Sunday, April 5, 2009

Some with wrappers ...some without

A piece of advice: If you are on vacation/ born jobless/ a 2009 B-school pass out - never grant a license to your friends to drag you to places -you don’t want to go . It was one such morning , when my SPF 75 sunscreens could have been put to shame… I was made to travel to a not so nearby hospital , to sign on some papers for an emergency operation of a distant friend.

Under normal circumstances , for normal people this would have been a “good” deed to wash away sins of the past week…but to be frank , I can’t stand hospitals- courtesy : the painful childhood memories of fractured nose and toes .

This day was meant to be cruel. The swanky invitation card resting in my purse, reminded me to wind up as early as I could. I had to attend a “Meet” in a newly opened hotel in the neighborhood….did I say hotel? Anyways More on that later…

We arrived in front of the massive structure; swarming with people …it took us directions from 5 men, 10 signboards and 15 phone calls to reach the corner ,we were supposed to.

I had never been to a government hospital before. This part of the world was non-existent, until today . The feeling was that of being trapped inside a suffocating cardboard box where life was peeling off every second. The overpowering smell of the phenyl, bodies placed on cold steel plates, huge curtains speckled with blood spots - The starkness of this reality was sharp. The white boards reduced people to numbers – some circled, some not….of course If you are circled, you are dead (literally). The strain on the limited resources was evident, the ease with which everything was handled more so. It was complex …it was simple, both at the same time . I walked out …

I was late for my meet. The ornate name of the venue , made me imagine a plush banquet hall. I wasn’t wrong …I was stepping into a new concept - from one of the top brands of Indian hospitality. This wasn’t a hotel…but a star category hospital- set to be the “top-of-the-list” choice for people born more equal than the others.

The exquisite interiors , spotless glass all around, elaborate Ikebana on the reception – I walked carefully on the silk-like aurora marble , so as to not harm its beauty .
The upper floors housed the patients. Each with a glass cabin…in pure white attire. The doctors ... almost models . This place was a treat for your eyes , in every sense.

This was another world. I rushed; I was late for my meet, which turned out to be nothing more than a pathetic lecture on medi-tourism.I chose to float my soul into the fragrance of the potpourri .I munched on the candies wrapped in stylish wrappers. Oblivious to everything around, I kept staring out of the window blinds.

Men and women , old and young -pierced with needles, inhaling life from the steel cylinders … everyone equally helpless .There was no door that led to the escape.The similarity between the two places I visited today was absurd... People in both worlds struggled with the same contents …just a small difference – for some the stylish wrappers were provided ... some managed without them.