A vacation of almost three weeks in Kerala is almost invariably associated with the image of backwaters, hills and lakes, house boats languishing in still waters, as if for eternity, snake boats famous on account of the race standing still or breezing past in all their glory, the beaches that are more pristine and yet less commercial than what the most exotic ones can claim to be. My vacation, however, was of a different variety. I spent three weeks at Thodupuzha, a small but busy town situated about 60 kms from Cochin right at the foothills of the Idukki district's ranges. Amongst a few other things, Thodupuzha is known for some Ayurvedic hospitals and treatment clinics that use the herbs grown in Kerala's hills, mix them with the hundreds of kinds of oils they have gained expertise on, and treat the most chronic of ailments with such efficiency as is rarely seen in any other contemporary form of medicine.
Having heard about this form of therapy from a number of people and after my Mama had showed my nerve damage reports to one of the doctors at the Dhanwanthari Vaidyasala at Thodupuzha, I decided to give this a try. Taking the train to Cochin was a nice change from the short and sweet flights that I have got used to recently. The 27 hour journey was a great way to catch up with sleep, conversations with my sister (who accompanied me for a couple of days at the hospital before getting back to Mumbai and work), and of course with a lot of reading that I had been postponing for so long.
The treatment started on the first day itself, the 16th of August with some mild massages and pouring of warm oil on the affected area. The medicines were not really appealing to the taste buds but tolerable. What was not tolerable, however, was the food that I had to compulsorily eat because I was not allowed to go out of the campus of the Vaidyasala for the time of treatment and because there was no outside food that I could consume. The food was not even passable at times, with rice grains as big as peas, rice water served at dinner with salt and nothing else, puttu (a Kerala dish) served without any chutney, you almost choking on it unless passed down the throat with the help of some milk or water.
As days progressed, treatment became more complex and the masseur really gave it a go with some exotic oils, some strong massages, even some paste of cooked rice that felt really sticky and sick when applied over my entire body, and of course some increasingly sour medicines. Finally, when it was time to go, there was already some slight improvement in my condition with toes showing some movement in the affected foot. Of course, the problem is much more complex and slight twiddling of the toes is not going to be the end of my woes but at least it is a beginning. With the doctor so confident that it will take a maximum of 3 months for complete recovery, I am hopeful.
I have been advised as much rest as possible for about 2 weeks after treatment but with so much pending at work, I don't think that mental rest is an option but physically I can try my best to exercise my feet as little as possible.
Posted at 11:33 am by Nitai