Sab Theek Ho Jayega !

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Kochi / Ernakulam, Kerala, India
A Doctor who loves to Live, Love and Laugh with the World! Absolutely crazy about Cricket ! Other Qualifications: A Tired Bathroom Singer, Retired Gully Cricketer and Satire Writer !

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Decade since the Millennium !

Another year coming to an end and another occasion to celebrate for the people. Those who had a bad year would love to move on and leave behind the pains. And those who did well over the past twelve months would try to consolidate on the gains.

2009 gave us the Great Recession, The Bird Flu and the Swine Flu. So many institutions collapsed. When AIG went bankrupt, I was worried because I had invested some of my hard earned money in AIG. But to my relief, I received a very nice and soothing letter from TATA group, the Indian Partner of AIG assuring me of continued service without any problem. This is why I admire the name Tata!

2009 also gave us some very nice movies. Paa, 3 Idiots, Luck by Chance, Ajab Prem ki Gajab Kahani were good entertainers. In Malayalam we had a relative windfall of good movies compared to the period of drought during the previous years. Paleri Manikyam Oru Pathira Kolapathakathinde Katha, Passenger, Bhramaram, Pazhassi Raja, Ividam Swargamanu, Loud Speaker and of course 2 Hariharnagar were not only good; but also set the box office on recovery path.

Team India went onto lose the only title it had won since 1985; the T-20 World Cup. They also lost miserably at the Champion's Trophy. But on the positive side, they went onto win more tests and climb to the Official No. 1 position in Test rankings. With Gambhir becoming the Top Test Batsman and Dhoni, the Top ODI Batsman; it was a double whammy!

On the personal front, 2009 was a fairly good year for me. But for a severe acidity problem that has prevented me from enjoying my most loved drink coffee, it was pretty good on the health front. 28 May was the last time I tasted coffee and ended up sleepless for almost half a week due to 'An almost Peptic Ulcer'. On the positive side, I managed short but very nice breaks to visit Goa, Tirupathy, Karkala my beloved native place, Kumarakom and then Guruvayoor with my entire family including in-laws. But the dampener came with my failure to make it to Madikeri to meet up with old chums from Medical College due to one unavoidable commitment. I wish myself better luck for 2010.

It sounds as if it were only yesterday that we welcomed Y2K or the Millennium Year. And it is already 10 years since! A Decade has passed since and that only means one thing! We all are getting older, but thankfully wiser too! The Internet has penetrated into our lives to unimaginable levels. Try not to check mail for 3 - 4 days and see your in-box bursting out on your face when you finally log on.

If you're not on Orkut, Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin, you don't exist in this world. Correct me if I am wrong. Blogging, Social Networking, Micro-blogging and so on... The world clearly is getting younger, quicker and impatient. The younger lot have everything going for them and clearly are in a majority. The middle class like me, are forced to learn new things every other day just to appear 'Up-to-the-hour'. Up-to-date was fashionable when we were young. Now things change in hours; including marriages that happen and are broken within a matter of hours.

So at the breakneck speed the world is moving ahead, we only stop for a few hours to celebrate 'The New Year'. Not all are as lucky or as optimistic as some of the younger lot. I have never been an ardent celebrator of this 'New Year' thing. But I have gamely sent Happy this festival and Happy that festival messages to almost all my contacts during most of the festivals. I will be doing it again for the 'New Year'. It doesn't hurt to wish and to celebrate. Not if you have 6000 free messages in your monthly package!

So let me wind up wishing all my friends... A Very Happy, Healthy and Hopeful New Year!
Question: What major change will the year 2010 bring into our lives?
Answer: The Calender!

Finally remembering those who departed during the past 12 months leaving a lacuna behind them...
My Uncle, Guide and Godfather: Mr. T. M. V. Shenoy
A Family Friend: Nithin Shibu who died at 23 falling victim to a two-wheeler accident.
Malayalam Cinema people: Adoor Bhavani, Rajan P. Dev and Lohithadas!
My Childhood Hero: Vishnuvardhan who left on 30 December 2009 just before the dawn.
Though he was never a favorite, just because of his fame: Michel Jackson.
And many more, especially those faceless thousands who die everyday due to someone Else's mistakes!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

'Great' 'Grand' 'Paa'

‘Paa’ is the talk of the town; not only the town but the whole of India and beyond among the film lovers. It is true that there are a lot of people who say the movie is lousy and Bachchan is crap. Surf the net and you’ll see every piece of writing admiring ‘Paa’ will be countered by articles abusing the movie in general and Bachchans in particular. But then you immediately know they are biased and motivated. So let me not dwell too long on these issues. I am writing about something unheard of in Indian movies before.

There are critics who compare the movie with the ‘The curious case of Benjamin Button’. But this movie is absolutely different except for the ‘Progeria’ issue. This movie is about life and about living your life to the best of what you have got. This is also a movie that celebrates the ‘Greatest Indian movie star of all times’.

Amitabh Bachchan, He has acted in so many movies which were plain dumb. Toofan, Jadugar, GJS, Lal Badshah, RGV ke Aag and many more. But then he has given us some of the most poignant moments in movies like Mili, Anand, Deewar, Muqaddar ka Sikandar and Baghbaan. He also gave us many outrageously funny movies like Amar Akbar Anthony, Khuddaar, Namak Halaal and Satte Pe Satta.

Cheeni Kum was a nice and intelligent movie. Sarkar was intense and good stuff. He did well even in multi-star capers like KANK, K3G and Mohabbatein. But the one thing missing was ‘Something Special’. All he did was good, but nothing great!

And now finally Bachchan has broken the jinx. At the age of 67, he plays ‘Auro’ a 13 year old boy with a very rare congenital illness that leads to accelerated ageing and early death, Progeria or “Hutchinson–Gilford Progeria Syndrome". Auro, his mother, grand-mother, his teachers at school and even his friends take it as a matter of fact. There is no lamenting or no melodrama. But all are concerned about Auro and they take care of him well. He grows up to be a funny and fun-loving but a little too head-strong boy with a very sharp brain. In spite of his frail health and awkward looks, he is a very popular character at school. And he comes up with one-liners that are simply funny. When his grand-mother starts getting on his nerves, he tells his bear, “Are you not a non-vegetarian? Why don’t you eat her?” He is a boy with an attitude too. Written on the door of his room, “Knock, else I will knock your head off’. He also has his way when he decides to leave his best friend Vishnu back as he joins his Politician Father on a trip to Rashtrapati Bhavan.

R. Balki, who also made the delightful ‘Cheeni Kum’ with Bachchan and Tabu has come out on top with a fabulous idea and a wonderful movie experience. The beauty that Bachchan brings to the role of the 13 year old Auro is matchless. You feel like you are one of those characters in the movie as you cheer on towards a climax. Vidya Balan as his Gynecologist mother and Abhishek Bachchan as her estranged lover and Auro’s father are very good. Arundhati Nag is good too. Only Paresh Rawal is perhaps a little wasted. Auro’s friends are cute and loveable and Vishnu is too good.

There are moments like the little girl apologizing to Auro and presenting him with a caricature of himself made of ‘Sorry’ that are touching. You will not be wetting your hankies even though Auro has to depart at the end. If they were to re-promote this movie, I have a slogan for them. “His birth did them apart. He lived as everyone’s loved. And his death had to bring them together”.

A very mature and sensitive movie from the Bachchans and R. Balki. Let us all stand up and applaud at this moment for a truly wonderful movie experience gifted to us during this Christmas by the Big B!

And especially a huge thank you to Balki!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

People who have made a Difference... 2

‘Wife’ is a ‘Four’-letter word; so is ‘Life’. They both rhyme and there will be a wonderful harmony in ‘Life’ if the ‘Wife’ and ‘Hus-band’ are in tune!

There are millions of ‘Wife’ jokes. Many are funny and mild. Some are mean and wild and some others downright offensive. I too have shared and forwarded some of them. But to be honest, I don’t really subscribe to any of them. I respect women too much to generalize about womanhood.

I have mentioned about my admiration for “Womanity”! Well, I don’t know if anyone has coined this word before. If I am the first, then let me be firm, this isn’t a ‘typo’. ‘Womanity’ is ‘Humanity’ with a Feminine touch!

This rather weird introduction is necessary because I am writing about a ‘Woman’ who has made a huge difference in my life over the past dozen years. That is my wife. We first met as a part of our arranged match at her home on 9 June 1997. When I asked her opinion about me; she told me, I was ‘no problem’! I wonder if she still thinks so.

We had a rather short courtship and were married on 3 September 1997. It was a culture shock for me. I had grown up being pampered by my sisters. But this was different. She knew very little about the world outside her circle. My short temper had to cause a few problems. During a journey to Ponkunnam from Kochi, I had to shout at her because she was walking on the road without noticing a speeding bus, which certainly would have knocked her down. Through the entire 3-hour journey, she was sobbing and the see of humanity was staring at me as if I were some kind of a villain who had committed a sin!

Then it was a learning process for both of us. For her, everything from cooking to cope up with a temperamental husband. For me it was about learning to teach. Teaching her how to cook what I liked. Teaching her to manage our time, money and so many other things. 12 years down the line, she now manages all our money matters, banking and shopping single-handed. She has an Orkut profile that has a burgeoning list of visitors. When we went on our first date, she didn’t know what was a ‘soup’. Today, she manages to bail me out of it whenever I need her. For a girl who didn’t know how to walk on the road without her mother, she is now taking care of both her parents and mine!

We aren’t without our share of quarrels, disagreements and follies. But we are together at the end of the day because, we have become used to each other. I can’t wake up without her and she can’t sleep without me. When we do a balance sheet of our life together, she has had to change much more than I have. She does more work than I do and she keeps the home tidy in spite of my laziness.

