I had never experienced a visit to the District Medical Hospital. I therefore decided to visit and get familiar with the procedure and the place. I had of course tried to procure one from my native district as 'all' knew me but they said ,they couldn't ,as I had shifted residence. So here I was stepping into this place full of people,patients,parents,paramedics...
A huge complex as I was in a big city now !! Windows and numbers. Directions and information boards.A place buzzing with chatter of inquiry and painful sounds. Wails and Wanes ...a depressing atmosphere.
I went like a normal ,ordinary citizen to find out how I could get a medical fitness certificate. On inquiry I was told that I needed to give an application along with a photo and secure a signature from the Superintendent/ Dean. I had to then get a "case paper" from Window Number -- and then would be advised to got 4 more Window numbers and obtain their Signatures, OKs, and finally come back to the Superintendent/Dean for the final certificate to be then given to the Police Commissioner's Office for the renewal.
Now about the 4 different windows....1. Medicine department 2. E N T Department 3. Eye Department 4. Psychiatry Department....wow....this was going to be a task..... should I still retain my arms licence ? Do I need a gun? It was a sentimental attachment of my father's memory. In those days when my day was in the government, there were no protection body guards. One had to protect oneself. He had procured a confiscated F&N Belgium .25 pistol from the Collector for his security. All this procedure , every 2 years to retain a sentiment? ..and all this when... Neither he nor I had any chance to use the Pistol since it;s procurement in the last 50+ years, thankfully.
Well, I decided to jump in and give it a try.Let me find a contact to ease this out I thought. Happily I remembered I had a friend whose wife worked in there. Brazing myself with confidence I got her contact number and meet her.So here was my second visit after a few days.
I had a great welcome and reassurance about assistance so I felt I had hit the lottery! So I planned my 3rd visit armed with requirements informed to finish the job promptly! Accompanied by my son I entered her office and was given an aide to escort me ,so as to ease my procurement of the medical certificate..and the adventure began.
Please wait ...the Officer is not in... after an hour my friend;s wife comes and inquires...she takes me to a deputy and gets the signed permission...whew..a step climbed !!... then I go and make a case paper...off to window number... for Medicine... A surprise awaits....your BP seems high...please do a blood check up and get this medication and come back after 7 days.....whoosh !
So we procedure to the blood check up having paid the required fees at yet another window.
come for the report tomorrow! here we go...off to the E N T across the length of the premises , beyond the Morgue...Please sit and I will call.....a while later...come and sit here..Any problems? show me your ear,now the other one....OK please go up and get your audio metrics test done...Window number...
Back again I was told....as per your age...all seems okay...wait for the HOD and get his signature......that took me an hour and a half and the day was done....back home...task number ...to be attempted tomorrow.
Please renew your case paper date was my welcome line the next day. Having done that I was into the optometry department. Another surprise awaited me...what's your age? 60? oh okay....Read this, now that, okay right eye, now left, sir you need glasses now to read for distant letters too.... Anyway all is okay for your Arms licence as far as your sight is concerned....here is your prescription for your glasses. Please come back for the HOD signature as he is not in yet... there went the next day....
Visiting the Psychiatry department before taking my medicine prescription from Window number... I was asked to renew my case paper date...Make a file I was told on contacting the Medic.Who do you have with you? Get a relative and come back tomorrow..
Another day dawns.. Please wait and I will call....45 mins later...who is with you? get his ID photocopies and Photos..having run around searching a Photocopying machine...irritated ..at last, I was in for the interrogation, test,...lol....40 mins later I was told...please wait , The HOD needs to be consulted ....the day was over I thought and truly it took the medic another hour before telling me I was to come back for a follow up visit....I was stumped and bowled both at once.!!
So it dawned on me that the trial had just begun....my next visit was to be a week later....so a week later,Weak now I trudged to the medicine department for my BP and ECG ... The blood test results were fine and so was the ECG. But the BP was an issue as I was now 60 and the arteries did give up and needed some medication to help me permanently....until....
Having done the follow up I was happy that nearly all had been done....but alas...HOD was missing as it was not "His Day'. now testing my patience I awaited the clearance. so another day had passed and "the return of the patient" now very impatient.....Going to windows and awaiting signatures was the true nature of my Medical fitness certificate !
Renewal of case papers and standing in Queues was the result of overpopulation ! The red tape by the government laws due to misuse of arms was a great reason and obstacle for the renewal of an arms licence.
Many visits later and Hours of observation of the common man in a government civil hospital gave me another perspective of reality. I have decided to keep my sentiments aside and sell my Pistol.....Man can be killed without being shot by a weapon !
An adventure has come to an end after hours of patience an immense, miserable effort !