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, October 29, 2010

Indira Gandhi, Hairstylist and Philosophy

Even as a 13 years old, I had a strong sense of loyalty. I always stuck to my people; be it my friends, family or the Barber. Well, hairstylist is a better word to describe him. He was a man in his late 40s. He had worked in the middle east and Bombay when it still was Bombay. And he was my savior !

When he opened his "Beauty Hair Dressers" close to my ancestral home, I was overjoyed. I was fed up of our family barber who knew only one style; that was to cut the hair right down to roots. Every male member of our family had the same style. It used to remind me the thatched arch on those bullock carts in our small town.

Sanjeevanna changed all that and he taught the people of our town to flaunt hair. I had rebelled against the uniform hair cut even before he came. But once he arrived, I stuck to him, till I moved to Bellary in 1988. He also had a huge attraction for youngsters because he talked Cricket and used to blare the commentary of every match.

Sanjeevanna was a nice human being too. He wasn't the typical gossip-monger. If he talked, it was only Cricket, Cinema and fashion talk. So he was almost a Philosopher for me. I  knew little about Philosophy except that my Mom's cousin was a Philosopher who had done PhD !

On an exaggeratedly hot summer day in 1984, I went for my usual hair-styling. I was sweating profusely and cursed the heat while chatting up to Sanjeevanna. In a serene mood that day, he gave a mini lecture that I have translated in the following paragraph.

"See Govindu, you are just sitting here under the fan doing nothing. Imagine a Farmer tilling his fields in this hot Sun. Imagine a Coolie carrying large crates on the Mangalore dockyard. What about them ? Have you ever thought how hot they must be feeling ? You are quite fortunate to live a protected and comfortable life. There are so many people in this world who toil irrespective of climates. They have to toil to survive. So this heat is just relative. Even a great Cricketer like Sunil Gavaskar has to play in the sweltering heat to make a name and fame. Nothing comes easy and anything that comes easy is nothing".

Boy, was I wiser ? This was my first taste of Philosophy. Philosophy with personal touch of a genial hair-stylist. What I learned that day was precious. You don't need to take a PhD to be a Philosopher and Philosophy is not what is taught inside four walls, but what is learned beyond the walls !

That day I realized every day and every moment of life is a learning experience. It never ends till life itself comes to an end. It is this realization that has made me an avid reader, watcher, listener and a hobby blogger. But down the lane, I started hating anything that was 'heavy duty Philosophy'. What I mean is discourses, books on meditation, Gods and sundries and religions. The older I have grown, bolder has become my dislike for religions, Gods and shams.

I once declared to one of my closest friends, " I hate all Philosophy except my own !". This was a passing period when I was impetuous and lot more immature than I am today. Even though I don't claim to hate all Philosophies today, I still am not fond of dogmatic books, discourses and religions.

Reading and listening has helped me to remember, assimilate and analyze knowledge. I developed a special love for quotable quotes. It also gave me some ability to remember and often trace inspirations. A friend of mine quoted an interesting line credited to Indira Gandhi, "Forgiveness is the virtue of the Brave". 

I had to tell my friend that Indira had quoted Krishna from Geeta. Indira never was the one to forgive. Her estranged daughter in law Maneka will vouch for that. And all those political opponents jailed and harmed during emergency will endorse that. Indira didn't have the moral authority to quote this beautiful line.

Leaving aside Indira, let us talk about India, the idea that drives me and millions like me. We are known as a land of Wisdom, land of Peace and land of Philosophy. Unfortunately we have remained cocooned in these titles without bothering to move out and grow up for too long. That is why we are lagging behind in every human indices that matter. But fortunately we are learning and are catching up with the rest of the world, albeit a little late. But as a quotable quote goes, 'Better Late than Never' !

As a policy, I believe nothing in life is so serious to be taken seriously. So I have to move on from a serious subject like Philosophy. So here is something for a chuckle or a mini smile !

My colleague Dr. Bilkees had two ladies to help her at home and a driver.
The cook was Philomena, fondly called Philo.
The domestic help was called Sophy.
And her driver brought 'Joy' into the picture !
I found this Philosophy of Joy really amusing !

Dr. Pun-dit

Monday, October 18, 2010

Eat, Play and Love !!!

'GREAT' the word inspires me to a 'Great' extent. GR stands for my initials. The rest of that word is what enthuses me. It sounds as if I am told GR-Eat, GR-Eat !

Moral of the story: Dieting has a lot to do with your name; or the initials in my case ! 

I have no dearth of admiration for Mahatma Gandhi. But I could not agree with one of his Philosophy, "Eat to Live, Don't Live to Eat". That is blasphemy ! Ever since I remember, I have lived to eat and I have done pretty well at that. With Mothers who love to pamper the kids with best of the delicacies, how can one just eat to live ? Mission Impossible ! 

