By -
The Impatient Patient.

The day had begun well except for the fact that it actually had not.

A little under the weather even though the weather outside was really perfect.
Onset of monsoons in the North is an event of sorts.
Blocked roads with rainwater, grime and dust ,a harassed traffic and heated temperatures of road rage in cool weather.

To add cheer to to the whole madness ,leaking walls and wet plaster ,if one was a compulsive fan of Unitech bungalows where poverty seeps through the walls of the affluent houses.
Temperatures were down by 5 degrees Celsius and the mind was in flux hot one day ,sultry the other.
Finally I declared myself sick,wife was formally informed and I sat along with the morose face that is so identifiable with the hypochondriacs.
Once you join this league you realise the pleasure of it all.

Every thing in bed and hazar nakhras later I was cajoled into being taken to the nearest Military Referral place ,fondly called the ECHS.
The excitement was writ large as for the first time we were going to the ECHS,for the last 14 years we never did.

So armed with a bag which would be the envy of a Chartered  Accountant,full of documents ,PPOS, Ex Servicemen Cards Aadhar card,proof of address ,Identity Cards ,Record of Service etc we arrived inside the compound ,in a hurry to see the doctor as my patience with hypochondriasm was fast running out and by now I was genuinely unwell.

The tryst with military nuances started early,no place to park the Car. ,no place to take it out either.
After the practiced ease of a seasoned chauffeur I managed to pull out the car ,parked it on the road and walked inside with the majesticity of a senior military officer.

The scene inside somehow resembled a riot. People everywhere.
Counters ,Windows,Waiting halls, Stairs with railings and warnings written all over.
Then there were notice boards,rules ,regulations ,instructions ,timings advices and last but not the least Orders by the Oic.

Visibly impressed for being back in environment Military ,I managed to queue up in a relatively less longer line,to call it a short line would be sacrilege.

Finally I was at the window ,when the guy behind the counter pulled out mine and my wife's health card from my clutches and in less then a minute declared that those lovely little pieces of red plastic which we were savouring for decades were defunct as they don't read on the computer.

So a quick walk up the stairs to the OC who advised with the poise of a saint that rules are rules and I now need to go to Delhi cantt and approach the regional office who would make me new cards.
By now I was genuinely sick and thus I decided to work the Fauji way,come hell or high seas I am going to get this done.

A high speed breakneck race to Delhi Cantt.The people there were truly very nice.They listened to the long story and cursed the company which made those red plastic cards.
That's where the empathy seem to end,so I asked how soon can I get new cards
'May be next year or so',came the crisp military reply.
We are not making any new cards but can make a paper document provided I submitted my PPO and God knows what else.

I was by now in a state which was neither good nor bad,in short I was getting back in my old military form,the look on my face was clearly that of an irate soldier.
Why do you need all that when I have my cards,they are valid ,one out of the two does not work but the second one does and all details are there,so I should just be given a replacement card.

The Clerk at the office gave me that familiar look which meant that why are you wasting your and my time.
So back in the car and another break neck drive to Gurgaon.
Thats the time something wonderful happened.
My wife reminded me that when our credit cards don't work we just clean it with petrol or alcohol
So a quick dash to a petrol pump and few drops of petrol were used up for cleaning the chip.

We announced our arrival to the counter guy who visibly was not too pleased to see us. Anyways both the cards were working now and he quickly cut out the registrations.
We extricated ourselves from that sea of humans and took the stairs to the first floor where the doctor had as much line of patients waiting , as St Peters has outside the gates of heaven.

Finally at around two PM we got our chance to meet the doctor.
A wonderful guy, who admonished me for not coming to the hospital despite having a card for so many long years.
Then he wrote a bag of medicines and gave the familiar smile which in military terms refer to saying 'Dismissed' .
Finally I understood that before his smile turns into a frown we must disappear.

Someone advised us to stand in an ocean of people behind a window marked "Medicines" .
I was very uneasy by now, when my turn came after a time which I thought was infinity,the counter guys advised me to go back to the doctor and get some substitutes written as most of the medicines written ,were not generic.
Another flight of stairs later I was in the Doctors room,my NDA training was coming handy by now,before he could give me that puzzled look I got on him about all the rush and non availability of essential medicines etc.

It worked, he quickly replaced the prescription.
Back down the stairs and after a healthy waiting of one hour when my turn came ,the medicine guy drew my attention to the board which read that the ECHS closes at 4 p.m.

He advised me to come back next day ,get the registration done again,take the stairs and go back to the doctor ,get the medicines written again and somehow manage to come to the medicine counter well in time,if I wanted my medicines from ECHS.

I gave that look to my wife which Napoleon must have given to his troops and said

When my wife came to support my sick body ,I realised I was not that unwell after all.
How are you feeling now?? she  asked in a concerned tone.
Quite good in fact, said I.
All those trips up and down the stairs those unending queues,the drive to Delhi Cantt ,the endless wait had done it amazingly well,naturopathy at its best,unintentionally though.

I was cured miraculously,not even a single medicine and the ECHS had got me back on my feet.

That's the time I remembered the famous red coloured board in the Weapon Training area in the NDA which read .


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