Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A day unlike any other !

Today was unlike any other day for me.
Driving through the ins and outs of the village roads I saw a lone elder ,barefeet...in his seventies with basic minimum ,building God's house brick by brick with his bare hands .Not only was he the only labourer for the day ,he had demarcated the land from the portion of his own property.All I could do was hug him .He beamed a heartwarming smile and bent down on his knees to pull out barbed acens (weeds)from my woollen skirt .It brought tears to my eyes.
I saw an old lady hunched ninety degrees, washing her face in a puddle of muddy water bring out her first fruit of around half a kilo rice  and offer it .It reminded me of the widow's mite.
I saw a congregation of saints barely able to discern the inheritance, in faith, pray for healing.
I saw a man paralysed with most probable congenital fusion of the cervical vertebrae lying in bed,stutter his greetings in the Lord with so much of joy.One could just about discern what he was saying.
I saw a man ,depressed to the hilt ,walk up to me just to greet me in the Lord.
Looking at their poverty ,my first instinct was to push some money into their hands but age has made me wiser,I refrained from it.My money is worth nothing .Their lives,their simple faith,their generosity and just their testimony humbled me and  made me realise how small my life is .
I had requested the visit to see if there was a burden the Lord would give me,I came back with the realisation that I have done very little of the hardwork that goes into building God's kingdom.
Forgive me Lord .

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A simpleton's thoughts on the current situation.

The first few days of the demonitisation period was a swell.It felt nice to have no penny in one's pocket and yet not have to struggle with the chaos every where around.The problem slowly began to dawn on us when we had to start interacting with banks which were trying their best inefficiently to work out the clog.Every transaction became a herculean task and somewhat irritating.
Today one of my colleagues commented ,'Soon the government will decide what one is going to eat in the afternoon meal'.
The rumours that float around don't make things better.
Another colleague of mine tells me that the RBI governer is Mukesh Ambani's brother-in-law.
That does not give me much assurance because at the end of the day the brand 'Mukesh Ambani ' shouts loud ,'profit'.However after some net research I conclude this may not be true.
While the common man struggles with the nitty gritties of everyday living,struggling,dying in some cases,queing,confused about what is happening one does not hear about too many sharks falling into the net.The affluent are unusually quiet and continue with their business of hosting flamboyant parties.One does hear of occasional loans being written off.
For the last one month,the only money I have been able to withdraw is one new 2000 Rs note from the only ATM that seems to be working.I have travelled to three states in the last one month!
I cannot even begin to fathom what the others are going through because I stay within the premises and protection of a campus and an organisation which looks to my basic needs.
The government owes the people of India a clear explanation.
While travelling in a train ,I needed to go to the toilet past midnight .I heard a youth standing with a ticket collector who was clearly in a hurry to get his job done comment,-'Can you imagine Dr Manmohan Singh ,being such an educated man ,is giving such dirty gaallies at the behest of the congress?'
I thought that was taking politics to another level.
If Manmohan Singh is really doing what this man is saying he is ,that should worry the common man.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Boundaries!




Sitabai (name changed )has been working with us since the founder’s time.Her dedication ,sincerity and efficicency is matchless.I have watched Sitabai excel in her work and yet have been almost a silent spectator to the family struggle she flaps around with.Her husband ,a ganja addict and an alcoholic has been to all eyes a thorn on her side.He has not earned a penny to my knowledge but has been a steady siphon sucking out all her savings on imagined and actual ailments,thanks to the bad habbits.


Every now and then Sitabai used to update us about her hubby’s headaches.It used to keep the entire family awake.Much to our chagrin she would take prescription analgesics and as would have it one fine day he started developing abdominal pain.

He perforated and presented with a serum potassium of 6.5 .We reffered him to a hospital in Jabalpur where he had a laparotomy.Fourteen days into the surgery he was still pouring out pus fro m the wound.

One day I took Sita Bai aside to alert her to the fact that her husband had not had a single day of headache the entire time he had been engrossed in the new ailment.Even as we did the dressing for him I observed Sita Bai and the loving way she treated her husband, like a little child ,even as he groaned while the dressing was on.

