What's In A Name?!

I have come to realize that my parents must've had some really bad confidant during the time I was born. Otherwise why on earth would they give a go ahead for me to be named Arindam at the age of only a couple of days? Do I, or did I ever look like an Arindam?

Ughh. Arindam!

So I have a problem. And before you say anything that falls along the lines of 'I told you so' please let me clarify. I've come to realize that my name wasn't always what it is now known as, to everyone. At some point of time, my parents had casually listened to some relative and had me named Arindam. Ughh. Arindam! What comes to your mind when you think of someone with the name Arindam? What indeed?

Arindam might be any paunchy and optimistic fool, with a proper set of teeth, who could only speak Bengali and eats fish-rice for lunch every single day. Right from when he was born. Hell, if Hodor could do the 'Hodor Hodor' in Bengali, he would most likely be called Arindam! Ughh. Arindam! My parents must've realized that and thus had it changed within a couple of months after my birth. I was registered with the municipality in my original nomenclatural glory, that the people in office must've joked about later among themselves. But I have no problems about it.

I think it was mentioned to me sometime in all the last 24 years. But I was reminded of this absurd problem only last week when I was gearing up to take a couple of exotic vaccines for the upcoming travel to the other side of the world. Joey being my mum whom I showed my immunization card, and Chandler being me, this is how we reacted:


The name my immunization card had on top of it was Arindam Chatterjee. Ughh. Arindam! I was so screwed. This meant that whatever proof I had, to prove to the authorities that I have indeed taken the 'do boonds, zindagi kays', were moot! All the polio vaccine, MMRv, BCGv and what-not other vaccines that I had taken as a baby, were now of no legal significance.

They were given to a baby named Arindam, and I now have no legal or factual claim to it. That baby Arindam is gone forever. That was good. But losing my immunity on paper didn't sound like a very good idea. Having a twisted form of logic and a whole lot of time to waste in my hand, I decided to solve this at the very place I was given the immunizations at. Institute of Child Health, Kolkata. The root of the problem. Mother of all evil. Maybe they'll keep records. Just maybe? And what record? Neither do I look anything like I did all those 23 years and 330 something days back, so that they could match my face with photos in their records. I was fat, I was fair and I had curly black hair (that rhymed). Remnants of which have been lost in time. Now I can put a skinny black woman to shame on all the three points. And not that they kept photos as references. All the reference that they had to my immunization credentials, was my prodigally given name, which has been thus rendered useless.

Driving to the Institute of Child Health was quite easy except that once you reach there, no parking space is made available. When we asked the security guard about it, he snapped back with a 'baccha log gadi mein thode hi aata hai?!' Kids don't come to take vaccines in cars, it seems. We decided to risk parking the car between a matador van and a garbage truck which were parked in front of a daunting masjid.

Before I went inside, I had pictured the Institute of Child Health as a suave and clean place with a smiling receptionist welcoming you at the lobby. I didn't know why. I knew it was a government hospital, but I still don't know why I expected so much from it. It was like a self-made booby trap! By the way, government hospitals remind me of a friend of mine. So, let me digress from the main topic a little.

This friend of mine is a doctor at one of the largest government hospitals in the country. He describes that almost every day, the police will dump a couple of drug addicts and severely drunk people on one of the hospital beds. My friend asks 'What do I do?' and the police replies 'Do your thing!' So my friend tells the nurses to 'do the thing' as they devise an intravenous saline channel into their wrists. In the morning when my friend walks into the ward, he sees empty beds. 'Where did he go?' The nurses casually reply that they came to their senses, tore the channel out, bled a bit and then left after cussing repeatedly and loudly. 'Don't worry, they'll be back again..' they added. And they still do, almost every night. Funny way to live!

The Institute of Child Health is the gloomiest place known to man as it is filled with the cries of children wailing and crying at the top of their lungs. Everywhere you see, you'll find kids equating the flow of tears from their eyes to the flow of water from their running nose. Scarier still are the kids with a morose, expressionless face, staring blankly at you as you unsuccessfully try to cheer them up. Trust me, if dementors exist, this is the place to find them!

I wait at the immunization clinic, among kids and their mothers. Some kids were going crazy creating a hullabaloo. Their mothers pointed at me and warned them. 'Uncle will hit you with a scale if you make anymore noise!' To the prospect of which, the children laughed even louder thereby shredding my adult self-confidence to tiny bits and pieces.

I went ahead and spoke to the junior doctor - a lovely looking lady of probably my age. I explained to her the situation and she seemed to understand. But we could reach to no conclusion as her boss, the doctor, was yet to arrive. All I learnt from her is that accessing the older records was out of question. Why? There was an unexplained fire in the storage long time ago, that destroyed everything in the building. How very convenient! My confidence hit rock bottom at this very moment.

When the doctor finally came after an hour of waiting, she called us after a while.

'Where's the baby?' she asked.
'What baby? There's no baby?!' I was amused.
'Then who needs the vaccines?' she asked, irritated.
'Me!' I said.
'Then it's your baby..' she argued.
'No! Its me,' I explained 'I need the vaccination. Your website said you provide traveler's vaccines and that I have a situation that needs solving..'
'What?! how old are you?' she looked up, bewildered.
'I'm.. umm.. 24..'
'24?!' she shouted and started hyperventilating, 'this is a childrens' hospital!'
'But.. but.. if you could only.. I have this problem..' I protested while I was escorted out.

Another go-getting Bengali family pushed me aside and rushed their way to the doctor enquiring about a potential pneumococcal vaccine that needed to be given to their poor kid. In all the confusion and commotion, the kid was made to stand on the weighing machine which scared him for God-knows-what reasons and he started wailing.

And that's it. No one listened to what I had to say after that. I made a grumpy face at the junior doctor who seemed shocked at my behaviour and perhaps wondered if I was indeed a child. I stormed out of the hospital, drove down to the Apollo Clinic near my home, made an appointment with the pediatrician, who wrote to me a prescription, a schedule of when I should be taking which vaccine according to the routine and printed me a bill of 25,000 bucks. All because of a stupid mistake of naming me Arindam.

Ughh. Arindam!

6 comments:

  1. Bwahahahahahaha! Poor you, but sorry, I can help laughing!

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  2. But tell me Diptee di, do I even remotely look like a Arindam?
    How weird the name sounds on me!

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  3. 25K?
    You could have asked joy to give u the vaccines, and i could have photoshopped ARINDAM Chatterjee to DEEPTIMAN Chatterjee...

    Poor u.
    Ughh, Arindam...

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  4. That's a 24 year old semi-preserved document. I doubt you could photoshop it brother! :D And I had to take it from one of the nationalized hospitals in India.. like the Apollo group. Poor me, indeed!

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  5. Damn why didn't I discover this blog earlier!!!! U r just soooo hilarious. Count me as it can now;)

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