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Thursday, December 15, 2011

small man in The Big City

      He was a small man in The Big City. The city of joy, of hope. But, unlike the majority of success stories produced by The Big City, he hadn't run away from home to chase his dreams. Though he lived in and contributed to the much celebrated diversity of The Big City, he wasn't enchanted by its glamour. Given an option he would never have left home. For, he still dreamed only of the vast fields, the chirping birds and the butterflies.

      He was a man forced by circumstances. Circumstances that were beyond his control, and understanding. He wished that he breathe his last, whenever it be, at his "home". But, for now, he had to be content with The Big City.

      Life in The Big City wasn't the easiest. Each day brought in its wake a new challenge. He was skilled and learned, but as was the rule, had to do whatever came by just to ensure that he survived to see the next day and hope that someday he would be able to go back to "home".

      He utterly despised the daytime in the big city. For one, it was too noisy, too hot, too sultry. For a man brought up in nature's lap the pollution was unbearable.

      The Big City didn't sleep either. But the night brought him some comfort. Laying down, he would gaze at the sky, something that he had been doing ever since he was a child. The moon was the same, the sky was the same, so were the constellations. It would make him feel that he was at home. That, perhaps made the rough pavement feel like the soft, tender, comfort of home. That gave him hope that all was not lost. And this at the end of a tiring day would give a sleep of satisfaction and the capacity to begin his day afresh the next morning.

      There is an old saying, "Every dark cloud has a silver lining!" He had perhaps not heard of this saying. None the less, it is of least significance. That night was different. He lay on his "spot", gazing at the sky as usual. Hours passed  by, but there was no sign of sleep. He too was feeling more excited than usual. For some reason, his face was shining brighter than the moon. He was a very straight man and rational too, but that night he took the liberty to dream. And he dreamt with his eyes open. He dreamt of the possibilities and the opportunities that future lay in its folds for him. He dreamt of reuniting with old friends and family. He dreamt of finally fulfilling the promises that he had made to some specials ones. The period of suffering was over, good times were to begin. More importantly he dreamt of returning home.

      He had met a man, no he wasn't a man, he was an "angel". Infact, everyone in The Big City referred to him as an "angel". The angel had offered him a job and if his mathematics were even fairly good, he would be heading back home in no less than six months. For over six years he had dreamt of returning home,and now he would be there in six months. He had lost count of the number of days on end he had gone empty stomach, and the number of times so, so that he could save some money. He also forgot of the innumerable rains and floods he had to brave. That, for him was now a mater of past. They were now events, the stories of which he would narrate to his grandchildren. He had survived all that.

      Fate had played a tricky game with him. First, it had taken it all away from him. And now he was going to get it all back, in a way that he had never imagined. For him it was all too good to be true.

      As he lay gazing at the black star studded sky, he felt the darkness being replaced by light. A light, growing in its intensity. A light so powerful, that it almost blinded him. It took him a moment to regain himself. Emerging through the haze of the bright light flashing on his eyes, he felt he saw a face. The face of the "angel" - his hair was all shabby, eyes were droopy and red and blood shot. He seemed to be possessed. The small man was cofused. He raised his small hand, whether to see clearly or to wave, we do not know. The lights advanced on him with such urgency, that he could not finish his action. He felt contact. His dreams played on in a corner of his eye and in the other was an element of surprise and confusion. Even before he could realise what was going on, there was a brief blast of light -the brightest he had seen till day and then, an endless darkness that ensued.

      The headlines next day reported of the Big Man in The Big City having driven his vehicle over six small men in The Big City sleeping on the pavement, crushing them to death. A thousand other small men in The Big City had assembled, neither to mourn nor condemn the loss of their brethren but to provide solace to The Big Man "angel" in The Big City.

      Fate had indeed played a tricky game.

      He was, finally, just a small man in The Big City.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Wrath of Varutian

                Mr. Jay was a well known archeologist of his time. Legend has it, that he was a very lucky person. The sayings making round in the archeological circles was that, “Mr. Jay does not discover legends, but whenever a legend wishes to uncover itself, it discovers Mr. Jay!”.
 Movies  were made to commemorate his achievements and valor.

                The king Oway Tituta, ruler of the Harshala kingdom, had a vision one day in which the patron deity Varutian had asked him some perplexing questions. Unable to find a solution to them, Oway Tituta had requested for the services of Mr. Jay.

                Mr. Jay immediately set on course for Harshala. His jouney was however interrupted by a storm, perhaps the greatest and fiercest of the century. As Mr. Jay failed to make to Harshala,  King Oway sent a rescue team for search operations. However, as the team struck no luck, Mr. Jay was feared lost in the jungles of Erabmaz.

                The entrance of the cave in which Mr. Jay had sought shelter had been closed due to the massive landslides caused by the storms. Now he lay trapped in  a cave with perhaps no outlet. On the numerous other excursions that Mr. Jay had undertaken he had invariably landed in life threatening conditions. Polished by experience, he was now well adapted to surviving in hostile environments. But, being trapped in a cave, with no source of light, and prpbably no way out was something that he hadn't anticipated even in the wildest of his dreams.

