A body ache accompanied the sore throat which the post-Diwali pollution had given me. I went to the neighbourhood chemist and asked for some throat lozenges. Seeing me in a visibly unsound shape, he enquired about my symptoms. And like a trained medicine practitioner, suggested different combination of drugs. I was clueless and left it to his judgement.
On my way home I read the rear of the tablet strips to ensure that none of them were from the restricted prescription-drug category. Thankfully none were.
So many of us, instead for taking the longer route via the intermediary called the doctor, opt for the shortcut and head directly to the drug store. For minor ailments this practice may be a welcome one - saves both time and money. But often overzealous chemists hand over prescription drugs readily over the counter. This might prove dangerous. They usually give you no receipt and therefore are able to shun any responsibility.
But if a poor rickshaw-puller feels that all's not right with him. He forgoes a day's earning by waiting at the government dispensary's unending queue. A place where the medicines prescribed by the doctor on public payroll are usually not available. But surprisingly in full-stock at the adjacent privately-run chemist's shop.
Or he simply walks to the chemist, narrates his woes, pops his pills and goes back to work.