Yesterday, I was walking to an eatery in Kailash Colony Market which I had newly discovered. I saw a middle aged man sitting with a packet of buttermilk sipping it slowly under the shade of a tree. His bicycle was parked awkwardly on the road.
‘Oh, how wonderful!’ I thought, ‘The guy must have had a sumptuous meal and is now washing it all down with buttermilk.’
The faint mental picture lingered as I went ahead and had my snack. I returned after what must have been half an hour and I find the same guy wobbling his way to me. He said, ‘I have finished my diabetes medication and I have this massive toothache too. Sir, please give me some money so that I can buy pain and diabetes medication.’
I asked him if he had anything to eat as I didn’t want him to go into a hypoglycemic shock after the medicines and he mentioned that he had just had some milk in the morning and buttermilk for lunch. I instantly remembered him sitting with the buttermilk pouch in the shade. He said eight months back, he had accidentally swallowed some acid (used to clean toilets) at home thinking it was water and since then, he had been hospitalized and although the recovery was made, he was unable to eat any solid or hard food.
His sunken cheeks and dark circles bore a sullen look. He described gloomily how his children were all still studying and he had lost his job because of the accident. He used to work as a gardener previously. He was just 55 years old but he looked 70.
I asked him what he was doing roaming on streets with his bicycle and he evaded that question. He was carrying some packages on his cycle. I didn’t ask him further about his whereabouts.
I bought the medicines for him, took him to my clinic and extracted the painful tooth and sent him away. He was weak but, it was a simple easy extraction and he couldn’t have afforded blood tests. This post is not to garner praises for what I did. I am a dentist. That is what I was supposed to do.
I just want to bring to your attention one simple thing-
Isn’t it weird how this old man happened to ask for help for his toothache, of all the people, to a dentist? I think God, if he exists, talks to us through coincidences like these.