Of Pains and Medicines

I have this fetish for not taking any medicine. I mean it. I try to find some excuse to not take medicines (unless my hand has a fractured humerus which wouldn’t be one bit humourous). I do apply “home” remedies (though the quotes should actually be around remedies than home) like warm brine gargling, fasting, kashayam (that is a decoction of pepper, dried ginger and a few other ingredients), honey-lime in hot water, etc. but anything that comes as capsules or tablets repels me. If I simply have to take a pill I would, but I would avoid it as far as possible. Just yesterday I was thinking how much of a misfit I am in this family (or any family)!
My dad loves to tease. Maybe I inherited those genes though not his fortune of being surrounded by people who had a sense of humour. I really wonder why people are so touchy and stupid. Where was I? Aah! So my dad would tease his father-in-law (my grandfather) about how he (the older he) would prescribe an ointment called “Jamback” (or that is how everyone pronounced it) for nearly everything. He (the younger he) would quip, “I am sure if my bike refused to start, he would rush out with a Jamback!” My mother would try her best to support her father but she was no match for mine. I never saw this scene because I was either nowhere in the picture or was busy wetting some piece of cloth under me only to hear half a dozen “Tcho Tcho” cooed in unison (or worse, out of sync).
Pan to the days when I am older and wetting less pieces of cloth. Camera zooms in on my father who hears about my sprain and he sighs before prescribing, “Sloan’s Balm”. That was the dread of my life. Dad always prescribed Sloan’s Balm. Not sure I have met anyone in my life who uses Sloan’s Balm. It happens to be a product of Pfizer and still available at the chemist’s store (no not the same bottle). I used to think that Balm was Bomb spelled by a 2 year old (but he’d have to be one smart 2 year old to get that spelling). The damn thing used to burn wherever it touched. I would scream my lungs out whenever dad applied it on a shin or elbow. Of course, my sister screamed too though I am not sure whether dad did. Perhaps he had a milder version of it. For him every pain could be cured by Sloan’s “Killer” Balm. And when it burned, he would assure us that that was a good sign: if it burns, then there is surely some reaction and the pain was being healed. As you will soon see, this was just the start of a bad childhood.
Then there were cuts and bloody wounds. Fortunately, Sloan’s Balm wasn’t recommended for those. Tincture of Iodine was. That burned too. The explanation was the same. The urge to run away was the same and the screaming amplitude was also the same. Dad oscillated his prescriptions between Hell and Hell. If I ever got a cut, I would rush to a nearby bush and (of course not, I was a kid then. Gosh! You and your imagination!) pluck the leaves, crush them and apply the juice of that to my wound. The wound would at least stop bleeding and I would act as if nothing happened (though with shorts, it was difficult to cover wounds). That is where I had my first lessons in creativity. I would do all kinds of things to avoid being cornered. I would come home dirty (who wants to frisk a filthy kid?), or wear tracks and claim to have done my practice for the athletics meet. I had to distract parents with something weird and some more (can’t afford to list them out).
A couple of days ago I suddenly recollected all this and was laughing my head off. Everyone in my family takes medicines when required, save me (hence, the misfit mentioned earlier). The ladies (and here I include extended family) seem to enjoy it. I wonder what gave my dad the right to tease my granddad (though everyone has the right to tease anyone). It must have been fun to watch him tease grandpa and then have someone else tease him. I don’t think any of this influenced my preference against medicines. I have always found it annoying to submit to a bunch of chemicals when I feel my body is capable of healing itself. I never could word it thus when I was younger, but as I grew older (and the process continues) I realised that I found it lazy not to let the body understand the ailment and heal itself. I watched animal and learnt to lick my wounds (and then wash them as we don’t lick anything and leave it unwashed). But that apart, I still find it amazing when people reveal their favourite cure-all! They will swear by it and actually are offended to hear that it didn’t help someone: “Maybe you didn’t take it regularly”. What’s yours?


3 thoughts on “Of Pains and Medicines

  1. 😀Special child, special dad. I abhor medicines and doctors are a definite ugh. But sometime or the other, I am sure a threshold level of pain or discomfort will be reached when I will rush to doctors and surgeons and all forms of treatment whether alternative or allopathic. Until that impotent day, let me enjoy a medicine-free, a doctor-free life…

  2. Dear M,Amrutanjan is an all-time staple in south Indian homes. Nowadays its becoming Moov and Volini but they don’t have the same ring.Dear P,Indeed!!

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