THE INDIAN DOCTOR

By Len A.Hynds

An elderly lady came into the station very worried about her late employers, as she was unable to rouse them, after repeated knocking on their front door. She told me that from the age of sixteen she had worked as a housemaid and cleaner for them, a young Indian couple recently married and very much in love. The man, was Doctor Mahindra, and he had set up his surgery at the side of his big rambling house in Peckham (London). They had no children and were just devoted to each other. She told me that she had grown old with them, and six years previously, the doctor had retired, and then a year later told her that he felt the housework was getting too much for her, and she must retire, and he would employ a younger person, but he would still like her to do the weekly shopping for them.

This she did, but now having no keys she had to go into the back garden to the kitchen door, where the doctor would meet her, give her money and take in the shopping. She never did meet any new young cleaner. She suddenly realised that he would stand in the kitchen door and it would have been rude to have pushed past him into the kitchen, so for about five years she had never entered the house. On the particular day she came to us she could get no reply to repeated knockings on the back door and feared the worst.

I drove to the house and being a dark winters evening, had difficulty finding the big rambling house set back from the road, surrounded by trees and bushes, all overgrown.

No answer at the front door, the house in total silent darkness, so I went through into the garden and tried at the kitchen door, shining my torch up at all the windows. There was no answer so I Flowers On Coffin ecided to break in, and broke the kitchen door window, and unlocked the door.

The kitchen was filthy, and with the aid of my torch went out into this basement passage, and nearly trod on the dead body of the very old doctor. It looked like natural causes, and by the cobwebs festooning that passage which had grown over the body, I guessed he had lain there for about a week. I slowly searched the house with my torch looking for the wife, having to force a way through those cobwebs which were everywhere. I entered a first floor bedroom, which was the couple’s bedroom, and beside the double bed was a coffin on trestles and in it the mummified body of his wife. When she had died some four years previously, he had embalmed her and kept her body still laying beside him at night. Her skin was as leather and a horrific sight, but just above here on the sideboard were pictures of her as a young bride, a most beautiful Indian girl, with burnt down candles either side and the remains of flowers making it like a shrine.

I couldn't wait to get out of that house of horror, but realised that the poor man could not bear to be parted from her, and I had witnessed the eternity of love.