A Well Wisher

A Well Wisher

A Story by Devashish Kumar

On my 22nd birthday, I was headed to the nearby IIT hospital- amidst a heavy downpour, half soaked in mud water and half in rainwater, holding an umbrella in one hand and drops of blood dripping from the other.

I was walking haphazardly. Not because of loss of blood. I just enjoy the rain. On my way, I was met with a large pool of water- sewage water- around the juice centre. Jumping was not an option. I looked at my shoes and my jeans. They were both old and unwashed for a while, encouraging me to walk through. I stepped in, waded through and almost jumped with happiness when I reached the end- like a long lost ship finding a shore.

At the door step, I came across a nonchalant security guard. An incoming patient was too normal a sight to disturb his thoughts. I hastily went to the counter where I was greeted with a half- smile of the receptionist. I forwarded my medical booklet and asked for the Rabies injection.

“What happened?” She looked at me sceptically. “Ma’am, a cat bruised my right hand.”

Uninterested in the story, she referred me to Dr Hussain and asked me to wait for him in the emergency room. It was a fairly crowded room mostly with people down with the seasonal flu and some with more serious problems. I was left to do nothing but stare at strange people acting strangely.

After contemplating the abysmal state of medical facilities in India for some time, my thoughts turned to the series of events which led to this visit to the hospital.

I woke up at about 6 am. Went for a run. Had breakfast to my fill. A couple of calls from my parents and sister. Read newspaper. Mostly boring stuff. (Gujrat Rajya Sabha election news escaped me.) The day was unfolding in a usual manner.

I realised it was 10 at this time. I was late for Lab. I went to the balcony to get my shirt and mistakenly left the door ajar. In the meantime, a cat had entered my room. She had not perhaps seen a more well-kept room in her time at IIT Delhi and thus began inspecting it for settling in.

Unbeknown of her presence- of course, I am assuming her, I entered the room. The cat, startled upon arrival of an intruder, leapt.

I only had a few moments. I noticed it was a small cat- probably a kitten. This not-so-mellow cat was grey in colour with narrow stripes that ran in parallel down her sides. She had finicky eyes. She was surprisingly quick on her feet and had high jump capabilities enough to challenge an Olympian of her size.

My cat thoughts were interrupted when Dr Hussain, who was on a long tea break, returned. He was a medium height middle aged person in a simple shirt and pant attire. Freshly shaved with a hint of a smile, he was too normal for a Muslim. Unflustered by a crowded hall of patients, he went to his designated seat. On his signal, I went to him and produced my medical booklet. I briefly explained to him my situation.

“Though the chances of Rabies from a cat are very low, we don’t want to take any risk. Because Rabies is a very deadly.” He emphasized the last sentence as if I did not already know that.

“You will have to get five injections for Rabies and one for Tetanus.”
“Sir, I had a Tetanus injection a couple of months ago.”
“Okay. You will then get one less injection.”

He instructed a nurse to give me the first dose, asked me to come to his cabin and then left. The second round of waiting ensued and I began my rumination- my encounter with an agile cat.

When the cat leapt, I was frightened. My heart beats sky rocketed. I shouted noiselessly. Almost reflexively I brought my right hand to protect my chest- she had jumped to the chest height. Her sharp pointed claws came in the way. They left many cuts on my right hand.

In the meantime, the nurse had tended to other patients who needed prompt attention. She came to me and asked to undo a couple of buttons of the shirt so that upper arm was reachable. I obliged albeit with a bit of uneasiness. She told me to relax my arm lest the injection hurt.

Then I went to Dr Hussain’s cabin. A few people were already there. This meant I had to wait again which I did.

I folded my sleeve up and glanced at my bruises. They were not that bad. They were small, round and almost insignificant. Tiny clots of blood surrounded them. They were arranged in two parallel lines like two tracks of a railway line heading to a place called Nowhere. I realized these scars would fade away with time, but memories of these scars would stay with me for long.

It was my turn now. I entered the cabin. He explained to me the schedule for the remaining injections. He prescribed me some antibiotics and an ointment.

When I was returning to the hostel, I realized this incident was the most fascinating that happened that day. Had it not happened, I would have spent my entire day waiting for you to call. The cat had probably come to wish me- to hug me on my birthday.

Such a nice kitten!

© 2017 Devashish Kumar

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I'm not a cat person but dayumm...who can resist a kitten !! awww...
Hospitals have clamped down so much here that even flowers are banned now - a wee animal wouldn't get past the front door - more's the pity - because animals have such a good effect on the well being of people.

Posted 1 Year Ago

Really enjoyed that. Brought back some pleasant memories of India. Also a nice twist at the end that left me with a chuckle and a little sadness.

Posted 1 Year Ago

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2 Reviews
Added on August 24, 2017
Last Updated on August 24, 2017


Devashish Kumar
Devashish Kumar

New Delhi, Delhi, India