A 20-something girl walks in with a face dotted with acne.Doctor-beautician Jamuna Pai looks at her skin through a huge magnifying glass and recommends a series of tests including some hormone tests.
And before you can ask why hormone tests for acne, she explains, "Stress level can alter your hormonal balance. Plus there is pollution, which plays havoc with your skin. Many of my clients are young people who come with skin problems caused by stress and altered hormone levels."
Blush, her pink-toned clinic in Mumbai, is a little more than your average beauty parlour. As Pai casts a critical eye over your skin, she offers not just the usual potions but prescribes drugs and medicines.
And has on call several specialists - from dieticians to cosmetologists and plastic surgeons - who advise her patient-clients on various aspects of their lifestyle. "Skin problems are usually symptomatic of deeper problems. I prefer to get to the root-cause.
It helps when you have a medical background because you can get to the root of a problem and treat that rather than the symptoms as happens with most beauticians."
So seven years ago, when Pai chucked her Rs. 7000-a-month BMC job to set up the Rs. 700-a-facial clinic, her in-depth approach was appreciated by clients, many of whom were the crème de la crème of Mumbai society.
"In the first few weeks, I got a call from a senior politician for an appointment. When I told my husband about it, he laughed and said it was a hoax. He only believed me when the security guys came to check out the office and she turned up for the appointment!"
Today her clientele includes not only Bollywood actresses and models, but a virtual who's who of society all over the country. Being on the panel of several beauty pageants ensures a steady flow of potential Miss Worlds and Miss Universe into her clinic.
Former Miss Universe Lara Dutta, she says, has one of the best skins she has come across. "Her skin just needed constant hydrating from exposure to bright lights and sunlight."
But how did this doctor become a beautician? "I had always been interested in looking good. Even when I was working as a part-time doctor in a BMC children's clinic, I would dress up and felt like a misfit there."
And all along she was thinking about what she wanted to do once her two sons grew up. 'I thought I'd turn my interest in beauty into a full-time career." The idea really crystalised when she saw a homeopath practice medicine and administer beauty treatments simultaneously.
Pai made her way to London and picked up all the current treatments there. Her clients could look forward to treatments like botox injections for frown lines and Restalyn injections that can erase 10 years from your face in as many minutes, apart from the usual array of skin lightening treatments and 10-minute lunch-time facials.
But wasn't it a step down from being a doctor? "When my husband and I discussed it first, we thought it might be. But I was very clear that that's what I wanted to do." And so she did and with aplomb. And today Pai is planning to set up clinics in Delhi and Bangalore as well as bring out her own line of branded products.
And the secret of her own good looks? 'I am happy with whatever I am doing. Though I work six days in a week I don't mind. And I am always thinking about what else I can do."
(Dr Jamuna Pai can be contacted on 022-6454880).