It was warm that afternoon in October. I could smell a coat of sunscreen and moisturizer on me. The chiffon fabric on me was not comfortable for the weather. I was on one side of a heavily crowded road. My mother was still wondering if she had to wait till I crossed the road. She drives me almost everywhere. She also offered to help me cross the road. I refused. She finally made her mind to drive away. I felt free for a second. But my eyes were back on the flowing stream of cars that I had to navigate across.
I stood for almost ten minutes. I wanted to go to a book stall that was just about a hundred feet away from me on the other side of this never ending fleet. The road was neatly partitioned into half with one half escalating as a fly over. A well defined concrete pavement separated the two. I decided to walk onto the pavement and then cross the other half of the traffic stream. As I almost neared the pavement, I could not sense what happened to me. For a few seconds, everything around me was dark. A few sounds and a couple of nervous screeches is all that fell over my ears. My hand hit against the divider and I could sense pain in a few seconds. Blood was wetting my dupatta. My eyes moistened with tears. I felt really bad.
I saw a man emerge from his new car which was on temporary registration. He had not even cut the ribbon of it. The mighty H of Honda was scintillating its bonnet. He was dressed in a grayish trouser with a blue formal shirt. He looked handsome through my glistened eyes. He walked down to me nervously and said—
“I am sorry Ma’am. I could not make up my mind whether to use the flyover. ” I could hear shrieking horns by then. “I will drive you to your destination. Please Ma’am. Let us get out of here.” He said. I looked blank in anger. I was still on the road and the pain was increasing. May be I had to call my dad for help. But this man was no where sensing the anger in my eyes. The traffic was getting congested, and I was standing fine by then. I felt I could help myself to a clinic or home. “Well, here is my identity card.” He said flashing a card across me in a hurry. “I am a doctor. Apollo Hospitals. You could trust me with a ride.” He said and smiled trying to be confident. By then, I really wanted to get out of the place. Every one looking at me with a so-sad-she-was-hit look was the most uncomfortable thing I could think of. I said yes. I got into his car as he drove it over the flyover. One of the longest in the city. I was still in pain. The traffic cleared out and I felt better.
He dint say a word. He was really nervous. I was also nervous to death. I have never been in the car of a stranger. Further, I was alone. I carefully summed up the courage to look at my dripping hand. It did wet his new car. He must have felt bad for it. I tried wrapping the wound with my dupatta to protect the stranger’s car from being tainted by a girl’s blood. I was pale in shock. The flyover was too long that day. It ran across the city’s biggest shopping malls, cinema halls, jewelers and what not! It finally ended. The guy indicated a left, drove aside a less densely populated place and switched the engine off. He dint say a word. He opened the dickey and hurriedly rushed out of the car. I got down too. It was difficult for me to stand. He paused on the mining activity he was doing back there, and instructed me in gestures to be seated in his car. I did it. He was in some kind of a hurry. What the hell was this man doing? I was not supposed to be here. I should have asked my mother to drop me off at the shop. What the hell happens to me every time I get arrogant to her feelings?
“One second Ma’am.” He says as he suddenly opens the rear door and reclines my seat. I try getting support onto my spine but fall to the back rest in pain.
“Let me get some first aid for you.” He gets back to the driver’s seat. He quickly covers himself with a white towel and gets some cotton chunks in hand from the establishment he landed in the rear seat. I feel drowsy to the blood loss. I say “Well, that’s alright. I am fine. You could drop me off; I will take care of myself.” I was curt in the way I said it.
“I will surely do that.” He says and smiles. “Stretch your hand first. I am a qualified doctor. I promise I will do you no harm.” He says and jerks my hand to position in authority. What gives doctors this authority over us? They can do anything like pulling your hand or looking into your eyes without asking you. I turned my face away in pain. He was nothing like gentle. He scrubbed my hand with those miniature bits of cotton wildly. I nearly fainted in pain. I jerked the hand off from his custody and yelled – “Just leave it now. I don’t need help.” I could feel tears in my eyes. It is probably the first time I did before a stranger. He was still smiling. He was no more nervous and I was all the more.
“I am sorry.” I said regaining myself. “It was really painful, so…” I blurted a semi-finished statement.
“I should.” He said. “I am sorry I caused you the pain. I am not-so conversant with the driving routes in Hyderabad. I’ve not been here lately. I really dint know if I had to take the flyover to jubilee hills.” He said. He carefully removed the bangle I was wearing on my hand and gave it to me. He made me stretch the hand twice to ensure there was no fracture. He was then bandaging my hand with white gauze while he was talking. It was still paining but I had to be attentive to his speech. “I did my schooling here. I later moved to Pondicherry to do my medicine. I went on to do a Masters in Neurology in the States. I came back to be my parents medical practitioner for a while. It is after about seven years that I am driving on these roads in Hyderabad. It seems but-natural I bump into girls like you” He narrated his autobiography. “By the way, I am Dr. Anand Vishwanath, a shot of tetanus and you will be fine!” He said, as I looked at the hand on which red was replaced by white. I dint know what I had to say. Courtesies were not defined for such moments.
“Thanks a lot for the help” I said, as I summoned the hand bag and prepared to leave.
“No no. Wait. I will drop you off where I knocked you down. How will you go home? Do you want me to call someone?” He asked. “No I think…” And he was already adjusting his seat belt and starting his engine. “No. They will get nervous. I can go myself.” I said. “I am anyways late for the day. I could offer dropping you home.” He said. “No thanks” I replied as he was getting into the main track of traffic.
“So, what do you do?” He asked me. “Engineering final year.” I said.
“Engineering! Wow!” “So how come here at this time? Not at college today?” He asked me.
“I came to buy for myself a few books. I don’t study here. I am here for vacations.” I said.
“Which college?” He asked me. “Indian Institute of Technology.” I said.
“Wow!” His statements were excessively wowed. ” That reminds me something. I was great at math. My parents believed I would end up being an IITian. Those thirty five and forty five rank types. They even wanted me to. I could have done it.” He said. “But here I am a doctor. And now struggling for a MBA in India” He said pushing into the fourth gear and accelerating.
“MBA?” I said. I was here looking for an MBA which would give me a fat pocket. But this guy was already driving an Accord. He was consulting as a neurologist at Apollo which means money. And why the hell does he need a MBA?
“I don’t know how it works for these IIMs and ISBs in India. It has been nearly nine years since I came third in the JIPMER entrance exam.” He said. “I am again wanting that experience of cracking a national level exam in India come back to me. It is like running a marathon of forty kilometers or doing five hundred push-ups which say back to you – hey, you are still young dude!” I smile. People write competitive exams for the kick of succeeding in them. Weird. I was silent for a while.
“It looks to me you in the MBA race too young woman. Am I right?” He asked me. Is MBA or CAT written all over my face? How could this guy guess I wanted to do an MBA? And what is this calling me young woman. It was funny. I smiled over it.
“Yes. That was a smart guess. And here is Walden. I’ll get off here.” I said.
“Want to go back to Walden?” he asked. “I advice you don’t. I’ll give you some pain killers. Take one before you leave for home. I could home deliver books if you want” he said. I smiled finally. I felt I could pardon him for what he did to me. The pain felt better. I said bye to him and found myself a way to get home.
I was still wondering, what is this whole MBA craze about? Our country needs doctors more than managers. And the fever doesn’t even spare doctors?