“Hospee”

This is an unredacted/unedited version of an article I wrote for my school’s newspaper, The Doon School Weekly.
Here’s Issue #2513, in which it was published.


Being admitted to the Wellness Centre is not a privilege that belongs to all, as I understand it. I know a handful of people who have not once in their school lives been sent off to this detention facility, and yes, I do feel bad for them. Of course, I do wish my immunity was as strong as theirs, but there are some aspects of being quarantined that are simply unrivalled by the rest of School.

Being from the South — and highly sensitive to weather changes — has meant that I usually pay a visit to the Wellness Centre at least once during a term, so, you can definitely bank on my review of this place. This review, of course, assumes that you have gotten past the initial stage of your visit, viz. being handed a Combiflam or its equivalent.

To begin with, the building is a mix of both monotony and colour — representative of the emotions it evokes. On the outset, it’s a miniature model of the Main Building with identical bricks, arches, chimneys, and ivy. Upon entry is an array of colourful drugs — with the latest addition of colourful stools (no, not those — supplemented with an unending cycle of quotes about friendship. Then, as you enter the detention wards, you notice that the colour in your surroundings — furniture, pictures, et al — progressively fades along with the smiles on people’s faces. No, you are not sick. Well, you are, but the colours around you do actually vanish. Once you’re in a ward with fatigued peers and duotone furniture — blue and white — you turn blue too.

Besides the appearance of things, the amenities provided by the Wellness Centre are pretty impressive. You have a love-hate relationship with your oddly-shaped pillow. You are sick of lying in your bed twenty-three hours a day but also love the perfectly conditioned air. The clatter of the fans is half-exasperating and half-soothing. Then there’s the television too. Though I’ve never been a television enthusiast, I understand that this is one of three two-lettered reasons why people love dropping in the Wellness Centre — AC, WC, and TV. Most importantly though, I am glad that the School finally renovated the bathrooms in the Wellness Centre. Trust me, the previous ones were certainly not equipped to handle my diarrhoea, which would have made even the fiercest of thunderstorms blush. In fact, those thunderstorms two weeks ago were probably me. Kindly excuse.

As for the food — you are usually stuffed with the same food that is prepared by the CDH, except on one occasion. During the middle of the night, you are awoken by a steward to be pampered with some warm toast and chocolate flavoured milk. I don’t know what the Hospital’s secret sauce is, but it’s enough to make me crave something as simple as bread on butter for hours on end.

Bonus tip: If you want more food, entertain the doctors by dancing in front of the cameras.

The state of being quarantined itself is a notable aspect of being admitted. The lone time lets you rethink and overthink about that one time you forgot to say thank you to the House Bearer. Depending on your social quotient, you may or may not be visited by peers who will offer some much-needed entertainment and updates on school gossip. Then you learn that time hasn’t actually frozen and that in your absence, your classes have read 31 books, completed 16 worksheets, delivered 7 presentations, and made contact with aliens. Nevertheless, for the brief time during which you are admitted, being oblivious to the rest of the world is hard to not enjoy.

So, while suffering from illness is certainly saddening, on the bright side, I can assure you that you can, indeed, recover seventeen years’ lost sleep during your stay at the Wellness Centre. In fact, being admitted might as well be on the list of quintessential experiences for the average Dosco.

You may have noticed that I did not mention any of the Hospital staff here, and I can tell you I have done so in fear of my own life. I know that the blue curtains may not kill me, but a particular nurse who loves poking needles straight — not obliquely — into flesh may wish to hunt me down.