Her weight is a heavy-duty issue and I have always managed to remain below the BMI mark for my height. My anger is the danger our relationship faces constantly though I never raise my voice and she can’t keep her volume down even during the times of peace. She forgets what I had told just about 3 minutes ago but reminds me to wish my cousin on his wedding anniversary. She also remembers every single birthday, wedding anniversary and such things in our circle. I am happy that I somehow manage to remember our own wedding anniversary and her birthday. She doesn’t think much about those comedies of Malayalam actor Sreenivasan that I love. She loves spicy food and I just can’t stand them. I remove all kind of Chillies and spices from my food and she gorges on them. I can laugh any time and most of the times and she finds it hard to understand why I am laughing.

So many differences and yet we stick to each other. Why? Simply because I need her and can’t do a thing without her. She has stood by me through some of the most difficult times of my life. It is no exaggeration if I say she is an addiction. She is not fond of reading except those scraps on her Orkut page. But I hope she reads this and understands how important she is to me. Love you and need you to be with me till I live!

I have only one message to her:
Live [For Me], Love [Me] and Laugh [With Me], because I Live [Thanks to You], Love [You] and [Love to see You] Laugh!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

People who have made a Difference... 1

Vande Mataram - A Salute to all the Mothers of the World...!

I have always wanted to express my feelings about how different people have made a difference in my life. Life has been so special and I have had so many wonderful people coming into my life; I may need an entire lifetime to write about all the people. So let me start now before I run out of time!

I have written about my Uncle, Father some friends and even Sachin Tendulkar, Amitabh Bachchan and Anil Kumble. But the most important, enduring and everlasting influence has been rightfully... My Mother! Mother will always remain the most important person in my life. There might be exceptions, but the rule is... Mother Rules!

Why is Mother so special? I am not talking about my Mother but any Mother and every Mother. Well, try carrying a constantly growing mass inside your tummy for 9 months. Think of all those kicks from inside. Think of those bouts of vomiting. And those spells of hunger at midnight. Also those excruciating backaches. Then the weight gain, the loss of shape and the swelling on the feet. And finally most importantly the love, affection and absolute devotion after the baby is born. I don't know how my mother went through all these, three times in seven years. But I have seen my wife go through all these when we had our daughter and I forever remain indebted to Womanhood and Motherhood! When I love, adore and pamper my daughter, I have but one regret; "I am Not her Mother".

Now, how special is my Mother? Well she is 'Our' Mother. I have two sisters; one two years older and another five years younger. We three have so many things in common; like our easy-going nature, our vulnerability to emotions, our ability to laugh and share laughter and then our "Parents". But the most striking aspect of all 3 is our absolute and complete love for our 'Mother'. She is the most important person in our life. I am writing this with total conviction and without even consulting my sisters, because I 'Know It'.

I never liked the idea of celebrating 'Mother's Day'. You can celebrate birthday, wedding anniversary and so many things. But how can you assign just one day in a year to the most important entity on earth? Beats me! I might disagree with some of what my mother says. I might fight with her on some issues. I have even advised her about how to deal with certain people and situations. There have been occasions when I have felt 'let down' by her and there have been occasions when I have felt "Oh my goodness, what a rotten thing have I done!". There are instances when I have hurt her and even seen her cry. But then I have gone back to her and we have lived perfectly fine.

My Mother was a confirmed beauty of her times and beyond her times. She has been compared to Waheeda Rahaman of 'The Guide'. She was also the favorite daughter of her head-strong father. She married into a huge joint family. Overcame partisan in-laws and often unfriendly house and has brought up three children to be fiercely self-respecting yet equally sensitive. She has retained enough charm through all these years and looks more like fifty something even though she is past sixty. She is an unbelievably good cook and picks up recipes by just one look at the dish. On the negative side, she perhaps does carry a few ghosts of the past on her back and that could be the reason for some of the bouts of depression and insecurity she shows sometimes. But overall she is a perfect package of a 'Mother' and you can't get any better than that!

It is almost like 'I have taken her for granted'. I can't tolerate her falling ill. I actually get upset when she complains of some illness. I admonish her for something or the other she did in the immediate past as the reason for her falling ill. After I am out of home and alone, I have thought about it. Why do I behave like this? Why do I blame her instead of soothing her? Then I found the answer. I simply can't imagine her falling ill. I just can't tolerate the thought that 'Mother is mortal'. I have never met God. But if 'God' were ever to exist, it has to be in the form of 'Mother'.

Some characters of my Mother are perhaps unique to all mothers. She loves to feed us, her children and grand-children. She will do anything, including learning a new recipe to make her kids happy. Though she doesn't like use of bad language and cursing, she will even curse those persons who'll talk ill of her children. I saw that when I was abused by a drunken man. I have seen her feel miserable and even brake down when I couldn't eat some of my favorite dishes due to severe acidity. No other force on earth can understand humanity better than Mother.

My 'Mother' is the most important person in my life. My Father is very dear to me and my Wife is one person without whom I don't even open my eyes most of the mornings. Two Angels were born just to make my life better; one before and one after me. They are called 'Sisters'. I love and adore my daughter. She is a mission for me. But 'Mother' remains the 'Edifice' on which the beautiful life of mine rests comfortable.

I want her to read this along with my sisters. I want her to know how important she is for all of us; the kids and the grand-kids. I know she understands all this and more! Because... After all She is "Mother".

In these days of controversy over the recital of our national song; I have no hesitation in chanting this to 'My Mother' and all the Mothers of the world...
Vande Mataram !

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Bored? Read the Board !

Travel can be inspiring, enjoyable and also be a learning experience. Travel also can bore you to your bone marrow. I was never really a good traveler. During childhood, I had severe bouts of travel sickness. I had to be sedated with ‘Avomin’ tablets like a tiger in a zoo to prevent my bouts of retching and vomiting. Even though I loved to go around and see places and the people, the travel part used to scare all of us.

My daughter has inherited some of this problem. But luckily for her, she is comfortable in air-conditioned vehicles. I overcame this sickness once into teens. Today, I don’t have much of a problem as long as someone doesn’t puke in the surroundings!

I am not really good at driving. I have very little patience on the road and hence prefer not to drive on long distance journeys. But once I am not driving, I tend to fall asleep through most of the travels. My cousin Rajesh changed all that about a decade and a half ago. Whenever we traveled together, he would poke me at the slightest hint of my dozing off. He never used to sleep on travel and never allowed me to either.

That is how I started to stay awake during travel. And this opened a new and a very pleasant window in my life. I learnt to read Tamil during my travel to Coimbatore in 1995. While passing through busy roads of Tamilnadu, I started to configure Tamil letters and before I knew, I was able to read boards without much of a problem!

This habit of reading boards has stayed with me to date and has given me numerous opportunities to smile, chuckle and even guffaw! When I say ‘Boards’ they could be signboards, advertisement hoardings, banners, milestones or even menu cards in hotels. I have realized that if we keep our eyes open, every single journey can be fun; howsoever short or long it could be. You’ll never get ‘Bored’ if you keep reading ‘Board’ after another ‘Board’.

My first memory of such a board goes back to an age long before I made it a habit to read boards. It was somewhere in central Karnataka and was in vernacular. So I am afraid the essence will be lost in translation. But that was one real howler!

Indian Hare Cuting Saloon’ was an interesting board I remember from Karnataka. ‘All type of Alopathy Medisins sold here’ was another. “We deel with repare works of wach, cloaks, time-pice and atometic goods”. "Dublicat Kee for any lock" was a locksmith advertising! What will you buy from "Kalpana Reddymade Cloth Shope"? How about "Hole sale and Re tail Merchants"? The list can be endless.

I remember an old joke from one of Khushwant Singh's book. It was written at the back of a Petrol Tanker "Mera Bharat Mahan" and underneath there was ... HIGHLY INFLAMMABLE !

Does ‘Meels Reday’ board enthuse your taste buds? Kerala perhaps has given the maximum number of occasions to enjoy for this compulsive board-reader in me. Then there was this board outside a fruit-stall cum coffee shop: “Appil, Orenj, Gripe joose and Laim Soda”. They also sold ‘Milk-Sheik’!

One legend of a board went thus “PNP Memmorial Hospital”. When I pointed out this mistake, the authorities just brushed aside the issue saying any way it is pronounced as such in Kerala!
Kerala can turn Shah Rukh in to Ghan and Cricketer Gagan Khoda into Ghoda! It is the patented style of enhancing the ‘T’s and ‘M’s and converting the ‘K’ into ‘G’ and ‘P’ into ‘B’ and ‘T’ into ‘D’ that makes so many howlarious goof ups unique to Kerala. Hindi in Kerala will make for another story altogether and let me deal with that some other day.

Menu cards in many hotels not only tickle your taste buds, but also your funny bones! So you travel by Otto Riksha and keep your luggage in Clock room. Then you go to a ‘Hottel’ and taste some of the exotic items available in Kerala like Gopi Manjoori, Chilli Chikkan, Beaf Rost, Papper Dosa, Buttar Nan, Sweat Corne Soop, Hoat and Sore Soop, Vegittabil Cutlate and finally the most delicious Omblate!

Many small eateries in Kerala will be helpless if you want coffee. They’ll serve only ‘Kappy’. If there is a crying baby, you give a ‘nibble’ to soothe it. And if you have to relieve yourself, you’ve to go to ‘Toilate’.

If you keep your eyes and mind open, you’ll never have dearth of entertainment on the roads in India. So next time when you travel, try this. Perhaps we’ll have more to share. As and when I remember more or come across new ones; I will come back… Just remember that!

Parting shot: A board outside the 'Board Room' of an institution went thus... "Bored of Management"

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Numbers Game!

After a lull, I am back with something to blog. I was inactive because of a lot of factors. But for now, I am dealing with 'Numbers'.

