Sick in India

After two days of lying in bed, sleeping on and off, Mr. Mundra dragged me to the doctor. As a doctor’s child, going to the doctor when you’re sick was as foreign a concept to me as the Indian food that probably made me that way. Ever since I was a child being sick meant staying at home and being attended to by one of my two doctor parents who rarely found anything alarming with my common flu. Doctors offices to me where a place where you went to get germs and illness not to be treated.  

Even so I was willing to follow Mr. Mundra. Back in Andover he had promised a friendly and highly rated doctor of the American school who was very used to treating Americans with upset stomachs. However, this was not entirely the case. Mr. Mundra left me with Ms. Usha to go to her family doctor. She assured me he was a great doctor and she always brought her kids to him. I was nervous though, and still not feeling well at all as she walked me down the busy Indian street. She quickly pulled me into a small roadside building with a medical sign on front reading Dr. Hemang. We entered into a small dimly lit waiting room packed full of Indians waiting for the doctor. They stared at me strangely. After an hour of waiting the doctor reappeared from some trip or call or break he had been on. One by one he called patients into the small back room of the building. When it was my turn, he spoke to me for a few minutes and then pulled out an array of colored pills, all shapes and sizes; no bottles or labels as in the United States. Take four then, three awhile later, one in the afternoon he rambled on. All I could think was this is really sketchy. All I wanted to do was call my doctor parents and ask them what to do.


However this was not really an option. He sealed many of the pills in a zip lock bag and sent me on my way with them. No explanations as to what they were for, what they might do to me, just a simple “You will be better soon.” I didn’t take those pills and I got better after a few days but the entire experience really shook me.


First, it really got me thinking about the Indian health care system. What is easily available? What is considered good healthcare? Who is the healthcare accessible and affordable for? I will now begin to delve deeper, try to find out more about the system. Secondly, it gave me another perspective. This doctor was not someone I was going to trust but the packed waiting room on a Friday night indicated that either he was a highly esteemed doctor or lots of Indians were sick.  No matter how skeptical I was of the multicolor variety of pills Dr Hemang was going to go on helping people get over their illnesses. His work was valued in the community and a crucial piece of the residents’ survival.