Before you read any further, may I recommend you read Swine Flu and the Fellowship Dinner – I first and then return to explore this post.
Dr. Dimple Minochha, fondle fondly called Dr. Dimpy by all of us, is the hospital radiologist (that is to say, her knowledge of the human body is understandably more than just skin deep). A youthful person of attractive features and cheerful disposition, she is particularly known for her spectacular set of huge boo books, and she quite seems to appreciate the stares that her boo books attract from all and sundry. Even patients of anal fissures in undisguised torment are known to sit up wide eyed and forget their agonies in the presence of Ms. Minochha, with mouths agape and gazes fixed on her awesome assets, the books. Therefore, it goes beyond saying that most of us utterly love to discuss her texts in our spare time, particularly the ones having interesting tit titles like How Large Is Your Dosimetry Error and Bare Bones Radiology. I must, however, make it known that I do not particularly enjoy the discussion veering off on salacious trajectories, which happens rather regularly and inevitably when Phadnis is around.
I summoned Susie and sent her off to Dr. Dimpy with the message that I wished to discuss a few topics of grave clinical importance with her at the hospital cafeteria. Susie returned shortly, confirming the appointment. At the appointed hour, I trotted off towards the canteen, humming Ek ajnabi haseena sey, yun mulaqaat ho gayi, fir kya hua, ye na poochho, kuchh aisee baat ho gayi. No one should, however, derive any conclusions other than that I am a devoted fan of Kishore Kumar, and that the song I was humming was purely on account of an effusion of un-adult-rated happiness rather than being any reflection of immoral intent on my part.
I found Dimpy Minochha at the cafeteria table. She greeted me with a sparkling smile as I took the chair opposite her. “Hello Dr. Dimpy…er…Dimple”, I said, exposing my teeth.
“Hell-low Dr. Bonerji. How are you?”
Boner ji? BO-NER-JI?? I mean, did she actually say BONER JI???
I was aghast. To be called a boner by a young respectable lady is perhaps the worst thing that can happen to you after swine flu. Not even my most hated detractors have ever dared to address me by such slanderous endearments. I felt like drowning myself then and there in the dirty pool of spilled coffee on the cafetaria table, right next to Dimpy’s voluminous books.
“Excuse me, but my name is …(I told her what my surname was). And not every Bengali is a Bonerji or Chetterji.”
I was itching to deliver a powerful discourse on Bengali nomenclature to Dimpy, explaining in no uncertain terms how she and her clan overused the letter ‘o’ white pronouncing Bengali names. Come on guys, if you cannot pronounce Ganguly properly, better say Gun-Goli. Gongoly, Kolkota, Roshogollo, Omi Tomako Bholoboshi etc. are utterly unacceptable.
Anyway, I decided against displaying any impetuosity before this girl. My primary objective was to wriggle out of tonight’s lecture on swine flu, and I was here to see if there was anything of interest in Dimpy’s books on this matter.
“Well, Dr. Dimple..”, I began quizzing her in earnest “have you heard of swine flu?”
“Swine flu? Yes there was something about that in the papers. But I didn’t read…”
Holy hooligans! She had no idea of swine flu! This was even better. I rubbed my hands in glee.
“But you must be knowing about tonight’s seminar…”
“Yes..I just signed the circular. You are speaking on the topic tonight..na…?
“Well..you see Dr. Dimple..” it was time to play my cards “I’d have loved to but I have a terribly sore throat and won’t be able to pull it off..” I broke into a loud cough and thrashed about a bit, just to underscore my point. Dimple looked alarmed.
“Would you deliver the lecture in my place, Dr. Dimple? I mean…. its just a polite request…”
“Me! Oooh no!” Dimple Minochha gave a violent shudder whick shook the whole table with her books and all. A fly which was trying to accomodate itself at the edge of my coffee cup fell into it and drowned instantly. This was getting sticky. There was no way I could allow the opportunity to slip.
“Look Dr. Dimple…” I began reasoning with her in a calm, patronising sort of tone, “what’s the harm? We all know you are one of the most brilliant academics around (which was a lie, of course). So what if you do not know the details? I shall help you out…” I coughed again and pretended that it hurt a lot.
“You know what a common flu is…don’t you Dr. Dimple?”
“Yes…but….this isn’t common flu!”
“Hardly any difference”, I reassured her. “Same sneezing, watery eyes, choked throat…you know.”
Dimpy Minochha’s eyes brightened. “Isn’t our Director saab suffering from flu too…? I saw him sneezing violently in the morning…”
Aha! That was news to me. I wasn’t aware of the old scrooge having contracted the sneezophrenia already. “Swine… with flu”. I said to myself.
“Oh yes of course! How silly of me not to mention that…” I exclaimed. “Why, you could even quote his example while describing the signs and symptoms of swine flu. The two aren’t much different after all…”
“Now no ifs and buts Dr. Dimple. This is a great opportunity for you to hog the limelight…”
After another twenty minutes of cajoling, and one more round of frappe, Dr. Dimpy Minochha finally acquiesced. By now, she was enough informed to acknowledge that something called swine flu existed. I took her hand in mine (only for shaking briefly, mind you) and thanked her profusely for having saved my poor throat from complete outage. As we walked back to our respective chambers, I politely offered to carry her books and was a tad disappointed when she declined. Back in my chamber, I shot off a brief note to the Hospital Director, thanking him for considering my name for tonight’s honours. I told him about my throat problem and assured him that Dr. Dimple Minochha would address the audience in my place.
EPILOGUE – What a royal waste of food it was at the Fellowship Dinner. I’ll tell you what happened. The Hospital Director sneezed a couple of times as Dr. Dimple Minochha rose from her chair. She began her address thus-
“Dear colleagues. As you know our Hospital Director is suffering from swine flu…”
Needless to say a pandemonium broke out. The auditorium was deserted in 48 seconds flat. But not without a brief and violent elbow fight at the exit. I clearly saw Dr. Mrs. Pandey grasping Dr. Meglani’s collar and chucking him aside in a most dastardly manner, all in a bid to escape first. Only three of us, the HD, Dimpy Minochha and myself were left behind after the melee.
That night I ate 15 chicken legs.