Sunday, January 31, 2010

Ramki the Doc - I

Continued from Ramakrishnan Ayyar - II

"It's an emergency. You have to come to the hospital immediately, Doctor!"

"What?" said Ramki, unbelievingly.

The compounder on the other side, startled by the doctor's rudeness, answered
"Yes sir. The patient can die within 4 hrs, if not operated with laparoscopic appendectomy."

"Laparo,, what? What are you talking? Wrong number", and Ramki hung up the phone.

"What the hell was that?" he thought. Was the dream true? If it were not, how could he remember it so well. If it were, well, how could it be true. Is he a doctor, now? All these questions were jamming the traffic in Ramki's brain.

Ramki thought " If the call I received was not a mis-call, and I am indeed a doctor, the phone.."
,rang again. Ramki, lifted it in a horror-film manner, as though it were a call from the devil.

"Who is it?" he said.

"Doctor Ayyar. This is Ramesh."

"Who?"

"Ramesh, your assistant doctor. Sorry to wake you up, doc. But it's Mr. Tiwari. He would not have surgery, by any other doctor on earth than you. You have to come immediately."

Ramki gulped air. "That's quite nice of him. I suppose..." he stuttered.

"So, you coming, doc?" shouted the voice from the receiver. Ramki was at the verge of a nervous breakdown. He, who was afraid of the small cockroaches roaming around his room, now had to cut a whole human body, insert his hand in side it, and what else?

He remembered the words of God
"Don't worry Ramki. You will find that you are provided with required skills, enough to be a master at your job."

He made up his mind. With a determinant tone of resolution, he answered
"Yes. I am coming. Where and which hospital?"

"What?"

"I said, where and which hospital?" said Ramki annoyingly.

"Doc, this is no time for jokes,."

"For christ sake! I am suffering with a short term memory loss, goddamn it. Now, give me the address of hospital" burst Ramki, losing his patience.

"Mahajong hospital, 37B, West side road, Chintadripet", replied the assistant, shockedly. 

"Good. Make preperations for the operation. Give patient anesthesia. Insert a breathing tube from the patient's mouth. Place the catheter in the bladder and drain all the urine. You know what to do." said Ramki and hung up.

Ramki was stunned by his own words. "Where did that come from?" he thought. He knew what to do, indeed. It was as if recalling the details from a hangover, for him. He could now picture the face of his assistant, and the compounder from the hospital, whom he never saw before.

He switched on the lights, in his room. It was changed. There were no messy cloths and half-read novels thrown on the floor, no graffiti and posters on the wall, and certainly no buckets and ropes on the ceiling. The room was neat, with marble flooring, a mahagony desk and milky white walls.

It took him a minute to fully comprehend what he was seeing. Recovering from the shock, he remembered he was in an emergency. He quickly took the white uniform from the hanger, his newly found car keys from the desk and dashed out of his room. 

The rest of the house was unchanged. He could see his mother and father sleeping from the partly open door of their room. He thought of waking them up, telling them all. They would tell him that it was all a bad dream, that he was not a doctor but the same jobless Ramki. Ramki's face filled with contempt at the thought of "jobless Ramki". He went out of the house.

As he expected, there was a new Indica parked beside his dad's car in the garage.
The keys fit in perfectly, as he started the engine and drove away. 

As he was driving, Ramki became conscious of the fact that he had not gone to a hospital since he was 14, as a patient, and certainly not as a doctor, in his whole life. 

What if he couldn't do the surgery? What if he didn't know, how to do it? What if Tiwari, or whoever he was, dies. Because of him.

Ramki was so engrossed, in these thoughts that, he didn't pay attention on driving. He didn't notice up till he reached the gates of the Mahjong hospital, that he came to the location, which he had never been to before, without stopping anywhere, without asking anyone and without ever slowing down his car. Without giving even the slightest thought, he seemed to make the right turn at every corner.     

The watchman at the gate chewing his pan, articulated in his half-baked English "Ram ram, Doctor Sahib. Bhery early morning, coming. Bhefore shunshine. Emergenshy, of corsh"

"Good morning, Bhagwan Das. I see your English has improved."  smiled Ramki. But then as if coming out of a trance, he asked the watchman,

"Excuse me, Do I know you? You seem familiar."


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