Thursday, March 24, 2005

Possessed by God

"Whatever you do," said my aunt, with a measure of sympathy, over the phone, "don't scratch."

I slowly slid back into bed and thought that these occasional offerings of advice did nothing to reduce the dread of what was to come. I then passed out into a fevered sleep, with the rustle of the pillowcase, the yelping of dogs, the distant echoes of hammers on stone amplified in my disoriented state. All manners of advice had been lent since the beautiful doctor frowned a pretty frown and sighed, "Yup, that's chicken pox." Things would get better in seven or eight days, she said, taking a step backwards.

Over the next two days, I heard: Have a bath; don't have a bath; have a sponge bath; soak yourself in hot water to expunge toxins; having a bath will invite the wrath of god. The last bit caught me. God?

"We call it Mata, 'mother'," explained another aunt well versed in these things. "We welcome her when she forces her way in to our homes. She stays for seven days. We don't eat meat for a week, and on the last day a woman has to sprinkle water on you before you bathe. On that day only cold food will be eaten. Until then, take it as a blessing that she is here, that she has chosen you."

Now I'm no student of mythology, but could it be that in India, as in other places, the planets of faith and science have collided and now, conjoined, revolve in an orbit all their own? In both, faith and science, the ordeal ends around the same time. I just wish it would end sooner, but according to my family, hoping for that isn't right because I've got a goddess on my face and my arms and everywhere else.

There are a few downsides to this particular goddess. You can't sleep, walk, sit straight, or even talk without sounding like the Godfather. The trip to Kanpur and Delhi has been cancelled. But thankfully, it hasn't been as bad as I imagined. Reading books and sipping tea by an open window without worrying has been a pretty decent experience. Almost like those three-month summer vacations which remain the abiding memory of school days.


Anonymous said...

Damnnnnn biatch!!! Chicken pox!! - I had it last year in Jan - it really sux - had boils in my mouth / up my nose / in my ears / on one of my eyeballs!!! I heard every story / myth about the disease plus i had high speed access - so i read everything there is to read on the internet about adult chicken pox.
Here's my advice - DO have a bath - NO SOAP - a warm shower feels unbelievable - and don't rub the towel - dab yourself dry. You'll feel 100% better - and yes u can do this everyday.
Also - there are no dietary restrictions - ER docs told me that.
MOST IMPORTANTLY - you're gonna look like shit once the scabs fall off - there'll be pink fresh skin visible for a while - STAY OUT OF THE SUN - or you'll have HALO marks around the marks.
COCO BUTTER is your best friend!! - Rub it generously all over yourself - once in the morning and once in the evening - for the next 3 months - you'll look greasy as hell - but it works - even the one two marks that remain - will go back to normal pigmentation. I'm gonna email this to you just in case you don't check the comments.
Feel better dude.

Rahul said...

Hi! Yes, the baths did happen, but coco butter? Sounds rather erotic.
Write to the yahoo or gmail account.


Aditya said...

Hi Rahul,

Just bumped into your site. Baths are good, like your friend Rohan says. Your aunty is damn right so don't scratch. You can read about my chicken pox experience.

I don't know about COCO butter, I used lactocalmine lotion to get the marks off to some extent. You could try no-marks or fair-n-lovely! :-p

BTW, the older you are the harder it hits.

Anonymous said...

Coco butter - goto heera panna or any place that sells "phoren" stuff and pick up either the jar or lotion - Bruce - the door man in the old office building told me about it - believe me it works.
I don't have ur'e gmail or yahoo accounts - email em to me - i'll send you pics of what i looked like during my spell. BTW - take lots of pictures of yourself.
Rest up.

Anonymous said...

Lacto Calamine is good to prevent itching - basically soothing lotion - but the coco butter helps eliminate the marks left behind

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