1: Main Hoon Na (i am here)
In the South Asian culture, one has a choice of three profession and nothing else; a doctor, engineer or a businessman…erm woman. It was preordained. If I chose anything other than those three professions, the young thought that I was so cool, as if I had defied some sort of tradition. The old decided to have a bash party saying how modern I was now since I was raised in Canada and not in my motherland. They had this image of one wearing ultra short skirts, yelling at one's parents like there's no tomorrow, with so much makeup that it would the Indian Bollywood into shame. Let's add the drinking, partying, sexing around…well, the image isn't exactly what I picture innocent.
Unfortunately, I hadn't escaped the burn. As soon as I was born, my parents had decided that I was going to be an engineer. Boy, did I disappoint them. Regrettably, it was not by much. I became an emergency room doctor. Still, I barely managed to get past the sting of the good old folks.
Because of my oh-so-much-which-really-somehow-disappeared income, I regret to say that I attracted many suitors. It's true, and with my parents ensuring that the whole world knew that I was a doctor, men ranging from the poorest or the poor to the most arrogant. Each and everyone of them, I can say that I kicked out.
I just wished that I was wanted not because of the fact that I'm a doctor, my parents are semi-rich, or the fact that my income was enough for one to work. I tried to convey these feelings to my parents. They just gave me blank looks before taking out another picture of a guy from 'the community'.
Flash forward two years later, I continue to turn down many suitors. My parents were ready to drop a piano on my head if I don't say yes to the next available suitor. The next suitor was one of the schizophrenic patients. Wisely, my parental unit backed my decision to refuse his proposal.
My brother, Shan, tells me that drama is my middle name. If there was nothing going on, I had to stick my nose into something that clearly says, 'No entry' and be this close to death. It's happened before, don't ask.
Well, I learned from hard experience that ER wasn't anything like the show ER where no one died, and if someone did, they were not really that important anyway. I mean, for the show. My first patient death was when I was in medical school. He was a six year old boy who suffered through chronic depression and cancer. For one reason or another, I decided to become the boy's best friend. I was the last one to hold his hand while he gasped for his last breath. Though his family saw it coming, the pain wasn't ever reduced. They still sent me Christmas cards.
He was the reason why whenever I see a pole sticking out of someone's chest, or bullet wounds, all I think about is how I am going to save that person's life with all my power and resources. If I failed, I can only blame myself and go on.
So I really never gave a flying hoot that I was operating on a guy, who had three bullets near his vital signs, with the man of my dreams. I focused in on extracting the bullets out without making the patient bleed. I yelled out, "Nurse! More blood!"
Diana was so startled that she nearly dropped the tray with the instruments. Biting her lips, she ran out to get blood bags. What was taking her so long?
I had not bother wasting time glaring at her when she returned three minutes later, but I was surprised when I felt Dr. Tracy Ashley's hand on mine. Well, okay, his bloody plastic covered hand on mine, but you get the point.
"He will alright, Dr. Iqbal."
I nodded quickly back to him, trying to focus on the patient rather than the fact that he had spoken to me the first time. As the last bullet was taken out, and the suturing done, I took a deep breath. He was going to live.
"Take the patient to critical care," I said to another nurse, Cassie. I was exhausted from the tension. After shedding my gown and changing into my attire, I was surprised to find Dr. Ashley drinking his coffee. I nodded at him, when he smiled, making my heart turn, "Good job, Iqbal."
"Thanks, doctor," I replied, and continued walking. I was glad I did not blush.
"Do I look like I was born yesterday?"
I bit my lip to refrain from laughing right out. Instead I gulped my coffee, and automatically winced, "No, May, of course not. I didn't mean…I just was wondering if I could home now."
Mabel cracked, "What did you say, girl? You wanted to become a girl in the show?"
Rolling her eyes, Margaret said, "She said that she wanted to go home, Mabel."
"Oh," Mabel eyes widened in understanding before she smiled at me blankly. Her silver hair was beginning to stand out. She began humming to herself when May quietly shook herself. Her Asian accent quickly became thicker, "Amy, what am I going to do with you? If you're tired, you leave. I won't tell your Dr. Ashley."
I rolled my eyes, "He's not mine."
"Yet," Margaret sniffed. Her willowy figure became even stiffer, "Be careful."
"I will be. Goodbye, my Madonna fairies!" I waved at them before grinning to myself. I barely held back my laugh and glanced back when I heard Mabel say astonished to her companions, "Did she just say that we were hairy?"
May waved frantically, Margaret regally nodded and Mabel continued glaring at me. They were known as the three M's. It didn't help that they were all old, approximately the same age with such a personality contrast. May was short Asian nurse with so much energy, even at the dead of the night. I had heard a rumor that she had called over prostitutes for the old and the dying before I joined the hospital. When I asked her about it, she just winked and fluttered away.
Mabel was someone you could tell your secrets to and be sure that the hospital knew about it in the next ten minutes max. She looked like a typical grandmother, with her grey white hair and silver spectacles. She baked cookies every Friday, and I for one can vouch that her cookies were the best. It was only recently that she began to hear less and less. Of course Margaret was always there to help Mabel out.
Margaret was as different from both May and Mabel as day and night. With her height, posture and no-shit attitude, she seemed almost regal. She wasn't one with flowery language. If someone asked her for something, she said it bluntly. I remembered a pregnant eighteen year old with her boyfriend walk in for a check up long ago. May had gushed on and on about the baby's ultrasound pictures and the likes while Mabel continued to hum a random song. The boyfriend seemed uncomfortable, as though he wanted to run at the first opportune moment. Margaret had walked in after taking care of a patient, when she looked over the boyfriend once. She turned to the girl and said, "He's not going to last." With that, she brushed past. I walked in just when the poor girl received the ultimatum from her lover.
I thought of this as I walked to my red beetle. I saw Diana on the way, and she waved over. I waved back at her as I slid into my car. Finally, a moment of peace… or so I thought.
My cell phone rang at that moment, and I jumped. I answered when I saw it was my mother, "Hey, Mom."
"Hey is for horses," was my mother's very original reply, "Do you know what time it is, Amina?"
My parents were the only one who were allowed to call me by my original name, well them and anyone dealing with law. It wasn't that I hated my name, quite the opposite in fact. It's just that I hated it when people managed to mispronounce it. It's A-min-a. Min as in minute. A as in Ah. After a high school teacher mispronounced it, I just told him, "Call me Amy."
And Amy it was since then.
"I'll be home in a couple of minutes. I just finished my shift," I sighed.
"Well, hurry up. You sound tired. Eat the apple, and God bless." With that, she hung up on me.
I smiled reluctantly as I glanced at the said fruit. As they say, an apple a day keeps the doctor away.
NEW STORY! Anyway, sort of dry, but lots of humour next chapter. The titled of this chapter, and every chapter is the name of Indian Bollywood movies, the ones that are famous and are my favourite. Somehow, they wording is relevant. at the end, i'll translate each one. Anyway, let me know what you think of this chapter, whether I should drop it or continue with it. I loved reviews, so please review.
Thanks a bunch!