Our first encounter was anything but amicable. I was driving home after a day-shift that ran late into night. Dazed, I nearly dozed behind the wheels. What resulted was a tail-gating. As I was waiting for some burly driver to come over and unleash a barrage of expletives, she stepped out like a breath of fresh morning breeze. She walked over with grace, in complete control, and knocked on my window. I pulled it down. She looked in, the stethoscope on the dashboard, the apron hanging by my seat, and a stew of books and medical journals in the backseat, guess she figured and said, “Drive safe doc!”. And drove away.
I felt incredibly foolish for not having said a word. All this while only looking in her direction in awe, agape, aghast at how could someone possibly be this pretty!
Though I was lucky to walk into her once again. This time at my home tuft, my hospital. She had come to visit someone, and was quick to spot me. She came over and said, “So doc, how many cars since mine?”. While I blustered like a dumb kid, she asked if there is some cafeteria in campus. I offered to buy her coffee, and it only took me a moment to be smitten, as if I wasn’t already.
She was spontaneous. Incredibly intelligent and gorgeously witty, her sarcastic barbs would leave me on my edge. Strong in character, bold in countenance, yet tender and always exuding that stellar warmth, she was an embodiment of more than all I could ever have hoped for in a person. It felt at peace to be along. It felt contentful and calming.
While I, have little to my credit. It was a miracle that she took me to her liking. With glasses framing a lazy pair of eyes, unkempt hair, breath smelling of coffee, I was the kind with my nose buried perpetually in a book. Though inside my head, I indeed was quite funny. I just didn’t often inspire people to hang along to try them out. Well now, fate indeed was smiling. And her smile was stupendously sublime and serene.
We started hanging out. Occasional coffee, weekend movie, theme restaurant, getaways’, it was unfolding into something tangible. And she never seemed to be short of reasons to surprise me. Once she had me write her a love-letter only to return it with grammar corrections. On another occasion, she dragged me along to cycle on beach road well after midnight. Not to miss the countless cauliflowers she has sent since, confessing of her succulent love and disregard for all conventions, rosy or pink.
Her knack for pranks, while I admired, also often put me in tight spot. Once she popped up at hospital guised a patient. As I had came to know through the nurse on-duty, she apparently had entered my room as a chirrupy young lass, and walked out spotting a pregnant bump. And the other day, while at a crowded restaurant, proclaimed in a loud restrained tone, “Darling, I don’t mind if you are gay. I completely understand.” And I don’t know which was deeper red, the wine or my flaming cheeks!
After a few months of dating, she moved-in to my little apartment. And a year down, she dropped on her knees and pulled out a package. I opened it to find a phone, basic model, Nokia 1100, and with a meaning smile, she gave it a ring. While totally expected of her, the unexpected was to behold my parent’s call on that phone not long after, congratulating me. She apparently had called them up before proposing to me. As I looked up toward her, she said sheepishly, “As if you could resist my offer. I am a charm!” She indeed was.
Now if you are wondering where I am going with this, let me give you a heads up. It’s not a tale of how we lived a lifetime of good health and happiness. It’s life peeps, not some Quixotic utopia. Nor is it of how we shot the other in name of love before tumbling down a balcony into a swimming pool in Bhansali-style slow motion. Though the latter got an allure, especially with a blast of tragic background score. But nay, apparences apart, this is the poignant recital of how we broke up. And it wasn’t grand.
All good things come to an end said some fool to the chagrin of generations of heartbroken romantics. Am no romantic. Glasses, lazy eyes, nose in book, yeah, despite the change in pace of recital, the me is still that me. But I got wits. Quite a good neat slice of it with ample icing and a cherry on top. And amongst its countless perks are the innumerable creative ways we conceive to screw up our lives’. Playing people is one such.
Before you might go all judgemental with flaming conscience and hurt ego, I once helped a blind old hobbling woman cross a street! Having said that, let’s now connect the dots between the pretty gorgeous smart lass, breakup and playing people. And the tone from here goes a little grim. For the trump cards I have been saving are a bit touchy and grave. Euthanasia. Consent. The twin darts that caused us to part ways.
