Banerjee called and invited me to a party that he is going to tonight. He said something about the camera. I told him to bring the camera to the party so I can show him some of its features, as I was familiar with it. He said he did not need me to show him the features. He had stayed up till 2:00 AM last night trying everything out. He downloaded the manual from the internet and looked up the features that he could not figure out! Just like a kid with a new toy.
I had a breakfast of Aloo-parantha at a different hostel canteen. I picked up the common hall newspaper and was eating and reading the paper. I put the paper down next to my plate on the table and was chewing. A student came in and sat down across from me and picked up the newspaper and started reading it without blinking his eyes. So Wade and Kristina, next time you accuse me of my bad manners you know where they came from. Actually that student was not doing anything unusual. He was a friendly chap who even made eye contact with me and smiled, not a common thing here. You do not make eye contact and smile at a stranger.
After breakfast I went for a walk. This time I decided to tackle the dreaded maze. I walked right on, crossed the hospital from south to north and came out on street, without making a single U-turn. I must have looked like I knew where I was going, since no one offered me advice. I am so proud of myself!
Later in the morning I paid a visit to the Delhi Medical Council. I did not tell Banerjee about it, so that he would not call them. I wanted to do this on my own. I do not currently have a valid medical license in India. So I wanted to apply for one. I went to their office. It was a large room with a clean floor and lots of seating in front of the reception area. There were three people sitting behind the counter. Two were on the phone and a third one looked pretty busy on his computer terminal. So I waited for a few seconds and when no one said anything I sat down and waited. Now I tried to make eye contact with them, one by one. They kept avoiding any eye contact and tried to keep looking busy. This went on for over five minutes. I wanted to see if this could go on for an hour. I was enjoying myself. It was getting hard to suppress a smile. I had to look serious and keep staring at them. After about seven minutes a bunch of people barged in. They all headed to the counters and interrupted the fellows behind the counter. Now I realized why the three people behind the counter were so uncomfortable with me. They are used to people barging in and firing away their questions. When I came in and waited for them patiently, they did not know what to do with me.
For lunch I invited myself to Suneeta’s place. She is the daughter of my sister, Kanta. Her house is within walking distance from my place. But it is a long walk and you have to know your way. It is another maze of narrow nameless streets. Over there asking for directions would probably get you more lost.
Mahesh, Suneeta's husband, picked me up in his car. His car cannot go all the way to his house since the street is too narrow. He has to park his car outside this network of alleys. These "streets" were probably laid out before the time of Shah Jahen, the builder of the Taj Mahal. They were pretty short-sighted people since they made the streets for two legged and four legged animals, they did not see the coming of two and four wheeled animals.
Suneeta had prepared a big meal. Then she asked if I needed anything for my room. I needed clothes hangers badly. So we went shopping for hangers and other things. Then Suneeta kept adding stuff for me to bring to my place. By the time we were done I had two big bags of stuff. Suneeta just could not do enough for me. She seemed so happy. Mahesh is a charming man. It was great to see them both so happy.
Goel called me. He is down with a high fever and body aches. Let us hope it is not dengue fever. Banerjee had to work late so his party plans were cancelled. But things somehow work out over here. Sood, another classmate of mine from medical school, called me at about 6:30 PM. He had talked to Banerjee and found out my cell phone number. He said he was going to a surprise birthday party for Poonam, another of our classmates. He wanted me to come too. I told him to go ahead by himself since it was getting late and I did not want to hold him up. He said he was not planning to leave for the party till about 8:00 PM. So I dressed up and called a cab. We reached Poonam’s house at about 8:30 PM. We were among the first to show up. As is the routine, all men drank scotch. So did I. I want to blend in, who knows after a month of scotch and soda I might get to like it!
Poonam came in at about 9:30 PM. The food was served at about 11:00 PM, some guests were still coming in! Poonam and I had spent six months together in Irwin Hospital as house-physicians. We were in the same unit. I had a great time at the party.
I went to bed at about 1:00 AM and got up at 5:30 to the sound of noisy birds and someone praying on loudspeaker. I could not tell if it was a Hindu or a Moslem praying! God, please, bless them all! And God please ask them to pray without loudspeakers, since there is nothing wrong with your hearing.