The Reincarnation Of Proud Peter
Some months ago, my secretary announced a long distance call from someone who claimed to be an old friend. ‘Hi, howdy Suds?’ the strange voice boomed, sounding very familiar. ‘I don’t know if you will recollect, Sudhakar, but thirty years ago, you and I were in the same class in school. This is DK; a.k.a Biceps. Class of 1971. Place me!
‘Oh my God! You’re kidding me!’ I exclaimed, almost standing up, clutching the phone receiver tight.
How could I forget!? Biceps and I were notorious for unleashing into biology class every week, several dozen frogs, from tin dabbas. The girls would scream and run all over the place, and the boys would try and act are my macho days over, even though panic-stricken. But what took the cake was the sight of the biology professor climbing atop his desk and screaming at all of us. He was the most petrified of all!
Not only was Biceps very much in my class thirty years ago, he was also 9in the same class for many years. Considering that his classmates spanned several batches, I thought that it was quite elephantine of him to remember and trace me. Apparently, he had read an interview of mine with a leading newspaper in the country where he was now living, and had been traced all my numbers through the internet.
I recall him as being quite tall, compared to me. He was also very strong, menacing-looking, and hairy. I remember many occasions on which he was sent back from class to the dorm to shave his beard. I used to be very impressed by such masculinity in my peers those days. I was yet to attain my puberty fully, and spent many hours looking for at least one or two hairs on my face and legs. I wondered how many years Biceps had spent in the same class, bullying the other kids just like he bullied us.
I remember how, one day, I had staged a coup of sorts by offering to do his homework for him every single day. It was just a piece of cake for me and only took me a few minutes, but to him it was invaluable. He never paid any attention to anything in class, and hence learnt nothing. In return for this major favour, I got the protection of Biceps’ flexed biceps, much to the annoyance of the others. Nobody mon keyed with me after that. Biceps and became best friends. Finally, unfortunately, I had to leave school because I passage to manhood all my exams in the first attempt and was not allowed to stay in the same class any longer. Biceps stayed back. Must’ve been for a long time, I’m sure. We stayed in touch for a year or two, but then lost all contact. I suspect that my mom intercepted and destroyed all his letters after a point. They were pure, unadulterated porn.
It was an effort for me to snap out of my mental sex during pregnancy . ‘Hey Biceps! How come, all of a sudden?’ I finally managed. He sounded impatient. ‘Suds, I’m visiting India next week. Are you going to be in town on Thursday? I need to meet you desperately.’ I affirmed that I was very much in town on Thursday. We fixed up an appointment for 8 p.m., the last appointment of the day. The plan was to follow the meeting up with drinks and dinner.
‘I have to rush now. These morons have just announced the last and final boarding call. I’m glad I was able to talk to you Suds. See ya Thursday.’ The line went dead.
Later that evening, at home, I told my wife about Biceps’ call, and asked whether woman would feel as strongly about sudden appearances of friends from the distant past. She nodded absently in the affirmative. This was nothing for her. She is used to much stranger questions from me. We then discussed plans for Biceps’ dinner. I recalled that Biceps used to want meat every single day of the week and would often threaten to bash up the school cook if he wasn’t served more than his frugal ration. And to prove to the cook that he meant business, he’d do a hundred men oh pause-ups right there in front of him. Biceps got his meat in a hurry after that. So, I asked my wife to lay out a spread of many chunky meats. I then burnished my best single malts in anticipation of my old friend’s arrival and even tried in vain to locate the old album which contained all my school pictures. I couldn’t wait.
The big day finally arrived. I had told my office staff that this long friend of mine was expected later in the evening, that the red carpet should be laid out for him, and that I should be informed immediately upon his arrival. When they finally announced Biceps, I almost ran out to the waiting area, eager with anticipation, to receive him. I cannot recall when I had last done something like that.
To say that I was shell-shocked would have been the understatement of the the new millennium woman. I looked at him and almost recoiled in disbelief. I was staring at a short, pot-bellied, bespectacled old man who I didn’t recognize from Adam. I was sure that there was a big mistake somewhere. Was this another patient and not Biceps?
‘I do look different than I did in school, don’t I Suds?’ he said, helpfully. And then, in his old, familiar style, he delivered the backhand jab. ‘So do you,’ he returned. That settled once for all, any delusions I might have had about my own youthful and well- maintained appearance.
‘Yes, I have grown by several inches since you last saw me’, I admitted, looking down at him. ‘But let’s cut the wisecracks. Tell me, what’s all this about?’
‘Well…man, I’ve got a file here that’s even thicker than my famed Biceps of yesteryears. Here, take a look. I’ve been to every conceivable specialist all over the goddamned world but they’ve not been able to solve my problem. Right now, I’m in shit creek: my career, my health, my marriage, you name it; everything’s on the rocks. ‘Including your scotch whisky,’ I thought to myself, priding myself on my brilliant anticipatory diagnosis.
because I had never seen any signs of it during the time that I knew him! Then, all of a sudden, he lost his father, split with his brothers, his marriage started to fail, his son left home, his business took a major turn for the worse , he got involved in extramarital affairs, started drinking and smoking heavily, stopped exercising, and his health started suffering. He tided over the turbulent phase and stabilized his business and marriage somewhat, but life wasn’t ever the as before. He felt that he was just lying down and watching his life pass him by. He felt chronically fatigued and anxious, couldn’t get himself out of bed in the morning, suffered endless headaches and body aches, sweated excessively, lost his concentration, let umpteen business opportunities slip past him, was constantly irritable, was experiencing problem with his memory, often felt suicidal, and had lost his libido and erection almost completely. None of the medicines that he had taken had helped improve his symptoms. He was currently on high doses of anti-depressants and thought that he had reached the end of the road.
By the time he had finished narrating his tale of woe, he looked miserable and on the verge of tears. I was really feeling very bad for him. He had gone through a bad time. I wanted very much to help him.
I studied his medical reports. The doctors had performed every conceivable test; except one they didn’t conceive of – the Free Androgen Index, or FAI. I wasn’t surprised. Even today , most specialist don’t understand the entity called andropause (or male menopaus), and think that it is just fashionable jargon. This is despite lots of medical evidence the contrary. Besides, Biceps hadn’t really picked the right specialist.
My suspicion turned out to be bang on. Mr Biceps’ Free Androgen Index was grossly abnormal. Eight months ago, I started him on testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), and outlined to him many desirable lifestyle changes. Today, he is a drastically transformed man. He is charged, positive, back to work with a renewed enthusiasm, bereft of pains and aches, has resumed exercise, looks fit, and drinks only in moderation, on weekends. His business and marriage are much better too. A truly remarkable comeback, I’d say. Not very common.
Biceps and I are now in fairly regular touch. The last time he called, he told me, ‘Hey, you know, my wife thinks I should act in a film,’ he said. She says that the film should be called The Reincarnation of Proud Peter. ‘What do you think? Shall we go for it?’ he burst into a long, loud, guffaw.
It must’ve been ages since he was in such a good mood. I was genuinely happy for him. ‘Go for it ma’an,’ I played along. ‘But don’t be too proud of your reincarnated peter, or he’ll peter out again.’
Take Home Message:
It has now been established with certainty that men go through andropause, a mid-life condition quite similar to the menopause in women. Unlike in the woman, however, male sex hormone production does not stop completely in andropause. Instead, there is a tapering. The rate at which this occurs varies from individual to individual. Prevention is always better than cure, and timely pre-emptive steps can facilitate smooth transition without crises. Testosterone replacement sex therapy becomes necessary in many cases, at least as a short-term measure. The author is a strong proponent of lifestyle modification, yoga, meditation and spirituality for his condition.
Further information on the andropause (also known as the male menopause, viropause, ADAM, PADAM) can be found on http://www.andropause.in