My appointment at the hospital was at 9 AM. Amma and Acha came with me. As I entered the hospital, I felt terminally ill. There were 6 doctors attending to me.
One doctor in white coat asked me
“Can you walk? do you need a wheel chair?”
I looked at my mother, because I got so worried. I thought may be there is something really wrong with me. May be I have cancer and that is why Amma bought me here. Except for occasional fever and running nose, I wasn’t sick at all. Then I remembered the ear infection I had some months ago. Was that a sign of cancer? Is that why she brought me here? Am I dying? Is that why Acha is nice to me?
Amma looked at me angrily, because I didn’t answer the doctor who asked me if I needed a wheel chair.
“No, she is fine. She is a little bit shy” Amma spoke on my behalf. The moment the doctor turned his back, my mother screetched in Malay
“Can’t you bloody answer the doctor? Must you be so dumb?”
I didn’t answer back. I hoped Acha would understand me. He too didn’t say anything.
I had three tests for hearing. I wasn’t worried about the results. I knew I am deaf and there is nothing could be done about it. The chief consultant came with all my tests results. I watched him explaining to Amma and Acha my tests results. When he finished all the explanations I asked him
“Will I be able to do medicine?”
I could see the disbelief in my mother’s face. Her deaf and dumb and blind daughter wants to do medicine!. She gave me ‘How stupid can anyone get’ kind of look. I ignored her.
The doctor looked at me and at my audiogram report. He smiled at me and spoke
” You can be a doctor Nina. You are only deaf in 2 frequency ranges. You won’t hear a phone ringing or a car honking, but you will be able to hear a heartbeat using a stethoscope. God has been kind to you!”
I nodded my head and said”Thank you”.
As we left the hospital Acha spoke to me
“I didn’t know you want to do medicine”
“She is like her father, always wants things you can’t get and then cry like the wolf who couldn’t eat the grapes and said it is sour. She just deosn’t know to dream about achievable dreams!” Amma spoke
“Mary, if she wants to do medicine, let her. She can chose what she wants to do in her life”
That was the moment, I promised, I will never forget Acha for the rest of my life. Acha was the first person in my life, who stood up for me and I loved him more than anything else. I felt I owe my life to him.
In the evening we went to the Mysore gardens to watch the dancing lights. While everyone stood to watch, someone got chairs for us to sit inside the barricaded area. I could see people pointing to us and saying
I felt so important. I sat on my chair with my feet tucked neatly under the chair and my hands folded on my lap. I had to act dignified, not the dookkily malayalee from Kerala.
I was awaken in the morning by the maid with a cup of earl grey tea brewed to perfection.
“Madam, your riding instructor is waiting for you outside.”
I looked at Maria who was drinking her tea and reading the paper and asked her
“What riding instructor?”
“We are going to learn horseback riding Nina”
“Really?” I couldn’t beleive it.
“Yes really, the instructor is bringing all our stuff today. Acha ordered brand new breeches, boots and helmets for us”
I loved Acha. He was the best thing that ever happend to me.