Posted by: DD | May 7, 2008

Yellow Fever

For those who wonder what it is, let me tell you that it’s fucking pain in ass.

Phew, now that I have poured out all my frustration in that statement (yes, I always have a very short duration impulse of anger), let me tell you what exactly it is.

Yellow Fever is a kind of fever prevalent in African countries and any Indian (and mostly all other) citizen visiting African countries have to get themselves vaccinated against it (proper term is “inoculated for Yellow Fever”) failing which, you are quarantined on return to your own motherland (BTW, does any mother abandon her child just because he is ill?).

Ok, don’t start wondering as to why am I telling you all this (as if I care). This is all because of 18 hour ordeal I went through yesterday. Thanks partly to my organization (Cerillion Technologies) and partly to yours truly, it was decided that I might have to travel to Mauritania (for those wondering which village in India is it, it’s an African country. Click HERE for details) for a couple of weeks. No prizes for guessing, as a result I was expected to get “inoculated against Yellow Fever” and the only centre in Maharashtra happens to be in Mumbai.

I was advised to reach the centre early in the morning so that I can put my name in the list which “someone” would have prepared. This would ensure that I would get “inoculated” for sure. Now this is what happened. (We in the following self proclaimed ordeal refers to me and a colleague, Indra, who accompanied me for the same purpose).

After reaching Bombay (sorry, Mumbai, or else I would be kicked out of Maharashtra if an MNS activist happens to read this post) at 9 pm on 5th May and surveying the “inoculation” centre only to find no one except a few ghosts and wandering souls, we checked in a near by hotel. The wanderers as we were, decided to walk to the Gateway of India which was around 12 kms to and fro from the hotel. We returned at around midnight and slept as we had to get up early in the morning.

We woke up at 5 am and reached the centre at exact 5:30 am to find a handful of people already standing there. (BTW, the centre opens at around 2:30 pm and they would abuse their girlfriend if she is even 10 minutes late). We learnt that only 80 people are “inoculated” per day and we had to put our names on the list which one of them has taken pain to prepare. I thought that it’s easy but there was just one catch. Which list are you talking about? There were about 2-3 lists floating around and each group wanted to prove that his list was the authentic one (I don’t understand that why do men have this false ego of proving themselves? I know I never do that, I just keep saying my point until every one accepts it to be correct). Any how, I put our names on all the lists just to realize that one list had our names at the 84th and 85th position. (And yes, you read right, the people out there were just handful, not more than 15).

Then the real stuff began. It was no less than a hindi movie which had action, drama, emotions. As day started to dawn, people increased and so did the fights as to who came first and which list is correct (huh… men). I swear I heard people claiming that they were here since 2 days and haven’t left, just to be sure that they are first in the line today (As I said earlier, I did meet some ghosts and souls when I visited the centre a night before).

All this was going on and meanwhile, small groups were being formed to revolt against another group and oust them from their “position” of power. I swear again that I have never seen people changing their stance and joining other groups as and when a group seemed to gain in popularity (And we blame our leaders for changing their parties). I just don’t understand how they could do so? I just changed 3 groups in 2 hours. πŸ™‚

As the “position” of power was swinging from one to the other, I sensed that being a gentleman and waiting for my turn will never get me.. oohh srry, will never get us (huh… self centered me)Β  in the coveted list of 80 people. So I decided on a new strategy. As people continued to fight and abuse each other, I roamed around striking conversation and friendship with the leaders of all the groups. Also, I had our names on all the lists, all in good position except one where I had it in 84th and 85th position. After some real effort of making good gestures and praising people, I was confident that I have had a nice set up and my laptop confirmed my mental calculations that the probability of us getting into that coveted list of 80 people was very high (I’ll avoid getting into the mathematical details of how I arrived at the probability as it depends on the relative and conditional probability which again is another pain in ass).

