On one fine day, I was not fine and had a fever and a cough. I rode to the hospital all alone thinking about the pending tasks I had to do when I am back home.

I saw an old feeble silent grandpa sitting on a roadside not noticing anybody, perhaps he might have noticed me, but wouldn’t be mattered to him much. Since I had that “wanting to know” kind of stuff. I could not stop myself from asking him, Is there was anything I could help him with, his appearance suggested he shares the same language as me. So I naturally spoke to him in the language my mother taught me when I was a child. I asked him five questions he did not answer, I asked him one question in five different ways he did not answer it either. I did not get angry this time for repeating questions against my family members and gave a pause then he resumed the talk, but this time I could not understand what he is talking about and his wanting. But one thing I noticed, he kept repeating the same phrase that someone is coming to pick him up. So I said ok you got a guardian, and then I moved on.

While I finished my check-ups and collected my tablets it took me more than 83 minutes, By this time the grandpa has faded away from my memory. To undo my forgetfulness, the grandpa whom I enquired about was sitting right there without changing any position while I am returning back in the very same way. I asked him, you said someone is coming to pick you up. Is nobody coming? the same phrase, same reply. The work timings and items hurried me in my mind, so I asked him can I bring you breakfast?. He said nothing. He did not say “nothing”, but he kept silent!

I stopped my bike and put my sight on an idly and dosa-carrying static Indian hand cart administered by a grandma in her 60s. Since I have strong confidence and feeling for a taste for roadside eateries and that too owned by the grandma my bike naturally rode me there! Two accounts before this, while I was inside the hospital I gave Rs.10 to a mid-aged man sitting on the floor by Cris-crossing the 100s and 200s in my wallet, who seems to be wanting something from everybody who passes that aisle, without worrying much about the health nor the premise he is placed. The compounder who dispensed the tablets via a semi-circled path explained to me the times and types of tablets to be taken for the next couple of days in a fraction of seconds which did not help to imprint in my memory. Given the tablets are more and the days are large to take these medications, naturally, I expected slow and steady guidance. The queue was very long and I had to move on with doubts.

At the eatery, On remembering the mid-aged man and the old grandpa, first I ordered two parcels of idlies, parallelly talking to the grandma who is at work!. The cost of expenditure is Rs.40, I gave Rs.100 and before she returns the balance I assured her that I will come back here in a few minutes to break my fast. I drove back to the grandpa and handed over a parcel and this time he was not in the same position, he had crossed the road, and he had a shelter for him there in an abandoned demolished shop from where you can see the sky. He came to me and collected the parcel with the prevailing silence!

Without putting too much thought into why I am driving back to the hospital I gave him, the middle-aged man the last parcel that I had for him. He said, “I was very hungry and you came as God to deliver as food” with an Indian hand gesture. I did not say anything to him but I said “oh God I am sorry, I am nobody”. I am hungry by this time and did not heed the rings of my phone!

I reached there to have my breakfast and to collect the balance amount. I partially remembered the compounder saying, before food I’ve to take tablets. So I took all the tablets from my pocket and placed them on a little table over there, as if it was granted to me, and tried to recall and count using logic but couldn’t come to a conclusion. I heard a voice and yes, the grandma at work started to talk, enquire, as opposed to I enquiring that grandpa. To my appeasement, she gave me the knowledge transfer on tablet types and the right time periods for tablets. I was amazed by this and asked how as opposed to why. Her reply was — “My husband at home was ill for a long time and we tried with all the tablets and medications and I know it by heart”.

So I had taken the advice of a worthy advisor before taking the tablets. Actually, I planned to have at least five idlies, such was my hunger then, somehow it got reduced to three between this KT time, between me and the own-business grandma. I was carrying this foyer of memory and there my mom waiting at the gate to remind me that I have not responded to her phone and she had something to be bought in the marketplace. I had a reason to say: Mom, everywhere #corona let’s plan your plan afterward!!

– Niroshan Selvaraj

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