The Case of the Vanishing Doctor Uncle


The Case of the Vanishing Doctor Uncle

Illustration: Namaah/ Arré


r Balkrishna Nayak’s little clinic, set in a humble row of shops in Parel’s fishing village, invokes the rooms of AJ Cronin’s beloved country doctor, the amiable Dr Finlay. After 60 years in existence, the rooms of the clinic still emit the glow of a gentler past, when mixtures were compounded by hand in a mortar and pestle, and doled out in glass bottles with a paper marker for dosages stuck on the outside. The clinic includes a tiny reception area, a windowed dispensary and an inner sanctum where the good doctor counsels, prescribes and often just listens to the steady stream of patients.

Dr Nayak is one of the last generations of General Practitioners in the city who still source chemicals from south Mumbai’s Dawa Bazar. With them, he concocts cough syrups for any patient who might come in asking for “laal aushadh” to treat a bronchial infection.