                Realising that there was no way out, other than divine intervention, Mr. Jay began concentrating on the puzzles put forth to King Oway by Varutian. Mythological stories of Varutian, the patron diety of Harshala, were well known in every nook and corner of the world. So fierce were the narrations that many a raiders had stopped short of invading Harshala, by the fear of the “Wrath of Varutian”. And those who were foolish enough to have done so, had paid a heavy price for it. Chaos had rained down on them. The Wrath of Varutian had made generations of their pRosuwaggeny pay for their mistakes. Generations were driven mad until  no sanity was left. People even remotely related with them had to face hardships and torture, the order of which is unimaginable and beyond description.

                Varutian had become very impatient with King Oway. He was visiting him ever so often, asking him the same puzzle. He would not let King Oway have a single moment to himself. With every blink King Oway would envision Varutian getting even more restless and enraged. It was now certain that unless the puzzle was solved in time, Harshala would be driven to madness. This was making King Oway even more restless. The entire future and fate of Harshala depended on him solving the puzzle of Varutian. And so, an entire civilization depended on Mr. Jay for its sanity.

                Sitting in the dark cave all by himself, Mr. Jay pondered over the puzzle:

Ae Ae batana batana,
Ae ae batana batana,
dur choopa hai khazana khazana,
Chahiye muzhe wo, jo hai hi nahi,
Aur wo bhi jo uske bina hai nahi,
Bol tuzhe pata hai;
Bol na Bol na!
Aise mat kar na, Bol na Bol na!

                “Weird”, thought Mr. Jay “How could Varutian possibly ask for something that is not there and also something that ceases to be without it?” Indeed some of these puzzles of life are such that no straight answers are possible! Varutian had been known to be a puzzle master of the highest quality. Satisfying him was something that was impossible. The ancestors of the King Oway had been gifted the Kingdom Harshala by Varutian as they were the only people who had managed to satisfy his never ending quest. Ever since then, for the past 26 generations Varutian would give a puzzle to each ruler of the Tituta dynasty as a test of their worthiness for the thRosuwagne of Harshala.

                As Mr. Jay laid, lost deep in his thoughts, the roof of the cave began buckling.  A little at first, and then there was a hole sufficient large to allow passage of light. Perplexed at this, and driven by curiosity, he stood up. There was a pause . Complete silence. And then the entire roof caved in, in one go. Dust and debris lay scattered all over, with Mr. Jay underneath the rubble.

                As he tried to get out of the rubble, sounds of human voices struck his ear. FRosuwagm the way they were growing, it was certain that a whole flock of humans was progressing in his direction. Their mutterings were incoherent. They were the At Ul tribesmen. They were the rulers of the jungle. Very vociferous and dangerous breed. Hunting was in their genes. This was the only tribe that had ever managed to raid Harshala and fight a battle against Varutian. They had successfully managed to overcome the Wrath of Varutian. It was then that the Tituta Kings had sided with Varutian and managed to drive the At Uls into bewilderment.

                The At Uls, brave, as they were, were habitual hunters. Though over time they had learnt to control their instincts, they did yet have a vice. They could not resist the urge to kill an animal, legend says, a particular species. The Titutas were rearers of this animal, and fearing that the overthrown Wrath of Varutian would ricochet onto them, had very cleverly devised a strategy by letting out the entire livestock into the dark jungles and making the At Uls chase them. Varutian then bound these jungles by a spell compelling the At Uls never to be able to leave it.

                As Mr. Jay thought of drawing attention of  the At Ul chieftain to help him out of the rubble, he heard a timid whisper, “Please don't”.

 “Anybody in there?' asked a soldier from the outside.

“No. Nobody here!” Replied Mr. Jay.

“Sire, there is nobody in the ditch!”, replied the soldier to the chieftain.

When they had gone a sufficient distance, from the shadows emerged a majestic animal - fur shining in the light, whiskers as white as nylon. This animal had the biggest unibrow that one would ever see.  Intimidating and magnificent.

“ I know you”, said Mr. Jay “You are share khan. From Jungle Book! What the hell are you doing here? This is not your story, this is my story. And you weren't even supposed to be on the drawing board! Look at yourself. Shameless! Get the hell out of this story before I get an elephant to fall on you and break all your bones.”

“Oops .............. Sorry! My bad.  wore costume. Just wait here, I'll change and be back. Don't you fear my dear; you won’t even realize that I am gone. Here I go and here I come.”

(Mumbling to self) ' stupid......stupid......stupid me. Why can't I do one thing proper.  Rudyard Kipling is dead. This is not the Jungle Book. This is the JV Blog by the Jayesh Vira. Underline fullstop.'

 (To you) 'What are you smiling at? REWIND!!!”

When they had gone a sufficient distance, fRosuwagm the shadows emerged another shadow. The fur making a weird noise “Sob Sob” as the animal advanced. The shadow was characteristic. It projected the animal to be a fierce large, dangerous species. As the animal neared the edge of the cone of light, it drew in a huge quantity of air almost enough to make its lung burst. And then it let it all out in one single burst attempting to give the most intimidating war cry ever, but only managed to produce a mild “meow”.

