Dental Troubles.

on Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dignity is very important to me. But if there is one place in this world which always makes me look as dignified as a gorilla turning somersaults, it has to be when I am sitting in my dentist’s chair.

It is all very well to amble in looking important and carrying your laptop. But once they make you lie down in the chair which looks like a medieval torture contraption then you get that sinking feeling that maybe you are not that important after all. On comes the face mask and the gloves and presto the serial killer dentist is ready with her machines of death and destruction.

It does your ego no good when the dentist politely informs you that you have food particles sticking to your teeth and clucks her tongue like you are an irresponsible schoolboy who doesn’t clean his teeth.

On top of that you are dribbling saliva all over yourself. Ever notice how your mouth seems to produce more saliva than it normally does in a week when you are sitting at the dentist. They have this weird suction type of thing that you can see droplets of your saliva merrily whiz past.

Sometimes the dentist hands me a hand mirror so that I can see what miracles she has wrought in the third teeth on the top right hand side. Really? What is this? Modern art? I pretend to look on with wonder while wondering whether the neon lamp is making my teeth look yellowier than they actually are.

The Coup De grace is undoubtedly the root canal. For the dentist it is the supreme achievement, the equivalent of an open heart surgery for a surgeon. As I write this thousands of little kids who want to grow up be dentists are dreaming fondly of successfully completing their first root canal.

I wonder if it was like this all through the ages. Did Old Stone Age men bless their nastiest and most violent babies with “Thee shall become Serial Killers, Cannibals or Dentists”?

One such unfortunate trip to the dentist she put some really torturous metal piece into my mouth (Ostensibly to measure the shape of my teeth).After nearly caving in my teeth with all the force she could muster by thrusting the metal piece in my mouth. She then proceeded to sit back and crack a few jokes with her assistant. All the time with her hand half in my mouth. A few weak gagging and retching sounds I made gave her the impression that I was guffawing to her jokes and she proceeded to tell a couple more.
I always had this feeling that Dentists teach their kids math in a different way.

Dentist Mom:”Beta, if Gopal had 32 teeth and I pulled out 6, then how many teeth would remain?”
Dentist Beta:”But why can’t we pull out seven teeth mommy?”

You get the picture!!!
I think there is a popular argument that Dentists are not really doctors. I totally disagree. In fact as the Venn diagram below would show they are much more than Doctors.

Well this post was prompted because I got a sms from my dentist saying” Please come for the second sitting of your root canal today”.

I wonder if she reads blogs.

I hope I don’t get another sms after I post this. ”Please be aware that we do not accept any responsibility for untoward accidents that might happen”

God save me (And my teeth)!!! I wonder if I shall ever be able to smile after this.

Foreign Vacations-1

on Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I am no Christopher Columbus .But whenever I can wheedle a few days from my boss, I head out to some remote location in India where I can get some peace and quiet from the junta. Lately however I have started noticing an annoying phenomenon wherever I go, namely the ubiquitous foreign tourist. I just can’t escape them. Whether you are backpacking up in the remotest of Himalayan Regions or snorkeling in the deepest of seas they will find a way to pop up beside you somewhere, grinning like a good natured ape.
The one thing they will NEVER be without is their bulky camera. It is almost a rule of nature that they will sling their camera around their neck with a lens long enough to be a barrel of a shotgun. You have to be really careful when you are out trekking with one of them. They will take photos of ANYTHING. Period. Whenever I used to take a leak behind a bush I used to be as alert as a hunter. I caught sight of the foreign hiker skulking around my bush a couple of times. I think I narrowly missed being “Exhibit A: Native Indian does Pee Pee on local flora”.
There was this time when I was bathing on this remote beach near Bengal. Indian beaches
boast of another unique phenomenon,” The Bathing Aunty”. They come to the beach clad in resplendent layers of Saris and finery. This lady had her middle aged husband with her. Suddenly without warning the lady jumped into the water with an almighty leap. These ladies never venture beyond a couple of feet of water. In order to experience the beach in totality they however proceed to lie down in the shallow water and roll about like a beached whale. After a couple of kicks underwater from her I proceeded to move to a safe distance. Not the foreign tourist. He must have figured out that this was some kind of local tradition. He proceeded to film the whole event with his multiple Zoom feature. Everything was ok till the man realized that that in all her rolling his wife’s sari had ridden up her leg, showing rather hairy legs. With an almighty leap he leapt on his wife legs trying to cover her modesty all the while shouting “Photo naa leebi” or some such thing. The foreigner had to be pulled away forcibly.
Another perennial favorite is to take photos of impoverished naked Indian Kids standing in front of suitably decrepit huts. The kids found this a novelty at first. So they gave suitably sad poses with all seriousness. Eventually they got bored. So now the photos have captions like” Sad Naked Indian Kid raising a skeletal middle finger”
Another thing they never travel without is their copy of “The Lonely Planet-India”. It is a book which is invaluable to them as it is written by fellow nincompoops who have been there-done that and then painstaking noted down the details in a book. “Observation 42: Do not apply vermillion paste on Hindu cow’s sacred forehead. Hindu cow becomes violently Un-Hindu like.” And many such inane observations and trivialities fill the book.

Wherever these foreigners go, they are usually followed by groups usually consisting of desperate guys who are out to have their moment in the sun. They strike up a casual conversation with the foreigner.

”Where you from, Madam?”

“Err... Azerbaijan”
”Oh Yes Madam, my father’s cousin brother also from same baighan madam. One photo please madam?”
And out comes their 1.2 Mega pixel camera and a suitable friend is found to capture the moment which leads to countless moments of joy back home. ”Dekh yaar,potti mere pe fida thi yaar,Dekh kaise haath haath chipakke photo liye” And some admiring friend looks at the photo in envy and goes in search of his very own foreigner to torment.

Another sight to behold is when they encounter street hawkers, peddlers or beggars on the street. These people are trained well to recognize that these jokers fall for anything. So they make a big circle around the foreigners and start chanting in a suitably poverty striken tone.

“Madam, this marble stone from Taj Mahal Madam, look at Shah Jahan’s handwriting on the stone-Madam.

“Give me 1 dollar; I can eat for five days Saar, Look saar- four brothers and three sisters Saar”.

“Saar-photos from Kamasutra saar-Only five dollars saar-you and madam also same same doing saar-Super saar.

You get the picture.

Apparently these people do nothing at all in their country. I’ve overheard conversations like how the lady from Australia works as a receptionist for 6 months and then holidays for the remaining 6 months with the money she made for the first 6 months. I mean, honestly?
How many of even big MBA type people can boast of such a thing in India huh? You leave the office for even 1 month and return, you see 3 or 4 people have moved into your cubicle and have made themselves comfortable. They might even mistake you for the office boy and order two packets of tiger biscuits and a cup of milky tea.

The Indians retaliate by making themselves even more obnoxious abroad than their counterparts do in India (If that’s even humanely possible).

But that’s in Part 2.