I might have mentioned that I play doc by the daylight. Well also while its night. But you get the point. And I have seen both the arrival of life with the shrill cry of an infant and the vanishing of the same, be it the slow dwindle of someone after long sufferance or at the flicker of a moment when the guy ignored the traffic signal and dashed into that truck. While death per se is tragic, sufferance is painful. And that sufferance which comes with no respite and that is only to worsen to culminate in the certainty of demise, causing gain to none in this slow decline but only agony and a torrent of guilt and torment, is an unsettling plight. For the family and friends for certain. As too for the doctor, who despite years of training and the amazing gamut of pharmaco-surgical paraphernalia modern medicine has bequeathed, comes to no avail.
I have had the misfortune to come across quite a few of this latter types While I would shuffle with unease, awaiting the certain, never could I muster the courage to go and put this flame out, how so faint be its flicker. It’s not just because it’s illegal in this great nation I reside. But because it’s so damn difficult. All my life I am taught how to save lives’. Every hour of my training and study has gone into the continuance of bloodline. To get the fellow up and about. And now, to act counter to all that, and add to that the consideration of personal ineptitude, it’s a difficult decision to make.
But this fateful once, the one which wrecked my life with my love, it was to a good friend of mine. And my empathy for his suffering had the balance swing towards ending his pain. But there was a little trouble there. His wife, who after my marriage had become a good buddy of my loved one, was still hopeful. She was persistent in her efforts, constantly getting re-consults, second opinions, approvals to try under trial drugs, experimentally procedures, and her newfound faith at the face of overwhelming odds.
The patient, my friend, though was well aware of the fate that future held. While medicine is no absolute science, but more often than not, it has good predictive prowess. And his prognosis was certain, and it did not bode well. He was still conscious, and he tried to have his wife let it go. But her love won’t let of her. Though it was love my wife said, the love shimmered of cognitive dissonance in the parlance I am versed. My friend called me in person, and told me to switch his ventilator off. He couldn’t see his significant other burn her away for a prospect that was certain gloom. He wanted to end it so she may at least grieve and go back to participate in life. On a personal note, I too wanted the same for them, both of them. But I couldn’t do that without a written consent from his wife. And here comes the proximate cause for our breakup.
No prize for guessing ahead, though yes, I nudged his wife to consent for pulling the plug. Consent in medicine is the concept of it in its truest sense. While informed from the physicians’ end, it’s supposed to be a totally personal choice. We are not to consequent it. And well, I did. Now the brute term for it is manipulation. And when you know the dynamics of how people’s psyche figure, it becomes an easy tool to wield. I called her up and took her to a nice coffeeshop. And over a cup of hot fresh brew, while life and love glowed bright around, I brought up her’s which stood in stark contrast. The light music and the waft of friendly chatter from around did well to magnify her perception of his plight. And I had brought a pic of us three, she, her hubby, and me, as we hung out from times before. Happy times. I told her, he would never return to fill in that spot. He was spotting a cowboy hat and a foolish grin in the pic. And I could feel her tears slow down and her breath even out as her mind moved towards a resolve. And I capped it with, this is how he would want to be remembered. He is not going to make it. And before the moment would pass, I pulled out the consent form I had brought along. She signed.
And in less than 24 hours from then, three things had happened. He husband, my dear friend, had his ventilator switched off. There wasn’t anything to donate. His body was too damaged for salvage of parts. Second, my wife gathered her stuffs moments after she heard that I had the consent signed at a cheerful coffeeshop. She was well aware of the working of human subconscious too. We were made for other. It didn’t need me confessing for her to figure what had gone into this hastening of climax. And more than her respect for individual rights, freewill and personal consent, it was my dishonest manipulation of another human howsoever genuine be the end that I intended, which had her leave. She said I broke her trust. And I knew well what that meant. I knew her. And the third, well it was a court summon. The complainant, my wife, had accused me of unethical conduct and intentional manslaughter.
Me, in response, well am done attending the funeral. She had come too. But not once did she steal a glance. As for second, the divorce papers must already be en route. She is as fierce as free willed. And about the court summon, am trying to have it deputed from the criminal court to the Medical Council Tribunal. It won’t stretch out that way, and will probably culminate with a little suspension. Fellow doc’s, while against, would understand. Well that’s pretty much it.
It can’t all be nice and easy right. Life is one random affair. It unfolds, despite your best bet, in ways you only need await to fathom. And the undying undertone in my heart, damn, the more deeply you love, the more fragile is the love.