“I know you”, said Mr. Jay “You are Rosuwag. But if what the legend says is true, you were supposed to Rosuwagar, rather than mew! And you were supposed to face the At Uls head on, till you die, not run away from them! You are such a loss! Uhh......... all this ...........only for so this!!”

“But”, Mr, Jay continued “weren't you supposed to be extinct? The At Uls had killed all of you, hadn't they?”

“Yes. But my mother had left me in a bag. The Pandas thought there was food in it. So, they took it away. Then they realised I wasn't edible, because they were vegetarians, so they raised me with them. They taught me Kung Fu!”

“But I forgot it. I thought life would be an open book, but I realised later that it wasn't ! Now I am screwed. The At Uls will kill me.”

“Fear not, timid animal, learn from Mr. Jay. I will teach you how to face life, close book! {to you: click on that link at the top to like this on Facebook!}. I will teach you how to conquer your fears. I will show you how to face the At Uls.!!!”

“Oh please, make me your pet!” said Rosuwag.

Rosuwag, was the legendary animal species that the At Uls fancied hunting. Which the Tituta kings had used to distract the At Uls.

“Now, look, observe and learn fRosuwagm the greatness of Mr. Jay”, Mr. Jay told Rosuwag. “O........ At Ul.............!!!! O........... At Ul.................!!! I have Rosuwag. Come to the ditch.”

Rosuwag, by now was very perplexed. Had he done the right thing by handing over his fate to the hands of Mr. Jay? Well, whatever it was, it was too late to step back.

“ Do you be the renowned Mr. Jay?”, asked the voice from the outside.

“ Yes! It is me.”

“ I be the At Ul chieftain. I offer my services at your feet”. Saying so he threw a rope into the ditch. “Yo say, yo have the Rosuwag.”

“ Yes, timid animal it is. Last of its species. Why do you want to kill it?”

“ Mr. Jay. This Rosuwag is retard. We are At Uls. We are born hunters. We kill only animals of quality, not miserable wretches like this.”

“ Then why were you chasing this one?”

“ We want his DNA. In the laboratory, we make his clone. We make stRosuwagnger, longer, sharper Rosuwag. Rosuwag, as it should be. We have technology.”

“ So, you want to make Rosuwags and kill them?”

“ No. No. We are environmentalists now. We want to bring back Rosuwag to the jungle.”

“ But what about your hunter genes?”

“ We have technology. We make ' SAVE  THE  ROSUWAG’ computer game. We teach children – Rosuwag and At Ul friend....... We try to explain this stupid animal, but he just run away. Shouting all the time I know Kung Fu, I know Kung Fu. What the hell do I do, if he know Kung Fu?”

“ I suppose, we have solved more than one mystery today. If Rosuwag, is what was supposed to be extinct and you were chasing him, I think that Varutian wants to see you.”

“ Varutian, I not come. He sore looser. And that King Tituta, cheat.”

“ No cheiftain, you must understand. If you do not come, Varutian will spell his Wrath on the kingdom of Harshala. You must come. The sanity of an entire civilisation depends on you. And me, because they will kill you if you go there alone. With me, you will get safe passage.”

“ Do they have lollipop in Harshala?”

“ Yes.”

“ Do you buy me lollipop?”

“ Yes.”

“ OK then I come.”

                Saying so, Mr. Jay, At Ul chieftain and Rosuwag, left for Harshala. In Harshala, they were given a heros welcome. King Oway Tituta praised Mr. Jay as he had helped avert a political uprising. The rebels were trying to claim power amidst the rumours of King Oway Tituta’s failure to solve Varutians puzzle and thereby looming danger of Varutians wrath.

                In the temple of Varutian, Varutian was invoked to come and see the puzzle pieces. Varutian emerged from out of nowhere. Coming over to the Chieftain, he spoke:

Ae Ae batana batana,
Ae ae batana batana,
dur choopa hai khazana khazana,
tumlogi ne kaise, mere hamle ko kiya ravana ravana.
Bol tuzhe pata hai;
Bol na Bol na!
Aise mat kar na, Bol na Bol na!

“Array simple hai”, said the Chieftain licking the lollipop, “Hum log ko Mr. Jay ne training di thi, fir tera popat to hone hi wala tha!

                Saying so, everyone joined in in the chorus laughter. Varutian got his answer, King Oway Tituta managed to save his throne, Harshala held on to its sanity, Mr. Jay added more accolades and his name and fame sky Ro’suwag’cketed. And Rosuwag.......... well....... it just remained as it was......

And everybody lived happily ever after.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Rambo's Wife

I am not a great fan of action movies. They give me goosebums and things of that sort. Also, they have a lot of violence and immoral behaviour depicted, which is not good for innocent minds as mine. So, I general I refrain from viewing such movies. But, for some reason, Rambo is a series that I have appreciated for long. Two reasons mainly, it is one which has a sole to it, not merely useless mindless bloodshed. Two, Sly's body is one of which I can only dream of having. His bloody biceps are bigger than my waist (which right now is about 34, but estimated to cross 40 by the end of this year. .. . .And with that my waist will be twice my age!!)

