Sunday, November 11, 2007

Old ,Bald and not so beautiful...

The other day I read a bit about a new TV channel aimed for the youth.To my pleasant consternation the period of ‘youth’ as envisaged by the channel was between 15 and 34 years.Lucky I was slowly but steadily slipping away from youth and entering into the rather ancient sounding 30s and suddenly I have hope again!! Actually a lot of people these days seem to be more afraid of the ageing process than death itself!
So why are people really afraid of ageing ?
In my professional capacity I get to see a lot of people who could loosely be categorized ‘old’ ,asking if something can be done for those rapidly multiplying age spots or those invading army of wrinkles.When I started practice I used to have a sense of disguised disgust when I saw these ‘oldies’ fretting about the aesthetics of their physiques as though they were going to participate in a Ms / Mr World contest. I used to have a smirk hidden in my mind when I gave what was supposed to be sincere advice regarding chemical peels ,dermabrasions or Botox……..Now I tend not to be so judgemental ,simply because I can see myself a couple of decades down the line ,searching out for that elusive black hair in a sea of depressing grey.
So is attempting to look younger really bad ?Guess not ….but having unrealistic aspirations regarding the same is dangerous.Given a choice ,not many of us would mind having a few wrinkles lifted,a little tuck or a push and a nip here and there.Money and privacy would probably be important issues.I mean if you offered people a free facelift in the complete privacy of their homes ,not many may decline.In other words deep in their hearts everybody does want to look younger.
A recent conversation with one such ‘eager to look younger’ patient I came across went something like this
(Disclaimer :All resemblances to any living or dead or in between people or animals are intentionally coincidental)

“Hello doctor ,how are you” Mr S looked a jaded 30 something,What few hair remained on his head were meticulously dyed jet black.Apparently Mr S was still single and looking.Unfortunately he felt nobody (read gals) was looking at him.
“I have one big problem Sir” Lucky guy!I mean I definitely have quite a few more big problems
“This….” Mr S dramatically taps a couple of times on the side of his skull
Duh?!The psychiatry OP was the next block.Did Mr.S lose his way?

“Very little here ” He elaborates still continuing the tap dance with his right index finger

Low brain weight?Welcome to the the club mate!……would I have to refer it to neurology or psychiatry me is thinking………He looked quite intelligent though.

“See….. all coming of so easily”This time Mr S pulls out a few of his hairs and displays it on his palms

Oh…very little of that.Welcome to that club too mate!

Mr S went on to elaborate on the mental trauma and deep anguish caused by the thinning of his pate.I could empathize with him to an extent …..most guys who’ve reached the 30’s could do the same I suppose.

Anyway, after that sob story ,it was my turn.I explained to him the available options right from lotions that promote hair growth to hair fixing and transplants ,elaborating on the pros and cons of each.

“Transplant??does it really I have to find a donor?”
Now that would be something …..finding people to donate their hair for a noble cause

“No”I reassure him “ We take hair from the back of your scalp and place it into the frontal areas”

“Oh ..but then wont that too fall away after some time?” Mr S queries anxiously
“Well…”I go on to explain to him in detail concepts of ‘donor dominance’ and ‘resistance of occipital hair to androgenic alopecia”.To put it in very tiny nutshell ,the hair from the back of the scalp is relatively resistant to male pattern of baldness and the hair that are transplanted to the frontal areas tend to grow with the characteristics of the donor site i.e they tend to remain resistant to the normal balding process.

Mr S is happy
“Er Doc….why is it called androgenic alopecia”
“That’s coz the male pattern balding is mediated by male hormones specifically testosterone”
“You mean..I may be balding because I have a lot of that testo …whatever ?” Mr S is happier
“ a way yes”
“You mean …. A balding man is more of a man than a non-balding man?”Mr S is happier than happier
Uh oh . “Hmmm…well…..kind of I suppose”
“Interesting… think they know about this”he whispers conspiratorially
They??!The CIA ?
“I mean girls…do you think they know ‘bout this testicle thing?”
testosterone actually ,but there was no point telling Mr S that now.He seemed to be possessed.

“I am sure they are aware”
By now Mr S was positively guffawing

“Well doc…thanks a lot…I’ll think about the treatment options you mentioned and get back to you……then again maybe I’ll keep my shiny pate.May be the girls will dig my testicle thing”


Friday, November 2, 2007

What's in a name??

I recently chanced upon the famous hip-hop-sob story director Karan Johar staring at me through one of the ad laden pages of India Today magazine.The guy was peddling some kinda watch .The punch line of the ad made me smile though .Mr Johar apparently was stating …and I quote “It doesn’t matter what your second name is…what’s important is what you do with your first”
Cool.The problem with me is though….officially my name goes as ‘Kaliyadan Feroze’.The ‘Kaliyadan’ bit ,which is the family name on my dad’s side ,was prefixed instead of being suffixed by my Father dearest when he admitted me to school (One of the many parental conspiracies I’m yet to unravel).So now I have half a dozen scraps of calligraphed papers ,ranging from my school leaving certificate to my hallowed MD degree proclaiming yours truly to be ‘Kaliyadan Feroze’.Some of my amusingly pricking memories are of teachers in medical college fumbling with my name during roll calls.It is true though that there were some other equally serious victims of parental abuse in my class…..Bejoy Chandepillai ,Qurrathul-ain-Farhana…..names,tongue twisters all rolled into one.The worse part was nobody could proxy for me during roll calls coz unlike the more common names the teacher invariably looked up to quench their curiosity regarding this creature having a strange nomenclature.My wonderful friends found it as amusing as I found it irritating……my nicknames ranging from Kali , Kaliya…and some unmentionable variants.
But then ,every stupid name like a coin has two sides.I mean just google ‘Kaliyadan Feroze ‘ on the web…you wont find much ..but whatever you will is only me!Also I happened to marry a classmate of mine….a certain Ms Kaberi Biswas with whom I had to spend virtually every clinical posting during my medical college days,primarily because both our ‘first’ names started with the same couple of letters…Now whether THAT turned out to be good or bad is of course another question!!!!

So borrowing from Shakespeare … what is in a name?A ‘feroze’ would be just as crazy by any other name…