Am back in the waiting room for ICU attenders at a hospital in suburban Trichy. The room painted a shabby yellow was extremely clean. An old lady sat muttering in a corner swiping furious glances at other inhabitants and deftly packing pohailai, paaku and sunnambu into her vetrilai.
A lady with four daughters sit in a circle sharing parcel idly chutney and exchanging notes on the progress of her husband who is there with a brain aneurysm. I sit with my aunt hoping that my uncle will walk out of the ICU better for having been hospitalized with a massive heart attack.
We have been there over five hours already. Over these hours my aunt sits silent mulling the impact of this event on her life. I sit wiping back tears of pain as my mind recalls countless such sessions in a different hospital a year back. Sometimes tired of waiting I walk up and down the corridors of this extremely well kept hospital taking in scenes that could have been pages out of a R.K Narayan novel.
Middle class life portrayed at its best. Uniformed employees walking in with carriers of food for their ailing relatives. Aged people struggling to climb the stairs. The nurses in their sprightly manner helping people in and out of the various rooms. Doctors deep in discussion totally oblivious of the pain or the clamor around them.
I sometimes tiptoe around the ICU door and get to the window to peek at my sedated uncle. One look at that helpless form and my eyes become misty all over again.
One such trip later, I seat myself beside my aunt and the muttering old woman. A cheerful voice rings out “Vaanga oru kaapi saaptu polaam..”