After being assure of our number, I asked Indra, also the captain of our Cricket Team (I desperately wanted to use an adjective for the “Cricket Team” based on the results of the ongoing cricket tournament, but them realized that most of them will read this and my bones are not that strong) to go back to hotel and freshen up while I stand in line. When he returned on my call, the doors were open and we all were called in according to the list which had us on 80’s position. Slowly, everyone was seated according to their “roll call” and hell fell over when people after 80 were asked to come tomorrow. Just then some one declared that 5 people from list didn’t show up from the 80 announced. I breathed and thought that we surely are in when next 5 i.e. from 81 to 85 are called. I was in for another shock when next 5 names didn’t mention us. Some random people were called in.

I learnt three very important lessons from this incident.

  1. Theory is very different from practical. Probability of an event, how so ever low, does not rule out its chances of occurrence.
  2. I am very weak at probability.
  3. There are smarter people than me in the world who know how to make their way in.

Seems like all hope was lost. All our efforts would go in vain. But I think I was tougher than that. I don’t give up so easily, do I? (People close to me can confirm). I decided that I will get us “inoculated” today, whether by hook or by crook. My mind was already crafting another plan and I some how got the contact of a person who took some bribe and “helped” needy. Hell, we were needy. I got him as my back up while we waited for an official whom our Front Office Executive at office contacted before we left for Bom.. shit.. I meant, Mumbai.

The person came in at 11:30 am and we had a word with him. I offered him a bribe with a subtle mention and he being a government officer, didn’t need another sign to understand. He asked us to go home, rest, and come back at 4pm and said that he’ll look into the matter. We definitely needed rest and more importantly a bath. We were standing there in sun from 5:30 am till 11:40 am and my knee was paining bad. We returned and had 4 hours to kill. So we checked out of hotel and went for the movie IronMan at Inox in Nariman Point.

(Now, as usual, I won’t review the movie as my friend Casper would again point me for that) But some how, I don’t understand how Hollywood manages to make the super hero movies with such finesse. The movie is not that great but the special effects did make it worth watching… ok…ok… I can see the frown on Casper’s face.

After watching the movie, we went back to our trump card. We met quiet a few people who were there since morning and were my “friends” by now. The look on their face was mocking me saying “What happened dude? Didn’t you get through” and I was laughing inside with the look which said “At least I didn’t have to sit in this stinking room from 11 am till 4 pm, and I still will get the inoculated”. (Huh … men will be men).

There is another lesson I learnt when we waited from 3 pm to 5 pm in that stinking room to which even Indra would agree. (If not to my above written self boasting lines). The lesson is never to indulge in a fight with a government officer who is supposed to do even tiniest of your work. Even the lowest level government employee is your god when it comes to get your work done. There was this lady who had a row with the guy who was managing the people and calling their names in order, more or less a peon. He promised and kept the same that she will never get inoculated. All who came before and after that lady got the chance but she did not. She pleaded but her requests fell on deaf ears. Finally, she broke and started crying. I wish I could help her but it would have been equivalent to burning your hands while saving someone’s already burnt house.

As a last glitch, the doctor got furiated saying he will not “inoculate” more than 80 people and some how, I was sent in. I tried all my charm to please him so that he does not send me back out of frustration. He joked about my birth date in a bad manner but I kept my cool. He injected me with medicine and I “deeply” thanked him in the flow of my praises for him. I think I over did the stuff as he said, “Agar itna thank karma hai to mere room ke bahar guard ban ke khada ho ja.” I felt like kicking his balls and replacing them with heavy short-put balls. After all, what could he now do? He cannot take out the serum from my body. But then, the moment passed and I laughed him off and came out of room.

My Reward

Finally, the ordeal was over at 5:30 pn and I realized that it was all for this certificate. We drove back to Pune. I reached my home at 11:30 at night and as I write this, it’s already 1:00 am in the morning.

  1. P.S: Β As I walked out of doctor’s room, I heard him making fun of Indra targeting Indra’s full name. I bet on my typing finger, Indra would have helped me carry the short-put balls.
  2. P.S: This is a very long post.