It set me thinking hard.What had he done in his life to deserve the loyalty,the love and everything that was being put into his life then.We owed him nothing but we owed Sita Bai everything we were doing because she deserved it and it was part of her staff benefit,but her husband….

Was there an issue about boundaries as far as Sita Bai was concerned because of which she was having to suffer all her life.The community she comes from ,there are no ‘till death do us apart’ vows.

I am reading a book on ‘Boundaries’.

It talks about the illustration of the good samaritan.

The questions raised in it was what if the wounded man had begged the good samaritan not to leave him at the hands of the other strangers but to stay with him till he got better?

It says ,perchance the good samaritan complied to the wishes of the wounded man,his business would have suffered and deep within the resentment at having missed out on his business would stay with him.

Sita Bai defies all this logic.She suffers with her husband in this pain,she suffered with him in his headaches,she suffered through his addictions and wayward ways,but at the work front she continues to excell.

I am at a loss to come to conclusions.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

In the passing...

It has been a strange few months or rather half a year for me.
I can see some transitions at the door and yet strange peace prevails ,peace that passeth all understanding...
Every nook and corner Romans8 vs 28 bombards me...I believe the promise because it has come to me from five or six definite places..from posters sent to me by prophets, to embroidery made on casement, mounted and brought as a gift by praying friends.It has been thrown down from the pulpits and from the inscriptions on the pages of the old books I have not opened since I passed my first professionals.Just how much assurance can I expect from a friend who has called me His kin.
It strikes me how fragile our lives are .....and so are the things that we think we do .
Our time and our back is in our maker's hand .
Sometimes we take on too much in life ..in terms of responsibility,opinions,stands, and we play God,we judge,we crib,we come to quick conclusions......God in His mercy is teaching me to stand back and chill and know that He is God.
He is teaching me to cry out to Him in my need and to trust Him as I take faltering steps forward in faith......but mostly to let His assurance really sink in that ,"all things work together for good of  those who love God and are called according to His purpose."

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Modiji's demonitisation drive,Divya's appams and Max's insight!


 Winter months in Lakhnadon are slow to say the least.
Max and Divya ,my colleagues are away,Max for his post-graduate entrance exams and Divya to help our neighbouring hospital in Chattarpur with the obstetric load.So here I am on my own for the next one week or so trying to go juggle my work with Modiji's demonetisation drive.I am cashless for a second day in a row feeling absolutely light and nice and yet am heavily involved in the imbroiglo of making it through the system while the patients pay the bill.
I am doing a bit of experiment with regional foods of India and it is fascinating to say the least.The other day Divya sent a tiffin with fluffy appams with egg roast for lunch.I loved it.I sat with her one afternoon and wrote the recipe down.She had made it with an appam mix I decided to try making it the traditional way with ground coconut.It took me close to fourteen hours to put it on my plate but it was worth it.The weather has taken a turn with the temperature around 15 degrees so even after a night the appam mix did not rise.We climbed the hospital terrace to catch the morning sun and by the afternoon the mix had doubled.
We loved the result with hastily made chutney for tea and a  traditional stew later for dinner.
She also taught me how to make chettinaad chicken.
Two weeks earlier I had lunch with Muani for her birthday and she treated me to those deliciously masala less fish curry and vegetables with herbs.I get fascinated by the subtle flavours of the herbs the mizos use in their curries.We are cooking mizo food for lunch tomorrow.
CNN ,ABC and all the leading newspapers in America  and the pollsters got it wrong but not my junior Max.I quiz him often with the current affairs because he is in touch and often clears my doubts.Some polls were showing 70% chances of Hillary winning but the exact words Max used was ,'These are just polls with very small fraction of people represented.There are so many people around the country who love the idea of America as it was...they will vote for Trump..so Trump will win.' Max was right he did win.
Vijay( Kant) was here for three days .We had a retreat of sort which was a blessing.He got me started on a more disciplined bible study mode.
In between caeserian sections,low profile laparotomies,hysterctomies ,geriatrics,wonderful colleagues and dipping temperatures, winter is here for sure..sweaters creeping out from the trunks,everyday a grace from God.
The book of Hebrews says,'Today,if you hear His voice ,do not harden your heart.'
My tomorrow is in my maker's hand.I only answer for today.




