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, April 14, 2009

A Master Piece ?

Jack of all trades but Master of none !

So many times since childhood I have heard the cliched saying, “Jack of all trades but Master of none!” I have wondered about it as many times too. The first such a person I remember was a cycle repairer in my own little town of Karkala. He was very popular for his helpful nature.

He could repair quite a lot of things apart from bicycles. He sometimes caught snakes. He had his reward too in the form of a photograph printed on the front page of the local newspaper along with the reptile. He was the first one to arrive with help and moral support whenever someone died in our town. And he stayed till all the members of the bereaved family had taken some food after the funeral.

He played Chess with his friends when he had no work and even when he had work. He ran errands for the older ladies in return for a coffee. Yes, a strong filter coffee with jaggery as sweetener. The coffee was not his wages but was just a way of saying “I belong to you!” And for all his kindness, he was called “Maryaada Raman” after the mythical character.

As I grew up, I realized there are so many of these people among us. The Jacks were there all over the place. But today when I have seen a lot more of this world, I realize it is the other way around. The Jacks are not there all over the place. The truth is, there is a Jack in all of us; every one of us. Howsoever hard we try, becoming a Master isn’t an easy task.

I see a Jack every day, everywhere and in fact every time I look into the mirror. I am not Mastered anything in life. But I believe I can manage so many things in day to day life. Hence I qualify to be a Jack. I can fix most of the problems with my PC and internet connection. I have also repaired my father’s LED lamp, a three-fold umbrella and the number lock of my wife’s suitcase successfully. When a plumber failed to turn up to fix a tap in our home, I fixed it myself and saved rupees 350 for my wife. I have corrected most of the snags with my wife’s mobile phone.

I also have learned to fix the Treadmill Stress Testing system and Holter monitoring system at our hospital. I helped with the project work of my daughter and could see that was a decent job. I have even prepared coffee and made fresh lime soda for guests. Once I was honored to be the Chief Guest for a function at my daughter’s school. I managed to give a speech in Malayalam and even that came off okay. Actually by the age of forty, everyone has become a Jack, you like it or not.

Why do I consider myself a Jack ? Let me start from childhood. I was reasonably okay with studies, but was never the real topper in my class at any time. I played Cricket, Football, Badminton, Kabaddi, Volleyball and almost all the games that were played by the boys and girls of my age in those days. Though people told I was fairly good, I never really won anything.

I once ran a hundred meters race and came fourth out of the six that started. I tried my hand at painting and won too. A consolation prize! Every single participant won it. I participated in elocution, extempore speaking and singing and won a second prize for singing. Yes second prize !

As I moved to high school, I was more interested in Cricket and thought I could become a great all-rounder. I really believed, I could bat like Sunil Gavaskar and bowl like Shivaramakrishnan. But all my skills somehow were limited to my backyard where I could spin the ball miles and was never beaten or bowled by any ball. However during the matches; the pitch, the weather, the planetary positions, the umpires, the coconut tree just inside the long on boundary and practically every force on earth conspired against me and I came up cropper most of the times.

Then I moved to college. During PUC, I really started realizing my skills were extremely ordinary when it came to sports, games or any extra-curricular activities. So I concentrated on studies. Because, otherwise I would have ended up repairing bicycles like my father and I didn’t like that idea one bit. Thankfully I got through the entrance and ended up in Medical College Bellary.

Once in the Medical College, I was away from home and started to see the world. I learned a hell of a lot from the hostel life. During the ragging days, I learned to act and also to sing. Act sick to escape ragging. It did help to scare the daylights out of a senior who dared to rag me. I sang and won the second prize more than once, but never the first !

I learned the fact that you can’t live on past laurels. The marks I got in PUC or the rank I got in entrance were absolutely useless. I had to slog as hard as the other students to hold my forte. There were a lot of bitter lessons. But I am a zillion times better today thanks to those lessons.

I even learned to eat brinjal thanks to the hostel life. I started to appreciate my mother’s cooking only after I ate all the stuff dished out by the cooks in our mess. I have no doubt about one thing though. The Hostel Mess was very aptly called “Mess”. You couldn’t think of any other name. What a holy mess it used to be !

During the growing up period, I also grew up as a Critic, Writer and Satirist. I could see fun in the most grievous matter and sarcasm in Holy Scriptures. I could shred into pieces any piece of writing or an art. Movies were my favorite. I once commented about a movie, “This movie is absolutely useless till the interval…” When people asked, What about the post interval ? I told, “Well, it only gets worse from there !” This kind of sarcasm made me an armchair critic. Guys and girls often took my opinion on movies before they went to watch them.

I also wrote articles on our wall-journal. Once I criticized the tendency of Kannadigas to wake up on first of November every year to show their love for the language and then promptly go back to sleep for the next 364 days. This received a lot of support and an equal amount of flak. But I realized I could write. Because what is a write up if it doesn’t create some action and reaction ? One should know the fact. If what you write doesn’t evoke reactions, the writing is on the wall !

I completed my Medical Graduation and came down to Kochi, Kerala in 1995 and settled down here. I have seen life here for nearly fifteen years now. The people here are lot more politically inclined and are almost entirely polarized behind one of the two fronts.

There is an irony in Kerala politics. There are two Democratic Fronts, United and Left. But both of them have managed to pull the state “Back” in terms of overall development and infrastructure advancement. When I talk about this to the natives, they prefer to talk about secularism, Ishrat Jehan, exploitation of working class and the rights of citizens. The leftward of them also point out the Chief-minister’s daring act of demolishing buildings in Kochi, Munnar and other places.

I started to write to “Letters to the Editor” column in the Indian Express. Some of my letters were published and some were dumped into the waste basket. Even those published were heavily edited. Their job was to edit and they were doing a fine job of it. In one of the letters that was published, not one word was changed by the Editor. That was the first word, Sir! All else was his own, but the name was mine. What I thought were real issues didn’t appeal to the Editors and I understood another truth. Even as a Critic, I was just a Jack !

And finally to conclude what has been a really long post, even in my chosen profession of being a Doctor, I have remained a Jack. I never got a chance pursue Post-Graduation. So I don’t have a Masters Degree and have remained a Bachelor of Medicine. Today I am working as an Intensivist cum General Practitioner; and am a Jack of almost all trades in Medicine, but not a Master of any. So this is one real Jack for a lifetime !

So can I call this post as my Master Piece ?

No, I will settle for a Jack Piece !

Dr. Pun-dit


  1. Personally, i believe it takes a superhuman to be a Jack of all trades, cos its so much easier to master just one or none. So, Bravo Dr. Jack! :) And long live the Tribe of Jacks!

  2. Well done! Good effort, I was very eager to read this one and it is the first thing I did once I came home and I am not disappointed.
    Has your trade mark wit, and that thing which makes you what ever you are, intelligence! It was 'unstoppable' because, like film by a good director, this piece has lot of de'javu elements.
    Try your luck with some thing serious.
    Good Luck, you are blossoming fast.

  3. Good one.. A lot of places where I can identify with personally (& I'm sure, a lot of us can too)
    Well, one of my motto is Jack of all trades & master of as many as you can.. If not, be a jack of all trades & master of none... It's far better than being a Master of just one & a jack of all else! ;-)

  4. Welcome Gunnyboy. This is an old post. I resurrected because I was not promoting my blog earlier :-)


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