Sunday, January 30, 2011

Role models??

Role model in a christian context,what is it exactly?
Do we have them anymore?Were the footprints left by the men and women of the past so great that we keep pointing out the lack of it in the current scenario?
I am not asking but I find this issue raised often times enough.
I personally do not think we need 'role models' as much as we do 'genuine models',faltering men and women of God going about their portion in Good faith.
The Gospel of Luke potrays the need of the kingdom and the hour.
The kingdom does not need good people like the rich young ruler,it needs people who are willing to follow Jesus.Infact even Jesus says in so many words "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good -- except God alone".
Role models are perceptions of the onlookers.I have seldom seen or heard a contemporary labelling a colleague as a role model-it is always someone older,bigger and from a totally different generation.
Most times attributes in a person that tends to touch our lives are seldom concious,it's something that flows over from their daily bungling,bumbling,disoragnised lives.It very often goes unexpressed but it leaves an impression in the lives of the people touched and in the Great book above.
If you notice what touched Jesus during His ministry on had a was earnestness in any form....
No doubt,human beings have a feet of clay.Regardless of how much we tend to idolise people and their ways ,all of us are just that...human being...born in sin and justified only by Grace.
As long as you can get down on your knees with friends and foes(if there is any) alike,look to God for guidance with a sincere heart and earnestly walk towards it,I think one is on the way.
Remember it is God who keeps both side of the bargain...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Bible is not for fools and babes,it's for those who have to face the reality of heaven and hell on earth!

He could have been all of twenty eight years.I saw him in the casualty with a nasogastric tube in his nose which looked black due to the decontamination measure(charcoal) the CMO had given him.Looked haemodynamically stable.He refused to answer anyone's query as to what he had taken.He kept his eyes tightly closed.I mentally made a note that this would be a tough nut to crack.He was shifted to the ICU for close monitering.
The next I saw him ,he shuffled into my consultation room for counselling.Yes,he shuffled in because he had early features of motor neuron disease,the fact that I had misssed out on the first night when we were so busily focussing all our attention on the poison and it's effects.
He started talking then and I listened.
He had been married for seven years.He had two children.His wife of seven years hated him and literally made his life hell.She was not only promiscous,she was also intent on taunting him and had on many occassions threatened to put him in a spot.She refused to look after the children or do household works most of which he did himself with some help from his old mother.
On several occassions he had personally taken her back to her father's house but he had promptly brought her back.He had become a laughing stock in front of the entire village.
He goes to the jungle early in the morning with his goats and comes back late in the evening.Once his wife had even tried to hang herself and had duely warned him that he would be held responsible.Then he said that the wife would call him a 'Langra'(lame person) and would mock him.That was when he broke down...
In the stillness of the room,sister Sangeeta and myself sat with him in utter silence..deeply touched by his pain.
I could just about tell him that God had created him beautifully just as he was and that limping was an attribute that had more importance spiritually than physically.
He needed the gospel of Christ badly.I asked him if he could read and he told me both he and his wife were illiterates.
Conversion is a tabboo word in these times.
Did he need to be converted?
My answer was -an absolute yes!!!!
He needed to be converted from his situation of absolute hopelessness to the Hope that is in Christ.
He needed to be converted from all the lies the world and the people around him had fed him with about his worthlessness to the Golden truth that he was precious,his life had been bought at a costly price at the Cross in exchange for God incarnate Himself who died on the Cross that we may have life.
He needed to be converted from death to life and life eternal!
May the Lord's mercy make Christ his inheritance in the follow up visits inspite of us.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The story behind the science.

'A' was married off at sixteen to an opium addict who left her when she was one and half months pregnant.She was born to a family of five sisters and she was the last but one.When her son was five years old her parents chanced upon her husband somewhere and brought him back.He lives with her but she adds he doesn't want to and looks like he will leave anytime as he continues to remain an addict.Her old parents are sick and suffering.Her five siblings are married and settled.Her son is six years old now.She is emotionally bankrupt at twenty one,has no support system.Saw no point in life.
She consumed carbide.
'B' was again married off at the age of fifteen.Her husband was an alcoholic who died of haemetemesis when she was twenty.She has two sons and a daughter,fourteen,ten and six.Ever since her husband died,her sons have stopped listening to her and goes their own way.She is educating her daughter in upper KG.She has just managed to retrieve her health insurance card from the block,has approached the DC for a roof because her roof's given way and is running around to get her husband's pension which is due to her.She does not get along with her in laws who apparently make her life hell...but she is getting by and fighting her way through life.
She has presented to the OPD with headaches and insomnia and a vague chest pain.
'C'has studied till class nine.
She has a child who is studying in upper KG .She has but one aim in life and that is to give her child the best education possible.The last term, her child came back home with a result which showed that she had got zero in english so 'C'decided to put her onto some tution from the local master for english.The child is all of four years old.The tution was to start from six in the evening till seven.The winters are cold in Herbertpur so her husband suggested postponing the tutions till it got a little warmer.In a fit of rage when the children were playing outside and her husband had gone to collect some water,she consumed 5ml of phenol even while she cleaned the floor.
'D' is a beautiful lady from the hills of Chakrota.Her husband works with a contracter and so has a very unpredictable work schedule.Most days she has to live with her in-laws.She feels like giving up on life because she has to do all the work at home,she cuts grass for her sister-in-law's cows who just gives her and her in-laws enough milk for the morning tea.
She feels sad and feels like ending her life.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

In the mean time.

