I am late! Run! Okay, people are staring. Just walk. Fast.
At the gate of the hospital I realized I wasn't entirely sure where the dentist's room even was.
Hmmm... I think I take a right here... there it is. The blue board- Room 3.
I barge in. I don't always do that, but I am late.
There is the lady dentist. She looks up and smiles. I have known her for a long time. She's sweet. Goes out of her way to make you feel relaxed. Not that I need that. I have too much experience, courtesy my orthodontic treatment. Every weekend, and then, every other, was spent in a little cabin on a 'chair', disproportionately large, for a very long two-year three years back (the '' signify that I do not know what that contraption is called).
But, she is not the one who is going to work on me (this statement has always sounded rather Frankenstein-ish to me). Next to her stands a tall turbaned man wearing a grim look. Well, at least his eyes were grim. The rest of his face was cloaked behind the surgical mask. The kind of look which says, "Well, I don't really like what I am doing, you know."
I questioned the sanity of letting a person who thought thus to be given control of my teeth while I followed him to a chair, the afore mentioned kind, in one of the small side-rooms.
Well, I sat all the same.
The roof was, get this, polka dotted, black against white. That is the last thing I saw (this ominously). I closed my eyes. Prudent thing to do let me assure you.
Yes, I am experienced, been through much worse and painful too, and I knew that. But, I had forgotten the whizzing sound which now whizzed somewhere near me. I have heard it countless times before, but I hadn't remembered how downright scary it can sound.
Nothing big. I was just getting my teeth cleaned (this months Reader's Digest had quite an impact on me).
But, I will be honest, I started getting slightly scared. Only slightly.
The next noise was worse. The whatever-it-was-which-emitted-a-high-pressure-spray-of-warm-water screeched against my lower-center tooth. A banshee would have cowered. With a sinking heart I remembered my father's words, "Half-an-hour, forty-five minutes, that's is what it should take."
Anyway, the process began. It wasn't painful, but it certainly wasn't pleasant. The screeching eventually faded into a drone.
Suddenly, interrupting my otherwise silent musings, I heard a familiar song- ik onkar, the Rang De Basanti version, of course. The Oral Hygiene Specialist's phone was ringing.
Professionalism forbade him from picking it up. The caller, apparently trying to surprise the man into picking it up, kept disconnecting and calling, again and again, in seemingly nonrhythmic intervals. Finally, he gave up.
The relief was short. Then the poor man, just trying to clean my teeth, was disturbed again by an assistant who came in and asked him to get up for a moment. He wanted to check if the chair (the normal kind, which he sat on) needed any repair. He left, at last, making sure that the chair would relatively survive.
I must have thought, at least thrice, "It's over." The final time I was right.
He sprayed, with a thankfully larger nozzle, something which I am guessing serves the same purpose that varnish does.
He stepped back, inspecting his work critically, and, satisfied, permitted me to get up. I saw the large orb-like light hovering over me, slightly blinded. Then he admonished me for not taking better care of my teeth.
My earlier evaluation turned out to be wrong. He was a good-humored person and kept checking now and then if I was in pain.
As I was slipping my shoes on he asked me to fix one more appointment for something which sounded an awful lot like buffing.
After forty minutes since I had entered, I stepped out. Everything was of a wrong color, I was still dazed by the sudden overhead light.
The ordeal was over and had been motivation enough for me to brush much more sincerely from now on.
Well, at least I have clean teeth.