75 year check

India turns 75 this year. Like me Technically, I’m in my late eighties, I’ve forgotten how long, but like all self-respecting people, I’ve been pretending my age for years. This time, my daughter decided to “ensure my independence” by gifting me a health check. I suggested other gift options, like 75 JalebiBut he said I should watch my sugar, not eat it.

At the hospital, a pushy nurse asked me for embarrassing personal details, which I now forget, but I most likely answered with ‘I forget’ anyway. I remembered things that made me laugh, but she wanted to know if I had any complaints. I didn’t have any. ‘No aches and pains at 75?’ He asked incredulously and I said, ‘Oh, everything hurts and hurts. But I am not complaining.’

The health checkup, my first ever, was full of tricky questions. ‘Yes, of course, I can bend over and touch my nose,’ I said, and he accused me of faulty, selective hearing. ‘I too have a perfect set of teeth, all liars. But this is only fake. I smiled and stopped them. ‘And my eyesight is fine too, my dear girl,’ I assured the easily offended doctor, who said she was not a girl, not dear and not mine. I passed out with ear, tooth and eye problems that I hadn’t entered.

Next, I was laid on the ultrasound table filled with even more absurd questions. ‘Yes, my bladder is full, although it is not very polite to ask. It is always full. It sends me to the toilet five times a night. Stop provoking me or… there you go, it’s not full anymore.’ You poking for trouble, you get it.

A few more sadistic jabs, beeps and tests slotted me as left-leaning (a long-ago stroke), inflexible, hypertensive, myopic, acidic and allergic (for crap I said, that was his diagnosis) .

He made me wait until he had compiled everything wrong with me. I fell asleep, snored and woke up knowing I was still in line. Did the doctor forget I was waiting? I forgot which doctor I was waiting for. I also forgot why. So, I went home.

I told my daughter that I was in great shape at age 75. At this age, important things work, like my sense of humour. I have perfect vision. I do not see any difference between people in colour, caste or creed. I am deaf to the dangers that lie in every other half of the world. I can smell a hypocrite from a mile away. My great-grandson and I sit together – bald, toothless happy and independent, while everyone else runs around worried. I told my daughter that it was time to celebrate my independence, not limit it. she is bringing Jalebi above.

Happily Never After author Jane De Souza talks about the week’s quirks, fights, and hacks