When I was a small boy studying in primary school and then high school, I had a fetish for using words like ‘Dozen’, ‘Score’ and ‘Peg’ almost as a rule. Very few of my friends knew the exact meanings of these words. In those days of the Amitabh Bachchan dominance; I enjoyed every opportunity to call him the 'Numero Uno' of Indian Cinema. Two weeks was too weak an expression for me; I preferred the 'Fortnight'. Thus I used to ‘Score’ over my peers by using words that were not very familiar to others. In spite of my fetish for exotic words, this wasn't exactly Sesquipedalia.

Well, everyone knew a ‘Dozen’. Some of them who had heard about Bar and Booze knew vaguely about a measure of Alcohol being called a ‘Peg’. But a ‘Peg’ means a third of anything was not known to any of my friends. Not a single friend of mine knew ‘Score’ was not exactly the Cricket Score but actually ‘Twenty things together’. I also knew what was ‘Baker’s Dozen’ and why was it called so!

So I never dealt with numbers and milestones in ordinary terms. When I completed ten years on this planet, I was actually a ‘Decade’ old. I was never really twelve years old; I was a ‘Dozen’ years old. In one of my elocutions, I went on to say, “Maha Bharat war went on for One and a half Dozen days where a Handful of Pandavas fought with a Century strong Kauravas for two less than a Score days”. Looking back, all that sounds stupid today. Taking this stupidity a little further, I am 'Three and a Quarter Dozen' years old today.

I think ‘We, Indians’ have the greatest admiration for numbers, landmarks and milestones. We as a Country are so enamored by Cricket primarily because of runs; centuries, records and a hell of a lot of numbers conjured up by this game. So much so, I know many women who can’t differentiate between a cover drive and a back-hand cross-court shot; will rattle up statistics about the number of centuries Sachin Tendulkar has raked up in ODI matches and Test Matches. I have seen people who have never invested a single penny in the market gushing about ‘Sensex’ crossing the 16K or 17K mark!

I think it all started with the Great Aryabhata contributing the ultimate weapon to Mathematics, the Zero. We are obsessed by this one single entity. We ought not have been what we are today but for this singularly patentable entity! When it comes to Zero, the more the merrier for us. Sunil Gavaskar told this when he reached the milestone of Ten Thousand Test runs, “When I played my first test, I did not know I would last this far. I thought for myself that if I can score one thousand runs in tests, that would be magnificent”. The newspapers ran the headlines next day “Ten Times Magnificent”!

By the way, on September 3, me and my wife completed a Dozen years as man and wife. What inspired me to write all this? Well, I am reaching a landmark here. This in itself is not really a great affair. But for someone who still has a long way to go in communicative writing; this is an achievement. With this post, I have completed a 'Half-century' of blog-posts.

Friday, October 23, 2009


I have an extremely intelligent but unbelievably modest friend. He calls himself UMD on the Face-book and the Twitter. He is a Graphic Designer and works somewhere in the middle east. Those names always elude me. Riyadh, Rial, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and so on... But that is not what I want to discuss here. It is about a man, who will never give you even the slightest of hints about his real wares.

We know he is a Graphic Designer and is damn good one at that. He writes poetry is what his wife told me. He also writes very intelligent posts on the Face-book wall. He also makes some very intelligent sounding sounds. He is again very proficient in creating art out of vegetables and drawing on his mobile. He is driven by the word "Expectation" and loves challenges.

He has a very talented wife who is an accomplished Kathakkali artist. They all have great taste for art-forms. I keep getting invites from them to attend programs. But unfortunately I am neither as smart as them and nor do I understand any of those 'Arts'.

But the best thing about UMD is his humility. I never knew anything about him till I realized what kind of a guy this one is on the Face-book. The more I follow him, the more I've started to admire him. Actually I have no hesitation to add here that I am a 'Fan'.

This is not a blog-post to gloss about a friend of mine. This is just to say... We have a lot of people who are very simple and down-to-earth but are in reality 'Great Souls'. His nickname is 'Unni' and whatever he does is Unique to him. Hence I call his innovations... 'Unnique'. Due to his intelligence and gentle nature; I also have coined a new identity for him: "Unnique Intelligentleman"

And he has two adorable kids. The younger one, a boy is too young to make an impression. But his elder; a just turned teen daughter is a hyper-intelligent girl who looks and promises to go places. I sincerely wish a wonderful life to this adorable family!

Monday, October 19, 2009

The New Indian 'Express'

Recently an eminent Doctor from a small town in Kerala wrote a letter to the Editor of the Indian Express and that really upset me. So what did he write? He was reacting to Serena Williams doing the bare it all act for some fashion magazine. He wrote, "Serena Williams has realized that even ugly girls look better without dress"

Now, if I am not wrong; this is both racist and sexist. Racist because he is obviously calling a black girl 'Ugly'. Sexist because he is commenting on a woman's looks in a definitely politically offensive language. If Serena or anyone dares to bare; it is purely a personal choice. She is not the first girl to do that and certainly will not be the last. Why should she be called 'Ugly'?

We all know beauty is skin deep. We also know how much of an issue we have made out of the racist attacks on Indians in Australia. What moral rights can we claim if we ourselves are racial like this? A little sensitivity and sophistication in commenting on other people's life should not hurt us Indians.

I wrote a letter of protest to Indian Express. That was never published. I think the Editor endorses the views 'Expressed' by the Doctor. But a shocker came five days later. Another 'Eminent Gentleman' wrote, "I support the views of Dr. TS. Serena looks like 'Bitter Chocolate' in the mentioned picture. Now I am convinced about what 'The New Indian Express' stands for!

The learned Doctor again came out with another gem last Saturday. He was commenting on the concerns of the Church about the currently debated 'Love Jihad'. He came out with these lines, "Let the Terrorists marry these Christian girls. They will suffer at the hands of these Cantankerous Christian Females". Isn't this preposterous? Such a generalization about Christian women? I am surprised not even a single whimper of protest is coming out. Well, on second thoughts; I think I know the reason. The Editor again endorses the views of the respected Doctor and perhaps finds it unnecessary to provide space for any dissent.

I don't think there is any respect for woman or womanhood here. I am canceling my subscription to this insensitive newspaper with immediate effect. I know that is not going to make much of a difference for this 'Esteemed and Fearless' Newspaper. But I find it very difficult to accept this kind of journalism.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Side Effect :-)

I have been keeping quite busy these days and hence not been able to blog much. But something funny happened this morning. It was so funny, I had to write it instantly. Certain things can't wait!

During my morning rounds, I went to see a 76 year old Gentleman who has been complaining of dizziness since past 3 days. He was in the ICCU with high blood pressure. I asked him, "How are you?". He smiled at me and said, "I am better. But I have this dizzy feeling due to Side Effect". I was taken aback by this. We recently had a lot of problems with some patients complaining of adverse effects; real or imaginary, supposed to be caused by medicines. So I asked, "Side effects... Due to what?".

He immediately quipped, "Oh it is just that I feel dizzy on turning to my right Side".

That indeed was some Side effect !

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

It's all about loving your Parents!

Recently I was surprised by a senior lady praising me for taking care of my elders well. She introduced me to another lady and said, "Look at this boy, he takes care of his parents and his in laws very well. They all stay close by now and he is really a wonderful Son and Son-in-law". The other lady quipped, "Really? it is so hard to find children who take care of aged parents today. God bless you son, your elders are lucky!"

Was I pleased? Did this increase my pride? Am I feeling responsible? No... To be honest, I am pained. I am totally at a loss to express my feelings. Why should this pain me? Very simple, I have not seen anyone appreciating aged parents for giving their successful son or daughter the kind of upbringing they received. I have never heard anyone say, "What wonderful parents you have got, they have given you a life and all that you have."

Why is Parenting taken for granted? All those sacrifices the parents made during their lifetime never get mentioned. A son or a daughter looking after aged parents is considered a great charity! What a life are we living? Call me old fashioned; but I believe in joint families. I just can't imagine a life without my parents as well as parents-in-law. At least for now, I can't even imagine that. Illnesses, forgetfulness, tensions and pains come along with age. Differences do crop up due to generational thinking. But does that mean we have to stay separately? Differences can arise between peers and spouses too. Nuclear families scare me. Faced with some problem, I have seen people wilt under pressure. Nothing can beat the presence of a senior citizen who has seen life.

The support of a big family when in trouble is very crucial. I have seen this umpteen times because I live my life in a hospital. Some Muslims, who live with huge joint families are the ones who respect, love and take care of their elders the best. There never is a dearth of people to stay with the patient and the demand for Home-nurses is unheard of. I have seen elderly ladies weeping silently in solitude in huge air-conditioned Deluxe rooms and I have seen a whole family crammed in a single bed pay-ward to take care of the aged mother!

My eleven year old daughter hates it when my Mother or Father have to go out; even for a few days. She goes to sleep only after a mandatory story session by my Father. She misses my mother even if it is for one day. Yes, age, ill-health, debility and impending death do create the much needed ability to look beyond. We all know no human being lives forever. But as long as they live; isn't it right to be with them?

What a society we live in, where the busy children have no time for their parents? I know a family where two sons found it difficult to provide fifty rupees per day towards the cost of medicines for their parents. But the same people had no problems in spending double the amount on dogs; yes, DOGS! Life will never forgive them for what they did with their parents.

I expect no appreciation, no words of praise or awards for looking after my elders. It is the least I can do for giving me a life and a wife! Though it was a bit overloaded with melodrama, I definitely related to the Amitabh Bachchan - Hema Malini movie 'Baaghbaan'. Such incidents of children ill-treating aged parents happen every day and everywhere. I only hope, we realize the ultimate truth. We too will be OLD some day and might need support of our children!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


It is really a long hiatus since I blogged my last post. I had a wonderful idea developing in between; but somehow got busy and could not construct it. Now, I have altogether forgotten it and am trying really hard to recollect what was it all about!

