The surgeon slapped me hard. It stunned me to such an effect that my ears were ringing and there were stars in front of my eyes.
I was only ten years old but in my dictionary, there was no word called ‘Fear’. I was a nuisance at my school and a terror in our neighborhood. No guava tree escaped my notice. The berries were not allowed to ripen. No tree was difficult to climb. Jumping from the first floor of under-construction houses was a favorite pastime. I recall that once I left my shoes behind to race home first. Warning calls from teachers during school hours were frequent and so was the visits of other guardians in the evenings.
This time I was very nervous. I had a small infection on my left thumb. I was so curious that I just could not leave it alone. I tried to satisfy my curiosity by picking at it, trying to draw blood. So, the wound which was small suddenly had a life of its own and grew in size. And now it was infected badly. It was time for the family doctor to visit. I looked at him and started crying loudly as I didn’t want needles. The moment he wanted to examine me, I slipped under the bed. My parents and my siblings tried to coax me out but who wanted to leave the safest place on earth! The family doctor left and then my parents decided to take me to the surgeon.
The surgeon examined the infected wound from all angles and decided it was time to operate. And there I was on the operation table. I tried making the life of the surgeon and his assistants very difficult. I was howling with fear and resisted all their attempts to hold my wrist in one place. And then the slap.
The surgeon took this opportunity and sliced open the wound on my left thumb. And the throbbing pain immediately subsided. The surgeon suggested to get an x-ray done. My parents turned anxious again. But I suddenly became a good boy and did what the surgeon suggested, to avoid another slap probably.
Storyteller : Kallol Bhattacharya
As told to Coena Mukherjee