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Tuesday, January 23, 2018
This was my small contribution that was published in the souvenir of DERMACON 2018, 46th National conference of IADVL held at Le Meridian Convention centre ,Kochi. India on 18 to 21, January 2018.
Having attended almost all the DERMACONs in the last decade, I admit [shamefully] that I have not opened any page of the Congress souvenir till date. I seriously don’t know how many of you and it must be selfish of me to expect you to read this too!! Still, I thought I will share a small pearl I collected somewhere on the way as I walked along the shores, of dermatology practice that is!!
Just like anyone of you one fine morning me too had a URI and a horrible bad throat. So much so that I was not able to expel some voice notes in spite of my best efforts to howl leave alone talk. Me being alone manning the dermatology department in a huge private hospital I thought I will go and see the patients quickly and return home. Was a bit overconfident that I could manage the show sans my voice. Informed the concerned that I will see only the ones with a prior appointment a strict restriction in the number that I see that day for obvious reasons.
The routine starts with me limiting my voice usage to the bare minimum and managing to speak in the feeblest voice and that too only when it was in situations I couldn’t do without. Initially, I did not notice but soon realised that the patients and even bystanders were all talking in a very hush tone. What the heck is going on!!! Trust me I was simply not able to hear what they were trying to tell me. Come on people, that’s again taking me on my nerves in addition to the throat pain. And finally, I lost my cool and had to tell some of them that I did not have any hearing issue but my voice is that needs some rest and that was the reason I was speaking in a very low pitch hush tone. They, then like a knee-jerk reaction [suddenly realising their mistake], smiled and started talking normally. It went on for some more people and I was soon done for the day.
The day went by and as I was driving home [The distance between my home and hospital place is 30 Kilometres one way] and my mind was wandering to find out what made them speak to me in a very polite and low pitch. Felt good having got a point to ponder on other than when my throat pain will come down. I concluded to myself [sorry don’t search for a reference for this observation. I haven’t searched for one yet to put it honestly] that there is an attempt on both the parties to speak at an equal pitch to call it a conversation. Which means when I spoke in a low pitch they also brought it down subconsciously!
Now that I have a hypothesis I was trying to apply the principle in a Randomised Control Trial mode. Yes, we need evidence to call it a sensible one. If not, the paper won’t go beyond the editorial review even.
Once I recovered completely and was perfectly alright I purposely tried lowering my voice on an experimental basis in random patients and bystanders in my OPD and lo behold the whole lot of them were speaking in the lower pitch whenever I lowered. Eureka, the first part is done. Now I was on a mission to try it out in real time when I need to prove it at an application level. I told u I have been driving a lot a lot in my life and a road minus auto rickshaw is not Indian. As usual whose ever fault it was one auto driver got into an argument with me for some trivial matter. He was oh boy in full rage to eat me alive and I was just all set to experiment my hypothesis. Imagine! As the issue was being sorted out I made it in my mind that I won’t raise the pitch above his whatever happens. And he was all up in arms and firing blistering barnacles. But the fact is I could see him struggle so hard to keep his voice at the highest possible pitch. In fact, I soon realised that he wasting his energy because the opponent [Yours truly] was far down below. In no time he came down because he had no other way. And in no time, he was talking very normal and by then the smart me had already apologised for the mistake if any I have done from my part. The matter ends there. Mission accomplished.
One thing I am pretty sure. If I had also raised the voice he would have raised it further which would make me raise it again. Ultimately the struggle is to make a louder statement to make it heard. Whereas when I kept it at the rock-bottom level his voice sensors probably realised that he need not go so high to win the argument. The fact I guess has I won the match in two ways. First is not getting manhandled by that gentleman on the road and next is having successfully experimented my hypothesis in real time. Now on thinking over this matter again, I think I know why the voice goes up in a fish market and comes down in a prayer hall though there is no argument part. There is always an attempt to speak at the same pitch if not higher and in the bargain, there is a cacophony.
For heaven’s sake please don’t get into an argument with anyone to prove me right or wrong. That is not the intention of this write-up and that is my anticipatory bail. I meant if at all someone tries to get into a duel with you be it a stranger, relative, patient, bystander, someone in your day to day life or in extreme situation even your spouse Shhhhhh try this trick of holding on to the lowest pitch. Mark my words, you will win the game rest assured. I leave this to you to (dare) experiment sometime somewhere [god forbid a serious argument ever happens to anyone] and let me know if this worked out for good. My contact details are written in a few more lines down below. If it did do let me know when and how (just curious) and do please share it on to whomsoever you feel it may be useful. In addition, please do remember DERMACON KOCHI @ 2018. You have taken home a pearl from God’s Own Country through the Queen of Arabian sea.
Consultant Dermatologist. KIMS ALSHIFA Super Speciality Hospital. Perinthalmanna. Malappuram Dt. Kerala.