Am I suffering from early symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease? Let me wait for some time before I consult a Neurologist. Ever since the Malayalam movie 'Thanmatra' starring Mohanlal in a 'Memorable' role was released; a lot of people have started to worry about this ailment.

A thirty odd years old cousin of mine has been famous for forgetting since childhood. She was even called 'Absent minded Professor' by her teachers. Now she is worried about the dreadful Alzheimer's. I told her "Don't worry, it affects only intelligent and intellectual type of people. So you have absolutely no chance of getting it!" She shot back, "Very good then, Thank God, both of us are safe!"

So at this point of time, I have stopped worrying about Alzheimer's disease and started to improve my ability to concentrate. Shall get back with the results when I feel I have something to show!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Age is catching up?

I completed 39 years on this beautiful planet of ours on my last birthday. I still feel quite young even though my reflexes have slowed down considerably and I start panting after the fourth floor! Many people have told me how 'Young' I look. It is quite flattering when you are aware of the fact that 'Age is catching up'.

Age indeed is catching up. I can't relate to quite a lot of what goes in the name of music today. I don't understand the lingo of the teens of the day. I am forgetting lines from some of my favorite songs of Mukesh, Rafi and Kishore and have to resort to humming in between. I used to laugh at my Mother a few years ago about how she was forgetting songs. The boot is on the wrong foot today!

But after all these tell-tale evidences; I still feel I am quite young, Thanks to the 'Genes'. Yes, my Father is 75 and Mother is 62 and they had serious problems to pass of as Senior Citizens during Train Travel. After one or two occasions when the TTEs doubted them, they are forced to carry their Voter ID Cards! And the best thing is; neither of them uses Santoor Soap!

I had given up wearing Jeans after my daughter was born and also settled down to a short haircut. But about three years ago, when she saw me sporting long hair in an old photograph; she instantly wanted me to grow long hair. I also realized at some point that I had to live for myself too. At 32, I grew a mustache to look mature because people thought I looked immature without one. I was trying to cultivate an image of a Doctor. This was for a short period when I wanted to improve my practice. Putting in too many hours of work, trying too hard to 'Look like a Doctor' had really taken a toll on me during this period. I wasn't enjoying life and I wasn't 'Me'. I was living like someone else! This wasn't 'Me' at all.

Thank God the reality dawned upon me soon enough. I thank my little Princess for that. Today I am in Jeans and Tee shirts most of the time away from hospital. I take a brake every three months and I feel 'Young' again! I very much understand the eternal truth that "Time and Tide wait for None". Whatever we do, we have to get old and die some day. When people say "You don't look your age"; very often they probably mean "You are OLD enough, behave your age at least now". Nobody ever tells a twenty year old "You don't look your age".

So am I ready to behave my age now? Well, I don't know how to behave my age because my earlier attempt at that was a colossal flop. Hence I have decided to let my body age gracefully and not to use artificial methods to look 'Young'. But keep the 'Mind' young without being childish! For all we know, we only live once. There is enough time to be dead. So enjoy life today. Live, Love and Laugh... Hope my 'Genes' will help me to carry off Tees and 'Jeans' for as long as I live!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Short but Sweet!

It is almost two weeks since I have written anything, anywhere except on the prescription pads! The reasons are many. I was busy, too busy for comfort. Then I was lazy, a bit lazy to stay up longer. It was cozy, when we went to Kumarakom for a short weekend holiday. And it was crazy simply because too many ideas were coming around without a single one inspiring a thought!

I was supposed to meet my closest buddies at some place in Madikeri, Karnataka. But unfortunately that was not to be due to some unexpected twist in the story. Hence I ended up in Kumarakom with my wife and daughter for a weekend holiday. This was NOT "All fun and no work". It was rather "Business with Pleasure!" I was attending a Continued Medical Education program which was clubbed with a holiday.

We stayed at a lovely place called Lake Song on the picturesque waterfront of the backwater beauty of Kumarakom. There sure was a Lake and a Song; the Song of the nature! This place was so very breathtakingly beautiful; I ran out of words to describe it. I have loaded some nice snaps from Lake Song on my Orkut album. If a picture can speak a thousand words, then I am happy not to search for words!

There were families of many eminent Doctors from different parts of Kerala. The banquet was good, the CME was good too. There was rain and there was shine. I wanted to inspire my daughter to dance during the party and that meant a song. Yes, I sang in a party after a long long time. Though the song per say was just average, the thrill of singing in front of a gathering was great. This was something that used to inspire me, fire me up and had made me a 'Singer' at one point of time in my life. Today, though they seem to be fond but distant memories. Though my daughter didn't dance because the DJ didn't have her favorite track; the night and the day and the overall experience left us asking for more.

But then as the proverb goes... There always is a Monday after every Sunday. Hence I was back to work on Monday morning. Thus goes another short but sweet holiday leaving us to live in waiting for our next holiday.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The "Thing" about 'Things'

Vivek, a young friend of mine was recently flabbergasted when he saw my Santro car. It was badly in need of a wash and scrub. He is a car freak and has kept his father’s Maruti spotless and immaculate. My Santro is a much later model, but lacks severely in neatness. The reason is simple, I am lazy! He asked me, “Raj Bhayya, how can you do this? Don’t you love your car? I can’t imagine such a nice car being neglected so badly”

I said, “I am that kind of a guy who loves the wife more than the car and hence I don’t ask her to wash the car. But since I am too lazy to do it myself, the car is a little shabby. I also can’t imagine being in love with a Car. For me, car is just like a pair of shoes. I seldom walk even short distances without my shoes. Similarly for longer distances, I need the car. Both shoes and the car do the same thing; they take me from one place to another. I can’t love a pair of shoes and neither can I love a car. Because the car cost me a bomb, I take care of that a little more than the shoes. But since the shoes form a part of my personality and spend more time with me than the car, I shine them frequently. I leave the car in the parking lot and take the shoes inside when I attend meetings and parties!”

He was shattered. He didn’t expect me to be so insensitive. After all I was the same guy who was so fond of F-1, Ferrari and Schumacher and had spent so many evenings discussing Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault. He has never talked to me about cars or F-1 after that.

But this episode prompted me to think. I grew up in a very conservative lower middle class joint family. My upbringing taught me not to waste food, save money whenever and wherever possible, conserve energy and take good care of my belongings. Most of my toys and play things from my childhood are still preserved at my ancestral home. My watches, shirts, trousers and many other personal belongings have lasted for more than a decade and still look like new pieces. A small thin golden ring with a blue sapphire on my left ring finger is two decades old and is still going strong. Though I wear shoes almost all the time outside my home, even my shoes last very long too.

There is something peculiar about all this. I have my favorite cuisine, favorite drink, favorite movie and favorite actors and so on. But I have never had a favorite shirt, favorite pen, favorite this ‘Thing’ or favorite any ‘Thing’. Simply put, I was and still am incapable of love towards ‘Things’. The glorious exceptions were ‘Books’. I was absolutely fond of books and treasured them. My voracious reading habits made me a book worm who never gave up on books. I never allowed people to borrow my books and then keep them forever. Nowadays, I also treasure CDs and DVDs. But for these, there is no favorite ‘Thing’ at all.

Why I have gone so deep into this ‘Thing” is because; I just want to reassure myself that there is nothing wrong with me. I had read a quotable quote sometime ago, ‘Things are meant to be used and people are meant to be loved; but unfortunately we are using people and loving things’.

Well, I would like to declare here that I am not one of those people who ‘Use’ people and Love ‘Things’. I love people and use ‘Things’. Car is just one of those ‘Things’ and I can’t Love a Car!

Thank You, Vivek for helping me to understand me better!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A New Friend...

I have a found new friend. He is a young Sales Representative for a Pharmaceutical Company. I have known him for just about a year now. But I must say I am quite impressed. It sometimes does happen that a good bonding develops between a Doctor and a Medical Representative [MR] when they keep meeting regularly. Very often these relationships are born out of mutually beneficial arrangements. I have known many such Doctor - MR associations.

But what I share with this boy is a totally different kind of bonding. For almost a year, he rarely promoted a single product of his company. He just used to come and meet me in my office and we used to talk about music, movies and more; but never business. He had found out from a Dentist friend of mine about my love for Hindi movie songs in general and Kishore Kumar songs in particular. He gave me a CD of some very precious songs of Mohammad Rafi and I gave him a copy of my collection of Kishoreda Classics.

Slowly I came to know about the hidden talents in this boy. He used to take tuition classes before entering this profession and is good with his Maths. He is an amateur painter and has done some really good work. I saw photographs of some of his sketches and painting on his mobile. He was a very decent Cricketer and a very keen follower of that game. He also has volunteered to help my little one with her projects!

To this day, he has never really canvassed for any of the products of his company. I have never seen this kind of a behavior from any other MR before. He came with a delicious cake and a set of dazzling Tee shirts as gifts on my 39th birthday. He sends me some Maths problems through text messages on the mobile. When I answer some of those simple questions, he calls me a Genius and when I couldn't answer a slightly difficult one, he was magnanimous to declare the question as too tough!

I went to watch a night show movie after almost 4 years only because I enjoyed his company. He is a dozen years younger to me, but we still connect. And in an emotionally charged email a few days ago; he wrote that the most precious thing Kochi has given him was our friendship and he will miss me if he ever had to leave Kochi at some time in life. I have absolutely no words to express how good I feel about having found a new friend like him.

Oh Dear Boy, Thanks for being my friend and for making me feel better!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What an Idea Sir-ji !

"An !dea can change your Life"

What an idea Sir-ji! This is the famous catch-phrase of an ad of a Mobile Telephone service provider. Though I have no Idea about how it changes life, I sure am impressed by the line.

