Saturday, June 26, 2010

Waiting for our turn, with a book in hand, I sat, one leg on the other, reading. Or trying to, amidst the aching, groaning impatient people surrounding us. My father was one of them, but his discontent stemmed more from how long it was taking the last person to come out of the doctor's chamber. I had Heart of Darkness in my hand, and as I read the opening lines, I wondered why I never had started on it all this time; it was a pretty slim book. The wall in front of me had the face of a happy kid advertising some product. Make that a baby. And it struck me how much I hate babies. Skimming over the first page, (parts of it were almost memorised through repeated attempts at starting the book to finish it once and for all), and turning over to the next, I remembered a friend had educated me in second grade how its hard to score with girls if you don't at least pretend to like babies. But look at his face!, I exclaimed inwards. Looks like someone outside the photograph was asking it to smile, and the smile was so forced and as much as I hate babies, I hate forced smiles more, babies or grown ups. Conrad's writing seemed forced after Salinger's. But it was hard to concentrate with a new patient entering every 5 minutes. Shall I bring you a newspaper or something?, I asked father. No, he replied, emotionless, waving his hand. I noticed, not for the first time, how crooked his fingers seemed. Its funny how these details get magnified in a hospital.

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