Saturday, September 7, 2013

"One more patient"

Beethoven's fifth symphony. One of the most powerful music ever composed. The distinct rise at the beginning; followed by the fall, then the gradual growth again. I fell in love with it many years back. As they say once you are enticed by that beautiful piece of music you will find it hard to go back.

Nurse asked if she should get the phone. She is new. The regulars know that this ringtone is assigned to my other love. She’ll be calling to tell me she reached. She can wait. While this patient cannot. Road traffic accident it seems. What do we know but what the patient party tells us. Even in the casualty they tell stories to keep their side safe.
I told her I’ll be done in 10 minutes. Well that was around 40 minutes ago. I don’t think anybody would understand my duties so well.
Patient is conscious but numerous bruises on the face. Only after the blood and dirt is removed you get to know the full extent of his injuries. Sometimes it is not as bad as it appears. From the looks of it all the major arteries are intact. It won’t take much time hopefully.
The fifth symphony. Again. She will be waiting outside. She has been with me long enough to know my 10 minutes might go up to an hour or sometimes more. She will be probably calling to see whether I am stuck with the paper works. She sometimes helps with those stuff.
 If only the patient knew what and all thoughts that go through our heads while cleaning up the wounds. Sometimes the training and your instincts take over and let you do certain procedures with ease.
“Doctor one more patient. They are trying to stabilize her”
Almost one hour since my duty got over technically but I am still here. I looked at the clock, making it obvious for the nurse that I am looking at the clock.
“Last patient sir; promise” nurse said with a smile. I was amazed at the ability of the nurse to smile at that moment.  Her cheerfulness was contagious. Last patient it is.
“Take my phone, call Sarah and ask her where she is.” I said as I walked to that patient on the other side of the casualty.
Her ringtone becomes louder and louder. She is already here? I thought of looking around but she shouldn’t be inside the casualty. I first saw that lady holding her phone, one look at the patient told me what I feared.
Everything went black. I think I fell down.

(I got the idea for this story from a real life incident where I couldn't meet an old friend due to my professional responsibilities. I was feeling bad about it but then I realized that is how it is gonna be. I accepted the fact that sometimes or most of the times professional commitments might stand in the way of personal ones. Beethoven's 5th symphony is indeed a masterpiece, it is worth listening to.. )

Monday, September 2, 2013

Memories. .

It has been a long hiatus from the blogosphere. A series of personal and professional commitments came during the last three months and I am still not settled.
Above all my grandfather, who was an inspiration for me to start writing passed away one month back. He has published one novel and 3 short story collections. His stories were simple and gave out a message to the readers. He put across his ideals and principles of life through his stories. The stories are simple enough to emotionally connect with the reader. As he himself tells in the foreword, the stories had come to him while he visited various places across India. Stories of people.
He has read only my first story and he pointed out certain flaws in it but was happy about it. I was apprehensive of showing him my later stories and I did not show him anymore. Simply because he was an authority in English grammar and I was not very good at it. Also I thought my content and language might be offensive but what did I know.
 I was with him for quite sometime in the hospital and that had given me a new perspective of life. The days were basically spent talking to him as he was fully oriented and had an excellent memory till his end.
I also got the single copy of his first book which was published around 40 years back. Till then I had read only his recent books. Reading those stories I realized the violence streak I sometimes have in my stories might be hereditary because unlike his later stories those stories were violent and brutally emotional. Now I regret not showing him my stories and missed his valuable observations.
The most important lesson I learned from him is not to be in a hurry, fate will twist you, throw you and take its own sweet time. We just have to be prepared.
He left us all with a great deal of memories.

