True istory it is!

I was at the doctor’s for my monthly check-up – nothing to worry about, just some good old regular thyroid trouble that is well under control and I will soon be off medication. I don’t even think about it until it’s that time of the month again – to visit the doc.

It was around 6:40 p.m., and I had just finished making some chai for my mother and was about to get back to work when I remembered I had a doctor’s appointment. “Argh! I thought to myself. Why can’t my doctor and I have this conversation telepathically and be done with it?” I just didn’t feel like getting out but had to.

I reached the clinic at my usual 7:15 and made my way through the crowd to the ever so busy & uptight receptionist. My doctor hadn’t arrived. “Eh! I can wait.”

The clinic is a multi-specialist one, with four rooms where some of Delhi’s well-known specialists see their patients on a twice or thrice a week basis. The place usually works like well-oiled machinery. Obviously, they charge you for being ‘smooth operators’. What was I doing at such a place? Well, I was getting my treatment done, free of cost. The thyroid specialist whom I see at the clinic is one of my closest friend’s father. So, I have it easy.

And ergo, I didn’t mind waiting for him. I usually just have to wait for about 5 minutes before I get a chance to see Gary’s dad, and I usually pass that time by checking my email or browsing the internet on my phone. On this day, I did the same. But how long can you do that on the phone? Apparently not very long! Moreover, I could feel an intrusion – by the person sitting right next to me. He seemed keenly interested in my inbox, so I quickly shut it off, got a little more comfortable, and tried to zone out. Of course, my neighbour didn’t like the idea.

“Myself Mr. Bhatia” he said.
I smiled and nodded without making eye contact. Somehow, I knew that, that would be a fatal mistake. Or maybe it didn’t matter whether or not I made eye contact. Mr. Bhatia meant business; he wanted to make some conversation. Period.

“Which doctor you are here to see” he asked most curiously.
“Um the thy … Um a hormones doctor” I said, assuming that a big word like thyroid would bring a volley of questions my way. Maybe I shouldn’t have made that assumption …
“Achha, achha. That problem you are having” he said, vigorously wiggling his head. “My wife also once had, same problem. I took her to … you know Batra hospital?”
“Yes, I do” I complied.
“Haan, so there, there is one doctor called … well if she is still alive that is. Then, she is called Dr. Hingorani” he said.
“Oh Ok” I said, curbing the urge to laugh.
“So, you go check, if she is still alive, Dr. Hingorani huh, and then you take treatment from her. Ok” he dictated.
“Um I am very happy with my doctor here” I said.
“Oho, these doctors, they know nothing. See he is late today, and making you wait. He must be late every time. I know. Plus, he doesn’t know his job” he said.
“Um, this doctor is my friend’s father and he is very well known in Delhi” I was on the defence now.
“Tut. He doesn’t know anything. Go to Dr. Hingorani, ok. You haven’t written the name down, you will forget it. Write it somewhere – Dr. Hing”
“orani. I will remember. Don’t worry” I tried to placate him.
“Yeeeess, Dr. Hingorani” he said, beaming.
My brain was about to self-destruct, but Mr. Bhatia continued the onslaught.

“You see, I got married in ’83 and for 2 years we, my wife and I, were not having children you see. That was a problem. So, I took her to Dr. Hingorani. Dr. Hingorani is one of those doctors who is like a mechanic … samjhe ke nahin? Matlab she can degnose (diagnose) the disease, just like some mechanics can degnose the problem with scooters and cars. And you know, she degnoses and then compojej (composes) her own medicine. You know, some doctors can do that”
“Really” I said, feigning intrigue. Err! Wrong thing to say.

“Yes, yes, they can compoje and you can go to chemist and say please make compojed medicine. And the chemist will give you. And this medicine is so much better than ready-made medicine, you know. You should try it. You have been taking this doctors medicine for so long, it hasn’t helped, haina?”
“It has helped actually” why are you even bothering, my brain said to me.
“No, no it doesn’t help. You know it is like compojing your own atta. My wife and I, we get our atta, pissa hua atta latte hain hum, you know. We use that to make dough. Then you can make pooris on slow fire with this atta, and the pooris survive for much longer than pooris made from normal atta you see”
I nodded but my brain was saying ‘I will slap you if you nod at him again’

“Same pooris … once I was in train, with wife and son. We were going to lucknow. We met these two men, they were hungry. We offered them our pooris. They asked us if the pooris had gone bad. We told them sawaal hee nahin paida hota. We have made them in special way. Then they enjoyed also.”
I was eyeing the exit greedily by now.

