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Casualty

Little girl wheels by pretty
Her eyes shrink, 
Waiting in eternity 
Refuse to see
She is but one more 
Casual….ty

The waiting room of a private hospital – which I still find pricey – held nothing for me. A few oddballs – Mallu couple discussing lunch,  Sindhi housewife dissecting a blood report on mobile, a senior citizen inspecting his bill. Otherwise, the place thrived on vacant stares, blinking eyes and steady lights – regular, drab hospital fare. 

That’s when they glide in.

The mother – knotted hair, laugh lines, black-T mom denims. Accompanying her on a wheelchair was a little girl.  

The mother wheeled the chair next to a row of seats. Something bothered her about the spot, so she kept pushing the chair back and forth. The girl’s reaction to this was priceless – none at all.  The girl didn’t blink, didn’t even ask the mother what’s that about. And yes, she didn’t pull out a cell phone and disappear behind it. Her body lay slumped in the chair, her sleepy arms held to each side, her eyes downcast the whole time. 

Yet, there was something about her . . .

A Maharashtrian nurse/assistant came offered to enquire/chat with them. Mother and nurse got chatting, leaving the girl to stare ahead into the half-ajar door of a doctor’s room. Some telepathic strings played, forcing the Doctor to look out towards her. She was joined by her mother and nurse, who too looked at the doctor. They were all looking at each other and I was looking at them. Interesting.  

Then it unravelled. The girl’s eyes held steady though the doctor was back with the patient in his room. The nurse’s enquiries had progressed. Are all tests done? What’s your full name?  (Secret question – what caste)? Like the answers to the two were related. My eyes wandered back to the little girl.

Her blinking eyes, restless ankle, her COVID mask with animated creatures running amok and finally there it was. Painted on the side of the wheelchair – the word CASUALTY. I googled the definition. It stated – a person/thing badly affected by a situation/event. Also  – Dept. of a hospital providing immediate treatment for emergency cases. That’s surreal – all of it made sense, somehow, someway – this place, the people, the little girl. And we watching them. Amen. 

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Published by appamprawns

soni writes about children and people in controlled spaces, in his quest for appam stew. homi writes in the hope of being able to buy prawns to make patiyo.

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