May his soul rest in peace.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Touching Lives

X ray was discovered by William Roentgen in 1875 but the first recorded medical use was by John Hall Edwards in 1896 when he recorded a needle stuck in the hand of one his associates.  
The first X ray
(Picture courtesy: Wikipedia)
21 years it took for the scientists to realize the actual potential of the x ray. X ray can be said to be the first modern medical technology where the field of medicine broke the traditional concepts of surgery and medicines. X ray offered an unhindered vision into the human body which was not even dreamed of before.  Ever since then modern healthcare acquired a whole new meaning. The use of machines gave a definite diagnosis where only guesswork and assumptions were available previously.
In the present state, modern healthcare makes treatments easily available for the masses. Many instances can be given on how the lives of people have been touched by the new healthcare system.
‘Prevention is better than cure’
We all have said and heard this a thousand times at least. Vaccinations are probably the perfect examples for this. Vaccines may not be considered ‘modern’ but the advent of vaccines is one of the major reasons for the reduced infant mortality rates all over the world. The disease small pox was eliminated from the face of the earth only by vaccination. Dreadful disease polio is also on its way of extinction. Our country is already said to have eliminated polio. This was also done by the systematic vaccination schemes.
Awareness is an important aspect of the modern healthcare. With rising number of hospitals and clinics people have become aware of the diseases and various treatments. Earlier camps and all have to be conducted for the people. It was like going to the people with the medicine but now the population knows when to go to a doctor. I know this personally because I am a practising dentist. Earlier people come to a dentist when they have an unbearable toothache and they just want to extract the tooth but now they visit a dentist as soon as they suspect caries. Awareness of this level among the population has vastly helped to control many diseases. They have succeeded in assuring the constant rise of life expectancy of people in the country.
More and more people now come to a hospital and make use of the modern healthcare facilities because of the faith in the system. Many years back the majority of the people were sceptical of going to a hospital. They did not trust the medicines that were put into the veins. Now they embrace it. Modern facilities have the faith of the people which itself is a great deal while treating a disease.
This faith is mainly because they know there are only a few other fields where so much research takes place. Researches on all aspects of the medical field are taking place all over the world at an astonishing pace. With absolute surety I can tell you the researches taking place in the medical field touch the lives of each and every single person. Years back a block in the heart was a death sentence, now it is just another disease which can be treated surgically. Diabetes was a life shattering disease, now it is a life style changing condition.  Recently a hormone called betatrophin was discovered which could generate beta cells and the daily insulin shots can be stopped.  Dialysis was a rare and risky procedure done on terminal patients, these days many people get it down twice or thrice a week and lead a good life. Cancer was indeed the Emperor of Maladies. With wide spread availability of radiation, chemotherapy and surgical procedures cancer to some extent can be controlled. The results of such meticulous research are that diseases which were considered incurable in the yesteryears are being cured now. AIDS which was deemed as incurable is getting cures from different researches. It was only two months back that an infant was cured of AIDS. The actual drug might take some time to reach the market but it is a start.
 More than the actual procedures it is the latest in diagnostic techniques which can lead to an early detection and hence early treatment.  The different diagnostic techniques are being popularized nowadays for an early detection of the diseases. Oral cancer can be detected from the scrapings from the cheek. The advancements in the chemistry and physics have contributed a lot to the development of various diagnostic techniques.  Diagnostic scans based on nuclear medicine like bone scan and PET scan give a whole new perspective to diagnosis and treatment as they point out problems pertaining to specific locations of our body. These techniques show diseases and conditions of our body like never before. More and more people are opting for a routine health check-up twice a year because they know earlier you start treating better are the results.  
An aspect of modern healthcare which is said to be a downfall is the cost. Some may find the hospital costs exorbitant but in the same page something has to be added. It is that the cost is for the services offered; no other facilities have as much recurring expenses or overheads as healthcare field. The big machines used for diagnosis comes with a price. If a person takes a normal health insurance he or she will find the hospitals very much affordable, with more competitions in the insurance field patient is benefiting  Hospitals only are giving out special schemes for the needy, they just have to utilized.
Modern healthcare as many have perceived is not just the new medicines and big machines.  It is a holistic approach aiming to alleviate the sufferings of the patient and ensure a good standard of living. Modern healthcare uses the best of all proven modalities to treat a patient. It may include music therapy, yoga, meditation etc..  Meditation and yoga has been proven to reduce mental stress and fatigue thereby easing many of the physical problems.  Modern healthcare deviates from the strictly traditional setting and seek new methods to help the patient.  A healthy mind is the key to a healthy body.
Finally the most important of all is that modern healthcare gives hope. It gives hope to the patient and to their loved ones.  It gives hope to the most terminal of all patients that the modern healthcare system is advanced enough to cure them, that there will be some sort of experimental treatment somewhere in the world to cure them. It is all about the faith people have in the healthcare system. So how does modern healthcare touch lives? By giving them hope.

