One should love all of God’s creatures, especially thy neighbor’s wife. And I do. No, I do not mean my neighbour’s wife but all of God’s creatures. Why, I even love the Snake Eyed Skink. In case you don’t know what is it, allow me to tell you that it is a slimy kind of a lizard which does not have eyelids. If you do not believe me see the photograph I posted on my Facebook Wall. (You will be astounded by the number of likes and comments the little chap attracted) Believe it or not, I even love the dung eating Beetle. And there was this chap who made the country fall in love with a Housefly. (See the movie Makkhi to get the drift). But then God has made some creatures who one just can’t love. The prime examples are mosquitoes and insurance agents. Talking of insurance agents, I wonder if there is lower being in the totem pole of existence. And if the insurance agent is a five foot nothing runt with an oily smile and high pitched voice he takes the cake, pastry and the entire Bakery. One such snake in human form infested my neighbourhood. I always gave him a wide berth but one fateful day the guy managed to corner me. He gave me a non-stop spiel on how I did not love my family enough to make some provision for them once I was over the great beyond. I told him that he was wrong and I was insured for a princely sum. “Two lakhs.” The little runt curled his lips in contempt. “It is too less. You are a high net worth individual. You should be insured for at least one crore.” “One crore insurance, are you crazy.” I shouted. “People are murdered for a fraction of that amount. Why tempt fate, or in this case, my immediate family. And what gives you the impression that I am worth anything? Nobody even buys my books!” But the guy was persistent. He went to work on me with a bulldog like tenacity and eventually wore down my resistance. He left my office with a huge grin, a fat cheque and left me clutching an appointment slip for my medical examination the following Monday.
The first bomb came on Sunday. A sweet feminine voice called me on my cell. “Sir! This is Priya from City Hospital. This is a reminder call for your medical examination tomorrow morning. Please reach at 10.30 sharp. And yes, come fasting.” “Wait a minute,” I stammered, “I need my breakfast at 7.30. I can’t wait till 10.30.I’ll waste away by 10.30.” ” “Sorry sir, this is mandatory! We have to take your fasting blood and urine samples.” “ Then call me to the Hospital at 7.00 AM.” I wheedled. A slivery laugh tinkled down the airwaves. “Sir, even the janitors don’t come in that early. It is you who has to get insured. And remember, this comprehensive medical checkup will be free for you as the insurance company is paying for it.” Free! That clinched it. Once I consented, she added a few other unmentionable things which I am not going to write about. I cursed the runt while I made a mental note of her instructions. “And Sir, please remember to shave your chest before coming.” “Shave my chest, what the heck! I am not appearing for Miss Universe or something like that. I will not do it.” I screamed. “Sorry sir! This is again mandatory. You have to undergo a Treadmill test and electrodes don’t stick on hairy chest.”
I was grumbling about all that when my bitter half intervened. “Tell me something. How does that girl know that you have a hairy chest? Been playing around, have you? I will not cook for you from today.” “Come on sweetheart, you know I have eyes only for you.” I stammered but the lady did not relent. I groveled and genuflected some more, but to no avail. Desperate, I played my last card. “Darling, I am getting this insurance thing only for your benefit.” This pacified her some and I got my dinner.
Monday morning dawned bright and clear. The anxiety of the impending medical examination was gnawing away at my innards like a persistent rodent. What if I have an undetected medical condition…What if I have diabetes, or brain tumor, or even AIDS? “Come on”, I chided myself as I rode my scooter down to City Hospital.
Anyway, I entered the hospital feeling a bit like a schoolboy appearing for his exams. Ah, at least I‘ll get to meet Priya with the silvery laugh, I consoled myself. Yes, I did get to meet her and contrary to my mental image of her, she looked more like a female bouncer in one of Bangkok’s notorious strip bars. You may ask me how do I know what female bouncer in Bangkok’s notorious strip bars look like? But did I promise to answer? So you may keep guessing! She pounced on me with a swiftness which would put a Cheetah to shame and handed me over to a ward-boy. “Take case number 113 to the Doctor.” She instructed him with what I construed to be a wicked gleam in her eyes. So I was just a case, I thought. I was taken in and put through the grind. I will not elaborate on the indignities the Doctor unleashed on me. Sufficient to say that I was poked and prodded, every crevice in my body was looked into and every protuberance felt up. My chest was auscultated, I was made to take off my shirt (and my vest) , lot if wires were taped on to me and made to run on a treadmill to the point of exhaustion. Then they drew some blood and collected my urine and my poo. Thankfully, they did not demand a sperm sample. Anyway, an hour later, I was allowed to go home, leaving behind the tattered pieces of my dignity.
A week later, I received this letter from the insurance firm.
Congratulations! We are happy to inform you that your Medical reports are perfectly normal.
However, we are sorry to inform you that you do not qualify for One crore insurance cover as you are not a High net worth individual. Our agent made a mistake in the calculation. We apologize for any inconvenience it may have caused you.
May we offer you a rupee two lakh policy instead?