Sab Theek Ho Jayega !

My photo
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 !

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Eighteen year old curse !

During our recent travel by train from Goa to Kochi, my family of five had a terrible experience. Being vegetarians, we literally had to starve through our journey between Kasaragod and Kochi. Not a grain of vegetarian food was available on board or in railway stations in Kerala.

I even wrote to the New Indian Express in the letters to the Editor column. I went to the extent of calling Kerala “God’s own Non-vegetarian Country” Being a vegetarian in Kerala is a big curse. Be it functions, parties or during travel; we have to suffer for want of quality food. And I don’t have any hopes this will ever change. Vegetarians will always remain second-class citizens in Kerala.

But was I a veggie all my life? Far from it, I was a vociferous non-vegetarian until a decade ago. I used to love chicken, fish, prawns and crabs. We used to have jokes like “I love animals, they are so very tasty!”

But once my little daughter was born in November 1998, things started to change. Whenever I saw fish in the aquarium or little chicken running around, I used to feel a tug somewhere inside me. I used to think, “Oh Goodness, aren’t these the same things that I am eating?” There was an unfailing tendency to equate the chicken and fish with my little one. But my lust for that taste was so strong, I couldn’t quit.

Then came that defining moment in April 1999. We were visiting Tirupathi with our five months old daughter and with my in-laws. I was carrying our daughter most of the times since she was a little too heavy for the others! She was 10.5kg at 5 months !

In the Padmavathi Temple, with a big crowd pushing and pulling us all over the place, we had to exchange hands to carry her in turns. During one such exchange, the baby’s head hit against the wooden door frame and the baby went blue and breathless. She wasn’t breathing and wasn’t crying either.

That was an absolutely desperate moment for all of us. At that moment I was praying to all those Gods whose existence I have always questioned. I was praying for the safety of my little one. And I made a resolution at that moment “Oh God, save my baby and I shall never ever eat non-vegetarian stuff again”. I have remained a diehard and born-again vegetarian since then and it is a decade now!

Now I go back to 1991. In our Medical College Hostel in Bellary, we had many blocks for boys. We had as many messes. Most of them were mixed messes that catered non-vegetarian food on select days.

We also had an exclusive Vegetarian mess in our block. There were a handful of vegetarians. Others were forced to eat vegetarian food due to the rules of the mess. I was one of those members who fought and succeeded in changing the mess into a non-vegetarian mess.

We were euphoric on the day when chicken was served for the first time in the mess. We also had an exhilaratingly satisfying feeling after having vanquished those bloody vegetarians! What right did they have to force us to eat grass? We quoted Ivan Lendle “Grass is for cows and we are not cows!”

Life has indeed come a full circle for me since then. Eighteen years is a long long time and today, I am at the receiving end. Perhaps, it is the curse of those poor little vegetarians that forced us to starve for want of availability of vegetarian food on that dreadful train journey. But will I ever change? No, I am a vegetarian by conviction today and will remain one, come rain or shine!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Tension in Life; A Perspective of a Doctor who is Human First !

Do you Smoke ?

This is the commonest question we Doctors ask our patients during the routine history. Working in the ICCU for nearly a decade and a half and dealing with Heart Patients almost all the time, this has become a stock question for me. So much so, I have had great difficulty while I "Interrogate" the ladies; especially elderly ones ! Imagine a much younger man asking a seventy year old lady "Do you smoke ?"

If the man says an emphatic "No", he is mostly right. But if he sounds a bit sheepish, then the next line will be, "Never tell lies to your Doctor and to your Lawyer". That is a Malayalam saying. The truth is both Doctors and Lawyers mostly deal with differing magnitudes of falsehoods.

Usually this one works and then he'll say "Err... sometimes / occasionally / once in a while". So I ask, "How while is once in a while ?" Our job becomes easy from here. We can blame smoking for all his problems. From a lung problem to a stroke to a heart attack to a common cold to a lack of libido, you can blame all of them on the cigarette.

To those who have never smoked all life; we can say, "Well, that makes both your and my jobs easy. You have a better chance of doing well compared to a smoker !"

Now moving to the smokers; there are those occasional smokes, the frequent smokers, those who smoke only outside the house and then the chronic smokers. The addicted smokers are more difficult to deal than the alcohol addicts. They think smoking is a lesser evil and even consider it as a stress buster.

