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   I was a little ill for a couple of days: cold, cough, fever, flu. (September 10, 1986)

My neighbour said: "What you require is total rest; don't go to work. Lie in bed on your stomach, with your head down and your feet up, and gargle with salt water six times a day. You will be right as rain in two days."

"Thank you, I will try that," I said.

My neighbour's wife said: "Why do you want to put the poor man to so much torture? As it is, his body is paining. Give him that cure that your great-grandfather's brother left you: castor oil and warm milk on an empty stomach first thing in the morning, followed by a warm water bath, very warm, and massage."

"These old remedies are always the best," I said, "I will follow them."

The man staying below me, when he heard I was not feeling well, came up, felt my forehead, asked me to open my mouth, looked into it, then said: "Tonsils, I would say, laryngitis. I had a similar attack two years ago. What you do is take a little crushed garlic, mix it with haldi, camphor and honey, and eat it with sabudana khichdi. Have only that for two days and you will be up and about."

"Right," I said, "I will order some sabudana khichdi. And thanks for the guidance."

A lady residing on the ground floor came to see the wife and told her: "He does not look at all well, I am worried. But don't panic and go to these doctors. Give him a mixture of sugar cane and watermelon juice, with glucose and rock salt. And let him sleep in a cool, dry place. And, for food, let him eat karelas, soaked in water overnight, and he must drink the water also."

A couple staying on the floor above, came for a visit with their children. The children climbed all over my bed and wanted to know why I was sweating so much. The husband said: "Now, now, don't worry, you will get well soon. If you take my advice, get yourself a tender coconut, and have its juice with palm dates from Basra and pure ghee. If you don't have pure ghee, I will send you some. And, remember, there is nothing to worry. People do fall ill; it is for their friends to help them recover."

"I am not worried," I said, pushing one of the children off my stomach and extricating my ear from the teeth of another child.

A lady staying in the building opposite ours came in the late afternoon. "I came as soon as I heard you were not well. I hope it is nothing serious. I have brought you my own mixture of boric powder, lotus seeds and pomegranate skin. You have it three times a day with curd."

I had all the remedies, and, I must admit they must have been effective, because I am up and about in two days. So, when I went to the office this morning and the chief asked me if I had brought a sick certificate from a doctor: "Well, no, you see I was treated by several doctors, but no doctor."

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