"Requesting help from Chinese guys and girls for four volunteers. Dr. Manjunath needs your help. He wants your presence tomorrow at Room 5 at 2.00 to 2.30 pm at the dental clinic."Inn Shan, in a mass-sent SMS
I woke up this morning at about 10.30 am to the din of my dastardly doorbell, which had conspired with forces unbridled with a sense of propriety and the concept of privacy to ensure that my weekend sleeper-inner would not extend beyond midday. I can't remember when was the last time I truly lazed in bed beyond all natural hours - it must have been a Saturday so long ago that nothing remained of it but a pathetic whimper in the big photo album of happy memories. Two Saturdays ago, it was my birthday. Last Saturday, it was the despicable evil known as the Persistent Encyclopedia Salesman (who nearly had butt-sex with the rusty metal tip of my umbrella).
This morning, the Stone-for-Brains-of-the-Week were a couple of Indian blokes in white coats, sporting name-tags which proclaimed smugly that their bearers are students of the Kasturba College of Medicine, a sister college of my school. I was informed that they were distributing medicinal freebies; prophylactic drugs against filarial parasitic infections. 3 little pills. To be downed at one go. After meal.
As a kid, I was taught never to accept candies from strangers - and I obeyed like the model child I was. If I wouldn't take their candies, I sure as heck aren't going to start popping their pills.
But that wasn't the only reason;
It struck me immediately that the centre pill is different from its other bunkmates. Upon closer scrutiny, it was obvious that the packet had been tampered with, and the two side ones have been switched. I looked up the inscription on the middle pill on the internet and found that NVBDCP stands for the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme - all apparently legal and aboveboard. Did someone stole the real stuff and replaced it with duds? Or with something more sinister?
Perhaps some people thought that they can make a bit of cash by stealing government-issued drugs intended for the protection of the rural populace from filarial worms. After all, why give a flying fuck about those poor uneducated peasants, right? Corrupted bastards.
I'm showing these pills to one of my Pharmacology lecturer on Monday to see what he or she make of it. If any of you reading this post right now received these same drugs, I advise you to refrain from eating them.
If you already did, you have my sympathy.
Moving on, regarding Inn Shan's SMS announcement;
The lesson to be learnt here is: Never agree to what Inn Shan want you to do.
"This is going to be painless," MY ASS.
Dr. Manjunath is a faculty member of the Forensic Medicine Department from the Kasturba College of Medicine (yeah, where those blokes who gave me the dud filarial meds came from) and he is doing some "very important" research on palate prints. Run your tongue along the roof of your mouth behind your front teeth. Can you feel the rough, ribbed surface there? That's your palate "rugae", as the good doctor call 'em. According to him, they are as individualistic as fingerprints.
He said that they would be of immense value in identifying char-grilled air-crash victims when we asked him about the practical implications of this research.
I hate to break it to the guy that dental records are already employed pretty successfully these days to the same end.
Check out the huge hall decked with dentist chairs! I call it the Dungeon of Dental Horrors. Oh, that's Jun Man in the chair, by the way. On a good day, screams emanating from this establishment can be heard in the next town.
Anyway, my palate print was lifted by pressing a pink putty against the roof of my mouth with a steel, spade-shaped thing that the contours of my teeth and gum are suppose to fit into snugly. The orthodontist working on me must have inserted it off-centre into my mouth or something because the friggin' thing scraped my gum nastily on the right side and drew blood. Plus, she was pressing pretty hard on it, digging the metallic edge right into the cut. I thought I was going to fucking die.
Then, after a minute, she wiggled the metal watzisname, trying to loosen it before pulling it out. Scrape. Scrape. Scrape. I wanted to scream my head off but I couldn't because - well - why don't you try screaming with a spade-shaped dental thingamajig full of pink stuff with the consistency of shit in your mouth?
I was test subject number 33, Chinese Male.
Lai Yin, Jun Han and Yin Yee also volunteered for this gig but the lucky trio were pronounced unsuitable in the end because they all wore braces. But they did stick around to watch Jun Man and I experience Death by Play-Doh.
The above picture is proof of the god-awful torment I experienced on the chair. See that exposed metal bit not covered with putty? That got me good. And if you look carefully enough, you can also see my blood.
Yes, blood. You heard me.
A plaster model crafted from the putty mold.
A boxful of 'em.
Dr. Manjunath giving us an impromptu lecture on palate prints. It was about as interesting as it sounded.
After I got home from the dental clinic, I immediately tossed a notebook and a tape recorder (which I borrowed from Ilyani) into my messenger bag and headed out again. This time, I got business to attend to at Sonia Clinic;
Remember that I mentioned in passing in my last post that I was intending to interview someone there?
Well, I finally did it! Stick around for my next update, okay? There's a lot of stuff I need to iron out before can I put it up.
Recently rendered odontophobic,
k0k s3n w4i