UDHAAR CHUKA DIYA
Dr. Moeen Masood
Almost 30 years ago, a young UDK was riding a bike on the University Road, with Tanveer Imam being the back rider. All of a sudden, Tanveer points out a DMC college female mate who was anxiously driving her car in that traffic. Going at the usual Karachi speeds, UDK looks to the right. At the same time, the Minivan ahead of him, decides to pick a passenger and stops. In a split of a second our young UDK realizes what had happened. In that split of a second he had to take a decision as to try to cut to the right of the minivan avoiding the impact and get run over by the car that was coming from behind or “play it safe” and take the plunge of faith, test his strength and try to move the minivan with his face. He decided to do the latter, thinking that he would still be alive even if he breaks a few bones. Man, is he smart or is he smart? The gamble paid off. But he used up all his life long luck in that one incident. As, ever since then, he has always lost money in gambling; ZKQ.
With the impact, of course, he lost consciousness. Tanveer was lucky as he had UDK as his cushion. I am sure, Tanveer Imam is UDK’s slave for life for being his savior otherwise he would surely have been with Lucifer.
Anyways, making a long story short, UDK sustained left facial fractures with fracture of the left orbital floor as well. People may claim as he himself does, that he didn’t have a concussion or a head injury, but we all know that the evidence points to the contrary; ZKQ. Later he had also developed double vision as his extra ocular muscles started getting entrapped in the orbital floor fracture.
His mamooN and one of the best plastic surgeons of his time, Surgeon Faiz Mohammad Khan, decided to operate on him in Medicare. Many of us were there on that eventful day when he was to have his surgery. Seeing me there, Faiz sahib asked me, “Tum yahaaN kaisey”? I told him that UDK was my good friend. He said that UDK was his bhanja. I told him that I know that. I had known Faiz sahib for a few years by that time. He, I am sure, didn’t have good memories of me from our previous many encounters. During my medical college days, I had taken many cases for Plastic Surgery to him at JPMC. Unfortunately, all those patients had been very “Chiraandi” and at times behes mubaahisey tak baat pohonch jaati thee, but at the end, he would do great artistic surgeries on them and I was always impressed by his work and he must have been impressed by my persistence and “chiraand” that I used to do as the spokesperson for those people. He probably thought by that time, that I inspired to be a plastic surgeon.
That day, at Medicare, he didn’t ask me, he ordered me, “gown up”. Ab jis aadmi ney medical college mein theatre ko kabhee andar sey naa daikha ho, wo “gown up” kaisey karey ga? Beher haal, none of my actions gave away that I was fresh off the boat. I sterilized as “Gonzo” did in those TV medical shows. I was gowned up.
When I entered the theatre, UDK was already “tun” and ready, with Faiz sahib studying his face and his X-Rays up on the illuminator. He called me and showed me the “ugly looking” fractures of his maxilla and the orbit. I was thinking to myself, “Man, this guy is going to have some good looking scars on his face once Faiz sahib is done with him”. But then thought to myself, “Yaar Plastic Surgeon hai, mamoo hai, haath acha ho ga, taankey nazar to nahee aaney chaahiyein”. Had seen too many movies with surgeon Mohammad Ali removing the bandages from the face of the guy whose face he had changed with plastic surgery.
