You went there when all the home remedies had failed. When the barley water and kanji had been consumed by the gallon, but the fever still remained.
He had an impressive reception. Framed certificates . Proclaiming that Dr. O was a panel doctor. For Air India , for the railways, for various banks. In gilt frames were gilt edged certificates. Certificates that had letters after his name with more consonants and more vowels than in "The lazy brown fox jumps over the clever dog." That procalimed him a Fellow of societies and associations. But that's not what made him the family physician.
He was the closest. When looking for a bride your search might traverse far corners of the globe. When looking for a violin teacher you look for someone who doesnt mind teaching you even if you are tone deaf. But when looking for a family doctor you look for close. Close enough to make a house call in the middle of his dinner if something has gone wrong with yours, and you need and emergency Hemmlich. Close enough to be there to certify that your non misting over mirror diagonosis of Uncle Aldos heart attack is correct. Before Uncle Aldo starts to stiffen and you cant put his white gloves on. Close enough to accidentally bump into on the way to church. Where that rash on your neck can be cursorily examined. Without having to pay him when he says it's nothing. Wash properly.
But when you go to him you try not to touch anything with your bare fingers. People with infectios dseases come to him too. You touch nothing other than the National Geographic. Which show you how a certain tribe in Africa wears nothing but beads. Much more fascinating than the migration pattern of the siberian duck. The only thing a duck is good for is moile.
He would examine you with torch and stethoscope. Make you cough and stick your tongue out. While you held your breath and hoped that the cause of the fever was not cancer. He'd scribble his prescription. In a hand that would challenge the reading skills of people who could read mandarin written in the devnagari script. His compounder thru his jailor window would take the note. Out would come a bottle with a paper stuck to the side. Small origami like cut in the paper marking one dose to the next. Powders wrapped in paper sachets. Pills colour coded . All dispensed with strict instructions to drink only boiled water, no oily food and lots of vegetables. Green ones.
French fries? They are made from potato vegetable.
No they're fried.
Three days later your body is as good as new. No spells. The mercury in the thermometer not crossing the red line anymore. What you had and whether it was powder, liquid or pill that cured you remains Dr. O's secret.
Thank God it wasn't cancer.