Thursday, December 31, 2009

Appreciating Classical Music

The Samrat club international, a cultural organization, organizes a classical music festival in Ponda every year. It was their thirtieth festival this year. It is usually spread over three days, having three sessions every day. I remember reading the names of maestros like Sri Bhimsen joshi, Sri Hariprasad chourasia, Sri Jitendra abhisheki, Smt kishori amonkar, Sri Amjad ali khan and many other equally eminent personalities, in the list of concerts during these festivals. Surely a feast for music lovers.

I have been in Ponda for the past twenty three years, living at a distance of three kilometers from the venue where these concerts are held. I have had nothing worth mentioning about to engage me otherwise at the time of these concerts and still, have been foolish enough to miss all of them (seventy one – to be exact) but one. The one which I attended last Sunday. It is not that I am averse to classical music. (I do like it when they play/sing according to my liking) It is just indifference.
This year I made a firm decision that I would attend at least one of the concerts, and chose the middle session on the Sunday evening. And I made it to the concert. A beginning and better late than never. Even though twenty three years late is as good or as bad as ‘never’.

I reached the venue at 7.30 PM when the first session had just ended and people were walking out of the hall for a cup of tea or just for a small stroll in the compound to loosen their limbs. I met many people known to me, who said “hello doctor, Free evening today? How did you like it? ‘Raag’ ******** was great. Don’t you think so?” etc and I simply nodded my head vaguely.

I went into the hall and occupied a chair near the exit so that I could clear out unnoticed if I felt so. The second session, a ‘Jugalbandhi’ was about to start and the artistes were already on the stage. I knew that two musicians perform together in a ‘Jugalbandhi’ and there were indeed two smart, young artistes on the stage dressed alike in green ‘kurta’s, facing the audience, lovingly holding their stringed instruments. The third gentleman sat confidently with his hands poised on the ‘Tabla’.

I look at all musicians with a mixture of appreciation, admiration, awe, wonder and many more such words. I do not know how they manage to produce those wonderful sounds. Some people are endowed with super human skills which elude me. I have tentatively tried teasing the strings of a ‘veena’, pressing the keys of a ‘harmonium’ and beating on the ‘Tabla’ and have noted the effect with great regret. Since I felt that producing the sounds with one’s own throat is much easier, I have tried my throat too and it has never failed to bring my children out of their rooms with folded hands, begging me to stop. So much so, my singing is in great demand when children remain stubbornly stuck to their laptops and refuse to come out of their room in spite of my wife repeatedly calling out to them.

The compe’re introduced the artistes, and I think she spoke highly about their training, practice, achievements etc and mentioned the name of the ‘raag’ (which I do not recollect) with which the concert would begin. She spoke in Marathi and I only got the names of the artistes and the name of the raag.

They began tuning their instruments and matching one with the other. I could very well recognize the ‘tabla’ and was sure that one of the stringed instruments was a ‘Sitar’. I could not recognize the second instrument. From a distance (near the exit) and without my glasses (I had thought that since only my ears are involved, there was no need for the glasses) it looked flat and trapezoidal in shape and I thought it might be a ‘Santoor’ or similar instrument. The process of tuning and matching went on for sometime. Then the artiste with the unknown instrument started humming in a low tone so that the sitar artiste could tune his sitar, better. The ‘tabla’ artiste was sitting quietly. The gentleman with the unknown instrument kept humming without playing his instrument audibly. Whenever he stopped, the sitar artiste produced some low sounds. It sounded alright for me but they were not satisfied. They went on humming and playing softly. I waited for the three of them to perk up and start the performance so that I could enjoy it but they never did. The humming, tuning and matching went on for nearly forty minutes and then even the humming stopped. Everyone in the hall woke up and clapped! I was flabbergasted. The musicians did not even begin in full earnest and these people were clapping!

I know when to clap in a concert. I have been out of touch but not new to classical concerts. During our childhood, we used to attend almost all the concerts that were organized at the time of Ramanavami celebrations in Bangalore. We went there and sat through the performance waiting for it to end and the ‘prasad’ (delicacies that had been offered to the lord) to be distributed. We dozed through when the music was slow and woke up when the notes went high. The artiste with the stringed instrument would be playing wildly with his hands moving up and down fast, (like my voltage stabilizer needle, during erratic supply) the vocalist would be hitting his thighs hard with his palm and his folded leg in turn would be rhythmically hitting the floor, the percussionist would be beating the hell out of his ‘tabla’, ‘mridangam’ or the‘ghatam’(which, during the heat of playing, he sometimes threw into the air and caught it back – he never missed, to our utter disappointment. All of them would be intently looking into each other’s faces, making appreciative gestures and nodding their heads in tandem and they would stop abruptly just in time to avoid the percussionist breaking his instrument.

