PERKS AND CURSE AND ENDURANCE
Patient No.09, “Ravi Pradhan”? A voice I hear.
“Yes, that would be me” I reply.
“This way please”, she guides me to the doctor’s room.
The doctor is occupied with a file, pretty plausible; he sees me and greets me with a faint smile. I can sense something ominous.
“Am I dying” i ask with a smirk on his face.
“What”? The doctor responds, he is startled by how direct I am.
“You could tell me if I was, I guess I have lived enough for this life time”. I say.
“I need to talk to your parents Ravi”, he answers.
He has changed his tone of speech and I can feel there is a bad news on my way.
“Oh come on, spare them from the bad news, Baba(dad) is out of town and Aama(mom) is 56 for heaven’s sake, don’t give her a stroke, let her live”. I try to add some humor.
“This is a serious issue son” he says with concern.
“Yes, that is why I want you to tell me, I will let aama know myself. I shall be the bearer of the news, which is bad I am feeling.” I tell him.
“So, adamant you are son, I believe you can cope with the news I am about to tell you”, he tries reassuring me.
“Yes, try me”, I try to appear strong.
“There is a virus seen in your report and you are infected. LONG PAUSE .You are infected with HIV Ravi”.
And then I knew I was dying for real.
“So the medications won’t work? Are your degrees all worthless? You are supposed to be saving lives right, you already lost hope”? I mutter.
I was fumbling with words. I was too astounded for a reaction and those words came involuntarily.
“No, no. It’s just the virus Ravi. You can live as much as you want, I will help you all along. With proper medications and a healthy living plan, life will be all yours to live. See how Michael Jordan is doing it. The choice is yours son”, he tries hard to generate hope.
And the technicalities of my survival went on and on and on.
I could only think of how I was infected. How could Smarika go sleeping around? We were not together but I was loyal atleast. These thoughts were so perturbing; I could hardly grapple myself with it. Well, it could not go any further; noises seemed to be heard pretty evidently;
I was so lost in thoughts, I had forgotten about my whereabouts.
The rattling of papers by the fresher’s, voices that wanted to sound American-ish, persuasion that always failed and targets that were yet to be achieved. This department in the entire office was forever chaotic with individuals always energized and sleepy- eyed simultaneously.
Away from the hullaballoo, at one corner was a cubicle popularly known as the feedback cum humiliation box.
“Ravi, is everything allright with you mate”? The team leader asks
Yes, why do you ask? I respond
Why do I ask? Oh so you don’t have the slightest of idea as to why I have called you… he continues
Listen with your ears wide open because this is the last you would be hearing from me. You have not been meeting your targets since the last 3 months and this month seems to be no exception. I have to give your performance report to the higher commands and I am totally done covering up for you. You better update your resume and look for options that are best for you. The company has decided to terminate you.
I can barely hear him. I just sit there, on that couch, pretentious, being on the safer side and nodding my head. He has to repeat the last sentence three times to wake me up from my cataleptic state.
“That’s, allright” is all I say and I walk away without a hint of shame. Two mere words and I am a goner. No farewells, no adieus, no dramas.
I am walking my way home trying to assemble all of what has happened the past hour.
Inconsequential my thoughts are, purposeless are my endeavor when out of the blue a stranger asks who I am talking to.
Bemused as to who he is talking to, I look beside me and then behind me and then curtly replied, “Who do you think I am talking to”?
“Nobody”, he instantly answers.
“So you have the answer now, happy”? I retort.
“Lunatic”, he fires back.
“Is that your father’s middle name”? I hastily answer back.
He gives a closure to the conversation with a clenched fist that hits my face so hard, my spectacles break and my ass kisses the ground. I try standing up but goes in vain and he runs like there is no tomorrow. A dude helps me get up and I disperse the little crowd that has been gathered.
I finally reach home. I can hear voices that are not familiar, guests, I hate these creatures, always invading our privacy and I hated aama for being this hospitable. I never bothered greeting them, wanted them to know how much I despised their presence.
“Ravi, you home chhoro (son)”? She knows always.
“Go take a shower, Ila aunty is here to see you and we have someone else as well”
I can actually hear my mom chortling when she stresses on that someone else part. I know that had to be Isha, Ila aunt’s niece.
“I had a long tiring day mom, not today”, having said that I crash onto my bed, eyes opened, face covered with sheets and thoughts on how I could have managed hitting that stranger creeps onto me until…