In the Waiting Room

I went to an ENT doctor to get my ears cleaned. I do this every couple of years, because when I walk out afterwards, the sounds almost sizzle in my ears.

The doctor’s clinic, which was also his home, has been torn down. Like so many others, he’s replacing it with a multi-storey building of flats, with a new clinic downstairs. In the meantime he has rented a small office in a general clinic around the corner. I sat in the waiting room, which was open to the street, and scribbled in my journal.
Twice I tried to draw a bicycle with a coffee dispenser on a platform on the back, but twice its owner moved it away. I saw: a cycle-cart piled with tomatoes. A bicycle carrying a sack of cement, which the rider and another man dumped in front of the clinic, next to a deep hole right beside the narrow steps to the front door. They must be digging a borewell. An auto-rickshaw, parked across the narrow street.
In the lobby, a strange motto over the reception desk, in the centre of a clutter of posters and calendars related to medical products and health procedures. Artificial black-eyed Susans in a china vase.

A framed picture of Shirdi Sai baba with his hand raised in blessing, lean and austere, with a white cloth tied around his head and a trimmed white beard. The picture was hung with a sandalwood garland and a string of dead jasmine flowers.

That’s what I saw, waiting for the ENT doctor.

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