That’s when everyone clapped. Not when the musicians had just about begun.

I wanted to share my feelings and noticed an elderly gentleman who was known to me, sitting in the next row. I went and sat next to him, talked about the performance and casually mentioned about audience without taste, clapping at inappropriate moments. I told him that it spoilt the atmosphere and the artiste’s moods. Then I wondered why the concert had not yet started and why only the sitar artiste was playing his instrument in spite of the concert being a ‘Jugalbandhi’?

He turned towards me and gave me a look which would have made me wilt had I not put in extra efforts during the morning ‘yoga’ and ‘praanaayam’. He said that it was a ‘Jugalbandhi’ of VOCAL AND SITAR and that they had just done the ‘aalaap’ of the ‘raag’ splendidly. The unknown stringed instrument was a ‘swarmandal’ which the vocalist used to maintain his ‘raag’ and pitch!

I retreated quietly, went far from the elderly gentleman and in spite of the set back in enjoying classical music, sat through the remaining performance. Since the artistes have to cater to all tastes, they did play my type of music near the end and I was gratified to see them coming up to my expectations and exhaust themselves. I did enjoy the concert and even clapped, perfectly timing it with all others when the ‘tabla’ artiste was about to beat his ‘tabla’ into smithereens. That was the end of the concert.

I am waiting for the next year’s music festival to continue my learning.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Letter to Editor

Usually I tend to gloss over (what I consider to be) the idiocies that are exhibited by our political class that are published in the papers. The picture of our Hon CM on a two wheeler rally pricked a bit deeper. I hate all these rallies and processions which disrupt normal life, irrespective of the cause for which they are purported to have been held. I could not help sending a letter to the editor which is likely to go into the recycle bin. But I can bug my friends through my blog. Here it is if you wish to read.

This is in response to the front page news/photograph published in Navhind Times dt 29th Dec. It was very sad to see our chief minister taking part in the two wheeler rally organized by the congress workers. There has been a lot of concern all over the world regarding the emission levels and the harmful effects. The Copenhagen summit has been in the front page of all news papers during the last month. Developing countries are being asked to cut down on emissions even at the cost of their development. We cannot prevent emissions and vehicles have to move on the roads. But what was the need to add to it by taking out a rally involving hundreds of two wheelers and giving a gift of additional dose of carbon monoxide to the citizens of Panaji on the occasion of the congress party entering 125th year of its existence? Every little bit adds, every little gesture counts. If they needed to make a show, they could have walked, creating only nuisance and avoiding additional pollution. I can understand some irresponsible party workers indulging in such exhibitions. But the Chief Minister of the state? He needs to be sensitive to all issues concerning the society and set an example.
Making the world more livable is only possible if it is inculcated in the mindset and all our actions are in keeping with the thought.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Whether you are inclined or not, the Christmas spirit envelopes you in Goa. The streets are dotted with decorated grottos, small, large and extra large, and an occasional one as large as a tennis court. The youngsters who have toiled over their grottos during the past week or two, have finished admiring the effect and have climbed on to the mini trucks with their guitars and are roaming the city singing carols. Every catholic house has at least one star and a garland of serial lights. My enthusiastic neighbour’s Christmas decoration makes a pretty picture from my balcony.

I have kept the packet of Christmas gift and the sweets from the sisters of St. Mary’s convent, un opened and visible in our living room so that I do not forget to go over there and wish them tomorrow.

Happy Christmas.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Death - difficult subject.

Few days back, there was an article in the Times Of India about the acceptance of a petition in the supreme court. The petition was on behalf of Ms Aruna shanbaug, filed by a friend, requesting the court to allow Ms Shanbaug to end her life peacefully. Ms Shanbaug is in Coma for the last thirty six years. Her family has deserted her and she is being cared for by the nurses of KEM hospital Mumbai, where she was a staff nurse herself.

