When new in this country, the numerous Advertisements for medicines used to surprise me. During a half hour programme on TV, out of 10 ads, 3-4 will be about some pill! Pills to sleep, to wake, to make you eat, to prevent you from eating, to absorb what you eat... happappa! No amount of fine-print side effects makes an iota of difference[I always get reminded of SVSekar's drama, 'Oru sondha veedu vaadagai veedaagiradhu' in which a 'mandreegan' character would prescribe a kashayam for mouth ulcer listing numerous side-effects and would end saying 'vaai punn pogum' and SVSekar would ask, 'vaai enna aagum?' :) ]. Every time an Ad ends with 'Ask your doctor about XYZ', I wonder how in India, patients get a good 'dose' from their Doctors for asking!
Pills was something one used, or so I thought, as a last resort after all 'kai vaidhyams'/ home treatments fail. Also, the art of swallowing pills is really something! Filling the mouth with water and dropping the pill straight into the throat without touching the tongue is a feat! But many a time, the water would rush through my throat and the pill would be left dangling!! And if there are multiple pills to be swallowed, then 'muzhi pidhungify dhaan'!!
Like many things that we have got used to here, I realised that pain balms were a non-entity in this country only when our folks complained of it during their visit here('Ennama, oru Amruthanjanam maadhiri onnum kedayadha inge?'). Sometime back, there was news about a lady never having cleaned her medcine cabinet in years with medicines' expiry dating almost decades back! I kind-of sympathised with her for like all other things sold in the US, these medicines too come in big packs! In our country, 'vitta, maathiraiyai padhiya odichu vaaile pottu vittu, 1/2 price vaangipaanga'!! These people can learn a thing or two from us!