Is there a doctor in the house, your house? Yes, there is. Rather, there are… two docs! My niece – a consulting pediatrician and her hubby – a hepatologist (liver transplant specialist). Both are lovely, living the good life in the UK with their two sons. All is hunky-dory. But that is not enough, now we find that all the gaggle of her aunts, masis, mamis, fuijis big and small, kakis of varied proportions have donned the role of medicos.. This is my theory of increasing reflected qualification. My wife too! ‘Exceptio non probat regulam’… No exception to the rule!
There was a time when my daughter, during her college days, was offered a job at the clinic of a famous Dentist. I said, “Why not? Go ahead, learn to earn unlike your mum who can only spend.” I regretted the decision soon. The family regretted too! Any time any of us opened our mouths, the daughter would be almost inside it, finding faults with the occlusion and the orthodontics, and using ferocious words such as calculus, canine, cantilever extension and even more terrifying things like prosthesis and prophylaxis, and so on, ad infinitum!
The apple of my eye was becoming the dreaded speck in the eye! The family went silent in her presence, as she was bound to find some anomaly within the periphery of the open mouth. Luckily, she is now hooked onto the Bakery Craft – our world has turned to quiches, pies, cakes, cookies, biscuits and macaroons. The family, though heavier, is back to normal… if there is any such thing as a normal family.
After our last trip to the UK, every morning, as I wake up, my wife is there, looking deep into my eyes. It is no longer a romantic gesture. She is trying fathom out the condition of my liver. “Darab,” she declares, “your eyes are yellow. Liver problem! You must see a doctor. Stop your drinking immediately!” This ‘Stop drinking’ seems to be the housewife’s panacea to all sicknesses. “Stop drinking,” whether you have a tennis elbow or alopecia or an in-grown toenail. Just ‘Stop drinking’!
Once she even fixed up an appointment with a herpetologist but soon found out that a herpetologists concern themselves with snakes and reptiles. Hepatologists specialize in disorders of liver. To her intense embarrassment, when her malapropos remark was discovered, I was left alone for a few days.
This ‘Doc-in-the-House-Syndrome’ might not afflict every family with a doctor or some other successful professional but it’s not rare too. A lawyer in the family can be just as… umm.. let’s say, trying! A lawyer neighbor was heard saying to his errant son, “you knew a posteriori (beforehand) that you tests were scheduled for today. Why were you unprepared?” The son replied, “I plead guilty, pop! Sorry! I’ll do better the next time.”
And Dad shot back, “We have heard the ‘next time’ argument too often. You go on being sorry ad infinitum but sans improvement. You will now be in remand at home for a week. No bail! Your mom and I should have been strict with you ab initio!”
And, should there be a teacher in your life, your serenity is through. She’ll always point out, rather highlight, all your lapses, your habits and all that is the matter with you. If your mother is a teacher in your school , your school life is through. Other teachers will keep an eye on you. They will tell her of your doings and your progress. A teacher’s kid always gets the raw deal. If the teacher is your wife and a principal too, you’re done! She will let herself go, reciting a litany of all things in you that require improvement. For a husband it can be an irritating, vacillating, soul-eroding experience. Her finger would point at you as if you were an incorrigible student caught looking into your neighbor’s examination paper. You go for the second peg of your favourite Scotch, or you spill some gravy on your shirt whilst eating paya, or Tehmina the next door neighbor walks in when you are in you sadra-pyjama, lolling in your easy-chair, reading PT about the antics of certain trustees of the BPP and you continue doing so, you will face a full barrage of her Oxonian and Cantabrigian vocabulary, especially if she’s an English teacher. My flippant remark, “Darling, no dressing gowns please, we are not British,” makes her give me a sterner look!
A teacher is a teacher, whether in school or at home – constant and unchangeable. A nephew, age 18, who had just started to sprout a beard, was once asked by my wife what he intended to do after his graduation. He replied running his fingers through his scraggly beard, “Well, ‘que sera, sera’ is my philosophy.” My wife and unfortunately his teacher too, snapped back sharply, “Barbe tua te non facit philosophum (A beard does not make you a philosopher).” No ‘que sera’ with me. Leave it for Doris Day. It does not suit you!” He is now well settled abroad and whenever he calls us up, he says, “Maami, no beard and far from a being a philosopher!” Poor chappie. He shaves daily.
I wonder what life would be living under the same roof as my favourite TV personality, Cyrus Broacha. It can be a lark. He too has a wife but I hope she is not a teacher. Well, be it a tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor, or one of the above, each of them have their peculiarities but they add spice without which our lives would be as bland as a chotta peg with glass filled to the brim with water! Uggh!!