Thursday, 9 July 2009

When I came to Great Yarmouth and saw these duck like pigeons waddling in my backyard I thought they had, like their human counterparts in this sleepy seaside town, grown fat on fish and chips. But then a "wildlife in Britain" handbook enlightened me that the wood pigeon was actually a different species.

I wonder if the wood pigeons ever look enviously at their slim and gorgeous cousins, the ring doves, and whether they suffer from poor body image and spend their time looking at their reflections in the water, considering breast reduction, liposuction or a different feather colour for that matter. I wonder if they know that a healthy diet of grains is better than chips.

Human celebrities, who are paid to look good, leave no stone unturned to do so and a candid Pamela Anderson has even referred to her breasts as a different entity from herself, appreciating them for what they had done for her career.

Yet, Hello and OK magazines like being unkind to celebrities and run features on bad dresses, bad hair days or even a computer generated photo feature on how hot glamorous models/actresses will look when they are sixty. I wonder if it is important to see bad images of others to improve your self worth.

Another recent feature in these mindless magazines, which are I will admit a good "time pass" when I am tired and feeling brainless while on call, in the hospital, is cosmetic surgery gone wrong, i.e pictures and interviews of people who have been on the wrong edge of the knife.

But even so, most of the cosmetic surgery is now being done on ordinary people. It seems people earning less than 20,000 dollars a year account for half of the cosmetic surgery procedures in the USA. Botox and liposuction are household words in India's metros and hair transplants and tummy tucks are happening even in small towns of India.

When I read patient notes before I call women into my consultation room, I guess I subconsciously generate a picture in my mind. Because I often come across women who surprise me by looking 10 years younger (enough to confuse me about their reproductive potential) without any surgery and minimum effort.

However, I did come across a woman who was 75 years old, but wore rolled up jeans and high heeled pump shoes. While taking a history I learnt that she had had a face lift and a nose job. Yet she was not happy with the way she looked and she ended by saying-"But I do know I can look good if I want to." I did not know how to react. She was an ordinary woman with numerous financial issues. She desperately needed a dose of happiness, which I think works better than cosmetic surgery in making people look good and young.