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The curious case of the broken tooth (and the bitter truth)

Posted by on November 20, 2012

Three days ago, at approximately the same time that an eminent person’s soul was leaving its mortal coil at his medically equipped house in Mumbai, I was dealing with bereavement in a clinical environment myself. With my eye fixed on the national geographic images that flickered on the monitor strategically hung over the dental chair, I was silently suffering the loss of my pre-molar. A permanent loss, that only an accident or act of god can bring about.

There were images of tigers, beetles, African tribes, salamanders and other wonders of nature on the slide show above, but I remained unimpressed, for this was my moment of epiphany where I had come to see through nature’s insidious plans.

We go on our entire lives, celebrating our birthdays not realizing just how smoothly Mother Nature (if one must call her that) has tricked us. The only reason she keeps us alive is to perpetuate herself. As long as our lives are moving towards our respective reproductive ages, our hair shines, skin remains supple and elastic, our internal organs work to perfection and our energy levels remain dangerously high. You do realize, all this is in order to facilitate reproduction. While some of us who are cerebrally challenged, will marry and go on to have children, thereby furthering nature’s cause, there are others who will choose some less mind numbing pursuits than procreation and go on to lead meaningful lives.  Whatever the choice, there will come a time, when having made our contributions (or not) to the planet, from Nature’s point of view, we would have reached our sell-by date. For women, that date is sooner than they will acknowledge to themselves, for I have heard many of my tribe claim that they can still produce healthy children, when the lunar calendar and gravity will lead you to believe otherwise.

This isn’t to say that men are immune to Nature’s machinations, but my optimistic guess is that they do not play an active role in furthering her plans in spawning life and are perhaps generally overlooked by her, leading to slower deterioration.

From Nature’s point of view, both the male and female of the species can die as soon as we have given birth to and helped raise smaller prototypes of ourselves.

This tooth of mine, which departed from my mouth forever on that fateful day, was just the first sign. I was stunned when it cracked into two the other day, while chewing on something sticky and was further stunned when my dentist revealed it to me that “No, this is not a milk tooth, this was your permanent tooth, Shunali.” He had a ‘what-was-she-thinking’ look in his eyes as he said that. I was quite annoyed at myself, I must admit, for being foolish enough to think that I still had milk teeth growing in my mouth!

I have been spared the usual signs of graying of hair and a generous smearing of Chanel Vitalumiere and Mac Studio Finish have helped me deceive myself into believing that I am in my prime. But losing a tooth forever, in my thirties, there cannot be a surer sign.

I must prepare myself now, for the future that awaits, for I am no Dorian Gray. As I become less and less useful to nature, the bones will get brittle, the kneecaps with wither, the hair will grey, more teeth will be lost, skin will slide southwards, digestion will get poorer and metabolism, whatever will happen to my metabolism?  Now that is something, I cannot bring myself to write about without bursting into tears.

Dear readers, shall keep you posted on further progressions as the years roll by. Watch this space

6 Responses to The curious case of the broken tooth (and the bitter truth)

  1. Saurabh

    I am sorry for your loss. I know you will get through this. You are a survivor. I hope you
    know you are not alone. My sincere condolences. 😉

    Nice read….witty and entertaining as always!!!

    • shunalishroff

      Thank you for your sympathies. Are you telling me there are more people my age who are losing their pre molars on the same day and at the same time as Bal Thackerey passed away?

      • Saurabh

        Naah naah…I meant we r thr wid u in this moment of immense grief 😉

        While I don’t know ur exact age(won’t even dare to ask) but wid a population of more than 6billion(whole world) its quite easier to assume dat wotevr happens to us, we can not b the lone sufferer!

  2. Simi Garewal

    I could sense and imagine the despair (in your benighted humour!).. Mom Nature has her devious plans – but there is much more to a woman apart from procreation. I believe a woman is in her prime when she is doing what she feels she was born for – what gives HER a personal sense of self-fulfillment…when her mind and senses are at their optimum. You’re getting there honey….So kindly don’t mourn that milk tooth-that-never-was…
    BTW – u still have 31 in there na?

    • shunalishroff

      Well said. And thank you. You are “there”, always were. But then you have an amazing mind, and the rare capability to persevere. If only it would rub off on me, even just a bit. 31 teeth? I think people who talk too much are said to have 36 teeth, to technically I have 35 now. 😉

  3. Penny Kontakos

    Wow! I could not believe that during that same period of your loss I was already taking antibiotics and painkillers after the lady from Mumbai who joked that she had lost her opportunity to become a star so as to become a dentist here in Manchester, UK, decided to take out my massive infected wisdom tooth which was causing me pain after realising her male colleague from Goa who had booked me an appointment to have it out on the 12th December if I was alive by then took pity on me. I still don’t know why they call it wisdom teeth instead of useless teeth as they are the last to grow and first to go unless someone is like me and decide to stay as a permanent fixture whose roots are so deeply imbedded thus making it harder to remove. So don’t worry dear, at least if it was meant to be, it was done in good timing when the roots were no so long to make it harder to be pulled out. To comfort me, the dentist told me the ‘other’ Polish dentist pulls out teeth without anaesthetic!!

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