The multi-faceted itch

Where? – It can be any part of the body – mine or yours. It can be the forehead, the nose or the cheek. Or, just behind the ear or the shoulder or some part of the leg, too. It is frustrating if it happens to be somewhere on the back where the hand cannot reach.

When? – Anytime. While sleeping or travelling or even driving. Sometimes while eating too. Or, while attending a meeting or in the midst of an interview or at the podium delivering a speech or while whispering sweet nothings.

What? – Well, you may have guessed it by now, I suppose. It is an itching which just cannot be ignored.  Whoever you are, Sonia or Sannamma; Modi or Mahesh; Obama or Obalesh, whatever is the colour of the skin or the breed or the social status, itch – an irritating sensation on the body that provokes a desire to scratch – is a great leveller.

Once it starts itching you just cannot wish it away or wait for it to subside on its own. No, you will have to attend to it. The cure is mild, a few seconds of scratching, and it is gone. And what a great relief it brings! That’s why, as Ogden Nash says, “Happiness is having a scratch for every itch.”

Itch can be dismissed, after scratching of course, as a medical disorder but my grandma had her own theories. If the right palm is itching there are monetary benefits; if it is the right sole that needs a scratch it heralds the visit of someone but if it is the left sole – be careful, a quarrel is in the offing! Call it irrational but even today many subscribe to her theory.

Body itch apart, a restless or uneasy desire for something also qualifies as an itch. Here no scratching is involved but one is very eager or impatient to accomplish an act. Like Dhoni for example, itching to finish off the match with a helicopter shot. One could also itch for a fight as nations do over a petty issue.

Many subscribe to the ‘I scratch your back and you scratch mine’ doctrine. As someone put it, “The kind of thing I’m good at is knowing every politician in the state and remembering where he itches. And, I know just where to scratch him.”

Many busybodies claim that they have no time even to scratch when it is itching. On the other hand, we have this chap who, if it itches today, will scratch only the next day. Why? He is lazy, of course. But scratch he must, which is inescapable.

If you have an itch for shopping you may end up with a coupon, the scratching of which might fetch you a flat, a car or a necklace. But once the itch of writing bugs a
man, nothing can cure it but the scratching of a pen.

Now, you know why I wrote this!

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