The ‘Puthur Kattu’ (Bone Setting) experience in Chennai
Two months ago my dad tore a ligament on his right shoulder while carrying my daughter Afifa out of a car. Actually we thought he dislocated his shoulder because of a very audible ‘crack’ emanating there. He is all but 65 years young so you can imagine what pain he must be going through. Well we went to St. Isabella’s Hospital in Mylaopre in Chennai and the doctor told that he had not dislocated his shoulder but tore a ligament. He also told us that it will heal automatically in 3-4 weeks, and to just keep the hand in a sling. A month passed with no improvement. So we consulted another orthopaedic who had a curious way of treating it! Everyday for the next 2 weeks he kept twisting and turning his arm and giving ‘electric shock’! He also gave a cream to apply in the night. This treatment only added to his agony.
Finally we finally decided to give it the ultimate treatment as suggested by a lot of people. The famous “Puthur Kattu” or “Puttur Kattu” (pronounced Puth-oor kat-tu) a bandage of sorts. Puthur (Puttur) is a silent Andhra village, near Tirupati, almost on the border of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. It was here that this treatment originated in 1881 and is still here to treat thousands. It is treatment using herbs mixed with egg-white.
This Clinic is located in Gopalapuram in Chennai. The doctor or specialist comes here once a week on Thursday. On Wednesday tokens are issued for 10 rupees each to patients who want this treatment. The time is mentioned on the tokens. It usually starts around 6 am on Thursday. I got the token on Wednesday and the time was for 6am on Thursday. We went there the next day at 6am. There were so many people around. The youngest was probably around 3-4 months and the oldest around 85 years! Some for the first time but most were for their 2nd or 3rd time. People with bones broken on the arms, legs, hips and elsewhere came. It was a sore sight. Couldn’t stand the pain these people seemed to go through. The young ones were crying. So were the adults! Such pain.
All the patients were put in a room and in the first 10 people were called into another room. This room consisted of 5 high white benches. Each patient occupied half of each bench. After a few patients were done with my dad’s name was called and we went in. We took the xrays we had taken previously in St.Isabella’s hospital. We told told the attender about the problem. He didn’t even need the xray. He said xrays don’t show the tear. Each bench had 2 attenders. There was only one doctor, Mr.Raju. The attender told us to buy 3 eggs and 2 metres of used cloth which was sold outside. Once bought he took the cloth and tore it into pieces and tied it around dad’s torso. Then he broke the eggs into a steel plate containing herbs. Only the egg-white was used. The we waited for the doctor to come to us. He finished with patients one by one and ‘fixed’ or ‘set’ bones and let the attendants finish bandaging the patients. If there were bones to be set, bamboo sticks were cut and used for support wherever necessary.
He came to dad and we explained the problem. After feeling dad’s right shoulder he said don’t worry and it would be alright after 2 ‘kattus’. First he applied the herbal mixture with egg-white on his shoulder and then took some cotton and put that over the application. Then he applied more of this green herb on top of this. Once he was done he went on to attend to the next patient. The attendant came and finished bandaging the rest. That was it. He then asked for money and took whatever was offered. He wrote a prescription and also told us to come 2 weeks later for the next ‘kattu’. Dad says he feels less pain now than before. Maybe it does work.
Treatment for broken bones is it’s speciality. It is sort of crude and no xray is used. The doctor just runs his fingers and know which bone is broken and what need to be done. This way of treatment is really painful and crude but it seems to work because of if many fan following. Maybe they should Tweet too!
All said and done I hope dad recovers from this soon. For those who want the address, I will post as it soon.
More about this can be read here from – The Hindu.
The address of Puthur Kattu in Chennai.
Dr. S. Krishnama Raju
New 53A, Old 25, SPS 2nd Street,
Chennai – 600 014.
You have to get token on Wednesday for treatment on Thursday. Only limited tokens so be early. Call to find out when the tokens will be issued. Please note that there will be a rush for tokens. So please take someone who can get it.
Please find directions on the map.
For the actual map please click here - http://wikimapia.org/happy wheel