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Iteration by Dr. Muhsina K. Ismail

Dr Muhsina. K. Ismail is a dentist by profession. Choosing Psychology over other subjects during her plus two-period has greatly intrigued her further quest to unlock the complexities of the mind. A person who always loved to get absorbed in books from childhood gradually deciphered the magical power of words in creating stories. She thinks that books can be fluoride that protects one from depression.


The strawberry odour penetrates my nose— the glimpse of me eating the whole strawberry cream of my sister's birthday cake, her temper tantrums, dad getting angry as usual. My hand trembles. The impression tray almost falls down. ‘This too is almost set.’  I can see the white streaks starting to line the borders in the pool of pink. The patient grunts and stares restlessly across the hall. I know that it's my last chance. I take a deep breath. 

Stirring, figure of eight motion, loading. 

The rhythm. 

That's crucial. I try to concentrate. The moustache, thick and long. The teeth, stained brown with smoking. The nose, bent like a slide. The brown pigments haphazardly spread on the face. 

                                Alginate has now spread evenly on the steel tray. All I have to do is insert it into his mouth and press with adequate force. The patient coughs even before I asks him to open his mouth.

Does he sneer exactly like my dad?

I put the spoon in the white bottle with the pink powder. ‘Isn’t it done yet? Sir has asked me not to give more than  two scoops of alginate per patient.”

The dental assistant grumbles. I see the patient listening to the conversation.

“I don’t think it will work. You are simply wasting my time?” 

I can sense the claps of angriness in his words, as I am an expert at it. I remember the days when I used to grab my dad’s phone to make him angry. Making him angry doesn’t demand any effort though. It happens, everyday, every hour, as the bubbles in the alginate mixture. 

“It’s the last one.”

Patient opens his mouth wide, I insert the alginate loaded try, he lifts his head unexpectedly. He coughs, vigorously. He chokes. When I try to push his head down, he pushes hard and I fall down on the floor. The head of the department rushes to the spot. 

“I will get the impression. Load the tray.” That's what he says. Even though, I am relieved, I can't move a bit. I am frozen.

Stirring, figure of eight motion, loading.

The rhythm.

Mom playing with me. Dad pushing her. The pooling of blood, on the floor, on my clothes, in my tiny little hands. Everywhere. I can sense the rhythm. 


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