I was in the clinic doing nothing worthwhile. One of the consultants who visits my clinic was attending to a patient. It was a young boy and his parents were standing closeby, anxiously watching what was going on. (Though all they could see was the back of the consultant’s head). I had nothing to do. In fact, there was no need for me to be in the clinic at all but my patients feel better if I am around. This is not my statement. Patients say that! God knows what makes them feel so, it blows up my head! Well, anyway, In such a situation, I either occupy myself writing some nonsense like this and forcing it on others or if I cannot conceive anything, try to be harmless with reading a book or listening to some music on my laptop.
It was the same scene yesterday. I put on some music, plugged my ears with the earpiece and was listening. ( I don’t like these ear plugs.They keep falling off my ears and I have to repeatedly push them in and hold my head in one particular position to keep them in place. But I have to use them because of the presence of others in the clinic and what I listen to, may not be ‘music’ to their ears!). It was a lively classical composition of carnatic style and without my knowledge my fingers were tapping on the table. My consultant asked me what was so interesting and I disconnected the earphone and put the speaker on for a moment so that she could hear and appreciate it. By then somebody called at the door and I switched the music off and went out to answer.
I returned after few minutes, placed the earphones in my ears again and switched the music on. It was now hindustani classical, ‘Bhairavi’ By Panditi Bhimsen Joshi. Usually Pandit Joshi’s rendition is robust but here, I felt that the sound was very low. I increased the volume. Now, I could hear the music but felt it would sound better if the volume was even higher. There must have been something wrong with the recording. I turned the volume to full and felt that was OK. The consultant raised her head and looked at me. I smiled and signalled it was fine. She and the boy’s parents exchanged some words but I concentrated on the music and did not interfere.
Some time later my son entered the clinic. He is also a dentist and he puts in a cameo appearance in my clinic now and then. The consultant who was working was his good friend. As soon as he entered he covered his ears with his palms, came close to me and said
“What is wrong with you? Why have you kept the volume so high?”
“There is something wrong with this stupid YOU TUBE, the sound is very low. I can hardly hear anything”
“What do you mean low? I could hear it in the next room and came to see what is happening”
Then he looked at the lap top and said
“Wah, No wonder the volume is low. You have put the earphones in your ears but haven’t connected them to the laptop. You are the one who is stupid. Not YOU TUBE”
Then the tube in my head clicked on. I had detached the earphone from the computer so that the consultant could hear the music but later I had not connected it again. I had only plugged my ears with the earphones and had switched the music on. The faint sound that I was hearing was actually the blaring lap top, filtered by my ear plugs! Thinking that something was wrong with the recording I had taken the volume beyond the tolerable limit of others and they had been politely bearing with the volume and my stupidity.
I was very much embarrassed for having made a fool of myself. I switched the music off, took out the ear pieces and addressed everybody present.
“ I am so sorry. It was so stupid of me. I did not notice that I haven’t connected the earphones to the computer” And to save my face, I added
“ I think it is my age” ( I completed sixty last september and am now allowed a reasonable margin in my social behaviour)
My son smiled and bent low
“Good try” he whispered “ but you can’t always mask your stupidity with your age!”