When I look at my own day to day life; so many ideas come and go. It is like, you are standing on a highway and see a lot of vehicles zoom past you all the time. They could be bikes, cars, SUVs, trucks or buses. There might be people in them or they might just be trucks carrying goods . But almost always a million ideas can pass through the matrix called the mind. But very few will leave an impression. Fewer will come to a halt next to you to register their presence. And only one or two will actually take you on a ride that is worthwhile and that will take you some place worth going.

I get so many ideas while I am exercising, or in the loo or while in a traffic jam or when I am working. Very often I am so impressed by that thought; I immediately would love to pen that and spread it out on my blog. Sometimes I am able to give a shape to it on the blog. But more often, I fail to convert the idea into words. That perhaps is the difference between a good writer and an upstart like me!

Another hurdle I face is my lack of enthusiasm in gizmos. Since I am surrounded by Computers at home as well as in my office, I have somehow never liked the 'Idea' of lap-top. The only 'Laptop' I ever fancied was my daughter when she was very young. Now even she has grown too big for my laps. I am generally poor in 'Gizmology" and will not be able to differentiate an MP3 player from an i pod. That means mobile blogging and blog on the jog are not my cup of tea.

So, what I am left with is just good old fashioned 'ruminating' technique. I just sit back when I get time; and then try to carve out something out of one or the other idea that sounded promising. This is just a way to beat the "Blogger's Block' that had overtaken me for the past week and a half. Hope some idea can change the 'life' for me... at least for the coming week!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Matters of Historical Importance, Part - 8

Let me first apologize to all the Women of this planet for writing with such generalization about women being unreliable with history of illnesses in my previous post 'Matters of Historical Importance, Part - 7'!

This happened last might, perhaps to teach me a lesson. A lesson that men can be equally confusing if not worse.

Due to a Continued Medical Education program conducted by the Kochi IMA today, I had to attend to the ER as well as the ICCU last night. Though it wasn't very busy, the night was pretty bad for me. Main reason was I lost my temper and actually admonished a patient which I don't do when I am sane. I wanted to catch some sleep so that I won't be caught napping during a day-long CME today; so went to sleep by 12:40 AM. And soon there were those usual fevers and earaches pouring. By 1:15 AM, I was able to settle down and thought I will finally be able to catch a few winks.

But by 1:50 AM, I was woken up by the nurse saying there was a case of pain abdomen. I am translating our our actual conversation in Malayalam to English. I am afraid some effect of the whole story will be lost in translation, but I still shall try. Thus goes the story...

When I walked into the ER, I saw a young man sitting on the cot and his mother chatting to him. Seeing me, the lady moved aside and the young man actually stood up. It could have been a mark of respect. But I was not amused because I always expect the patient to be lying down in the Emergency Room. You don't expect silly cough and cold cases in the ER at 1:50 AM.

I asked the young man, "Do you expect me to examine your tummy while you're standing?". He immediately rested on the bed. After asking his name and age [He was in fact 19 years old], I proceeded with "His-story"...

Me: So what is the problem?

He: I have pain in the tummy...

Me: Where?

He: Here... Pointed to the lowest part of the tummy, and then he told as an after thought, "I had pain here also" pointing to the upper part of the abdomen.

Me: Since when did this begin?

He: Since quite some time...

Me: Does quite some time mean about 2 - 3 years?

He: No, no... it is only since SOME time...

Me: Can you tell me how long is this period between 'Some time' and 'Quite some time'?

He: It is about 4 hours. But I had pain in the morning also...

As I was getting exasperated, his mother stepped in to help... "He had pain at around 9:00 Pm and we showed him at a local clinic and that Doctor gave these tablets" and she pulled out some medicines. I took note of these medicines as the usually prescribed drugs for Acidity and Flatulence.

Me: Do you have any pain now?

He was smiling widely now: Not very significant pain now, but some pain here... This time he was pointing to the left lower abdomen!

I had lost my bearings by now and almost yelled at him, "What do you expect me to do? You can't tell me where you have pain. On 3 occasions you've shown 3 different sites. You can't even spell out when it started and how long it lasts. All generalizations and no answer. And the best thing is at this point of time, you don't even know if you have pain. What medicine will I prescribe if I don't know what is your complaint?"

Then his mother pulled out a pink card. This was a Discharge Summary issued from our own Hospital in the month of April 2009. That had recorded his complaints as pain abdomen and he had undergone blood, urine and motion tests and even an Ultrasound Scan. All the tests were reported as normal. And the Doctor had discharged this boy after 2 days of hospitalization with a Diagnosis of "Nonspecific Pain Abdomen"

And at the bottom of the card, it was written in the remarks column: Confusing history and unreliable patient. Treatment: Placebo!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Matters of Historical Importance, Part – 7

I am continuing with my favorite topic... Matters of Historical Importance, this is the part – 7

It is accepted in Medical field that eliciting a proper history from a lady is very difficult job irrespective of caste, creed and religion. Ladies seldom give an accurate picture of what, when and how they are suffering.

We hear generalization on a regular basis. They are sometimes funny, sometimes irritating and very often confusing. I am recollecting some of my encounters with ladies here.


This is my first encounter with a 47-year-old lady who worked in a Bank.

Me: What is your problem?

Lady: Nothing actually. You see I am working in a Bank and have to manage the Cash everyday. I really can’t explain it. Actually I don’t have a problem as such but sometimes I generally feel tired even before noon. Though officially I am a Special Assistant in my branch, I have to actually take more responsibility. And occasionally I am not able to concentrate and then I get some vague difficulty.

Me: Okay, what exactly is the difficulty and since when are you getting it?

Lady: See, it is nothing very serious I suppose. I occasional feel like something is sitting on my chest and some dizziness like thing. Actually I am not feeling dizzy but somewhat like dizzy!

I believe this is enough for anyone to understand how exasperating it is to get anything out of this lady!


This one was a 69-year-old homemaker, who had lived some years in the Middle East before coming back to God’s own country. She was very warm when I greeted with a good morning. And so it went…

Me: So, what brings you here?

Lady: See Doctor, I am 69 years old and have a lot of problems. I am suffering from Diabetes, Pressure, Arthritis, Libranitis [Labyrinthitis is what she meant] and Uric Acidity!

Me: What is Libranitis and what is Uric Acidity?

Lady: Don’t you know what is Libranitis and what is Uric Acidity? Libranitis is the dizziness and Uric Acidity is increased Uric Acid in blood.

Me: Okay, I got your point. Now since when are you having all these problems?

Lady: Mmmmm… Let me think…. Okay… I have Diabetes since some time. I can’t recollect when it started exactly. Pressure was always there since my young age. Even when I was pregnant, I had pressure. Libranitis was born with me. I can’t say how long it has been there. Uric Acidity was accidentally detected. I can’t remember details but even that is these since some time. I think everything generally is there for some time!

Was I any wiser than I was, before I met her?


This one was with a young lady of 25 years who had chest pain.

Me: When did the pain start?

She: About 3 days.

Me: Where does it come?

She: In the chest… Where else? Chest pain comes in the chest…

Me: No, not like that, I want to know which part of the chest, the left or right or upper chest or lower chest and does it radiate to the shoulder or hand… like that, understand?

She: Oh, okay… the pain started 3 days ago. It is actually on the left side of my chest and that is why I am worried. But how it started… I can’t tell you.

Me: Why? Errr… why not?

She: See Doctor, you can’t expect me to divulge everything about my personal life. I believe it is enough if I tell you WHEN and WHERE. I prefer to give the HOW a pass…!

I was totally surprised and said, “Okay, as you wish” and proceeded with physical examination. When I was examining her, she had significant redness on the left side of her chest and I also found her wincing in pain when I pressed my stethoscope over the left side of her chest. I apologized to her for causing pain. Then she said, “Doctor, you are such a nice chap. My husband who caused this pain and the swelling, never once apologized. He just slept off after he was finished with his job. I haven’t slept for 3 days because of this swelling and pain!”

Now I knew ‘WHY’ it was difficult and 'WHERE' was the problem for her to reply for the ‘HOW’!

Monday, August 3, 2009

How do you react when...

I am surprised by how different people react differently to similar circumstances in life. I have a childhood friend Sreehari whom I have never seen getting agitated. Even during our teenage, he used to be a calm and composed guy. Whenever I got angry or upset; he would sooth me saying, "What man Govinda, why do you want to waste your energy and get sick by over-reacting to silly things?" I could never understand how he could maintain his equilibrium. Even today, I have a problem with my temper, though I must admit I am much better now.

So I am starting a new series on how people will react in those situations that invariably get me agitated, angry, upset or generally bring out the worst out of me.

I am going to title this with How do you react when...

Let me start with just 3 questions for today...

How do you react when...

You are driving in a heavily crowded traffic. You see a crack-pot youngster comes from your left, crisscrosses you and then overtakes you from left; only to cut sharply before you just as you start to move your car and turns right leaving you stone cold on your tracks?

You are in a queue at the supermarket to pay the bill and you see a Smart Alec come rushing from behind you. He just brushes you aside to pay his bill ahead of you and walks away singing some English song you don't understand?

You are waiting on a main road to take a right turn. You have a lady on a scooter in front of you. A private bus driver is continuously honking behind you because he wants to overtake another bus that is to his left. And as soon as you try to squeeze your car to let him go, he will come and bang your car from the back?

Hope these questions will interest people to post some measured responses. I would love to improve myself as a human and hence want to study 'Human Behavior"


Thursday, July 30, 2009

We owe this to ourselves!

I have known Nithin for five years now. He was a teenager when I first saw him sometime in late 2004. He had come to me for a leave certificate for his friend. Though I have known his family for over a year by then, I had never met Nithin till then. A jovial and very good looking boy in jeans and Tee-shirt introduced himself with “Hello Doctor, I am Nithin, Shibu Thomas’ son” Since then I have met him several times and in him, I had noticed a very balanced young man who was very protective of his younger sister Nimitha.

