Four days into 2009 and one feels a definite twinge of worry. What’s Fate got hidden up her sleeve waiting to dish out when we least expect it? Which makes one’s thoughts go fluidly to beating Fate at her own game. As in anything in else one needs a Plan. One needs to be prepared for anything the year may bring. You don’t need a plan to enjoy good luck, it’s the other type that brings a shifty look to my eye. While in the middle of mulling over a workable Plan the telepathic phone rang. It was the Wise-Old-Man-On-The-Hill was calling me for a change.
“You better come up the hill,” he said, “something’s wrong with my wife!”
I grabbed a doctor and huffed my way up the hill. His wife was perfectly all right.
“What’s the emergency?” I asked. “She seems perfectly all right.”
“She’s not,” he said, “She is talking wild nonsense. I didn’t ask you to bring a doctor.”
“It’s a good thing she brought a doctor,” said his wife, “he can give me prices.”
“This is what she is doing,” said the Old Man.
“What prices,” asked the doctor.
“My husband is worrying needlessly,” she said, “I am doing this for his own good. We are already in 2009 and we are definitely not getting younger.”
“Quite so,” said the doctor and myself.
“Every New Year’s Day gives me the willies,” she said, “I don’t know what horrors the New Year is going to bring.”
“What is the point of worrying about things you have no control over?” asked her husband.
“Some things we can have control over,” she said. “I have made a shopping list.”
“What would you want to purchase, which would make 2009 a good year?”
“Medical procedures to prevent certain medical conditions,” she said.
“Women of a certain age sometimes get all sorts of problems with bone density loss, cancers and so on. Do you have a problem?” asked the doctor.
“No, and I don’t intend to,” she said.
“How will you manage that?” I asked.
“I will first go for a hip replacement – they’re doing nice things I hear,” she said.
“You can’t just go into a hospital and order a hip replacement,” said the doctor.
“Why not? Corrective surgery is done all the time. Why wait for a hip bone fracture? Think of the distress,” she said.
“And the inconvenience too,” I said. “Because you will have to be carried to the hospital; this way you just walk in for treatment on the day of your choice.”
“Quite right,” she said. “Next I will have knee replacement surgery done on both knees. That will take care of weak, creaking knees while I am a young woman of 70 instead of waiting until my 80’s like Vajpayee.”
“I think you may have something here,” I said. “Very much like pre-emptive strikes.”
“I like to call it precautionary measures,” she said. “After my knees are done, I will have my gall bladder removed along with my uterus and appendix. That should take care of stones and cancer and a burst appendix.”
“You will also be a few pounds lighter,” I said.
“Finally I will tackle the Big B. Too many women in Goa are getting breast cancer and I can easily be one of them,” she said. “My list includes two mastectomies, so that will be taken care of nicely.”
“It will be very, very expensive,” said the doctor.
“Not to worry,” she said, “I have cashless insurance.”
“I don’t think any insurance covers unnecessary operations,” said the doctor.
“Well I will take them to court and prove that these were necessary operations,” she said. “By taking them out and replacing joints, I am saving endless misery for myself and my husband who is no longer young and strong.”
“You left out one organ you clearly don’t use anymore,” said her husband.
“I thought I had covered all the dispensable organs,” she said. “Which one are you talking about?”
“Your brain,” he said.