by Mani G. Iyer (re-posted from April 2011)I remember, as a child I would visit the good doctor’s dispensary announce my arrival to his assistant through a small square window, and blend with his other patients sitting on a hard wooden bench breathing in the medicinal odors staring at the photographs of his association, with Bombay’s film stars for whom, he had a separate air-conditioned waiting room with plush cushioned seats. When I was summoned inside I would begin with my health complaints, and the good doctor would always inevitably ask me to open my mouth, and point his sleek torch into the straining cavern, nonchalantly look askance to continue talking to his cronies, father being one of them, write out a prescription in a dirty scribble, which I delivered to his assistant, who promptly dispensed some gaudy multi-colored pills and a viscous liquid poured into a calibrated bottle with dosage instructions spit stuck on it, and I would return home feeling happy, knowing, the good doctor himself was an effective placebo. I remember him often visiting our home unannounced after a house call informing mother, that he craved for her special South Indian coffee and snacks she would be too happy to cater to his fancies the visit meant free health checkups for our family, lots of wisdom and astrological predictions astrology was something he dabbled into, under the influence of father there was this pleasant, ambient atmosphere that his towering, charming personality radiated, and we basked under it, though I would sometimes wonder about the long line of patients on the hard wooden bench, when he was with us. The good doctor has passed away, I am told, in a manner, befitting his goodness an indelible period, after the long line of his indecipherable prescriptions, and I can imagine him chatting away with father somewhere where the dead go, about Indian politics, astrology, neighborhood affairs, his failed ventures into film production father would then pull out his beedi, light it, and the good doctor would admonish him, to which father would jokingly remind him, they were dead.
Mani G. Iyer was born and raised in Bombay, India and has lived in the United States since 1985. He is deaf-blind due to Usher Syndrome. He became deaf by the age of 4, night-blind by the age of 12, and now has very little usable vision. Writing has always been a passion for Mani and he has just completed a writing fellowship at the Vermont Studio Center. He has also just started a writing group called “The Good Word” and is now pursuing an MFA in creative writing.