The problem with that doctor inside everyone

Published - February 22, 2015 01:03 am IST

It would appear that there is a doctor lying latent inside every Indian, with that assumed expertise rearing its unwanted head at the slightest provocation. Wherever you look, you find people proffering remedies for every ailment under the sun.

True, most of the unasked-for medical advice is essentially well-meaning. But it is also true that most of it would shock even the least experienced medical practitioner. Whether they are grandma’s home remedies or self-taught panacea lists provided in over-the-counter books or the Internet, it is more than amusing to see the promptness with which suggestions of different kinds pour in every which way, sometimes even from strangers. The sheer number of these self-proclaimed authorities in medicine might outnumber doctors all over the earth.

What is most amazing is that most of these so-called experts start their ‘practice’ solely on the basis of a casual observation of your physical appearance. They fail to realise that their sympathy and consolation for your superficially visible anomalies is the last thing you may want, let alone from them.

A little black shade under the eyes invariably invites the assumption that you have bad sleeping habits or even iron deficiency. Should your belly sag a little at the waist, the most distant of acquaintances would suddenly start giving you vibes of haven’t-you-seen-yourself-in-the mirror-of-late?

And in case you carry that unsuspecting pimple into the wedding party hall, don’t be surprised if you find yourself amidst a flurry of concern. The betrothed couple will immediately cease to be of interest as the group of aunties around you focus their undivided attention on that blemish on your face.

Overwhelmed by the exceedingly thoughtful concern over your assumed affliction, you glow a red that could easily put the bridal blush to shame. As the unctuous tide of recommendations starts to recede, you sneak away to some corner as politely as you possibly can, to collect the smithereens of your self-esteem, having been reminded of the very thing you had struggled so much to forget.

I wonder what it would take to make these affectionate, caring, self-styled doctors understand that airing their assumed medical knowledge is not always a good idea. It often ends up doing more harm than helping, especially when made on the basis of apparent physical signs.

Making someone less conscious of his or her bodily issues is far more desirable than giving needless advice, no matter how well-intentioned it may be. After all, medical science itself has proved that psychological optimism works where even medicines fail.

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