Updated: Apr 29

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Quite often we come across people posting airport selfies with captions like, "Off to Hyderabad for Checkup" or posts with people laid on the hospital beds, hence the caption describing the happening incident (road accident). For the time being, let me just bring them all under one umbrella and name them "Medical vacations". Now coming back to that, way back in 2011 when I was a kid, I too was once off for one such medical vacation to New Delhi.

The visit wasn't regarding me, but my grandfather. However, being a 10-year-old kid, it was a full-fledged 2 days outing. My grandparents, my mother, and I landed at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, just to get conned by the taxi driver and remind ourselves about the typical Delhi characteristics. It was about 8:30 am when we reached our hotel thus deciding to freshen up, have breakfast and leave for the hospital by 10 am. Keeping our punctuality in mind, we reached by 10:45. The memory is still crystal clear because who can forget those mosquito net-like buildings? Well, further mockery can create trouble since I'm speaking about nothing but The All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) New Delhi. Referred to as one the best medical centers, I could see the huge structures, people with white coats in extreme haste, and people of various strata, walking in and out of the gate.

In our typical mindsets, a hospital is usually considered the doom of diseases. Don't know the level of truth behind it, but how could a 10-year-old get into a debate with her family members? So maa lead my grandparents to the doctor's room and thereafter, waited with me outside. As I looked everywhere, I could see women in denim shorts or burkha or sarees with the pallu covering their faces. Well, as a kid, diversity didn't hit me back then. But what actually did, was an interesting situation. Considering the hot weather of Delhi, my maa made me sit on a small pink chair quite under the shade. There were other children sitting on the colourful chairs too and a few young ladies working on some booth and smiling at us. After some time, one of those ladies asked me to pull my chair and sit by the booth. Not paying much heed to it, I pulled my chair and sat beside a girl of about my age. Soon we got tangled into a conversation full of stories and laughter when suddenly, those ladies handed us a form. The first bold line of it read, "All Nation Cancer Organisation". Well, I was surely taken aback when my new friend said, "Fill it up. Do you need a pen? Then I'll finish quickly and give mine." My maa was right there. She took the form from me and handed it back to the girls saying that they were mistaken. I had to leave the seat because it was meant only for the 'patients'.

Today people are losing their near and dear ones. Honestly, even if I cannot relate to them, I know exactly how it feels to lose somebody, maybe somebody whom I don't even know, and it isn't just since the pandemic began but, it's almost been a decade now.

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