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 !

Friday, September 30, 2011

How I became Godless !

My Granny never lost an opportunity to remind me that I was born thanks to her prayers at Tirupathi. Since my parents' first born was a daughter, my granny made a passionate prayer to the Tirupathy God and even my name was chosen there. Thus, Govind Raj I became in a family littered with Vaishnavite names. I grew up a very proud child because of this glorification.

My first brush with amoral behavior at religious places came when I was barely 9. It was a custom in our joint family to offer coconuts, bananas and flowers to the reigning deity in our local temple on every Saturday evening. One such evening it was little  boy me who went to do this ritual. I gave all the offerings to the priest and went to do circum-ambulation [Pradakshin] of the sanctum sanctorum.

When I came back, the priest told me, "See this coconut you brought is spoiled. This is not good for your family. So you buy a new coconut and pay rupees ten as penalty also". I only had rupees 12 on me. I gave him all the money I had and he assured me that everything will be fine. He gave me a 'replacement' coconut and returned the spoiled coconut too. As is the custom, he took half piece of the good coconut, 2 out of 5 bananas and returned my bag with 'prasad'.

When I reached home, my Mom was surprised to know this. She was quite sure the coconut she gave me was not spoiled. When she checked, it turned out to be a revelation. The 'spoiled coconut' was in fact two separate pieces of two different coconuts. But much worse was the fact that the 'replacement' coconut the priest gave me was indeed the coconut I went with. My Mom recognized the huge coconut as one grown in our own backyard. It left a very bitter taste in the mouth. It shattered me to know there was such cheap act going on right under the nose of the 'God' !

There are hundreds of incidents that gradually took me away from Religion and Gods. I would stick with a few that had a defining role. There was a famous Astrologer who was close to our family. He would blame all the ills on the 'Naga' or the Serpent. I have lost count of the number of rituals my family has conducted to placate the Snake Gods ! With every such function, my indignation for the Astrologer and his predictions went on increasing. I was wondering how could a poor reptile affect so many people in so many ways.

One of those concepts that repelled me during young age was the "God will punish you if you don't do this and that" kind of talk. I used to think, "Why does this God create people who do wrong things and then want to punish them ?". I never had a satisfactory answer. Most of what the believers have done is semantic juggling.

The next issue was 'My God is the Real God and other Gods are false' preaching. Once a Christian preacher bored me to death with his unsolicited advice on the 'Real Creator' and the myths of Hindu religion and the harms of Idol worship. Respecting his age and with my inborn inability to be rude to elders, I tolerated him for almost three quarters of an hour.

Finally I was forced to ask him, "I have just one question, is Bible the final truth ?" He said, "Yes, it indeed is the ultimate truth and the only truth. Once you start following Bible, salvation is guaranteed". I replied, "But most of Biblical stories are cock and bull stories just like the Hindu mythology you were deriding so far. Bible goes against Science and evolution. Why don't you go and take some rest ?" He was offended and cursed me, "You will never know the real truth and will be condemned to eternal hell if you question the God". I was really angry and shot back, "Well, if heaven is the place where I have to tolerate people like you, I prefer to be in hell. Thank you and good night !"

The Temple - Mosque issue that divided a nation left a deep impact on me too. I have no hesitation today to admit I was in favor of 6 December 1992 demolition at that time. It was like justifying the act as retaliation against decades of Islamic atrocities. That was a mistake like many of those I have committed in my life. But as I evolved, I realized the whole issue was a non-issue. People sharing the same A, B or O Antigens were fighting for the sake of two of the most despicable characters from history. I moved further away from Gods.

The rituals, Mantras and all things religion became progressively intolerable for me. An incident at the now famous Padmanabha Temple at Thiruvananthapuram further escalated my disenchantment. I had a strong dislike for the custom of taking off shirts during temple entry. This custom has its origins in the filthy practice of Brahminical era when only those with the thread were allowed inside the temple. The more things change, the more we tend to resist change. Kerala temples haven't come out of the past; the dirty untouchable past.

In 2006, on our way to Kanyakumari; we visited the Thiruvananthapuram Temple. In spite of my dislike to go the Salman Khan way in public [no secret there, I don't have his physical attributes] I agreed to go inside the temple. I folded my jeans, took off the shirt and covered myself with a 'mundu and shawl'.

A youth standing near the gate asked me, "Are you wearing a pant inside ?" I asked him, "Yes, but how does that make a difference ?". He replied, "You can't wear a pant inside the temple". I said, "But, I have folded it till knees. Do you have a problem with knee length shorts or inner wear ?". He was rude now, "Inner wear is different. But PANT is not allowed. You can't question the customs of the temple".

I politely told him, "But I did wear a pant folded under a mundu the last time I came here. There was no problem. Why this new rule ?". He was hostile now, "This is a new rule since yesterday. You obey rules or face God's curse". I am not really good at arguing. I told my people, "I have already compromised on a lot of things I believe in just for you people. But this is beyond me. This temple will not suffer if I don't visit it and neither am I going to be any poorer if I don't enter. I am NOT going inside !".

