The patient and his parents were already waiting for half an hour. The father walked around the lounge, trying to ground some of his restlessness. Forty-five minutes past the time of appointment, the doctor walked in, a picture of leisure, peeped into another door, and started talking to someone inside.

The patient looked the doctor up and down. Stylish short kurta, yellow salwar, duppatta casually thrown over her shoulder, she looked everything but a doctor. After her gesturing-and-discussions session was over, she strolled into her own room, beckoning to the woman outside to start sending in the patients, and took her place. The patient and his parents flocked in after her.

She was gazing into her laptop. “I’m so terribly sorry,” she said in her best smile, “I lost my mobile handset at the clinic, that’s why I am late.” She launched into an explanation of how and where she lost it, who could possibly have taken it, whether the closed-circuit camera might have caught the theft, etc. Her listeners nodded in understanding.

“Anyway,” she continued, with a glance at her laptop, “Nikhil, isn’t it?”
The patient and his parents beamed. She remembered his name! It was almost four weeks since they came last. How nice of her to remember. Recalling that the last time she did not ask them to sit down, they made themselves comfortable.

Her subsequent questions wiped the smiles off their faces. “So what is the problem? Have I seen you before?”

Trying to conceal the setback, they proceeded to acquaint her on  the details of their last visit, when –
She lifted the receiver and started elaborating on the loss of her phone. The visitors waited patiently till she completed, and continued the story.
Yawn. “Oh ok, so that was how it was. You have taken the medicines I prescribed? Did you observe any changes?”
A repeat of story-telling process over the phone. Then, yawwwwwwnnnn. “Ah, where were we?”
The yawwnnn was contagious. The mother stifled one before it broke out. Dad stifled a grimace.
“I’ll prescribe one more – ” Yawwwnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!  “- tablet and syrup…. “
The patient kept his eyes wide open so that he would not miss it when the doctor eventually collapsed over the prescription in her deepest slumber. He wasn’t sure where the pen was leading her.

To his disappointment, nothing untoward happened except a few more wide open interjections before the patient and family left her to her yawns.

As they left, Dad said to wife and son, “I almost stomped out the door every time she opened her mouth… “