“More tea?” Dr. Bhatti asked
I wouldn’t have minded another cup of tea. But it was my Prof who was asking me if i wanted more tea and somehow that question deserved a dishonest answer. Why? I didn’t know.
“No sir. I am fine” I replied
“come on, let us order another cup of tea.” Dr. Bhatti checked his watch and spoke
“We still have another 45 minutes before the rounds. Not enough time to go home and come back. Don’t you agree?”
A part of me was selfishly happy. The part, that always wanted someone to spend time with me. The other part of me hated myself for thinking like that.
I didn’t respond to Dr. Bhatti, instead I smiled.
“Babu” Dr Bhatti called
Babu opened the curtain and looked at me and then at Dr. Bhatti. The look that asked a million questions. The look that made me so uncomfortable.
“Babu, 2 cups of tea” Dr. Bhatti ordered.
“Yes sir” Babu turned to walk away.
“Babu” Dr. Bhatti called after him
“Yes sir” He stopped walking and turned to look at us. Again with the same questioning eyes.
“Anything to eat?”
Babu scratched his head as though he needed to switch on his brain to think.
“I can make plain Dosai Sir. No potato paliya. It is still cooking. I will check if there is any sambar from lunch time”
Babu didn’t wait to hear if we wanted to order plain dosai.
But I noticed he didn’t close the curtain completely. I understood the subtle message. I looked at Dr. Bhatti to see if he understood.
He appeared unperturbed.
May be I was imagining.
‘Guilty conscious pricks the mind’ Spoke the sensible one. I thought she sounded just like my mother. In fact it was one of my mother’s favourite idiom.
I hated both of them. Both won’t let me live!
We waited for Babu to come back. I looked at the folder on the table. Deep green colour folder.
I wondered why I like green colour so much that even my files and folders are green.
I smiled thinking about the time Amma asked me if I was converting to Islam! after seeing all the green files and folders.
I looked up to see Dr. Bhatti looking at me.
I knew he was going to ask me why I was smiling, but before he could do so, Babu walked in to the room announcing
” I can make plain Dosai and sambar Sir”
Again he looked at both of us and I thought of asking him if he found anything different from the last time.
“Dosai?” Dr Bhatti asked me
“Sure sir” I answered, mostly because I wanted to annoy Babu.
“2 Dosai” Dr. Bhatti ordered.
Babu nodded his head and walked away. Again he forgot to close the curtain.
To hell with him. I thought.
“So you believe in science eh” Dr. Bhatti asked.
I nodded my head.
“So you are fine with theory of evolution”
I knew where this was going. Anyone who has a bone to pick with theory of evolution has the same argument about homo sapiens descending from apes!
“Sir, it is easier to discredit evolution by laughing at it and saying that our ancestors are monkeys!”
Dr. Bhatti was staring at me.
“Sir, let us take an example. Appendix. We know it serves no purpose in the human body. It is a vestigial organ. Absence of an appendix does no harm to human body. We routinely do appendicectomy in the hospitals” I looked at Dr. Bhatti to see if he was following me.
“So? Yes Appendix is a vestigial organ. It is not even an organ. How does that support that we originated from monkeys?”
” Sir, every part of human body serves a function. If a part doesn’t serve any function, then eventually that part becomes vestigial. That proves theory of evolution”
“Not so fast young lady” Dr. Bhatti spoke.” You are a Christian right?”
“By birth sir”
“What?” Dr. Bhatti was staring at me
“I am a Christian by birth sir, not by faith” I clarified.
We both stared at each other. I knew Dr. Bhatti was formulating questions in his brain and I was ready for them.
Babu came and placed two plates of dosai on the table. His assistant brought the tea. Both of them were looking at us. But neither of us had time for them. I noticed the assistant closing the curtain.
“So you don’t believe in Christianity?”
“No Sir.” “Sir, the fundamental basis for Christianity is immaculate conception, without it there is no Christianity. Immaculate conception isn’t scientifically possible. It is not something that can be verified scientifically. it is not something that can be repeated scientifically.”
I looked at Dr. Bhatti to see if he understood what I was saying.
It took a few minutes before Dr. Bhatti asked the next question.
“So what do you believe in?”
I took a small piece of the dosai and dipped it in the sambar while trying to think of a sensible answer to what do I believe in?
It was a very difficult question.
I was sure most people related to a religion, so they could answer that question.
I didn’t believe in any religion, but I was confused. I wanted to say there is no God. Yet I see healthy people dying and sick people living every day. No one could predict what will happen the very next moment. No one knew what is the beginning and no one knew when is the end.
The piece of dosai in my hand was completely soaked with sambar. I left it in the sambar bowl and tore another piece of dosai. This time I dipped it in the sambar and ate it quickly.
Eventually I looked at Dr. Bhatti and spoke
“I don’t know Sir. I don’t know what I believe in” I finally admitted my failure.