doctor gupta ... A Story (part 3)

though he is a doctor, our family doctor, dr gupta has been with us for so long now that its hard to remember him as anything but a family friend, or a relative .... as doctor uncle.

like i said, i have known him forever ... ever since i was a little girl. in all these years though, he had never spoken to me like this before, never asked me to come and visit him at the chamber, and that too alone.

so i went there on monday, after work. it was 8:30 in the evening. the drive down bypass had been beautiful. the softly wet days when summer is turning to monsoon. the cool breezes, the near empty roads, my car, my music and my kolkata. sometimes i felt overwhelmed by how beautiful it all was. i was on my way home. i had been living away from home for almost ten years, on and off. and now, it felt so good to be back. to get used to the food, take it for granted. to peep in on ma's room, while she slept, once before falling asleep. to have people to fight with, talk seriously with, places to go, things to do ... and to take all this for granted. its like magic, getting all that back again, and getting used to it, slowly. now i was headed home. ma would be there. we would talk for a while. drink two cups of tea together before i went to my room. because i havent yet gotten used to it, because it still feels new & magical at times, i had thought about it as i drove, and i had smiled to myself.

i reached his chambers at 21:00. the lady at the desk asked me to wait. after 15 mins he came out and took me inside. i started to make a joke about how starnge this was when he told me, in that voice i will never forget now as long as live, or for the next few months, that i was going to die. he told me the disease. the chances. the timescales. he said, he had thought about it a lot, and he had come to the conclusion that I would have preferred it this way, that indeed, i could not have borne it any other way, that i would have never forgiven him if he had told someone else in the family before talking to me.

what could i say? maybe thats what the refer to when they talk about 'shock'. i didnt say anything much, maybe i had smiled a little, then sat there quietly a while. finally, i told him that i would think about my options and get back to him. and i left him ... with a request to not discuss it with anyone else till i said so.

as i drive back, i pushed these thoughts out of my mind. id think about it later. after i got home. after ma had gone to bed. 'think about my options', i had said to doctor uncle. unable to stop myself i started laughing out loud. alone, in the car. what options? i didnt have any anymore.

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