Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A paradigm shift.

Is there a need for a paradigm shift in the way we look at rural India?
India has it all,the best of brains,all the money,all the poverty and a disbalance in the distribution of opportunity ......and the wealth.
Privellaged get most of the privellages and the poor..a few discarded favours.
We have the best of brains coming out from our institutions....this incredible India has no dirth of people who can innovate and innovate more for personal survivol.Why can't rural India be made part of the projects of the curriculum of the creme dela creme of our society who pass out from the institutions like IITs,IIMs,etc...every year?They rack their brain..they do it for America...Why can't they be made to do it for India?
The country has the resources in terms of money,man-power,brains...everything but it is hardly chanellised for the greater good.
The heart of India lies in the villages...the answer does not lie in doling out subsidies......but in investing time,energy ,thought and changing the way the rural India thinks....

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Dinner !

It was a good dinner with the staffs doing their bit,contributing graciously...
The girls beautifully dancing the jharkhandi tribal dance to the rendition of nagpuri christian numbers that touches the heart.
Beautiful place,beautiful people,beautiful faith,Incomparable savior!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Is it christmas yet?

A little bit of sun-shine
filtering through the winter cold,
A little bit of extra time,
a little extra grace ..
..in the moment.
Is it Christmas yet?
The curdling scream of the woman in labour
piercing through the walls...
Her vocals hammering my head
at tandem-the anguished voice
of my sister-in-law over the phone,
Dare not picturise more.
Are the gifts packed?
Does everyone have a gift?
Are the arrangements for dinner made?
There is a phone-call,
my heart misses a beat!
My sister's reassuring voice
says-all is well for now!
Is it christmas yet?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Time out!

Where is the time to grieve?
Demands and endless demands
of people wanting of your time.
I want some time out,
even from myself!
Some time to understand my reaction,
to nurse myself,to lick my wounds,
or atleast to keep it out in the open and allow it to fester
for a while.
I want some moment to take a hard
long look at myself,
to tell myself it is allright.

Waiting for Godot!

Strange way to look at this advent season!
I remember my sibling looking at us one lazy holiday afternoon sunning ourselves and remarking sardonically-'waiting for Godot huh!'
Here we are in the hospital two doctors working our hearts out literally, me awaiting the inevitable....literally waiting for Godot!!
There are the children preparing for the christmas play,churning out the same old thing they have been doing for the last God knows how many years.
Christmas at home??I haven't been home for christmas for the last five years or so.
Every one in the extended family seem to be sick.If not tragic, it almost looks sinister.So I am here supposed to lead the campus for the christmas celebrations wishing I could be anywhere but here!
Got thoroughly harrased by the press the whole morning -gave them a good speech-pity them!I wouldn't know how I would have sounded after a sleepless night on duty but they were full of apology as they left ....awaiting the papers to see what they write!No worries though,we couldn't have done more for anyone!
Supposed to give the message in the church on sunday after the christmas!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

CONSOLATION OF ISRAEL.

‘Simeon was waiting for the consolation of Israel.He lived a very careful,cautious,responsible life….one that was exemplary…one that brought glory to God’s name’
Simeon was an ordinary man but the Word describes him as ‘just and devout’whom the spirit of the LORD had prompted ,would see the messiah before he was to die.The prophecy comes to fruction .Joseph and Mary bring Jesus to the temple and Simeon is led by the Holy spirit to the temple as well.He has that deep joy of not only holding the messiah in his arms but also the honour of prophesying about the days to come……
'Simeon was a man who was led by the Spirit of God, taught by the Word of God, and obedient to the will of God; and therefore he was privileged to see the salvation of God!'
What a blessed man!
What blessed words!!….what a tremendous prophecy..!!
‘Lord,now let You your servant depart in peace,according to your word:
For my eyes have seen your salvation….(How many of us can truly say that?)
A light to lighten the Gentiles…….(missionary prophecy)
Behold,this child is set for the fall and rising again …of many in Israel…
A sword shall pierce through your own soul(Crucification)……and the thoughts of
many hearts may be revealed….’
It’s precise ,clear and delivered……PRAISE THE LORD !!.

Monday, December 14, 2009

MIGRATION

Migration has been seen as a very important factor influencing the pattern of disease and its control in India.One gets to understand the reality of it’s influence when one becomes involved in the control programmes at the ground level.In Jharkhand,there are the seasonal migrants who are said to migrate to areas like brick kilns during the lean agricultural season for livelihood.It has been assumed that the majority of these labourers migrate due to desperate poverty.
However,Alpa Shah from the department of Anthropology in Goldsmith College from the university of London has an interesting sociological take on the process.
‘Many see the brick kilns as a temporary space of freedom to escape problems back home, explore a new country, gain independence from parents’
NREGA’s hundred day’s work may not have the supreme solution to migration and disease control,although it certainly abets the problem to some extent.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Walking throught the mall in LKW.

