It was not after a film shooting but during a dental operation that pack-up was called. It was not a director but a doctor who called it.
Years ago, after root-canal therapy, I had sat on the advice to get a crown put over the treated tooth and, as a result, first lost a part of it and then all of it that was visible, leaving only the hidden fragments. I visited a neighborhood dentist couple, who advised me an implant, which I was made to understand was a minor procedure. The treatment was going to cost me a hefty Rs. 30,000 but I was desperate to preserve my smile.
So, one fine day from college I went to the clinic, and sat for tooth extraction, after which I was asked to go home, have semisolid food and come back for the implant. As desired by the dentist, I was back after an hour. A sterilised gown that covered me from head to toe and I was not supposed to touch was put over my dress.
The dentist who was to place the implant was busy attending to a patient on the adjoining chair, while the lady doctor and an assistant made preliminary arrangements. The special preparation creating the ambience of a mini operating theatre around me made me a little scary but I kept a brave face.
After an anesthesia injection (the second in an hour, the first was given to me at the time of extraction) around the tooth, began the deep drilling and digging into my jaw for placing the implant. It would have been five minutes hardly when the doctor stopped. He announced there was no bone in the jaw, as it might have got corroded; hence, the implant could not be fitted.
Hurriedly, the sanitised gown was removed, the assistants got busy putting away the especially assembled paraphernalia, and amid all this activity, I stood bewildered. It was an unceremonious pack-up. The lady doctor marched into the consultation cabin and I followed her in sheepishly. She asked me to shell out Rs. 1,000. I could understand Rs. 500 extraction charges but wondered what the other five hundred was for. I was told that the extra charge was for the loss the clinic had incurred in preparing for the failed implant.
I was made to feel that I was being obliged, as only 50% of the preparation cost was being recovered from me. Too rattled to continue with the argument, I made the payment and came out feeling stupid for having paid for the disservice and the director’s (read doctor’s) failing to ensure before raising the elaborate set, putting me under the arc lights, and starting all that drama that he had a project.