The royale entrance of the hospital did not appeal to her. Neither was it intended to. The image was so embedded in her mind that she had ceased to appreciate it.
Token number thirteen. She glared at the face of the receptionist who retaliated with a face so expressionless that she felt all the more miserable. She knew, it would at least be an hour’s wait. She moved towards the doctor’s chamber and took a seat outside it.
The routine sight disgusted her. Patients, of all sorts, with all sorts of physical troubles and anxious relatives, were present. She pictured herself as a sand particle in this mighty seashore. She opened her small handbag and took out a neat file. As she scanned through the contents of the file, her mind was scanning through her life, faster.
She was THIRTEEN when she came to know about her mother’s vocation. An extra dancer. The kind those in film industry better called extras. Or, as her mother herslf put it-“just junior to a junior artiste.”
By the time she passed her Plus TWO, she was under pressure to take up a career in film industry. Her mother had said, ”You are beautiful, have a decent shape. With my contacts, I’ll manage to get you into some dance scene. With your panache, if you get spotted by some producer, you might eventually end up as a sister or college mate of some heroine. You may even take your career to greater heights.” Her mother’s doctrine was-if a doctor’s child can be a doctor, then so should cine artistes’ children. The bitter truth was that her mother could not afford the expenditure for graduation.
But she was adamant. She fasted for two days, received beatings and at last, was allowed to pursue graduation. She could ‘only manage’ Bio-Chemistry as no other option was available. She really did not want to know how her mother managed to earn money. She did not want to probe how else she managed to earn money when there were no film assignments.
It did not take her long to realize that she had very little aptitude for her subject. But to her advantage was the fact that her communication skills were pretty good. Her English teacher was the first one to spot it and he nurtured it as efficiently as he could.
As soon as she completed her graduation, she got a job as a teacher in a kindergarten school. Though her salary was meagre, she was happy. Because, firstly she enjoyed the company of tiny tots throughout the day. And more importantly, it gave her a reason for staying out of home for bulk of the day. Her home was the place she least wished to be-because her mother always kept on nagging her for the ‘mistake’ she committed by going for graduation.
But the scenario was soon to be transformed. Her mother soon fell ill. And her mother’s medical bills forced her to fend for alternatives. One evening her mother called her up ”One of my childhood friends was married to a small scale businessman. It was only recently I came to know that after years of hard work, he right now is the head of a vast business empire based in
With tears she bid good bye to her school children. She was packed off to
Her mother was too happy to see her daughter; the happiness seemed to be more associated with her earning potential, than to do with parental love.She visited her old school. Her children had grown up tall. Many of them remembered her and swarmed her around. They brought tears in her eyes. She badly wanted to be back in the school; she hated her profession. But it was now too late. There was no scope of turning back. There was no scope of the luxuries she and her mother were now enjoying,with the paltry monthly pay at school.
“God has cursed me to do what I don’t like to. I hate medicines; but he has made me to live with them now” she thought, staring at her file.
“Token Number Thirteen” – announced the attendant. She shook herself and looked at her token.
“It is your turn, Madam. Go in and see the Doctor” – called out the attendant.
With a big sigh , the Lady Medical Representative of Cipla Pharmaceuticals Company,