Some of Rambo's characteristics which I would like to impress upon your malleable innocent minds are as follows:-
  1. He is great human being.
  2. Despite all the phenotypical characteristics which make him a “ dude” (click to know more), he is not! Infact, he is a gem of a human being.
  3. He has principles and leads a disciplined life.
  4. He is ever ready to help.
  5. Undying spirit.
  6. Unmatched power.
  7. But, because of the many years that he's passed as a prisoner of war, he cant adjust to civil life. He still thinks, he is in a prisoner of war camp, and continues with his Barbarian techniques.

Enough of general knowledge, now lets start the show!

During one of the OPDs when I was posted in gynaecology, came a female with lower abdominal pain and weird symptoms which could not be attributable to any of the normal medical conditions.
  • Medicine is a subject of signs and symptoms. Signs – are what doctors elicit. That is why we are great!
  • Symptoms- what patients give. Very important. Because in addition to telling us the medical problems that the patient may be suffering from, it also tells us the extent to which a patient can be a problem! ( I need not clarify about this more. Those want more in depth explanation can contact me personally.

  • It is very easy: Just before going to sleep, close your eyes, concentrate on the point midway between your two eyes till it starts paining, and then shout loudly: Ahhhhhhhhh...!!!! I shall come in your dreams and meet you. I havent missed an appointment till date. Sometimes I sneak in uninvited as well. People have labelled such experiences as night mares).

This lady had much more to say, then she was actually sharing. As my proffessor is very experienced and considerate towards patients, she immediately realised the gravity of the situation. I have over the years realised that the Shakespearean proverb:- “they also serve; who only stand and stare”, is indeed very true. In fact a large part of one's learning is from observing how to do, rather than rushing in to do it yourself. And just as you are observing a beautiful photograph in the background (that photo smiles back at you each time you look at it), I love to observe how people communicate. It is a tremendous experience!

The female was happily married since a decade or so. She had about 3 to 4 children. Her family life was good. No monetary constraints. Came from a well to do back ground. Had a 'loving' husband. (Very important because not many women think that their husbands love them). Had a good amount of education. Watched TV serials as other women. Didn't know any thing about cricket. Basically, a normal Indian happy housewife. And yet one could make out that some thing some where was wrong.

I opened her file. My God! This lady had been to every OPD in our hospital over the last week. We inquired further. She had been an admission in our psychiatry wards a couple of years ago. OK.... the drama begins now.

Sorry for deviating from the topic a little. But, this is important. Doctors are being beaten up as a routine in civic hospitals now a days. Its like a trend of sort. But, given an opportunity to beat up someone, I would want to clean my hands on CHEMISTS.
Just owning a drug shop, does not give a right to start dispensing medicine. They give away non-sense drugs for illness. Perhaps even nonsensier than what second year students in medicine write in their Pharmacology papers, when they mix up. On several occasions, I have counseled patients who have come to chemists to buy drugs for their illnesses to see a doctor. The most universal answer which I get is that the doctor will prescribe them “heavy drug”. I fail to understand what heavy is. “We will go only when the illness becomes incurable.” Wow! This you tell me standing outside the busiest hospital in this part of the world! And then we will miraculously cure you or you can beat us up for your mistakes!

Coming back, this lady had undergone a medical termination of pregnancy few months ago. Now again, as she conceived for the nth time, (she thought she had conceived, no reports were available though) promptly took a self medication for abortion. Then, as she felt she should not have taken drugs, stopped them and didn't complete the course. She may have been in bad luck for her suicide attempt did not succeed. And now she was worried, and we were even more worried.

Something unusual that I observed in the case of this woman was her supportive husband. While my general observation has been that females come to the hospital usually with their children, sisters or mother in laws, this lady had come with her husband. Not only on that day, but for the entire week her husband had been escorting her through our busy corridors. In fact, he had been very supportive of her during her psychiatric treatment as well. Very rare, as in India, psychiatric problems are not considered medical illnesses. Families estrange their kin. Sad, but true! But, this fellow was a gem of a gentle man. Hence, that loving in the inverted commas earlier. More reasons towards the end.

I went out to see her husband. He presented to me as a very good man. Neat in his atire. Tidy in his mannerisms. Very polite to talk with. Barring that disgusting odour of gutkha emanating from his mouth, every thing seemed fine. Quite unlike many relatives of other patients now-a-days. He answered all my questions calmly. He gave me all the information I wanted of him. Shared with me every minute detail of his wife's treatment history.

I talked to him about his job profile, his income, his spending, his children. Their behaviour, their spending.I looked around his neck. It was full of threads. Spiritually he seemed very staunch. From the pictures hanging from those neck-laces, I realised that he was an ardent follower of Nithyanand Baba. Why he has so many children? How many more he intends to have? He said till God gave him. Because God had been kind to him, by refusing any he didn't want to make Him unhappy. Finally, certain things were not in his control! Interesting character he appeared.