“So you get compojed medicine ok, you will be fine. And try to make pooris also, the way I told you, they will be good”
I nodded again and my brain sighed and said ‘stupid body’

“You know this is how people should meet, make friends. At the doctor’s clinic, waiting for doctor. In India, people don’t do that, people are very busy with themselves. In forin countries, they do this. They meet at doctor’s, talk, give each other phone numbers. After that if they meet on road, they remember each other, help each other. Hamare yahan, they see you outside doctor’s clinic, they don’t recognize you. Aap mat bhool jaana, theek hai. Yaad rakhna, Bhatia ji mile the”
“Jee Bhatia jee” is he trying to hit on me, I wondered. Brrr!

“Acha hormones kee problem theek ho jayegi aapki, aap chinta na karma, theek hai. Yaad hai na, Dr. …?” he wanted to check if I remembered the name.
“Hingorani. Haanji” I said.
He seemed pleased that I did. “Haan sahi hai.” He stopped to take a breather.

Just when I thought that he couldn’t churn out any more nonsense he asked “So, what you do?”
I usually find that a disconcerting question since I never have a tangible answer. I cleared my throat, tried to concentrate and said “Um, I write …”
“What” he spat.
“Um, small books for children” I said unsurely.

He was quite for a bit. Deep in concentration, I think he was trying to come up with an intelligent thing to say to someone who wrote small books for children.
“You know publishers are there. They can print your books and give them to you,” he said.
I knew it!
“I do work for some publishers” I said and smiled.
“Achha” he said and looked away trying to come up with something else.
“Aur bhaisaab kya karte hain?” he turned quickly and asked.
“Kaun bhaisaab?” I looked at him concerned.
“Tut arre bhaisaaaaab!” he said, a bit exasperated.
It took me a few seconds to realize that he was talking about my non-existent husband.
“Um bhaisaab nahin hain Bhatia jee. Meri shaadi nahin hui” I informed him.
“Acha” he said surprised.

Now, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I got up, walked up to the receptionist and enquired if Gary’s dad was arriving anytime soon. She told me he was stuck in traffic, and would take another half an hour to reach.

I cursed the traffic, turned around and made a beeline for the exit. I literally ran to my car, and sped off as fast as I could. Once in the car I laughed until my eyes watered and my stomach hurt. After I’d split my sides laughing, I thought about what Bhatia Ji must have made of our conversation – an unmarried girl going to a hormones ka doctor, which to him meant – a fertility specialist or some such thing.

I drove around for the next half hour and only entered the clinic once I saw Gary’s dad’s car parked outside it.

Mr. Bhatia couldn’t still be there, I thought to myself as I stepped out of my car.

Oh! But he could, and he was. 

I averted my gaze, and went straight to the receptionist. Of course, I was going to have to wait. I placed myself delicately on a miniscule stool lying right next to her desk, as if the desk was a shield.

No, it wasn’t!
Even if it was, it wasn’t strong enough for Mr. Bhatia. Although he clearly seemed to have found his next victim, (what was he still doing at the clinic?) I saw him leave the victim alone to make his way towards me.

“Phone number nahin diya maine pehle hain. Likh lo” he ordered.
No, this wasn’t actually happening! I still took my phone out and pretended I was typing the number.
“Hain, Mr. Bhatia kar ke store kar lena. Aur na mujhe meesed call de do. Mere pass aapka number aa jayega”
“Haan haan, mein phone karoongi” I said, wiggling my head and keeping my phone back in my trouser pocket. ‘Thank the lord’ said my brain. “Acha mera number aa gaya haan” I said and dashed into my doctor’s room, who fortunately didn’t ask me to wait outside even though he was attending to another patient.



Pushkaraj said...

Truth is stranger than fiction, they said. But now this needs to be changed. It should be - 'truth with strangers' is more pain than fiction!
While I wish that you get well soon, I also wish that you must continue to go to the doc just to meet more such interesting characters.
This post was like the movie Bheja Fry come alive!

sacredeastwind said...