This did hurt my parents and other relatives. But exactly at that point of time, I had learned to draw a line. I was not going to take any more religious crap. I have stayed firm to this. Not that I don't go to temples now. I do visit temples and enjoy the great food they provide in some of those temples. I also take part in some rituals just to keep my aging parents happy. If my occasional visits to the places of worship can keep them happy; it is worth doing so.

Looking at the havoc wrecked on the humanity by the people like Osama bin Laden and his followers and so many of these right-wing  religious outfits, anybody would like to think, "Do we need Gods and religions ?"

This planet is but a small part of an infinite universe. We the human beings have advanced enormously thanks to the evolution that gave us a mind. The mind tells me to trust Science. Science can go wrong. But we can always correct ourselves by accepting the folly.

But Gods, Religions and dogmas will not change. The beliefs in beliefs will not change. Knowing fully well the tonnes of rubbish associated with the religions, people still follow religions and God. At this point in time, I believe we don't need God, Gurus, Religions and salvation. They just don't exist for me. We just need oxygen, food, water, shelter and a little bit of love !

Dr. Punned-it

Thursday, September 15, 2011

National Anthem in Malluland

Extremely Important: I am no Xenophobic or linguophobic. I love God's Own Country which today is my own Country. I love Malayalees, especially the long haired species without the 'Y' chromosome. All my rantings are but about the language and nothing more, nothing less !
This is my first ever attempt to actually record some of those 'Manglish' jokes from real life. Since I don't have the facility to podcast on my Blog, I am uploading it as a video. I would like everybody to believe that the 'Frog' seen in the video is just happenstance and not intentionally indicative of the state of mind of the native Malayalee !

Inadequate quality of the video is regretted. Hence I am providing the text of the podcast.

A young lady Medical Representative recently came with her senior Manager. As he started talking, I could make out he was not a Malayalee thanks to his English. Since his English sounded somewhat like the Bangalore type, I asked him, “You aren’t from Kerala, right? From where do you come from?”

He replied, “You are right Sir, I am from Chennai. But Sir is there any problem?” I said, “Not a problem at all, it’s just that your English didn’t sound like the Kerala English to me. That is all”. 

The young lady interrupted with, “Why Sir, is it because only we in Kerala speak proper English?” I smiled and said, “No, contrary to that you people are the ones who have a problem with English. Why English, you speak all languages in Malayalam.” She looked a little bit offended and asked, “How can you say that Sir? We are the most educated state in India”

I had to tell her, “See, English language doesn’t have ‘heavy Ls’ and ‘heavy Ns’. But you people insert them everywhere. For example, just pronounce Collage, School, Colony, Bun, Sunny and then you will understand what I mean. You will make them sound CoaLLage, SchooL, CoLony, BuN, SuNNy. Right” 

I pressed ahead, “See, you make Shah Rukh Khan into Sharoo Ghan, Salman Khan in Salman Ghan. It is Khan… KHAN from the epiglottis. You bring them from the umbilicus” She retorted, Sir, but everyone will have this kind of different accents. Why pick only Malayalees?”

I politely replied, “I didn’t pick on Malayalees. You were the one who boasted about only Malayalees speaking correct English. All of us have our peculiarities. It is no big deal. I just had to tell you and correct your misconception. That’s it”

I have blogged about this before and I have cried hoarse about people in Kerala turning the ‘horse’ into ‘hoarse’ and ‘Nurse’ into ‘Nezhse’. And then there are so many things like AapiLL, PupiLL, PuLLing power, FLower MiLL and the list is endless. 

Once a Perumbavoor born nurse said, “Phatt Saarum Phaaryayum Phayangaramaayi vishkkunnathukondu Pharat Tourist home-il chennu Phakshanam kazhichu” And an Insurance agent once said, “Innu Phoori Phaagam aalukal ee policy thanneya edukkunnathu”

And now they pronounce SatiDa, SaviDa and SangeeDa. This is also really funny. You write something and pronounce something. That is why I still find it tough to speak Malayalam” 

Since I don’t want this podcast to appear as a tirade against Malayalees, I will finish this with the National Anthem or Naashanal Aantham as they sing in some of the schools in Kerala; especially the Central Travancore side.

Everybody please stand up.

Jena Gena Mana Adhinaayaga Jaya Hay Phaarada Phagya Vidhada
Penchaab Sinth Gujaraada Maraadha Dravida Utkala Venga
Vinthya Himaajala Yemunaa Genga Uchchala Jaladhidarenga
Tava Shupha Naame Jaahay 
Tava Shupha Ashisha Maahey
Gaahey Dava Jaya Gaadha
Jena Gena Mangala Daayaga 
Jaya Hay Pharada Phagyavidhada
Jeya Hay Jeya Hey Jeya Hey
Jeya Jeya Jeya Jeya Hay…

Dr. Punned-it

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Chair Up and other tales of a Chair that refused to budge !

My Clinic

Apart from blogging, pretending to be singing on the Youtube and whiling away my time on the Facebook, I also work as a Doctor in my spare time. I work with a modest private hospital during day time and run an even more modest Clinic close to my home in the evenings. Since I am allergic to hard-work, I limit my working hours to 7:30 AM to 4:00 PM at hospital and 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM in my Clinic.

