Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sleep outs!


I was working in a hospital in one of the more remote places in India.The place inspires so many things to write about but my amused memory goes back to a wooden couch I inherited  
from my friends when they left the place the day after I joined in.It was intact.
I am not normally a couch potato,atleast I think I am not because I remember during my post-graduate days walking up to my boss to ask him if I should get my thyroids checked.He asked me why and when I revealed my doubt about the possibility of my thyroids  hypofunctioning  ,he gave me an amused look and expressed that it might be the other way round.That was the day I shelved any thought of my being lazy.I had got a stamp from a doctor and that too an extremely competant one.
However for some reason the plastic crepes which held the couch together started giving away,till one day when my friends arrived for their yearly visit there were two big holes in the seating place.
I can be quite careless with these things.All my life people have done things for me.It was my parents,siblings,friends...and the list goes on.Even at this age when any of my family members visit me they will be at it right from the word go.
I offered the two rooms that I had to my friends and decided to sleep in the couch.
They looked at the couch with a straight face,believe me.
I slept on the couch with the two holes,had a goodnight's sleep.
Another time I was travelling with Dr Annie Jacob,one of my seniors from Vellore to Oddanchattram.We had this habit of buying a ticket and boarding the general compartment which has a ladies coup.We managed to get one overhead birth and two seats near the window.
I offered Dr Annie the sleeper and stretched my self between the two seats with a few loose baggages to support my back.Every fifteen minutes or so Dr Annie would lift up her head from her pillow and ask me 'Chering are you sure you are allright?'.Till she stopped getting a response from me because I had dozed off while she had not.
I have also slept on stone benches in Satbarwa.The temperature soars up to 49 and plus during summers.The electricity is nothing to write home about.One can sometimes time the movement of the fan to, one rotation per thirty seconds.
I lived in Satbarwa for ten years and did not buy a cooler or an air-conditioner.That was me,I was not making a stand,I just could not be bothered.
The stone bench in the open air with the stars to look at and the pleasant breeze was heaven....I spent so many summer nights on those benches...nobody else did....
I love the stars.I remember my enthusiastic uncle taking us to the Nehru planetorium in Delhi.I was fascinated when the lights went off and the skies lit up .I was lost in a totally different world it seems ,I had fallen a sleep.
I had my star education much later on a sleepout on the terrace of the ladies quarter on a summer night with my good friends Malini,Nithila,Ally,et al.
I also vividly remember waking up at four in the morning to go to the quiet corner.
That was Sheba and me.
We would sit on top of those beautiful cemetries reading the bible.
I also did my exercises there.
It was not unusual to see me upside down at 4 AM in the morning on the cemetry.
Fortunately for us ,not many people ventured out to the place at that hour.
Yes,I had a couch in Herbertpur as well and that was the first thing my friends noticed when they visited me there.

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