Death, the inevitable, is a subject on which my mind spends considerable time (and ends up with nothing worthwhile to show for it) and euthanasia or ‘mercy killing’ figures prominently. I have many suggestions to offer to the Hon Supreme court if it decides to give a verdict in favour of euthanasia and seeks my help to thrash out details! I am happy to note that our supreme court which had brushed aside many petitions earlier has decided to consider the matter.

I do not have enough knowledge or capability to think about all the intricacies - legal, social, emotional, practical - that are involved in the process of mercy killing and take a stand. I should leave it to the more knowledgeable amongst us to decide about it. But, if nobody can make up their minds and if all of us are asked to vote yes or no, (using our guts, keeping the brain aside) my vote would be a YES in capitals.

Till date, I have been lucky enough neither having to face a sudden death at close quarters nor to be in a situation where I am required to pray for death. We have no control over the first part but are trying to achieve some control over the second.

Sri DVG who has thought about almost every aspect of life and has put his wisdom in very appealing verses for our benefit, has the following to say about death.

ಒಂದಗುಳು ಹೆಚ್ಚಿರದು, ಒಂದಗುಳು ಕೊರೆಯಿರದು
ತಿಂದು ನಿನ್ನನ್ನಋಣ ತೀರುತಲೆ ಪಯಣ.
ಒಂದುಚಣ ಹಿಂದಿರದು, ಕಾದಿರದು ಮುಂದಕುಂ
ಸಂದಲೆಕ್ಕವದೆಲ್ಲ ಮಂಕುತಿಮ್ಮ.

Not a grain more nor a grain less,
Eat your due and depart.
Not a second before, nor a second later,
It is all an account already settled.

Can we amend Mankutimma?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cricket Match

Yesterday I observed a rare phenomenon. Many of my patients remained in the waiting room, watching the TV, even after their treatment was over. Usually people are eager to get out of the clinic as early as possible, forgetting to collect the prescription and more often, forgetting to pay me. I was intrigued. It was only this morning that I learnt (through the news paper) that it was raining runs over the cricket field yesterday and India won in a nail biting finish.

There was a time when we played cricket all evenings and sat with our ears glued to the borrowed transistor radio (our neighbour’s) to hear the running commentary of Ranaji trophy matches. We did not have a radio in our house.

Seeing the Australians in person during the Southzone V/S Australia match in Bangalore was literally (as it turned out)once in a life time chance for me. There used to be a huge rush for tickets and we had to reach the ground well before six in the morning to be sure of getting one. Since the buses did not start so early, we got up at 4 AM and walked all the way to the Central college grounds in Bangalore, got the ticket and after fighting our way to be as close to the boundary line as possible, had to remain seated on the ground and hold to our places. We remained seated on the hot ground throughout the day in the hot sun but immensely enjoyed the match. Since there was no possibility of beating the crowd and getting into the bus after the match, we walked back home, dusty, hungry, thirsty, sun tanned and happy. E A S Prasanna got four Wickets (if I remember right) in the post tea session and that thrill compensated everything.

Now, there are two TV sets in front of me, one international match almost everyday but I have lost the skill of getting thrilled. "ಹಲ್ಲಿದ್ದಾಗ ಕಡಲೆ ಇಲ್ಲ, ಕಡಲೆ ಇದ್ದಾಗ ಹಲ್ಲಿಲ್ಲ" (when the teeth are there, no nuts and when there are nuts, no teeth) as the saying goes.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sunday evening - contd...

Since I reached dinner time yesterday and since I did not intend disturbing the peaceful atmosphere at home(rare) by delaying my appearance at the table after dinner was served, I posted my piece in a hurry and left. I am adding the left over bit today.

While writing about these music and dance shows I wanted to mention about one such show hosted by Sri S P Balasubramaniam which has Sri Jayant kaykini as co host. There is nothing new in the show but SPB’s words make a difference here. He puts the children at ease, points out very gently if they go wrong, sings himself to demonstrate how it should be and sometimes, relates the songs to the classical ragas on which they are based by singing the ragas. He never lets down any one.

If I sing there, his comment would be, “That was great, doctor Raghunandan. God has given you the gift of singing and soothing the mind, apart from healing the body. Very good. You were out of tune, the notes were wrong and rhythm did not exist. But for these minor defects your singing was perfect. If you can sing so well without training and practice, I don’t know where you could have reached, had you learnt to sing and practiced well. I feel small in front of you.” And you will feel it is straight out of his heart.

