The Stunning Doctor
By Harcharan Bains
Sometimes, Nature achieves for you what you so desperately want but are unable to because of some weakness or the other in you. Where Facebook is concerned, I had told myself several times: "Just shut yourself up" and keep listening to the great words of wisdom that keep pouring in out here. "Shut up and wisdom will flow into you from these sparkling streams," was the self call, but I was unable to obey it.
And I also found that I was beginning to be waylaid and robbed of precious treasures my mother had handed me the day she died: patience , poise and cool.
Just when I was completely lost in my inability to obey a call I gave myself, up came support from unexpected quarters. First, my son walked up to me one day and said with the confidence that only modern young folks have with their parents: "Papa, this Facebook ( I could sense trouble marching in on me !)….its juvenile, a youth pass time, not for seniors like you. It works for you partly – only partly – where your artistic or literary interests are concerned. So carry on with your songs and comments and literature but politically, there are more people out there free to ask you more inane questions than you can have the energy to answer, especially now that you are already in sick bed. "
In hospital, where I was, with nothing except those horrendous monitors meant to tell you how much worse have you gotten than since the last time you thought you were getting better , I was in any case minus a computer, cell phone et al. But my fingers would itch, and worse, my mind would mock my idleness. But trust a Punjabi to think of "jugaad."
And Nature seldom fails to give us charming enough compensation.
So, as I was absorbed in thinking my way out of this loneliness, in walked a young and stunningly beautiful doctor.
She wore an exquisite Sari with sublime grace. The rise and fall of her dress and the crisp music it produced plus the sheer elegance of her presence had already made it impossible for God to remain either Supreme, All Powerful or even All-Resisting. Why would anyone want to be Iimmortal or rule the world if one could have just one day with such beauty as this doctor's? In her train tip-toed a secret swim of fragrance of the finest feminine variety. Doctors, especially young and especially the beautiful of the species, like to chat their patients up. I knew I had found my luck. I used the opportunity to request her to secure me a pen and a wad of papers, "Please".
"Why do you need these , Sir"
"No, I am not writing a report against the hospital people. "
"What do you , Sir?" As I said "I am a government employee," a look of disappointment spread right across her face. "Okay now, what do you need these papers for? The "sir" salutation had already fallen a casualty to the 'government employee.'
I said, "I am a painter. It keeps me relaxed. I paint with words, which have a far greater range of hues than colours have." Now, I have always believed that there are two things which the young and beautiful women as doctors have: a compassionate heart and a face that is itching to be painted. I needed both and she did not disappointment me in either.
"Would you do a paiting of me , Sir? So the King Opportunist, "sir" had made a sneaky re-entry. Although she did not care about words or colours, she clearly knew two things: she was beautiful and she wanted a picture of herself painted. "I am no MF Hussein ," I cautioned her, jokingly. "And thank God for that" was her reply. "I want my painting to resemble me." "
As appointed, she arrived in the very early hours of the day , just past midnight, and sat for me. Nature herself could not have replicated an image so flawless, a poise so ascetically perfect, limbs oozing with so much of Nature's honey. I knew I had taken on a task I could not perform.
As if sensing my thoughts, Nature came up invisibly to me and gave me an impish smile and whispered in my ears: "If this girl could be mirrored through words or colours, I could have created another one like her. I knew I was powerless. But you think- or thought – you were powerful enough. I have been overseeing what you have been writing about her. Its not bad. But who do you think you are—God? – to recreate beauty such as this?
I never felt pettier in life.
"But cool it, son. There is more beauty in the heart of that girl sitting there, and she knows it. Good that she didn't dare you to paint that. You would n't have recognized that because only beauty can recognize beauty. To recognize- much less paint - the beauty in her heart, you would have to have the same abundance in your heart. Do you know who she is?
"A mother of two, one of whom is named Kaaynaat—which of course means the 'whole universe'. Her son's name Kabir –a saint with a bolder vision would be hard to find. This girl has struggled all her life so that she could save the lives of her own and those of all the poor in her locality. She may dress like a queen when she steps out, but she lives in a hutment, one of the stinkiest in town. Her husband is a …well, with so much in her, does it really matter?
"And she is an oncologist – a cancer expert. And do you know why she is here with you tonight ?
"For a painting of herself.," I said.
"Men are such idiotic species sometimes I feel I should created more swine than men; at least they don't claim to know what they don't know. But men ! They think they see beauty while they are totally blind to it. Or they are blinded by it. Want to know why she is here at this late hour in such shimmering dress, alone in a room, with a complete stranger, while she has children of the poor to tend to?"
"If you insist, tell me, " I mumbled.
"I told you she is a cancer expert. And you don't know what she does: that you have less than a year left to live. She knows it; she has seen it so often in life. But every life in danger isa new challenge to her. And a new love. . She wanted you to go from this world happily. And she thought the kid in you will feel proud that you had her in your room at such an odd time for two hours, though she knew the glitter on her face could have snuffed out several galaxies in this universe. Her daughter's name is Kaaynaat, as I told you. "
"And you have as much beauty within you as she has, though you are too preoccupied to see that. Many have. But because beauty is ethereal, it can't be seen. You belittle beauty when you try to describe or paint her. If you are lucky, you may just feebly brush your cheek accidentally against hers and feel the music of love and goodness ringing through the cosmos . Forget about describing beauty. Dance or break into a song about her, as Guru Nanak did. The only thing you can do with beauty is: be it.
And as Nature walked away, she bade me "Go, pick that little dirty child up and clean her nose. She is your child. And who knows , she is her child: she has so many in this world. Own that little girl. And there are million such children waiting to be loved. The moment you own them, you will outshine this most beautiful woman on the planet."
I could see no child around. Why did Nature say it? That day I wondered really.
Any, before I could as her, Nature had left, as invisibly as she had come.
And as I turned to look at the doctor sitting at the desk, waiting for me to complete the painting, all I could see was the desk.
But the room was full of a new fragrance and my heart, full of a new hope, a new love and new lure for beauty. There was also a new music in the universe.And my room was full of children, some dirty, some not so dirty, some with noses flowing --- but each one of them so stunningly beautiful.
And every child, every old suffering poor man or woman have looked similarly stunningly beautiful since that day.