"Izh hei en?"
"Not yet," I said.
I was waiting for the doctor. Two burly men came and sat on the two chairs next to me. Their accent and demeanour reminded me of old westerns, slightly humorous. Perhaps Bud Spencer and Terence Hill.
The chap next to me had a deadpan expression. He wore a cap and unruly curls nestled at the back of his thick neck. His face was rough; I could imagine horses riding over it. The other guy smiled a lot but spoke as though he had a cigar sticking out of the corner of his mouth.
"Izh hei khaamun?" asked Mr. Deadpan.
"Yes. Any minute."
I saw a pack of cigarettes in his shirt pocket and said, "That's hardly the sort of thing you should be seen with here."
For the next five minutes I was given the smoking history of these two men. They weren't travellers or medical tourists. They lived and worked in Mumbai.
We returned to looking at our reports. Med reports are fascinating. There are graphs, coloured pie charts, and then columns with names of stuff your body should have or should not have.
Mr. Deadpan must have figured out that lymphocytes were best left to themselves so he transferred his attention to my shoes. I think he was comparing; I looked down and saw that his were twice the size of mine. His were weathered and so were mine - brown leather laces that had seen many seasons. They have become rough and I already had a bite. Sensitive skin blotched with an abrasion.
Waiting for doctors can be interesting. Most people look sombre. The washroom was down the corridor and it was mostly men who used it and came out adjusting their zippers or tugging at the fork in the trousers. A woman spotted me eyeing the sight. Not sure whether she wanted to smile or glare disgustedly, she decided to give the 'I am a patient' look - concerned, serious and ignorant. I mean, how many of us look down to see whether our piss is clear, cloudy, fruity or citric? We aren't making perfumes, are we?
Oh, once I did spray my precious fragrance on the sample bottle. I am polite.
The other guy asked me, as an afterthought, "Yo shmuck?"
Did I smoke? "Not really. Maybe one or two on vacation."
He rolled his eyes. I was probably seriously ill for making such a comment.
"Yo dun keep sheegrets at aal?"
"Ah, datsh gwait. Naw tamtaizhun."
I shrugged, "I guess I prefer fire to smoke."