Sri Kaykini is another sensible host. After hearing a seductive song sung by a seven year old, he said “Your singing is good. But you would have been much better if you had understood the meaning. We cannot expect that from you. This song is not for your age. Your parents and teacher should have thought about it. You did your job well.”

(the words of sri Kaykini are very much similar to those of Sri Shivaram karanth which Brinda has quoted in her comment)

Some sanity is still there.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunday Evening

This Sunday evening was hanging on me. One of the music organizations of which I happen to be a member, had announced a classical singing programme by members in a temple near Ponda. The programme was to begin at 4 pm and I was there on the dot at 4.30. A carpet had been spread before the deity and a mike set was in attendance along with a harmonium on which two small girls were trying their hand. I did not see any other member. (Please note that I was NOT on the ‘singing’ list. I went there only to listen.) Usually, one of the pillars of the society, (the only pillar, rather) a knowledgeable and pious old man is always present. Today even he was missing. I waited for fifteen minutes, offered my pranams to the lord and returned.

We went for a walk and since my wife is recovering from a sprain, it was over in half an hour. I had 3 hrs and 30 minutes before dinner. Nothing else to do. I mean, there were many things like calculating income tax, clearing my desk, removing the cobwebs from the corners, cleaning the fan blades etc etc which I could have attended to, but they are not classified under ‘something to do’ category. They are in ‘to post pone for ever’ category.

My wife decided to exercise her fingers by surfing the channels and I decided to exercise my eyes. They caught a programme of ‘grooming’ the Femina miss India contestants. Today it was a dentist and her associate giving the contestants instructions on oral hygiene and ‘smiling from the heart’.(actually a cardiologist should also have been there because it was 'smiling' from the 'heart') I HAD to see that. The dentist wore a ‘designer’ apron and spoke at a much lower level than what I used to, when I spoke in front of 3rd standard students during my ‘school dental health programme’. It was followed by demonstration of cleaning and whitening teeth. During this, the dentist gave a heavily worded talk on ‘bacteria’ in the mouth and how careful one should be with them. While she was ‘cleaning,’ there was a cloud of spray of saliva+water swirling around her head and she had a mask on, which only covered the mouth and left the nose open. Evidently, the bacteria she was dealing with, did not know the way through the nose. They (dentists, not bacteria) have clinics in Bomaby, Pune and Goa and must be earning lakhs ‘designing’ smiles for foolish future miss Indias while I keep making useless comments and work ten times more to earn twenty times less.

Another programme on the TV was a singing and dance contest. One boy of about 8-10 years sang a song “I am in love truly with you. You are my dream girl forever. Come dear, more near” and some more nonsense. Another boy and a girl of the same age danced for the song. The judge said “excellent performance. The energy level was very good. Body language was fantastic. You need to put a little more feeling” and the parents clapped beaming. The song said “I am in love with you, come dear more near”, innocent children of 8-10 years age performed, the idiotic judge appreciated and asked for “more feeling” and the stupid parents beamed and clapped. Instant fame is making everyone mad. There are dozens of such programmes and millions of us watching and clapping. God save us.

I decided to spend the remaining part of the evening typing this and now,have reached the dinner time. Bye,

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tiger In My Thoughts

Day 1 : Tiger Woods crashes his car onto a tree near his house. Car damaged. Tiger intact. Photograph of Tiger and his crashed car.
Day 2 : Tiger Woods confesses that he cheated his wife. Photographs of Tiger, wife and ‘Woh’.
Day 3 : Tiger Woods offers five million to his wife as compensation. (for what?)
Day 4 : Details of Tiger’s SMSs to his girlfriends. (There are two now)
Day 5 : Tiger Woods is worried that photographs of his activities may become public.
Day 6 : Tabloids make ‘quote your price’ offer to anyone who can provide photographs and proof of ‘sexploits’.
Day 7: Long list of Tiger wood’s ‘Woh’s and their photographs. Tiger offers 80 million to his wife for remaining ‘married’ to him. (Ten million per girl friend?)
Day 8 : Ten girl friends and a mother-in- law who is ill. Details of m-in-law’s illness etc etc. Associated rumours.

All this is front page news in all our national dailies and ‘breaking news’ on our channels.
No, I am not disgusted with Tiger Woods’ activities. It is his personal matter. I am disgusted with our interest in his activities. What is Tiger Woods? Accepted that he is great with his golf clubs and made billions so as to be able to pay millions in compensation when caught. But, of what consequence is he to our life?

