Zarah Diaries … walk down memory lane

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 !

‘Smoke less,

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 … 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 !

Phew !

I gasped!

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!

28 thoughts on “Zarah Diaries … walk down memory lane

  1. Hi doc Love reading your posts. They put a smile on my face. You’re the best. Here’s wishing a very happy birthday to your Bunty


  2. Awesome Radhu.What a way to meet your loved one.Pretty pink my fav saree n the person.Cheerio gal n wish dear Buntoo a fun filled day


  3. Absolutely and totally delightful. And it moistened the eyes of the romantic in me. Happy birthday, lucky husband Bunty, what a charming ode to you.


  4. Happy Birthday to Buntyji 😊 Radha you gave him his best birthday gift.
    He lost his heart on that day ❤️
    What a great introduction of him.
    You look beautiful in the pink sari. 😘


  5. Doctor.. your writing actually got the entire picture of a beautiful love story.😍. what a way you have narrated it.😊👍Also you look awesome in Saree each day.. Happy belated birthday wishes to Gupta sir😊


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