Hahaha glad you enjoyed it Pushkaraj. And much like you, I too wish to continue going to the clinic and meet more Bhatia Ji's. They make life a lot more colourful :D

sacredeastwind said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Prateek said...

Now let me tell you what Bhatia Ji was doing there. he was waiting for his Psychiatrist. :)

sacredeastwind said...

hahahahahaha i bet you he was. so right!

Addy said...

I m still not clear what the hell was bhatiya ji trying to do? be friendly, have a conversation, hit on u..... what?
anyways...nice post, good to see you back after such a long time! :)

sacredeastwind said...

will let you know if i figure it out addy :) good to be back ...

solitary reaper said...

I was figuring out ur expression, though u have verbalized it here.. and I could figure it out perfectly well my dear… 
Though he must have finished his job with the hospital am sure he might be still under the very thought that what that unmarried girl was up to!! Thank god he didn’t take ur number…
It was interesting… n people r always, mm?

sacredeastwind said...

hahahaha true ch'mma. Very very interesting. bring some colour to life no? lots of love, molooo!

Mohan said...

You just show the bit, some folks take it from there on for never ending dialogue irrespective of whether the other person in interested in it or not! Funny, but that is how the life is! One this is for sure, Bhatiyaji did leave an impression at the end of this whole act and he drilled your mind enough to make a post... His achievement for the day I suppose!

sacredeastwind said...

Very astute observation Mohan, and I completely agree. People generally make a massive impression on me, specially the BhatiaJi's of the world. My achievement too - meeting him perhaps :) Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the first time I didn't feel like saying "Spare me the details" hehe
..and then I called myself a writer :)
Recover karo, jaldi se pehle!!
Its an order.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
sacredeastwind said...

Hahaha! Nice one! Recovered dude! This is in 'fond memory' :P :D

Pushkaraj said...

Eh? You changed the template again?
Next time you visit the doc, also ask him if you have multiple identity disorder... :-)

sacredeastwind said...

hahahahahah Pushkaraj. You're really funny!

I tried that earlier one but it was only a slight change from my previous one. I was looking for a bigger change - the wordpress kinds ;)

And recently got a mail from blogger saying try designer template and so i did.

i intend to change the background image now and then to spice up my blog life :P ...

g2 said...

Did you consider this theory?

That our Mr. Bhatiya might actually be a salesman for that Dr. Hingorani or for Dr. Batra's clinic and he gets them more patients by tricking less educated people into their clinic. And that the reason he is talking to you is because he wanted have a little extra fun on the job ;)

I feel that this is very much possible... though I am sure there are a lot of people who will be intrusive and give advice with no material interests :)

btw... nice template... I dont know when you changed the template. I follow your blog on a reader, so hasn't visited your link for a long time now :)

sacredeastwind said...

G2, thank you for that theory. Its the one that actually makes sense. He was just having some fun whilst at work.

not sure about the - 'give advice with no material interests' bit ;) :P

I just changed it a couple of days ago. Finally blogger has a designer template option. Not too many options there but still, works for me :)

Dr Roshan R said...

nice !!
now can u imagine how we docs feel having the odd psycho "on a daily basis" at our opds ? :)

sacredeastwind said...

Hahahaha, Dr. Roshan, I truly sympathize with you :D and hope that you see less of such characters in the coming time ... because for me, it works, he is a character ... but a doctor's time is more precious :)

conversation.compiler said...

ha ha ha. This was hilarious girl.

sacredeastwind said...

happy you liked Indoooooo! :D

Vasu said...

Why do I see Bhatia Jis everywhere around me, and why do I stumble upon a blog with a story of a Bhatia Ji. Though I am a man, my eyes and ears always seem to be open to such characters, and I can so believe your story. Always find such characters in flights (hitting on stewardesses) for example.

Loved your narrative style...almost as if I can feel a Bhatia Ji in the vicinity :)

But Hingorani? Is that for real?


sacredeastwind said...

Hahahaha Vasu,

In all honesty I enjoy meeting such people ... But in retrospect, not whilst its happening :)

Hingorani - for real man, he said it so many times, I cannot forget it! :D

Anonymous said...

Roll Over Laughing Floorless!!! this was the funniest piece ive read in days and it reminds me of a'Bhatia ji' i was sitting next on a flight ;)...keep writting!


Rajendra Raikwar said...

Good One.