Sunday, May 11, 2008

If you want to know why I'm the way I am, there's a simple answer: It's Genetic.

“See, the thing is…”


“I have this pain in my tooth, and I couldn’t sleep all night because it gave me a headache, and…”


“So, I’ve been thinking…”

“That you should go to the dentist?”

“Oh, thank God, I knew you’d come with me to the dentist!”

“Yeah, well – Hey! Wait a minute! What do you mean, come with you?”

Ladies and Gentlemen, the dentist’s chamber again. Overlook the fact that I was there to, quite metaphorically, hold my mother’s hand while the dentist excavated her mouth, and the main problem was that I was back. This is the same clinic I thought I’d never have to see again once my braces came off, and here I was again a couple of years later, revisiting old memories. Cold white tubelights, check. Impersonal marble tiles, check. Everything that precise shade of sterile white, check. How I hate that shade of white. And oh, in case I forgot to mention, nervous mother telling me all about how she hates people putting their hands inside her mouth? Check.

I, of course, am a veteran. I see nothing wrong with the dentist pulling on his gloves and picking up that spoonlike mirror, but my mother’s looking ready to faint. He tells her to open her mouth and sticks the mirror in, and she gags. He tries to prise her mouth open, and she gags again, apologising profusely afterwards. He then tells her to go and get an X-ray since he can’t figure out what’s wrong. Because she won’t let him.

I sit outside the X-ray room, waiting for her to come out. I expect a scared mother, I expect a creeped-out mother wanting to pour Harpic into her mouth (she has an obsessive-compulsive thing about cleanliness and germs, yes), but I do not expect a sheepish-looking mater.



“What do you mean, nothing? I know something happened. You drag me all the way here and deprive me of all the fun?”

“You call this fun?” From an observer’s angle, yes. I’ve been a victim too many times.

“What happened?”

“You know how they put this metal plate in your mouth and hold it in place with their fingers?”

“Yes, and they ask you to bite on the plate, then their finger, and then you have to push the button on the machine so that the X-ray happens. Go on, what happened?”

“You know all this? Why didn’t you tell me?”

“I didn’t know I had to. What happened?”

“Well, I told the chap I had a gagging problem, but he put the metal plate in anyway. And then he told me what to do, but I bit the plate too hard because I wanted to get over with it, and the plate was ruined.”

“You ruined a plate?” That’s heresy in the dental world.

“Then the second time he put the plate in I didn’t want to bite his finger, so I pushed the button in a hurry, and the X-ray didn’t happen because there was no pressure compressing the teeth into the plate.”

“I’m assuming there’s a third time,” I say, eyeing her warily.

“Well, this time I wanted the X-ray to be over and done with, so when he told me to bite, I, er, bit him too hard.”

I stare at my mother fascinatedly. This is too good to be true.

“You bit the assistant? You bit him?”

“He told me to! I also, er, spat into his hand instead of the spittoon.”

"You bit him, and then you drooled all over him?” Yes, I know what that sounds like, but I said it all the same.

“Well, there’s no need to laugh all that much. At least the X-ray was done.” And two plates were ruined in the process.

“I feel like puking. Oh god, can I buy a toothbrush somewhere? I’m feeling sick. I’ll get germs. Do you think I’ll get infected?”

I surface from my convulsions to say “Don’t you think it’s more likely the X-ray guy got infected since you bit him?”

There’s no way my mother’s glare will work. This is better than any of my dental misadventures.

The X-ray guy seems to have warned the doctor. He coughs a little and explains to my mother that she has a gagging complex, purely psychological of course, but she needs scaling done and possibly a wisdom tooth extraction (this time I don’t blame my mother for going grey in the face) so wouldn’t it be more convenient to consult a top-notch world-famous-in-Kolkata dental surgeon?

Literal translation: Go turn him into a werewolf, you.

So we left, and I begged my mother to let me accompany her on all her dental appointments with the hotshot surgeon (who has no idea of what he’s in for), and she grudgingly agreed. That was on Saturday. Today, on Mother’s Day, I handed her a packet and said, “This is for yesterday.” As a former dental victim, I can laugh at her experiences, but I can also sympathise. After the laughing’s done with, that is. She opened it to find a pair of earrings.