  1. Heartiest Welcome to Mumbai my frnd.
    Now i hope you understand my contempt 2wards this place.
    Not that Delhi hospitals or nywhere else 4 that matter are free 4rm such struggles, but i sumhw still find Delhi hopitals a better place.
    But you shud be thnkful on one part that even amidst such paining situation n the tiring hectic schedule u got to watch a movie n also go to Gateway. (which i still have not, given to the fact that its almost a yr that I m in mumbai)
    So all in all definitely not a win win situation but yes thats the way it is.

    n yes i knw hw determined you are n hw u will nt rest unless you get wat u want.
    And i also feel that u shud have actaully kicked that doc, as u said he cudnt have taken that serum out 4rm ur body.

  2. lolz!!! this was a awesome read…
    i always say i “hate” mumbai.. i know its a very strong statement to make… no perticular reason but all these reasons overall… guess getting use to the “BHASAD” that preoccupies that place is INTOLERABLE. i have had my share of experiences in “MUMBAI”. somehow feel this is a city so bloody overpacked and swelling by the day that there might just be a possiblity that it blows up itself one day.
    Now being an Indian and talkin all this about one of our “proud cities”, “financial capital” doesn’t seem a god idea. So i shall “control my emotions” here.
    u had “A” gloomy day! me had a series of em’ from railways station to the airport to the bloody fashion street to goregaon’s suberbs… I could shoot a bloody documentary on “MUMBAI”. nd call it “bollywood calling” and depesh “i hope u write reviews for documentaries….”

  3. @Mrunalini
    You won’t believe how good it feels to have you ‘back’ πŸ™‚ (I guess you understand what I mean). About tht kicking, I seriously wanted to but you know, I don’t react on impluse πŸ™‚

    yes man, for sure.. I will write anything for you man πŸ™‚ I am waiting

  4. ur first hand narriative bout my least fav city is the only reason m bak.
    U had put a pretty strng “pull bak” topic this time.
    luking fwd 4 more such write ups

  5. that must have been a harrowing experience….i salute u sir,how can u still manage to be humourous after going thru that ordeal??btw nice piece of info abt yello fever(see i’ve started looking for positives,even in crap…. πŸ˜‰ kidding)…well even after going thru that hellish experience,u r stil subtle while venting out… “replacing with shot put balls” was too much….i have this habit of imagining as i read…damn it was painfull :-))…….

    Btw did u guys booked separate rooms……i apologise in advance if i offend u or indra.

  6. @Mrunalini
    chalo, hum nahi .. apni city ki burayi suna kar hi aap wapas aayin …

    Man, i can;t even start on how I felt thre. It was a horrible time. But ya, i don’t want my readers to go thru the same. So i just try giving them hint of what happened and dilute the problems using 1 table spoon of sugar πŸ™‚
    and pacifying your curiosity, yes, we had a Super Delux Double Bed Room for us πŸ™‚

  7. reallllyyyyy looongg
    but a gud one agn !!

  8. definitely njoyable … love every line of it.
    to b honst, i didn’t feel it long at all πŸ™‚

    btw, that “P.S: This is a very long post. ” …hehe.. man it was hilarious … so was that short-put ball stuff… i can’t stop laughing …

  9. @ashita
    nice to have you back … Thanks !!

    I am glad you enjoyed !! keep visiting !!

  10. Huss!!!! Too Long story!!!.
    How many more injections to go my friend . I can bet you must be having tough time even relaxing on a chair . Must be hating to sit

  11. @Appu
    man, don ask !!
    As per current count … I already had 7 and ther is still 1 more to go.
    Luckily.. its not my butts but my hands that have been at the receiving end !! πŸ™‚

  12. while reading the article i realised that i too will have to go through the same ordeal-tough & humourous experience when i go to take ooops……. sorry inoculate myself for yellow fever before going one of the African countries.

  13. It was loooong… But it was good.. And u dare not use any adjective ever for the Cerillion Cricket Team πŸ™‚
    Hum Honge Kaamyab Ek Din..


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