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, January 22, 2010

One incident I would like to change in my life...

We all have our share of stupidities, follies and then missed opportunities. I too have so many of those. But if I am given a chance to go back and change 'ONE THING' that happened in my life; this has to be it.

It was in December 2002 during the wedding of my cousin at a place called Shirali near Kundapur. My family of five, both of my sisters, both bothers in law and their kids had traveled from Kochi to Kundapur by a Tempo Traveler. It sure was a daunting journey. But it all comes out well when you're surrounded by your loved ones. So was it for us. Only hitch was that my 4 year old daughter was suffering from a respiratory infection with cold and cough. We were managing her with medicines and a lot of care.

Once in Kundapur, we had little time to relax and we had to reach Shirali for the function on the eve of the wedding. My wife and me had told our daughter not to run around during the function and to sit quiet like a good girl. But having my little niece Prajna for company with other kids joining, she did run around a bit.

And then in our hotel room in the night, she started to cough. We gave medicines and hot water, but there was no relief. Since it was well past midnight and we had a very important function next day, both me and my wife were irritated. Both of us started admonishing our little one, "Didn't we tell you not to run around? Didn't we tell you to sit quiet? Look at this now, you are suffering and we too can't sleep." As our decibels were increasing, our child looked up and with all the innocence of a 4 year old asked, "Appa, Amma, but what did I do?"

It was like a sinking feeling. I was almost gutted by guilt. I asked my wife, "But Vidya, what the hell are we doing? This is OUR child. Not some enemy and it is she who is suffering, not us" My wife's eyes too started to well up. I said the most pained 'SORRY' of my life to the most precious one in my life and then took her in my arms and put her on my chest and cuddled her and hummed some songs for her. Did the medicines start working or the love? Love I believe; the child went to sleep on my chest and slept like a child without a single cough!

I tried to force a child of 4 to sit quiet, it was my stupidity. I admonished her when she was coughing, it was my folly. I had to correct myself when she asked that question and the opportunity was there. Right there and right then I corrected myself. I didn't miss the opportunity! Thank Goodness for that!

But still, I have never been able to forgive myself for what I did that night. Looking back, I have realized an important truth. Even this happened for good. I have 'Never Ever' been rude to my child again! And that... Will NOT happen again. How can I forget those innocent eyes and the haunting little beautiful face of that Christmas eve?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Name... Is there something in it?

Naam gum jaayega, chehra yeh badal jaayega, meri aawaaz hi pehechaan hai...
This was a fabulous Bhupindar Singh - Lata Mangeshkar song from the movie Kinaara. So very apt for two fabulous singers.

What is there in a ‘Name’? A rose would smell as sweet by any name! Is it true? It has been an obsession for me to follow ‘Names’. Not just the high and the mighty, but just about any or all names.

Let us look at some examples. Imagine Mohammed Yusuf Sarwar Khan becoming a Super Star in immediate post-independence era. So he became Dilip Kumar. So many famous movie stars have changed names, rechanged names and then added or deleted letters to their names. All for the sake of 'Fame and Name'. Future generations will not even know Rajesh Khanna was actually Jatin, Amitabh was Srivastav and Dilip Kumar was a Khan. Coming to Khan, the most awaited Hindi movie of 2010 is ‘My Name is Khan’. This again deals with 'Name'. Kamal Hassan, a Tamil Hindu faced harassment with the Xenophobic US Authorities because of his ‘Name’ that sounded like a Muslim name. So this ‘Khan’ too might have to face a similar fate.

In the massive hit comedy ‘3 Idiots’, the character ‘Piya’ played by Kareena Kapoor tells Aamir Khan that she doesn’t want to change her surname because Chanchad was unacceptable to her. During the feel good climax, she is happy that Aamir Khan is not Ranchod Das Chanchad. But when he divulges his original name, she is the only one upset in the scene. She finds Phunsukh Wangdu much worse than Chanchad. She is somewhat confused but still emphatically declares that she’ll not change her surname after marriage. This is typical of human race, or at least most of us. Be it individuals, people, castes, religions, regions, states, nations and continents; we are prone to this discriminatory attitude at every level. Anything we are not used to, has to be funny, unacceptable or worse! So Piya fails to understand why her own father’s name was twisted by his hateful wards. Veeru Sahasrabudhdhe becomes Virus Budhdhe for the irate Farhan in the movie.