He also did baby-sitting for the grannies at home when his parents and other relatives went out on tours. Though I can’t claim to have “Known” him in the real sense; I can emphatically say this was a very nice boy and the first born child of his generation in a very reputed family in Kochi. Obviously he was the doting son, adorable grandson, friendly nephew and an ideal big brother to different people in his large family.

And today at the age of 23, he is gone forever; another victim of a road accident. While waiting at his mourning home for his body to be brought down from Kozhikode, ironically I noticed an article on Malayala Manorama. That was about how unsafe our roads were and it had Malayalam Movie-Star Suresh Gopi spearheading a campaign for responsible driving.

What is responsible driving? I have noticed so much of arrogance, rudeness, recklessness and absolute lack of values on roads in Kochi. I myself have been a victim of road-rage; not to forget my own anger and occasional skirmishes. I have steadfastly refused to buy a two-wheeler for my wife. Though she got one of our common friends to canvas for a scooter; I flatly refused saying, “You are my only wife and I need you. I will pool in a little more money and buy a Nano for you but NOT a two-wheeler”

It is true that when the time comes everyone has to leave, irrespective of age, gender or class. But haven’t we seen too many of these two-wheeler accidents costing us precious and young lives? So much so, I have developed a fear of two-wheelers. We can perhaps call it “Bikeophobia”.

I frequently feel what can be described as an “Impotent Rage”. I get so agitated when the reckless youngsters drive through busy roads crisscrossing bigger vehicles and missing death by the proverbial whisker. Yes, I do shout at those kids but I also know there is no use. They would’ve disappeared by then. It is the associated feeling of “Immortality” that drives the boys of this age and in turn leads them to doom. My rage is impotent because I know I am not going to make an impact. Everyone is in a hurry to go somewhere. All warning signs and traffic curbs are of no use when an entire population has no value for ‘Human Life’.

What can we do to prevent these tragedies? Though I know I can do precious little; I am confident WE can do a lot. WE the people should act and act fast. I believe we must come out with a number of changes on our roads. All the people can suggest more ideas for better coordination of traffic. I am enumerating those things I believe could help.

1. First of all bad roads lead to bad traffic and bad traffic leads to road-rage and this leads to all problems. I believe pot-holes are killing more people today than AIDS. We must demand and get good all season roads that don’t end up as continuous terrains of potholes after the second rain. Can our ‘Elected Leaders’ assure that?

2. Enforce traffic rules very stringently. Don’t spare anyone. Heavy fines should be collected from all offenders without any intervention. The police should consider catching offenders in live action and not just gratify themselves with parking fine collection. Over-taking from the left side, over speeding, jumping the line and rash driving; all offenses should be dealt with strictly. Six months are enough to teach a society to ‘behave’. But is our Police-force up to it?

3. Bus-drivers and Auto rickshaw Drivers inside the cities and the truck drivers on highways are the worst culprits when it comes to rude and dangerous driving. Take them for counseling, teach them, discipline them and if they don’t reform, debar them from driving. But will our unions allow this?

4. Buses, two-wheelers and three-wheelers should be compulsorily brought under speed-checkers. Those wonderful inventions that prevent a vehicle from going over 30 - 40 - 50 kilometers per hour are a crying need. But who will bell the Cat?

5. Two-wheelers kill in one more way too and this is an insidious and hideous manner. With the availability of multiple choices of bikes and easy loans, every youth worth his or her name is on a two-wheeler today. They literally live on bikes or scooters. Due to the convenience, fuel economy and ease of parking anywhere and everywhere; we see young people depending upon the ‘bike’ even to visit the grocery store just a few meters away. This is breeding a generation of lazy people who don’t like to walk at all. This will result in more and more cases of Hypertension, Diabetes Mellitus and Heart Attacks in young people. Only by educating the youth to use vehicles only for distances more than one kilometer, we can get some semblance of reason into our life. But will anyone agree for this?

I don’t know how many people will listen to me or agree with me; but these are my sincere, honest and passionate views. I believe ‘WE’ can make a difference!

One passionate request to all the parents of young boys, “Love your children for sure, but don’t pamper them and certainly don’t buy them the fancied monsters called Bikes”. I can tell you how shattering it is to see Shibu and Jasmine, those young parents who have lost a very young son. I hope we will not have to lose another Nithin every other day!

Let us save our youth... We owe this to ourselves!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Matters of Historical Importance, Part - 6

That is why WE are what WE are!

Working in Cardiology since my graduation has made me familiar with most of our clients. “Once a Heart Patient, always a Heart Patient!" is what we believe and propagate. We advise people to stick to their diet, moderate exercise and medication, come rain or shine.

But it is equally true that there are millions alive without following any of these "Commandments". But we can do only those things that we know and have to stick to what we believe are Science or "Evidence Based".

We had a long standing client, a retired Bank Clerk. He was a very regular client and stuck to advise most of the times. One day, he came to the ICCU with a severe chest discomfort and heart failure. We had great difficulty in resuscitating him and he was stabilized after 3 days. Then on the fourth day, he confessed to have defaulted on treatment. When I asked what was the reason for the default, he told, "Doctor, there is a 'Traditional Healer' at our village. He claimed to me that he can CURE my Diabetes and Heart Disease completely with a 6 months course of treatment that costs rupees five thousand. So I went for that. I was fine for 2 weeks and then I developed this problem"

Now I had a reason to condemn him. So went like this, "Do you know there are Nobel Prizes for the taking for anyone who finds lasting Cure for Diabetes, Hypertension and Heart Disease? If your Healer is so good, why does he sit and practice from a village home? People as eminent as the President of America would be waiting to be treated by him. How foolish could you be?"

Well... I had just finished when the gentleman politely told me, "Doctor, that is exactly why YOU are the Doctor, and I am the Patient. If I were to know all these things and were as wise as you, I would've been a Doctor too!"
I have never tried to be Judgmental, Dogmatic or Authoritative with people after this.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Matters of Historical Importance, Part - 5

I continue with my favorite topic of my interactions with people who happened to have some or the other medical problems and ended up lighting up the environment. This one is a short one for a change!

The Wait is Over?

We routinely do Treadmill Stress Testing for people who are going for Insurance Policies. This is done mostly for people above 45 years of age. One day we had an appointment to do a test for a 29 year old lady. I was surprised when I heard the age, but I had no choice because the Insurance Company had insisted on it.

I was stuck with some emergencies in our Intensive Care Unit and was late for the appointment. This is not unusual in Hospitals. We usually apologize to the waiting persons and carry on with the job. So after a delay of about an hour, finally I managed to enter the Stress Testing Lab. There she was waiting for me; a gigantic young lady whose weight was recorded as 107 kilos. When I did my routine apology job saying, "I am sorry I kept you waiting for so long" she shot back rather curtly, "Uff... Finally the Wait is over..." Being harassed myself by a hectic day; I retorted, "Yes Madam, you are absolutely right. The Weight is indeed Over... And that is why You are here and I am doing a Stress Test for a 29 year old lady"

She was really a very jovial person and hence realized the wit in my lines and started guffawing. And thus a hectic day and a little tense situation ended up in a well-deserved laugh!

To be Continued...

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Matters of Historical Importance, Part - 4

History repeats itself…

“History repeats itself” is an old saying. I remember reading this line so many times. We never could be sure when, where and how history repeats itself. But in our practice, we do see this phenomenon very often. Patients come with same complaints or same History. For example, an Asthmatic will come with same history of wheezing and a migraine patient will come with headache, what else?

So Doctors tend to become a bit casual when they see old faithfuls. I believe in maintaining a primary case file or an in-patient file neatly and always try my best to keep it up-to-date. But when the old patients come repeatedly, I just copy and paste the history notes from previous files to the new file. A senior Doctor once happened to go through one of my charts. He obviously was interested because I had inserted print-outs from my PC. So next time when we were chatting, he told me “You do a pretty good job of keeping the files up-to-date. But in one of your files I was surprised to see same notes on different dates, everything same; now I definitely believe “History repeats itself”

It was just that in the casual mood of knowing the case well, I had copy pasted even the vitals and examination part from the past files. That meant the blood pressure, pulse rate and every other information was the same in almost all the admission notes. I am more careful after that when I copy and paste from old files.

His and Her Story!

I have known this young fellow for about five years. He came to me within a couple weeks of his marriage. I didn’t have many clients that evening and I saw this boy beating around the bush. I could see from the window there was only one person sitting outside the Clinic. I asked him, “Okay, spell out your problem” He told “I want an abortion for my wife” I was shocked and yelled, “But WHY?”

He told, “See Doctor, we are just married and my wife is 3 months pregnant. My family will be scared and my friends will ridicule me” I asked, “Is the baby yours?” He was confident, “It is mine. We love each other and did IT after our engagement. But now this has become a problem. My family is too conservative and they will kill me” I asked again, “Is the girl here?” she was the person waiting outside and he called her in side. I saw a demure young girl who didn’t look pregnant at all. I asked her, “Do you want to abort?” The girl was very forthright in what she said, “I love this man and this is his and my baby. I want it. But I am ready to do anything for him because he is scared”

Now my job was easy. I told them, “See you just can’t abort a child of your love. All you have to do is to confide in your Obstetrician and keep it under wraps for now. You can declare the ‘good news’ to your family after another 3 or 4 weeks. When it comes to delivery time, you can always say it was a premature delivery. But no way are you going to abort this precious thing” I emphatically assured them of all my assistance in whatever way needed.

Two weeks ago they came to me… Just to show me the bundle of joy! A healthy, bubbly and absolutely adorable baby girl who is almost 6 months old now. I asked that boy… “And this is the little gift of your love that you wanted to abort. Right?” He said, “Never even mention it Sir, I can’t imagine how foolish it was! Can’t spend a day without her now”

Life after Death!

