February 17, 2020
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The Naked Truth

Pritha Sen Chowdhury tests the waters

The Naked Truth

It 's sheer curiosity—and adipose—that leads me to the chambers of one of the capital’s top cosmetic surgeons. The first question I am asked as I enter Dr Suresh Gupta’s clinic is whether I want to be admitted. Good heavens, no, but can I please meet the doctor? Sure, but that’ll be Rs 200 first. A middle- aged rotund figure brusquely asks me to sit and plunges straight into what it is that I want done. I’m taken aback but play along—Doctor...my fat cheeks.... Even before I can finish, a mirror is stuck under my nose and I’m asked to show him where exactly I want the slim finish. But Dr..... Oh don’t worry, we just make two tiny holes and suck out the fat. It’s a one-day job. And doctor, I would like to know whether my abdomen and hips...a buzz, a nurse escorts me to a tiny room and asks me to strip in a deadpan voice. Dr Gupta examines me very clinically and pronounces that evacuating a few fat cells would make me perfect. Good for the ego but...? Rs 10,000 for the face, 20,000 for the tummy and...well, maybe another 20,000 for the hips..."love handles" as he calls them. When can I let him know at the latest? Tomorrow, he says.

The scene shifts to Dr Bimla Rajan’s plush clinic. I repeat my story. She’s pleasant, listens patiently to me. It’s a comfortable feeling. She inspects my face, and then asks me to show her my stomach. No stripping involved here. Your hips are just fine, she tells me. I’m surprised that she’s actually advising me not to trim unnecessarily. But there must be a catch—her fees perhaps? Well, I’m in for a surprise. Rs 20,000 for the face and abdomen. You mean 20 plus 20? No, it’s 20,000 all inclusive. That’s reasonable but will I be able to afford it? She smiles sympathetically and promises to help out. Think it over, she advises, for it’s serious stuff. Nobody asks me for the consultation fees till I walk back to the reception. It’s just Rs 200 and I walk out feeling beautiful. Dr Rajan has assured me that I’m just the right weight for my age. So what if I have a fat face.

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