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by Lata Vijaybaskar

I am really scared of dentists. The thought of the dentist’s machine would be enough to postpone my appointment to the next week, month if I am lucky. But here I am after a lot of postponements - the secretary actually told me my sheet is filled with cancelled appointments. I even thought of completely letting go, but my toothache had become something close to unbearable and so after the usual round of apologies to the secretary, I got myself booked for the day after – in the afternoon.

Coward that I am, not wanting to walk uphill alone, I approached my neighbor. Now Sarah is a typical nosy, continuously blabbering, always looking for other’s trouble neighbor. Of course once or twice her nosiness had actually helped the neighborhood and hence she is very proud of her talent, and we just consider it as a practical lesson in tolerance.

“Ooh! Don’t worry dahling, I’ll come with you to the dentist.” She gushed. “It’ll only be a prick and wham all over,” she dramatized, her pink lip gloss moving her pouting mouth in cartoon proportions.

“Uh thanks Sarah,” I mumbled and promised to meet her on the D day.

Well the day arrived and I met Sarah, dressed in a very colorful dress, huge accessories and a red lip stick with theatre make up. She apparently was cheering me up with her bright dress. Blinded me would have been more apt. As we moved along the road, she brought out sheets of paper.

“What are these?” I asked. Have you taken up insurance sales or something? Direct marketing?

“No way, I’d never do one of those ‘Please buy my product begging,” she huffed.

“This is for you.”

At my perplexed look, she went on to explain in all the glory of new found knowledge and freedom her work the last 2 days. “I searched the Google for your disease,” she said.

“What disease?”

“Your acute Odontophobia,” she answered proudly like a quiz question.


“Well you see I have done some research on your fear of the dentist. The Google says it is a very common phenomenon. In fact a lot people apparently have it. In fact they have suggested you can change your behavior with tactile changes and relaxation techniques like diaphragmatic breathing and progressive muscle relaxation,” Sarah droned on excitedly.

She then went on to say she had spoken to most of our neighbors about my ‘disease’ and has gotten suggestions from them. I almost strangled her.

As we approached the clinic I was so strung up I hardly noticed my fear. Suddenly I heard a shriek. A breadth catching, save my life kind of scream. And it was coming from my researcher neighbor.

“T- th the bee,” she cried. I turned to see a huge black bee buzzing by. “I am really scared of them,” she trembled.

“They must have thought your dress to be a garden, Sarah. Have you Googled about Apiphobia?” I replied, feeling avenged.