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work... I want to achieve it through not dying
Woody Allen 

This post is written as an entry to the Indiblogger contest 'How does modern healthcare touch lives?' in association with Apolo Hospitals .

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

God 2.0 : the Facebook avatar!

 I confess I was a facebook addict. I used to keep going to Facebook every 5 minutes. Update my status, likes, comments, birthday wishes and all that jazz. Then people/organizations start using facebook to spread their propaganda.
If it is on facebook then the youth are supporting it ideology has been there for some time now.  X puts something in facebook.  In a few hours there'll be 11234 likes and X is the hero of Facebook and the new face of the youth of the nation.
For illustrative purpose only. The number of likes is not edited.  
Indeed facebook was an instrument in many movements across the globe but you got to agree something is not so right when so many people something like this.
One day I realized there are more ads than funny updates, more share it if you agree philosophy crap than actual funny stuff, utter stupidities supposedly from Nobel prize winning scientists, requests for i-don't-know-what and-all  and finally the posts from God.  (No I did not mean the pony tailed, blue suit wearing smiling guru; Also not Sachin Tendulkar)

What I was talking about is the supreme, the most humorous, the one and only God himself. Well you gotta admit he is funny.  He let Ajay Devgan make Himmatwala, nobody bombed RGV even though his movies bombed and after proclaiming the autonomy of CBI for such a long time the CBI director only told it was not autonomous. You see what I am getting at right?
Ok I have gone way too much from the topic at hand. The topic is the umpteen number of posts/images/miracles shared over facebook.
They are indeed made by God in his leisure time and posted into the thousands of groups he owns under various fake profiles he created. (Think twice before adding that girl from Sweden who asked you about your sins)
So once he posts his followers (true followers) are meant to share/like and comment it is awesome. God keeps a tab on all those who see the post and not share/like. They will suffer for eternity in hell with a laptop and high speed internet with only facebook and no porn sites. (Please, I am not talking about future India; Devils court of law is much faster than the Honorable Supreme Court)
And so the numerous religious posts appear in my timeline.  I consider all the religious fanatics same because usually they are the ones who knows the least about their religion.
These posts usually start with a miracle that happened last week or last century, followed by its implication in the present age, the humble request to share it your friends and family to spread the word and finally the ignore it if you are heartless, ignore this if you don't care for the baby or don't share and you'll be watching Korean serials for eternity without the subtitles warnings.

Then there are these directions to live posts. They usually contain 3 to 3000 points on how to live according to the holy books of the concerned. They usually contain numerous references to the ghastly modern way of life like wearing jeans, watching tv, reading books, driving cars, drinking coffee, wishing others on their festivals etc. Some of these posts rather blatantly put across that not following those rules (some of them so archaic that deleting would require permission from the archaeology dept.) will ensure you in the eternal fire of hell for eternity.  These people (or God?) making those posts or images are really creative, they put realistic images to go with the matter. What surprises me more is the sheer number of people who share such posts.   If one through their timeline I am sure at place or the other one specific community is being targeted and tortured. There will be accompanying photos to prove their point and the innocent facebookers who see this will share it because they/we speak up against injustice and violence (in facebook, obviously).  High chances are those photos are photoshoped or would be of something totally different. Nobody might not even care what the photo shows, but still we share and like. Probably because deep down we are afraid if God is gonna see the posts we shared and liked on judgment day.  Fear is indeed a strong motivator. The way these propaganda people are posting stuff it is like God has asked them specifically to do a PR stunt on facebook to get to the new generation.
If God wanted us to blindly obey some self appointed preachers or godmen or to literally follow the holy texts he simply wouldn't have given us the free will, consciousness and the important ability to think for ourselves. He would have probably made some drones whose sole purpose of their existence is to worship the creator. It is like making a robot solely to promote the creator; doesn't really make any sense.
We shouldn't let anyone else bully us into feeling guilty for not doing something someone told hundreds or thousands of years back. Scriptures of every religion (except for Scientology perhaps) have been written in another era and it should never be literally interpreted in the present time.
Guilt is what we feel when we know we did something wrong and we all have a well developed mind to know the right from wrong, at least most of us. Use your own consciousness to know right from wrong rather than depending on what someone else told somewhere else sometime back.
It is rather an oxymoron that I'll be promoting this post  on Facebook only and request you my reader to share this or a komado dragon is going to snatch away your your lunch!