I have a hypochondriac client who is about the same age as me. He is so scared of something happening to him that it had become an obsession to him. One evening he came to my Clinic with his wife, who is a cheerful kind of girl. When I saw an obviously healthy looking couple, I asked “Which one of you is the patient?” She quipped, “No patient here. I have no problems and this is a Ghost!” He was now smiling. I was smiling too and asked, “Ghost?”

“Yes”… She shot back, “Yes Doctor, around mid-noon today, this man called me over the phone and told… Please take care of our kids and please forgive me for all the hurts I have caused to you. I am going to die now. I am feeling very week and my pulse is going down. Please take good care of my parents, your parents and also my brothers and sisters too… I tried calling him and his office several times since then and couldn’t get anywhere. All his brothers and friends too are out of station. Can you imagine my plight Doctor? And now about half an hour ago he came home. So I believe this is a Ghost”

The Ghost then opened up… “I woke up late today and didn’t take breakfast because I had a lot of work. I felt hungry by noon but couldn’t eat anything. There was nobody in the office today. All of them had gone out and hence I had no help. Then I really felt I was going to die. I was sweating and felt dizzy; my pulse was not felt and could not sit up. So I called her and told her. I felt sad for her. Then I fell asleep on the office sofa. I woke up about an hour ago and found out that I am still alive. What was wrong with me Doctor?”

I just told, “Nothing much… but just out of curiosity, may I ask… How is Life after Death?”

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Monsoon; Never too soon...

Almost two weeks and I haven't been able write anything on my blog. There are three reasons.

One, I started another blog along with my Wiki World Book account. All I did was to copy paste my posts from here on my new blog. That doesn't mean this will be redundant. It is just that I want to update that blog to this level and then manage both.

Two, I was so busy with work over the past two weeks; it was easier to copy paste than to think.

Three, I was not able to recollect suitable incidents to compile the "Matters of Historical Importance Part-4.

So... This is just to assure myself that I am not going through another of that dreadful "Blogger's Block"

One positive thing about past two weeks has been the arrival of the rain. The much awaited annual cooling down process of planet earth came almost a month too late. Must add here that I had almost become paranoid about an impending Drought! Thank heavens, the heavens have opened up finally and we are enjoying the much needed monsoon! Hope it will last for at least two months.

As the years have passed, the arrival of monsoon has become so erratic that we are forced to say, "Monsoon; Never too soon!"

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Rainy Day Tales!

I wrote this piece on under a column "Rainy Day Romance Stories". When I read it after it was published, I thought this should be added to my blog too. So here it is with a few additions and some editing.

I just love the rains! I was born in the month of July in 1970 in the sleepy town of Karkala at the bottom of the Western Ghats near Mangalore. My grandfather used to chide me saying, "You are an incarnation of Lord Varuna. It was raining so much that we could see you only when you were 3 days old." I was born at my maternal home just two kilometers from my home, but the heavy rains prevented my family from seeing me for three days!

My love for the rains is next only to my love for life. All my childhood was spent enjoying the rains and the associated fun. Hot coffee with crispy jack fruit papads specially prepared for rainy days, spicy curries prepared from seasonal shelled mushrooms with boiled rice and the sensational idli-sambar prepared by my mother were some of the rainy season specials I miss badly now! Not because my mother can't prepare them today. But the rainy days have lost all the sheen. Literary greats like Shivarama Karanth, Kuvempu and Tejaswi too added to the ambiance of the monsoon days. My love for literature has always been intertwined with my love for the rains.

I enjoyed riding my bicycle in the rains! The smell of soil after the first downpour, the sound of the rain falling over the tiled roofs early in the morning and fishing in those tiny ponds that came alive during the monsoon seem so unreal today. Those were the days when one would never want to leave the bed in the morning due to the wonderful atmosphere. Playing Indoor Cricket in our neighbor's rice mill while it rained outside was another of those unforgettable memories.

When I moved to Bellary in 1988 to pursue my medical education, the rain song went out of my life. I tried my best to rush to my hometown during the rainy season, but that was not always possible. Now I have settled down in Kochi, once famous for rains and water logging during monsoon.

Most of the important incidents in my life were greeted by rains. It rained when I was born; rather I was born when it rained. It rained in Bellary the day I went there for my admission to Medical College. My wedding was in the month of September, and it rained. My daughter was born in November a year later and it rained on that day. When I managed to construct a home for my family in Kochi, it rained, rained and rained for three whole days during the housewarming. The joke then was, "This house really needed warming and even heating!"

When I met my girl, I told her my idea of romance was to walk in the rains sharing the umbrella with my free hand on her hip. We have enjoyed several of those romantic walks since then. This was especially beautiful when we lived all by ourselves at a small town called Ponkunnam soon after our wedding.

I still love the rains and would love to do all those wonderful things over and again. But unfortunately, the rain gods have become unkind to this part of our planet. So we have to make do with whatever we get.

I am extremely saddened when people say, "We hope it doesn't rain today, we have a movie program" or "We have conducted prayers so that it doesn't rain today during the wedding of our daughter". In the middle of the monsoon season, people are praying for no rains. What will happen to us? Where will we go for water?

The only mantra I chant in my life is this: "Kaale Varshatu Parjanya, Prathweem Sasya shalineem!" (Let the earth be green with timely rains!)

Come rain, shine or more rain; forever in love with life and rain!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Matters of Historical Importance, Part - 3

I continue with the History of Matters of Historical Importance...

No past history of ...

This one is from our Medical College. We had to write the case charts in detail and in a prescribed manner. These notes were randomly checked by Professors or some seniors and hence we had to be on guard. All Medical case charts start with Presenting Complaints followed by history of Presenting Complaints and then Past History and Personal and Family History. We were expected to write in detail about the complaint and when and how it started and what is the intensity and so on. One of my classmates was particularly keen to keep it up to date. So he wrote as follows...
Presenting Complaint: History of Dog Bite.
History of Presenting Complaint: 27 year old boy was bitten by a street dog on his right leg at around 3:25 PM today. The Dog was unprovoked and the boy was unprotected.
Past History: No past history of any illness and...
No past history of Dog Bite!
Family History: No Family history of Dog Bite...!

After reading this, we all started to tease this guy with our own versions:
No past history of fall from the coconut tree
No past history of bull-gore injury
No past history of snake bite
And the prize for the most ridiculous piece went to this one:
No past history of headache and vomiting after watching a Telugu movie!

Lost in translation

A Kannada speaking Doctor from Bangalore was new to Kerala. He was just about learning basic Malayalam. A young mother brought her 1 month old baby to the Casualty. She told the Doctor in her colloquial tongue that the child had breathing complaints and he was raising his chest as if he is jumping. The Doctor wrote in the case-chart: 1 moth old baby jumping and jumping in the air and breathing through chest! Now whatever he meant was known only to him. But we sure ended up jumping and jumping with laughter!

Injured Kidney :-)

A twenty something man came to the Casualty on a rainy night. He was a bit flustered and looked to be in pain too. But he was too hesitant to come out with history. As his luck would have it, there was a Lady Doctor on duty. He insisted on seeing a Male Doctor. So I was summoned and there was a look of relief on his face when I went and asked him what is the matter. He wanted the nurses to be out of the room and so I ordered them out. Then he told, "Doctor, I have hurt my Kidney". I asked, "How did it happen? Did you get hit on the lower abdomen or back?". He told, "No, no... It is the kidney. We are newly married and we were doing IT. Then my wife in a mood suddenly climbed on me and her knee came and hit my kidney and it has swollen now and paining too!". Now... This was news to me. I had never seen a swollen kidney. So I wanted to examine his abdomen. When he was down on the table, he pointed down further and told, "Doctor, not there on the stomach. Down down there, the kidney you see" and he slipped his underwear down to show a grossly swollen pair of testicles!


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Matters of Historical Importance, Part - 2

I continue from where I had stopped in the first part...


Relatives accompanying patients often cause howlers. With half or quarter knowledge, some people would like to flaunt their intelligence. One such lady was in our OP with her husband who came with complaints of fatigue. So I asked the patient if he or anyone in his family had Diabetes or BP. The wife was instantly on full swing, “Yes Doctor, whole family of this man has Hyphertension. [Please note: It is not a spelling error. It was perhaps her way of stressing the severity of Hypertension]. They all get angry very easily and start fighting. For the past 26 years I have been suffering because of this Hyphertension!” I was a bit taken aback and asked, “You mean he has BP?” And she came up with this answer, “If he has BP or not is for you to decide, that is why we have come here. But all his family members suffer from Hyphertension!”

Absolutely No Problem!

An 82 year old man was coming to our hospital for the first time. So I had to take a detailed history to record it on our medical case file. He had come due to repeated attacks of breathing difficulty at night. He was woken up from sleep and had to sit up to breathe. This is a serious problem in medical field. We call it PND – Paroxysmal Nocturnal Dyspnea. So I asked him, “How long have you been suffering from this?” He told, “About a week and a half”. So I asked, “Have you had any illnesses in the past?” He emphatically told NO. I was impressed and asked, “You’ve never been hospitalized before? Never had any major problems?” He told, “Well, actually I have Diabetes since 38 years, BP was detected in 1989 and I had a heart attack that was treated at Bombay in 1993. Then I underwent Operation for Cancer of Prostate in 1995. Generally I have Asthma attacks when it is too hot or too cold. Due to kidney failure and fever I underwent dialysis at Lisie Hospital in 2000. I remember it was just before Christmas. Then I had my second heart attack in 2003 when we were in Chennai. Then some kind of a hernia was there in my right thigh and I was operated for that in 2004. Apart from this, I have no health problems at all. Even now I feel perfect except for this breathing problem at night!” Now should we call this Great Spirit?

Understanding the situation!

