I sat staring at the report in front of me ...I could feel anger bubbling up in my gut and surging up my face ...my head throbbed. My breathing quickened...
My PMS didn’t help...i sat there trying to control myself...To get into my calm pleasant bedside manners. My doc act..
I looked up and smiled faintly at the man in front of me...“Your vasectomy was a failure”. I informed him.
I waited for some change in his expression...remorse...shame...guilt. No…nothing...he stared back at me blankly. Almost belligerently. My gaze shifted to the woman besides him...
She sat smiling...her...face was flushed...her eyes brimmed with tears...A lush woman...typical housewife...long oily hair braided. Thali...among the folds of her parrot green polyester sari.... kumkum on her hair parting.
I wanted to smile back gleefully, sharing her triumph. But no.... my doc act was supposed to be balanced, dignified, refined and detached. Especially detached.
I remembered her sitting and sobbing silently in front of me two days back. She had missed her periods. Her pregnancy test was positive. Her husband had already had Vasectomy surgery after the birth of their two daughters. He suspected her chastity... He was torturing her.
She was the wife of koman, a staff of mine. I didn’t like him. He was a trade union leader . Lean oiled body...sharply pressed clothes...oily hair... chandan kury on the forehead...arrogant mannerisms.
i had been surprised to know that he was couldnt read or write..had not gone to school..
I had heard of an incidence that had happened before I had joined the hospital. He had tried to molest a patient’s wife. The enquiry had failed to prove anything. The other staff was too scared of him to testify. A staff nurse, a born again Christian lady had volunteered to testify but didn’t turn up at the last minute.
It was rumoured that he had threatened to rape her.
“Don’t suspect you wife, the child is yours" I told him.
He stared at me. I stared back.
His eyes shifted. “OK” he told and got up to go. I wanted to tell him to be soft to his wife. But he would only become defensive. I smiled at her and told her to go home peacefully.
I wondered how she should have responded. Self-righteous anger?........... Self pity?
No she would go home relieved that her marriage was saved. She would spend her life caring for his aged parents..........cooking, washing, cleaning the toilets...Fasting & praying for him.
She would immerse herself in loving & nurturing her kids... TV serials... food.... She would become obese & middle aged.
I closed my eyes & wished her all the best. That was three years ago.
But, my wish wasn’t granted.
Few months back, she was brought with 70% burns to the casualty. She had done it herself in front of her husband and elder daughter.
The poor woman had shown her pride & protests the only way she knew. But how could she? I wondered. Why hadn’t she thought of her kids? I felt I could never forgive her.
Last week he came to see me. His new wife was with him. “Who will look after the kids?” He spoke to no’ one in particular.
Another smiling face.... lush body.... polyester sari...kunkum...Thali....
I smiled at her...calmly.....my doc act.......“Wish you all the best”. I spoke softly.