Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Of Hospitals and Marriage Propsals!

Monday evening I get a call on my mobile from an unknown number, I answer it and surmise that a distant uncle has had a massive heart attack and has been admitted to a hospital. It is his neighbour who calls me and gives me this information. I pack a change of clothes in a duffel bag take some cash and rush to the hospital.

I hire a taxi and wonder at the man who served as a source of inspiration to me and all the other kids in the extended family. Seshumama was a bachelor, a man who was an enigma. He had studied Law and then been to Oxford to pursue a slew of degrees. He was a man of incredible physical strength. I remember me and my cousins four of us hanging on to his powerful arms and he would lift us and again set us down with incredible ease. He had gone on to join the United Nations and worked in various countries in Africa. It seems his work was top-secret. It was something to do with Crisis-Prevention and Disaster-Management. No one knew where he was and when he would suddenly land up at their doorsteps with a bag full of goodies for the kids.

The elders in the family considered him to be the "black sheep" as he had not married and settled to lead a normal life. He had retired about seven years back and used to shuttle between his cottage in Munnar and flat in Chennai. I had always stayed in touch with him, and he used to treat me like his own son. He would often remark to my parents" Watch out Meshu(he used to call me that) is going to be a great man." I have not achieved any greatness yet. I have a regular job and a normal life. He used to gift me books and stamps and would always listen patiently to the stories that I would narrate to him. It is a matter of pride for me that in spite of there being so many relatives, he had two sisters and a younger brother; it was my name and number that was given by my uncle as an emergency contact number.

I am lost in my thoughts, when the taxi-driver announces that we have reached the hospital. I pay the fare and rush to the reception. My uncle's neighbour is waiting there and he informs me that my Seshumama is undergoing surgery; and that he has also informed the other relatives and all of them were on their way to the hospital.

As the clock ticks my nervousness increases and slowly the relatives troop in to the hospital. People whom I had not met for more than seven or eight years years arrive and they are surprised to see that the lanky Meshu has grown up into a man. Meena Aunty comes up speaks to me and in a most embarrassing situation asks her husband-Raju Mama-"Ennanga Maheshkku namma Shriyava ponnu pakkalama?"(Why don't we seek an alliance for Mahesh with our Shriya [Damn! of all places and times an alliance/proposal in a hospital]

The doctor comes out and says Seshumama is out of danger and he will be moved into the General Intensive Care Unit after a couple of hours. I heave a sigh of relief and thank God and the doctors who saved his life. When I see him he is still in a drug-induced sleep. He is tired and weak but even then with an enigmatic smile on his face.

As I return home I wonder if I am going to end up like him all alone and without any one! My thoughts are interrupted as I get another call this time it is Meena Mamai-" Dei Meshu Ammakitta sollu njan Shriya jadhakatha courierla send panren!" (Hey! Mahesh tell your mother that I am sending Shriya's horoscope through courier." )

I manage by saying-"Mami signal weak a irukku aathukku call pannunga"(Aunt the signal is weak try calling home.)


sowmi said...


what can i say


YOUR time's up!

Aswin Kini said...

Of all the places in the world, they find a hospital to seek an alliance :( Anyways, can't blame people, the World seems to move so fast that relationships and emotional bondings are losing their values.

As they say, "In every bad thing, a good thing is hidden", who knows, maybe as Sowmi said, "Your time's up Meshu :D"

Pray that your uncle gets well soon!

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