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Capital Crime

This is an open letter to the self appointed cultural/moral polices of our country.

A five year old girl has been brutally raped and tortured for four days in the capital city. 

Would you say it happened because the girl wore provocative dress??
Would you say it happened because she went out at night??
Would you say it happened because she was drinking??
Would you say it happened because she went out with another boy??

This happened to a five year old girl who went out to play, right outside her apartment. She was held a captive in the same neighborhood for four days and was tortured and the captive tried to kill her also.

It is sickening and depressing to read about such things in the newspaper, to watch endless debates on the tv.
Just five years. Age where she should be thinking about cartoons and imaginary friends. Her life will not be the same again.
After the brutal Delhi rape incident I was shocked to see some insensitive comments coming from people of position. The indifference to the plight of women in the society has come down to a new level now. The apathy of the law enforcement, the politicization of any such barbaric actions and the time consuming judicial process.
Is our country a haven for rapists and perverts? According to many the rapists did not do anything wrong, it was the victim who provoked them and the victim is to be blamed. I don't think anywhere else such an opinion even exist. Such idiotic comments and statements will only add on to the crimes against women. Anyone would think they can get away with such heinous activities. 
The so called proponents of the Bharath culture should not project their insecurities and attitude on to the youth. They shouldn't pass their archaic opinions as the opinion of the society they are said to be representing. The great culture they talk had widows burned alive. They are not accepting the change, they don't see the world is changing. Gone were the days when the man hunted and brought food while the women cleaned and cooked.
They should know that rape and other crimes against women are not something that happens only in India. There are deeper issues to be addressed but nothing of that sort happens here as they put the blame on the victim. They should make sure men should see a girl for the person she is and not as an object for their gratification.

The saddest and the most depressing part is not the nonsense comments of a few but the silence of the many.
Our country will continue to be a haven for such criminals till that silence is broken and the deep rot is removed. Only a few incidents in the metros will see the light of the day, the rest remain unsaid and unheard.

This post is dedicated to the unheard victims of various sexual crimes happening all over the country, to their silence. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Superman - 55 words fiction

"Guess what!  I am superman!" He said
"Really??" She asked
"Screw you. Why did you come? "
"So many questions otherwise"
"Can you give me a hug? "
They reached the ground together, embracing each other. Free fall from the 35th floor  can be fatal.
She slipped and he jumped after. Friendship till the end.

Monday, February 25, 2013

The King of Patiala and the Horse Riders

The King of Patiala was taking his usual morning stroll in the royal garden.  The interior affairs minister, a short rash guy came running to the king.
“Your highness! Emergency! The village youth had been found to sit on the royal emblem and the pride of our nation. The horse!”
“What?? How is it possible?? Isn't there rules against that??”
“I checked with the legal affairs minister your highness. He is on his way to meet you.  It seems the constitution has laid rules on how to breed the horse, what to feed the horse, by-laws on how to milk the horse, sub-clauses on the recipes for horse meat but there is no rule against sitting on the horse! I doubt this is a conspiracy by the enemy states to make the people lose their respect for the  royal emblem and so disintegrate the national unity which would make our country more vulnerable to the invasion ”
The minister told it so fast that the king understood only the last word.
“Well don’t just stand here then! Go make one law against that! Where is that legal affairs minister??”
“Your highness he will reach here soon. And there he is”
The minister said pointing to the bulky, very bulky legal affairs minister walking slowly, so slow that he’ll give an excellent competition to the a snail which is competing in a slow cycle race.
The king and the internal affairs minister stood affix waiting for the legal minister to reach them.
“Your highness I heard from the internal affairs minister about the sinister act of the youth in the village. What ought to be done?”
“What else? Make a new law banning all sorts of sitting and standing on the horse illegal. I want it done before sundown today!”
“Yes your highness!” The legal affairs minister then started his very slow walk back to his office.
“Well done minister for the swift action. You deserve the ‘Order of the Horse Mane’ award!” King was indeed pleased with the interior affairs minister.
The minister left and the king resumed his walk around the garden.

