His reputation traveled before him.
|Prompt 1- Reputation
His full name was Jagannadh, which in Sanskrit means the lord of the world. It is a common feature in India to have names of deities and goddesses. People called him Jagan, the short and sweet of Jagannadh. He lived on the outskirts of the town in a house he built. There used be a slum on the other side of the road, which was replaced by small houses where the same people dwelt.
Some of the small town dwellers knew him as a kid and then a gangly seventeen leading the youth of their locality in games and social activities like getting a school and a government hospital for the slum dwellers in the vicinity. He was also a yoga teacher with a diploma and had a black belt in karate.
After school, he joined Ayurvedic medical institute and earned a diploma. Now people knew him as Dr. Jagannadh, specialist in oil therapy for any physical ailment.
Usually, his mornings were busy. Early morning, as the infant sun rose on the mountains in glowing red maturing into orange and then to gold, he was seen walking his dog, Lucky, on the silent roads. He loved walking in the early unpolluted fresh atmosphere with no traffic on the road. The dog and the master would return in forty minutes, in time to fill the water tank on the terrace with the help of a motor attached to his sump. The modest house glittered green surrounded by trees of many kinds. A lover of flora, Jagan spoke to his plants as he watered them every day, and while collecting flowers for his daily worship of gods lined up in a small room which he called the puja (worship) room.
After the morning ablutions he would sit on the veranda scouring the newspaper with a cheering cup of tea. His wife lounged in an arm chair enjoying the early morning togetherness with her husband. She just got her daughters’ lunch boxes packed and breakfast put on the table.
“Dad, I am ready,” called his second daughter Navya adjusting her backpack.
Jagan changed quickly and got his motorbike out. He drove his daughter to the bus stop where she would get her school bus. This was the last year of her school and then she would join college where older sister Divya was a second year intermediate student.
“Eat your lunch completely,” said her father as she waved a smiling ‘bye to him before getting into the bus.
The phone was ringing as Jagan stepped into the living room. He said, “Hello,” into the receiver.
“Dr. Jagannadh?”asked female voice.
“Sir, I am Aditi. Namaste. I got your number from a friend of mine.”
“Yes, Madam, how may I help you?”
“Sir, I heard you are one of the few best oil therapists in the state. I desperately need your help.”
His reputation traveled before him. His therapy was much talked about. His massage techniques gained popularity within two short years after he started practicing.
“My husband had an accident a few years back. He fell on the right side and injured his leg. He is feeling numbness in the leg and finds trouble in walking.”
Jagan noted her address and drove to it in the evening after attending to his other patients. He attended to ten patients on a regular basis, daily. He had not thought about a clinic of his own. Being just 48, he preferred to treat his patients in their own houses.
He called at the address given by the lady, he talked to on phone. It was an independent single-storied house with a lot of greenery around.
“Come in doctor,” Ela welcomed him inside. A man of about sixty sat on a sofa, reading a book. Ela introduced him as her husband. After preliminary exchange of talk, Jagan wanted to examine him. He noticed a slight bent and a strained look on Mr. Ramesh’s face, as they walked together to the bedroom.
“Sir, please lie down on your front,” asked Jagan. Ramesh lay down with his face down and Jagan started feeling his spine. After a while he asked him to sit up and took his blood pressure. It was 120/80, ideal measure.
“I will start treatment from tomorrow. Please wear a thin undershirt and shorts.”
The treatment continued for ten days. By the end of it, Mr. Ramesh felt active and experienced no trouble in walking.
Of course, not all cases were as easy as that of Mr. Ramesh. There were some people bedridden due to paralysis and some suffered stiffness in arms or legs, an early indication of the Parkinson’s. Jagan helped them go through their motions without much difficulty.
Some of them asked him how he developed his skill of massaging and the kind of oil he used. Jagan was happy to explain. His massage was different from the usual pattern of pressing the parts of the body. Instead, he would use what was known as Bowen’s therapy. In this practice the doctor or the therapist uses his finger tips to lightly massage those parts essential for the movement. For example, in Ramesh’s case he would use his fingers to feel the discs in his spine and massage the whole spinal cord accordingly. The patient would feel comfort and a sense of relief after a session.
So it was with the paralytic patients. Continuous treatment would bring movement to the dead nerves and the patient would start feeling the numbness and immobility giving way.
Jagan would prepare the oil at home in his backyard. He would collect the materials as shown in the recipes he inherited from his ancestors and go through a laborious process of making the powerful oil. His medical school experience helped learn the latest techniques in massage and exercises advised for the patients with nervous ailments.
What was required was perseverance and patience without which success was impossible. And Jagan had plenty of these virtues of yore besides being a natural in massaging and inspiring hope and ability in his patients.
Written for World Weavers’ Championship hosted by Tileira