As I was continued our discussion, a glanced upon his handset. Oh my God! He was still stuck up with an old black and white model. A simplified version of the conversation is given below:

“नया फ़ोन क्यूँ नहीं लेते ?” I asked.
“नहीं साब ,अपना काम इसी में हो जाता है ”
“पर दुनिया तो आगे निकल गयी है ”
“नहीं साब ये सब सर का दुखवा है. उसकी तकलीफ क्या है ?”
“उसकी तकलीफ ,आपका फोने है !”

Shocked that he was at this comment. His phone! How could his phone be causing such problems? I mean, from his look I could decipher that he was completely lost. Lost for the next question, lost for the answer as well.

“साब , नहीं समझा ”
“नासमझी ही तो आपकी तकलीफ है ”!
“पर फ़ोन कैसे  ...... ...? आप ही समझिये न.  ये सब फ़ोन कैसे कर सकता है ? आप तो डॉक्टर है. आप को तो पता है. फ़ोन कैसे ”?
“आपको नहीं पता ? ”
“नो आईडिया !”
“वो ही तो ! Get idea!!”

The answer was – her 'loving' husband.
If you did not understand any part of this conversation, meet me in person by the method described earlier.

The poor lady was suffering at the hands of her husband. The man on first look, appeared quite sensitive. Loving and caring! He was considerate enough to spend a whole week with his wife doing rounds in the hospital. But, due to the level of his ignorance, disbelieves, and an element of arrogance, just wasn't ready to mend his ways. Not ready to accept, that the answer lies with him. He was a prisoner of his own self and that was the reason why he persisted with his Barbarian believes and techniques. Ruthless and shameless.

He is what I would call a 'Rambo' in real life.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


                Love-a lot has been said and done about it by others. But, here I narrate an incidence where I came closest to biting the forbidden fruit. The story goes back to February this year. Second year was over, third year had just started. The enthusiasm of the honeymoon period was still in full strength.  Almost everyone around me had bitten and tasted the forbidden fruit. Whether they continued to finish the fruit or got nauseated by it, is a different issue. But yes, everyone had flexed their arm at least once for sure. And here I was, feeling left out with not even leftover to make do with. Not that I felt the need to taste the fruit, but when the mob psychology takes charge, you can’t control yourself.
          Come February, come AAVISHKAAR. My street play was just over and we had stood second in the competition.  I was loitering around the food stalls. (They had overpriced everything so heavily, that I was actually looking out for something that suited my pocket, and rather than what menu they had to offer.) It was then that I glanced at her. There she stood in red, smiling. At first I only glanced and moved on. But then I don’t know why I turned around to get her a second look. She wasn’t a regular in college. I looked on carefully; I noticed that she had a really wide smile, something like mine (The one you see in the background). And I wondered who she was. I had seen her somewhere before, but couldn’t quite recollect where. Whose picture was it in that like size cut-out? None the less, I walked towards the stall. It was of some bank (I know which bank, but I will NOT name it. I do not advertise for free). There was a handwriting analyst there doing an analysis for free. FREE!!! Go for it! As he read through my sample, which was the personal information form, I thought he got a fit. I signalled to my colleagues to get a stretcher ready to take him to the EMS as he rolled his eyes upwards and started making jerky movements in the air. Then when his seizure activities subsided he made statements and predictions of things about which I anyways was aware. Just as I felt that I should get up and leave, came a prediction for which I wasn’t ready, “Love is in the air”.

          I blushed as a lot of people had assembled around us because of the gestures I had made earlier. It was embarrassing, not for me but for others, ‘LOVE IN THE AIR AROUND JAYESH VIRA.’ And I got up and left blushing for I could not have done anything else. It’s almost September now. Six months on. Nothing has happened. Perhaps the winds got blown away in March or whatever happened. That thing in the air remained so high up in the stratosphere that perhaps it has replaced some part of the ozone layer. Point being, it never settled enough for me to even feel how it smells.
          But that fellow was stating all the obvious facts, so the likelihood that he would be wrong is quiet low. Perhaps I should make an effort to decipher and snuff out the love out of the air. It has already rained heavily today (Sunday 28th August, 2011, Colaba 35mm rains), chances are it should have settled down somewhat. So let’s snuff out the past six months.

          Over the past six months, I’ve been to an all expenses paid trip to Delhi. I’ve taken a Rs. 10,000 course for Rs. 1500. I’ve learnt a language which I had always wanted to learn, but never got an opportunity to do it. The language is called HTML. I’ve got that one more website ready on which my photo appears twice. I’ve managed to keep at least 180 people on a ransom almost daily. I’ve got to attend the legendary lecture series by a legendary orator by the name of Dr. O. P. Kapoor.  And most importantly, I’ve got the coveted job which I had been eyeing since my entry to college, that being the Editor-In-Chief of GOSUMAG.

