Hospitals aren't fun!

Going to the hospital is one of the most intimidating situations for me, unless its the dentist we are talking about. Don't know whether its the idea, the ambiance, the smell or the situation that's the real culprit, but its quite an ordeal. So you can imagine the effect as I walked into the waiting room of the Regional Oncology Research Center, joining a sea of people who are hanging on to the last straw of hope, considering the nature of the beast. But the situation was much different from what I expected. Though there were people trying hard to conceal the visible effects of the condition or its treatment, the mood was generally upbeat. I don't remember seeing a larger group of compassionate, sensitive and smiling people anywhere else.

As if taking the messages conveyed by the inspirational posters to their heart, I found people were generally in an optimistic frame of mind. Unlike other hospital scenes I have been part of, I did not hear anyone yelling, shouting or even raising the voices here. Everyone behaved like a bunch of well trained nursery kids. There were 9 year olds to 90 year olds, all in the same boat. Everyone talked to each other. There was no introductions required as if some kind of camaraderie evolved out of the shared situation. It was interesting that nobody even asks why you are there.. everyone seems to know. If you are an observer, then you might not be able to relate to any of the strange behavior that's happening around. You just look at the display screens, wonder why they call out the age of patients with their name and so on. But when you are one amongst the many who await the turn, everything makes super sense. You can almost see the whole process working relentlessly and without fault like a well oiled piece of machinery.

There is only one place that is more intimidating than the waiting room - the doctor's cabin. Anyone who sits inside for a few minutes with his eyes and ears open, will come out with a heavy heart and modified world views. I think that's enlightenment of the best kind...the one that's born out of conviction mixed with an overdose of reality. As I sat there watching the doctors in action, I realized the real meaning of 'transiency', 'mortality' and 'fear'. I saw a person whose mouth opens into his nasal cavity as the pallet was missing... rather removed. I sat there picturing his nasal septum fluttering left and right with every breath he takes. At the end of the consultation I could hear this inevitable question being asked to every patient about their preference - RT or surgery, as if you are given a choice between Gold & Platinum!

I take a walk when I get disturbed, and I did the same here. To my amusement I saw some billboards promoting an exclusive showroom for condoms, 'Planet Moods'. I think this is the height of choice. I am not sure whether people go to an exclusive showroom to buy condoms. Imagine someone walking into the condom shop looking for a khadi condom to celebrate Gandhi's birthday, a tricolor condom to celebrate the Independence day or a ventilated condom to beat the heat. I wonder!

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