When toddlers attack

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Little Voice

It's always the same voice that picks up the phone at Delhi Newborn Centre, faint and distant, which has nothing to do with the sometimes scratchy international connection.  I get the feeling he's a faint and distant person.  I think of him as Little Voice.

The first time I called the main hospital number, realizing with chagrin that I had been calling Dr. Gupta's private cell (annoying for him and expensive for me), I thought I had dialed a wrong number.

"Hello," says Little Voice.  No "hello, Delhi Newborn Centre."  Nothing.

"Yes, may I please speak to Dr. Gupta?"

Pause.  "Hello?"

"Dr. Gupta?"  I repeat.

Pause.  "Hello?"

"I'm sorry, I must have a wrong number."  He was showing no sign of understanding English or even of working at DNC.  I hang up and redial.


"Yes, Dr. Gupta please."

"One moment."  Ah.  So he does speak English and I didn't dial a wrong number.

Hold music, an electronic version of "Für Elise" that sounded like something from the loudspeaker of an ice cream truck.  Finally, Dr. Gupta came on the line. 

Another night.  "Hello."

"Yes, Dr. Singh, please."

"Hold please."  I don't hold.  Instead, I'm disconnected.  I call back.


"Yes, Dr. Singh, please."

"Hold please."  This time, Für Elise comes on the line.  Someone picks up.  I hear the noises of the hospital, shuffling, people talking.  Then, a dial tone.  I call back, repeat.  The same exact thing happens.

I call back.  Finally Dr. Singh comes on the line.

This, or something like it, is our nightly ritual.  We find out tomorrow if we´re confirmed on that flight on Friday, so our nightly "Lost in Translation" phone call can be eliminated and we'll always know how our daughters are doing because we'll have them in our arms.  We've both had chest colds this week; Adrián has shaken his, mine is clinging on like toilet paper to a tennis shoe.  It WILL be gone tomorrow.


  1. Oh I cannot tell you how many conversations I've had like this and I live here! Doctor's offices never identify themselves when answering the phone and then are indignant when you ask if they are who you think they are. If I were you I would continue to call Dr. Gupta's cell phone, even after you arrive.

  2. Drink fluids. Take aspirin. Airborne! Anything! Get better for your girls, guys...! Before we left we both had sinus colds and I thought I kicked mine in LA but it ramped up in DC again. But this time after a week of worrying I realized it was the pollen. It's crazy bad here. Soon, soon, hoping that Friday you're confirmed. Can't wait to hear about finally meeting your two daughters and the scratchy voices on the end of line. Hang in there! Hugs.

  3. hahaha I love newbies. You think getting a report by phone is difficult? Wait until you attempt to get those children "in your arms." See you soon;)

  4. Very frustrating indeed. You sound so calm though. I would be a total mess.

  5. Echinacea, green tea and washing your hands and face regularly might help the dreaded colds......Hope all goes well and you do get on those flights so you can be seeing your little girls very soon guys. Looking forward to the updates.

  6. good luck to you guys on the trip over there

  7. Yay! So exciting to think that you'll be there next week!!! Best wishes for safe (and healthy) travel!

  8. Tumeric, warm milk, and a bit of sugar. My (Indian) husband gives this to me all the time for things like colds. Initially I recoiled at the idea of milk and colds as I was always given the (false) old wives tale to avoid diary when sick; however my husband has converted me to this Indian tradition. Tumeric has lots of healing properties and is used for a variety of things (besides food).
    We still argue over the "no getting wet" tradition he was told when one has a cold. A girl needs her hot baths...