Kanchanben first visited me 15 yrs ago. She was a Gujrati lady from Saurastra region,wore bright colored Sari in Guju style and a big round Red bindi adorned her forehead.Kanchanben had an air of authority which was palpable. Her writ run in the family matters.She accompanied her Daughter in Law Manjula,who was Pregnant. Kanchanben's husband was Cloth Merchant and had shop in Mumbai. Her eldest son helped in family business. Manjula was fair and beutiful. She had to cover her face with Ghungat and talked very softly. It was difficult to hear her and take proper history. Kanchanben would prompt her and admonish Manjula to tell me about all her complaints.
Investigation and Medicine that I had prescribed had to pass muster with Kanchanben.I had the feeling that Manjula was not allowed to follow all the instructions,especially about rest and exercise and food she should eat. Manjula had no say in the matter, everything was decided by Kanchanben. Manjula had normal delivery and Kanchanben was present in the delivery room.She was first to cradle her Grandson.Post delivery, Manjula had to follow all the traditional things thats carried out post delivery.Me and Neonatologist were completely ignored and hospital routine was tossed out of window.Same routine was followed when Manjula delivered again after few years. Kanchanben was in charge of all the social and family matters and had last word.
Last year Kanchanben lost her husband.
Last week Manjula came for consultation.Kanchanben was with her. I just couldn't recognise her. she had changed completely. She was wearing very plain,pastel colored saree.Big Red Chandlo had disappeared.Her hair were disheveled and face was haggard. Manjula was in charge,and did not allow Kanchanben to say a word. She readily agreed to get investigations done and took appointment for follow up visit to show the report.
Manjula kept her appointment but she had come alone.