The Surgical Superpower

How a surgeon’s desire of harboring three superpowers was completely vetoed by his daughters who clearly had funkier ideas

“Dada, Dada, Dada!” my six-year-old feisty daughter called me thrice to secure her attention as I lay on the bed nursing a sprained back. The first “dada” was to put my phone away, the second one was to look at her, and the third was to listen to what she was saying.

“I have a question for you,” she asked, beaming, after coming back from watching a Disney movie with her cousins. “If you could have three superpowers, what would they be?”

I peered into her inquisitive eyes, wondering if I should give her answers suitable for an adult or a baby, but then decided to go with what came first to my mind.

“I would want to be able to look inside people’s brains and see if they have a tumour or any other problem. That way, I’ll save all the unnecessary MRIs that I ask my patients to get when someone comes to me with a headache or giddiness.” She gave me a very bored look. “I wouldn’t want to know what people’s thoughts are because that would drive me nuts!” I added and was rewarded with a whiff of a smile from her.

“Okay, what’s the second one,” she jumped, disappointed with me seemingly having wasted my first superpower. “I want to be able to perform complex surgery without ever having a complication,” I ruminated, remembering a few patients whose surgeries did not go off smoothly. She looked back at me, thoroughly unimpressed.

“Okay, dada, last chance!” she said, hoping I would finally come up with something fun. The Mother Teresa in me prevented me from giving her what she wanted. “I think I’d like to eliminate hatred and spread love,” I said, knowing it to be a cliché but genuinely meaning it, hoping she would understand what I meant. I continued, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we stopped judging each other and simply loved and appreciated one another instead?” “Whatever!” came the disenchanted reply to my prosaic responses.

I decided to turn the tables and asked her, “Okay, why don’t you tell me what powers you would like to have?” She promptly made a fist and released the index finger from it to denote the first superpower. “I would like to have the power to skip days,” she said instantly. The look on my face made her realize that I didn’t understand, so she began to explain. “I’ll skip days from Monday to Friday, so that we don’t have to do school. Only Saturdays and Sundays are allowed. Then, I’ll skip straight to my birthday, Meme’s (her sister Meher, who she fondly calls by that name) birthday, mamma’s birthday, and yours. Then all our cousins’ birthdays,” she said, nodding her head as if she were already imagining this.

“If I had a superpower,” my elder daughter interjected, “I wouldn’t do any homework. I would just find a way for it to get magically done without me having to do it!” she emphasized. On the few occasions that she hasn’t turned in her homework and the teacher asked for an explanation, she very soulfully replied that her father was in the hospital. The first time the excuse was used, the teacher was empathetic; the second time, she was suspicious; and the third time, she realized that the father was not a patient but a doctor.

“My second super power,” said the little one, “would be to be invisible. I can sneak into granna’s fridge and steal all the Frooti and chocolates and no one will know!” She twirled her wrist with two fingers now up.

The elder one, who is now seven-and-a-half, said, “I want to be able to shapeshift!” and then did a little jig to contour her body. “What the hell is that?” I asked, being out of date with recent trends. “I can become an animal or a plant or anything else I want whenever I want to and you won’t know it’s me,” she said, adding “and then you can’t chase me around to finish my homework!” She cocked her head and raised her eyebrows like teenagers do to tell their parents that they’re smarter than them.

The younger one was not one to stand down without an exciting finish. “My third superpower is to be able to fly!” she triumphantly concluded. “She’s copying my power!” the elder one objected, then continued, “but mine is way cooler than flying, actually, it’s teleporting!” “What on earth is that?” I asked, thoroughly befuddled. “I can go from anywhere to anywhere in a second,” she helpfully explained. “I can walk through the door without opening it or even meet Burgese Kaka in America and come back in a second.” I was very impressed. “Maybe you’re ready to read Autobiography of a Yogi,” I said, trying to outsmart her. “Dada!” she exclaimed, “I’m not doing any such thing!” and twirling her body she disappeared.

