I was about eleven when I first heard someone say it. Home for the summer holidays from boarding school, I was immediately impressed. We were all sitting at a restaurant and someone walked up to our table to say hello to a family friend. Upon introduction, he took her hand and said “Charmed”. She blushed in return. My eleven year old mind was blown. 
I have always wanted to say it from that day on. Being born and brought up in a small town in India, I never really got to say it to anyone. No one I met was charming anyway. When I had to go back to school, it was still at the back of my mind. The need to impress someone with my beautifully modulated “Charmed”. 

I was intensely homesick that year. A week into school, I feigned some illness, maybe a fever, to check myself into the school sickroom. The school sickroom had this compounder called Mr. Khushwaha. An arse of a man, I learnt, as I spent more years in school. He had this perpetually bored expression on his face and absolute contempt for kids, especially kids like me, who may have feigned their illness. This would be the first time I met him. I entered the sickroom, and approached him, sitting pompously behind his wooden desk, a BP apparatus in front of him. I stuck my hand out and introduced myself. Taken aback, he waited a few seconds before offering his hand to me, nostrils wide, the disgust evident on his face. 

I don’t know what came over me, I blurted out “Charmed”, with a slight eyebrow twitch and head tilt. 

His eyes widened and he shot me a look as though I belonged in a mental institution. I cringed from within. I could not believe my eleven year old self would be impatient enough to use “Charmed” on this jackass. 

It was the only time I’ve ever used that word in this context. I wish I’d waited for the right time. I’ve never had the courage to use it again. Or any other similar word like this. 

The next word on my list is “Enchanté”. With perfect French pronounciation. I’ve never been able to muster the courage to use it. You never know who may turn out to be Mr. Khushwaha in disguise. If you ever happen to meet me someday and I linger over our handshake, be certain that I’m saying “Enchanté” in my head. 

And I hope you’ll smile kindly. 

12 thoughts on ““Charmed” ”

  1. Just stumbled across your blog/instagram and have been hooked to your story. As a physician of Indian origin in the US, I’ve always been very curious about what it is like to be a physician practicing in India. Would love to hear more of your take on the plights/trials/tribulations of being a doctor in that part of the world, not just the cliches we hear and see on television, but more of a personal account about what the journey has been like for you. Your writing is evocative and eloquent, thanks for giving us a glimpse of your world.

  2. I just recently stumbled across your blog/Instagram and have been hooked by your story. Being a physician of Indian origin in the US, I have always wondered what it is like to be a doctor in India. The media paints a very cliched picture of medicine in India. When I visit, I see that every other shop on the street is touted to be a medical facility. Your story somehow seems different and is not one that I have encountered elsewhere. Would love to hear more on your take about the practice of medicine in India, including your personal plights/trials/tribulations in the field as well. Your writing and photos are evocative and eloquent, thanks for giving us a glimpse of your world.

  3. Bwahahaha!! Maybe if I had said hello like a normal person instead of smiling from afar, you would have practised on me. 😉

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