It was like a foreign land for me when I reached Madras around 15 yrs back. Language seemed the only barrier between me and the city where I planned to stay for the rest of my life. But I took it in my stride and by the time I reached Vellechery, I could already read ‘Pallavan’ in Tamil. As it was written on all the city buses in English and Tamil.Same goes for all the sign boards and most of the hoardings.
The warm smile of our landlady made me forget the fatigue caused by the 36 hrs long journey from Lucknow. She asked us what wd we like to have: coffee, tea or Horlicks? I would have had a fit of laughter if in Lucknow someone would have offered me Horlicks. Hubby stared at me with surprise When I said 'Horlicks'. Horlicks was good. Which was warm and sweet like her smile. For two months we lived like a big family. And then we got a house on campus.
The Hindu every morning looked so different from TOI and IE I grew up with. While my 2 yr old daughter and I had to interact with ppl who didn’t know English, hubby was comfortable with his colleagues and students.
IIT Madras was a pleasant mixture of quiet surrounding amidst the jungle and fast city life just outside the main gate
I had my fears when we planned for our second child in a new place and far away from my parents,Still I enjoyed my ‘fatso’ days there.I read all the books by RK Narayan from the Faculty Club library and ate lots of south Indian food and was sure to deliver a Swami straight from Malgudi Days.
Choosing a doctor was a tough task.I found an around 80 yr old lady doctor when I reached the clinic a friend had suggested. She took good care of me throughout .Specially with the diet plan etc. But just one month before the due date I wondered about her capabilities and facilities in her clinic in case there would be an emergency.
At this point we met Dr Prabhawati at ‘Andhra Mahila Sabha’ hospital.She looked like a typical doctor from advertisements. Smart with short hair and wore a crisp cotton saari. Like most doctors she also spoke less, but gave me all the important instructions politely and assured me that everything is fine with my health. After just 2-3 routine check ups ,one fine midnight I found myself at the hospital. The nurses on duty must have called her. And at 3 in the morning she was with me,though I was feeling guilty for disturbing her.At 4 am I delivered my child. After that I met her just one more time..
Around this time hubby got an offer from IIT Kanpur which was near my hometown. I had to leave Madras before I could explore it.
One day I saw Dr Prabhawati’s picture in the obituary section of 'The Hindu' at a south Indian professor’s place.Then I came to know that my doctor was in the advanced stage of cancer when I needed her at that unearthly hour. She did a lot of social work also in the rural areas.
During my check ups I used to be so occupied with my queries and fears that I never noticed that she wore a wig.
|A trip to South India|