Travelled back all the way to Herbertpur in a day.Was quite zapped out by the time we actually hit the place.I am yet to sit down and assimilate what has been done so far and work out the plans to chart out what needs to be done in the coming days.Looks like a handful indeed.
The weather change has been drastic.It was a little confusing down south with no cue whatsoever from the locals.The schedule was such that we had to be ready for the breaker at 6.30 AM in the morning.Would be coldish but we never quite got the pulse on the right amount of clothing all through.Early in the morning we would see hefty men dressed to the hilt from thigh above with monkey caps,jackets and mufflers but the lungi would be well above the knee and absolutely bare feet.Not a great help here.Some of the candidates would come out hesistantly with sweaters just to suffer through it through another weather confused afternoon.
Met some old colleagues some of whom surprised me with their predictability.It was like time had never really moved.Was looking forward to meeting two of my seniors from ODC but both of them were abroad.
Visited the Dawn bakery to buy some banana chips and the fellow actually recognised me.I remembered all of the patties and coffee I had had there during tea-breaks during my rotations in CMC with Meena and ...forgotten the name ( a microbiologist from Mangalore)but remember her face well.
One day I walked through the street aimlessly just to soak in what I remembered of the place and I realise it is absolutely utilitarian.
On my way back spent five hours in the Delhi air-port just window shopping...picked up Harriet Beecher Stowe's 'Uncle Tom's cabin' and another 'biography of a slave'.
Also had the privellage to sight some faces which look absolutely familiar but cannot put your finger on it..only to realise you have seen them in your drawing room in your idiot box sometime.It was Javed Akhtar,the poet writer from Bollywood and Manish Tewari ,the congress spokesman who argues his way on different issues in your news channels..there was a third...God knows who??
The weather in Dehradun speaks for itself.It is coooold here absolutely!
I plan to meet up with the Satbarwa team for dinner.
Better start cooking!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Fruitful four days!

Just finished a four day extensive workshop organised by the infectious disease team in CMC for toxicology under the ECHO project.I am impressed by the concept and encouraged by the spirit behind it.
The idea is to equip the peripheral hospitals not only in quality monitering but also to empower them as potential resource centres for poison management with the faculty in CMC accompanying the hospitals on a regular basis either by telemedicine conferencing,email,telephones and contact classes.
I have always felt that an institution like CMC had a greater responsibility towards health-care in our country by virtue of the vision it was started with,richness of the resources it enjoys and the sheer standards on quality it has set for itself.
For an institution or individuals to be relevant it is mandatory that it has a firm hold on the ground realities that plague our huge nation and contribute effectively towards bettering it.
Net-working with the peripheral hospitals could not only help in improving the care in the peripheries but could also result in knowledge sharing and chanellising mutual learning towards platforms to inform and influence policies that may be relevant to the deprived mass that still forms the majority in our nation.
CMC seems to be on the way!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Off on a journey again!

I am off to the familiar portals of Vellore once more.
This time to attend a workshop.Apparently a group of consultants are working on a common protocol for poisening and as CMC often does ,they are roping in a group of mission hospitals....nothing seems to be clear at the moment,I just have a list of work-shop roster and a one way ticket handed in by a colleague and I am off tomorrow only because our poison incidents are extremely high here and I need to understand what I can pick up from the seminar especially since they have included the counselling bit with the department of psychiatry.
The added bonus is that my senior from ODC seems to be part of the team.
I also hope to do some shopping around for our DNB family medicine course here,meeting up with old colleagues and seniors who seem to be managing the programme there to get the feel of what they are up to.
I am looking forward to the visit.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Issues of Life.

