Sunday, December 6, 1998

Alternative poisons

Finally, the other day, I did it. I gave my husband Arsenic. It was, as they say, Indicated.
He resisted but briefly, then took it like a man. It all began on that annual check-up at the dentist’s, when the kindly fellow offered to extract my wisdom teeth, a saga that ended in bloodshed and tears. But firmly of that cheerful school of thought which vouches that Everything Happens for the Best, I recognized this as a Sign that I must now turn to Alternative Medicine.
Reiki was easy to acquire. Like any fresh convert, I began regaling my friends and acquaintances with my new powers. Until I realized that it was “Not if I see you first!” that they were muttering in reply to my cheery “See you soon!” In an attempt to regain some credibility, I pinched four enormous volumes on Homoeopathic Medicine from a certain kind person and, staggering under their weight, embarked on a voyage of knowledge and discovery.
Soon my mind was agog with all manner of preparations. There was Xanthoxylum and Argentum, Chamomila and Pulsatilla, Gnaphalium and Lycopodium, Sanguinaria and Staphisagria. It was a quaint, faraway world, a poet’s dream.
Of the many useful and interesting dysfunctions I learnt about, I soon noticed a wide gap between what they called Men’s Problems and Women’s Problems. The first focussed on virility, performance and endurance. Women’s Problems, by contrast were, one and all, stern attempts to sort out their messy and disgusting internal plumbing.
Indignant, I sought about for means to inform the Politically Incorrect Language people forthwith.
Homoeopathy, I also discovered, had sweet and simple, miraculous provisions for everything from fever, warts and piles to the pains of childbirth – and even shyness and masturbation.
Making out a list for brain tonic, cures for talkativeness, chocolate addiction and pain in the neck, I rushed to the friendly neighbourhood homoeopathy store. And found, to my dismay, that a huge population had had the news in advance and were waiting their turn before me. A disinterested and rather po-faced woman stood placidly behind the counter, ignoring the waiting customers with unmistakable satisfaction. I whiled away my time thinking up a homoeopathic remedy for her condition. And in case you have had a similar experience, here is my prescription: Silli Nit or Silli Tart. If this doesn’t work, try Yucks Vom. And if you still have no improvement, give her a dose of her own medicine, Kali Bich.
first appeared as ‘And the sceptics be poisoned’ in Indian Express Time Out on 5 Dec 1998

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