He did it with utmost precision – the homeopath doctor down the road.
Peering through his black spectacles, he would mix you a concoction from the thousand of bottles in his little pharmacy. He didn’t use any measuring cup. Nothing except his own slightly faulty eyes, his brain and his two hands, deftly adding a drop of this, a trickle of that, a pinch of this and a sniff of that — like an alchemist at work.
He had been there since before my birth. He lived in a small apartment above his pharmacy, and was available at all times of the day and the night. It was customary for all of us living in that lane to visit him for any minor to major ailment that happened to inflict us. He would, listen to us patiently as we recounted our myriad symptoms, and a few minutes later would be handing us a bottle over the counter, with a tiny white label, that dictated through a clear neat handwriting instructions on how and when to take the medicine. And we would all be cured. Our coughs and colds, fevers and tummy aches, back pains and diarrhea all disappearing with as much abruptness as their onset.
Mr. Sharma was an unfortunate case. He was ninety years old. It wasn’t surprising that he died. It was just unfortunate that he died a day after he partook the liquid the homeopath doctor had prepared to relive his joint pains. It brought in a lot of media attention, and a lawsuit.
For a few months his pharmacy closed down. When it opened, people were still doubtful. There were rumours, and gradually business died down. People now went to the new medical doctor down the street, with his framed medical college degrees, benign smiles and untarnished prescriptions.
He did not seem to care – the homeopath doctor. Every time I passed by I would still see him there in the pharmacy, shuffling around, peering shortsightedly at the dusty bottles, and preparing medicines that no one trusted.
We only found him because of the smell. In the end, his own medicines also turned on him.