safest ivermectin for dogs thereabouts All the world’s a stage. We are mere players. The Gods do with us as they please. (With apologies to Shakespeare for this hotchpotch). The previous week, starting Monday, had been meticulously planned out. I was to attend a five day online course in the mornings, work with a Ph.D. student in the afternoons and if there was time to spare, blog. Day One proceeds without incident and I look forward to the next four. Day Two shows signs of things falling apart. During class, a call comes through. A cousin’s wife, who is pregnant and with us during the lockdown, has gone into labour. She is 8 days early. It is difficult to concentrate, thereafter. Lectures finally over, I become one among the masked and appropriately socially distanced attenders outside the labour room. The doctors predict a long wait, and so I begin to work on my assignments in the corridor. I am determined to get through my course. However, poor internet connectivity ensures a struggle with each assignment. Work shelved temporarily, I begin to notice my surroundings. I remark that the Government Women and Children’s Hospital is very very clean. No one is permitted to loiter or litter. Patients and attenders are handled very professionally. Announcements of babies being born, relatives being summoned over the PA system, excited grandmothers informing family… all this makes me conclude that airports and hospitals are the most interesting places to observe humankind. Day Two ends half accomplished. Day Three, and baby has still not put in her appearance. I connect to my classes online but my heart is not in it for two reasons – interrupted connectivity and a bit of apprehension about the prolonged labour. Fears are allayed at 1.46 p.m. when the little bundle of joy arrives. I am now permitted to enter the bowels of the hospital where life begins and to personally take charge of my ward. We soon learn that all the women admitted have to done a saree. The new mother is not accustomed to the same. Justifications given for this dress code sound so ridiculous to me that I stoutly protest. This sets us off on the wrong foot with the caregivers. We have to listen to snide remarks about having been born in this country and pretending not to be comfortable in a saree. Day Four Mum and Babe are shifted to the Special Ward with the help of a friend. Again, the maintenance is impecable, the system well oiled. We fall into hospital routine. I log in to class but give up quickly as there are too many interruptions. We try breaking the ice with nurses and succeed to a large extent. I guess it’s very difficult to continue to be offhandish with a new mum and an adorable tot. Thereafter, I’m greatly indebted to them for helping me keep my sanity. The doctors are a different kettle of fish all together. One thing in their favour is their total impartiality. They make no distinctions among their patients. We are all presumed ignorant and not given a chance to prove otherwise. It was a constant case of damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Where on earth was the great bedside manner that doctors are supposed to have? Curt to the point of being rude was the norm of every single one and every ounce of will power was needed to avoid retorting. This was our only regret during the five day stay in hospital. In India, recommendations and assurances work. The Chief permits us to be discharged much to the annoyance of her duty doctors. Day Six, we are back home. The house is in a high state of excitement. It’s 23 years since we’ve had a baby amidst us. My course is long over and I have not attended half the classes. It’s bye bye certification for the moment. My Ph.D. student is waiting in the wings and I’ve taken over a week to finish this article. The most gorgeous of babies has taken over my life, I don’t have an moment to spare but neither do I have a moment’s regret.