So, as you all know by now, I have a propensity for getting some very serious respriatory illnesses. After this last, horrible bout of bronchitis, I think I may have to face the fact that this is going to keep happening again and again. Unfortunately, I am already seeing signs that I may not have completely gotten rid of it, and the occasional cough that I have, though slight, is making me quite nervous.
Apparently, people are concerned. Mujeeb, our driver, is particularly worried. While he only told me once or twice to go to the doctor, most likely because he realizes that there’s no reasoning with me, he apparently lectured Scott at length about what kind of cure he should give me, and even had someone translate for him to make sure that Scott got it right.
Then, there was mention of the “fish” cure. Scott’s co-worker (you know who you are! 😉 ) discussed this with us the other night. While I had heard of it at some point in the past, I didn’t realize how popular this was until I looked the whole thing up.
The story goes like this:
Mr. Veeranna Goud was a generous and charitable man of Hyderabad. One day, in the year 1845, he met a holy man. Impressed by his kind nature, the holy man bestowed upon him the knowledge of a special formula of herbs that could cure people of asthma. He blessed Mr. Goud and his well as well. 😉 The holy man instructed him to create this medicine using the blessed well water, and offer it free of charge to all who should need it, at a special distribution point called Doodh Bowli.
From what I understand, the medicine, now called the Bathini Fish Medicine, is prepared (and here’s where it gets strange…) and placed into the mouth of a live fish. The fish is then swallowed whole. It wiggles down the esophagus (presumably choking on the medicine as it goes), and somehow this cures what ails you. I’m guessing that the fish doesn’t make out quite as well… The “patient” is also given follow-up medicine to be taken in the next 45 days, as well as a strict diet to follow during this period. The medicine is only administered one day a year, to be determined by the appearance of a particular heavenly constellation. Oh, and you have to do it 3 years in a row in order to be cured….
The miracle cure recipe has been passed down from father to son for several generations, remaining for all time a family secret, and has become more popular as time goes by. In fact, somewhere upwards of 10,000 people converge on Hyderabad from all over the country and across the world each year to partake of the Bathini Fish Medicine that is doled out by The Bathini Goud Brothers for one day a year. The same blessed well is still used in the creation. The mixing is still done at Doodh Bowli. However, the exhibition grounds are now used for distribution due to the large numbers of people the event attracts.
It is a fascinating story, a modern-day fairy tale of sorts, but I am quite hesitant to swallow a live fish under any circumstances. I will be interested in hearing more about this come June (the usual timing of the cure), but it would take an awful lot for me to partake in it. Just the thought of standing in line with 10,000 asthmatic people is enough to make me say no.
However, if the bronchitis keeps coming back, and I have been sick enough for long enough, who knows? Maybe desperation will make me decide that its not so fishy after all!