The previous parts:
We refreshed and had our morning tea and so did Mr. P and his beloved except that the lady still did not venture out to even brush.. If there is some advanced method of just popping a tablet or a cream as alternative to brushing your teeth, please let me know.. I can consider allowing myself such luxury on Sundays! I’d like to believe that she used the rest room anywhere between 11.00 PM and 6 AM.. and even then I think I’d have known because I woke up at least thrice in between because Varun had a disturbed sleep .
By this time, Mr.P, Varun and I had become quite pally-pally.. Another Bengali gentleman borrowed a book the previous evening to ‘see’ and showed no signs of returning till he finished reading it the next afternoon. So I settled for one of the books Vyas had carried:)
Vyas kept keeping a tab on the names of the different stations and would yell out the names.. And there! In 5 seconds you’d see Mr.P peek out and ask- issteshun? kaunsa issteshun? kaunsa isstate?! (which station? which state?) He looked doubtful when I said I didn’t know… Understandably, Vyas had a standing instruction to not utter a few keywords and ‘station’ was one of them. Mr.P had this other big doubt as to why the other 3 Vs did not know Hindi.. I must admit that this man was very persistent with his questions.. He’d switch to more maps and mark more places..
Curiosity not withstanding I asked him if he was touring India and why straight to Chennai.. He looked a little hesitant and said that they were heading to CMC, Vellore from Chennai.. Anyone in the South will not fail to make a hospital connection at the mention of CMC.. As I waited for him to continue, he said his wife was ‘bimaar’ and they were visiting a specialist.. The curtains did not matter to me any longer.. I told him that CMC has a wonderful reputation and that it has the best of doctors (a few acquaintances have been treated there) and facilities… It must have felt reassuring as he seemed to be visibly relieved..
After a while, he brought out a paper and pen asking me to write down the ‘must see’ places in Chennai, Bengaluru etc.. I was surprised because here was a person crossing a border to meet a doctor but was also contemplating sight-seeing.. I asked him how long he planned to stay in India. One month was what they had.. Was the malady something so simple/treatable that they could travel and see places during the rest of the stay? I wrote down a few places and he traced them on the map too and retreated..
The hubby was away from the seat for a while and the Bengali gentleman was busy reading MY book on the side upper berth and had drawn his curtains, when Mr.P lifted the wife’s side of the screen wide enough for me to see her. And my, she was a beauty! I thought it was by mistake that the curtain had come off and looked away.. He called for attention and said that he wanted to introduce his wife.. Was I happy! She did not know Hindi, Urdu or English.. They spoke pushthun! She’d been wanting to tell me how lovely my sons were..(which shows she’d spent most part of the journey sleeping:)) This time Mr.P was the translator.. I got a little nosy and asked her what exactly was wrong with her health? And why all the way to Vellore? Mr.P hesitated again and then pointed a little below his stomach and said ‘woh…. isko kya kehten hai… yeh thoda kharaab hai’ (this here, what do you call it? there is some problem here). Kidney? I asked. He nodded in agreement immediately.. He had hesitated because he didn’t quite know how to say the word..
The woman looked anything but sick… she must be aged around 35.. and the gentleman looked 45. She spoke in pushthun about her son who was 5 years old and did ‘sheithaani’ like Varun:) He was staying back with his grandparents. We spoke for few more minutes about her son and then, the curtains fell again as the hubby was back.. I felt sad for the lovely lady.. Just 30 mins before the train arrived at Chennai, Mr.P undid the screen and the lady was fully covered in her robe again..now even the eyes were not visible as they were hidden behind a black-netted veil! Not sure why, but a 1000 watts bulb glowed on Varun’s face.. and he said- “aunty kanne moodintaale” (but aunty has closed her eyes!!) but kept chattering with the couple.. And she finally visited the loo with Mr.P in her wake.. Much to my relief!! At this rate, am not surprised that her kidney failed. Or was it because of the failed kidney that she did not visit the loo? Only she can tell…
I hope she is doing better now and joins her son in a few more days… Though the rules for her were different from that of her husband’s, what I was happy about was that he valued her life and cared enough to bring her all the way to get her treated.. Nothing else mattered..
We wished the couple luck with their treatment and assured that all would go well, and parted ways.. It was the end of our journey and a beginning of theirs..