When in ICU: The Music is Different

This one needs Metamorphosis. A great piece by Philip Glass. It is today that I get to know I have never really acknowledged the musician. But, it is only fair not having done that because I put on Glass when writing screenplays. The keyboard is my piano and the words are what my music is. I feel like I am telling the world a secret ritual to my process, but there’s only one rule to my writing – there are no secrets.

Music is not the ritual, but writing itself.

I’ll do whatever it takes to give the message. It’s in my roots also not to care how well I do it. It is only during writing that I am more sure about the good wonders of this planet. Honesty, of all.

Today, the word given as a prompt feels much more than just the basis to start writing. Because, this word is not only an aid. It is what music defines and is defined by. Here’s my score for you today.


Few minutes before I saw today’s prompt given by WordPress, I was sitting with the family. Doing the regular talk we have managed to bring back in the house, I realise daily – we had it before. It’s always not enough to get the feeling of family. Always wanting for more, I never fail to get it.

I mention to my dad that I felt some sensation in the chest. A pinch-like feeling and the acidic nature. He said it could be the extreme temperatures, which we would later decide to be the right explanation. But, before that – just to be sure about the conclusions we were about to make, I was made to check my heart rate. I took four readings and the first one was 78 bmp, 10 numbers far on the scale from the other three readings. All in the normal range. And still, I show my concern to this kind of fluctuation in that one number. That is when my dad mentioned the screens at hospital showing these rates believing it to be the exposition I had wanted. The normalcy behind it. These screens though, remind me of the day I was at an ICU with Ajji. My granny, who’s also a very close friend.

One night, she fell sick. Literal they speak, all words. Emergency kind of sick.

Funny, even now that I realise the kind of responsibility I chose for myself on that day without realising how brave it was of me. I dialed 108 which is what we are supposed to do in a case of medical emergencies and I ask, acting like I have my shit together, the lady on the other side “Hello! My granny is sick. She fell down. We need an ambulance.” I was so sure about conveying how serious the matter was, and yet she did not understand. She was not the time I wanted to waste. I stress even more. She mentions she’ll send one, and also that they will not be taking her to the hospital I mentioned. I thought going to the nearest hospital, two minutes far from our place, would be the right choice. Only to realise this call meant taking her to the Government’s hospital. I cut the call. And, make another one to the hospital I had in mind instead. It did not connect at all to even ring and be denied of an ambulance. This is India, I reminded myself failing to remind me of the situation I was already in. That has become the excuse to many hurdles I might be facing – blaming the system. I am still not sure if it is any more valid than me being born here.

I love my country nonetheless. But, the following events assured me how wrong I was in loving the collective attitude of it’s people being put up as a show. Which is also what I consider a kind of imperfection our planet seems to thrive on but should not.

I go to the hospital. Ask for the ambulance. There is one standing idle, and this makes me a little calmer in the storm. Reminding me of the storm, the ambulance wouldn’t start. We are rushing all the while. The driver asks me to push it from the back. So, I did. Not realising this is how aid to emergencies shouldn’t work.

He tells me he forgot to switch the vehicle on. I couldn’t react. It’s a dark comedy, on the bigger canvas. He drove like the road was not a race track – but as if someone just told he drives slow.

We rush to the house, ‘put’ her in the vehicle and they take her to the casualty section. Where, she was being tested primarily and the care-takers were gifting time to the doctor. During all of this, my cousin managed to faint while I realise I left my slippers at home. And, my granny is still trying to show the concern.

She was taken as soon as they could to the ICU. I just did not have any other element than Ajji in my mind. Making me take decisions of her kind. She would turn out to be fine, later.

The following part – I did not see. Okay?

There’s one doctor. He’s the chief at the unit a grandmother of someone is being treated. And, four (five?) nurses are surrounding this woman to take care of her. Every person is quick and good at what they do. Acting in symphony. Why? The doctor is handling it in a way I had never seen anyone do a situation so panicky. There was blood of all that could have pointed to it, for a viewer. Giving instructions to a nurse, asking the one beside him to note down, and the one at the extreme left to go bring some tool only he’d understand completely while telling what the others had to do too. This felt like music, now that I see. He being the composer. A music about how caring for lives, practice and courage work together. She was saved.

Music in ICU is different just like any other music you listen to might be.

She was at the unit for a time I could not have imagined myself, during then, to stay at home. I went for a night-out with her, at the hospital. She did very well. She’s fine now as anyone and even better. Here’s me and my grandmother stunning the others near our ward:

If anyone’s wondering “What’s ear to ear?”

We watched, she more curiously, a comedy movie. And, we just did more than fine. This woman has taught me a lot about in-dependency, care and love to keep learning no matter what.

Keep learning, it’s easier than Mathematics.

The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.

Audrey Hepburn

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