For a couple of years now I wanted to pierce my left ear. Call it a need for a new look or an undying fad, I wanted it. My mother did not allow me to do so believing that such accessories on a young Christian boy are plainly appalling. So I waited well until I was seventeen and school got over. Again, she cautioned me (with the corner of the eye look, of course) not to get a gun-shot at someplace local. Safety measures, you see. I gave in. Besides, nobody wants to be the next dard-de-disco icon and resemble an AIDS victim. The following day we went on to a gold-smith to get my job done only to find the place closed. Later we realized that due to some ongoing strike most of the jewelling fraternity of the country suffered the same fate for the past two weeks. Gee, I wondered. Nobody in the country can possibly buy any gold. Bappi daa would be devastated. Luckily, the strike was called off the next day. We looked out for every other jeweler in the area. Either they were closed or they didn’t perform gun-shots. We did find one place open but the old Seth there looked at me as if I was slaughtering a cow when I mentioned I want a piercing on the upper lobe of my ear. I was conveniently shooed off. How would it matter? It’s my ear after-all. A simple close of the eye and change of location would’ve done it. But who would tell that to the jewelling elderly.
I did not give up. I needed that hole desperately. So on the third day, again, we set out. It was six in the evening. A particular Seth gave me a long disdained look, perhaps thinking- oh the ridiculous youth of today- before saying in a low tone to my mother, “Sorry madam. Aaj mangalwar hai. Nahi kar sakte! Aur waise bhi sham ho chuki hai. Hum iss wakt nahi karte.”(Today is Tuesday and we don’t undertake such work on such days and moreover it’s well past four. We’re not allowed to do it now). Grr. He suggests a particular Dr. Jayamma who had a clinic about five hundred meters from where we were. She did gunshots. We set out to find Dr. Jayamma as directed. For the next twenty minutes we did not find any such clinic where a Dr. Jayamma practiced. We found, however, a Dr. Lalitha. Her clinic smelled awfully sweet. Now, Dr. Lalitha was a lady in her sixties (“still she earns. Others of her age who chose other professions must’ve retired. You should become a doc hence”, said mum. Lord save me, I thought.). All Dr. Lalitha did was smile at us. She too didn’t perform a gunshot- that skill no more exists- and gave directions to another family physician Dr. Mangal Nath (names changed for safety precautions. Doctors are powerful these days.) who had a clinic was down the lane. She was darn sure that he performed gun shots, still smiling. So off we went to Dr. Mangal Nath who had a sophisticated abode cum clinic. This doc’s receptionist noted down my name and what not. Out of habit he kept asking me about what ailment I suffered from and even managed to ask me for a prescription. I’m guessing the other few patients who sat patiently wondered how anyone can be so gleeful in a clinic.
The shoe stand there said “please leave here your footwear along with your ego”. Pfft. All I need is a simple job. And for no particular reason they expect me to take my ego off with my shoes and who knows- what not! Only my anger wanted to get off. We waited for the next forty-five minutes. The doc seemed to be building a personal relation with his patients, pun intended. We were then ushered in by another lady in her mid-forties. She too takes a long look at me as if I am a rabid dog spilling froth on her shiny floor with blood-shot eyes and then asks me my needs like she totally is oblivious to the presence of that receptionist. She then asks us if we have any sort of ear ring to place on my ear once it is pierced. We said yes, almost together, glad that we had done our homework. We produce a silver ear-ring and again she grimaces before returning her looks to me. Please, let me not be guilty, I thought. She shakes her head and says,” Silver won’t do. We only do gold rings the first time.” We hurriedly left the clinic, our shoes and egos still intact, thank you. I wondered if they’d have asked us to bless the ring by his holiness at Rome before agreeing to get it done. I always have a personal vendetta against gold accessories and had vowed not to ever touch one. We enter five more clinics just to be let down again. At one clinic the ENT specialist was deaf himself. He kept nodding so much that he ushered me inside and almost pushed me on his bed before realizing my need. I ran out of there, thinking what would’ve got holed.
In my pursuit for a gunshot, I realized three things. In India, ethics come first and Mangalwar is a bad day for business. Of course, I have nothing against the ethics. It starts to irk when it crosses one’s personal need and opinion. Secondly, ENT specialists are very well capable of being deaf, blind and what not. Third, a particular Dr. Jayamma might be missing along with her clinic. We may need a search and rescue party there.
As for me, after a month long of scavenging for the perfect place I finally find a doc and get my ear pierced. Time to go look for some studs, literally.
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