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Apr 2019
A tiny bundle covered in teddy-printed pyjamas,
He fidgets restlessly on the panel of the giant machine,
Preparing him for the scan is my most basic task of the day
Yet the most annoying one, because I cannot get away
Till he is asleep enough to not be afraid
Of entering into the mouth of that daunting cave,
Treating a child is so very difficult I feel,
No matter how detached you try to be and see
him as a "case", how do you neglect the truth that,
A being not abled enough to even climb out of the cradle,
Has to parent a disease that gnaws at him day after day?
I shake off such aberrant emotions and join his coaxing mother,
I know what she would really wish for at the moment would be,
To scoop him into her arms and lull him off to sleep,
But she has to be the rock she never wanted to be,
The baby had moved the last time, this one has to be error-free
So, allowed by her to take his cannulated hand in my gloved one,
I give the magic drug a carefully measured plunge
Into veins that are too little to bear such brunt,
Yet have been forced to endure this pain that can never be considered
We two women watch over him, transfixed,
Noting his every sigh, his every twitch-
The Mother, anxious, cupping his now limp hands only with
The embrace of her eyes,
And I, the Doctor, though following my medical instinct, watching for
His breaths, with each chest rise,
Also find myself enchanted by the mysterious state this child is in,
Is it a state of dreaminess? Or of dreamlessness?
Is he floating into a dark endless sky? Or is he navigating between
Silver-illuminated stars?
What is the meaning of the half smile on his face?
Is he envisioning a world where he is happy,
Sans needles making insensitive designs into his vulnerable skin,
Sans masked doctors promising they wouldn't make him cry,
Sans missed school days and birthday parties,
Sans heated fevers creeping into his bones each night?
Minutes pass and we are broken out of our respective reveries
His fingers have started to weakly trace the red beams of light,
His voice has begun to coo indistinct chatter still unshaped by civilisation,
Its tone and urgency getting louder and surer,
And before he begins to frantically search for his caregiver,
A little more magic will be needed before completion.
I re-enter the glass cabin and inject again into his system,
A last few moments of painlessness and oblivion,
The gaze becomes dazed again, the smile reappears,
His mind comfortably wanders back
Into a calm nothingness and silent, numbed peace.
"The scan has concluded without event", I make a file note,
While the images on the screen begin to light up with disease.
Written by
Ghazal  New Delhi, India
(New Delhi, India)   
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