Thanks to my hypochondria, which is getting worse with advancing age, I have a new fantasy these days: to romance a doctor. That way, I could kill two birds with one stone -- get the woman's attention as well as assurance ("No baby, nothing is wrong with you! You are just fine, trust me!").
Romancing a doctor is quite different from marrying a doctor. When you marry a doctor, your home becomes a mini-hospital and all your vices are junked into the bin. No smoking, no drinking, no junk food, eating on time, sleeping on time -- everything that makes you feel alive is snatched away from you overnight. But when a female doctor chooses to romance you, she is well aware of your vices and is largely accepting of them: in fact, through you, she gets to see or lead the wild side of life which her professional conscience otherwise prohibits. For example, when you light up a cigarette, she may even take a drag or two, but at the same time she is likely to warn you, "Enough, this is the last cigarette you are having this evening. You can have the next one after dinner."
Experience, however, has taught me that the longer the romance rages, you begin to see more of the woman and less of the doctor. "Baby, nothing is wrong with you" becomes "Fuck you, go and die for all I care." Even then, I continue to be fascinated by women doctors -- at least the idea of them. It is not at all same as having a male doctor as a close friend.
If you call up a male doctor-friend, who is aware of your hypochondria, late in the night and tell him that you are experiencing a mild pain in the chest, he is most likely to tell you, "Have two glasses of water and try going to sleep. I don't think anything is wrong. If the pain still continues, go to Apollo tomorrow morning and get an ECG done. After that we will see."
But try calling a doctor-girlfriend to break the same chest-pain news and her first reaction, if it is within her control, would be, "Wait, I am coming!" Actually, the very fact that you have a doctor-girlfriend is good news: she would not have come anywhere close to you and have chosen to admire you from a distance if you really were a storehouse of diseases (which a hypochondriac thinks himself to be). And when she tells you, "Fuck you! Go and die", she is actually giving you a fitness certificate.
Which is why women doctors (or 'lady doctors') fascinate me. Each time I happen to find myself being examined by one, a barrage of questions assault me: Is it possible that she likes me? Does she wash her hands before she eats? Does she hog whenever she sees good food? Does she lust for men, knowing fully well what lies inside the human body? Does she have sex once she returns home from the hospital? If she does, does she analyse medically, in her mind, the whole act -- from arousal to orgasm? While kissing her lover, isn't she deterred by the fact that she is actually letting her mouth into a beehive of bacteria? Does she cry when a loved one dies, even though she knows, more than anyone else, that death is inevitable? Does she cry at all?
Strangely, these questions don't spring up in my mind when I am being examined by a male doctor. Maybe because I know that men are men, no matter what profession they are in. They are always guided by basic instincts. Women, on the other hand, are always conscientious and sincere. To imagine that they could have a naughty side when they are not examining a patient with a stern look on their face -- that can be titillating.
The other day, at a small gathering, I happened to meet a young doctor. She was specialising in, of all things, oncology. The hypochondriac in me wanted to stay miles away from her, lest she detect some strange growth on my body. Fortunately, by the time she pulled a chair next to me -- she turned out to be a reader of Ganga Mail and wanted to have a chat -- I had had two drinks to feel brave and philosophical.
"Sir," she began, "I have always wanted to tell you one thing. Please smoke and drink less, so that we can keep enjoying your writing."
"One will remain healthy as long as one wants to. It is all in the mind, you see. The mind is the most powerful human organ, which no doctor can touch or feel." It was the alcohol talking.
"Oh sir, it is pointless to argue with you intellectual types," she smiled. She looked shyly at the glass of beer she was holding.
"Tell me one thing," I said, "you have worked on cadavers, right?"
"So you know how a man looks after death."
"And you also know what is inside a human body -- the intestines, the organs, and so on."
"Of course!" she laughed, wiping the froth from her upper lip as she took a sip of beer. "Why do you ask all this?"
"I will tell you why. Suppose you are with a man, someone you like. Imagine a situation when you are standing or sitting very close to him. Are you going to be aroused, or are you going to think of all that is inside him -- the bones, the intestines, the organs?"
"Well, sir," she said, "it's like this. My brain will know what all is inside him, but my heart and eyes will see what is outside."