Immigrant’s Postcard: A Prescription for Healing

A series on my experiences as an immigrant to Canada

It’s my first visit to the doctor’s office in my new city. The pain in my right leg is nagging to the point of being obstinate. Right at the entrance, next to the reception window, a sign says “If you are rude to my staff, I won’t see you today.” That’s not a very friendly doctor, I whisper to my husband, who is accompanying me to lend moral support. After the initial wait time (about 15 minutes), my name is called, and the clinic assistant checks my blood pressure, a routine exercise. Then begins the wait for the doctor. A good 20 minutes go by, until she knocks the room before entering it.

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After the initial pleasantries, the doctor asks me if I speak Hindi. I nod yes.

I tell her that my pain worsens upon standing on any hard surface for a while. She asks if I have to stand in the kitchen a lot.

“Yes,” I say.

“There’s a particular type of mat that has a cushioning effect. Place that in your kitchen,” she tells me, even suggesting the store from where to get it.

After writing a prescription for anti-inflammatory medication, the doctor returns to the thread she had left off with her reference to Hindi.

“Where in India are you from?” She asks.

“Delhi,” I say, hastening to add that my husband is a Sikh, from Punjab.

“We are from Lahore and speak only Punjabi at home.” She says, making it a point to let me know that the Punjabi she speaks is “very similar to what Sikhs speak.” That’s because she belongs to the jatt caste, one of the many who were converted to Islam, she informs.

She ends the (very friendly) conversation by recommending the cushioning mats again. “I too have this pain and always use the mats whenever I have a daawat at home and have to stand in the kitchen for long.”

It is technically India’s Independence Day. Two women from opposite sides of a land split into two in a cleaving that saw insane bloodshed share slices of history and culture over a medical visit.

And, they share insights on lessening pain.

READ ALL IMMIGRANT’S POSTCARDS HERE

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8 thoughts on “Immigrant’s Postcard: A Prescription for Healing

  1. Thanks for the suggestion, Rahul. I have been doing some exercises at home that I found useful. However, just wanted to get a medical opinion, so went to the doctor. The mats sound a worthwhile (and inexpensive) addition to the exercise and medicine. No harm trying them out, I guess.

  2. Another excellent read. The last paragraph made it especially worthwhile.
    Incidentally, my neighbors are from Pakistan. They are among the best people we have met in Canada. Luckily neither my wife nor I subscribe to any stereotypical perceptions that are generally rife back in India.

    • Hari, that is so good to know, about your neighbours. In the end, people are people, and there are good and bad among all of us. I am glad to know you and your wife feel the same way as I and my husband do. Makes life easier, if nothing else. 🙂

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