“How could you be so careless?” Amma glares at me.
“Well… you know, I just forgot.” I try to look nonchalant and cool; needless to say, I fail miserably.
“Forgot? How can you forget your mobile in the office? You have it attached to you like an appendage at other times !”
“I do not !” I protest.
“Amma, don’t exaggerate,” pipes in my brother, who’s visiting from Pune and is busy surfing on my Dell Venue Tablet. “This is not the first time your daughter has forgotten her mobile in office. You should know by now that she does it quite regularly.”
I glare at my brother and he grins back cheerfully. Really ! Is this the time to bring up this habit of mine?
“Yes. But is this the time to forget? What are we supposed to do now? How will we know what time Dr. Shashank’s coming? Or even if he’s coming today.” Amma is, to put it politely, in a flap.
“Of course, he’s coming, Amma. Dr. Shashank did say the last time he was here that he would be here today at 8.00 am,” I say soothingly
“He also said that he will confirm with you,” Amma snaps at me. “And in case you haven’t realised, it is 8.30 am and he isn’t here yet. He must have sent a text message to you about today’s session.”
I wisely keep quiet.
In case you’re wondering who Dr. Shashank is, and why my mother is in such a dither over him at
8.00 8.30 am that morning, read on.
It’s been a couple of months since Amma’s hip replacement surgery. One of the most important aspects of the post surgery care is regular physiotherapy sessions to help get the patients back on their feet and walking.
These sessions started while Amma was still at the hospital with the physiotherapists there, but once she was home I needed a physiotherapist who would come home. I got to know of Dr. Shashank through contacts of a friend of a friend of a friend, and that’s how he became Amma’s physiotherapist. Initially, he came thrice a week, then reduced it to twice a week, and finally to just once a week on Saturdays.
That day was a Saturday and Dr. Shashank’s 12th session with Amma.
“Why couldn’t you have written down Dr. Shashank’s number in the phone diary? Or saved it in my mobile?” Amma continues.
“I was going to, Amma. I guess I forgot. Sorry.” I make puppy eyes at her.
“Forgot?” Amma gets ready for another round, when my brother jumps in with a suggestion.
“Let’s see if we can find Dr. Shashank’s contact details on the Internet.
“Okay,” I say. “I’ll get the laptop.”
My brother waves the Dell Venue Tablet at me. “Why do you need the laptop when you have this? Your laptop is anyway a dinosaur and takes ages to start and get working. Tell me, what’s Dr. Shashank’s name?”
“I meant his full name.”
I’m silent for a while and reply cautiously. “Er… I know him only as Dr. Shahshank. I don’t know his full name.”
Both my mother and brother stare at me in disbelief.
“Well, he introduced himself to me as Dr. Shashank and I have only known him by that name,” I say defensively. “Amma, how come you didn’t ask him for his full name? He’s your physio after all !
“You’re the one coordinating with him,” sputters Amma. “He’s just Dr. to me.”
“Okay, you two. Let the Tablet search for this Dr. Shashank-with-a-last-name-we-are-not- aware-of,” interjected my brother.
“She knows where each book is kept in this house, the exact length of every piece of music in her collection, but cannot remember to bring her cell phone home or remember to ask the doctor for his full name or store his number properly…” my mother mutters.
“There doesn’t seem to be any physiotherapist by the name of Dr. Shashank,” my brother announces.
“He works in ________ Hospital. Why don’t you can add that to the search terms?” I reply.
“Now she tells me.” my brother grumbles and after a few seconds announces, “Got a number for the hospital. But Dr. Shashank’s name is not listed there.”
“Never mind. Give me the hospital’s number and I’ll speak to them.”
When I called the hospital and asked for Dr. Shashank’s number, the receptionist said that there was no one with that name working with them. But there was a physiotherapist by the name of Dr. Sushant? Was he the person I was looking for? I wasn’t sure, but took the number from her anyway. I dialled the number fully intending to disconnect if a different voice answered.
Luckily for me, it was the right voice and the right doctor who answered and said that he would be coming for the physiotherapy session around 9 am. I report the conversation faithfully to Amma. I just leave out the part about the Shashank/Sushant confusion. Though I would have liked to clear whether the doctor’s name was Shashank or Sushant, I didn’t want to do it over the phone. Instead, I decided to ask him for his business card when he came home and determine what his name was without embarrassing myself. When Dr. Shashank/ Sushant’s physiotherapy session ended that day, I hovered around looking for an opportunity to ask him for his business card.
But Amma beats me to it; just not in the way I expected. “Doctor, what’s your name?”
There is a surprised pause before the answer comes. “My name is Sushant ______.”
“Sushant? But I thought your name was Shashank.” Amma looks at me, but I refuse to meet her eye.
“No, Aunty. It is Sushant. Where did you get that idea that my name was Shashank? Here, take my card.”
Amma doesn’t say anything till Dr. Sushant leaves and then turns on me with a look of exasperation. “If you’re so forgetful, careless, inattentive, and absent-minded at this age, what will you be like when you get to be my age? What will you do then?”
“Amma, she’ll have the Tablet to help her, just like it helped us out today. Besides, Sudha’ll do it all on her own unlike you, who can’t use it beyond listening to music!” my brother says.
And he proceeds to demonstrate how he used the Tablet to search for the hospital and came up with the information. He also shows Amma how to use the Calendar App and marks the days she has had physiotherapy and also how to mark the dates for future sessions. I help Amma save Dr. Sushant’s contact details in the Tablet and also take a photograph of the visiting card. Both of us take turns to teach Amma how to access the information.
This was 3 weeks ago and Amma has been keeping track of her sessions with Dr. Sudhant by using the Calendar App in the Tablet. She quite proud of herself and I am too – never thought I’d see my mother use a Tablet, considering that she has never bothered to even look at my laptop 🙂
Note: The Dell Venue Tablet that I talk about in this post was sent to me as part of the Dell blogger review programme. This is the third post in the series and you can read the others by clicking on the links given below: