It was December 2003.I was working as an IRTS officer in Indian Railways.I was posted as Assistant Operations Manager in Lumding Division . Lumding is a small town of Assam and it borders with Nagaland.I was in deep sleep in my luxurious railway quarter.Suddenly in dreams I could feel the pain and was forced to open my eyes.I realised that I was having intense toothache.I switched on the light and found it was just 3 am.I did not have any pain killer.I remembered my mom who used to tell me that cloves could control toothache.I walked into the Kitchen and with great difficulty located the box in which my maid servant kept cloves.I kept two cloves in my left side back teeth(It is called as 1st molar and 2nd molar which I learnt once I became an expert in toothache).I was chewing,biting and did everything but pain was not subsiding.At 3 am you cant expect a pharmacy to be open in a small town like Lumding.Pain was increasing and agony,intense pain are small words to explain the intensity of pain I was undergoing.I started walking up and down inside the quarter almost for 2 hours. Around 5 am, suddenly I heard the siren blowing from Railway Office.In Indian Railways there is a practice that whenever there is an accident, immediately siren will be blown and its a rule that all engineering staff should report within 30 minutes to the ART(Accident Relief Train) which will be stationed at nearest Railway Station and Operations Staff should move within 30 minutes to Railway Control Room for managing the movement of ART to the accident site. The number of blows of siren will indicate whether its a goods train accident or passenger train accident.On hearing siren I could make out that it was a goods train accident.Whenever the siren blows, a railway man's heart would miss few heart beats because for next 2 to 3 days he would lose his food, sleep etc.But on that day, even though I was a true railway officer, deep inside my heart there was slight happiness due to goods train accident because Railway Doctors would also come to Office hearing the siren.I rushed to Control room and my Boss(Senior Divisional Operations Manager) reached in another 5 minutes.We could realise that there was derailment of Goods Train in between Lumding and Badarpur( Lumding to Badarpur is a very scenic train route which runs in between mountains and one can come across in numerable tunnels.Steep gradients and curves mark the route all through.In my view this railway route is more beautiful than Konkan Railways).After giving instructions to my staff, I could realise that toothache's intensity had doubled. My Boss who was continuously observing me asked whether I was tensed due to Railway Accident.I told about my toothache.He started laughing and told that 'tooth derailment' was more important and painful than 'goods derailment' and he immediately called the dentist of railways.Around 6 30 am, after dentist gave me some medicines, my pain started subsiding.
It was February 2005.By this time I got into IAS and was undergoing training.As part of training, IAS officers meet various dignitaries including President of India, Prime Minister of India etc. On this fateful day, I was in 7 Race Course Road,New Delhi, which is the official residence of Prime Minister. Meeting dignitaries is one of the cherished moments for young IAS officers because we could keep boasting to our family members and friends.After security check, all IAS officers of my batch were taken inside the conference room and were waiting for PM to come and address. I was so happy because I would be meeting PM and would also get photographed with him which is a life time moment.Suddenly, my worst enemy 'toothache' started.After few minutes Honorable Prime Minister of India ,Mr.Manmohan Singh, entered the conference hall and started his address but I was shivering out of pain.Like a race car accelerates from 0 mph to 200 mph within seconds, my pain intensified within seconds.I was pinching my hands to create pain so that my tooth ache would get diverted.I was pulling my moustache.I was pulling my eyebrows.Nothing worked.It was really really painful.I could not listen to a single word he uttered.When each of my batch mate wanted that stay in 7 Race course to extend as much as possible, I was praying to God that PM completes his address at the earliest so that I could get out and rush to a dentist.Seconds were moving like hours.Once he completed his address, photography session started, then Buffet break fast. When my batch mates were cherishing the royal breakfast hosted by PM of India,I was cursing my batch mates in my heart.I was just walking up and down in the Dining hall without even drinking water.I wanted to run out of PM's residence and go to the nearest dentist in Delhi but Prime Minister's residence was fortified with number of rings of Z+ securities and one cannot move in or out without proper documents.My Course Coordinator(Course coordinator is a senior IAS officer who is in charge for training in Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration,Mussoorie) noticed me and asked whether I was alright.I was shivering out of pain and told her that I had toothache.She told to wait for few more minutes for formalities to be completed.I asked her whether I could be taken to any of the doctor who treats PM in his house because I knew that many super specialist doctors would be there.She gave me an odd look and told that toothache was not a serious disease and moved away from me.Again I started walking up and down cursing God for not giving toothache to my Course Coordinator.At last, visit got over with 'sweet' memories for everyone and literally 'painful' memory for me.
The last episode was in December 2005.I was in PSC (Public Service Commission) Exam Hall in Kolkata.IAS officers have to clear exams on different subjects like Law,Hindi,Bengali as part of training.If an officer does not qualify he/she would not get annual increment and promotion.It was Law exam and I was seriously writing the answers.My foe 'toothache' suddenly started.As usual within few minutes I was about to collapse.This time I did not take any chance.Few questions were left to answer but I closed the paper and gave it to the Hall Superintendent.My Bengal Cadre Batch mates were surprised to see me moving out of examination hall so early.I came out and went to the nearby pharmacy and took 'Combiflam'(pain killer) and came back to PSC and waited for my friends(Batch Mates).Pain did not subside.As usual I started walking up and down due to pain.I started cursing my batch mates for writing the exam seriously when I was crying out of pain.I don't know when they came out, but when they came out I was sitting in the chair of 'security' who guarded the gate of PSC holding my head.Immediately they took me in a taxi and were searching for a Dental Clinic.They tried to enquire the Taxi Driver in Bengali Language which at that point of time was like Greek and Latin to us because we were new to Bengal.Taxi Driver was laughing at our language and I felt like thrashing him because I was in intense pain .At last he took us to a Government Dental Clinic at Tollygunge in Kolkata.I ran inside the hospital to get my ailing tooth plucked away but was shocked to see the long queue.Seeing my miserable condition, one of my batch mate told the nurse who was outside the Doctor's chamber to let us in immediately and told that patient was an IAS officer.That 'Communist' Nurse questioned rudely whether IAS officers had special tooth and special toothache.She was right when I think objectively now but at that point of time due to intense pain I shouted at her.She did not bother and told me to follow the queue.I obediently followed the queue as I did not have any other option.I felt like plucking my tooth myself because pain was acute.After hours, my turn came.I requested the Doctor to remove my tooth immediately.He asked whether he was the Doctor or I was the Doctor to decide what treatment to be given.I told that he can be a Doctor only if he can reduce my pain immediately.He replied,"Hello , Shut up your Mouth" and when I shut up he told,"Don't you have brain, open your mouth so that I can see your bloody tooth".