Come winter and like clockwork my health flip flops in spite of every precaution I take.
This time it was just a scratchy throat. I thought it would become alright; I had much faith in my legions of white blood cells.
The next day my voice had transformed into a deep throaty whisper reminiscent of Rani Mukerjee’s husky voice. I was strangely ecstatic, millions swooned over Rani’s raspy vocals so this was good.
Day three turned out to be an absolute nightmare. I woke up with a dry mouth, my jaws stubbornly glued shut. Channelling the Jedi force within me, I got my vocal cords moving and managed a croak. That was it! It spluttered and died.
My beautiful husky voice, actually any sort of voice had vanished. I was horrified!
Did I mention how much of my personality was dependent on my voice? Safe to say, it was Excalibur to my King Arthur’s persona and without Excalibur, I was crushed.
I had school (49 primary children in my class to be exact), two family weddings taking place after a gap of eleven years (all the meet and greet between the family branches that had sprouted in a decade were scheduled) and kids who had flown the nest (the only way to track their whereabouts were their phones). My voice was needed more than ever before.
I faced my first battle in school with the forty-niners. They were fascinated by my ailment. Ma’am without her booming voice was a novelty. I improvised upping my sign language, using the chalk board to scrawl out instructions and finally playing Chinese whispers. The byproduct of the last exercise sparked a massive competition among them to be my official boom box, my loudspeaker, my PA System. Believe me when I say, I often let out a silent scream quite eerily like the one painted by Edvard Munch.
On the home front, the family was simultaneously sympathetic and annoying.
“Gargle with salt or try potassium permanganate, take steam, consult a doctor, take an antibiotic course, try the herbal drink, don’t speak-just mime.”
My day revolved around ingesting copious amount of warm water, ginger-honey-tulsi tea concoction, amla juice, chewing on Ayurvedic barks, leaves and seeds.
In fact ‘the mime, don’t speak’ diktat actually pushed a gentleman at the wedding to haltingly ask whether I believed in acupressure and was willing to give it a shot right there. True to the Sagittarius creed, I was in (we try everything the first time). Soon enough we had a roomful of audience raptly watching him press and knead my palms and wrists. It was riveting and I too held my breath for the miracle.
So did it happen?
I could feel a wave of disappointment washing upon all of us. At that moment I really felt sorry. I had to try harder. I suppose the next sound that emerged was probably an improvement for it immediately cheered everyone including the gentleman. Ah! Maybe that was the miracle but then I was expected to pack my sorry excuse for laryngitis and join the free speech.
Right now I’m getting by. My voice is making a comeback but it has picked a wracking cough as a sidekick that refuses to be cowed down.
Sigh! Praying for another miracle.