Needed a comb for the journey-missed packing it-had some time in hand between trains,so made a quick trip to the mall in Gomti Nagar.There were designer shops gallore,almost felt embarrased near the driver.Predictably could not find a comb.
The driver asked us what the mall was like-I found myself telling him 'it was useless-no essentials available-'
what a joy it is to be in the company of the earthy,working class people....just being in their company makes one realise how superfluos our lives are......was talking to the other driver who drove us from Dehradun to torch-bearers as to whether he had been to Landour and he answered-Madam,if I go to visit places like Landour,what will my children eat?valid question although I had just meant in the course of his work!

Friday, December 11, 2009

These are the days!

Strange night, four patient's at the death's door were pulled out by the grace of God.
Gun-shot injury where the bullet had gone in through the left jaw and was lodged in the left retroauricular region.Took it out with an LA.The patient is recovering well.Had never seen a bullet in my life before except on TV.These are election times and this is Palaumu.One can never be sure what to expect.
Second was an accident ,where the patient had fallen from a bike.There was absolute fracture of the humerus and bleeding in the abdomen.Just the wife and a twelve year old for company,in shock.We arranged for blood and did an exploratory laparotomy.The patient is recovering well.
Third was a case of placenta accreta who had bled so severely that she was again in shock-she just had 2gms of haemoglobin and both the male bystanders were dead drunk.Had to do an emergency hysterectomy at the middle of the night.
Fourth is a commonplace enough ailment of rupture uterus which normally comes in from Garhwa district.
Laparotomy with repair had to be done.
Whew!quite a handful for a night's work.
It was Good morning to the theatre team by the time we all could go home.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Akshay-the lessons we learn.

Barack Obama's speech while receiving the nobel was quite a speech.Where does he get his rhetorics from one wonders?It couldn't all be speech-writers ...
Akshay is doing well.
He has this fascinating phenomenon I've been reading about in a book(A leg to stand on-Oliver Sachs).
He moves his feet off and on involuntarily-and often cannot ,when asked.
Today his mother told me that he taps his feet predictably to two songs-'stuti aradhana upar jaati hai...' and 'yogya kewal tu.....'
Brings to mind the verse in Isaiah 11,vs 2.
'The wolf will dwell with the lamb,
the leopard will rest beside the kid,
the calf and the lion cub will feed together
and a little child will lead them.'
It's amazing to watch how the lord heals the community it has called for a ministry even as he works his wonders amidst them.
Praise Him !

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Landour!

Up,up and up the hill-I come from the hills and I almost had a vertigo and an altitude sickness.By the time I reached our colleagues home my ears had started ringing and I could barely manage to calm down my poor gut.Landour,here I come....having heard so much about the place from my colleagues...and even from a dear cousin who took such a fancy to the place that he plans to retire in those hills...It was like a dejavu..!I gulped the wonderful tea,played around with the fuzzy tom-cat,whose reaction was almost human!The journey killed the joy!The hospital was awkwardly placed in the middle of nowhere...reminded me of government hospices back home.. I even dread to enter.The market place was another tourist mall in a hill-station i am only too familiar with.Aren't you from Sikkim?Isn't Sikkim hilly?-asked someone.One would understand me better if I explained that going home was driving by the banks of the Teesta to the gentle curves of the Sikkim hills-there was no climbing to Mandrake's xanadu!Due to constraints of time,I was deprived of the joy of making it to the sister's bazaar and the many halloed landscape and real estates one hears stories about.I liked the view of the Woodstock school one gets from the road we walked through,did not have the stamina to make it there although was offered a visit by a senior colleague who was visiting his wards there.The place was tough on my sinuses,my vestibular system and a bit too touristy for my taste.Quite a contrast to Lukhnow!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Lukhnow!