I refuse to entertain people after 8:00 PM simply because I believe in spending some time with my family when I am alive. This has earned me the wrath of some people and some of them have branded me arrogant and rude. I think I have to live with that. I can't risk being a guilt laden 75 year-old with pots of money, a lot of illnesses and repentance about not having spent enough time with my loved ones.

This story isn't about me, it is about that black chair in the corner in my Clinic. This place is very small and a little over-crowded with unavoidable furniture. There is the examination table that also doubles up as a cup-board to keep my books. The black chair to seat the patient [henceforth referred to as client]. The blue chair is obviously mine and the table. Apart from these, there is a large Almira in the opposite corner and another plastic chair to seat the bystander.

It is necessary to give this long description because the place where the black chair sits becomes the crux of the matter. I make the clients sit on the black chair, so that I can check the vitals like Blood Pressure and do a clinical examination of the upper part of the body. If a complete examination is required, I use the examination table right next to the chair.

The place where I keep the chair is exactly the place from where the client can extend the arm and rest it on the table to record the BP. I can move to and fro to do the examination. This is the most ideal place in the given scenario. But somehow, people have different ideas and this is where the real story begins.

In the early days, the clients coming in would first pull the black chair almost into the gap between the writing table and the examination table and make the proceedings really difficult. This was becoming a real nuisance for me. It put added burden on my back and even made them uncomfortable. But somehow people have their own point of view and they have to change things according to that.

Most of the times, I used to politely request the client to get up, keep the chair back in the corner and proceed with my job. But the same exercise can get on your nerves, especially when repeated several  times on a given day or when the same person repeats the same act every time.

Gradually my patience began to wear thin. I started asking people not to move the chair, but to sit where the chair was placed. Often they would sit through the examination and as soon as I began writing the notes and prescription, they would immediately move the chair to their favored destination. This became exasperating and I had to force people to go back to the corner.

Sometimes, I would jokingly ask people, "From where do you come ?". The answer could be any place. My next quip would be this, "You come from almost 6 km distance. Coming this far and then walking from the gate, can't you cover this small distance between this table and the chair ? Why do you want to move it ? Why can't you come and sit where it is ?".

With younger people I have a slightly different way. I tell them, "Don't you dare to pull the chair. It has a mind of its own and it will get extremely angry if you pull it around. It can even bite you if you provoke it. So let it be where it is. You just sit there".

At some point, I came to understand why the people moved the chair around. The truth is, nobody likes to be cornered. People perhaps felt as if they were being pinned down to a chair at gun point. But unfortunately, I couldn't help in any way. I just don't have the space to make people feel they were centered. That is when I discovered a better way to keep the chair from moving. I kept the front right leg of the chair pressed firmly with my left leg to prevent people from dragging it. This is how the next level of fun began.

A middle aged lady came in one day and as usual, pulled the chair. Since I  had firmly pinned it to the corner, it didn't budge. But this was a stubborn lady and she pulled it with all the power and it still didn't move. She looked furious and asked, "Why isn't this chair moving ? Where am I going to sit ?"  I calmly told her, "Why don't you sit where the chair is ? I haven't asked for any help to move my furniture here". She was sheepish but still had not understood how it became immobile and asked, "But why isn't it moving ?". Some diehard that was !

Another man tried the same thing. Since the chair was not moving, he asked me, "Doctor, get up and move from there. This chair isn't moving. Let me fix it !". My goodness, how I kept myself from falling off the chair is still a mystery to me. I told him, "Let it remain that way. What is the need to move it ? It is convenient for me to examine you if you could make yourself comfortable here". He nodded and said, "Oh, yes. That is true" and promptly pulled the chair to the gap between two tables because I had for a moment left it unguarded !

A young but hefty lady is the next in this saga. She went on pulling the chair even as I asked her to sit down right there. A momentary lapse in my concentration and the chair had escaped from the trap. What I saw next was the lady was flat on the the examination table with the chair in her hand with one of its legs precariously close to my right eye. And her own left leg was on my writing table. To make matters worse, my nurse was absconding that day. I leave it to the imagination of people to decide what a task it must have been to untangle a young lady weighing above 70 kilos from that situation.

One of the funniest characters ever sat on the chair without any complaint. But when I asked him to turn around to examine his back, he promptly did so. But he did so not before turning the chair along with him. This left me with the really daunting task of examining the back-rest of the chair.

Still crazier was another young lady. When I asked her to turn around, she actually turned to her right. Now take a look at the picture and imagine how she could have turned to her right and what she would have done to me. She was wearing saree but had no inhibition in lifting her right leg over my left thigh and in seconds, she was sitting with my left knee between her legs. Sindhu, my nurse couldn't forget that spectacle and kept winking off and on for quite a few days.

One of the problems of narrating real life incidents on blog is the fun is often diluted in scripting and most of the dialogues get lost in translation. Before it becomes totally impossible for the reader to sit through this, let me call it a day for this 'Saga' !

Dr. Punned-it