27 May 2014
The Newspaper Wallah
It was difficult to hazard a guess about his age. That he was elderly was incontestable. Bald pate and snow white hair at the fringes with a facial feature suggestive of interminable consternation. He rode a a ramshackle rusting bicycle which was completely incongruous to the shiny new cars and cabs in the hospital. He would ride it to the next doorstep and effortlessly stop the bicycle, put up the stand, snatch a couple of Times of Indias from the neat tall stack tied carefully in his bicycle's carrier, all in a fraction of second. He would leap up the stairs, two to three stairs in one gasp, putting shame to many a seemingly hurried self ensconced post graduate residents rushing apparently to an emergency, with his pace. And before you could say C-P-R, back he would come rushing and mount his bicycle for his next rendezvous. I suddenly realised perhaps this person is the only one, who manages a neat and swift round of the entire hospital every morning, from Oncology to Pathology, from the decrepit Red Cross office to the Mortuary with a quickie at Ophthalmology, Respiratory Medicine, Nurses Mess and the Cafeteria each on the way. Watching him for a few moments, a pattern seems to emerge. A pattern of a much practised movements that reflects in his yellowing white kurta and carelessly tied dhoti. In an hour so, his tall stack has disappeared, having delivered it to all the departments, OPDs, Wards, waiting areas, Senior doctors, and god knows who else. With a practised ease he disappears into the Mumbai traffic that is just getting chaotic and unmanageable.