Friday, April 11, 2014

A bridge across the ...

There were six pillars, neatly anchored to the ground, to allow flow of traffic over them.  Over a period of time, due to various factors, one of them, the one adjacent to the strong extreme right pillar, lost its foundation and began shaking. Despite last minutes efforts to save it, one fine day it just fell off.  Fortunately, the gap created by its fall was small to allow the traffic to still flow above.  But the engineers rightly became concerned and thought it would be in order to perform a thorough inspection of the remaining pillars and take remedial action. 

It was found that the foundation of the remaining three pillars in the middle, to the left of the fallen pillar, had also eroded and the pillars were due to fall any moment.  Alarm bells were sounded.  Arrangements were made to divert traffic for some time.  The three shaking pillars were carefully pulled down and removed from the scene.

A thorough examination of the area revealed that while the two remaining end pillars were strong, they would hold better with a bridge above them, and might weather and fall off if left alone uncared for.  The engineers swung into action.  The outer layer of the both the pillars was skilfully etched away.  Since the interior remained strong, a special full length bridge was designed with pre-engineered slot to accurately cap over the exposed interiors of the two pillars and additional pre-fabricated pillars to bolster support in the middle as before.  The entire bridge was carefully placed over the pillars, in perfect alignment with the structure that existed before, so that traffic as flowed earlier could resume.  Minor adjustments such as chiselling and cementing were done to perfection. Within a period of two weeks, the new bridge was perfectly in place and visitors new to the region could not spot the difference!

The above story is a real life story.  Only, the characters have been changed.  Just replace the fallen pillars with the lower incisor teeth, the two extreme pillars with canine teeth, and traffic with the flow of a slushy mix of food and beverages, hot and cold, this story is a reconstruction of the real tooth bridge that was fitted in my mouth a while ago.

I saw several parallels to the work the dentist does.  It is a mix of engineering, civil, plumbing, electrical and chemist work all combined together, in addition to the medical profession.  The dentist needs to skilfully grind the teeth, apply appropriate medicine before and after the operation, perform repair jobs like preparing the cement, taking impressions, ensuring correct fit of the crown or bridge or implant as the case may be, pumping water while the procedure is on and flushing the water,  blood and saliva out through tubes, arresting bleeding with cotton swabs, adjusting the height and inclination of the patient’s bed-like seat all through the procure, my God… if you keenly observe what he does, I feel it is worth every penny you pay not only for the diagnosis of your problem and the relief he provides at the end, but also for the trouble he takes in doing so!

Only, you should be lucky in getting the right dentist, as I have read several stories of things going badly wrong.  My own experience with the last three dentists has not been good – the procedure was okay, but the results were not lasting.  I hope I have finally found the right dentist in Dr Vijay Anand.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Farewell, my friend...

You filled the void created by the departure of our beloved Rishi.  Not just filled, you more than made it up with your cuteness, briskness and possessiveness.  You just took to our family like fish to water.

I still remember the day we brought you home from my office building.   You had already earned notoriety with your sharp teeth.  With my friend ESN, who is afraid of dogs, sitting in the front and you on the luggage bay in the rear, I did have a fun time driving you home.  A journey through which you made your way to the front seat, both in our car and in our family.  I still remember how attached you sat next to Vasanthi when she joined halfway down in Anna Nagar.  And how happily you entered our house, and roamed through all the open space, fully enjoying and playing around, chasing squirrels.  We were intrigued when you didn’t raise your voice at all for the first couple of days, and even thought you were dumb.  But you picked up in just two days, and from that moment, there was no stopping you.

It looks like you were used to high life, I learned, not only by your efforts to occupy the front seat when I took you home, but also by the way you jumped eagerly into the car whenever we ventured out.  We have not taken you out much, but I do remember we took you long distances, up to Kakkalur some times.  You enjoyed going out in car, sniffing the air all along, particularly while passing non-veg restaurants!  Sorry, pal, all I could offer you at home was the chicken and meat variants of Pedigree.

You were a great source of strength and comfort for my aged mother, who happens to be alone at home all day.  With you being there, we were really free of worries, for we knew that you would not let anyone come near her, unless she knew them.  I don’t know how you dogs learn to read our minds, but it is always amazing how you distinguish between the people known to us, be they relatives or friends, and wag your tail;  and outsiders, such as maids and service people even if they come regularly, and show them your teeth. 
And hats off to your sense of duty.  I really felt proud of you on several occasions when you would just not leave my mother when she was lying sick.  Similarly, my affection towards you grew multifold when you would sit watch on the terrace for Jeevthi to take her 15-minute sunbath every morning soon after her birth.  Though it was funny and amusing to watch you chase even crows flying high over the baby, I felt proud of having you by her side then.  In spite of our constant watch, you would always try to steal a moment to lick the baby to show your affection to the new member of our family.  How kind you were, Chotu!

Unlike Rishi, who unfortunately was sick most of the time, we were so happy that you were healthy and bubbling with energy all the time.  You kept good company not only to us home members, but also to any visitors and relatives who you knew were our people.  Preethi, while returning from the US after a year, was anxious whether you would remember her and Jeevthi, and was so glad when she witnessed your warm welcome when she came home. 

As Jeevthi grew and learned to mutter words, one of the clearer words that came out of her tiny mouth was “Chotu-Baiya”.  It is to your credit that she never got afraid of you and felt free and comfortable with you.   In fact, all of Prasanna’s family members gradually grew fond of you, which you reciprocated so well.  It was evident you loved children, a fact that will be vouched by all the kids who met and befriended you in no time – Kappu, Pinky, Manasa, Vaishu, Jahnavi and so many others.  The only two who liked you but kept a distance were Nishi and Nivi.  We keep remembering how you used to drool at the sight of Rasagullas and other sweets.  And snarl at the very sight of Bharth just teasing you with an imaginary balloon to burst.

I really thought I was keeping you healthy and fit, and was even planning for the vaccination next week.  Your sudden departure has struck a heavy blow to me, making me feel lonelier at home.  I still cannot figure out what made you suddenly go so sick on the last days.  Was it the jack fruit to blame, or was it the other pup who died of some disease that spread its infection to you, I am unable to guess.  Whatever it was, we never thought you would leave us so fast.  We tried to save you at the last moment.   Forgive me, my dear friend, if I did not take good medical care of you.  I did not want you to suffer more painful injections that night, and if you were leaving, I wanted you to do so peacefully and comfortably at your favourite place.  Your memory will stay etched in my mind for ever.

I am sure I will meet you when I come up, whenever it is.