I was having my regular weekly chat with Mrs. K. She informed me that she had just returned from the doctor.
“Doctor? Is everything ok?” Just the name of a doctor fills one with an unnamed dread. As my grand – mother-in-law used to say, “God save us from the white coats and the black coats.”
Anyways coming back to Mrs. K.
“Oh it was Abhi’s scheduled visit to the eye doctor”
Abhi was born with what is euphemistically called the “weak-eye”, much aggravated with long binges of TV watching. As a result he was saddled with spectacles at the tender age of four.
Sometime back the doctor had suggested applying an eye-patch over his weaker eye so as to lessen the strain. So Abhi used to go about with a pirate-like patch on his eye.
“Ok what did the doctor say? Are the patches to continue?”
“That’s it. I very proudly told the doctor that I put on the patch religiously, even to school. But instead of praising me, he gave me a lecture.”
I was mystified, “A lecture? On what?”
Apparently the doctor chastised Mrs. K for making little Abhi suffer a lot of ridicule from his peers because of the piratical eye patch. Kids would poke fun at the poor boy and this was putting him off the offending patch. According to the ophthalmologist, it would be better to apply it once he returned from school.
Hmmm. Now this was funny. If you ever were a child in company of other children, you would know that there would always be some teasing kids who would make fun of anything. Unless you are invisible, you would be tortured about something or the other.
It also brought to mind a half forgotten memory of my childhood days. I was about six or seven years old and quiet podgy for my age. My teacher, Violet Ma’am, was very fond of me. “You remind me of the cartoon character Lotta”, she said one day in class. Thereafter she would often call me Lotta. Now this was about forty years back and there was no TV to speak of (Chitrahar and the Sunday movie were the highlights). I lived in a small town and access to comic books was limited to libraries and people with relatives in the metros. So while the milieu was aware of Mickey and Donald, Lotta was an unknown factor. Not being familiar, the kids misconstrued the name for Lota, the pot like utensil now relegated to pujas. it also fitted my overweight body to a T or shall we say to a L.