If he is of no consequence and if the whole thing is his personal business, why did I read all the details, see all the clips and maintain a log? Well, that is what I am unable to understand. There is no doubt about my feeling towards the importance that is being accorded to this affair. It IS disgusting. Then? Do I read all this because the papers publish it and channels keep breaking it? or is it the other way round? I have no answer.

I read somewhere that we addictively watch soaps and movies because in our subconscious we yearn to do things that the characters in movies and serials do. Since we can’t behave like them in our real life, we gain satisfaction by watching them on the screen.

Is it the same here?

I don’t like the inference.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Good Doctor

Note: Please do not get a wrong impression of my practice and clinical skills after reading this piece. It is not ALWAYS THAT bad.

The nature of my work involves giving relief from pain and restoring wrecked teeth to their original. As far as the first objective is concerned, I manage to achieve that (almost always) without inflicting additional pain. When it comes to restoring teeth to their original, well, if it is somewhat close to original, I should be very happy. Usually I reach, if not very close, with in visible distance of original. Since the expectations of my patients is not very high, most of them are satisfied with what they get. As a result, I am used to receiving bouquets than brickbats. If not a bouquet, a flower or at least a petal.

When a succession of cases turn out right, I tend to take it as routine and start thinking of myself as something exceptional in the field. I start reveling in the imaginary glory and will need a well aimed brick to bring me back to my senses. I get it once in a way but usually the throwers do not intend hitting me hard. Very rarely I get someone who can express their feelings clearly and forcefully, in no uncertain terms. They tear out the crown that I will have built on my head and put me back in my place.

This gentleman was a native of UP, amply expressive in his hindi and spoke the words as they formed in his mind. No polishing. Most of its flavor is lost when translated to English but I have no other way of communicating his words to my friends. We have to make do with my translation. Still, I think it provides a fairly good idea. For the benefit of those who can understand hindi, I have tried to put his words as I heard them, though I have a feeling that I only make matters worse by writing ‘HIS’ hindi as ‘I’ remember. If you can gloss over grammatical blunders and concentrate on the gist, you will be fine.

He rang the bell at nine one night.
“Aap doctor saab hai?” (Are you the doctor?)
“Haan, kya taklif hai?” (Yes, what is the trouble?)
“Yeh dat bahut dard kar raha hai, isko nikal ke fek do” (This tooth is paining very much. Remove it and throw it away)
I looked in his mouth. It was an impacted wisdom tooth, very badly decayed and in a very crooked position. I told him that it would be a very difficult extraction and that it will have to be extracted by an oral surgeon.
“Woh kahan milega”? (Where can I get him?)
I told him that we cannot get him as and when we want but he will come over if we consult him and request him to do the needful.
“Toh, bulao na unko” (Then, call him.)
I explained to him the process of surgical extraction, need for X Rays, surgeon’s appointments etc etc. and told him that I can arrange to have his tooth removed in about three to four days.
“Teen char din! Yeh dard leke mai kaisa rahoon? Abhi kuch karo. Mera dost ne bola aap phataaphat dat nikaal dete. Aap kuch nahi kar rahe hai.”
(Three four days! How will I live with this pain? Do something now. My friend told me that you will remove the tooth immediately. You are not doing anything.)
He settled on the sofa in my waiting room holding his head in his hands.

There was little that I could do. When the tooth decides to trouble you, and gets stubborn about it, it is not easy to make it change its mind. None of our analgesics and antibiotics exercise influence over it. We either need to kill it by drilling through it and removing its blood and nerve supply (we call it RCT) or pull it out of its base (we call it an extraction). With this fellow’s tooth there was no chance of me attempting any of these. I took a chance and injected a dose of local anaesthetic which we use for numbing the tooth and jaws before removing teeth. Half of his jaw lost its sensation and the pain vanished immediately. He literally fell at my feet.
“Aap daktar nahi hai saab aap bhagavan hai” (You are not a doctor sir, you are god)

I took an X Ray, consulted our surgeon and scheduled surgery. The tooth was anaesthetized and the surgeon began working. He made a cut in the gums, exposed the jaw bone and started to drill around the tooth to release it from the bone. In between we chiselled out fragments of jaw bone from places where the drill could not reach. (Note: These are standard procedures and not our attempts to pull out the tooth by hook or crook) As the surgeon reached deeper the patient started feeling pain.
“Are saab, aap log kya kar raha hai? Mera poora haddi tukda tukda karke nikal rahe hai kya? Bahut dukh raha hai. Woh dant kaa dard is se achcha tha. Aap jo kar raha hai sambhaal ke karo.”
(Oh sir, what are you doing? Are you breaking my jaw into pieces and taking out the tooth? It is paining badly. That toothache was better than this. Whatever you are doing, do it carefully)

I had to inject some more anaesthetic around the area where the surgeon was working and he went in deeper.