Over the course of time, I have got the chance to come in contact with many great personalities, and felt inspired. I’ve taken my chances and succeeded. I’ve made newer friends. Reconnected with some old ones. I’ve learnt. I’ve grown as an intellectual. I have met patients, real people. I’ve seen fighters. Seen miracles. And I have understood life better and to a greater extent than all those previous years put together. Boy, am I loving it! And haven’t I been falling in love in even greater proportions with each passing day days with this field called MEDICINE! Haven’t I been lucky! It has been such a lovely time.

          Oops! I just said it.
 That drama master was indeed correct, love is in the air! Love is, when you love what you do.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Units, Tens, Hundreds and Thousands.

        Each of us some song or one-liner associated with an important event in our lives. And that is what makes it all the more so special. Well, for me as I realised today, it is a chapter in my textbook that too has evoked euphoric memories. I have my share of songs also, my favourite ones being “Yaad sataye Teri” from Phir Hera-Pheri,

“Paisa-Paisa karti hai” from De Dhana Dhan

and the most recent being “Saibo”.

Anyways, talking of this special incident, it isn’t one that is all happy happy and goody goody. Still, it is a unique one.
         As I decided to start “revising” my ophthalmology as the prelims are around the corner, I opened “that” chapter after about 6 months. (Actually that’s the duration after which I have actually opened my ophthalmology textbook.) With the noise going on outside it is anyways difficult to concentrate. Then again, there is the England India test match going on. Not that it is any great, but my favourite cricketer Rahul Dravid 
has just hit a century and I hope that India are able to save their face in this test.  So, the best thing to do in such a situation is to enjoy those memories that flash back and relive those moments.
          After some days about six months ago, when it suddenly dawned onto me that I was in the last ophthal post and will have none before the exams, studies began. It felt good to be reading again. The teacher that I was posted under is perhaps the most dreaded in the entire college. For, one, her very shrill voice. Two, her taunting comments. Three, her bad memory. You may be following her as a shadow for two weeks. She’ll ask you your name. You’ll be happy that finally you’ve been noticed. And the very next day, she’ll demand the attendance sheet and will want to mark you absent for the entire two weeks for “she hasn’t seen you!!!” Four, her unpredictable temper and mood. You never know what to expect from her! And fifth, for herself.
        But, still, some gutsy personalities such as myself who are fond of going against the tide and “taking ‘em on” will try our luck and chances. I had heard stories about her even before my first post last year. And as a very good student asked her on my very first day,” Madam, I am a second MBBS student. This is my first ophthal post. I don’t know anything and won’t have the time to read everything as I am appearing for completely different subjects. Hence, what are the things that I am supposed to know by the end of this term?” She was taken aback, shocked perhaps. Squeezing her eyes she gave me” that” look and frowning her brow bluntly and rudely replied, “You are supposed to know everything.”
        That was then. And I thought how she forgot that she too was once an undergraduate who knew nothing! Then, during this last post, when she was in one of her good moods and relating to us instances from her residency days recollected how she had given a tight dressing to a patient that had caused a collapse of the anterior chamber and how her bosses got mad at her. But, she defended herself saying that “No one told her what to do and it was her first time”. Doesn’t it ring a bell madam, I thought. If you know how bad first time experiences can be and you definitely did not like it, you could have been a little more “considerate”.
        Anyways, that was a good week for she was in a good mood the next day also. She called me and asked, “Do you know maths?” I said,” Yes!” I always take pride in declaring where ever possible that even though I have taken up medicine; my knowledge of maths is as intact as ever. I can still solve those trigonometry, differentiation and integration problems! So, I thought that she’ll give me a simple arithmetic to do at the most. But, the task she entrusted to me was to “teach counting and addition” to our canteen boy. Hmmm, canteen boy, how old can he probably be? Well, he was 35.
        As it turned out, this professor had a humane side to her as well. I don’t know how but she had found out that this fellow was uneducated. Not only that but he was also keen on learning. So, she had been sending him to tuitions to learn basic things which most of us have learnt and forgotten since our nurseries. So, while 35 year olds residents at one hand pursue super specialties in our college, we mug up from books which are at least 3500 pages
and no less than 5 kgs in weight as a rule and this fellow at the age of 35 still had to learn to count up to 3500!
        And, I forgot to mention that, she had been paying his tuition fees as well. Extra fees also, for he was a “special” student. The man was intelligent, but there are ages at which you learn certain skills the best. You cannot learn them before, and definitely not later. But, this that tutor did not know. So, he/she was always frustrated why this fellow won’t grasp things and concepts which even a seven year old would grasp easily. And, so my professor felt that “the tutor was being harsh on him”. Hence she wanted me to teach him addition of three digit numbers. And to do that explain to him the concept of “Units, Tens, Hundreds and Thousands”.