Friday, November 4, 2016

Live ,love and pray!

         Came back from home ...everyone seems to think I was away for long but it has been just a fortnight.For me it was a fortnight of another world altogether..climbing the hills and the valleys with a cousin who has taken a sabbatical from her stint in the Down under...spending time with mom helping her with exercises to strengthen her quadriceps....catching up with siblings and just trying to get past the freshness of the farm food and fruits...and the quality of life back at home.....even watching football matches with my brother and keeping up with my mother's past times.I made pickles,learnt to make wine with guava and pessimon..ate exotic vegetables like the orchid flower,asparagus,water cress,nettles,avacado,..I took time to visit parts of South Sikkim...went fishing in the river....drove to the site on the opposite hill  where a whole chunk had fallen into the sea. I prayed with my cousin on the spot.It was an amazing experience.This time, I sort of understood why Sikkim is labelled 'green'.
I fell in love with the landscape and the river in the wild all over again.
I became greedy ...and embraced with abandon every moment.....the spa from the rocks in the mountain,tete-tete with my aunt who was visiting us for a few days,indulging on Hero our tibetain apso.
I woke up most days close to mid-day.....and did my own thing.
I saw an aunt who is in her seventies bike the hundred kilometres through the tough terrain..I pray I may be able to do that when I reach that age.I saw my father who is eighty-six about his daily rythemn,I observed my mother who is eighty with a bad knee drive to school,manage the kitchen ,participate in the enthusiasm with more energy than I had mustered for the past two years.
I think I need to come home more often to get past my mid-life crisis....
I come back refreshed,...now I look  at the paraphernalia around with a lot more compassion...I am a lot more geared,...I will try harder...I will work smarter...I will commit myself to understand my speciality better...I will pray sweeter...I will trust more.. ,risk more....,live more and love more.
Cheers to this age in my life......I am loving it!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Just when I thought I had seen it all!

Just when I think I have seen it all and done most things in Lakhnadon,Alok Singh is wheeled into the OPD.He has a history of injury to the heel which was treated in Seoni .Since two days he has severe spasm in the neck and is unable to swallow anything.
I last saw a case of tetanus ten years back in Jharkhand .Here was Alok who went into a severe bulbar spasm as soon as I put my spatula into his mouth.
I had to go through the tedious experience of explaining the natural history to the  bystanders who were already very difficult to communicate to.
Just how do you treat diseases like tetanus in the current scenario?We have long stopped stocking Tetanus anti-globulins.Brought to mind Dr keith Sander whom I had the privellage to meet for lunch during my time in England.he had done some work on tetanus during his stint in Ruxual ,and I am talking about the founders of the organisation !
I remembered our escapades in Oddanchattram where day after day Dr KV during his rounds used to show us different ways of examining the well-being and progress of such patients with such patience.
The incident that stands out is of a patient from one of the Panchalur hills who was brought to Oddanchattram with the full-blown disease.The patient had to be sedated ,kept in a quiet room and had to be bagged with an ambu.We did not have a ventilator then.The tubes started clogging on the third day so a  tracheostomy had to be done.
Every day Dr KV would go through the vitals to look for features of dysautonomia,palpate the abdomen to make sure he was sedated adequately,scan the diet sheet  and go through the routines very calmly while we tiptoed around so as not to wake the patient .
One fine day the relatives decided that they had had enough and they wanted to take the patient home.
When persuasion did not work we sent the patient home with a spare ambu-bag .
A month later  my senior Alex came chuckling into the out-patient.
Much to our amusement and joy the patient had walked into the OPD all the way from Pachalur bagging himself with the ambu.
He must have recovered some time back but had been too afraid to disconnect or do anything about it.
That was good news.
However,managing Tetanus is hard and I often find that the support staffs are not trained or adequately equipped to manage such cases.Add to it I travel out of lakhnadon tomorrow and will be away for more than a fortnight.
I feel tired even as I explain the logistics to the patient and the bystanders.
He is with us tonight.Tomorrow they might have to make a more feasible arrangement.
Just how do we treat diseases like tetanus in this day and age?Sigh!!