“I expected Listerine” she said cryptically.

And then, before she left the room, this parting shot – “Oh, I forgot to tell you, you have an appointment on Thursday with Dr. Surana, I made it before we left the clinic. Just a check-up, of course.”

Dr. Surana is my orthodontist - or at least he was, till two years ago - who does not know that there’s still some dental cement and wire holding my four front teeth together that should have been removed ages ago. I ground my teeth, and I swear I could see an evil grin on the mater’s face. I am now looking forward to witnessing her wisdom tooth extraction.

24 kindred spirits have swallowed my rambling:

Elendil said...

Hahaha :D Thank you for writing this hilariously entertaining post. Gave me a good laugh. Needed it, exam in a few hours. Best of luck with further dental adventures for both you and your mom.

Sroyon said...

Take a camcorder, please, this time

heh? ok said...

i have a feeling you'll go green and faint. but what a story it'll be :)

speedpost said...

Heard it. Heard it from ur adorable mum. Can i keep her please?

Aruni RC said...

hilarious! THere's a special circle of hell reserved for dentists, believe me.

SPIRITed! said...

Hehehehe, I'm sure all the dentists themselves have had weird dental adventures so they take their revenge by targeting poor,suspecting souls who have been cajoled by their mothers to have a check-up. Universal Law Of Dentists, I presume.

Rahul Saha said...

Haha. Have fun. Waiting for report.

Doubletake, Doublethink. said...

@ elendil: glad to be of service. how went the eggjam?

@ sroyon: good idea.

@ heh? ok: green and faint? it's my mum who'll be having the wisdom tooth extraction.

@ speedpost: take her. i'll even pay maintenance.

@ aruni rc: dentists and lawyers too, i think.

@ spirited: hmm, now what i wouldn't give for the dentist's take on this.

@ rahul saha: hehe, i have a feeling it'll be a while before that.

Elendil said...

Exam went fine, thanks :)

WHAT'S IN A NAME ? said...

your escapades remind me of Ogden Nash's poem on his visits to the dentist. :)

new age scheherazade said...

hehe. hehe. this is better than during my hepatitis shot when it took a doctor and three assistants to subdue me. I did get to throw his glasses across the room, though.


29A said...


little boxes said...

good lord...that was fantastic!
and yes,i went to surana too :)
i hated the feeling of gooey rubber gloves on my gum...

Noisy Autist said...

aah... dentists and how we hate them. this hilarious post reminds me of a very particular Seinfeld episode ;)

speedpost said...

done. wen is she gonna be deposited here? i want name and place

Fishy! said...

Dentists are a menace.
I still remember the pain of my second wisdom tooth, and my idiotic dentist.

Vikrant said...

Does your mom have a blog? :)

if said...

blah. howcome i never went thatmuch to a dentist? (only once to remove a particularly nasty milktooth)

**feels crestfallenly unhygienic and scampers away**

Opaline said...

Want an explanation.

Doubletake, Doublethink. said...

@ whats in a name: ogden nash is what got me through most of my dental appointments :)

@ newage: and i thought i was difficult.

@ 29a: tell em about it.

@ little boxes: yay! fellow surana victim (i quite like surana, though)

@ noisy autist: konta? i haven't seen.

@ speedpost: till i hire a cook.

@ fishy: um, tor wisdom tooth already beriye gechhe?

@ vikrant: not that i know of *looks worried*

@ if: you're lucky.

@ opaline: for what?

Death On Two Legs said...

My first non-celebrity dentist.

Well, the feminine little soul in me warmed to someone who could make those pointy, shiny instruments sound less dangerous.

But, that's no excuse.

Divya said...

Haahahahahaha! "Go turn him into a werewolf, you".. ridiculous... brilliant :D

Nilayan said...


another brick in the wall said...

would like to know how the wisdom toot extraction went... funny post :)
oh btw.. i hold some sorda world record.. 19 fillings and 7 root-canals.. my teeth are incredible *gives a wide grin*