        Well, the next day the fellow brought a 2nd standard maths textbook. Other patients in the OPD may have thought that it would be for his child, but it actually was for him. So, for about a couple of hours I tried to teach him. How well I taught I do not know. But, I did give it my best. I have taught maths to standard 10 students, but that was first experience teaching standard 2 stuff. It was difficult. Things that we take for granted, are not. It is difficult to understand, how that person is unaware to simple things. But the fact is that he is and you have to try and make him aware. That remains a very memorable experience and learning in itself for me, “Never take things for granted”. We live in very cosy homes and easy lives. There are situations starkly opposite in the society.
 Then when he came to take her leave, she told him to teach others all that he had learnt today. Knowledge has to be spread. It grows only by sharing. “You know no body taught them.” She told me. “Yes ma’am”, I replied. “No body has taught us either!!” (This I did not tell her). “Do not expect us to solve great riddles and puzzles with knowing the basics. We too need to be taught the “Units, Tens, Hundreds and Thousands”.

What surprises the most is this human behavior. The person considered to be tyrannical, actually has such a huge heart. She knows what the difficulties are. Yet, again they are identified only in some, and in others it is taken for granted. I am not complaining. Our problems are nothing compared to that man. And we are smart enough to fend for ourselves. I have been lucky to post this. And you have been lucky to read this.
Just making an observation. Food for thought perhaps.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Unanswered Questions.

             I was in the ward  at around 8.00 in the evening, taking a "case" to present the next day. Just a terminology, but surprisingly, how easily it takes away the feelings and emotions attached when you interact with a patient! And after that, around 9.00 went to collect a donation cheque. I was happy, cause the case was excellent with good findings and I had some money in the Bank, and walking happily in the corridor, when I heard something that felt like some one calling out to me from behind. I turned to see an old lady sobbing loudly, "Ae BABA ...... AE". No, she wasnt calling out for me. Neither to anyone else in that fairly crowded corridor. She was calling out to some one more powerful . After sparing her a second, I continued to walk on. For, two reasons, I di not know why she was sobbing, second, I did not know how I could be helpful to her.
            The next morning rounds were no better. As the rounds were going on in the female ward, two of our servants brought in a stretcher. Behaving very freely, the experienced one said to the novice, " मेरे साथ रहेगा तो सब सिखा दूंगा . दो दिन भी नहीं लगेगा.  ये अपना रोज का काम है ."
 At first I thought they were probably taking someone for an X-ray or something, but as my vision followed course, they nicely picked up the body, and wrapped it in the same bed sheet on which she was lying, covered up the face, and took it away as if it was a bundle of रद्धि. I was shocked at this lax attitude, but then again I was reminded that the previous night I was chatting with the sister-in-charge the previous evening and unknown to her an old man had come up behind her to ask for some cotton wool. She casually asked me, "कुठल्या गावातून आला तू?". And the old man, thinking that she had asked him, said "Kolhapur'. But she was so embarrassed that the old man thought she called him "TU". She kept on appologising to him and as far as I remember, told him about a dozen times,"आजोबा में तुम्हाला 'तू' कशी म्हणू?", even though he had no objections. Yet in the morning, a lifeless body, had no value. So, it is life only that garners respect. And as we will be celebrating our 65th Independence day today, we will be remembering and celebrating the martyrs and their contributions. No, then it means death garners respect. Complex!!!
            On the way out from the wards, we found a woman fallen unconscious in the corridors. In all probability she had an epileptic fit. The HOU directed us to take to casualty. On enquiry, the relations informed me that her husband had just expired. 
            Such is the beauty of medicine, it enriches you. There are innumerable such experiences that keep on happening every second. Every moment here you have to make a decision, are you supposed to be happy or be. Should I be happy for I have seen a patient with a rare disease and learnt some great things. Or am I supposed to be sad, that this individual is going to suffer a slow painful death, and in our setting not even perhaps afford the cost of his treatment, even after all possible donations and concessions.
               I strongly remember,  my HOU in surgery telling the houseman not to delay the discharge of a patient and in his own words, "For you this cost may be nothing, but for him, he may have to sell his farm and house." That dictum I want to remember and follow.
                But, as people fall sick, and sometimes the situations are such that despite wanting, you cant do anything, and then death becomes a daily affair, you try your best to preserve life, but death takes the upper hand. I think if you remain overtly sensitive, you will not be able to survive. You need to distance your self a bit. But, there are also complains now of doctors losing their personal touch. So, there is a fine line between attachment and detachment. Till where it extends, I do not know now.
              These are just thoughts in my mind, to which I think only time shall provide the answer . Perhaps tomorrow, perhaps after a decade, or perhaps even later. Whether I will comply with the dictum I now have set for me, or will I be forced to surrender to other forces and stresses, I do not know. I know some, but much I do not know.
             But, this is what medicine is: striving to find the answers. There will always be some questions unanswered. And on an personal note, that is precisely the reason, why I enjoy medicine- it gives you the opportunity to be a student for life.
            And that is why a doctor is always a practitioner, and never a perfectionist, because perfection marks the end of learning! These are some unanswered questions.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Why people hate Jericho

