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Who’d have thunk going to the eye hospital got you bonuses other than getting your eyes tested and suitable remedies prescribed? Not me. But then there obviously are. You get to observe the sea of humanity and their quirks, share heart-to-hearts with someone who happens to be seated next to you, listen to the tales of horror of another (eight surgeries and normalcy of sight nowhere in sight), watch the staff at counter call out name after name after name, and in the process compile a considerable list yourself. Narayani, Nisha, Jospeh, Robin, Padmini, Jaison, Saraswati Amma, Gomati, Sumi, Ashweela, Rajan, Rajendran, Chandrika, Jameela, Babykutty, Shekharan, Kini, Lavanya, Muralidharan…..

“Listen!” I told the L&M after a while of this, borrowing from a friend who always began his messages thus. With nothing better to do – unlike me he is not too keen on people watching – the L&M politely lent me his ears.

“You know what? We now have a repertoire of names of all hues and variety.” He nodded agreement, but his attention was still on the files on the counter. Had mine moved to the appropriate room? Would my name be next? He had already asked them once and they had assured him it had, and was loathe to go disturb them again.

Unmindful of his absent-look, I added, “Those who want name suggestions for babies should simply approach us now!”

He actually smiled. Up until then he had been been frowning because my name hadn’t come up yet. ‘What’s the delay, what’s the delay, WHAT IS THE DELAY?’ was what his body language cried out till finally, unable to sit still, he got up to check. Apparently my name was next, because he returned smiling broadly. But four more people were called in, and none of the names were ‘Shail Mohan’. He again got up to inquire and what do you think had happened? My file had been moved to one side, by mistake perhaps, and the staff having dumped more, it lay there forlorn and forgotten. Soon it was revived with much apologies, and I found myself in the Refraction Room ready to start reading alphabets off the board.

One would think an eye hospital would ensure the process to proceed undisturbed. But no. When I started reading, people kept popping up in my line of view moving this way and that. After three-four times of this, annoyed I stopped to ask what the hell was happening. Well, what was happening was this: Economizing on space, the hospital people had divided the room into two, the inside portion was where patients went to get their eye-pressure checked. Hence the inflow and outflow of humans plus staff. Ridiculous arrangement to say the least.

Anyway, when I was done, I had to sprint after the nurse who took me for a computerized refraction test which was on the other end of the floor. Commonsense dictated that this computer room be next to the first Refraction Room since both go together. But evidently some ‘genius’ had decided this way of making patients race after sprightly young nurses was the ideal way.

Later on, waiting to see the next doctor, I watched each patient being rushed from one end of the floor to the other just as I was. That’s when I turned to the L&M and started detailing just how the floor should have been designed. Why do they have this section so far from the other when they are obviously relevant to each other? Room D should have been next to Room B, unless the contents of Room D had relevancy to other departments here, which does not seem to be the case….. There was more, but I am not giving out all of it here. So now you have the last bonus from my visit to the eye-clinic: A ‘lowly’ homemaker had become an amateur planner/architect/interior designer of sorts, admittedly only for the duration of said morning. Umm… Did I hear someone exclaim, ‘Thank God for small mercies!’? 😉

©Shail Mohan 2018