Paraathas with white makkhan float in front of your eyes. Friends want to send you cookies. You crave for hearty pizzas. The fridge calls out to you with its alluring contents. Colleagues decide to go out on team lunches. All this and more, when you are being put on a strict liquid diet. Because one of your wisdom teeth decided to have a clingy threesome with your jawbone and the lingual nerve. And it doesn’t help matters when your well-qualified and experienced surgeon takes over three hours to perform that surgery, while announcing that usually this kind of problem gets extracted (yes, they talk in dental puns!) in an hour at the most AND this is the most complicated case he’s ever handled in his career spanning more than a dozen years.

You have barely just gasped, thinking it’s all over at last, and the surgeon comes over to have a talk. He tells you to not speak. He prohibits you from opening your mouth. He instructs you about the stitches. He warns you about the possible long-term sensory complications. And he does so while you’re reeling from disorientation, brought about by a heady mix of local anesthesia in your mouth and painkillers in your body. While telling you all this, he’s also trying to keep you from passing out. And he uses baby talk for that. You want to tell him that you HATE baby talk. But you fall into a slumber instead. He tries to bring you back to reality. He asks you if you feel alright. Telling him otherwise is too much of an effort, so you just nod and let him think whatever he wants to think. He asks you if you can see alright. You stare blankly into nothingness, and nod again. He reprimands you (still baby talking) for lying to him. You give him that look. He tries to read your pulse. You drop your hand on the floor. He takes it in his hand. And tells you that the worst is behind you and everything is fine. He assures you that you’re a brave girl. You chuckle in disagreement.

He tells you to let go.

And then it happens. You feel your eyes burn and a floodgate opens, tears rolling down your cheeks. You try to fight them back. While telling yourself that it’s okay to cry. But you don’t know what are you crying over. You hear a faint voice calming you down. You still don’t know what’s happening. The only thing you know is that you feel lighter than the air, just moments before you find yourself engulfed in a comforting darkness. You know you’re not here. And that doesn’t scare you. Not anymore. You stay there till you can remember. That moment lasts longer than an eternity. Before you’re brought back here by a sharp pricking sensation. You see the fear in the surgeon’s eyes when you open yours. You smile. You tell him that you’re okay. He relaxes. And says that he knows you are.

Moments later, he announces that it’s time for him to leave. And he repeats the instructions while on his way out. You pretend to hear. But paraathas with white makkhan float in front of your eyes.