An itch in time is a saving sign

It was 3:30 pm. Shyam Shroff 33, head of Computer Data Networks was sitting in his  plush 12th floor cabin, sipping the hot cafe Latte that his secretary Rubina fixed for him a minute back and while going through the quarterly KPI performance reports of his division. His deep thought and analysis was suddenly dismissed by a call on his intracom. It was his executive assistant- Tigmanshu on the other line. Tigmanshu, a young, ambitious graduate from a top B school who had recently joined Shyam as his EA has called in to inform the arrival of all the guests/ invitees of the business partners meeting scheduled that day. The meeting was about to began in another 2 minutes. Shyam quickly gulped his hot coffee down his throat and started to move towards the adjoining 8 seater grand conference room where his top strategic partners with their representatives awaited for his arrival with bated breaths. Shyam has called in this meeting urgently post reading the performance report of current quarter and after sending numerous warnings to the partners to improve deliveries.

The performance report hit an all time low that quarter. Revenues fall down and costs shoot up due to failed commitment and timely deliveries of certain vendors who were running past beyond their deployment timelines. Needless to say, Shyam has given endless warning to their partners that he will withdraw the business alliance if they continue to show dismal performance. This meeting was to give a final, strict warning and inform the partners of dire consequences of their undelivered commitments.

The discussion was going on full swing and got temporarily diverted when shyam coughed  all of sudden. He brought his kerchief to his mouth and realized a spool of blood on it. he dismissed the idea thinking he has stretched his throat by over speaking and then he coughed again and saw similar kind of blood gushing through his kerchief. He quickly kept his napkin away in his pocket to avoid any unnecessary observation and attention and was soon forgotten of it.

A week passed and he was invited to spearhead a high end workshop with leading CTOs of the country to facilitate their understanding and learning of his domain so as to derive maximum work results. He made an impressive presentation and soon charmed his audience with his knowledge on subject matter and his skill to handle complex network systems with ease. It was a day long workshop and towards the end of it, Shyam almost lost his voice. His throat became painful due to excessive speaking and his voice went several pitch lower.

He ignored it too until the day when he started having a deep rush of pain in his chest and rushed towards the hospital immediately. The severe, congesting pain blinded him and he soon was sitting infront of a lung specialist in one of the biggest hospital of the city, getting his case examined.

The doctor looked at him and asked if he smoke. He, with a great sense of pride and vested honesty replied- No. The doctor concluded that since he do not smoke, he may not have bronchitis but may have lung cancer or TB.

Shyam’s face turned pale. He soon gathered himself back and told doctor that he has got an X Ray done and how his lungs were shown all clear. The doctor threw a strange, belittling glance at him and replied- Do you know a man came to my fellow doctor 2 days back with a clear X Ray but is now undergoing a severe cancer treatment? This statement sent shiver in Shyam’s spine and he found himself panicked. He soon rushed to get a fresh X Ray done and came back to see the doctor. He couldn’t express how tense did he became during the entire chain from seeing the doctor, going for a fresh X ray and till meeting doctor with his X ray reports. he lived almost hundred deaths during this time fearing all possible dire consequences that the doctor has cruelly inferred to him. 

He came back to his senses when the doctor informed him that his report is clear but advised him to visit an ENT specialist for complete assurance. Shyam was on cloud nine when he heard that and couldn’t wait to go home and celebrate. It was his wife who insisted that they visit the ENT as well.

The ENT doctor was a very soft speaking charming lady. She made her patient to sit on the adjacent observation chair and asked him to open his mouth wide enough for her to see. As she peeped in his mouth, her facial expression changed and she blurted- Oh My God! The devil in Shyam thought that lady doctor has given away to his charm and that new aftershave seem to have worked. A glint of mischief ran over his worried eyes but sensing his wife’s presence he hold himself back and looked at doctor’s face. She Said- Oh my god! What a mouth you have. She said that his throat is in extreme worse condition and she has never seen such an infected throat like his. She asked him all the symptoms that he faced in last one month and instigated why he still didn’t bother to check with his when he first saw the blood coming from his mouth. She was infuriated at him for ignoring all the signs that his body was giving including his recent voice damage at the conference.

“How many people have you seen losing their voice like this, Mr. Shroff”? doctor enquired.

“Er, Ahem, I am not sure if anyone speaks so much continuously for hours. I am at least not aware” he said.

“Have you ever seen teachers, lectures, trainers? How about them, Mr Shroff” inquired the doctor.

Shyam was in loss of words. The doctors wrote him a prescription and asked him to follow it religiously for next few days and visit her for a re check up at the end of it. He took the prescription and kept it in his pocket only to not take it out again. He got another seminar that week where he spoke very consciously and didn’t face the issue again. All’s well he thought. Needless to say, he never took those medicines. He happily ignored all the warnings from body and the doctor and continue to lead his life in the way he was. Sipping his daily hot piping cafe latte and devouring the creamy butterscotch ice cream post dinner.

And then one day, the unexpected happened. Shyam along with his office colleagues, juniors and strategic partners went out for a 2 days orientation trip to a nearby resort. During the team building exercise he suddenly experienced a shooting pain in his throat. He tried to sip some warm water, hot tea and even tied a scarf around his neck but all in vain.

He was sick again and was rushed back to the hospital. The doctor after going a thorough check of his mouth, throat and  chest came back to his room to an eagerly waiting Shyam Shroff. He looked at his eyes coldly and said- All is not well.

Shyam who was waiting to hear an optimistic reply from the doctor was all shocked and shunned for the next 5 minutes as the doctor spoke and apprise him of his condition. “All is not well Shyam” said the doctor again and again. Shyam watched him with apt silence with his eyes lost in back ground. He saw dark before his eyes and fell down his chair.


The doctors, dentists and medical practitioners across the world meets millions of Shyam Shroff everyday who happily throw caution to winds time and again to only have badly messed with their health later. Ignorance is a kind of disease which is not just found in illiterate people but also in the educated lot. In fact, ignorance as a disease is more widely spread and father of all kinds of problem in world. The moral of the story is to stop ignoring the warning signs from the body. “Take lite” is best suited while combating with stress and not otherwise.

They say- a stitch at time, saves nine? Similarly our body mantra is- “An itch in time is a saving sign”.

This post is based on a true story. Name and characters changed.

Want to know more about gum care? Do visit- My Healthy Speak Blog


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