This time its our friend Manfred from Austria who can’t eat or drink and seems to be dying. He is lying on the table at Mowgli restaurant groaning. The doctor has arrived from Sanapur to try and help in some way. He looks terrible and ruthless but decides on a drip so starts setting it up. It's then that I notice his needle which is a disposable but has obviously been used lots of times as there are black rings up and down the metal spike. I try to tell the doctor but he is having none of it. "No problem" he barks at me, but I can't help thinking that it is a problem and try to get others to tell him also. "At least boil it first !" I ask him. "Okay then" he agrees and a pan is set up for the purpose. When I get closer to the doctor I realize his problem as the smell of local arrack (cheap booze) is unmistakable! I love to hate that smell.
So the pan is taking bloody ages to boil on this small twig fire and everybody is losing patience. The 'doctor' is twitching and looking at his watch every few seconds. Then comes his amazing and hilarious observation; "BOIL!" he exclaims. I look into the pan but there is barely even a few tiny bubbles rising on one side. The water is a nice greenish coloured river water that’s being used. "No please not yet ", I look at the doc but he is getting angry, "BOIL BABA" he shouts and starts removing the needle and tube to begin! I wasn't happy about this at all and have noticed a straight tourist with a clean T shirt who'd been sitting in the corner reading the whole time. "You don't happen to have a clean needle do you?", I asked nicely. "I do actually do you need it now?" I explained what was going on and he went to his room returning 2 minutes later with the new needle. That’s one good thing but I’m nervous, "now!" says Boil baba
Everything is ready with bottle for the drip, just to get the connection to Manfred now. That's the docs job right? He was going for it but as the needle got closer to Manfreds arm I noticed just how much Boil babas hand was shaking! He seemed to not to really know where to put the thing but pressed on regardless. The new and so sharp needle sunk in way too deep and a terribly wrong angle. Manfred let out a sickly groan. He had completely missed the vein with no sign of blood in the thing, oh no. The next try was just as bad, and by the third try I couldn't bear to look anymore. Then Manfred got really pissed off.... "Pil please help me" he is shouting. "what can I do ?" I ask him "YOU DO IT!"
I was afraid he was going to say that. Boil baba was getting flustered now and had started sweating and mumbling to himself. He wiped his brow on his filthy lungi and for a terrible moment it looked as though he was going to wipe the needle on it so I got ready to restrain him if he tried! "You do it!" Manfred said again. Then I was in action, I wanted this over with and had snatched the needle from the doctor and started to look at the veins on Manfreds arm - "on the rose" he said. Just then 2 white T-shirt English lads walked right in to the cafe without noticing what was happening. Only when they had sat down did they really notice what’s going on, it wasn’t pretty. "On the rose" Manfred slurred again and I re-focused my attention on the tiny pulsating vein running straight through the tattoo of a rose on Manfreds forearm. Then the ridiculous and unthinkable happened. Just as I got the needle to within an inch of the vien boil baba disturbed me again with his babbling. Meanwhile “c,c,coka cola possible" the tourist managed to stammer. Everybody was disturbing me at once and I was trying to calm down."Oh yes of course" said a smiling Gopalswami who's restaurant it is. In those days this was okay, half hospital half restaurant who cares as long as Daisy, Pil and Joolz are here then others will follow. He was wobbling his head and disappeared to the kitchen. I looked at them, they looked shocked and disgusted like they wanted to leave but couldn't! "No more disturb" I announced and was perfectly composed. I slid the needle in getting the vein first time and everybody in the ‘restaurant’ breathed a big sigh of relief.
I just couldn't believe how this supposed doctor had behaved but next year I would properly learn about ruthless cheating doctors except it would be me the hapless victim.