Sunday, 14 July 2013

Doctor, Heal Thyself

[My childhood memories, both sweet and sour, are many and varied. They still linger in my heart as I cherish them and safe keep them from the onslaughts of Time. One such dramatic and sad experience that stands out still in the vault of my memory is my encounter with a quack. It happened when I was early in my teens.]

Faced with pecuniary hardships, DU [Doctor Uncle, my neighbor], had decades back, discontinued his medical studies and become a doctor … a self-made-pseudo doctor. His working in a clinic as a paramedic gave him the audacity to call him a doctor.

As luck had it, he soon became famous and most sought-after doctor in my area. For, people believed that he had some mystical healing power in him and his mere touch on the patients would cure them of their ailments. However, aunty [DU’s wife] never gave a fig to such beliefs, calling them rubbish and DU a quack.

Though past 50, DU looked smart with his French goatee and neatly groomed hair. [Hair!!! He had only strands and that too at the back of his head, which, with much effort, he had combed it and brought it to the front just to hide his gleaming pate]. I always saw him wearing dhoti in a Diwan-like style, sporting a black coat over his shirt.

Saturn led my dad to take me to DU when I had an earache for days on end. Leaving me to the doctor’s custody, my dad went on his official tour. DU peered into my ear with the help of a flashlight and tweaked it gently. He then became contemplative for a while and said: ‘Only people afflicted with brain tumor will have such unbearable earache.’ I hardly heard what he said as I felt like blasted and blown into pieces. I screamed my head off and my body trembled.

However, DU was cool. He consoled me saying that he could cure all kinds of tumors, both benign and malignant, with his ‘Touch Therapy’, a device he had acquired after a long research. I stood wonder-struck. Later, when I was watching the film Munna Bhai M.B.B.S, an involuntary thought about DU flashed my addled head.

More grueling was the following day. I went into tears and refused when DU asked me to get a tonsure. He then took me to a dingy lab and had me undergone all the medical tests he knew by his books/journals. We also went to an ENT specialist as DU wanted a second opinion on his diagnosis. ‘Hell with his diagnosis; this cad only takes me for a ride,’ I moaned.

The ENT was a baldie, had untrimmed bushes of hair falling on the sides of his head. I was scared of his bushy mustache and pock --marked face. He had a cache of medical instruments displayed on his table. Not allowing me to take a second look at his ‘stockpile’, he lifted up my chin and peered into my ear as DU did before.

To my great shock, the ENT took out a small tong from his cache, shoved it into my ailing ear, twisted it a bit and pulled it away as fast as he could not minding my screams. Gosh, out came with the tong was a bit of a broken pencil, which I recalled I had thrust into my ear a week back. ‘Had been searching this bloody stub for long’, I shouted with joy and tried to release me from the grip of the ENT.

But, he didn’t let me go. He poured some stingy jell into my beleaguered ear and covered it with a big bandage, which ran across my face and covered my left eye too. I felt looking like another Moshe Dayan. ‘Sure, it’s a value-added to my semi-deafness’, I moaned again.
‘Who the nut?’ the ENT snarled at me throwing the pencil bit into the dustbin. ‘Who got you into all those bloody tests when you’re in perfect health?’

‘Doctor Uncle’, I mumbled.

‘Why, did you call me uncle?’ the ENT growled, twirling his mustache. ‘Yes … no’, I sputtered. He looked at me sternly for a moment and then blared out, ‘uh, you mean that old bloke with a black coat. I saw him sneaking out of my room when I was taking the pencil bit from your ear.’

Aghast I stood, cursing DU and calling him names. I didn’t know even today how I escaped from the ENT’s ominous spell.

 I went to the DU’s house again after six months. Aunty was persistently inviting me home as she was outraged over the ordeal I underwent due to her quack husband’s wrong diagnosis. I was puzzled seeing DU sitting on a bench in his room which was once his clinic. He was clean shaven. His pate was more gleaming than ever due to the conspicuous absence of even a few strands of hair. ‘Who robbed his black coat?’ I thought.