Four innocent hapless young men were arrested from the village the next day while playing a new game on their pets.
 They were sentenced to five years in prison upon the charges of showing disrespect to the national emblem, trying to disintegrate the national unity, conspiring with the enemies against the kingdom, plotting to overthrow the king and finally drinking the horse milk other than how it was directed in the constitution.  Of course the evidences were all circumstantial.

(You may think this is an euphemism or metaphors or something like that but the author is not responsible for  what the reader makes of this story!)
(This story is dedicated to my close friend, whose conversations laid the ground for the Kingdom of Patiala and has asked me to write about it here.) 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Travelling light. .

I went to the Kochi Muziris Biennale yesterday and I did not take a camera with me.
What is the big deal you may ask. Photography is one of my passions and I bought my first camera around a year back. Being photo obsessed I really wanted to take the camera, but due to some inconvenience my camera was not with me and there was no chance I could get another one.  With deep regrets I still went.  The following are the thoughts which arose on travelling light, without the burden of a camera, without the urge to click photos of anything and everything.
 This is not about the Biennale as such; I don’t think I can write about it as it is literally beyond words. This is just a thought I had when I walking through exhibits without the weight of a camera hanging on my neck or mind.
The first stall itself was really captivating and I couldn’t come out of it without taking a photo at least in my phone. People who know my obsession know that I really hate photos taken on a phone. I don’t know why, I just hate it. In spite of that I still took one photo.
Then I was literally lost on the works that was displayed, till I reached the food stall. Not having a camera was in fact a releasing feeling.  I did not have to bother waiting for the crowd to move to take the photo. Don’t have to worry about the quality of the photos. I can just walk through the exhibits. The food stall was located behind the venue, right next to the backwaters. The sight was really good and almost all of those people coming there immediately took out their cameras and started clicking photos.  The first thought that came to my head also was that. The location is picture perfect. The backwaters, a small country bout in the vicinity and some other boats a bit out into the waters.

 As I sat down there and observed people, I saw that more of them came there and rather than seeing the scene they immediately turn their backs to the scene and front to the camera, but is it worth it? Sacrificing the the time to stand there and enjoy the scene we immediately look around to find the perfect spot to take a photo.  We might probably upload it in Facebook and get ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ but beyond that what? We’ll keep it in it our computers? I am not sure about others but I have to keep the photos in my system in an organized manner but most of the time it ends there.
 So once I was done with the first location i.e the Aspinwall HouseI moved on to the next location in the map; the Pepper House. There a very good café was arranged. I must have sat there for around 45 minutes and wrote random thoughts about whatever I have seen till then.
Memories need not be always captured with a camera. Memories are those which are etched in our minds. Cameras literally capture everything, just because we have a camera we tend to take photos of our breakfast to the dog we saw on the road. The so called ‘moments’ are sometimes spoiled by our obsession to record and keep it forever. The actual moments or memories are often lost among such hundreds of photos. Real memories are those which are recreated in words with the person whom you share the memory with. It need not be showed off to the world.
 Sitting at the café I could capture the images of the people sitting near me as words, it would look weird if I start taking their photos.
Do try it once in a while, go to some place nice without the heaviness of a camera and keep those moments in your memory.
(Those who can do visit the Kochi Muziris Biennale, it is something I haven’t seen till now, totally worth it!)

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