I’C’U

There were eight pairs of shoes, six pairs on the shoe rack and two pairs on the floor. The six belonged to the six nurses who were inside, and the other two belonged to a man and a woman who were visiting an older man with a really white mustache and a bald head. There were one, two, and three, nurses standing at the nurse station. There was four and five reading the charts of their respective patients. And six was with us, she wasn’t mallu and had helped us from the door. I never found out six’s name, she was a dusky skinned, black haired, Kannadiga woman, in her mid twenties. The white uniform wasn’t very flattering on her, but she definitely could rock a saree I think. Her face is a vague memory, but I still remember the radiating warmth in her smile. Six helped us, me and my brothers father-in-law, in to green scrubs and some polythin based cover for our feet. This was at Rajashekar Hospital in JP Nagar, they are an okay institution overall but their standards of cleanliness and hygiene is so high makes me wonder if the owner had OCD.
I was finally getting to see ಅಣ್ಣ (anna) in two days and I didn’t know what to expect. He was rushed to the hospital by my sister-in-law (A) and uncle (S), his father (KK) on the other hand was of no help. He was being a pain by saying things like “they are my enemies and you aren’t supposed to ask them for help.” He was talking about my father, his younger brother. KK has a habit, history, and a future of throwing tantrums, picking fights, and things escalating. This time was no different, things escalated very quickly and he threatened to throw anna and his wife out, cut them off completely but just not financially. Anna couldn’t handle these tantrums and threats from his dad anymore, so he decided to take things to his own control, he tried to overdose on some pills; this is how he ended up in Rajashekar Hospitals ICU ward.
I walked towards anna’s bed in the ICU, six was walking with us, I was scared out of my mind, anxious, and freaking out. I stood next to his bed, he looked pale, skinnier, tired, and slowly gaining conscience. “Viji, Viji, can you here me?” His father-in-law tried to help him focus and open his eyes. He looked like he was trying very hard to open his eyes and when he did look at me and I don’t know what happened to me, I just started smiling. Weirdly enough he smiled back at me, even started laughing at me. Six just got super excited and asked me to talk to him more and get him to react more because this was the most reactions he’d displayed since he was admitted.
Later when he was better he asked me why I smiled at him in the ICU and I said, “You looked like a chinki.”

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