When I was in class V, a teacher used to call me, Govinda Raya and how I used to hate it! Being a huge fan of ‘Raj’ Kapoor, I always wanted my name to be Govind Raj. Anyone adding the additional ‘a’ was unacceptable and ‘Y’ was yuck! Today living a busier life, I have started realizing something even worse. Looking back at many places where I had written my name on paper, there was something extremely funny. The curve at the tail of ‘J’ had gone missing many a times when I had written my name in a hurry and I had become… GOVIND RAT :-)

Malayalees have this tendency to choose unique names for the kids. This has been there for ages I believe. Earlier, it used to be names of freedom fighters and heroes. So there were a lot of local born Bhagavat Singhs or Raveendranath Tagores. Then came the craze for short names. Aji, Biji, Ciji, Diji, Fiji, Giji and so on. Ani, Bini, Cini, Dini, Fini, Gini and so on. When I first landed in Kerala in 1995, this used to be a culture shock. I still am not able to remember names of most of the girls in our hospital because I am always confused which alphabet to begin with!

Then there are some really outrageous names. Nespu, Crispi, Typsi, Cissy, and Lovesy. Now, the last name was definitely a lousy one, but do the rest of them make any sense? But when it comes to most outrageous name ever, how about a girl named… Vagina! I leave it to your imagination how she must have felt once she understood the meaning of it.

Recently a fast bowler is doing rather well for England and his captain has called him a legend. His name is ‘Onions’. South Africans must be feeling a really pungent taste every time they see this guy. After all, he is responsible for a 3-1 verdict in a 4 test series ending up as a 1-1 tie. Now let us come to India. If a north Indian were to have a surname ‘Pyaj’ or ‘Batata’ what a miserable life he would have had. I haven’t so far met a Malayalee or Tamil named ‘Ulli’ or ‘Sawala’. But in Karnataka we had a senior lecturer from Hubli who was called ‘Ullagaddi’. I don’t know if Mr. Onions is related to this gentleman. They both mean the same!

My surname too was ridiculed by some of my friends. Shenoy means someone who maintains accounts in my mother tongue, Konkani. But once one Devendra Reddy, a very good friend of mine told, “Hey Shenoy, your name can be spilt like this, She Nai… Nai in Kannada means Dog. Everyone around laughed big time. Well, I have never been known to keep accounts. Settling things then and there, was my policy. So I told him this story...

A father was going for an evening walk with his 5 year old son. The curious lad used to ask a million questions to his father. The father had real tough time answering them. When they saw a man walking with a white dog and the boy asked, ‘Papa, what is the name of this dog?’ Father told, ‘Whitey’. A little later, they saw a black dog and the boy again asked the name. The flustered Father told it was ‘Blackey’. As they moved further, they came across a ‘Browney’ too. And then they saw a Red Dog! I stopped my story here. My friend just looked at me blankly for some time and told, ‘You Bloody fellow, you never like to lose!’

With this I sign off, but hope to be back with more! The stupid, the funny and the outrageous!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

God's Own Country !

I live in Kochi, known as the Financial Capital of Kerala, calling itself the most literate state in India. I work in a Private Hospital in the Department of Cardiology. Hence I see mostly people suffering from heart diseases. I have seen men as young as 29 suffer 'Heart Attack'. When I look back at the past decade and a half of my experience as a Doctor, the most sinister entity that stands out is "Smoking".

We read the news item about the soaring sales graph of the Kerala Beverages Corporation and the record created by all the 'Alcohol Lovers' of Kerala during the Christmas and New Year. But very little is mentioned anywhere about the sales of cigarettes and those cheap and dirty beedies.

