Oh , how I love wearing sarees !
What is about this 5.5 metres of fabric which once draped , brings unparalleled joy and confidence?!
That is why it is my everyday dress to work.
Today’s saree is a pink cotton with hakoba lace at the border ,crisp and fresh as when I first wore it , more than 20 years ago !
I iremember that day as though it was yesterday.
Zarah Medical and Cosmetic Skin Clinic had not yet come into existence.
It was Baisakhi and though a public holiday , I was always hungry for work and so had kept my small rented clinic in South Mumbai ,open . The day had been long, and I sat impatiently waiting for my last patient.
Finally, 15 minutes later, he swaggered into my cabin, filling the space with the heady scent of cologne and tobacco.
A biggish, middle aged man in a blue denim shirt and pants with a smile playing on his lips – not in the least bit apologetic for his tardiness !
‘Hi there ,what’s up doc?’
He looked every bit Indian but spoke with an American drawl , rolling his ‘R’ s!
‘Just returned from the US ?’ I asked .
‘No , Never crossed Indian shores’ he said .
‘How come the accent ??’
‘What accent ? ‘
he asked with a surprised expression.
‘THIS IS my natural accent !’
O ya ?? I thought … well Ok !
‘I want to get rid of these…’ pointing to the extra patches of whitish skin on his upper eyelids .
‘Sure ,can do ! ‘ I said , trying to match his Yankee drawl .
He had soft sparkling brown eyes ,
hooded with xanthelesma .
I had no lasers , none of the state of the art brouhaha I have at my disposal now.
Just a trusted radio frequency machine to get rid of skin tags ,warts ,cysts, corns in my armamentarium .
But for xanthesma I didn’t even need that . A few sittings of simple chemical cauterisation would do the trick.
I explained this to him –
But warned that xanthelesma is related to high cholesterol and that appropriate lifestyle changes would help keep it at bay !
Exercise more ,
Less butter chicken !’
I said a trifle cheerily.
‘No problem doc , will do .
But tell me doc ,do you believe in destiny ?’
Before I could give my views he said ,
‘What will happen , will happen! You can make efforts but your destiny is already shaped .’
‘If you insist ,’ I mumbled .
He then spoke about
past life regression, Osho, Vaishnudevi Mata , Mcleodganj , Hariharan , the stock market , his class friends , his teacher Father Neto in school.
I tried to get in a word here and there.
But it was no use
He was on a roll!
‘Shall I schedule a date for the cauterisation?’ I finally edged in , trying to stick with the consult .
‘Why wait for tomorrow ?
Do it now , Doc!’
I painted the acid on his lesions ..all the time listening to the refrains of
‘Mary had a little lamb’
He was singing it ! Whilst I did the cauterisation!
He spoke about
driving to Lonavala in the rains, eating corn in Mahableshwar .
Betting on horses , cricket teams , on life !
‘You are quite a punter’ I said
‘Yes , I like to take risks !
Of course I take calculated ones .. and use my gut feeling to know which are which !’
‘Great!’ I said, making a rough calculation of the time I had taken to do a 5 min procedure!
It was already 45 mins !
‘Doc ,do you take pictures ?’
‘Before ‘and ‘after’ you mean??
I asked sheepishly , wishing regretfully that I had .
‘No no .. not of my xanthelesma! Of your favourite moments / of your favourite people …..to freeze them in time . Sometimes that’s all you have left …. memories and pictures.’
He had a point…I made a mental note to put the few photos that I had ….into an album.
In this present day and age of selfies and pics at -the -click of a mobile ..
this question sounds irrelevant but at that time in the last few years of the last century ( it was 1996!)photographs were few and far between and really cherished.
I must have looked reflective .. when he said,
‘Doc ,how much do I owe you ?
Hope you are offering discounts !’
‘No , sorry no discounts, ‘
I said defensively .
Haha ‘only joking ‘he said !
‘Good , stick with your guns ,don’t offer discounts to no one , but invest in machines, buy the best , SPEND money to EARN more !
So much ‘gyaan’!
‘You are getting late Doc . So sorry to have delayed you .
Let me drop you home !’
‘No Thankyou ! ‘ I said firmly ,’ I’ll walk ..
I Like the exercise !’
So I walked home from Kemps Corner to Carmichael Road , shielding myself under my umbrella ( I freckle easily).
On the road alongside ,I saw him
drive his car slowly ( probably at 15 kms/ hour) ,carefully adjusting his rear view mirror and grinning from ear to ear !
And that’s how I met my HUSBAND –
A Punjabi man with an American accent , a man of indefatigable spirit and the
largest of hearts , from whom I have been learning life’s myriad lessons , without rest or refreshment, ever since!
Happy ,happy birthday Bunty Gupta!
Love you darling!