        For a long time, WWE was a must watch for me. It was only till some time ago, that I realised it was all drafted and fixed. (And I have a feel that soon I will develop a similar belief for our cricket matches.) Of the last few episodes of WWE that I can recollect I do vaguely remember Chris Jericho taunting the audience and labeling them HIPPOCRATES and surely the audience booed him like anything. Then he went on further to say that all of us sitting in front of the TVs were equally Hippocrates! Now, come on “DUDE”, don’t you dare call Jayesh Vira a HIPPOCRATE. True, that in a couple of years I will be taking the Hippocratic Oath, but that does not give a liar, street smart individual and profound actor who makes unsuspecting people believe in yourself,  like you any right to label me a HIPPOCRATE. I oblige you be lending valuable hours of life (which by the way I am never going to get back), and you label me a HIPPOCRATE.I turn on the TV for some crafted action, not to be labelled a Hippocrates. Totally unacceptable! But then that’s what happens, a man is known by the company he keeps. And for him I was in the company of all those other Hippocrates and so I shared the tag.
        But what that incidence did, was that it got me thinking. And I realised, that instead of spending time watching such non-sense artificial stuff, if I write more blogs, I can help the world come to a better equilibrium with their “Inner voice”. What that ignorant human spoke on TV, would have been a great achievement for his level of intellect, but then again, it was all drafted.
        Hmmmm, you’ve got it right, I’ve been entangled in something bad once again! Fame just seems to follow me where-ever I go. That is precisely that reason why hell is so famous. Ever heard or told to someone “Go to heaven”. No! It’s always “Go to HELL!” See how famous I’ve made it. Anyways that’s not our point today. It’s time now, for the main story.
        It has got some relation with what our role models of the Century viz. Shri Kalmadi,
Shri Raja,

Shri Karunanidhi’s daughter कनैमोज्ही

  and those of the past centenary Shri Azharuddin

  and Ajay Jadeja.

Just going a little off at a tangent, how would the Kalmadi’s be feeling reading this piece? I mean you guys have become a household legend! बच्चा बच्चा जानता है, की, आप कौन हो !  Every time, any one is suspected of mismanagement of funds he is christened as a Kalmadi. Every time, an honest (dumb) officer rejects a bribe, he says “इतने के लिए क्यूँ मुह ख़राब करू. कुछ  Kalmadi के level का होगा, तो सोचेंगे.” You’ve set national standards and records even better than the games you organised. But, then again why are you being so chastised? Perhaps because of this HIPPOCRATIC society, whose guilty conscience now pricks them? In you, they see themselves! And, what you suffer is called a LEADER’S CURSE. By chastising you, they try to prove their dissociation from you and hence try to settle their Inner Voice. (But, you can’t, because you know exactly who that Inner voice is. So, it’s all a lame effort. Just on a personal note, he derives great pleasure by pricking you, and making your life hell, because that is his favourite destination.)
        I always have a hard time with those type A personalities. Seriously speaking, they are too aggressive for a soft and kind hearted person like me and frighten me. And then I end up being defensive and end up shattering them. I do not like it, but they leave me no other option. Finally survival is a basic instinct and the best survives! A very irritating quality of theirs’ is their insistence on special treatment and they do not mind breaking the queue if the need be. I mean, come on its fine, you wait for your turn. I am not refusing you food. I have sufficient for everyone’s needs, but not for everyone’s greed!! The earlier you learn it, the better for you.
        And then on some days, I am in a little mischievous mood. So, their inner voice pricks them a little more. I love to see that struggle for independence which they launch against that oppressor and finally when they cannot win, just say that everyone is equally bad! GRAPES ARE TRUELY SOUR, AREN’T THEY?
          Talking of prickly consciences, some have a dysfunctional prickly conscience. It starts pricking them whenever they do not get an opportunity to do the wrong thing. Just as is the case with everything that’s dysfunctional in medicine, it’s abnormal and harmful. So perhaps you would feel bad, if you haven’t had a fight with your mother early morning or are not being a menace to someone, or not making a fool out of yourself! There is no cure. आपको सिर्फ दुआ की जरूरत है!
        So how did this condition arise? It arose because of lack of self control and timely intervention. Just as Nana Pathekar described in “Ab tak Chappan”,

it becomes a habit. And old habits die hard. They are like tuberculosis. They kill you, but do not die, as you would probably have transferred them to someone else by then. Probably, the first time you did it, it was out of necessity. Then it became a fun activity. And now it has progressed to a point of no return. It has become a full blown habit. A very scandalous analogy (I love scandals) would be to say, that all students are criminals. Coping in exams is a crime! No one makes a fuss about it. But, when some gangster gets elected in UP/BIHAR/HARYANA/MP/ANYWHERE, we surely register our protest. But, they will continue to get elected, because deep within, we are one. Birds of the same feather flock together.
        So, when Anna Hazare has started a revolution against corruption, and we all are backing him, because we want everything else to be right. Yet, whenever we want our work to be done, skip the queue for instance, we will do what we have always been doing and expect all others to be decorative pieces. And when someone else skips a queue, take a morcha to Azad Maidan. Everything else should be right, but us.

        Truly, Mr. Jericho, such HIPPOCRATES.