PrEm Ji

MATHS WIZARD (Short story)




Five weeks ago, I was forced to enter into the clinic of Dr. Rahul, one among my precious long-time friends.

‘Good evening Dr. Rahul,’ I greeted him in a broken tone, as my throat remained sore for the past two days.

‘Premji… I can understand the real cause… over-teaching!’ He started scribbling something on a piece of paper… ‘You just teach them how to learn without the help of a teacher,’ he started laughing… ‘That was the first thing great professors taught us at Trivandrum Medical College…’

‘I know… my dear rank holder... A teacher is getting paid for not to teach, but to inspire! But, he or she is absolutely helpless while dealing with numb-skulls!’,’ I told while going through the prescription, which none could read except the pharmacist in the nearby medical shop and the doctor himself. 


Professor Ramanarayanan and Vedanarayanan, his one and only son, waited outside the consulting room of noted psychologist Dr.Prasad. Several Burkha clad women were also among the patients.

‘They are Gulf-widows,’ he remembered an old joke.

Most of their husbands were in Dubai or some other Arabian countries, whom used to visit them once in two or three years. 

And at last, the father and the son were admitted into the consulting room.


‘Yes… yes… I remember him,’ Dr.Prasad started the conversation…. ‘Vedanarayanan… the national champion of All India Mathematics Olympiad’ 

‘You are absolutely right, Doctor,’ replied professor Ramanarayanan.

‘Then, how come you are here?’

The old-man started crying uncontrollably.


I was standing in front of Maurya pharmacy, a noted medical shop in the city, selling almost every English medicine available in India, with Dr.Rahul’s prescription. There was enough rush at various counters.

‘Hi Premji Uncle,’ Vedanarayan greeted me…

‘Hello Veda… How are you?’

‘Uncle, I am not feeling well for the past two days… common cold and high fever’

‘Don\'t worry... it will be cured within two or three days’

‘Thanks Uncle’

Soon, Professor Ramanarayanan emerged from the crowd with several strips of medicines.


‘Then, what happened?’ asked Dr.Prasad

‘He fainted in the next day evening and we shifted him to the near-by hospital…,’ replied Prof: Ramanarayanan

‘Does he have diabetes regularly?’ Dr. Shankar Mohan, a retired professor, asked Prof: Ramanarayanan, while checking the used tablet strips

‘Diabetes? No…he doesn\'t have it…’ 

‘O! God! Then, who prescribed diabetes tablets to this kid? Show me his prescription…,’ cried out the true doctor in him.

‘The prescription consists of Paracetamol tablets and some anti-congestants… Then how did you get these tablets?’

‘Sir, an old man was there in need of diabetes tablets… may be he might have…,’ professor couldn\'t continue his explanation as tears chocked his voice.

‘My God! He is suffering from hypoglycemia*… there is no sugar in his blood…,’ Dr,Shankar Mohan cried out.


‘We could leave the hospital only after three weeks… Those diabetes tablets… they spoiled his brain… Veda lost his analytic ability,’ professor Ramanarayanan wiped his tears. ‘He now suffers from deep depression’

‘Nothing to worry… Vedanarayan… If you cooperate, I bet, you will be alright within a few weeks,’ Dr.Prasad started pumping faith into the empty eyes of Vedanarayanan.

‘Is it possible,’ the boy asked painfully as he couldn\'t trust his words.

‘Yes… I have absolute faith on you…,’ Dr.Prasad promised his support. ‘O.K… now tell me the product of twenty and twenty?’

Vedanarayan couldn\'t answer even in five minutes.

‘OK… now… will you please tell me the product of five and ten?’

‘I don\'t know’

‘OK... then what about two plus two?’

Vedanarayan didn\'t have an answer even to the silliest of all questions. The only possible thing that Dr.Prasad could do was to suggest a better psychiatrist.


Adv. Sundara Iyer, a high profile practitioner of law and the first cousin of Vedanarayanan, paid an unexpected visit to their home on the very next day. He was staying abroad for the past two months for some very important assignments. He was totally shattered by watching the pathetic situation of the poor boy.

‘Uncle, didn\'t you cross check the medicines with the prescription?’ he asked professor Ramanarayanan.

