“through the act of living, the discovery of oneself is made concurrently with the discovery of the world around us. . ."

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Waiting one’s turn

In the air conditioned room we sat
Facing each other, though not really
Facing each other.
If chanced to catch the other’s eyes
We glanced swiftly away – and then
Would covertly watch each other.

We waited our turn – though having arrived later
I guessed he would go in first.
It was awkward, our faces said, to sit
In nothing but a gown that reached just below our knees
And flaps held together by bits of Velcro.
Sometimes, I saw him demurely pulling down
The gown; the inside of his thighs could be seen.

To the head-capped, green-gowned who passed by now and then
We would have seemed like specimens in the biology lab
To be dissected
To be disemboweled
And sewn up back.

It looked lewd
The tubes stuck to our hands
That ended up in sachets hung from stands.
My forearm, shaven, felt embarrassingly nude.

Our hearts were hung in question marks
As catheters would wriggle up our veins
Probe the innards of our hearts, if need be
Balloon, stent or bypass – new words in my vocabulary.

Caught unawares, our glances meet – he smiles; I smile back.
He could be in his seventies, I in my fifties.
We exchange pleasantries,
Strangely comforted by each other
Like comrades in despair.

Whenever the swing door opened
I could see my wife, friends standing outside
A glimpse of a face, a smile, a wave of the hand.
Calm, I waited, wondering with regret
How my dogs would miss me
Not knowing what befell me
What prevented me
From coming home.

Then I realized that if I were to die
It would be this old man’s face
That I would carry to my grave.

I was comforted, in a strange way
That even in my dogs’ memories
I am unlikely to find a permanent place.

******** Balachandran V. Trivandrum 24.03.2010


  1. finally decided to pen on that???

  2. hey whats this all about? i hope its just a figment of ure imagination

  3. @K:No, a slight chest pain, ECG and then I was checked in for an Angiogram. Though am absolutely fine ( the chest pain was diagonised to be due to Gastritis; but I have been branded as a Cardiac patient! :( )

  4. You have penned an excellent summary of an unpleasant place to find ones' self; along with facing the unknown possibilities. The good and bad of the whole thing is that it's good that all is well with you, but not good to be labeled, from now on, as a cardiac patient... From a medical point of view and working with health insurance, you are forever changed in many areas... Well done, Balan

  5. I have a very close friend, who is just 30 and has had to undergo two angioplasties in two years for what is known as takayasu's arteritis, this post made me think of him, his description of cmc vellore is much like what you wrote here, velcro gowns, shaved bodies unknown faces and painful cathetars.. take care of your health !

  6. Hey balan sir, I was also shocked to know about u being admitted to MCH. Anil had kept me updated on all the incidents that followed. Take care.


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