A concocted cure


This is the time of year when there are virus attacks in Bangalore. I had an attack, with a cough that sounded like a moped's self starter not cranking hard enough. The ‘okhu-okhu’ and the ‘khar-khar’ sounds I made carried and a genial neighbour came saying: “Total rest, sa-a-a-ar, to-oooo-otal rest,  that is what you need.” He felt my forehead, put his glasses up against his eyebrows, peered at my face with naked eyes, came closer to my nose, asked me to open my mouth wide and pronounced, “It is lareeen-ji-tiss. I had it, don't you remember?” What cured him, I asked him. He said: “Garlic,” pronounced ‘gore-lick’, crushed and mixed with honey, a pinch of turmeric and camphor. “Put it all in khara-bhath and eat it and you'll be as good as new.”

Salt water gargles are what my grandmother had sworn by. So ignoring the gore-lick cure, I was loudly gargling with my chin raised high, when the neighbour's wife came calling: “Don't listen to my husband-ji. He forgot what made him all right.” Then addressing my wife, she continued: “Your mister looks unwell. You don’t make him do any gore-lick thing. Mix sugarcane juice, watermelon juice, add some rock salt and glucose. The mixture does not look nice but it is a fast cure. But he must sleep in the North-East corner.”

Just as my wife was stomaching that piece of advice, the postman, noticing that I was at home during office hours, said: “Lie on your stomach, with your feet higher than your head. The ‘bad things’ will go to your throat and quickly come out.” I thanked him in my hoarse voice, when the phone rang and I croaked, “Hello.”

It was my wife's sister. “Tell you what, castor oil and warm milk. Have them on an empty stomach. Then later, have asafoetida, warmed ghee and curds all mixed together. You will sweat, so quickly have a hot bath then.” I pretended to write it all down. The wife had a pained expression as even the maid servant had given her a cure from her village. Tender coconut water, pure ghee, dates, pomegranate skin and lotus seeds - was her cure. The dates were optional and the proportions were in terms of 'a pinch', 'just a bit', 'a dash'.

What cured me finally was bitter gourd juice, dried cabbage leaves and... I am not telling all. The Bangalore sure-cure is going to earn me millions.

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