I was reading through one of the anecdotes Ravi Zach had illustrated in one of his books.I thought it was relevant to these times and our life.
The anecdote goes...
A boy lived in a village with a family who were said to be his gaurdian.He has a perpetual question in his mind-'Who am I?'.This question disturbed him a lot because nobody seemed to have an answer for him.
One day a messenger comes to him and tells him that he would have his answer provided he embarked on a journey and followed the rules.
The boy was given a sword,a map and some food and was given some conditions with it.
He could not draw blood with the sword,he could not waste the food and he had to follow the map to the tee.
As he embarked on his journey,he heard frightening sounds along the way and some beautiful music as well.
He drew his sword whenever he was frightened and when he heard the beautiful music he was drawn towards it but since it did not fall in line with his map he held himself back.
Every morning he would sit with his map and read it so that he could follow it.
Suddenly he saw a man stand before him with a sword who attacked him.He noticed that the sword had blood on it's tip.The stranger overpowered the boy and ran his sword through the boy but to his surprise the sword bent and could not hurt the boy.
As they were jostling the boy had the upper hand but he remembered the rule which said no blood so he withdrew his sword.
The map fell from the boy's pocket to the floor and the stranger rushed in to pick it up but to his dismay it was in a language which he could not read so he gave the map back to the boy.The boy realised that it was the map he had been after.
The boy went on his way and at the end of the road he saw a cottage .He knocked at the door which was opened by a women who scrutinised the boy carefully,looked at the birth-mark at his feet and hugged him.He turned out to be his mother.
The boy was overjoyed to be home and had a lot of questions but the mother said 'let us have the supper together and over it I will answer your questions one by one'.
The mother asked the boy if he had met a stranger on the way who had way-laid him.
The same stranger apparently had killed his father who had been on his way to get the boy.Because the stranger had broken the rule and shed the blood he had lost his way home.He had a sword with him that did not cut and even when the map fell into his hands he could not decipher it.
Was there anyway the stranger could have made it home?
There certainly was but he wanted to go it alone.
He just had to follow the person with the map.
I was reading this anecdote and was wondering where I fit in .
I realised it was the story of our lives.I could be the stranger and I could be the boy.
Have I shed blood ,have I broken the rules?
I do it all the time in thought and deeds...for christ says-'You have heard that it was said to them of old: Thou shalt not kill. And whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment. But I say to you, that whosoever is angry with his brother, shall be in danger of the judgment.'Mathew 5,vs21,22.
Infact,one of the most pertinant question the Lord is going to ask most of us when we meet him would I guess be-'Where is your brother?'as he did to Cain.
This sure looks like a dead-end indeed.But the Hope in Christ is that we stand by his Grace and not by works.
As Martin Luther puts it in his commentary on Galations-
'When the conscience is disturbed, do not seek advice from reason or from the Law, but rest your conscience in the grace of God and in His Word, and proceed as if you had never heard of the Law. The Law has its place and its own good time. While Moses was in the mountain where he talked with God face to face, he had no law, he made no law, he administered no law. But when he came down from the mountain, he was a lawgiver.
'The conscience must be kept above the Law, the body under the Law'.
As Paul says in philipians -'..Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus..'

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Magnificent

This u-tube version of the hill-song adapted with pictures from BBC's planet earth was sent to me in a mail by Dr Mark Kniss,who was the founding doctor of the hospital I worked in in JKD.I have met him but for a month during his visit to the hospital almost three decades after he left the place.I did not hold any responsibility apart from that of a physician then.Eversince,he has accompanied me through all those years of responsibility in Satbarwa.
The assurance of such stalwarts being on their knees was what kept me going through all those years.
I would also get a monthly phone-call all the way from America....
This mail came through on a day when I needed the reassurance badly.I had just lost a patient I had been struggling with for the last two days and was feeling utterly lost and beaten.I sat through the afternoon ,just soaked in the healing the recording seem to bring forth....and I blessed him from the heart and did what I normally do when I am touched.I shared it with all the people I could possibly think of.
Thank you Dr Kniss!

Sunday, January 2, 2011


Twenty wish lists for the coming year.

The winter is flourishing in Herbertpur as expected.
The cold winds coming in intermittantly with the shower which stays but for a while.The winter sun comes in the mornings and sort of hangs around till the noon,the monkeys on the terrace are the only lucky souls to enjoy it.Christmas was strainful and albeit a little sad.The voices of worship stiffled by the chill in the weather and the hearts.The new year dawned with the Hope,grace and mercy that can only be yours and mine because Jesus lives.
The Hindustan times ,Dehradun issue on the first, was something you would want to hide from your children.There were three articles including the headlines writing about attrocities on children.There was Aarushi's case,......and others are better left unmentioned.
The older I get,more desperately I cling to the Word of God.I chucked off my television when I left Satbarwa...i am glad I did...the papers are just that,papers but for a few articles in the centre page which are sometimes thought-provoking.
Mr Gandhi had written a pretty article on twenty wishes for the new year with a caption which said-(These wishes are tough because they are the easiest things to do...).
I thought I would sit and make a wish-list for myself.....I thought it was a great exrcise but never imagined how tough it would be...a realisation hit me like a bang.....I really don't seem to know what I want!
Hopefully Lord,by your Mercy and Grace you will lead me through what you want with my fragile life ......and that will be my portion till eternity.