Zarah Diaries… scars tell a tale!

My favourite Earl Grey cup of tea in my hand, a gentle breeze from Mumbai’s cool weather thanks to global warming, and my new parrot green Chanderi sari on me!

Could life get better I was thinking on a break when the receptionist announced the next patient and I hurriedly gathered my pleats as I rushed to my room.

One look at Bina Shah and I was instantly reminded of the talented actor Om Puri! The exact same pitted scars landscaped her face!

Here was this smiling, almost cherubic 35 year old but oh-my-goodness what deeply cratered skin!

I sat her down in my clinic and without wasting any time embarked on listing a series of treatments

I could do to bulldoze acne scars away!

You can start with a moderate strength salicylic peel or a stronger retinol peel I informed her.

Then move onto dermaroller therapy, showing her a pinwheel needled instrument much like a mini lawn mower!

It’s an age old French technique to

produce pinpoint bleeders and incite collagen production in the scars I explained.

Or you could avail of the latest fractional lasers, these also fill up scars more or less permanently with a 70- 80% improvement.

Of course, slowly but steadily over a couple of months, I will simultaneously prescribe some scar diminishing creams for a more efficacious result. Just ready yourself for a longish treatment I cheerfully told her, you will get the smoother skin you desire!

She listened patiently, then shyly said,

‘Actually these scars are my friends.

I am used to them.

If I didn’t have them no one would recognise me !

They don’t trouble me in the least!’

I squirmed, mentally kicking myself for forgetting the first rule in medicine – Listen carefully to what the patient has to say!

Rather than smugly listening to the sound of one’s own voice!

She gently continued,

‘All I want is a general skin care routine for my oily skin and the itchy oily scales I have on my scalp.’

I rushed to do a thorough assessment of both face and scalp and then a tad selfconciously pronounced that she had mild seborrhaeic dermatitis .

Simple creams and shampoos on a daily basis would sort the problem.

I wrote these out, then spoke of this, that and the other, everything under the sun other than acne scars, before bidding her goodbye.

We met again two months later, this time for a papular urticaria she had developed.

Since then I have treated her, her husband, her only daughter, her in-laws and extended family, her friends, all for their various skin and hair issues, sometimes a herpes simplex, at other times a stress eczema, a contact dermatitis here to a sebaceous cyst there!

It’s been 15 years and Bina is still bright and ever-smiling, her face still pockmarked with pitted scars.

Though newer and progressive treatments to treat scars have emerged (like Botox and PRP with micro needling) I have never suggested them.

Neither has she ever complained!

A woman in total equanimity,

content and happy in herself!

A woman who within a year of her daughter’s marriage, in the blink of an eye, donated her healthy kidney to save the life of her

son-in-law in acute renal failure.

‘Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself’ famous words by the timeless Coco Chanel rang in my mind as I reminisced my first encounters with Bina Shah, a BEAUTIFUL woman indeed!

7 thoughts on “Zarah Diaries… scars tell a tale!

  1. Good one Radhika. Uplifting…sort of. Im curios to know if she very religious? Mind you I agree with her totally. But I’ve often noted that a large part of every religion is to teach us to accept our situation and promises of rewards, usually in the afterlife. Is that her secret or is she just simply amazing


    1. Come to think of it …You are quite right Ashish !
      She is !

      Every year I have visited her home .. on the first day of the Ganesh Festival!
      She dresses her beautiful idol with love and worship !
      And yes in all these years , the one constant place she visits is Mathura …Naughty
      Lord Krishnas birthplace!
      Yes Ashish .. you really are bang on !


  2. Wow! That was such a true to life Dr – patient, scenario, I just love the way u switch off from Dr to the lovely person u are and connect with your patients on a different level 😊great going 👍


    1. Thankyou Alka!
      Yes …Life is a constant learning process … with surprises galore …to keep one ever alert !
      The definition of beauty too keeps changing .. or rather evolving!
      And with it .. so do we!

      Great to hear from you !
      Value your comments 🤗


  3. ‘Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself’ famous words by the timeless Coco Chanel.

    There is a comfort in accepting oneself as it is….. little spiritual.

    This brings contentness and happiness and that’s true life.


  4. Doctor.. what a wonderful a post …it’s about the inner beauty.. it also shows how you feel for your patients and you really care .. it’s more than a Doctor.. patient’s care as a family.. I am happy I am associated with you.. keep sharing and..Saree.. looks awesome😊😉😘


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s