Sorry. The Content Of This Article Was Lost In Translation.

By: Dr. Ankit, Panic-friendly doctor, tone-deaf percussionist, failed humorist, unimaginative writer.

Communication is an important pillar of any relationship. A miscommunication may result in damage ranging from a run-out in cricket to a ‘break-up’ in a romantic relationship to an uncountable number of bad Bollywood comedies. For good communication, humanity evolved from sign-gestures to spoken language and finally to the written word. One could argue that the world finally started making sense once written ‘documentation’ started, but handwriting of 90% of medical professionals combined with confusing medical jargon would serve to refute that claim.

Communication is very important in the medical world as well, whether it be a doctor’s prescription or the medical team’s discussion. The strongest bonds on this earth are exemplified by a person who can understand his/her partner’s feelings without the use of words (epitomised by the song “chahe tum kuchh na kaho maine sun liya”), and anyone who can read the doctor’s notes other than the doctor and the doctor’s kindergarten teachers. For this piece (and futile attempts at humour), let’s keep the premise limited to ‘What’ and ‘Who’, with respect to communication in the medical field.


Any instruction is only worth its weight in the written word. Of course, there are drugs such as Furosemide that are consumed much more than accounted for on paper. Otherwise, what has been said must also be documented in medical care. ‘Crisp and clear’ instructions are warranted, unless a senior picks up the phone in vivid states of sleep, because then the next day, crisp and clear instructions will be changed to suit the golden rule of medical hierarchy – the senior is always right (even in REM sleep).

While avoiding more ‘bad handwriting’ jokes, it is imperative that we also talk about other plausible reasons for illegible prescriptions. For example, somehow, the sentence “take care of your prescription paper and bring it around the next time” seems to have come to a rough translation of “use your prescription paper as a hand towel, dog food and/or folding competition prop.” Online prescriptions may help this, but since the system is dependent on the internet, ‘nerds’ who have seen The Terminator movies multiple times will not be very comfortable with this technology.

The eternal pessimist in me feels we’re one bad hackers’ attack away from the risk of losing the data or finding it taken as a hostage. Or maybe it’ll be a rainy day and all you’d get in the name of internet supply will be a half-hearted apology – you’d relate to this feeling if you’ve ever had a DTH supply from a company whose name rhymes with Mata Fly.


Everyone in this world has some advice to give. It matters who you take it from. In this age of social media-fueled influencer culture, you can be anything if you put your heart and reel content-copying skills into it. The bar for creativity (and authenticity) has been set very low, and the concept of “what makes you think you’re qualified” seems mythological.

Have a kid? You’re a parenting expert. Shared a video showing your kid throwing a tantrum? You’re a child psychology expert. Use face wash on all 7 days? You’re a skin-care expert. Eat quinoa, write ‘gluten-allergic’ as if it’s a superpower in your Insta bio, and have memorised all the info about the keto diet available on Google? You’re a nutrition expert. At this rate, you’d soon have archery experts based on the ownership of a bow and arrow and having watched ‘The Hunger Games’ movie series.

What you may get is being put on diet regimes after diet regimes based on the latest fashion – “Keto is soooo 2014!!” You start feeling like all this is nothing but an exercise in advertising, with the only difference being that they consider people so gullible that they’d trust you to give an honest opinion even as ‘Paid Partnership’ flashes on the top left corner. I personally treat any social media product review like I treat a Shah Rukh Khan fan’s review of Pathaan – low on objectivity and high on objectification.

So, choose your expert carefully, and follow the expert’s advice. Try to not obtain your medical (including vaccination and skin-care) advice from social media. I wish your prescription to be legible and your expert to not be someone pointing at text spaces in a 30-second video, and telling you to “read the caption for more details” at the end of it – because your doctor DOES NOT say best when he/she/they say nothing at all. Oh, and whatever diet you’re advised, don’t wipe your hands with your prescription paper at the end of your meal.

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