Wear and tear

Clothes for women are something I study a lot here –because you want to fit in as much as possible, even though, of course, you stand out so much.  Teenagers are very westernized in Pune, some in jeans and T-shirts. After that, depending on age and tradition, there is a subtle variation of styles women wear that show a bit of western influence – for example  jeans worn under a traditional top or kurta. Or maybe a kurta with short sleeves in summer, as the heat increases. More traditional women wear the salwar kameez or the sari. The salwar kameez is a step too far for me, it is a long top and matching trousers. Most women wear it with a long scarf thrown over the shoulders. I usually wear a kurta with ¾ length sleeves ( a bit like a short kaftan) and some kind of trousers either light cotton from UK or Indian huge baggy drawstring cotton ones. The shape is amazing. Imagine buying trousers for a baby elephant with very thin legs that narrow to almost nothing.  The enormous top has a drawstring and you tie the drawstring waist to whatever size you want  – and the thin legs once you have wrestled them on over your heels, you sort of slide and drape round your ankles. I only have one pair, they are so hard to get off again.

Having felt slightly under the weather with some rather strange symptoms, I have been diagnosed with a vitamin B12 deficiency, not unusual for those eating a vegetarian diet apparently. So I have been introduced to Dr Rajore, this incredible doctor whose clinic is a few streets away. He is giving me B12 injections to boost the very low levels I have.  The lines to get into the clinic are out on the street and people take a number and wait their turn. I’m instructed to call before I go, then they try to whisk me in for the minute it takes to give me the shot.  Sometimes I wait 10 minutes, sometimes an hour. There is a lot of pushing and shoving. There are very disabled children, there are people who have had road traffic accidents. This man works from 9 – 1.30 then 5 – 9.30 pm weekdays, Saturdays 9-1.30 and Sundays 6 – 8am. According to Kanchan who introduced me, he is up at 5 am for a swim then sees house call patients between 7.30 – 9 am. Some kind of saint, and when I told him I had never seen a surgery so crowded or a doctor so popular, he told me there are sometimes fistfights in the waiting room which he has to break up! I feel a bit guilty about getting special treatment – I justify it by the amount of time I am actually in there, about a minute tops. When he sees me, he is usually on the phone while the nurse hands him the B12 phial and syringe. Dedication, you are Dr Rajore.

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