Princy where is the drip?
Sainaba kindly arrange for a replacement cath
Anitamol do you not hear the commotion in ward number 7?
Parvathikutty is trying to hide from one VIP patient's wrath.

Malayali nurse there is nothing you will not do.
You save lives in places where you do not belong.
You deliver babies in languages you do not speak.
You wash corpses of people who were vile to their final breath.
You keep calm, Malayali nurse, and you carry on.

I have seen you in Delhi, obviously,
But also in Geneva and France and once on a ship
Seriously, tell me why we gargle on about Bollywood and Tharoor and all
When you are the actual Indian, white-shoe wearing expression of global soft power

But public wants to know, why bother with such perils and pains?
Surely other options were available such as teaching, civil service or Olympic sports?
Why do you swab blood and shave strange hair all day
When you could be sitting in a Catholic Syrian Bank, counting soiled notes?

Well, Princy’s choices were limited by the place she was born in
Her maths was too poor for engineering, and her father was too poor for medicine.
But there was a nursing college near the town center and she thought, why not.
(Nowadays she can operate dental X-ray machine without any supervision.)

Sainaba’s married to an NRI in Kuwait
Who turned out to be an auto engineer only in the sense that he stood next to engines
That were inside cars, that he washed each morning.
Sainaba will do two or even three shifts if you ask her.

Anitamol does it for the money, pure and simple.
She was born into a poor family with a remarkable ability to get poorer still
So she works very hard and has a Western Union Money Transfer loyalty card.
Parvathikutty, apparently, likes helping people.

(But she is perhaps being a little self-delusional.
Parvathikutty originally got a job in a detergent factory
But that shut down due to a labour problem arising out of multinational boorshwa imperialism
The factory has since become a cinema theatre with a Pizza Hut.)

But what dignity is there in sending your girls away
To work fingers to the bone in some foreign land, just for the remittances?
At least when the boys plunge from Qatari scaffoldings
They splatter with manly honour.

On the upside their children may never empty bedpans
Geneva Mary has two sons, both in high positions in private sector
Nandini (Ajman) had one daughter who is now a radiologist in the same hospital
Thoppil Fatima saved so much money she opened a supermarket that accepts credit cards

However, it is not all good news, due to this being the real world.
Some nurses live miserable lives and die muffled deaths
Some others get kidnapped, returned, rejected, and then re-exported.
But many, according to unverified rumours, live normal lives.

That is not to say that all Malayali nurses are good.
Some are not always kind, some are not always happy
Some are not even particularly good and are used for admin purposes
But they are all trying to do something for a living just like software engineers or social media consultants

According to one ‘poet’, a shimmering Adonis of a man, Malayali nurses are all dark and short and ugly
Others are tall and scary and speak in a funny accent.
Cahn yew feel yeny payin when aiyam tutching hiyar?
Sister Rosemary you forget all this nonsense and come urgently
Because I think there is blood in my mother's urine.