When Raju got out of the house, the infernal crow, crowed….or is it cried? Anyway, it went- Caw! Caw!
Whenever he got out of the house, Daku the crow (that is how he had named it) did this. Why did the blasted crow do that?
That day was the Medical Entrance exam for Raju. This was the reason for his existence. Coaching started for him from the fifth standard onwards. One extra year of extra strong coaching at Agrawal’s tuition centre in the big city, followed his twelfth standard. Cramming for sixteen hours a day.
Not looking at Selena, though she smiled at him often in eleventh. What if one thing led to another?
Hey ! The results have come. Raju got into Medical school. Hurray.
Raju’s parents had told him that this was all he needed to do in life. But he found out that it was not so. It was hard work, man! Many more entrances awaited him. Each was like overtaking a vehicle on the National Highway. More vehicles miraculously obstructed you, after each pass.
M.S., and Mch after MBBS. Ha. Looks good. Six years, plus four years in-between, preparing for tests.
Hospital is no joke. Thirty six hour shifts. Unwashed jeans worn for an entire weak, and holding it all in when you want to go to the bathroom was a routine for residents. Towering consultants impersonated Hitler to the hilt, complete with concentration camp tactics.
In between, sometime, Raju’s parents married him off. He had only a vague recollection of all that. In fact, the German Scientist, Herman, Von wilmholtz has found out that Doctors forget most of the things that happen during their Residencies. It is all one big fuck…..sorry- fugue.
The neighbour ladies praised his mom:
“Wow! You are one lucky mother!”
Colleagues told his dad:
“look at your son. Your life is blessed!”
Raju went to UK. Then he went to the USA. A year of fellowship each looks good on your CV, right?
But it is a pain. One has to treat white people, work under them, and rapidly mimic their accents and idiosyncrasies. Hair- raising prospect. Or is it hair- going? Raju’s hairs had a tough time coping. Twenty five thousand one hundred and twenty two of them said good bye and went, never to return.
Raju returned triumphantly, and joined a famous corporate hospital in the big city. That was the dream of every big doctor.
Raju was sincere, and always available. Patients flocked to him. His OPD thronged. Theatres were clogged. Operations were always on. Rounds, OPD, surgeries. Emergency surgeries followed. Then came OPD, and that was followed by rounds. Then rounds,…..Ok- you get the general idea.
Life went on. Each time Raju got out of the palatial house that he built after a few years, Daku, the crow will cry- or is it crow- Caw! Caw!
“What the hell- Isn’t this crow dead yet?”
“Why did it follow me to this city?”
Raju wondered. But he could not wonder for long. The phone rang.
Hmm…The phone always rang. Sometimes it was the hospital. Often, it was patients. Politicians and IAS officers called him for appointments for the third cousin of their maternal grandmothers’ brother’s granddaughter.
Three I- Phones fell into the closet and was gone for good. This is what happens when you jump up from it after cutting the emerging chunk of poop in half with your anal sphincter, in an effort to get to the hospital to attend to an emergency.
At around the time that Raju crossed forty years of age, he became vaguely aware of the fact that there were some dwarf humans living with him in the house apart from his wife, Radha.
Who were they, oh, pray tell. Who were they?
They were his children, Deepa and Deepak.
“Hey, when and how did these happen?” Raju wanted to ask Radha. Then he decided against this. What was the need? All household matters were taken care of by his wife. Why bother? Everyone understood that it had to be thus. A doctor is for the patients. No doubts about that.
Neighbour ladies envied Radha. What a lucky lady!
Was something lacking in Radha’s life?
Well. That did not matter much. The desires of the flesh and this new pre-occupation with emotional fulfilment were all ‘Maya’. Everyone knows they are western constructs. Doesn’t gel with our culture. We need not think about it, and hence, it doesn’t exist. Anyway, one can overcome it; with Yoga.
The Hospital wanted to take Supriya Joseph, another younger doctor of the same speciality who had recently joined a smaller hospital in the city. Supriya was keen to work with Raju. Prashanth Nair was another youngster (Youngsters are thirty eight or thereabouts, in Medicine) of note in the same speciality. He worked in a third Hospital.
There were enough patients, wasn’t there? That was the rationale of the Hospital management.
“Fuck!” Cursed Raju. It was with great effort that he built his practice. Now they wanted to question his authority?
Raju didn’t allow anyone in. He worked doubly hard. He Started a clinic by himself. That was important. Hospitals could be treacherous.
In between, many things happened. Raju’s daughter became a teenager. She could dance very well. Radha had an accident and broke her leg. The mother-in-law came and stayed with them during the crisis.
All this went whizzing past Raju, not touching him, like the bullets that went by Keenu Reeves’ head, in ‘Matrix’.
One day Raju got out to start for the Hospital. Daku cried- Caw! Caw!
On the way, as he was driving, he had a vague chest pain.
The coronary arteries are tubes supplying blood to the heart. Blockages can develop. It is very common. Occasionally, a major artery gets completely blocked. It is sudden. It is unpredictable and random. It can happen to anybody.
Dont tell me you haven’t learned anything, after reading this far.
Who decides who gets what? And when? The manager does. High up in the heavens, wherever it is? You know- right?
Not everybody who gets a heart attack develops fibrillation, that can stop the heart. But it Raju’s case, it happened.
Why? I don’t know. Ask the manager.
I won’t dither. I will let you have it in a short sentence:
Dr. Raju Ramnath, MBBS, MS, MCh, FRCMOP, Fellow, Buffallo University, USA…
Didn’t you like it? Are you shocked?
But why? Men, why? Why women, why?
It is a mere routine. This is how people die. Heart disease is the commonest cause of death. Thousands of people die every single day. It happens, at least once, for everybody. Every single body- buddy. Not a big deal. None whatsoever.
Next day also, the Sun rose. That happens, right? Birds twittered. That is what the bloody things do, damn them. Cars zoomed along the highway. Red light; and they stopped. When the light turned green, they sped.
The wind blew, again. Again the toxic waste dumps in the city emitted their foul odour, and again the city dwellers breathed it in.
Rain lashed; again, and the gutters on the roads filled with muddy water- again.
Radha’s parents moved in with her and the children. They were rich. Raju’s daughter excelled in dance and won a medal in the district youth festival. The younger son finished his tenth board exams. He did well.
Dr. Supriya moved into the hospital where Raju had worked. She had a degree from Switzerland! Very efficient and competent, the patients thronged to her.
Prashanth Nair was also good. He was an alumni of JIPMER, not to be taken lightly. Suddenly patients realized that he was quite good too!
When Supriya came out of the house to go to the hospital, Daku the crow cried- Caw! Caw! Every day.
When Prashanth Nair came out of the house to go to the hospital, Daku the crow cried- Caw! Caw! Every day.
How can this happen?
A crow lives for only a few years- how did this one live so long?
How and why did it follow Raju to the big city?
How and why did it come to Supriya and Prashanth?
How did it manage to be two places at the same time?
Is it all a ‘maya’? Or is the Crow a demon in disguise?
Well- My dear readers, all earnest but lacking in raw neuronal power-
All crows are Daku. How the bloody f….
How can you distinguish one crow from another? They are all the same. When a few die, a few others hatch from their eggs and start crying ‘Caw!’ and that is it. All crows can be named Daku, for all the significance there is to it.
This simple scientific fact is called ‘Jim Crowe’s law of Non- Irreplace-ability”
Dont tell me you haven’t learned anything, after reading this far.(Jimmy Mathew)