She was standing in the middle of nowhere totally bewildered and lost. I saw her there for a while as I was waiting for my turn. I stayed there for around 2 hours and then I left. When I came back she was still there – it was almost more then three hours by then. After that, I started doubting. I thought there is something wrong, because most of the people who were waiting for their turn had either already got their “jobs” done or got a reply for the next appointment. Anyway, they successfully finished what they came for. But, still, she was there in the same situation. She looked something different – may be from somewhere else, but definitely not from Thailand or some place local. Neither she looked affluent from what she appears, however these days even penurious appears to be affluent – that’s a different story. Donned in red tunic, gaunt and holding a huge file in a hand and a small chit of paper in another.
I was busy with the news about the expiration of the techno icon – Steve Jobs this morning. I was so stunned and shell-shocked that I could not think of anything at the moment than to scrolling down the webpage on my phone in scurry as I was waiting there. One reason was because, when I checked the news while I was en route to college, I didn’t find anything unusual – Just like any other day news, but soon after a while when I was surfing to kill time for time being, I found something really astounding and shell-shocking, and the news in CNN read something like, “Visionary behind Apple dies”.
After a while she came to me and looking at my student’s batch hanging down over my neck asked to me in Nepali language to my utter surprise “Dai, k tapai Nepali ho?” (“Brother, are you a Nepali?”). I knew she is in some kind of problem, otherwise, no one even knowingly or unknowingly comes to ask you where you are from – its simply awkward. So, I just nodded with a smile on my face. She was relieve to know that. She might be thinking that, finally she got somebody who can help her get her “jobs” done. I don’t know whether she knows or not, but I guess, she could have probably guessed that I am someone associated with the hospital or the authority or something and can speak Nepali very well mingled with sustainable English.
After becoming conversant with her situation, I came to know that she could not speak nor do she can understand what the nurses and working personals were telling her. So, that was a complete dead-lock conversation for her. She didn’t even ask me whether I am free or occupied with something else – she just accost to ask for my help. Anyway, I do not bother to complain about whether or not she asked me whether I am free or not. Anyway, for me, looking at that situation, it became my moral obligation to help her – at least for a while to make her understand what she need to do next and where to contact for her checkup or just guide her to the right place at the right time.
“Are you accompanied with someone?”, I asked.
“And, I don’t know what they are telling me”, she replied back.
“Yeah, that’s fine, for now” – follow me, I asked.
After I manage to leave her to the place where she meant to be, I left the OPD. I was thinking and I am still thinking how could a person leave their house for some place without getting much prepared. Though, it was a medical checkup, she should be accompanied with someone. Not understanding a language is just simply like being handicapped. And it becomes even a hard-lock or say dead-lock when there is no communication from either side.
She can’t clearly and understandably speak English nor did she understand Thai language. How was she supposed to be there alone with the sever condition of possible dialysis (which I am not quite sure of) – but definitely something more serious than something laughable.
I know the person who will read this message are not those who are inane or will ever do like that to themselves or to their family member – mean, leaving alone to struggle, or might not had that kind of situation ever or will have ever. And those who are in those kind of situation will not even notice this.
So, in a way, you might be thinking that, “Then why on the earth do you have to write this? – its futile.” But, think in a way, ‘How about you dissipating this message to the one who are unaware of the situations they will be facing in foreign land, to not step in a foreign land being handicapped verbally, physically or monetarily?”
As I have experienced in my over two years period of time in Thailand, I have felt that, this country is relatively safer than any part of the world, but developed part of Europe (which I am not quite sure of). But, however safer is the country, if you are handicapped in anyway – you are vulnerable to uninvited situations, and specially when it comes to language. At least good grip on English language will suffice in most of the cases!!
P.S. You might have noticed I have mentioned the word “Jobs” in this post within inverted comma. This was just to give a tribute to and mark the last majestic voyage of the genius thinker and inventor who have changed the world how we view it today – a self-made man – “Steve Jobs” (1955 – 2011).