The familiar vista of Asoka lined, two lane, partitioned road greeted us as we entered the university campus through the Lion gate. The gate seemed smaller now, and the roads narrower, than what we seemed to remember. But I guess it is our fond memory of things which make them larger than life, even though they may only be ordinary. As we drove down the road, Vaishali explained the geography to the kids. ‘Here is the women’s college on the left side, on the right side beyond the trees are the different departments of the hospital, you know the name of the hospital? No? It is called Sir Sunderlal Hospital. The road leads up to the trisection where we have our hostel and the institute entrance….’, Vaishali kept talking to the kids while I drove, reminiscing about our life in this campus in the years past.
‘We still have some time left,’ Vaishali said, talking to me now. ‘Can we have a quick visit to the radiology department?’
‘Sure, why not?’, I responded, excited at the prospect of being able to see the familiar corridors of the hospital once more. ‘I will park the car inside the institute campus and then we can walk down.’
Vaishali nodded her assent, as I turned the car into the gate of the Institute of Medical Sciences. The parking was as I remembered it, only more organised now, and paved with concrete instead of sand and gravel as in our times. The faculty parking was on our left side, and the main driveway to the institute on the right as we entered the campus. However, we kept driving straight down the road, looking for a place to park, knowing that the road will end in a dead end right where the Forensic department is situated, and where the modern medicine campus adjoins the university ayurvedic research section. Finally, at the very end of the road, we found a slot, parked the car with some difficulty, and got down from it.
‘Come, follow me,’ I said and started to walk back towards the entrance of the institute.
Vaishali walked beside me, smiling, looking at me with knowing eyes, each of us basking in the shared experience, in the shared memories of the time we had spent here, the life we had built, and the love that had blossomed, and stood the test of time, and fate, and families.
We exited the college campus and crossed the road towards the entrance of the hospital premises. The gate was as dilapidated as we remembered it, as was the road that lead inside it. An ancient transformer stood on the right side of the gate, almost covered with the creepers that grew over it, and the road just inside the entrance bifurcated into two. The left side led to the Ayurveda wing, the old Orthopaedic wing, and the private wards (ah! some stories there too…! Maybe for later), and the road that went straight led to the OPD, the Out Patient areas, and the different departments that lined that road – Otorhinolaryngology, Opthalmology, Pediatrics, Pediatric surgery, Radiation oncology, Wound clinic, and then, at the very end the road swerved left to turn to the Emergency area where we had spent so many sleepless night tending to patients. But the road did not end even there, and wound around the hospital, circling it and leading up to the other side, which was actually the front of the hospital with a driveway skirting around a large garden.
Some of this I explained to the kids, keeping the unnecessary details out, and letting them know just the interesting parts.
To be continued………
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