Friday, April 30, 2010

Drive to Ranchi

Drive to Ranchi in summers always has some way of fascinating you with the nature's flirting with it's element to give you that unique experience which strikes you at that particular moment and that could be the only time you will ever see it.You are left trying to describe the experience to all who will listen and wonder what the fuss is about.
This time it was the golden orange orb in the sky sliced into four equal parts by two strands of sheet white cloud criss-crossing each other.It struck me so hard all of a sudden that I exclaimed- what is that??
My companions in the vehicle apologetically said it is the sun.....I couldn't dwell in it or wax eloquent about it because such was the company but took a snap-shot of it mentally to dwell in it at leisure when I could.
The other sight was again of the sand playing havoc on a hot summer afternoon swirling away in circles in a limited area climbing on to itself forming a castle ,I watched it in fascination,even as I wondered if such would be the experience if I were to be in a desert!

Thursday, April 22, 2010


I like catching up with the local news from the drivers on the drive back to the hospital whenever I am away from the campus.Two hot topics of Palaumu-are the Operation green-hunt and the water table.About the former he tells me every one in the villages are familiar with the term regardless of whether they know what it is-but he hasn’t been hearing about much action from either side apart from the burning down of jungles that is taking place in the near-by places.
He had a very different way of answering my second question though.He says the Parhaiyas of Salaiya have had to dig deep and dig hard with their hands this year to retrieve some drinking water.Apparently there is a tribe of Parhaiyas in some parts of Jharkhand who actually dig the ground near the river with their hands to get some drinking water.They are very good with handicrafts and are adept at making bamboo products.Apparently ,banyas have settled down amidst them ,and trade the bamboo products they make with grains,alcohol ,etc and sell the products to the general public.There is anyways a huge demand for broomsticks,baskets ,etc in the market.According to Illius just one single Parhaiya from Salaiya has got a government job in the Satbarwa block as a peon .He was quick to add that the government was doing a lot to absorb them into the mainstream so much so that direct entry for some class four jobs were given to them in Gumla district but very few of them responded.
Early mornings,in Palamu, we see hordes and hordes of villagers bringing fire-wood to the market ,sometimes walking more than ten kilometers by foot.For every bunch of wood they earn a minimum of hundred rupees with which they buy grains and take them back to the village.He also tells me that the domestic animals are being sold at a throwaway price in the market at the moment because due to lack of water there is scarcity of fodder for the animals so they are trying their best to do away with this extra mouth to feed in these difficult times.
I have been in these parts for near to a decade –I realise how ignorant we still are to the plight of the majority of people we are called to serve.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

It doesn't end there!

Fifteen years ago at Nav-jivan in Palaumu when Dr Bethsheba and Mr Andy Eicher decided to introduce the DOTs under the RNTCP programme ,it was not a cake-walk.There were sceptisism all the way.The hospital had been treating tuberculosis since the outset with patients coming in from as far as the adjacent states of UP and Bihar.Dr Bethsheba fortunately had not done internal medicine like myself but had done the more balanced family medicine under excellent teachers who had strong opinion on the subject.The model at the mother institution in Oddanchattram was reproduced at Nav-jivan including an erstwhile 'Ganeshan clone' who did a great job with the counselling and follow up.
When they were to leave the institution they were wise enough to leave the charge of the clinic to a spate of junior doctors-well-trained,extremely sincere,focussed,comitted and convinced by the thrice weekly RNTCP regime.The systemn was in place and the clinic ran almost mechanically with the counsellors well-versed in most aspects of the disease except the side where the control programmes invariably fail.
Fifteen years hence, in the regional body meeting, when I tell the body MDR is not a problem in Satbarwa,they give me a puzzled look.In a TB unit catering to around six lakh population we barely get two to three cat 2 failures who get sent in for sensitivity.Even they turn out to be sensitive to the first line drugs sometimes.
Moving out from NJH to the other hospitals and seeing the onslaught of MDR and XDR tuberculosis I begin to see the extent of impact the programme has made to the public health in Palaumu.
All our friends have moved on to other pastures...Andy,Sheba,Arpit,Jeevan,Augustine......sitting in another health clinic ...seeing the mammoth job at hand...I marvel at each of their contribution and find myself trying to encourage a friend who is going through the usual blues of starting a new service with the Nav-jivan TB story and it is a story indeed!

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Adam fell in Eden...with the nudge from Eve..
Birthing a whole lot of pain..
Rippling ,jostling...passing from one hand to the other
building,breaking,changing,moulding...finishing...and starting.
I don't wish you less pain..
You live on the fallen earth, will have your share
What I wish you is the ability to handle pain by the grace given freely in Christ
For the ultimate purpose for which man was made(To glorify God!)
I wish you victory over the fall.
Nothing less.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


How do I like Herbertpur?
Herbertpur sure suits my style.It is a quiet hospital nestled in the foothills of the himalayas-an hour's drive from Dehradun.The hospital is a clinician's delight with simultanaeous DNB courses going on with the hospital work.You have books for company,a host of wonderful juniors -eager to learn ,books and more books and easy access to information .Delhi is just six hours away.It beats me to think I will be at my sister's at ten in the morning when I board here at five-my little neice who keeps weeping at the thought of my leaving her home will be able to spend more time with me.
It is peaceful to say the least.Early hours,you actually hear the birds singing and the air is super clean.The patients who come in are beautiful people.One of them even offered to go to the market and mend my broken slippers which i was dragging on my feet.They speak a language,I can by God's grace decipher ...but more then that I get bowled over by their clean,innocent...freshness and friendliness.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Read SHANTARAM in two sound sittings in a single day.Loved every bit of it.
The author has revelled and plunged into the heart of India not many of us are familiar or would wish to acknowledge exists.It's the reality of the murky,gory underworld and the Mumbai slums.In the crumbling fabric of the human diaspora of a world that lies just a stone's throw away from our plastic world ,there lies pearls of humanity and values sifted and grasped whole-heartedly only by those who are willing to dig deep ,get their hands dirty and embrace the package in toto !Shantaram was forced by the circumstances of his life to walk the live-wire-he does it, not just in a bid to survive but to live it ,and live it to it's fullest.The book inspire you to look beyond the boxes that compartmentalises people ,situation,places to discover the genius that lies waiting to be discovered.What a book!