Wednesday, October 04, 2006

What is in a name???

They maybe a minority group, but I know some parents who seek lifelong revenge on their toddlers and give them names which prove more to be a life long stigma rather than an identity. Mala seems like an innocuous name..Couple it with an initial 'D' and voila ..I am not saying more on it. We have a habit of naming our children with names of gods/goddesses. Taking it a step further a relative of mine named his first born 'Jai Hanuman'. The fascination to English terms also gets reflected with disastrous consequences. I had a senior in college called 'Shabby'...

More examples on this..I can keep on writing..But a recent incident has made me a firm believer of the need of naming medicines more appropriately.

the other day, I had valiantly offered a friend of mine my help. The task was to get a list of tablets from the college hospital. Since she was in no condition to cycle down and get it herself, I set myself to the noble deed..

I trotted down the apollo hospital wing in IIT campus...Went over to the counter and gave the list of tablets neatly written in a piece of paper. Now, I pride in having a beautiful handwriting but most people say that a doctor's prescription is easier to read than my handwriting..hmmph.. jealousy. Anyways, I think the attendants over at the counter were bad in reading comprehension or something and kept on asking me to read out the names of the medicine. There were quite a few cases when I have misspelled the name..By an alphabet or so.. The best one was an ointment called Faktu. The 'T' was replaced by '-'. now starts the comedy of errors. A full and impatient line of students behind me in counter..The attendant asks me to say the name..I say 'fak u'. His look turns from surprise to disbelief to anger in milliseconds. I realized what I just said out aloud and

me : "that's what my friend wants. A tube of fak - u ointment"

attendant: "there is no such thing here"

me (hit by a sudden brain wave) : "maybe I have misspelled it.. I'll tell u what it is used for. It is used for haemorrhoid treatment"

attendant: "it should be faktu then"..(and grumbles about his time being wasted by illiterate nincompoops)

sheesh..These guys are fit enough to diagnose and prescribe even. I should have asked my parents to send my sis to the dispensary of a hospital instead of enrolling her in a med school. Would have saved us some pennies as well as taken care of her handwriting.

Now I proceed to the billing section, where they want the name of the student. Unfortunately the lady in billing favors Tamil over English and my command over the language is limited to "Un peru enna? " (what is your name?), "enikku pasikkithu" (I am hungry), "bathroom enge?" (where is the bathroom?). Just enough to get my work done.

The billing lady asks me something which I interpret as 'what do u need these medicines for?' and instead of saying the very detailed and complex symptoms my friend is suffering, I say "piles". She repeats the question and I shake my head vehemently and repeat the same answer. I hear muffled laughter and smirks behind me and choose to ignore it.

I get the bill and to my utmost horror, discover that in place of name of student she has typed in 'piles'.