I wanted to speak to my father. I had to talk to someone. I looked at the clock. It was almost 4pm. UAE is almost an hour and half behind, that meant Appa would be home. I took some money and walked to the phone booth. It felt strange for wanting to speak to my own biological father.
In the last few years he only existed in my life because he was sending me money. Each time I got the draft, I would get him out of the box where I hide him and remember him and each time I deposited the draft in the bank, so did my father. He too was kept back in the box, until the next letter.
I felt guilty when I realized that I haven’t even bothered to read any of the letters he has send to me. I was only interested in that little paper called draft. And now, when I don’t have anyone to talk to, I wanted my father. How did I turn out to be such a selfish brat?
I felt, I was almost becoming like Maria. I was using people. I was using my father! I felt disgusted. I thought of walking back to my room. I couldn’t do it anymore. But I was so close to the phone booth. May be, this is my chance, my chance to say sorry to my father for ignoring him all these years, for not sending him a birthday card or Christmas card. I had to tell my dad that I am sorry. There was so much I need to tell him.
I quickly walked to the phone booth. I felt apprehensive trying to figure out how my father would react when he hears my voice? Would he assume that the only reason I called him was because I wanted something from him? What am I going to tell him? Would he believe me, if I tell him that I just wanted to hear his voice and talk to him? I looked at the 50 Rs note in my hand, I knew the phone bill would be exorbitant. Would Appa be mad if I asked him to call me back? Nah, I convinced myself, this would be like the story of the prodigal son. I knew deep in my heart that my father would accept me, even when everyone around me was rejecting me.
I picked up the phone and dialled Appa’s house number. My hands trembled as I held the receiver close to my left ear. I automatically hold the receiver in the left hand, because I can’t hear with my right ear. I no longer struggled with my deafness.
I could hear the phone ringing on the other side. Any moment, I would hear my father’s voice. I felt so excited. This time I am going to make it work. I would make sure that I would do my daughterly duties and not neglect my father.
The phone stopped ringing and I heard a voice, a woman’s voice that said
I tried to say Hello, but my voice was stuck in my throat
“Hello Ara? (who is it?)” The woman asked again.
I didn’t have an answer for that. Who was I anyway?
I looked at the Phone charge meter, every few seconds the bill was increasing. I put the phone down. This can’t be happening.
May be I dialled the wrong number. Obsessively I picked up the phone and dialled the number carefully.
Again I heard a woman saying “Hello”
Then she started to cuss and swear thinking that it was a prank call. I put the phone down. I felt so numb. I knew my father wouldn’t live like a saint. But I could always hope, couldn’t I? I could always hope for a better tomorrow where we all live happily, couldn’t I?
I remembered the story of the man who built his house on sands( parable of two builders). May be I was dreaming and building my castles of hope on sand, May be I should stop dreaming.
As I walked back to my hostel, I saw beautiful eyes standing near the canteen. He was looking at me. A part of me wanted to run to him and the other part of me told him to ‘go fly kites’.
I have been treated badly by everyone around me and I wasn’t going to take it anymore. If he trusted the anonymous letter more than me, then there is no point in us being together. I walked with my head held high and spoke silently to him ‘you are not going to break my spirit my friend, I haven’t come this far to give up now’
Then I felt, may be, just may be I should let him know what is the truth. There is a way I can do it.
In the morning, I got ready, took extra money and followed the college bus to the hospital as usual. At the hospital, I waited for my roll call and when everyone was walking towards the wards for the rounds, I sneaked out, removed my apron and ran all the way to the auto rickshaw stand.
“Where to” Auto driver asked
“Dr. D.G’s clinic, Basvanagudi” I replied
When I reached the clinic, I walked straight to the reception. There were so many patients waiting in the queue. They were all looking at me in a funny kind of way. I knew odds were against me, Why would a teenager wants to see a Gynaecologist, unless she has done things that she isn’t supposed to do and now wants a quick fix?
After all this is India and we take great pride in our culture and the virginity.
I couldn’t explain to strangers that, not everyone who visits a Gynae is there for an abortion. I hated the Indian culture that always lives under assumption that women are a bane to the society. that women need to be controlled or they would stand in a queue waiting to see the Gynae to fix things up. I knew most of the people in that clinic blamed my mother for the way she raised me. If she had done her job well, then I wouldn’t be here. I felt sorry for my mother.
“yes?” The receptionist looked at me. I watched her eyes going down to my belly, looking for visible signs of pregnancy. I felt like poking her eyes.
“Hi, I had seen Dr. D.G few months ago and I lost my report. I was wondering if I could get a copy of my report”
“When did you see the Doctor?” She asked
I told her the date. She checked the register and found my name.
“Can I get a copy of the report?” I asked her
“Sure, Wait for a while, Dr is busy now, I will ask her, when she is free”
I looked at the clock, it was almost 11Am. I had to be back in the hospital be 12. I didn’t want to get in to trouble for leaving the college without permission. But I wanted to show beautiful eyes the report. I waited and waited. Finally I saw the doctor coming out of the room, she was looking around the room and then she found me. She called me to her room. I got up and walked towards her room. By the time I reached her room, she was already sitting down at her desk.
“close the door” She ordered
“I was told that you want a copy of your report.Why do you want the report?” She asked me. She looked pretty serious and I wondered why was she so mad. All I am asking is a copy of my report. Is she mad because I didn’t pay the consultation fees?
I didn’t pay because I wasn’t asking for a consultation, I was asking for a copy of my report, besides you don’t charge a medical student for consultation. Then I remembered,she actually charged me the last time I was here.
This week isn’t my lucky week. I wasted money trying to call my father and now I have to waste money to get a medical report. Never mind Nina, you won’t have to pay money to this doctor after this, I consoled myself.
“I asked why do you need the report” Dr. D.G sounded more curt
“I lost my report” I replied
“We don’t give copy of our reports” She replied
“But it is my medical file and I have a right to that report” I was really mad.
“This is my hospital and these reports are mine. If you want a copy, you need to get a court order”
“Court order? For what?”
“I won’t give a copy, unless there is a court order. I am not legally obliged to give you a copy of your report without a court order” I watched her getting up from her chair. She walked off to her examination room, holding my medical file in her hand and closed the door.
I could feel the anger rising in my head. But there was nothing I could do. I wanted to smash the examination room door and grab my report from her hand and run. There are moments in life you want the power of super man, to fight the injustice done to you. But you feel so helpless when you realize that George the super man has been winning all alone.
To Dr. D.G
If I had half the common sense I have now, then I would have sat in your clinic till you gave me a copy of my report. But I was just 18 year old ignoramus girl, who was raised in a very secluded environment, who didn’t even know what the word F&^% meant when she joined the medical college. You knew that, didn’t you? You knew that I wouldn’t know my rights, that is why you asked me to get a court order. You knew I didn’t have the funds to get a lawyer and go through all the legal hassles to get my report.
Dear Dr. D.G, I always wanted to know why you didn’t give a copy of my report. There are only two reasons I can think of.
1. You altered it and wrote that I had MTP.
2. George would have asked you not to release it, because then I can prove that I was innocent
If George made you alter my report, Did your conscience prick you when you didn’t honour your Hippocratic oath?
Especially the one that says
“Never to do deliberate harm to anyone for anyone else’s interest”
What were your answers for the part of the oath that asks you to
To keep the good of the patient as the highest priority.
Either way, I want you to know, Because of you, I could never show the man that I love the proof of my innocence. You took that away from me.