Like the highways that get blocked for complex reasons resulting in periodic traffic snarls, my nose would clog even during the sweltering summer though I stay away from ice-cold fizzy drinks. Perturbed, my judgmental wife, a pseudo-medico dabbling in diagnosis and even prognosis, announced I must be suffering from septum deviation.
Septum deviation? That was a new one for me. Before I could mumble otolaryngologist, I found myself seated before an ENT specialist in a gleaming corporate multispecialty medical supermarket. I sniffled at regular intervals the way Krishnamachari Srikkanth used to do at the batting crease.
The specialist was a towering personality with a prominent nose with a marked Roman arch. He clipped on to his forehead a light like miners do before descending coal mines. After pushing my nose in every way, he introduced a thingummy into my mouth and advanced further down my tongue, ignoring my spirited mime. “Doctor, I think the mischief-maker must be his deviated septum,” my wife suggested. The doctor gracefully inclined his head in admiration of my wife’s medical scholarship.
“You are a writer, aren’t you?” he told me in his fruity voice. “I will tell you an allegory. Once there lived two brothers.
Their father, fearing his sons may fight over the ownership of the house, decided to build a wall right across, since all facilities were available like a mirror reflection in the right and left wings. But lo and behold, through the slipshod work of the mason, the wall was off center. That made the brothers fret and fume. The fight went on and on. The End.”
“He will not listen to me, doctor,” my wife said with her nose in the air. “I know a surgery can straighten up the crooked septum which is a congenital liability. Don’t you call it septoplasty? Won’t that stop his snoring as well? You must hear his snores. They sound like a hungry panther’s growl on its prowl.”
“Don’t you worry, the surgery would silence his snores as well. If you can check up with Neelima, my secretary, she will tell you about the package and fix a suitable date after referring to the almanac, if you so wish.”
I stood up with indignation. “Doctor, no offence meant. But I bet you will laugh derisively and my wife will join you, if I tell a secret. Right from the time, as a child when I heard the story of Ramayana, I have a morbid fear of sharing the fate of Surpanaka. Her noseless face still haunts me in my nightmares. Further, I have lived for fifty years with the septum deviation. Why not for fifty more? Goodbye, doctor. Come let us go.”