Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Quack..

I was on my way to work when I realized the pavement was blocked. There was a tent that had sprung up on it. It was definitely not there the night before, when I was walking home. It looked interesting and curiously pretty. A dirty brown thing in the middle of the pavement that flapped in the breeze when the wind threatened to uproot its pegs. The entrance was another patchwork of myriad fabrics gathered in the course of the owner’s lifetime. A cloth banner hung across two trees like a hammock. It proclaimed the inhabitant had permanent cures for all kinds of diseases, illnesses, sicknesses that could or would plague the world ever. Just when I crossed the entrance, I saw the ‘Doctor’ walk around inside. He was dressed in bright colorful clothes, an orange dhoti, a yellow and red embroidered vest, a green overcoat, all embroidered, mirrored and sequined. His hair was matted and long and adorned with colorful beads. His hands jingled with equally strange amulets, bracelets of aluminum, iron, brass, copper, as were his ankles. If he was actually so knowledgeable, he wouldn’t be walking around carrying this tent on his head. How did he manage to live or eat or pay for anything he required? It can happen only in India – you can put up a tent anywhere and make it your home and stay as long as you want right under the Traffic police, the Regular police, the BBMP; everyone’s noses. As long as you give 20 bucks to the police patrol every night, you can breed, excrete, and dirty the place without anyone batting an eyelid. I wondered how long he would be there. The citizens are much wiser now and taking a more active part in social service. But still I assumed he would be there for some days at least until someone made an issue about it. To my surprise he was gone when I came back that day. What had happened, I wanted to know. Maybe some concerned citizen thought his tent was an eyesore n an inconvenience and got it removed. Or maybe he was a fool for having set up his Quack Practice in the midst of an educated, civilized bunch of folks. But I wonder where he went. I would have definitely liked to see him Practice.

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