Faiz sahib, turned UDK’s head to the right and then had his left temple region shaved and made an inch and a half incision. If anyone of you know Faiz sahib, he is a talkative guy. All this time he just kept talking. I thought to myself that, man, he should be concentrating on what he is doing on his bhaanja rather than talk to me. But man, he is good. In any case, I was thinking why he was making that incision up there while the saara masla is on the face. A blind can see that he is off by at least 6-7 inches. But of course, I didn’t ask that stupid question. He then says something to the effect, “Lagta aasaan hai, magar itna aasaan nahee hai. Bohot log attempt kartey hein aur ghalat layer mein chaley jaatey hein aur then end up with a huge hematoma”. I had no idea what he was talking about. But then I saw him introduce the handle of the scalpel from the side opposite to the blade, into the incision. He kept going and going and going. I could only see little bit of the end sticking out of the incision. Constantly thinking, “What the hell is he doing”? “Does he even know what he has to do”? “Lagta hai aaj parh kar nahee aaya surgical methods”. Then he did an amazing thing; Using Zygoma as the fulcrum, raised the entire maxilla and the orbital floor. Felt it and then asked me to feel it. I was taken aback, but did as I was told. Asked me if I thought that the lower orbital margin was all aligned. I felt it lightly and I remember him saying in his usual boisterous voice, “zara zor sey dabao”. Man, he was nuts. Maybe, that’s how the Pathans from Tonk are. All I could say was, “Yes Sir”, as that used to be our “takiya e kalaam” in front of the professors. We had never learnt to say, “No Sir”. He then out of the blue, unsuspecting to my 7 pushts asked me, “Tum karo gey”? What? I don’t remember what I said, but I am sure it was NOT, “Yes Sir”. Was he nuts? Didn’t he know that I was his friend and class fellow and not a doctor yet? And moreover, UDK was his bhaanja. How can he ask me to do such a procedure? Those of you who know him, will also know that he is extremely good at what he does and extremely confident of his surgical skills. I remember my heart beating fast. He told me to put pressure on the lower orbital margin. Of course, I didn’t put enough pressure as I had no idea what I was doing. He then held my finger and pushed it with a little more force than my “touch” on UDK’s skin. I felt the orbital margin give way and a sickening “crunchy” feeling and sound. He then asked me to go around the margin and see if it is aligned. It wasn’t. How could it, I had just heard that sound of bones grinding together as they gave way. “Now”, he looked at me and said, “You lift it”. What? Man, he was a certified nut. Mua, Me, a nobody do this to my friend, whose mom was sitting outside and was and is so close to me. My eyes must have conveyed my reservations to which he said, “Koi baat nahee, mein hooN”. Oh well, I realized how Archemedes must have felt when he had invented the Lever. I very carefully, millimeter by millimeter pushed my end of the scalpel down and he had me keep my left hand on UDK’s maxialla and with fingers kept telling me to feel his inferior orbital margin. I did, I did. When I thought that it was all in alignment, he checked it himself and apparently satisfied by the great surgeon’s work, asked me, “What next”? How do i know? Of course I had the blank look in my eyes, visible above the mask. I had not read my surgical methods that day; ZKQ. I Had just been through more traumatic event than UDK had gone through when he had tried to move that minivan. Then he asked me what Carl Well de Luc (I hope I have the spelling right) operation was. Now, that I knew (finally something I knew). I told him. To which he said, “parhney waley lagtey ho”. Yeah right; ZKQ. More like “Aawaara lagtey ho”, would have been more appropriate. Anyways, he drilled a hole under his upper lip at the junction of the mucosa and the gum and started pushing a long slender piece of medicated gauze that had been dipped in an antibiotic. Left a piece of the gauze sticking out so that it can be later pulled out. Looked at me and said, “support key liye maxillary sinus ko bhar diya”. He then took the Archemedes lever out from the depths of UDK’s face. Stitched various layers and then asked the technician to get him the “jaamni ink”. I wondered why “ink”. He guessed and said, “He doesn’t have any mark of surgery on his face. I don’t want any masee to come and kiss him on the face and thus sagging the fracture once again”. “Girl more likely than a maasee”, I thought. ZKQ. So, he painted UDK’s left cheek bones with a violet colored ink giving it a badly bruised appearance. MAN, he was really good. What a surgery. I was in awe of him. Now that I think back, he must have wanted me to become a plastic surgeon; BZKQ.