Must be a hangover from my childhood or perhaps my ambition to fulfill my beloved Mother's fond wish. It all started after my cousin Srikanth was born ten months after me. In a joint family with over two dozen people, my Mom was endowed with a puny little son who ate so little, the sparrows in our neighborhood fared better in comparison. And there was my junior cousin, who used to out-eat, out-grow, out-smart and out-everything me. 

Naturally my poor Mom had just one wish, "My son should eat well and grow up into a big handsome boy". Her God perhaps had foreseen a non-conformist growing up. Hence he granted only the first half of her wish soon. The second half of her wish is better not discussed; self-pity is not my nature. 

India won the Cricket World Cup in 1983. This solved one problem for my family and created a new one. The little fellow wanted to play Cricket and become the Greatest All-rounder of all times. So began the eating spell, really well because he wanted to grow up big. But the new problem was that there was hardly anything else he managed to do after that.

Idli - Do and Idli - Done ! 

Eating became a sort of nature or instinct. Nobody complained because this was a novelty. Well, that was until one fine evening. I came home from school. Mother had prepared Idli, my most favorite dish ever. I swallowed down 16 of them and ran off to join my team for Cricket. It was quite natural for me. More often than not, I ate more Idlis than the runs I scored. 

I came back after Cricket and shower at around 7 PM. Boy, was I hungry ? I went to kitchen. There it was waiting for me, a cooker full of Idlis. Reading a novel of my favorite Shivarama Karanth, I polished off whatever was there. When my Mom came back to kitchen, she was shell-shocked. Her still puny teenager son had cleaned up 24 of them excluding the 16 in the evening ! 

She came rushing to my room and shouted at me, "Have you forgotten what I had told you ? You have eaten all those idlis. You have to attend the dinner at a relative's house this night. What will you do now ? If you don't go, your Father will be furious". I calmed her down and said, "But the dinner is at 9:00 PM. It is only 7:30 now. Why are you getting worked up ? Whatever needs to be done, will be done".

 It indeed was done and the 'Legend' was born that day ! The 'Legend' of GR-EAT Bottomless Wonder aka Bermuda Triangle !

Bermuda Triangle ! 

Other than eating and playing Cricket, I just got plain lucky and ended up in Medical College Bellary in 1988. A New chapter began from here. Weighing 46 kilos at 167 cm, I was written off as 'Good for Nothing' by most of the seniors. But it soon turned out to be 'Food for Nothing'.

 Ten chapathis before lunch or dinner and four or five eggs to balance the protein content was a normal day in the kitchen. After the initial struggling days, I chose the nearest room to the mess for the easy accessibility. The people running the Prefect-Mess were kept in good humor. I even volunteered to run the mess ! But the amount of over-activity I used to indulge in, meant the size remained constant. Whoever said 'Size Does Matter' had not been to Bellary. 

The Mess staff had an off day on a midsummer day. Ramdas, a pious junior from a nearby room came to my room and said, "Shenoy, don't go out for lunch. I shall prepare noodles for both of us". This is why I loved Bellary. The boys were so nice. At around 12:00 Noon, Ramdas came to my room and said, "Shenoy I have a special class. Please help yourself for lunch and don't wait for me".

 I helped myself and cleaned the utensils and went back to my room to continue my reading. At around 2:00 PM, Ramdas barged into my room and he was almost weeping, "Shenoy, what happened ?" I replied, "Nothing, the noodles were simply great. I have washed the utensils to save you the trouble". Crestfallen Ramdas blabbered incoherently, "Do you know I had prepared 3 packets of Maggi noodles and that too with a lot of vegetables ? I haven't eaten anything". 

Now that was a tragedy. I told him, "Hey I'm sorry I didn't know you'd not eaten. Come we'll go out to Disney and I will buy you a lunch". So we went to a restaurant about a kilometer from our hostel. He ordered for a Chicken Biriyani. The friendly me didn't want him to feel lonely. Hence I joined him and ordered a Biriyani for myself and we added a Ginger Chicken too.

Later I heard some people bitching that Ramdas was absolutely flabbergasted by my 'GReat exploits'. He allegedly likened me to 'Bermuda Triangle'. I never heard him say that and so never ventured to verify the veracity of these rumors.

Bottomless Wonder !

Our Surgery Professor was a generous man. He hosted his juniors to nice lunch or dinner on his Surgery days. On one such night, I helped myself to one full plate of Chicken Fried-rice, One Plate of Butter-Chicken, 3 butter-nans, One Fish Fry, One whole bird Tandoori Chicken, 3 bottles of Coca Cola and an ice cream at the end. To digest the food, I also ordered a large Lassy. That was all I could eat.