Another few minutes and the fellow was squirming again. I injected some more. We had to finish what we started.

“Aapne chaar injection diya, lekin jyaada farak nahi hai. Aadha ghante se aap log mera haddi tod rahe hai. Aap se nahi hoga to chod do. Mai jaa rahaa hoon.”
(You have given four injections but I do not feel much difference. Since half an hour you people are breaking my bone. If you can’t remove the tooth, leave it. I will go.)

I convinced him that we cannot just stop at that stage and leave things as they were. By then the tooth was almost free. It only needed the final push. The root was bent and had stuck in one corner of the jaw bone. That was not unusual. What was baffling me was the pain. Once a nerve is blocked we never have any trouble. Here, I could make out that the nerve was blocked because there was no sensation in half of his tongue, lips or jaws. All other teeth were numb. Yet he was complaining of pain when this tooth was being sectioned and moved. I forced a little more of the drug directly into the tooth and it seemed to work. The surgeon gave the final push, the patient jumped and the tooth was out. The wound was sutured, I offered a prayer to the gods, prescribed strong painkillers and sent him away, instructing him to come over after a week to have the stitches removed.

He rang the bell at eleven the next night.

“Ye saab. Aapne kya kiya muje pata nahin. Daat to nikal gaya. Lekin pehle se ab jyaada dard hai. Mera dost ne bola aap achchaa daktar hai. Isiliye mai aap ke paas aaya tha. Ab dheko mooh bhi khulta nahin. Kal se barah goli khaayi mai. Dard kam nahin hota. Lagta hai aap ke paas aake maine galti kiya.”
(Sir, I do not know what you did. The tooth is out. But the pain is more than what it was before. My friend said that you are a good doctor. That is why I came to you. See, I can’t even open my mouth properly. Since yesterday I have swallowed twelve tablets. Pain is not coming down. I think I made a mistake coming to you.)

I explained to him that sometimes there is a little more pain after the extraction because the wound gets infected. And that happens if the blood does not clot inside the socket from where the tooth was removed and the wound remains open. I advised him to take antibiotics, prescribed some antiseptic rinses and told him that I would give him an injection to reduce the pain. At the mention of the injection he flared up.
“Aap mujhe maar ne ke liye itnaa saaraa injection kyun de rahe hai. Aap ke pass bandook nahi hai ? Ek baar goli maardo aur bas, sab kuch khatam”
(Why do you need to prick me so many times to kill me. Don’t you have a gun? Put a bullet in and everything will be over.)

I managed to calm him down and convince him to take the injection and fortunately it acted. Within minutes he was better. I sent him off telling him to repeat the injections for two or three days till the pain was less.

I was worried. I wanted to call him the next day and enquire about his condition. But if he said that he still had pain I had nothing more left to do. So, I kept quite. After another day the suspense was unbearable. More over I was worried that he may again wake me up late at night and ask me to do something for his pain. I called one of his friends who had accompanied him and enquired about him. The fellow was ok. I was told that he was able to eat ‘roti bhaji’ and was sleeping. I was relieved.

He did not come to my clinic again. I do not know what happened to the sutures. He might have decided to pull them out himself rather than pay me for more pain. I met him in the market nearly after two months.
“Ab sab kuch theek hai saab. Kuch bhi dard nahi hai. Aur woh dhaaga apne aap nikal gaya. Lekin jeeb ab bhi thoda sundh hai. Kya karoon?”
(Now everything is OK sir. No pain at all. And that thread came out on its own. But one thing, my tongue is still numb. What shall I do?)

I gave a vague reply and escaped before he came out with more complaints. It was possible that some part of the nerve was traumatized while removing the tooth and his tongue was still numb. Again there was nothing I could do to rectify it and it would take its own time to get back to normal.

I could not make the tooth numb when we badly wanted it. The tongue was still numb after two months when it should have been back to normal after two hours. I was responsible for both. “The good doctor.”