A delightful epistle written by a colleague A Misconstrued Medico
I belong to a profession that Shashi Tharoorji would describe as ‘Somatic decrepitude mender’ and in common parlance… ‘Doctor’. Of late, I had some weird experiences which I would like to share with you sir!
Recently I travelled with my family by flight sir! We reported at check-in a little late – by just half an hour sir! (My patients are usually late by one hour for surgery and two hours for consultation). The lady at the check-in counter was very upset with me sir! Angrily, she asked us to deposit our baggage.
Then…… I had my doubts! We were taking three flights with two transits! Would the staff at the various airports know our itinerary? I asked the lady and she reluctantly replied that they had protocols and our baggage would be safe. But… still I had doubts! So I sent my wife to clarify. Same answer…. but more reluctance!
See… I am a man of perfection and so asked my son to re-clarify! This time, the lady got really angry while explaining! But sir, I wanted an expert from our family to opine! Hence I called my cousin’s brother-in-law’s friend, who is in air-related business (he is an air-conditioning mechanic!) and gave the phone to the lady! You see sir!
We, doctors, always clear doubts of patients, their relatives, friends, relatives’ friends, friends’ relatives (and even pets!) in person, phone, mail, whatsapp, etc. without grumbling sir! But this lady was furious and asked me to go to hell and so… we proceeded to the security check! I could overhear her describing me as a piece of what Tharoorji would call ‘Haemorrhagic excrement!’
Inside the plane, I had a big shock sir! A lady was demonstrating what we should do… when the plane falls into the sea! I got panicky and wanted to see the pilot immediately! The pilot came and I asked him: “Can I go to business class if I pay extra money?” He agreed.
But I had some doubts: “Is business class 100% safe? No emergency exit, oxygen stuff, etc… Right?” He said “NO!” Look sir! I am paying 3 or 4 times more than (Tharoorji’s) ‘cattle class’ and still… the plane can fall into the sea!! Then I asked him my second doubt: “Does business class reach the destination a few hours earlier?” (‘Pay more! Expect more!’ – our patients’ policy sir!) Again a ‘NO!’
I made a last request to the pilot: “Sir! Today…. Wednesday! Now it is 8.40am! Yamakandam is over only at 9’o clock. Can you please delay take off by 20 minutes?” He banged the cockpit door on my face, sir, and called me what Tharoorji would term ‘Progeny of un-solemnised copulation’.
During rail travel booking too, I had problems sir! The first class AC rail ticket charges were exorbitantly high sir! I politely asked the booking clerk for concession. He said, “If you want to pay less, travel in second non-AC!” Even after explaining to him that my family always loyally travelled by their railways for more than four decades, he would not oblige. I called him “Greedy fellow!” just like patients call Doctors when they see the hospital bill. In return, that man scolded me with a word, which Tharoorji would term as ‘Maternal …
The final incident took place last week sir! Our family had sumptuous biriyani at a hotel. When the bill came, I was shocked sir! Immediately I called the manager and complained about the exorbitant charges. He went on to explain, “Look sir! Do you know what ingredients we use for our biriyani? All… branded items! Kohinoor basmati rice, all spices from Everest and the mutton from specially reared high quality goats in…”
I stopped him mid-sentence: “You cheat! Now… I have caught you red-handed! Rice in ration shop is less than Rs.10 a kilo, but you buy rice for Rs.300 a kilo…! I know… you have a secret deal with all the companies and overcharge the customers!” The same accusation that the Indian intelligentsia including the PM-ji throw against us doctors! But sir… the manager called all his staff, threw me out after making me pay the bill! The words they used sir… no sir… even Tharoorji’s thesaurus would not have equivalent words!
Written by a fellow Ophthalmologist