Follow the story of a helpless teen who applies the words of wisdom she has read in a magazine to her life, only to have a blood-curling root canal feast at the clinic of a toothless septuagenarian dentist on her thirteenth birthday. No anesthesia, no modern scientific methods, no eating your favourite food items after the root canal. May the odds be in her favour.
I present to you the first comedy written by me. Hope you will enjoy it.
An Outstanding Gift
Trays after trays of chisels, dental handpieces, retractors and other medicinal whatnots, ‘sterilized’ blood-stained balls of cotton, highly comfortable patient seats to ‘soothe’ patients during the torture, and outside, rows of people waiting to succumb to their fate, mortal fear written clearly on their otherwise sweet and innocent faces- a perfect ready-made set to another award-winning blood-curling sequence of the Final Destination, Conjuring and other legendary horror films ever on the box office.
This, then, is the scene of the dental clinic as I sit amongst the rows of waiting people six months after my root canal, my first (un)eventful visit to the dentist. Had that event not taken place in my life, I would have never discovered my hidden phobia for the dentist who can wield such power (dark power, to be precise) nor the potential feast that would follow soon after. As I sit now among the rows of people trying to comfort myself saying that Tom Sawyer had had worse experiences with his teeth, the memory of that dreadful visit and its aftermath flooded back into my mind.
It was the second week of November, and the cold did really well to act as the spice on the wound. “You are what you eat”- this highly nefarious heading appeared quite often in magazines to warn people about the ill-effects of consuming fast food. After reading one such enlightening article on Reader’s Digest I was prompted to do the math in my head and come to the wonderful conclusion that to add sweetness to my life (and to my deeds and words as well) I would have to increase my sugar consumption drastically.
What followed was an entire week’s feast of candies, chocolates, sweets and ice-creams (which were readily available at home or at the shops near school). However, what the article clearly forgot to mention was that instead of adding sweetness to my life (and to my blood), the feast would present to me the wonderful gift of landing me up in a dental clinic, that too, on the best day possible
My thirteenth birthday.
I would never forget my parent’s reaction when, at midnight, they stole up to my room to wish me a very happy birthday, cursing the pack of dogs howling in the distance only to see that it was not the dogs, but me howling out of the immense pain emanating from my molars. Without a second thought, my parents decided that the first thing they would do the following morning would be to take me to the family dentist.
The sweets had gifted me an outstanding gift.
A sweet one, actually
The Feast Continues
Sitting outside the clinic of the most (in)famous dentist in the city amongst the vast multitudes of petrified “patients” who were all waiting unwillingly to be tortured to death, I made a mental note to report to the honorable editor of the Reader’s Digest how dangerous the article in his magazine proved to me and request him to be so good as to be more careful next time about the consequences of the jargon he printed in his magazines. At this point of time I noticed that just before me was a young girl of seven yapping away to glory, chattering incomprehensibly about the joys of her first visit to the dentist to her disinterested elder brother, who was now busy updating his WhatsApp Status to inform the good people around the world of his current predicament.
Scared to insanity, I said to myself. I figured out that if this girl was really so naïve as to babble about how interested she was about her teeth being pulled out, then either she was a lunatic, or she was ignorant of the beautiful soothing pain that she was about to experience, as our holy dentist abstained from using anesthesia no matter the situation.
Her sanity would return soon, I mused.
Soon her turn to gain back her senses came. Parting the dilapidated wooden door with a slow, hair-rising creak, the dutiful brother took the excited girl inside. Realizing that the next turn was mine, I listened with horror (along with the other unfortunate patients in the waiting room) as screams and cries followed, and so did the toothless shouts of the dentist, and within an hour the cute little excited girl came out as an angry screaming mini-sized witch with blood red eyes and a blood-stained cotton dabbed in the place where her cavity-affected “cute” milk premolar once stood.
The dentist had been a dark magician in one lifetime, or had attained an eternal PhD degree from a witch in dark magic (a degree which lasted with his soul even after his death), I thought. How very easily he changed the happy little girl into a hostile, screeching madwoman!
When I finally entered the torture chamber, I understood why the number thirteen is considered so unlucky by people around the world and also why this kind of a birthday gift has always been highly disfavored- for it was a ramshackle affair, with me sitting for hours on end on the patient seat with my mouth open as wide as the entire Milky Way Galaxy itself so that the septuagenarian dentist (who, himself had only a few couple of teeth left in his jaw and by his certificates, seemed to have qualified from the prestigious Harvard University) could have a good view of my dentures. In fact, all the while he did this I had a strong feeling as if I was the Greek deity Bacchus and the longer he continued this torture, greater were his chances of obtaining the famed Midas Touch. I hope that the blessed man would realize one day how dangerous the ability of turning anything into gold just by touch can be.
Finally, when I feared that my lower jaw was on the verge of detaching itself from the upper mandible, the good old man looked up, and with a genial smile followed by an X- ray, convinced my panic-stricken parents that a root canal was the only option, to which my parents readily agreed.
“Oh, it’s just a deep cavity. There is nothing much left of the pulp other than the nerves. While I can’t do much about it, I certainly can get a root canal done.’’ he said, sounding as if he were the best dentist in the world and by his grace, I won’t feel a thing during the root canal procedure.
Easier said than done, I said to myself.
I have concluded with least doubt the fact that he himself had never been on the receiving side of the dental clinic; the only two teeth left in his jaw decaying at a steady pace were proof of that, having been a paradise for bacteria for God knows how many millennia. If he would have ever come across a dentist like himself, he wouldn’t have dared to go and study dentistry at the first place.
Which would happen only if he were good enough to follow the golden rule of Confucius.
But those are just hypotheses.
In the meantime, my parents thanked the “messiah” for bestowing his grace upon me, and the divine dentist took the entire pandemonium to a whole new extent by suggesting to get the procedure started that day itself.
To this my parents agreed readily.
The prosthodontist set to work immediately (a work which has been his top priority in life), dismissing all the other privileged patients for the day (much to my exasperation), with a bland reason- he was ill.
The man really enjoyed torturing his patients.
As for me, pinned to that patient seat on the sordid day of my thirteenth birthday, I could only think of but one thing...
My time had come.
I chanted a soft prayer for my soul and bade farewell to all the delicacies of this wonderful world as the angel of death jumped directly to the pulpectomy procedure without any anesthesia whatsoever. The pain that resulted from the procedure and the following dejection and depression due to the restriction on some on my favorite food items were too great to be expressed by words.
However, as if to add a "happy" ending to this miserable story of mine, my best exotic birthday feast continues even today during every spooky visit to the dentist, and each such visit is accompanied by the now-so-predictable quote by either of my parents as they ruefully try to make up for the loss of that night’s pending birthday dinner.
“Enough of all this dentist melodrama, now let’s go have a delicious chocolate ice-cream.”