I was sitting in his cabin, social distancing and everything in place. I had come to see him for my father. There he was sitting, observing, talking about the Covid. Every precaution was taken, but he was a bit restless, his feathers a bit ruffled, and but he was opening his clinic religiously. He talked about realities, even about politics, and yet he remained himself, he remained the person I’d known since childhood.
‘There’s of course age factor, so we have to treat it as if it is Covid, and do our best,’ he said.
I knew this. I was aware. I was not really going to be easily scared. Being aware helped. But then I noticed the few strands of pure white hair on his bald head, his skin showing wrinkles, his body not as upright as it had always been, as he had taught me to keep. I noticed the huge spectacles.
And then I noticed those eyes. They were watery, appearing more so behind the shield he had on his head. The thing with age is that you almost always lose that sharpness in the eyes. Some or the other thing occurs. Most people don’t notice this sure-shot sign of ageing.
I calculated that he has been there since my childhood. He was experienced doctor then. He must be close to seventy, if not more. He is in the high-risk zone. He could easily retire to keep himself safe. He doesn’t need money at this stage. He has earned more than enough, I’m sure. He understands the value of life more than anyone.
And this is the reason. He understands the value of life more than anyone else. If he can help prevent some damage, if he can save someone, if he can reduce panic, and if he can do his job with sincerity, he would be one of those Coronawarriors, although his name wouldn’t come up in the ones being in the line of duty, he is doing a secondary job almost.
And then again, I noticed the eyes, as he did his check-ups. With social distancing, it was slightly different. Temperature reading by a different machine, checking throat from a foot away through torch, and reluctantly picking up his stethoscope. In the midst, calling someone who was roaming outside, and almost politely shouting, ‘go home, you are putting everyone at risk, this thing spreads’. I saw his eyes, behind the signs of ageing, lay a determined pair of eyes – hell-bent on doing the only job he has done for several decades now – even if it puts him on the risk.
Doing your duty diligently is how you can contribute to the nation, beyond the rhetoric. I knew it. It was pleasure seeing it. And then, there was a fear. I have been to the doctor since childhood. I’ve hated him at times, but I always had a kind spot for him. I just look at those eyes, the few strands of the hair left on his bald head, the slight hearing issues developing, and I see in them the picture of a man in love with his job, and who was determined to never let his love go – come what may.