I was sitting in one of the most comfortable chairs in the waiting hall surrounded by strangers, mostly aunties and uncles. My eyes wandered from one corner of the room to another, searching for a rescue fairy. I was in dire need of help in this helpless situation I was put in. Sweat trickled from the corner of my forehead, not because of the warm surroundings, but due to my fears. My father meddled with his phone, comfortably sitting beside me while I was making peace with my pacing thoughts. The monotonous surrounding was brightened up by the vibrant flashes of colour from the television placed on a stool before me. The tube light flickered from time to time, reflecting eerie vibes, accentuating the horror I was about to experience. I stared at the green walls hoping for a miracle, hoping that people would jump out of the walls – as they do in toothpaste ads – and save me from this hell hole. Being an impatient girl, it was tough to stay put for a long period and do nothing other than staring at the unfamiliar soap on TV and the lifeless walls. Being given hundreds of lectures on patience by my mother, I developed a resistance to boredom. I waited and waited and waited…
Just when I was about to doze off, I heard my name being called by the nurse. My heart started to beat faster, the adrenaline rush in my body put me in an evolutionary decision-making situation, time to either face my fears or run away! An inner voice inside me rang in my ears loudly, “Oh Sanju! You have already faced many of your fears! You can do this!”. The superficial motivation somehow pulled my legs into the dentist’s room. KABOOM! I entered my personal hell on my accord. I closed my eyes for a second, and prayed to God to protect me from the dentist (devil) with a dental probe (sword) in his hand!
I opened my mouth wide enough to gulp an entire ladoo. The dentist gently placed the mouth mirror and the dental scaler into my mouth. Did I just say gently? Wow! There was nothing gentle about what followed. He played drums inside my mouth by tapping on my teeth. He peeked further and further into the unexplored crevices in my mouth through the mirror. I felt like I was no longer in control of my teeth. The moment I sat on the comfy chair, my teeth got entitled to the dentist. Funny, isn’t it?
After looking at my mouth, he said to my father that I have 5 cavities and my teeth need to be cleaned. The moment he said cavity, a childhood picture of me eating chocolates launched in my head, for I was a chocolate lover back then. Had someone told me that I would have cavities in the future, I would have just laughed goofily. Ironically, the joke was on me. At that moment, the only word that described my feelings was regret.
I stared at the four bright lights that shone on my face from the flexible moving lamp. The dentist focused the light on my teeth! In an analogous comparison of lights under which a ballet dancer performs and the lights under which my teeth were being examined, the only difference was that a ballet dancer performs to grab the spotlight, while my teeth wanted to escape it.
The dental nurse handed over the equipment to the dentist. Within a few minutes, my mouth was occupied by three dental instruments – the dental mirror, the dental drill, and the tube with water gushing out. My eyes were blinded by the bright lights from the lamp right above me. The painful process of teeth cleaning began. All I could hear was the screeching noise produced by the dental drill. The sound was deafening enough to make me shut my eyes in utmost fear. The water was overflowing from my mouth. I felt an excruciating pain when the dental drill produced vibrations in my teeth. It was the most unpleasant feeling I have ever had in my life. The next half an hour was a true nightmare. I was tolerating the unbearable sensitivity and pain in my teeth.
After a long hour, the dentist withdrew his instruments from my mouth. I heaved a sigh of relief. I spit the water in my mouth in the nearby basin. I was relieved that the nightmare had ended for good. But, the dentist ruined my peace of mind within a minute with this dreadful process. He asked my father to bring me to his chamber another day to remove the cavities. My happiness instantly disappeared. Thus, I took a vow to take good care of my teeth so that I don’t get into this situation of visiting a dentist for at least a few years…
Sanju Vikasini is from Tamilnadu. She is an avid reader and an aspiring writer. She is a poet, short story writer and a blogger. She believes that writing heals one’s inner wounds and gives confidence to face one’s own fears in life. She dwells in her imaginary world and gives life to her musings.