The whole place is filthy,blood under my bed,people are just staring at me,I'm alone -smashed up and night is falling. More people arrive - shouting and vomiting noises are heard ; these are the suicides. A bag of salt and a visit to the open toilets for this lot to cough up the overdose. I doze off and awake in the night with two guys at my bed,one holding my book. "Be good to me,and I'll be good to you". Whaaat?? .He repeats and I'm getting nervous. Then he offers to get me drugs and we're not talking medicine. I decline as forcefully as I can,they move on.A young baby is placed next to me -connected to a big 02 cylinder,and left. Someone tries to beg money off me; it was a long,long night
At this level,the Indian way is that relatives provide food& water for the patient so am lucky John is here to fetch supplies. I'm not eating much though as there's no way I can use a squatting loo, my requests for a bedpan are just laughed off, I'm glad I brought that Immodium! The next day,I glimpse starched white nurses dresses and youthful Indian faces spying on us. The most forward of these girls -comes over and in almost perfect English introduces herself as Rada.Then she brings her two best friends both called Priya. It snowballs and for the next few days I meet all 50 of these student nurses.Apparently I bear some resemblance to the star of Bollywood film "Little John" .Seems I have a group round my bed constantly and John's laughing as I have to try and remember all their names and do repeated tests on the Tamil words Rada & Priya are teaching me.Primarily because of the cops,I'm stuck there for 5 days without treatment,yet these girls made it bearable.
I eventually reach a real hospital in Bangalore (Manipal) and within the day am X-rayed and readied for an operation.The kneecap that the 'doctor' bounced upon,exclaiming "Simple Injuries!" is smashed -half of it now missing and the tendon ripped off.My lower leg has a major crack too. Stainless steel wire loops are inserted and the tendon attached to them. I end up marooned there alone for a week -as the insurance dallies arranging a flight home.My only contact is a mobile phone (John's) and when it gets stolen,I can confess that was a real low point.
However I eventually flew home in style, BA Club class (as my leg was in cast) fine wines & cuisine of course.Although I'm going be in a leg brace for some time am fully aware I'm lucky to be around,sadly we heard the guy in the ambulance with me died. Looking back - I encountered some heartless dirtbags and some absolute stars,the guys who gave me 100 Rs,the folk who bought me English papers,the chap who witnessed the accident and came 60 miles to visit me in Bangalore, not to mention the many people who offered their help and their handshakes. Same the world over, human beings are not objects - being human is the objective.