There are many jokes about smoking and smokers. The famous one was by George Bernard Shaw about the Cigarette having 'Fire' at one end and a 'Fool' at the rear end ! But smokers counter this by saying; The Greatest King ever was, is and will be SmoKing !

I personally know some people who consider smoking dearer to them than even the family, well only sometimes. A close friend who also happens to be a relative has a real problem. He has tried, or shall I say people have tried a million things to help him quit smoking. But he still can't stay off that lousy stuff for more than half an hour !

We all know smoking starts as curiosity for a little fellow, becomes a statement of style for a youth, a pastime initially for a working man, then a habit forming stress buster for the middle-aged and finally an addiction for a lifetime !

But at anytime in life, when a Doctor counters a smoker with the question, "Why do you smoke ?"; there is almost a uniform and stock answer, TENSION ! "What tension ?" has always been my next question. The answers have varied from being arrogant to absolutely dumb to plain obnoxious !

Here are some of the answers...

My work involves huge tension because I am in charge of an entire section in a Super-Market !

I am a Software Engineer and we have very stiff targets to meet. You can never understand the stress !

I am a head load worker. It is a tough job. We have a lot of worries and tensions. It is difficult to manage.

I am in the Insurance Sector. There is cut-throat competition. We need to be alert all the times. Smoking helps to relieve tension. And I don't smoke all that much, may be 10 - 12 cigarettes a day !

I am a Script-writer for TV Serials. My creativity depends on smoking. Output suffers when I don't get my Gold flake Kings. You can't imagine the tension we undergo during shooting !

I am an Advocate. There can't be any other profession with as much stress. The tension I have to face before a live hearing in the court can't be described. I calm down after a fag and am confident to go before the Judge.

I am a businessman. There are thousand tensions in business. Everyday we have to look into so many issues and when you settle all those, you have new problems waiting for you. How can we relax if we don't smoke ?

So much of tension I must say ! And then some of the ridiculous answers...

My wife is not good in the bed and I can't even enjoy life. All tension. What else is there for enjoyment ?

My mother and wife keep on fighting all the time. There is no peace of mind. So much tension !

I suspect my wife is having an affair with a man in her office. I can't do anything because she doesn't care. I am not that kind of a guy who beats up the wife. So much tension you see !

My daughter is of marriage age but we are not able to find a groom and so much tension ! For this one I asked, how old is your daughter and how long have you been smoking ? He admitted, she is 24 and I am smoking since about 35 years but it has increased now due to unbearable tension ! Aha...!

After going through all these answers, the reader must have realized one thing. We don't know if "God" exists, but if there is something "Omnipresent" it has to be TENSION !

My story doesn't end here. I ask all these people the following question, "By chance, if something goes wrong at your workplace or at home, does someone die ? Has anyone lost a life if you make a mistake ?"

The answers have mostly been... "Well, nobody dies, but why do you ask?"

I just tell them: "I am working in this ICCU. I deal with heart patients and Heart Attacks every single day of my life. If I commit a mistake or mostly even if I don't, People will DIE. Have you ever shoved in a tube into the throat of a man and injected medicines directly into his heart and thumped on his chest and given shock to him ? How often have you seen a person who was talking to you just a few minutes ago suddenly collapse and end up as a dead body ? How will you take it if you have to tell a 70 year old widow that her 45 year old son has just died of a heart attack ?... And you say YOU have Tensions ?"

What is your take ?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Those Wonderful Little Things !

Proud Father of a Loving Daughter !

Life truly is strange. Little things in life make a big difference to us and little kids often humble us. I am talking about my own kid. My most precious treasure that is my Daughter.

She is all of ten years old and is in Class VI. Her name is Samskruthy. The meaning of this word is civilization or culture. I had always kept this close to my heart and wanted to name my daughter Samskruthy.

I always yearned for a baby girl for myself even while I was a very young boy. When I was 21 or so, I decided to name her Samskruthy ! I married 5 years later and she came another year later. Ever since, my life and that of my wife has revolved around her.

I am a proud father because my child is a fairly nice kid and is reasonably good at studies. She also loves to sing and dance, like most of the kids. I have encouraged her to do what she loves. She is pretty famous with her friends, teachers and even my friends because of her nature, looks and talent.

I have thought of my daughter to be very lucky because she was ‘blessed’ with a doting father and a loving family. It never really struck me how much my little one loved me and what I meant to her. And then happened this ‘Little’ incident during our recent visit to Goa.

