Age of specialists

Age of specialists

Ambuja was forming a suitable response when the visitors mobile rang.

We are all aware that the good old general practitioners are an almost vanished tribe.

There is the hackneyed joke these days about going to one specialist for the left nostril and another for the right. While this may be a hyperbole, there is no doubt that we live in an era of specialisation and super-specialisation.

During my school days, there was one teacher who handled general science (physics, chemistry, biology), one who dealt with math (arithmetic, algebra, geometry), one who tackled social studies (history, geography, civics) and one who was assigned English (language and literature). But now, there are three  specialists for general science, math and  social studies and two for English. Specialisation has trickled down the ranks and reached every area of life. And why not? Why should it be the prerogative of the privileged?

Ambuja had moved into a fancy apartment. I dropped by to see how she had settled in. “Everything is fine except for the domestic help tangle,” she stated. “Tangle?” I queried, puzzled. Before she could enlighten me, the doorbell rang. “Hear for yourself,” was the enigmatic reply before she opened the door. In walked a smart, if rotund, woman. “I came to know that you had moved in recently. Do you need help?” she asked. “Yes, I do,” replied Ambuja and listed, “I need a person to clean the utensils, sweep and swab, and  do the dusting.” “I only do dusting,” she declared.

“I work in a couple of apartments in this block. I could fit in your work  between 2 and 4 pm,” she offered, with the air of being accommodating. Ambuja was forming a suitable response when the visitor’s mobile rang. “Hello? I’ll be there in...” She glanced at her watch and continued, “20 minutes.”  Turning to Ambuja, “You can consider my offer and call me on my mobile,” she suggested. “Here is my name and mobile number,” she added, handing Ambuja a square piece of paper, her business card.

Before we could discuss anything, there was another ring. Another person, equally smart, had come to offer her services. Her terms were pretty much the same as her predecessor’s except that she specialised in cleaning utensils. The next caller was a culinary expert. Before she started dictating terms, Ambuja informed her that she did her own cooking.

The last caller was a sweeping and swabbing expert who was prepared to ‘adjust’ to Ambuja’s timings — for a consideration, of course. Ambuja sagged onto the sofa whining, “Why can’t  I find one person to do all the work instead of having people underfoot all the time?” she demanded. “This is the age of specialisation,” I said sweetly, for which I received a glacial look.