Smoking and Diabetes are two of the worst culprits we have identified as the 'Primary Evils' behind Heart Attacks. Doctors coax, plead, admonish and even threaten people so as to make them quit smoking. But somehow the number of smokers has not come down since I took my first steps in this profession, neither has the number of packets smoked by people dwindled.

I did dwell upon this in an earlier post titled "The Greatest Question". But I am compelled to write again on what I consider as the most offensive of the human habits. I have seen some really obnoxious drunkards. I have also seen those dirty men who beat up the women of the house. Then we always have Politicians, child molesters and murderers. And then we have 'Smokers'!

I have discovered to my dismay that this breed is the most shameless of all. They smoke in public places when there is a Supreme Court Ban. They litter the nature with those rotten pieces of cigarettes. They don't bother when men and women around them turn their noses away or openly show their dislike. Smokers are Smokers and they'll smoke come what may!

But the most horrific thing is when you see the people of the so called most literate state in India smoke in HOSPITAL WARDS! Yes, we have boards asking people not to smoke. We also have Nurses and Supervisors requesting each and every inmate to desist from smoking. But unfortunately, I am witnessing blatant violation of rules, conventions and public decency by smokers.

You can't venture out of a Cinema hall during intermission because you will be engulfed by the smoke. Some unscrupulous guys smoke even inside the Air-conditioned halls. I once complained to a TTE because someone was smoking inside an AC Railway compartment. The culprit escaped Scott free, but left an entire compartment stinking.

When caught red-handed, some of the smokers sheepishly throw away the butt. Some will feign ignorance and say someone else must have been smoking when you can clearly see from where the stink is emanating from. Some will counter with convoluted logic of stress and tension. But the worst case is when you have caught someone and requested him not to smoke inside the hospital premises; and you see the same person smoking again! This infuriating nature is unique perhaps to Malayalee. I apologize straight away if I am wrong, but I have never seen any other species doing this.

When will we people learn to respect the laws and rules and learn to behave?
When will we get to breath some fresh air in our "God's Own Country?"
When and will we ever?

Friday, January 8, 2010

“All izz well” in the Happy New Year !

I woke up exactly at 6:00 AM in spite of sleeping very late after wishing my friends a happy new year. I was feeling as fresh and as energetic as a 25 year old even though I will be 40 this year. As much as I wish to remain 25, my body has shown signs of the age catching up.

But this must be a perfect beginning for a new year. When I walked into the living room, my Mom was pleasantly surprised. On a normal day, my wife has to wake me up with persistent nagging. And here I was up and looking fresh at 6:00 AM. For once my Mom had not forgotten the day. She said, “What a great beginning, Happy New year!” I reciprocated with equal warmth and walked towards my daughter’s room. By the way, there was not a single missed call on my mobile !

The bed was immaculately neat in my daughter's room and there was no sign of my 11 year old. Hence I walked to my treadmill and there I see my wife on the treadmill and my daughter doing the abdominal exercise on the abs-crunch. Both of them wished me a really happy new year. My wife told, “It is my New Year resolution to lose 15 kilos this year and I am going to achieve that before the next Christmas holidays” And she added, “It’s your turn on the treadmill. We are finished and are going to take a shower” Wow !

I got onto treadmill and finished 20 minutes of vigorous exercise. After cooling down, I shaved and took my shower. Everything was in perfect shape. As I stepped out of my room, my daughter came with her report card. It was a pleasure to sign a report card that showed A+ in all subjects and all extra-curricular activities.

A usually lazy girl had done exceptionally well in the sports and games too. The Physical Director had added a fond note, ‘Most improved Child in the school’. What a day ! In a total departure from our routine mornings; my daughter was doing everything in time and my wife wasn’t screaming at her or at anyone.