Have heard enough and more about the city.
Synonymous with culture in many ways,somehow never made it there.
So I jumped at the chance to have a glimpse of the city while changing trains.There is the Lukhnowi andaaz,the Oudhi culture,the cuisine,the chikan ,the nawabs...the anglo imprint....it's endless....,what one reads about.
The station saw me staring at plastic packets being used to transport tea....I asked the driver how this worked?it's apparently transferred to a cup before it is sipped...this was a novelty for me.The driver chuckled,my companion followed and I hollered,my antennae up...
Next was the chikan shop...with it's endless provisions...was served tea(courtesy noted)and was badgered left,right and centre by an over-enthusiastic shop-keeper who knew his job well.
The gate to Residency had a story to tell-we looked hard at the structure could almost imagine the era....1857...the structures....Cliff Richards,Englebert Humperdinck.....and the name Henry lawrence....did it ring a bell somewhere.
The old Luckhnow replete with the muslim architecture ....every other government building,hotel,marriage halls....passed off as a palace of the old by our taxi driver......where did the poor people live?
Do you want to go to the zoo?-the driver asked-it was a resounding No!
Lunch was Lukhnowi biryani at an eatery in lalbagh,just next to the mosque .Atlast,I had sampled the famous Lukhnowi biryani in Lukhnow!!
La martinniere for boys was our next stop.My brother-in-law had literally grown up in the campus some two and a half decade earlier....just wanted to see the place.
We were greeted with hordes and hordes of people playing golf in the link as well as on the road side...this was almost like cricket elsewhere..this was supposedly La-Mart's land which had been converted into the chief minister's residence near-by.
Getting into the la-mart's campus was another story altogether.The buildings are much like the most of old lukhnow,never repaired since construction I would think...ruins..falling apart...Two sentries though were posted at the gates.I thought I would get down to talking to them.Asked one of the securities ,how many years he had been there,he said eight.i asked him about the condition of the buildings and he said-memsahib,you should see the interiors of the the buildings...it's so grand...I took his word for it and we left!I wish I had a camerra-i could have captured it for my brother-in law.
The next stop was the Gomti-nagar.The garish town which gives you the feel of driving through Bangkok.We refused to get down but had a peep through the window of our taxi...to see what the hulla-bulla of Mayawati's statue drive was...
I got a conversation rolling with the driver to judge his political affiliation or rather to judge the mood on the street!His exact words were-'UP has become a Bihar!We don't know whether we can say that because even Bihar is showing some kind of progress in the current regime.All the development you see in the state is within this kilometre or two of Gomti nagar-this is it!The current regime is certainly not coming back to power.
Congress should come to power in the state but Rahul gandhi will not become the chief minister even if it does...it will be someone else....'he left the statement hanging in the air.
Some passing thoughts...as I drove through and out of Lukhnow..this is the capital of UP,a state which has produced some of the most notable personalities that decorate the annals of India's politics,art,culture.....name it.In a state ,which has no dearth of achievers,Mayawati,a dalit by birth,a lady to boot...if nothing else,she sure has a lot of guts....it hit me like it hadn't before!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Issues that could hold the key ……

Tribals in India ,as in most parts of the world, are forest dwellers.They have lived in the forest and subsisted on them for their livelihood .These forests were acquired by the forest departments without settling the issues of rights and the tribals became enchroachers in the forest they have lived on since time immemorial.

Sanjay Patnoik in-‘ PESA,the Forest Right Act,and Tribal Rights in India.’

“In the continued harangue over national objectives and global needs, the question of the
livelihood security of the forest dwellers has been given quiet burial-as if they belong to
another planet. As we have seen, forests in India have always been valued for revenue profit,
conservation, and as a genetic reservoir. They have never really been perceived or managed as
a livelihood recourse. The fact that sustainable development of forests is possible with the
harmonious blending of local, national, and global needs has never been acknowledged in the
country. In what can be called the mother of all ironies, the Government, through its policies
and actions, first pushes the forest dwellers into utter penury and then starts poverty
alleviation programs for them.”

What do the tribals do to protect their rights.They do what they have been doing all their lives,take up arms and declare war against people who are threatening to usurp their rights.

Somewhere ,somehow every surpressed wound ,every wrong,every injustice brushed aside has a way of showing it’s head in someway.Someone has to pay for the sins committed-when and how is the only question?

Akshay,his spine,paraplegia ……and the joy of the lord !!

Little Akshay Kumar was brought to the hospital a month ago with complete paraplegia .For one so young,barely seven ,with retention of urine he had the forbearance of a child who has seen more than his share of pain.He was literally crushed under the grain crusher.He had injury and bleeding in the abdomen for which he had an emergency laparotomy –he survived the surgery but no one could do anything about his spine.They came to me in the emergency ,parents in that broken state …..Akshay was their only child.
I looked into the reversible and consulted a spine surgeon in Vellore who gave the verdict,no intervention could be done and one could not predict the prognosis.How do you explain such a prognosis to a mother of a child in such distress.You teach them what life has taught you during such crisis and hope fervently that somehow they catch on.They stayed in our hospital for a week.During their time we shared the gospel and taught the mother to pray.
They decided to take the child home and care for him there.In the mean time we had mobilized prayer ,the spine surgeon with the compassion of a missionary at heart kept enquiring about the child.
A month later ,a lady suddenly barged into my OPD .Seemed extremely glad to see me for some reason,and said that she had been searching for me all over.Observing that the other senior doctor was examining the patient I told her I would look in later.
Akshay ,it was ,as I gathered later.Wonder of wonders he had started flexing his knee-had developed a few decubites ulcers.My spirit was lifted further when she attributed Akshay’s progress to Jesus’ grace.
Often in our work places we see endless sufferings ,until everything around becomes a norm.We pray with patients ,we pray for patients.Our greatest challenge comes when we face these chronically diseased patients in all phases.Every day becomes a challenge then.
We serve ,God heals……there is the physical ailment glaring at us and there is the mental and the spiritual aspect which we often take for granted….the healing is essential anew every day of their lives.to continue onwards…to press on…..and then the greatest gift to press on with true joy in their hearts inspite of the struggles!!