Dr K

For the purpose of this post, I’ll call her Dr. K. She is not one of those real doctors, the kind that I will be. She is the kind that deals with medicines and treats people one-by-one. Her speciality, I am led to believe, involves slashing people’s throats regularly and whipping people’s faces into shapes that she desires. In fancy words, she is an ENT and facial plastics surgeon. She is an avid reader, a pilot, compulsive shopper and (to borrow her friend’s words) her sunscreen budget rivals the GDP of small nations. Despite her sunscreen budget and a thousand different creams, lotions and potions I have been introduced to in the last two months, she sincerely thinks that she is “low-maintenance”.

We both realized early on that we have an interest in sports. She likes watching Ice hockey most, and I like Cricket. When I asked her why she likes Ice hockey, she said, “It’s a fast game, and there is the genuine possibility that there will be blood, and that makes it a sport”. With that I gave up the idea that she will ever take an interest in the “Gentlemen’s game”. But we did try watching one Ice hockey game together. Being my first, I asked her what the rules are. “There are no rules. They score goals, and they fight” was the succinct response. I got the impression that that scoreboard looked like the one below to her.

Goals 6
Fights 3
Some number 28
I don’t care what the number is 13

She is a woman of conventions. “You have to go to this game Vipul”, she told my housemate.


“Because they are giving cow bells, that’s it. You have to go. Everybody rings the cowbells”. Vipul of course does not understand that everybody does it is the key to argument of this woman of conventions who is quick to seize up to what is done, and joins the party. Poor Vipul looked for a logic that pays some attention to his likes and dislikes, leaving him perplexed with her argument. Thanks to her, our house was decorated green & red for Christmas, and was decked with hearts in the middle of February – till of course, Sripathy anxiously took off every shining heart on the wall at 5 am on February 15.

I can go on and on about Dr. K, but will stop with my one my most enduring memories of her. Dr. K is a complete teetotaller, and when the clock struck 12 this New Year she went around the room asking everyone in the party, “Would you like some apple juice”? With champagne flowing in the room, no one answered her. But the stunned look in their eyes and the smile on their faces said, you are sweet, but…That is the quintessential Dr K for us: sweet, strange and cares that those around her are having a good time.

About Vivek Srinivasan

I work with the Program on Liberation Technology at Stanford University. Before this, I worked with the Right to Food Campaign and other rights based campaigns in India. To learn more, click here.

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