and that power was not available to any mortal God.
I thanked almighty for keeping me and my parents, safe, and walked out of the corridor. I saw Avni and her mother bickering upon something. I couldn’t hear what she was saying, but she wasn’t happy. She was moving her hands restlessly and she seemed quite nervous. I approached her with silent steps and I tried to be as casual as I could. I walked past her and could listen only to one sentence that capsized my world.
Avni said – ‘Okay, for father’s sake, I’ll get married to that guy next week!’