My breakfast as usual was bland curd rice with some vegetables. And I was on my way to the hospital before 7:15 AM. What I saw on the road was beyond my imagination. The road was completely renovated. Not a single pothole. I pinched myself to see if it was a dream !

Feeling great, I was driving really fast and I saw an Auto-rickshaw approaching the main road from the left and I slowed down. The Buses and Auto-rickshaws in Kochi are so notorious for rash, rude and dangerous driving. But again I was floored by the driver halting his vehicle to let me go and he took the turn after me. He was keeping the left lane.

Then I saw a bus behind me and again slowed down to let him go. But even the bus-driver humbled me by keeping to left and not even making an attempt to overtake. No honking. No thumping the sides of the bus to scare my small car.

I could see why there was so much order ! Every road was policed and had sign-boards. Pedestrian crossings were manned. Safety alerts were beautifully erected at every corner. The North Bridge was a sight to behold. The bikes and Auto-rickshaws were taking the side bridge and there was absolute order. Is this too good to be true?

It took me only 7 minutes to reach the hospital. Once there, the slot given to me for parking was vacant. The watchman had made sure nobody parked any two-wheelers there. I lodged my bag in my room and everyone was wishing “Happy New Year” with absolute cheer.

The ICCU was unusually calm, though it was almost full. No ventilator patients and none critical. The night-duty Doctor was pleasant and told me that even though there were some admissions during night, it never was hectic or bad. After keeping my iced tea in the fridge, I went for rounds. Everything was in order. But for me, the most surprising thing was I didn’t lose my temper even when I saw some minor discrepancies.

The Out-Patient department was as usual busy and we had enough appointments to keep myself busy. All the technicians were available on this day and the work was flowing with no hindrance whatsoever. I finished my lunch of 2 bananas at exactly 12:00 Noon and never felt hypoglycemic.

I was able to finish all the appointments and my afternoon rounds by 3:00 PM. After updating my files on the PC, I still had some time for coffee with my Doctor friends. Everyone was happy with a brilliant take off for the year 2010. And the coffee was simply great. I did check the messages and reciprocated New Year wishes to all the well wishers. What a fantastic day on which I never lost my cool or snapped at someone. Are my days of unnecessary tantrums over? I honestly hope so!

I started back at 4:30 PM and again the traffic was in perfect discipline. I reached home in less than 10 minutes. My daughter was back from school. She already had her shower and looking marvelous and fresh. A hug and kiss and she went to her room to study.

Wife accompanied me for the evening round of exercise. After an invigorating shower, I had a cup of tea and some biscuits and walked to my clinic. My in-laws were on their evening walk. Stricken by Alzheimer’s disease, my father-in-law had never looked as alert and cheerful as this for over 4 years now.

My assistant was waiting cheerfully with the Clinic in prim and proper shape. A nice board with ‘Happy New Year’ was kept at the entrance. The OP was busy but I still managed to wind things up by 8:15 PM. My friend Mohan was there to wish me as usual. I had a small chat with him and rushed back home for dinner.

After dinner, we watched TV for some time. My Father was ready with a story as my Daughter went to bed by 9:00 PM. My Mom retired too by 9:30 PM. That left the two of us; me and wife. We had a perfect time together. No usual bickering. No complaining. This was altogether a great beginning for the New Year. There must be some entity called ‘God’. How else can we explain such a dramatic turnaround in the life of a Kochiite? The Non-conformist in me was secretly admiring God! Thank God “All is well!”

And then, my rug was pulled rudely and there stood my wife, “Can’t you sleep early and get up in time at least on the New Year day? It is already 6:45 AM. Aren’t you going to hospital today ? So many people called to wish you. Go check your mobile for all the missed calls”

And then she turned around and shouted at the top of her voice, “Baby, how many times do I have to tell you to get ready. She hasn't even finished her bath. Watching TV last night and now she remembers she hasn't completed her homework. The school bus will be around any time. Irresponsible girl. Like father, like daughter !”

So at last, “All izz well” in the Happy New Year !