Yarn It! Life & Style

The 75-year check

SREEJITH R KUMAR

SREEJITH R KUMAR

India turns 75 this year. Like me. Technically, I’m in my late eighties, how late I’ve forgotten, but like all self-respecting people, I’ve been faking my age for years now. This time, my daughter decided to “ensure my independence” by gifting me a health check. I suggested other gift options, like 75 jalebis, but she said I should watch my sugar, not eat it.

At the hospital, a pushy nurse asked me for embarrassing personal details which I forget now, but I answered most with ‘I forget’ anyway. I remembered the things that made me laugh, but she wanted instead to know if I had any complaints. I had none. ‘No aches and pains at 75?’ She asked incredulously and I said, ‘Oh, everything aches and pains. But I’m not complaining.’

The health check, my first ever, was full of trick questions. ‘Yes, of course, I can bend and touch my nose,’ I said, and they accused me of faulty, selective hearing. ‘I have a perfect set of teeth too, all false. But that’s the only thing that’s fake.’ I grinned and bared them. ‘And my eyesight is fine too, my dear girl,’ I assured the easily-offended doctor who said he was not a girl, not dear and not mine. I exited with ear, teeth and eye problems I hadn’t entered with.

Next, I was laid on the ultrasound table and prodded with even more impertinent questions. ‘Yes, my bladder is full though it’s not very polite to ask. It’s always full. It sends me to the toilet five times a night. Stop prodding me or… there you go, it’s not full anymore.’ You go poking for trouble, you get it.

A few more sadistic jabs, beeps and tests slotted me as left-leaning (a long-ago stroke), inflexible, hypertensive, myopic, acidic and allergic (to rubbish I said, which is what their diagnosis was).

They made me wait till they compiled all the things wrong with me. I slept, snored and woke up to find I was still in queue. Had the doctor forgotten I was waiting? I’d forgotten which doctor I was waiting for. I’d also forgotten why. So, I went home.

I told my daughter I was in terrific shape for 75. At this age, the important things work, like my sense of humour. I have perfect sight. I don’t see the differences between people in colour, caste or creed. I am deaf to the threats that each half of the world levels at the other. I can smell a hypocrite from a mile off. My great grandson and I sit together – bald, toothless happy and free, while everyone else runs around, being worried. I told my daughter it was time to celebrate my independence, not restrict it. She’s bringing jalebis over.

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Printable version | Aug 17, 2022 3:57:33 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/the-75-year-check/article65755932.ece