Now, those of you observant doctors, who have noticed an asymmetry in UDK’s face and have always wondered if he were born like that? ZKQ. The answer is a big “No”. His face was “sculpted” like that, by his friend artist and surgeon Moeen Masood. Sorry yaar UDK, but that gives you a rugged, wild sexy look. You owe that look to me, surgeon Mo.
It was fate, that I was there when UDK was injured to some extent with a similar but worse injury than my brother did, and he was there for my brother when he was injured.
Drawing that simile, he told me a few days ago, that “Tees saal ka Udhaar Chuka Diya”.
At the end, I would like to narrate a story (oh man another one–promise, will make it short)—Veeru and Aslam grew up together, in the pre partition days. As they grew older, Veeru started working in his father’s parchoon kee dukaan. Aslam got educated and found a job. Time went on and they got older and finally Aslam retired. After retirement, nothing else to do, Aslam grew a beard, got a tasbeeh and started spending more time with his friend, Veeru. Every morning, he would take a tonga to Veeru’s parchoon kee dukaan and would sit there on a chair, read the newspaper and do wird on his tasbeeh, one bead at a time. One day as he descended from the tonga, he realized that he had forgotten his wallet. He asked Veeru to give him a “chawanni” for the fare. Veeru, opened the cash drawer, got a fist full of coins and gave them to Aslam. He said, “Arey yaar chawanni maangi hai aur tu ney itney sikkey pakra diye”? To which Veeru said, “Koi baat nahee, Yaar sey kiya hisaab”? Aslam took the coins, paid off the tonga, returned the rest to Veeru, who without looking at them put them back into the cash drawer. Aslam sat down on the chair and broke his tasbeeh, one by one threw every bead on the floor and on every daana kept repeating, “Yaar sey kiya Hisaab”?
So my dear friend, “Yaar sey kiya Hisaab”? But I appreciate and am thankful for all that you and others have done for my brother. I am a lucky man.
Written by Dr Moeen Masood, Dow graduate and a Neurologist.
A comment to give the background of the story
The Tale of Two Surgeons.
Umar Daraz Khan
My very dear friends, honestly I did not know or atleast remembered the reason of my rugged handsom looks until last week. Moeen was telling me about his brother and the way he got energised after my visit to the hospital. After seeing me Mobeen Masood, Moeen Masood’s brother, could not stop talking even when he could not open his mouth and he frequently laughed too remembering old things we did togther. That was the first time he spoke to any one after 4 days. Later on Moeen told me the Qissa-e-do Surgeon, one known, trained, experienced and qualified and other one none. When we came out of Mobeen house, I said to Moeen Masood that this is amazing, you were in theatre 30 years ago when I had similar problem and I was next to your brother 30 years later and 5000 miles away. Moeen kept thanking me on Mobeen and his family behalf. To stop his uncessant thanks I had to make him feel better and obviously to stop his lovely bak bak. I told him it was a Udhar I was dying to pay off. I then requested him to put the tale of two Surgeons in a story. And what a wonderful job he has done. The accident took place when we were running from SMC after a pathraoe session and tear gas, following the Ziaul Haque Ban on Student’s Unions in 82. Alive and kicking, Tanveer M. Imam took me to casualty of CHK in an unconscious state. When I regained my consciousness, I had to run away barefooted because of the risk of arrest. And guess where I went, could not go to my own house because it was monitored by plain clothed policemaen. I went to Gauhar Alam, where I stayed until I had my operation. His mother MA made khichri every day and twice a day and dalya in the nashta. Allah unko sehat day. Gauhar used to get me Gold Leaf and we played lot of Rummy together evry evening. He also gave me his Green Mazda to move around in the city for private consultaions at Surgeons private residences before I decided to have the op done with Surgeon Faiz. To cut the story short, Late Irtiza Hussain Zaidy, the SHO of Eid Gah came to Medicare with his police force, Syed Furqan Zafar was there with me and told me that he is looking for me in the hospital. So I had to run away from Medicare clinic before my scheduled discharge. The student movement did not stop there and the story went on but I would like to stop it here.