I thought a senior was quite mean when he said this, "Hey Shenoy, your bill alone was more than the bill of all of us put together. Boss was overwhelmed. He asked me 'Where does all that he eats go ? This is a real Bottomless Wonder'. He also suggested to schedule our next dinner when you are out of town".

That was slander. I never believed one word of this. The Boss was a generous soul and I couldn't believe what I ate was really that big. But somehow by the quirk of fate, I never got to attend another dinner hosted by him. But soon after, I celebrated big time when I managed to touch the 50 kilos on the scale for the first time in my life.

Pathiri-fied Night !

Moving to Kochi after I finished off Bellary, my tryst with food continued. Ramesh Menon a senior colleague once ordered 3 Pathiris [Rice-cakes] with some Chicken when we were on night-shift at the hospital. So I too ordered for 5 of them.

Ramesh very indulgently said, "Govind, 5 will not even line your oral epithelium. You order for 15 or even better 20". I felt belittled and said I will manage with 10. I had to send one of our staffers to a 24-Hour coffee shop at 2 AM that night.

My Cousin Rajesh, myself and another relative used to go out for dinner on weekends. Whenever Rajesh made huge orders, the other guy used to get alarmed. But Rajesh would smile and say, "Don't worry Govind is there". He would always remind me of those '3 Packets of Maggi noodles' !

My love for food has continued unabated and at forty, I still am in love with food. I still love to play, though a little different kind of games. So the story continues, "Eat, Play and Love" !

Dr. Pun-dit

Friday, October 8, 2010

Incorrigible Originals - Part 2

This post should not be considered a work of fiction. It is not. All the stories are true incidents that happened on Bellary Medical College Campus between 1988 and 1994. The persons mentioned are real flesh and blood people. 

The abbreviations used here are just to save my beloved friends from their respective spouses. Sorry guys, if any of you end up in the soup in spite of my honest efforts to the contrary, don't kill me ! 

I don't claim any Intellectual Property Rights over the dialogues or one-liners, but the people in the post might. I should in no way be held responsible if the "Incorrigible Originals" sue the Copycats !

Incorrigible Originals - Part 2 

It is never easy to be a Medical Student and stay in a hostel and still remain free of vices. Anyone who didn't pick up at least one during those apparently interminable years must be a big bore. Well, this species actually doesn't exist. If they do, please call the Paleontologists !

What I mean by vices are quite innocent things like booze, fag, rummy and of course bird-watching ! These were the words we used in those days. Don't know what the kids lingo sounds like today.

Let me turn back and see how we dealt with the vices in our days. See No Evil, Hear No Evil was one of our favorite movies those days, though we had no qualms about not following the 'Do No Evil' Part.

In one famous scene, Richard Pryor talking at a meeting goes something like this, "Exercise is good for health. Some people like walking, some prefer jogging and some love swimming. But I personally prefer f--king!". This became a landmark word for us. So many 'King's were born thanks to this King !

Kings; They All Were !

BooKing !

Rummy was a favorite time-pass when you had no exams and a favorite stress-busters when you had exams. It was played with all sincerity and our campus even institutionalized it and recognized it as the 'Official Sport' of the Campus.

We all played Rummy and almost all loved it. Some were good, some plain lucky and some were damned crooks. There was a fourth dimension too, the plain dumb ones. One such chap was Praveen Kumar Varma. Though he was pretty witty with words, he was plain ordinary with cards. He usually gave points in 'book's.

A Book in a game of Rummy is when you refuse to play due to poor alignment of cards or poor ability to judge or both. When his habit of providing a 'book' became a routine, he was Christened "BooKing" by one of our most prolific players 'C' ! BooKing he remained forever !

DrinKing !

Rum doesn't need an introduction from Wikipedia. There were many DrinKings who were also known as 'Barrel' or 'Drum' or 'Kuduka' and many more words. Though this was not as famous a word as BooKing, the greatest DrinKing was one who believed "Alcohol needs to be promoted because it actually stood for truth". He quoted our Forensic Medicine book which said "In Vino Veritas" !

SmoKing !

Smoking was more of a style statement when we were kids. But it was already in the black-list when we reached college. My friend DR asked me for the smallest loan ever asked. He wanted one rupee at 7 AM on a Sunday morning. When I wanted to know why he needed one rupee, just one rupee; he replied with all sincerity, "I need a fag to go to the toilet. If I don't get a cigarette, I'll be constipated till I get one. Please help me Yaar".

Such dependence at such a young age. He had to be the SmoKing !

PungKing !

