“Ma’am, when did you hit menopause?” the doctor’s voice came up muffled from under her head, bent over Kavneet’s medical papers. The patient hemmed and hawed, scanning the years gone by, trying to make up her mind as accurately as possible in the now urgent air around her. “I don’t remember exactly but maybe a year ago,” the response was tentative. “There is no need to worry Ma’am, I don’t want to alarm you,” the doctor tried to recover lost ground with resumption of a classic bedside manner, “ but we will have to take a sample for biopsy to the Shah Cancer and Research Institute Ma’am, it is a routine procedure.” Fully aware of the need for dignity given her official status, Kavneet put on a brave, even nonplussed face, ‘Sure, you need to do what you need to do. But what is the symptom you are basing this investigation on?” The doctor was young and slightly awed at having hit a diagnostic gold with none other than Mrs Kavneet Kaur Ahluwalia, Principal Secretary (Higher and Technical Education). She gabbled, “Fresh blood! I had barely begun the internal examination Ma’am!” There was her entourage peeking into the door, Kavneet just decided to cut her losses and take it forward after perusing the papers thoroughly. On her way out to her waiting beacon vehicle, she overheard her PA instructing the medical professionals, “Madam’s investigation must be thorough and prompt. She is a very senior IAS officer.”
Back at her favourite couch in the beautiful Lutyens’ bunglow, Kavneet typed into her Dell’s search box, “Abnormal vaginal bleeding.” Ten minutes of skimming and she was picking up the telephone, “Schedule an appointment with the senior most gynaecologist at Shah immediately”. It wasn’t long before the officer arrived at the hospital for her pre-procedure anaesthesia and other relevant tests. The nosy hospital staff and her own underlings had been busy, the “VIP aboard” cry had gone out and about. “Relax Mum, it is a routine procedure, in fact in several civil hospitals, it is done in the OPD, they don’t carry out a dilation and curettage any more. I will be back home in half a day on the outside.” Kavneet’s WhatsApp was choking with messages of concern from friends and family. She assured her mother as best as she could and followed her PA towards the Surgical Wing on the designated day. Just as he was stepping back to let her into the revolving door first, she spoke up, “Oh no, I think I have left my spectacles in the car. Can you fetch them for me please?”’
There is no way Kavneet would have known that the wheel of destiny was about to turn. A mangy cur, curled up under the Principal Secretary’s car took umbrage at the disturbance to his snooze and lunged at the PA’s unsuspecting ankle. An ugly crunch resounded in the afternoon quiet as the angry canine ravaged human flesh down to the bone. The dog jangled at the leg and shook it like a stuffed doll. Her PA’s terror stricken howl went crashing at Kavneet’s ears so that she did an instant about turn. By the time she reached the car, her PA was on the emergency stretcher and being rapidly wheeled away to the ICU. The vicious bite had severed his ankle and there was no stemming the blood.
A month later however, the very same car was back in the hospital parking bay. The PA had repaired beautifully, thanks to the standard hospital protocol and was back in the saddle, fit as a fiddle. Kavneet on the other hand was undergoing yet another investigation on another accidental discovery. Even as she lay down to succumb to the radiologist’s administrations for the third time, he couldn’t help but exclaim, “Please don’t mind Ma’am but the menopause transition takes several and highly individual courses in different ladies. For some, it is stormy, others barely notice it. I believe your Gynaecologist is treating you for an altogether different syndrome.” He waited for a prompt then placed the camera head on her lower abdomen with a definitive wave, “It is called VIP syndrome Ma’am!!”