Sunday, February 25, 2018
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We are in the midst of an unkind winter. In America they have recorded Minus 52 degree Celsius temperature which is supposed to be colder than Mars ! So far as Allahabad is concerned, this weather is leading to a rise in respiratory ailments. Breathlessness is a common complaint.

Air pollution has added to our woes.  It is thus not  so pleasant for those who suffer from winter allergies. And they include those who face breathing trouble in winter.  But some  suffer from allergies during summer time too. And there are others who can get an attack of allergy round the year – especially if they inhale dust and smoke while moving on some of the roads of Allahabad.

I would like to recall an interesting experience.  Mr S.K.Bose, my predecessor in office, used to suffer from allergy round the year. His ailment and mine were the same. He would get a bout of sneezes and so would I. Mr Bose would carry with him a bottle of nasal drops all the time. Whenever he felt nasal congestion, he would put a few drops, sniff them upwards and would carry on with his work.  But he could bear it no more. So he told me he was going to Calcutta to have himself checked up by allergy experts. He was there for some fifteen days or so.

Meanwhile I was also feeling very uneasy because of the nasal congestion.. I  did not know what to do. I went to Kohinoor chemists. The late Nanavati – Nana as everyone called him—was sitting at the counter with a smiling face as usual.. He knew me very well and would often give me inside stories about the medical world. I told him about my ailment-the nasal congestion. He said, ‘Well, here is a mixture which will act fine. Just take it thrice a day’ I asked him, ‘Are you sure it will have good effect ?’ He replied, ‘Positively’. I told him, ‘But you have not examined me, nor have you asked me to undergo costly tests. And yet you are saying this ?’ He replied firmly and affirmatively that the medicine would prove to be effective. He said, ‘I look into prescriptions sent by different doctors for this problem and find that this seems to be quite popular’. It was a new branded product. At least I was seeing it for the first time.

And would you believe it ? Soon enough my nasal problem disappeared. That mixture was apparently suitable for my allergic disorder. I thanked Nana and he gave a smile, shaking his knees while sitting on the counter. And then he told me the reality of some of the other popular medicines. He said, ‘This is made of this stuff..,.if you don’t believe me, try it. If it doesn’t help, come to me and then buy this’. He was turning away a customer ! But he said, ‘I don’t regard you as a mere customer’. I thought he must be doing that on the basis of his experience. And I did find that what he said was substantially true. He told me several other remedies too, saying that he was telling me about the basic ingredients used in these medicines. It was such a pleasure to chat with him. And he was so accommodative, so gentle that if a sick person himself came to buy some medicine, he would provide the healing touch with his friendly talk.

Anyway, fifteen days passed and Mr S.K.Bose returned from Calcutta. He was looking much better. He told me that he had undergone several  costly tests in Calcutta. The doctors thereafter prescribed the medicine which had worked wonders. He said, ‘Look, I have not brought the nasal drops with me’.

Then Mr Bose looked at me and said: ‘But you are not sneezing any more. What medicine did you take ? ‘ I told him the name. Mr Bose jumped from his seat and said, ‘Who prescribed that medicine to you? ‘ I asked him as to why he was so worked up. He said, ‘Well, this is the medicine which was given to me after I had undergone several tests. Did you undergo any tests?’ I replied, ‘No Sir’. He asked: ‘Then which doctor prescribed that medicine to you ? I must meet him. He should be an allergy expert’. I replied, ‘Sir, I did not meet any doctor’. Then who gave you the medicine? He asked. I told him, ‘A gentleman who is a chemist. His name is Nanavati. And we call him Nana…’ Nana is no more. And so effective was that medicine that I did not need it again. Hence I have even forgotten its name. But I might have noted it down somewhere. If I find the name I will let you know!

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