14 October 2019 05:27 AM

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RASHMI OBEROI | 30 NOVEMBER, 2014

Under The Lights

Under the lights...


The lights do shine down on us from time to time... and most people do revel in being in the ‘Limelight’ as long as they are not thrust into it but gently nudged into it and are mighty pleased even if they are given their ‘15 minutes of fame’ or prominent attention. Being in the spotlight sure has its pluses and minuses and as with all experiences, it all comes with a cost to bear.

Me... I have no skill in the field of entertainment to call attention to myself and certainly no shafts of limelight have ever followed me across any stage of my life. In any case, let’s be clear, I am totally not comfortable about being in the spotlight and clearly much more at ease being entirely out of it.

I am used to being under a different set of lights you see... Now these are the ones I am absolutely relaxed in. Over the years, my comfort level around such lights has gained momentum and I am totally at ease under this ‘beautiful glow’ today. They no longer frighten me; in fact I draw solace from them...and am quite at peace too. The lights shine down on me...so bright...so white. In case you are wondering or are totally lost on my tongue-in-cheek reference, I am talking about the lights of the Operating Theatre – the OT lights!! Stumped you, didn’t I?

It started as a love-hate relationship... The OT loved me so much more than I did it. In fact I loathed the very idea of being anywhere close to it. Our first meeting was full of fear, anxiety, immense dread and nervousness. You see, I detested anything that had to do with hospitals. I was so afraid of those prickly, painful injections to the point that I would have a hysterical fit every time I needed to take one. I could not at that time even fathom that there was anything even more remotely painful or dreadful than this. And if indeed it even existed then it was like the worst nightmare possible. I have vivid memories of my childhood experiences involving hospitals and M.I Rooms. I would embarrass my parents no end with my shrieking and crying... I remember I even hid under the R.M.O’s bed in Nahan to escape taking an injection. That was me... A scaredy-cat to the T.

Fast forward and some fifteen years later, the sight of the needle has no effect on me... I laugh through all the pokes and jabs... Lying on a stretcher on the way to the OT has become as mundane as going shopping in a mall. Bring it on – Injections/Drips/Sutures. Experiences change you... For the better

I have to add. You learn so much... and come out stronger...braver...far more resilient than ever before. I am now a certified Blood Donor too. Pain doesn’t bother me... My tolerance levels are quite high and I know that this is a little difficult for some to fathom.

The power of the love that the ‘OT’ had for me was by far the strongest that it drew me back again and again, year after year on some pretext or the other and soon we bonded and the love grew...and now we have over the years, celebrated eleven such romantic liaisons together. The tentacles of the OT are over-powering and strong...the magnetic force calls me back...but each time, I came out tougher.

My Déjà vu moments obviously do happen in hospitals. They are all typically what we call the ‘Been there-Done that’ kind of situations. I can now foresee what exactly will take place in the next few moments... What will be said to me... What will ensue. I can sense emotions; behaviour patterns...pre-guess the layouts in the OT... the smell...the aura...the feeling of trepidation...the clamminess. And then the quiet ease...the breathing that harbours between heavy and light. I always smile back at the soothing words whispered to me – one that reassures me and also the nurses... the doctors...the staff. I invariably fill in the blanks of short sentences that hang in limbo...add in my two penny worth of advice that breaks the ice and one that declares: Here lies a patient that is oh so different and well quite insane and well... Experienced! Hmmmm!

My interactions with the OT staff are funny if taken in a lighter vein. I have answers that stun, amuse and bewilder them. My casual, lackadaisical attitude to some extent throws them off balance. But I am not to blame... It is with each experience that has made me like this and also invariably makes me more easy-going with what I have to deal with. It is all a part of life.

I am never alone... There is soft chatter around... Discussions on my procedure... The clink of metal... The sound of surgical instruments... Light banter... The cold touch on my skin... And also, the pounding of my heart. I visualise the next few steps that will lull me into quiet sleep... I am ready... And I know it will be alright. Yet again, I am back in the land of the living... I survive!

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