Thursday, 10 September 2020

Indumathi...” Indu The Hindu“

I was chatting to a friend today about serendipity
We shared serendipitous tales and the conversation became quite serious as we both agreed that we thought some forces were responsible but how and to what extent we both were at a loss with to explain
I told him the tale about Indumathi 
It seemed fitting

Now many many years ago Indumathi was a patient of mine.
She was a big boned, loud voiced, Asian woman in her sixties who ran her large family from her side room on my ward with all of the energy of a small nuclear power plant.
She had a specially designed extra large wheelchair which she hated, a massive selection of beautiful loose fitting pantaloon trousers and tops and could throw a cup or plate with deadly accuracy when she was in a foul mood , a fact that may be surprising as Indumathi  was totally blind.

Now Indumathi was what we in the nursing trade would now refer to as a challenging patient .  She was opinionated, perceived as rude and was non compliant with any of her care.
She was also a big complainer and was “buzzer happy”, -traits that are irritating to Nurses, but she was brash and humorous and always laughed loudly at her own bad jokes.
And I always had a begrudging soft spot for the old girl.
One such joke surfaced when she reminded me One morning that she was a Hindu as I helped hoist her into her wheelchair
“ Indu the Hindu “ I said merrily and half under my breath and she heard me
“Indu the Hindu! “ she repeated laughing loudly and clapping her big hands together “ Indeed I am Indu the Hindu !” And it became a sort of catch phrase for her when she was in one of her better moods on the ward.

Moving Indumathi became a bit of a health and safety nightmare at times as when she was rolling in bed she would grab the nearest nurse with often surprising strength and tenacity and at one of those times and with a loud shriek she grabbed my uniform with one ham hand and placed the other around my face

“ Boy” she said in that almost gentle moment where her hand rested on my cheek
You are your grandmother’s son” 
It was a strange phrase to utter, especially given the circumstances we were in
But I was suddenly silenced and incredibly moved by her words

It was as if she had looked right inside of me and had seen that secret fact that  I had loved my grandmother so much more than I had my own mother when I was but a child.

“ What?” Was the only thing I could say rather helplessly
and Indumathi slapped my bottom playfully as she laughed her loud laugh and the moment was gone....
But in that instant, I felt  she had seen something of my psychi, my soul,my past when she touched me
And had shared that with me


  1. Wow. Just gob smacked. Amazing person she must have been.

    1. She died soon after being discharged home I found out

  2. When we stop looking and hearing, and start to see and listen, there a clues around us, that astound us.

  3. I have always felt guilty for feeling like my grandmother's daughter...but now I don't. Thank you, John and Indu.

  4. Yorkshire Liz10:46 pm

    There is a special connection with grandmothers that transcends the generation gap. Probably because they see with the deeper insight maturity brings reflecting you as the child of their child.

  5. Barbara Anne10:54 pm

    What an amazing and eerie interaction with a very interesting and challenging patient. Might a chapter in your book be titled "Indu the Hindu"? You are making notes for you book, I hope!


  6. Whenever I read your accounts of your job as a nurse, I gain even a greater appreciation of the daily work a nurse does. Thanks for sharing the story.

  7. Some people seem to have an uncanny ability to read these things. Fluke? A mystery with no explanation. Always surprising.

  8. Fucking beautiful. Forgive the swear but it's the best word for what I wanted to say.

  9. I think of the gift Indumathi had as a bit like radar or tuning in.I'm sure we are all capable of it if we let ourselves.How lovely she let you know that she was aware of the closeness between you and your Grandmother xx

  10. Don't they often say that the blind can see into the soul or have that sixth sense to make up for their lack of sight?

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  12. Beautiful if odd story, so well told. But having insight and even psychic perception, her seeing into your inner depths, is not serendipity, which is a happy coincidence.

  13. Nurses, often true of teachers too, have a fund of stories which stay with them for ever - this is one of the best John.

  14. I wonder if she had another reason for saying what she said. Either way, a magical, meaningful moment.

  15. some people pay to have things like that told to them. cool story.

  16. This story gave me goose flesh! But in a good way ...

  17. There is something called psychometry (which some people don't believe in but I have had at least one vivid experience with) where by holding an object in your hand you can get visual or other impressions related to that object. Perhaps just having her hand on your cheek was enough for Indu to know that fact about you.

  18. All I can think is shame on your mother for not loving you like she should of, and thank goodness for your grandmother.

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