We had a 67 year old Muslim gentleman coming to our ICCU with a heart attack in 1996. This was on a Saturday evening. This man was obviously very fortunate and had over forty people waiting outside. They had practically sealed the entry to our ICCU. He was in a very bad shape and was put on a temporary Cardiac Pacemaker and intensive support therapy. After all the procedure was done; I explained to all those people that his condition was very critical and we may not be able to salvage him if his heart doesn’t start responding to treatment. I also advised them to inform relatives and children if anyone was far off. I gave enough evidence to make it clear that his condition was extremely serious and we might lose him. After going through all this, one of his sons asked, “It is a busy season in the shop. We are having problems in managing the counter. Can he go to the shop on Monday?”

To be continued…

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Ram Rajya; Why was Ram Great?

I have since childhood believed Ram of Ramayana was an impractical man and was narrow minded. I loathed his act of sending his pregnant wife to the jungle. I disagreed with my mother when she tried to defend Ram. In spite of Seeta coming out unscathed from the trial by fire, Ram left her due to some inebriated brawl of a lowly idiot. I refused to accept Ram as a God and even opposed anyone favoring Ram. My argument was that he had insulted an entire womanhood. According to me, what he did to Seeta was no better than what Kauravas did to Panchali. I found Krishna's approach to life to be superior.

My mother tried to reason with me saying Ram always lived according to Dharma and was a nobleman like none during his time or any other time. But I disagreed saying, "Seeta too was his subject and he had a duty to safeguard her, especially when he knew she was pregnant. Why did he have to send her to the jungle?". And when Lav - Kush, his twin sons came back to his kingdom, he again refused to own them up till Seeta proved her purity. What a torture of a life that saintly lady must have lived to beg Mother Earth to take her away?". I felt it was a just punishment to Ram as well as his subjects that history will always remember them for what they did to Seeta.

This was last week when the Ramayan serial on NDTV Imagine came to an end. Then I read today's newspaper. The Headline screamed "Mayavati spends Rupees 3000 Crores to erect statues of her own, her party leaders and her party symbol elephant". Now in a state that was begging for some development of infrastructure and quality of life, isn't this audacious? This is just arrogance, megalomania, lack of concern for the people and simply atrocious. How could she do this when the voters had reposed so much of faith in her? I just told my family about the magnitude of this gigantic looting of public money.

That is when my mother told, "This is why Ram IS remembered as Great! He for sure sent his wife to jungle. But from that day to death he slept on the floor. He refused all kind of worldly comforts. He kept a statue of Seeta in his room and always stayed loyal to her. He never married again and never even thought of another woman. He had a precedent of his own father marrying thrice. But all Ram did was dedicate his life to the people of Ayodhya. He believed, being the King, he had the maximum responsibility to remain unblemished in whatever he did. He never blamed anyone for all that happened. Being a King, he was more than a King to his people. He was actually a Father figure and a Demi-God! How many of our 'Elected Leaders' will behave like this today? Ram was just one of his kind. And that is why even Gandhiji had a vision of 'Ram-Rajya' for India. We don't have that today, simply because... Ram was born only once and they don't make people like him anymore!"

Am I wiser today? Thanks to all our Rulers in general and Mayavati in particular!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Matters of Historical Importance - Part - 1

As a Doctor, I come across different type of people every single day of my life. One such type is I. I often wonder what other people might be thinking about me. Between meeting, examining and sending off people, I always try to make mental notes about people. That helps on follow up visits.

History helps a lot in diagnosis and management of almost all the illnesses. That is an integral part of a Physician’s practice which should not be given a go by. Most of the times, a good Doctor can make a fairly good provisional diagnosis just going by the history.

I plan to dwell upon some of the funny incidents that have happened in my practice. This need not be a single post because this is a continuous process. So I plan to write this as a series and hope it works!

Past not so Perfect!

Past history or the details about any short or long term illnesses a person might have suffered is an important part of the history. So I always give some time to elicit this in detail. Some people are forthright and meticulous, some are anxious and unclear and some are absolute riots. There is no fun in the regular ones. So most of what I am recalling here are anecdotes involving uncommon types.

One 45 year old gentleman was a bit too grumpy. He wasn’t even coming out with his main complaints. When I asked him, “Why did you come to the hospital?” He quipped, “To see you!” Wow! So I asked again, “So what are your complaints?” He was back again, “What complaints? Is this a Police Station?” I tried to reason with him, “No, it is like what kind of problem do you have?” He was at his best now, “What problems? I have a million problems and I don’t think you can solve any of them” Now this was the maximum I could take. So I retorted, “Okay, what kind of health related problem has brought you here? I hope you understand you are in a hospital in front of a Doctor and this place certainly doesn’t look like a Police Station!” Now he mellowed down and came out, “Actually I had chest pain this morning and I am worried it could be a heart attack”. So there we are; this was just an anxious first timer who didn’t know how to express!

Here is the other extreme of a veteran of several visits to the Doctor. This was a particularly impressive and intelligent 76 year old retired Port Trust employee. He knew me before and I too had seen him in the past. While going through his obese and well rounded medical case file, I was surprised to note that he had consulted almost all the Doctors on our hospital faculty. So I quipped to him, “Well, you have been very loyal and regular with our hospital and I can see you have consulted all the consultants”. From Physician, Cardiologist, Neurologist, Urologist and Skin Specialist to ENT Surgeon and Eye Specialist; every Doctor’s name was there on his file. There was a mischievous smile on his face when he replied, “You are almost right Sir, Dr. Rajakumari Madam is the only Doctor I have not consulted in this hospital”. That my dear friends, was our Gynecologist!

With an introduction to this topic of Historical Importance, I stop here and hope to continue this series. I also hope I will be able to manage a decent job of narrating some really funny incidents that made me wink, smile, grin and even laugh out loudly, and most importantly... Think!

To be continued... Hopefully !

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Greatest Question!

In Mahabharata, there is a very important episode of the Yaksha Prashna. When Pandavas go through their Van-Vas and Ajnat-vas, they survived many a calamities through jungles and mountains. It was sheer endurance of highest quality. Then they came to a lovely and calm looking pond. They all wanted to rest and recuperate there after drinking some water.

Most of us know the story. The four younger brothers and Panchali don't heed to the warning of the Yaksha and fall dead after drinking the water. Then comes Yudhistir and he agrees answer the questions of the Yaksha. I don't want to dwell upon all the questions. But one question is so very relevant even today and the answer is more so!

Yaksha asks Yudhistira, "What is the most surprising thing in the world?". Yudhistira says after deliberation, "The most surprising thing in the world is that the man commits the same mistake again and again in spite of knowing that what he is doing is wrong". Now Yudhistira was definitely thinking of himself. He knew the Game of Dice was an evil and had destroyed people before. He himself lost all his pride and even the modesty of Panchali was at stake before some divine intervention. In spite of this knowledge, he went on to play the evil game again and lost all his bearings. He had to suffer the life in jungles and made his wife and brothers suffer with him as well. So he was very clear in his mind about the answer!

Where does this question and answer attain significance in modern day society? We all know "SMOKING IS INJURIOUS TO HEALTH". Most of the smokers say they know this. But they can't quit. Most of the normal people know it also pollutes the environment and also puts their own families at risk. In spite of this knowledge, they smoke and often in presence of their children!

Today this is what surprises me! Why do people who know "Smoking causes a hell of a lot of problems" still smoke? There are a lot of things like alcoholism, gambling, adultery and so on which fall into the same category of known evils. But still people can't quit or they don't! Why is this so? Is there an answer to this question?

Friday, June 26, 2009

An Open Mind!

The Mind should be like an Umbrella; it works best when Open!

We live in a world full of opinions, rituals, prejudices, conventions, rules, laws and Governments. Ever since one is born, you are told what is right and what is wrong. A girl should wear skirts and a boy, shorts! In this age, I have had to face my father discouraging my 10 year old daughter from wearing shorts. My father is but an old fashioned and conservative but a well-meaning Grandfather. This is still manageable compared to the prejudices of the educated class.

I have discussed my hairstyle and the reactions it used to evoke in the past. Even today, I face people who find it "Inappropriate for a Doctor" to sport long hair! But the issue here is not about hair, but rather about "Fair"!

We all know how we Indians adore the color fair. Look at matrimonial columns and we see demand for "Wheatish" complexion of girls. Girls too flaunt their "Gori" status. I have seen countless aunties crowing about the darkish girls. We have movies and TV serials which show South Indians as dark and funny. Usually we see Mr. Aiyer as an extremely dark and a funny buffoon. The inequality between people is rampant in this country. The attacks on UP - Bihar people in Mumbai are still too fresh to be forgotten so easily!

And now we are talking about "Racist Attacks" on Indians in Australia. How can we expect Australia to protect Indians if we ourselves can't protect them in "OUR OWN' backyard? As long as our fixation for the "White" skin is there, we will face discrimination! In all fairness, there is nothing fair about our clamor for Fair and Lovely!

On a recent visit to Munnar, I saw a board that read the entry fees for Indians as fifteen rupees and for foreigners as two hundred rupees. No isn't is a sham and a shame? On the one hand we say "Athithi Devo Bhava" and then we fleece them like this. It is more embarrassing because this is done by our Government!

We also see attacks on foreigners at tourist places. Rape, looting and cheating have been reported so often. How come we don't react to these issues? And if we react at all, why are the reactions so muted? Unless we put our house in order, we can't expect others to behave properly. We all have read so much about the "Ugly Aussie". But what about the "Ugly Indian"?

I think it is time for us Indians to open our minds. Stop complaining, start behaving and learn to be nice. Nice to South Indians, North Indians, Biharis, Madrasis, Tamils, Kannadigas, Bengalis, Gujarathis, Marwaris, Sardarjis and INDIANS. When we are nice to Indians we will learn to be nice to Australians, foreigners and Human Beings!