The family experienced collective PMS (Prime Minister-induced Stress) on another of our recent stays in Apollo Hospital. It turned out that former prime ministers V P Singh and Chandrashekhar were both being treated on the floor above ours, which naturally meant that not a single senior doctor was available to any of the other patients for hours on end. This lack of attention was most annoying to my ailing-but-still doughty grandmother, who hadn’t been too keen to go to the hospital in the first place. By the time a cocker spaniel-expressioned young attendant came into the room to check on her, she was more than ready to break a few heads.
Attendant: Kaise hain, maa-ji?
Nani (in sweetest sweet-old-lady tone): Beta, ek baat batao. I hear V P Singh ji and Chandrashekhar ji are on the floor above?
Attendant: Yes maa-ji. They are being treated.
Nani (unsheathing claws): Can you please give them a message? Tell them after their treatment is over, Indira Gandhi is here, waiting to give them lessons in politics.
(Exeunt attendant and nurses, uncertain half-smiles frozen on faces)
But the attendent got his own back later, when he came to inform us that the stretcher was ready to transport her to the ambulance, for the drive back home:
Nani (uncomfortable, impatient to get home, and repeating herself in her panic): Beta, is the ambulance here?
Attendant: Yes maa-ji, it’s arrived.
Nani: Are you sure? Last time they took me down too soon and I had to wait a long time before an ambulance was free.
Attendant: Don’t worry, I saw it with my own eyes, it's right there.
Nani: But where is it? Where? Where?
Attendant: Maa-ji, it’s downstairs. If I could bring it to the room I would, but this is the fifth floor and the lift isn’t big enough.