Sonati and Badri Baba headed home to my parents' place in Salem after a hard fought battle with the machine that is Gokulam Hospitals. When we were admitted at "Emergency" on 12-12-12, I had had to pay an advance of Rs. 10,000. On the morning of the 13th, when the doctor said that Badri could be discharged, the system took over.

It took me a while to learn that this "Discharge process" could take hours, so after about half an hour, and  a few unsuccessful attempts at the ICU itself to get some idea, I head to the Cash-man and asked him to give me  a rough estimate of the bill so that I could go to the bank if necessary. He said that I was due a refund, so I (rather blissfully) head back to the ICU and ask the "on-duty-nurse" to please let Badri Baba go, and that I would wait for the Discharge papers. She said that she would ask some one and let me know. But that never happens. She just goes off duty. This rigmarole repeats in some rather fascinating permutations and combinations.

Finally I walk in to the Cash office and head for the "boss-man". I explain the situation and say that my son is being held hostage in the ICU and could he please do something. He says not to worry he would do it, but I should ask the "on-duty-nurse" to call him. ( Why he could not call her,is just one of the things I never figured out). I go back to the ICU and explain the situation to the (newest) on-duty-nurse. She says that she is sorry but that the procedure is that the bill has to be settled before she can release the patient. (I am reeling by this time, but the show must go on...). I ask her to please call the cash boss-man; and she says that I should ask him to call her. I repeat the word hostage a few times, and finally she calls him; he okays it; and I get Badri Baba dressed in his own clothes and he walks to freedom.

Me, I am left outside the ICU to stew for another three and a half hours on a railway platform, for all practical purposes. That will make another story.