‘I tried to do so… but, I couldn\'t..,’ replied the old man painfully.


‘You please try to read it out…,’ the old man handed over the prescription. 

‘The handwriting is not legible… All I can read is the name and address of the doctor… Dr.Rahul… Regn: no:…………….,’ poor man wiped his tears.

‘Sundar… my son… my son… we lost him… But… this should not happen to any other child in world,’ Mrs. Ramanarayanan told in a stubborn voice. Her feeble hands, started crushing his soul...


Dr. Rahaul was shocked to receive the legal notice sent by Adv. Sundara Iyer. It was a well-drafted foolproof legal document.

‘Rahul, what are we going to do now?’ asked Mrs. Rahul in a panicked voice... ‘It’s very difficult to win over an arrogant advocate like him… See… he can ruin your career… Are you aware of that?’

‘Yes…,’ Rahul replied hopelessly. ‘We have fifteen days to reply,’


An important press meet was going on at Trivandrum Press Club and several cameramen were busy covering the coveted event. I sat among the noted journalists in the second row.

Dr. Rahul carefully read out the legal notice sent by Adv. Sundara Iyer. There was pin-drop silence in the hall until he finished the reading.

‘So... what are you planning to do? Dr.Rahul?’ one of the senior journalists started asking questions.

‘I am going to apologize to Professor Ramanarayanan and his son Vedanarayan... I am going to apologize publicly... since I am also a part of this personal tragedy...,’ he accepted his fault stoically.

‘You people should not run behind commissions offered by medical companies…,’ Shahina, another firebrand journalist, was getting angry. 

‘I know... but, I am sorry’

‘But.. Why didn\'t you write the generic name instead of that stupid brand name?’

‘Madam... How many of the public can understand the difference between a generic name and a brand name? How many of you, ever try to raise this issue to the common people?’ he asked calmly.

Unfortunately, she didn\'t have an answer. (‘Buddie...That was a superb reflex,’ I congratulated him in my mind.)

‘People are over-informed now-a-days... They can easily check the quality of the medicines you prescribe... Is that the reason?’

‘Everyone fears the power of knowledge… you too, Mr.Journalist… So, how do you manage them? To be very frank... we too use your techniques... \'just confuse them,’’ Dr. Rahul was getting angry.... ‘Anyway, I have to finish one more formality,’

In a quick move, Dr. Rahul handed Rupees One million to Professor Mr. Ramanarayanan as damages in accordance with the legal notice... ‘Sir... My mobile number was there on the prescription... you could have contacted me’

‘Do you have any questions to Adv. Mr.Sudara Iyer?’ Dr. Rahul asked the journalists.

‘Adv. Sundara Iyer, do you think the matter is settled?’ journalist Shahina asked.

‘No... It won\'t be settled until every one of you stops informing people about drug menace in the world... It won\'t be settled until every doctor keeps on writing prescriptions in a legible manner... It won\'t be settled until every parent keeps on checking medicines as per prescriptions... It won\'t be settled until every one of you keeps on checking every medicine before you swallow it... It won\'t be settled until every medical company keeps on paying bribes for the doctors for more and more prescriptions... It won\'t be settled until every government has solid control over pricing of medicines... It won\'t be settled until every government assures the quality of medicines... It won\'t be settled until every illegal medical trial on poor people is stopped... It won\'t be settled until every Medical college in the world keeps on bringing out under-qualified doctors... It won\'t be settled.,’

Everyone inside the hall stood up and the claps shattered the peace of stray pigeons sitting on the window sills and the parapet.

‘Can you suggest any way out? Dr.Rahul?’ Adv. Sundara Iyer handed over the mike to him.

‘It can be... It can be easily done... The public has to found their own medical companies... Not even a single politician dares to reject their application for registration... They should donate funds to every noble project irrespective of worrying about profit... ‘Do not prescribe the medicines of other companies until otherwise they are not manufactured from the public\'s companies,’.. They should command the doctors like that... I bet... within three years, this problem can almost be settled. What do you say?’ Dr.Rahul asked journalists, whom were the creamy-layer of our fourth-estate.

Unfortunately, the pigeons settled back on the window sills and the parapet peacefully.