Sunday, August 24, 2014

Madras memories. . .

Yesterday, I was awaiting a client, watching TV at their office reception when I got to know that there was a Madras Day, which was being celebrated yesterday. Apparently it's celebrated on 22nd Aug, every year, and has been prevalent from 2004 and more actively, 2008. . I'd never heard of it till yesterday tho'.

But it brought back memories. . . .

Going back to those mad, glad days of MBA, Madras was where the Acha, another friend and myself had gotten our summer projects.. .  I had to do concept testing among specialist doctors, for a dietary fibre supplement that was being launched. The Acha had industrial vaccuum cleaners as his product and he had to cover hospitals, among other establishments, as part of his research. The other friend, D, was doing hers in an IT company, but she started earlier than the 2 of us, and so finished her assigned project at about the time the Acha and I started. To say that the 3 of us had a lovely time would be an understatement.

D and I were staying with our respective cousins, at Velachery and Kodambakkam, and the Acha was staying at the World University Service Centre, Chetpet.  Either before, during or after our respective sojourns for the day, we'd  meet up and sometimes, the Acha and I got to club our journeys, as hospitals formed common ground for both of our surveys.
Having spent all my school holidays in Tamil Nadu, I could speak Tamil pretty well, but couldn't read. The Acha being a pretty resourceful fellow, learnt to read and speak Tamil enough to understand/make himself understood in the 1 month that we were there. While Madras had a very admirable and  reliable system of bus numbers, there still were some places where we needed to know the destination written on the bus boards. Once we had to go to some industrial park near Aadambakkam, and the Acha scoffed at me when I expressed my reservations over how we'd get there. He said all we needed was to get on an Aadambakkam bus. Since it was wayyy too far, we agreed to go together. We waited patiently, but the Aadambakkam bus just wasn't coming, and we were getting late. Finally there lumbered up a bus.
The Acha looked up at the board, and read-
"Aa Aaa,. . " The 2 of us got up from our seat at the bus stop.
"Aaa  da. . ."  We went eagerly to towards the bus.
"Aaa dam ba. . ." I looked at him irritatedly. "Read FAST, the bus is about to go!!"
"Yeah, wait!! Aadam ba kka..  .   AadambaKKAM!!! come on. .. !! its our bus!"
But the bus had its own idea of whose it was, and had gone its way, leaving me convulsed in laughter at the Tamil reading efforts of the Acha.

The Acha had some other experiences too.
Once we were at Kilpauk Medical College, and the Acha finished his vaccuum cleaner questionnaire with the Hospital Admin guy pretty fast. But me- I had to visit at least some 5 specialists, and await my turn with the patients and sometimes I'd feel sorry to see some of them pretty unwell. I did manage to get in before the medical reps tho'. My last stop was at the Gynaecology Wing. The Acha was asked to wait for me outside Gynaec OPD, but it also happened to connect to the Labour Room from another side. And while he was waiting for me, the Acha was confronted with women in various stages of labour,  in various states of undress, with multiple moans and groans, walking about between their contractions!!! After that, he flatly refused to come with me to the Gynaec Dept of hospitals.
So hospitals were out, but there still were some specialists who consulted from home.
There was this lady doc who was supposedly famous, and much in demand, and of course she was there in my list of doctors to be met. It was at the fag end of the day, and it so happened that once again, only the Acha was with me. This was soon after the Kilpauk incident and the Acha said that he was NOT coming inside with me to the waiting area.  I agreed, said I'd be back soon; and he waited outside on the road, while I went inside the gates of the house. The compounder gave me a smile. I smiled back at him warmly, I needed to get in ahead of any other waiting patients if possible, right? Thankfully, there were not many, and I requested the compounder if I could go in, as I'd not be taking much time, and had only a few questions to ask the doc.  He smiled and agreed, and I went in , had a good chat with the doc, and came out happy with my visit.
Not so, the Acha. Apparently, the compounder assumed that I was pregnant, and moreover, that the Acha was the father, as he was pacing restlessly up and down outside the gate. He'd gone out and asked the Acha to come in and have a seat, when the Acha declined politely. At which the compounder smiled reassuringly, and asked if it was the first one or something to that effect, and asked the non-smoking Acha if he wanted a cigarette. Coming out beaming, to greet a harried-looking Acha, I bid a warm goodbye to the friendly compounder, albeit the Acha's goodbye was rather strained.
I collapsed in gales of laughter when the Acha related the incident to to me.
Years later, when I was really pregnant and we were waiting to see my gynaec, we were to laugh over this memory, but at the time, I had no inkling that this guy would turn out to be the father of my child.