Bluffing, fibbing or just yapping was known as Punging those days. Suresh Bhatta for reasons not very well known to me was anointed PungKing. He was good at 'brain eating' though. One incident involving the naivety of Babu turned me into a sensation to supersede Bhatta. But since he was already the PungKing, he graciously consented to elevate me to the higher pedestal of 'Pung-Emperor' !

ShocKing !

One senior created some kind of a precedent while writing a short note on 'Shock' during Pathology Internal Exams. He defined Shock as as a "Condition experienced by a person on touching a live electric wire or when hearing a 'Shocking' news". Unanimously he was appointed the ShocKing !

DucKing !

One aspiring Tendulkar wanted to bat like the Teen sensation of those days and always wanted to attack. But somehow he ended up getting out for nothing most of the times. So his nickname had to be DucKing !

CooKing !

There were days when our mess didn't function. Going out in the burning Sun for lunch was such a task. Many boys used to prepare their own food, though I was never one of them. But I helped myself to those delicacies prepared by these generous souls. Ramdas Naik was one such pious chap who saved me during those days of famine. He was so adept and meticulous with his culinary skills, he had to be the CooKing !

Other Kings !

Then there were those boys always neatly dressed even at 2 AM. We called one such boy 'TucKing'. The boy who savored his food and then enjoyed munching on his own fingers had to be 'LicKing'. The boy who trusted in luck for everything had to be 'LucKing'. My friends who know Tulu, would interpret this word in a different manner.

It isn't necessary that every boy on campus knew these revelations. Some were known in small circles. Most were used by a small coterie of people to good effect. Today all this can be told. Why did I end up as Pung Emperor ? This story requires some detailing and is reserved for another day.

Incorrigible Originals will be back...

Dr. Pun-dit

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Kaalaaya Tasmai Namaha !

Kaalaaya Tasmai Namaha !

'I Salute You Time'

Am I losing my touch ?

Ever since my boyhood, I have taken pride about my ability to predict what will happen in two fields; Cricket and Movies. No Movie I declared as a 'Hit' ever failed and I never failed to predict a flop.

I also predicted how matches will turn while following them live. Most of the times pretty close and often absolutely point blank. All that was till yesterday. I have lost it ! I think I am getting old.

Yes, I saw 'Maine Pyaar Kiya' on first day at my native place on video. I returned to Bellary and told my friends, "Here is a New Star and a big hit". Then I declared at the first glimpse of this man that here is the Next Super Star of India. Was I right ?

Watching movies on the first day has been a passion. My profession and age have made it tough these days. Yet I do make it a point to catch up with the big movies. Though I loved Mani Ratnam's 'Dil Se' I knew this was going to bomb at the box-office, thanks to the blast at the end.

I don't remember a movie that flopped once I declared it a hit on day one. This should not be considered arrogance. It was happening. My colleague Dr. Preetha didn't like the movie 'Hulchul' one bit. Neither did I like it because it wasn't a patch on the Malayalam original 'Godfather'. But watching the reaction of the predominantly North Indian crowd, I knew Priyan had hit the jackpot !

Watching the larger than life and arrogant character of Mohanlal in Malayalam movie 'Narasimham', I felt this was the beginning of the end of an Actor-Star. I told my Mohanlal fan colleagues, "If he continues to act in such movies, he will churn out flops after flops in near future". Mohanlal's career graph took a nosedive after just one more of those 'Inhuman' characters. The magic has gone missing ever since !

I took my family to watch Raju Hirani's '3 Idiots' on day one thanks to his Munna Bhai movies. Half an hour into the movie, I told my wife this was going to be one of the all-time big hits of Indian Cinema.

In Cricket too, I have predicted many things correctly; including Rahul Dravid becoming the most successful Indian Batsman after Sachin, though it was Dada who made larger waves initially. Except for my failure to foresee Vinod Kambli's self-destruction, I have done fairly well with Cricket too.

But all that seems like a distant dream today. My friend Mohan taunted me this evening, "Sir, you have lost your predicting power" after India won the Mohali test by a whisker. I had declared last night that India will be gone before lunch on this fifth day wicket. I didn't count Laxman to bat at all.

But more hurting was my failure to read 'Enthiran the Robot'. Except for the coinage "Robo Sapiens" I found the movie tedious and mostly intolerable. I told Mohan last Friday night, "I haven't watched such a mega-disappointment as this. Why have they wasted so much money on this nonsense ?" After the first weekend, even Rajni Can't save this one !"

But Reviewer after Reviewer had gone gaga over Rajni. I thought these must be paid reviews. And then comes this news ! So Mohan must be seriously right that I have seriously lost touch with reality. What I didn't like has become a 'Robotic' Hit of gigantic proportions !

All I can say is, every predictor has his day. All good things have to come to an end. All things and beings in this world come with an expiry date !

'Kaalaaya Tasmai Namaha'

Dr. Pun-dit