 His table too was clean and tidy. There was no trace of medical books/journals. It was now decked up with volumes of Ramayana and Mahabharata. Reading my mind, Aunty said: ‘Easwar, I’ve banned his doctor business; I’ll never allow him to play that game again after what he had done to you.’ She went to the kitchen to brew tea for me.

I smiled triumphantly at DU, but he, the maverick, took a bunch of papers from one of the volumes of Ramayana and showed them to me. No doubt, they were patient’s call sheets tucked away cleverly in between the pages of the two epics. The call sheets hinted DU’s calling on the patients at their homes instead of having them called him at his clinic.

‘A mobile clinic. Tell your dad that he too can call me to your house if you people like,’ DU murmured and smiled at me rather impishly.

And that triggered my running away from his house abruptly without waiting for auntie. I ran home so swiftly and recklessly, which I never did in the past nor would do it in my lifetime.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Look at the Ocean, not at the Waves

We fail to see the Ocean for the Waves

That ‘true love triumphs’, a time-tested belief accepted by the human race from the days of Adam and Eve, still stands tall giving testimony to the power of love. Love has many connotations; many hues and colors like the working of human minds. Well, efforts put in by etymologists to define the term love go flat since it is not defined by words but by one’s feelings and emotions.

But then, our shimmering passions for love only make us look at its pinnacle since most of us are not able to reach it because of varied reasons. ‘Love is God; love is divine; love is bliss and peace; and love is blind too’ are some of the emotional outbursts we indulge in all through our life without experiencing or feeling all the dimensions of love or without our being able to reach its crest.

To many of us, love is the foam crested waves that are lashing at the shore. We always look at the waves only and not at the fathomless depth of an ocean. It is so easy to look into dots and miss the sight of the picture. Our mental vacation is so crude that it happens without our knowing it.  

An ailing, but obstinate child nags her mother for a cup of ice cream and cries her head off when it is denied. Seemingly, the mother has a heart of stone in not yielding to the demand of her child, but truly she is the incarnation of love as she is more concerned with the health of her daughter than her crying for ice cream. A father is too revealing his concern and love for his teenage daughter when he reproaches her for speaking on her cell phone at midnight. Such a father and mother are on the crest of love since they think their mollycoddling of their children may spoil their well-being and safety.

Sometimes, you may see a man, with good physique, standing at a street corner and craving the passers-by for alms. Instead of giving him a few bucks as your counterparts are doing, you may get him a job and make him live decently. Through such an admirable action you show your love for the society. Sure, your noble act makes you reach out to the pinnacle of love where the Angel of Love welcomes you with a curtsy as she is happy with your displaying of a rare gesture and responding to the unexpressed needs of a beggar.

Lee Kuan Yew, the former Prime Minister of Singapore, showed an altogether different dimension of love for his country when he brought forth a host of capital punishments to rein the occurrence of crimes and to make Singapore a heaven of peace and one of the developed nations in Asia. He did this with an iron hand for the well-being of the people.

It is not uncommon in life to see a person make the other suffer. But, if the cause for making others suffer is to see them happy ultimately, then such an action can be called love … love in disguise. Lee Kuan Yew did this to his country and god, too, is doing this to many of us quite often.

There are people with questionable characters who get things done for others by dubious means: from a drunkard by making him tipsier and from a crazy woman by giving her gold and diamonds. This is always done in the name of love. But, love can never be manipulated. It must never be used to make others do what you want. When you love someone, you must never ask them to sacrifice even a part of themselves in the name of love. This form of manipulation contaminates our love for others.

Eventually, love is the name of the relationship we are trying to have with someone who are closer to us. Rather, it’s a sort of fine feelings … an intention to serve the well-being of others, which may, sometimes, get crowned or crucified. Just read what Kahlil Gibran has to say about love:

“When love beckons to you, follow him/ though his ways are hard and steep/and when his wings enfold you, yield to him/though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you/And when you speaks to you, believe him/ though his voice may shatter your dream as the north wind lays waste the garden.”

Image courtesy: Google