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Singing elevator

By Nickunj Malik - Jan 14,2016 - Last updated at Jan 14,2016

Before I could write my first column of the year, even before I could celebrate my January birthday, suddenly, I became terribly ill. My temperature shot up and as I shivered uncontrollably, all my feverish brain could register was the chill that was creeping up my bones. 

I kept asking for more and more blankets till at some point I got completely delirious and started mouthing inanities. It was at this juncture that my friend, whose house I was staying in, called up the doctor. Since it was a Sunday, the doctor was off duty and was going to a fancy party. But after understanding how delicate my condition was, he rushed back and ordered that I get admitted into the hospital immediately. 

I must have passed out because the next thing I remember, I was being pushed into a lift, on a wheelchair. How I got there is a bit of a blur, but once inside the elevator I heard someone singing. The liftman, bored with the repetitive nature of his job, where he had to simply press the buttons for the various floors, was entertaining his own self, and by proxy, the rest of us. 

“Dark clouds have gathered in the middle of the night and sleep has become my enemy. Tell me, what shall I do?” he crooned in a haunting voice. My own head was bursting, but I felt his pain was more than mine. I was awestruck by the melancholic song and suddenly it became very important for me to talk to him. My wheelchair was facing the door and I tried to turn my head around to look at him. All I could make out was the dull green of his uniform. 

“My dreams are vanquished and my hope is in tatters. My tears are flowing like a river but my heart is parched. Tell me, what shall I do?” he sang the next part of the song. The gloomy lyrics filled me with despair. I wanted to tell the sad singer to sit in a matching wheelchair and follow me to the ICU. 

Soon, the doors opened and I was taken straight to a room where an intravenous drip was attached onto my frail wrist. I kept pointing towards the general direction of the elevator hoping someone would understand that there was another miserable patient stuck in there.

I was in and out of consciousness for two days but whenever sanity prevailed I badgered my spouse about the singer in the lift. He said he would take me to meet him as soon as I could walk. The following morning I decided to quiz the plump nurse, who had been working there for donkey’s years. 

She told me that their hospital elevators never had any attendants. Ever! When I protested saying I had not only seen but also heard one of them sing loud and clear, she looked shockingly alarmed and hurried out of the room, without a backward glance. 

“You think I’m making it up?” I asked my husband later. 

“No dear,” he said distractedly. 

“You heard him singing too,” I accused. 

“Yes dear,” spouse agreed. 

“I mean, no dear,” he corrected himself. 

“Tell me, what shall I do?” I wailed. 

“You sit back and rest,” he soothed. 

“No, no, he was singing this,” I snapped. 

“You get better first,” he insisted. 

“And then?” I questioned. 

“We will find your singing elevator,” he promised.

 

“Elevator singer,” I prompted automatically.

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Comments

A great one again, Nickunj M! I think it’s healthy to be sick sometimes so that one comes out as a brand new. Also, the poignant distraction in your mind actually worked as a blessing for you.

A delightful read, Nickunj M! I think it’s healthy to be sick sometimes so that one comes out as a brand new. Also, the poignant distraction in your mind actually worked as a blessing for you.

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