REAL STORIES. FAKE NAMES.
20th March, 2020; 8.50 pm
She took a sharp turn on the road toward her hospital, her friend tightening her grip on her shoulder, their duty was about to start in ten minutes. They could see the hospital now, when Shiny’s phone rang, and she answered it, replying on her head phones.
“Yes, we are almost there. How many centimetres is she dilated?”
Hina could hear the sister’s reply, 9 cms.
“We’ll be there in a couple of minutes. Keep the labour room ready, okay?”
They just had to cross a signal and they’d reach.
“Who’s on call today?”, asked Hina
“Rama Ma’am. And this is her patient only. I really hope there are no complications ya” replied Shiny.
“Posiitve thinking, I told you na. You are wearing your ID card?” There are a lot of policemen today..because of Janta Curfew maybe.
“oi! stop!” called out one of the policemen on the side of the road, just after the signal.
Shiny spoke first, “Sir, we are doctors, going for duty. Our hospital is right here.”
“You first get down!”, he yelled. “Show me your license!” he demanded, lookng at Hina.
She obliged. Personally, she wasn’t afraid of policemen, but she could see Shiny’s hands were trembling.
“Where are you going, ha? kiske saath sone wali hai raat me?” (Who are you going to sleep with tonight?)
Hina couldn’t even think, “Sir, humlog doctors hai, night duty hai and patient emergency me hai” (Sir, we are doctors, we have night duty and our patientis in emergency)
“All of you lie saying the same thing! You women have no shame”, he was still yelling.
Shiny said, “sir please check our IDs”
“It’s janta curfew today! You didnt know? You will go against orders, you cunt?” he was yelling at the top of his voice, while coming closer and closer.
Hina looked at his badge, squinting to read in the dark, and did not see it coming, he had slapped her so forcefully, she fell down. Shiny was screaming. two other police officers were behind the first one.
Without a second thought, blood ringing in her ears, Hina got up and slapped him back. Within a few seconds, the male police officers dragged her by the hair, pushed her against their car, and handcuffed her. Shiny was still screaming. Her phone had started ringing, they pushed them into the police car and ordered the driver to take them into custody, saying “saali bataata hu tera ab, thaane me tera maza chuata hu” (I’ll show you when we reach the station)
Shiny was still sobbing. Hina was furious, this was uncalled for, and they had laws against abuse of female prisoners. How dare he slap her, when all she was doing was heading to work?
“Shiny, call Raj and tell him to come here, and message sister and tell her to handle the case with someone else for now”, she was trying to think amidst the rising bile in her throat and the panic of the situation they were in.
She did, and said,”Ma’am, you should not have slapped him back, why did you do that? Look what has happened now!”
“He cannot arrest us, Shiny! Women cannot be taken into cutsody after sunset! He is wrong here! Let Raj come, let him deal with this,” she started pacing the cell in panic.
Raj arrived in fifteen minutes, but it took them an hour to complete the paperwork. Shiny was beside herself in anxiety, the patient had pre-eclampsia, which means she could die of seizures during or after the delivery. Hina was numb, angry, she couldn’t figure out what to do or say. The police officer who slapped her came to let them out and said, “for this man you came out at night? If he didn’t pay your bail, I would show you a better time” and he walked off, smirking.
Shiny had her hands on Hina’s arms the whole time. “Please dont say anything,” she murmured against her back, “please ma’am!”
They walked out, and Raj was there, “What happened guys? He said you slapped him?”
Hina was quiet, she couldn’t say anything. “How much did you have to pay? we’ll pay you back” said Shiny. “I’ll tell you later”, she replied in a quiet voice to Raj.
“Ey, don’t be silly. Pay back later, let’s go to the hospital first. I got your bike keys, I’ll go and get it after I drop you both,okay?
Hina nodded, gratefully.
“Who’s on call for you all?” he asked, when they reached the hospital.
“Rama ma’am”, Hina replied.
“Sheesh. Tell me how it goes, okay?”
They hurried into the ward, knowing full well no explanation would be able to calm down the anger of their consultant when she found out both her PGs were absent while her Pre-eclampsia patient delivered her baby.