Within seconds Amin uncle dashed across and was next to Jamila, anxiously bending over her, asking if she was alright and then he grasped her shoulders to help her to stand up. Jamila gently removed his hands, curtly saying, “I am OK .I will get up by myself. Please attend to the boys.”
By this time uncle was already helping us to get down from our steeds. He looked uneasy at the crowd gathering around us. Most of the locals and the shopkeepers recognized him and he was keen to move out of the fair. Jamila was now on her feet and dusting her clothes. Uncle looked at her concerned. “Will you be able to walk to the car?”
“Yes.” She replied and started to walk - limping badly.
“I think we should take her to the doctor.” Amin uncle suggested. “Supposing she has a fracture.”
“No.” she said resolutely as we got into the car. "I am perfectly alright or soon will be. I’ll just apply some turmeric poultice, rub some balm and take a pain killer.”
“We’ll stop at the chemists.” Uncle suggested.
“No need .I have all this stuff in my first aid box.”
There was a look of amazement in uncle’s eyes, “So you have a first aid box. Where did you acquire all this knowledge?”
Jamila flushed with pride. “I learnt from the sister at our primary health center.”
Amin uncle too looked impressed. “Seems you have interest in medicine.” He said as we drove out on the main road , away from the hustle and bustle of the fair .
“Yes.” She said softly, a far away look in her eyes. “I used to dream as a child, of becoming a doctor.”
“Then why didn’t you?” Amin uncle asked.
Jamila laughed. “Become a doctor? In our village girls can’t even complete school .I was made to sit at home after my 8th standard.”
“This is terrible. My father too didn’t want me to study after matriculation. He wanted me to sit in his shop but uncle- Javed’s father, insisted that I should be allowed to study further – to become a lawyer. He also financed my education . Javed, why don’t you speak to uncle...”
My uncle was frowning. I could see his lips twitching –which meant he was irritated. He suddenly halted the car. I realized that we were right in front of Dr. Gupta’s house.
“I think we should visit the Doctor to check if Jamila is OK. Get down,,Jamila.” His voice was gruff and commanding. Jamila silently obeyed. He turned to Amin uncle. “You stay here with the boys.”
Now as I remembered the incident I could understand the reason for uncle being upset .He was keenly conscious that Amin uncle was trying to build an affinity with Jamila : he was making her aware that they came from similar backgrounds, that both were dependent on grandfather’s munificence and thereby cut him out of their circle.
Amin uncle looked miffed as Jamila dutifully followed uncle .I saw him wince when Jamila stumbled and uncle steadied her: she leaned on his arm, glancing up at him shyly.