It was a family affair at Goa with a lot of people from my father’s family gathering for a function. Since we settled down in Kochi about a decade ago, our visits to my native place and to our family members have been rare and only for special occasions.

My little one was thoroughly enjoying the affection and adulation of people from my place. Everyone was talking about how cute and beautiful she has grown up into. Every adult was congratulating me for having a very obedient child.

And then there were the other children; the children of my cousins. One teen-aged boy whose name is Sreenivas aka Shinnu was the leader of the pack. There was Venkatraman aka Ajay, Anusree aka Ammunu and Kanthisree aka Tipny. Shinnu was very keen to play 'Big Brother' to my daughter because he rarely got a chance to do that due to the distance between our places.

We were staying in rooms attached to the Maha Lakshmi Temple at Ponda. We had to walk about three quarters of a kilometer to the canteen for the dinner. On our way, I was walking ahead of all. Shinnu was leading the kids a few paces behind me. They were chatting and were generally enjoying.

Shinnu suddenly asked my daughter, “Who is your favorite hero ?” I overheard my little one tell “Govind Raj Shenoy” This was absolutely unexpected for all of us around and it completely humbled me and Shinnu was absolutely surprised.

He came running to me and was ecstatic ! He was shouting jubilantly, “Govind Bappa it is so wonderful to hear Samskruthy. Simply superb ! I expected her to come up with answers like Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan or Hritik Roshan. But what she told means 'My Father is my Hero' India will be a much better place with a father like you and a daughter like her !”

Now, isn’t it cute, touching, heartwarming, humbling, overwhelming and love-inspiring all at once ? I am writing this with a real lump-in-the-throat feeling.

I don’t know if India will be a better place with fathers like me, but it sure will be a wonderful place with daughters like HER ! I have learned a very precious lesson about love and affection and I shall remember and treasure this !

Dr. Pun-dit

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Thanks to Kerala and West Bengal!

I am a confirmed BJP supporter for the Economic policies and for many other reasons. But I am not in favor of Ram Senas and riots. I abhor violence even in movies and prefer romantic comedies. So today's Election verdict was a shocker for me because BJP has lost badly and Congress has won handsomely.

I am not a fan of Manmohan Singh and I am not particularly fond of Sonia Gandhi's family. But even in BJP's defeat, I find a silver lining. That silver lining is provided by the voters of our own Kerala and West Bengal. The Communists have been more or less descimated and demoralized by this reversal. It augurs well for the future of the country that the Left is defeated and left behind. For five years now; well four and a half years actually, they did backseat driving with the MMS government. Even though I don't have great love for Congress, I don't abhor it like I do with the Commies. I consider Communists to be obscurantists and anti-progress.

Being a highly Politically concious person, I have found only the Communists to be the real untouchables in the present day India. And I am happy for the near future. I hope the Congress does pay back with something substantial for the faith the people have reposed in it. And now they have the Communists off their back too!

So Congratulations and Good Luck MMS, Sonia and Co! Please work for ALL the people of India!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Whoa... Goa!

We went to Goa on a part pilgrimage and part family function. We here is my family of five; Father, Mother, Wife, my Little one and Me. We were in Goa for 3 days. From 5 May to 7 May.

I must say Goa is a very friendly place. It has a lazy elegance about it. Lazy because you see the life in slow motion here. Even a small Coffee shop will behave like a Five-Star Hotel. They will take a minimum of half an hour to serve coffee for 3 people. Not once did we see any urgency in Goa :-). Elegance is the identity of Goa. The clean and neat beaches, the monumental Churches and the beautiful Konkani Temples; Goa is simply fantastic.

It was really very hot out there. But we had to make the most of whatever time we had and we sure did just that. We did manage to enrich the soft-drink companies in the bargain. I can't remember how many of those sweet, aerated bottles I guzzled down to beat the heat. My little one was a close second in this Championship.

Due to time constraints and fatigue, we had to beat the retreat on 7 May and spend most of the time in the comforts of AC rooms in Nanutel Hotel in Madgaon that day. So what will I remember about Goa? The Taxi Drivers, the Beach Boys and the Shopkeepers were all simply very helpful and honest! I haven't seen such politeness and friendly nature anywhere except in Himachal Pradesh.

I must add: I loved Goa... Whoa ! We will be back, during winter to enjoy the cozy and adorable hospitality in a better weather!