I was a little ill for a couple of days, could, cough, fever, ‘fly. 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 sugarcane and water-melon 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 over night, 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 soon. 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 curds."
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."