The Beauty of my profession

MGIMS Medical college, 1992: We were 2nd year medical students & had just begun our clinics. Going to the hospital wards, examining patients, having case studies everyday was exciting and a different new experience. As the days passed by, everything seemed mundane. The hospital didn’t have air conditioners; there were squeaking fans which did not stop us from us sweating like pigs in the hot summers. Our only saving grace was Dr Paul (name changed), professor in surgery, intelligent & witty. He had this terrific knack of making every boring lecture interesting. I would never ever bunk his lecture or clinic. He wasn’t good looking at all but there was something charming about him which made him the favourite of almost all the students of both genders. Moreover, every time he taught something, it made sense & actually made its permanent place in my grey matter. Two years passed by & I became one of his favourite students. Not because I was a good student but because I was one of the best orators & singers in college & my extracurricular activities seemed to impress him more. 1995: I graduated with a good score & gave a lot of credit to my teacher, Dr Paul. Soon, he was forgotten.
Skinfiniti Skin & Cosmetic Dermatology clinic, Mumbai, 30th April 2010: My husband called up asking me if I could do him a favour & squeeze in a patient amidst my huge list of appointments for the evening. There were about 40 patients I had to see in 5 hours. Any extras would cause havoc among patients who were anxiously waiting for me in the lounge. Sorry, can’t do you this favour hubby.
“ Please Monu, it’s for Dr Jason Paul. He wants to get his daughter for consultation.” Dr Paul?? As in Jason Paul from MGIMS? My heart skipped a beat. 14years since I had seen him. “Ok, send him but next time please don’t ask for such favours on a busy day!!!
I told my secretary not to make him wait when he’d come. I kept looking at the watch after every few seconds,waiting for it to tick at 7.30pm. He was there on time. I didn’t go out to receive him. I had to pretend to be the dignified Dr J. I was shocked. This man, bald from the frontal area of the scalp but with longish hair behind (I hate it when men grow their hair long!!!) , clean shaven (I always thought clean shaven men looked smarter but he used to be an exception in college, his moustache made him look intellectual) , deep sunken eye sockets, sagging jaw ( he did have a chiselled jaw line when I last saw him), dark forehead as if he had put some coal tar instead of talcum powder, crows feet & deep wrinkles; you could teach a kid cursive writing on those lines on his forehead. Hell no, is he the same man? “Hi Jaishree”. I recognised the voice. Yes, it is him. He seemed less confident, perhaps a little haggard too.
He looked more like a grandfather to his daughter. She claimed to have read all my columns in the various newspapers & magazines. Finally when she had a problem with her face, she insisted on seeing me. None of her dad’s dermatology colleagues suited her expectations! While I examined her, my grey cells were in a state of random agitation. I had to do something for him.
She fixed an appointment for Friday noon. She would do a laser hair reduction treatment for her face. Sir why don’t you do something too, I said casually. From the corner of my eye, I could see his raised eyebrows!! He was a professor in M.J.Medical college now & wanted to age gracefully. Age gracefully!!! Bull shit. At 50, he looked like he had the world’s burden over his shoulders. “Dad, you too should get stuff done, I want you to look like a dude for Amrita’s wedding.You just have 20days left Dad.But Dr J can do it. Look at the pics”. (I showed her some before & after treatment photographs. Advantages of a lap top switched on 24×7, apart from being able to send messages to your friends when you get bored of seeing patients)
I jumped at the opportunity. The changes would be subtle yet very charismatic, I convinced him. The next minute he was on the patient’s chair. I couldn’t believe it. The same teacher who taught me surgery is now my patient !!! J keep a straight face,I told myself… No expressions to be portrayed, that’s the pitfall of my profession!! I would do a Botox for his crows feet & forehead lines, a face lift for his jaw line & some peels for his dark forehead. I would get his hair transplant done by my friend who’s a transplant surgeon (and have his long hair trimmed ) I could also give him hyaluronic acid injections for his sunken eye sockets but that can wait. He isn’t aiming to be a bollywood hero. At least, he would look his age if not younger. (Actually, he would look 3-4 years younger) He has taken an appointment for Friday & I am actually feeling proud of my profession!!! He’s going to be the confident charming Dr Paul once again.

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