Shakuntala was lying on the table with her skirt lifted a little above, so that her knees were prominently visible. Not that, she was on any photo-shoot or committed to be a poster girl for any popular magazine. She had to cooperate with the radiologist, who could do his job efficiently. Hence the exposure.

Shakuntala was suffering from pain in her knee-joints and could not walk comfortably. She was putting up with the pain for quite some time. To walk even a short distance, it was a great attempt for her. Stepping out for taking up small errands like fetching milk, bread or vegetables, was a big ordeal. Day by day, she felt it was worsening. A friend of hers, suggested to her, to consult an orthopaedic doctor, who would recommend a proper physiotherapist. That seemed to be a better option than popping up painkillers.

She fixed an appointment with Dr.Ramswarup, a leading ortho-surgeon in town. As a matter of routine, the doctor gave prescriptions for blood tests, Xray scanning, bone marrow test and a long list of advises with too many Dos and Don’ts. Of course, some vitamins, supplements and tonics were already written down in his prescription. He primarily advised to her cut down her weight as her BMI was too high. He assured that he would make her fit and fine, provided she meticulously followed his advices. The regular course would start once the pathological and radiological reports and bone marrow density test reports were received. Until such time, he asked her to be on medication.

Shakuntala, painfully remembered her mother and grandmother, who even in their seventies and eighties never complained of such knee pain, or for that matter, any pain anywhere. They always squatted on floor and sat with crossed legs and performed all domestic chores with ease and comfort. It was totally a different matter that, they had no access to any modern kitchen gadgets. Shakuntala understood, rather lately that she was paying a big penalty for the luxuries she was addicted to. Her mother and grandmother were manually drawing water from the well and storing in drums, whereas, she was simply switching on the motor pump-set. There was no mixer / juicer nor any wet or dry grinders, nor even washing machine. All jobs were to be done manually. She attributed these changes as necessary evils, for a modern day living.

The main culprit for her obese was elsewhere, and not the use of machines. It was her own weakness for tasty and delicious food. While her parents and grandparents performed all holy rituals and observed fasts periodically, she shunned them, saying she could not sustain hunger. Though she was not an atheist, she did not believe in too many rituals particularly, those calling for fasts. She would not hesitate to observe those festivals having a strong dose of feasts with special items. Her state of obese was mainly due to ‘Say No to fasts and say Yes to feasts’.

The doctor’s prescription clearly mentioned about what she could consume and what she should avoid. In simple terms, it was a Big no for her favourite items and on the contrary, she had no choice than to include all those food items which normally she would set aside as bland or bitter. No doubt it was a heavy blow for a ‘foodie’ like her.

The medical reports were ready and she was waiting for the doctor to pour out his series of sermons. He showed her the blood report and pointed out to the deficiencies. She was also on the border line of being diabetic. If not corrected right now, she would soon be diabetic. Then he took up the Xray scan report, which clearly showed the worn out and damaged soft tissues between joints. That was the major reason for pain in her knees. The bone marrow density report also was not satisfactory. Unless the vitamin D level was improved, osteoporosis was sure to set in.

Before start of physiotherapy, the doctor, Ramswarup was firm on his advices and wanted strict compliance from her. Or else, he warned her that all money and time spent on these long exercises would be a thorough waste. Two sessions of morning and evening, she had to have wax therapy and massaging and a slow treadmill walk. Some exercises for shoulders, neck and collar bones were also initiated. He had instructed her continue all these manual exercises even after the treatment from him was over. It was meant to be lifelong.

Shakuntala was obedient and obliging. But she could not contain herself from lamenting. She hailed from a family of yoga gurus, who were practising yoga on a daily basis and as a holy ritual. She alone, being addicted to upscale luxury living, had been a victim of obese and knee joint pains. No one else in the family had any such problem.  Her father would, very casually perform Shirasaasan, that is the legs up in the air and head on the ground, which was supposed to be a toughest one and an ultimate one in all exercises. Her elder brother was a practising guru and had published many books and mini brochures on handy tips on yoga. Her younger brother was a teacher, a PT teacher, better known as drilling master, bending the school children to their fitness. She alone had remained aloof from all these strenuous regimes. But the irony of fate was such, that she was made to shell out huge sums, just for falling in line with them. Thank God! For meeting the expenses, no bank loan or EMI was needed at present.

Her joint pain was so gruesome that she had no choice. She scrupulously followed the doctor’s instructions, swallowed the bitter pills and performed the regular exercises. One day the doctor told her that some advanced machines for physiotherapy treatment were readily available in the market, but at exorbitant rates. The use of electro-machines would ease out her strain and make physiotherapy a comfortable one. Shakuntala willingly agreed for the same and was prepared to pay per sitting. The electro wave heating pad placed around knee joints had helped her in getting relief faster. The infrared laser beam was also set in motion. The icepack also gave her relief. The massage machine was also offering soothing comforts.

The entire course of treatment was coming to a close. The doctor wanted a feedback from her. She was fit to go around, walk freely, move about without any pressure or pain. She thanked the doctor profusely, not for enabling her to walk freely, which she said, was just trivial. But she owed a lot of thanks to the doctor mainly, for enabling her to go for shopping, which activity, she just could not undertake from a long time.

Her husband, who was just standing near her, almost fainted. Because it was first resolution, for the new year that she would not entertain any shopping throughout the year, unless otherwise it was compulsory. ‘Look at her!’ She gave up her resolution and had broken her promise, so fast and so soon was unimaginable. Adding a dose of further surprise, she said the resolution she made some four years ago (and abandoned then and then) that she would go for a morning walk and do some simple yoga exercises on a daily basis has now come into practice. He corrected her. What she was doing was not due to the resolve, but due to medical advices forced on her. Her knee joint pain was making her do it. Not her mental frame of mind to keep up the resolution.

He knew Shakuntala was incorrigible. She too was aware of her weakness. As long as pain persisted, she was sticking to medication and yoga practices. As a doting husband, he could not wish for her illness to prolong, so that she could keep up her four-year old resolution.  He was really worried that she should not give up her yoga regime, once she was out of pain.

All he could do, was pray to God. Oh God! Save her.       

January 24, 2020 20:02

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Amanda Knapp
18:00 Jan 31, 2020

I agree with Karen that you had a strong opening and a good story. I like that your story tells about the pain she was going through and that she understood why and what had led to that pain. I also like that even though she followed the doctors orders in order to reduce her knee pain, the ending left me thinking she probably wouldn't stick with the routine over time. I think this was appropriate considering the theme is new years resolutions and most people do not stick with them over time. Good work!


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Karen McDermott
11:00 Jan 30, 2020

Strong opening! I must say, reading this made me hungry. My only niggles are a few too many commas (I am also guilty in my writing of overusing them so I'm sensitive to it) and a few words such as 'collarbone' are one word, not two. Very good vocabulary however.


18:29 Jan 30, 2020

Thank you. the corrections you mentioned are noted. I shall try to improve on them. (if only they go deep in me) Thank you once again.


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