Tuesday, January 11, 2011


"Doctor, Why is that you always begin the physical examination by feeling the pulse?" asked the anxious and  inquisitive old lady whom I teasingly called Mrs Nosy Parker.

"Well, you see, " I began, debating in my mind how to explain, " the wrist pulse is the heart's outpost that provides us with a 'live telecast' of the happenings within the heart itself..." I trailed off realizing the futility of describing the technicalities. Instead I light-heartedly said, "My dear lady, the truth is that the pulse gives me a fair estimate of your bank balance and lets me decide how big a hole I can drill in your wallet. In fact, doctors call it pulse because it rhymes with purse." Mrs Parker laughed heartily, all her anxiety draining off.

It is not just the prerogative of a doctor to feel the pulse of his patients. Quite often, patients too try to feel the doctors' pulse; figuratively, of course.How is that? Let me tell you how. If an in-patient at a hospital says, "Doctor, I would dearly like you to join me for dinner at my home next Sunday", the concerned doctor need not feel flattered. For, indirectly the patient is trying to find out if he(the patient) is likely to be discharged before the coming Sunday!

There is at least one occasion when I can't help feeling my own pulse. And that is women folk at my home talk on long-distance telephone lines to New Delhi or Kochi to discuss the latest recipe with an aunt or granny. As the seconds tick away into minutes, my pulse rate rises in direct proportion to time elapsed and in an inverse ratio to the STD pulse rate! The corollary of this 'teleconference' is that I end up gulping down some exotic stew at a price that could fetch me a ton of caviar!

Every trade or profession has perfected its own device of feeling the the pulse of the customers or clients. Do you know of one particular type of professional who excels in the art of feeling the pulse not just of his clients, but also society in general? Find out in my next post "Hand On The Pulse".

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