A few days later, we all watched Encanto together, the movie that had given rise to the superpower questions. The Madrigals are an extraordinary family who live hidden in the mountains of Columbia in a charmed place called Encanto. Every child in the family is blessed with a unique gift – except Mirable. Isabelle’s gift was to conjure beautiful flowers and plants in a whiff, Antinio could communicate with animals, Dolores could hear into the distance, Brono could see the future, Luisa was so strong that she could carry the mountains, and Juliet’s gift – my favourite – was to be able to heal with a meal. And Mirable, as it turns out, while being the only one not endowed with a gift, was in fact incredibly empathetic and had the ability to unapologetically be herself – a gift that the rest of the family wished they had too.

So, if there’s one amazing thing you could be, let it be the power to be yourself, unabashedly. Apart from that, if you could have one more superpower, what would you like it to be ?

14 Comments on “The Surgical Superpower
  • Supriya Correa says:

    Gotta love the girls for their spunk and swag. Esp the excuse about the father in the hospital. Now that’s a keeper. Very soon they will be outsmarting their old man…cheers, girls!

  • Godfrey says:

    Remarkably different and lively subject from a clinical perspective, the strained back must have healed due to the power of love ❤️

  • Delphi Wadia says:

    My 3 superpowers….
    1. To attract love…..everyone should love me ❣️
    2. To be immortal and happy always
    3. To have a bottomless pit of money

  • Arun Pushkarna says:

    Proven once again Mazda. Your unique skill is to find beauty in the day-to-day situations we all take for granted – or are sometimes totally oblivious to.
    Guess you fall into the Mirable camp, albeit with an enviable superpower of storytelling.
    Get well soon!

  • Monica says:

    Took me back into the past. Unfettered freedom of thoughts and ideas! A mood buster and booster!
    Thanks to the 2 girls and the child still alive in the father!
    Mazda, hope your girls never lose their sparkle. It is infectious.
    Wanted to end with an emoji but don’t know how!
    I wish I had the super power to…………….. ..!

  • Dr Indu Bansal says:

    Love your girls and the innocence in them. And amazed at the way u spinned a casual conversation into story telling and subtly left a message as u wrote. U hv the superpower to pen your thoughts .

  • Vipul shah says:

    Dearest Dr Mazda Sir ….

    Your two little princesses are super cool …
    I was pleasantly surprised with their super Imagination & conversational Skills

    You are Master of Writing along with Master of Surgery too ….

    Can convert any topic into super interesting topic..

    God bless them with abundant happiness & Super Fun …

  • Rita singh says:

    Dear doctor, such cute little girls!! Your home could never b boring. A rare gift to turn a child’s comical imagination in to a meaningful subject. By the way I have read A O Y several times its a bible of all Yogodans.My one wish would b to b a worthy devotee of my chosen path.

  • Gloria Msampha says:

    I’m sure Meme even cried about her father being in hospital. How ingenious. Wish I had that excuse. I believe the super power most people would like to have is a life of no pain, no death, l not forgetting more money than you know what to do with. But the greatest super power is happiness and spreading the love. Great story.

  • George Koshy says:

    Mazda..don’t let the child in u ever grow up and don’t ever stop writing..ur girls have wild imaginations

  • Dr Naresh Jani says:

    Lot of fun frolic and amazement
    Don’t want any super power let it be with almighty

  • Bikram Dr. Shakya says:

    Be Happy!
    Be Happy!!
    Be Happy!!!

  • Lois says:

    Beautiful connection with your adorable daughters. Enjoy them, they are a beautiful gift 🎁

  • Di says:

    What a lovely article! Fun, warm and lighthearted… loved the banter between father and daughters… u really do have a flair of writing whether its writing about complex surgeries or superpowers… me toooo i also want to fly! Am greedy lol i want more than 3 superpowers haha… Meher is so smart.. my father is in the hospital haha.. genius
    One of my friend had recommended this encanto movie to me… haven’t watched it yet but its on my watch list 🙂


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