God in America!
June 2, 2004. It was the second day of our stay in Boston. We were to go to New York-Buffalo City-Niagra. And, naturally, there was some excitement in both of us – me and my wife. While I had made one trip already to US, it was her maiden visit to US for my wife. Both of us were invited by our son for his Harvard MBA degree award function.
My son had meticulously planned the daily program for us to make our tour a memorable one. We left our ‘home’ (his hostel room), at 8,00 a.m. to catch the flight to New York from Boston. At the airport, we were surprised to find the tight checking for security, even for domestic flights, when we were asked to take out our watch, keys, loose coins, bangles and so on, to be picked up after screening is over,
Suddenly, I had the urge to go the toilet for motion, and there was, of course, plenty of time left for actual boarding. To my surprise and horror, I saw blood running, along with stool, almost in a non-stop manner. Well, I had the big problem of piles, refusing to be resting inside, with a tendency to pop out frequently. I feared that the problem had started and worries over how I (we) would be able to finish our brief sojourn in the U.S. loomed large in my mind. Somehow, the ‘the activity’ was over and I pretended to be normal to my son and my wife.
We landed up at Buffalo City where, for the first time, we saw our son driving a car – hired out from the airport. While he was talking during driving, we were somewhat worried and wanted him to concentrate more on his driving. First time, we were traveling by a car driven by our son; the roads, the scenes on the way and, finally landing at a ‘grand hotel’ were all exciting – not to speak of the complimentary tea/coffee with umpteen varieties of tempting and mouth-watering snacks lined up in an array, with several choice drinks too.
While at the hotel and nothing immediately planned, I thought I must consult a doctor for my piles problem so that I could move about ‘freely’ during the rest of our trip. I told about this to my son. It was 4 0’clock in the afternoon. I had imagined that I would just consult the doctor for some temporary and immediate relief by giving/prescribing some medicine.
We got the address of a nearby hospital, drove to the place and waited outside, telling about our wanting to see the doctor. By that time the normal working hours for the hospital was over, and patients would be treated as emergency cases only. We were ushered into a room, where we were to register and an old lady working on a computer started shooting out question after question to fill the registration form. Luckily, because we had an insurance cover,no payment was to be made. When she came to ask my problem, we said about the piles problem. She (and the. Americans) seemed not familiar with the word piles, perhaps, (?) and with lot of explaining, finally she filled the complaint column ‘rectal prolapse’ to which we agreed. My son and me were asked to wait in another room and one doctor came in and asked me a few questions which we answered. Thereafter, I was asked to wear a patient gown and to wait – the doctor said that the surgeon would come to see me. My son and I were waiting and waiting there. Three hours gone, on enquiry with the doctor, we were told the surgeon would come soon.
My wife was waiting in the reception, Gradually, my son realized the 15 or so patients waiting outside we’re all gone; the time was now 8.30 p,m. My son must be regretting at that time why he took the risk of inviting the two budda-buddi (we old guys) at all.
It was pitch dark outside, and the few cars parked there also had disappeared.
Half an hour more gone. My son suddenly thought about our dinner. He said while we wait for the surgeon, he will go out and get our dinner (he had to locate an Indian restaurant, since we preferred Indian food) and so he left. Another 30 minutes gone and I got impatient. I asked for the doctor. He came and I told him in an angry tone what he was doing, Only then he mentioned that the surgeon was to come from outside; he had assumed that we came for getting admitted. I was furious. I told him that we had come on a short tour from India and that too to be present at the graduation function at Harvard. It was not my intention to get admitted; all I wanted was some temporary relief for a few days of our tour, so that I could move out freely; also, that he should have told us about the surgeon having to come from somewhere outside where he had to attend to some operations. He said. ‘I am a doctor and you are firing me’. I said ‘yes’, since he had wasted over four hours of our time putting us in a’waiting mode’ all through, without understanding properly what I really wanted; soon, he went to another room, spent about ten minutes on a computer, and came back and handed over to me some 12 sheets of typed paper – may be all copied from Internet sources!
I came out, joined my wife in the reception area, and we were waiting for our son – he took somewhat longer time to locate an Indian restaurant and hence the delay. We were frantic, worried, waiting in the hospital desperately praying for our son’s return. We tried to contact him on his mobile phone, pleading with the receptionist to allow us to use her phone. We tried and tried and could not reach him, since apparently the area code was different. We now started worrying about our son, since we were not fully aware about his driving abilities. We were literally stranded at a far-off, unknown, lonely place, darkness surrounding the whole area, with none to help or to talk to.
Feeling utterly desperate, I called from the bottom of my heart ‘Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa’, (Oh, Lord Ayyappa, help us) the Lord in whom I had faith. The Lord heard my call and we could at once see my son’s car approaching the hospital. Only when he actually emerged from the car, smiles returned to our face. He had, of course, got the food for all of us. I at once thanked God for his help and told my son, ‘see the God has also come to America! (after all, isn’t it true that God is everywhere?) He just laughed.
Not only that, throughout the entire tour lasting another eight days, I had no problem at all, though I used a cream recommended by the doctor, for stopping the bleeding. How could this have happened, but for the God, who ensured this?
We enjoyed the trip next morning to Niagara fall, one more trip the following day, the commencement function at Harvard, when my son was ‘gowned and crowned’ – the convocation dress with the cap on ( which was, of course, the most precious moment for all of us), the special dinner we had that night, another two-day trip to New York enjoying at a sprawling and beautiful park, the statue of liberty, the empire building all. Thus ended our ‘dream trip’ to America (of course, God also accompanying us throughout)