Saturday, April 28, 2012


It all started with the RCP asking me for a copy of my original degree certificate for applying for GMC registration.This was for a year of stint as a sabbatical in the United Kingdoms.They had asked for a certificate of goodstanding from my medical college with a current date which did not in the least make any sense because the last time I had had any contact with my medical college was twelve years back and I could not figure out the logic of it all but since the requirements are there in paper ,you do not question it, you make a wild dash  across the country and the memory lane ,that is if you have any memory of the place at all.
I started my journey from Dehradun taking the early evening bus much against my sister’s advice and reached Anant  Vihar bus stand in the early hours of the morning half awake.Wanted a taxi home but got pushed into an auto rickshaw which was all fine but for a sudden urge in the middle of the journey to sing psalm 21….there I went ‘The Lord’s my shepherd…..’.No I was not scared or anything,I just had this urge to sing and I did it much to the surprise of the auto rickshaw driver.By the time I reached my sister’s place in Dwarka,I was all but asleep.I dashed into the bed barely managing to take my sneaker’s off.
Next morning two changes of morning tea still had me deep in the sluberland.By the time the third cup came and I had sort of woken up to the world,I realised that my purse was missing with all the cash I had in hand and the debit cards,pan card ,etc.
My sister and brother-in law were at it cancelling my account .My sister gave me the money I required and everyone including the travel agent gave me a sound advice about getting into the right train,etc…and he had no clue about the morning ‘s incident.
The ride in the Rajdhani was relaxing.I prayed a short prayer asking the lord to give me an interesting company for the journey and he placed a sweet couple in their eighties.Their exploits kept me entertained.
Hitting Kolkotta,I headed straight for the university.Reached the enquiry where  the person  asked me to go to a counter three shops away in the street where a collosal metal gate with an equally formidable lock greeted me.With a deep fear of anything beaurocratic in India with it’s corruption and equal dislike of work in any form, deeply etched in my sub-concious I fluttered around like a head-less chicken.
Half an hour later there  was some activity.The clerk had some problem trying to figure out what form he could give me.
They needed my marksheets which I was not sure was in my bag,and they also needed the Kolkotta  university registration number which again did not make sense because I had opted for the medical council of India registration and I did not have the local registration.The signature from the principal of my college took the cake,I had to travel twelve hours to reach my college.
I needed the degree now and they added that if I paid the emergency fee I would get it as early as one month.This again did not make sense st all.I decided to go to the diploma section and request.An irritable clerk ,declared that he could not produce the certificate before two to three months and the local registration was a must…that meant going through another set of beaurocracy and God only knows where I was heading for.
I went to meet the controller of examination who handed my case over to someone who had been allocated the work.The gentleman was kind.He asked me to get the signature and the recommendation from my principal and he would see what they could do.As I was leaving,the clerk called out over his shoulder that I should find out from my medical college if the degree had reached there.
Just to clear the doubt as to why I had taken so long to come looking for this precious bit of paper.As soon as my internship was over,I got into my post –graduate course.The degree was not out then so I made do with the provisional which stated clearly that I had applied for the degree ,was eligible and would get it in the due course.I went headlong into my post graduate studies without looking back and never really had the need for the piece of paper because I had one for my post-grad which I received during my convocation.It was also the pre-conceived fear of the clerks sipping tea who had this bad habit of asking for tea money which kept me post-poning the entire gambut.It was the RCP which had got me going.
I took the train to Bankura,watching ,observing humanity as one can only in India.The slums of Kolkotta disgusts one and even as I watched out from my window ,I suddenly remembered my sister screwing up her nose in one of the government hospitals in Delhi and asking ‘Why can’t they keep themselves clean?’That was the thought in my mind.The sludge,the pigs,the shanty holes ,unwashed babies running around barefeet….this was nothing to write home about ,it spoke of  human dignity at it’s lowest level.There really was no excuse for the filth,poverty one can empathise with but filth is something else altogether..As I looked out ,to my horror I saw a young chap hastily get behind a half broken tin roof lying against the wall ,to  clear his bowels.The rawness of the whole incident left me shaken….That was his loo.
My co-passengers were the typical Bengali bhadralok ,Bengal is famous for.One hour into the journey and they had taken the official position of my guardian,bargaining with the tea vendor, making sure that the coconut water fellow gave me the sauce of the coconut after the juice was over.
On the way I saw stretches of marigold plantations which was something new from my earlier expeditions.
I reached Bankura at around eight o’clock in the night and I checked into the only one of the two decent hotels in the place belonging to a family we used to vaguely know as medical students.
The place was nowhere in my memory,nothing looked familiar.
The next morning while riding the rickshaw to the college the zigsaw started fitting in and I even guided the rickshawala through the short way to the administrative section.
My time in my college was a breeze.Everyone seemed so cordial and willing to help.
The clerk in the student’s section had been expecting me.He handed me the character certificate which I had requested for through a mail I had dropped earlier and much to my delight the  lady took out an old register and started searching for my name.Three or four huge envelopes lay inside the register and one of them contained my precious degree certificate.All I had to do was sign the register and the certificate was in my hand.The relief I felt was so immense that I was almost emotional.I thanked them profusely and with a deep gratitude in my heart to the Lord who had been so good to me I booked a flight to Delhi for the next day and boarded the late night train to Kolkotta.
I reached Kolkotta in the wee hour of the morning ,hovered around the station till I found some steps where there was a cross-ventilation.I sat down there and finished reading a book,enjoying the breeze,feeling happy, in two hours straight before I took a taxi to the airport knowing that I was still too early.
Here I am in the airport now….found a plug point for charging my lap-top sitting on the floor writing this up……
I am yet to figure out why I had to make that journey to the forgotten recesses of my life to experience that amazing grace….!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday message on-" I thirst !"(Pilgrim's progress)

John 19,vs 28.

Later knowing that everything had now been finished,and  so that Scripture would be fulfilled ,Jesus said, -‘Ithirst’.

  I was reading through the references and also meditating on my own, to look at the facets of thirst Christ could have gone through.I settled on three to share with you.

1)Physical thirstPRESENT THIRST

       Christs suffering had begun hours earlier before the crucifixion. In the Garden he was in such agony, the Bible records he sweated great drops of blood.

       'Later Jesus was “scourged” with a cat of nine tails.

a.    This beating would have caused Him to bleed profusely and would have built up fluid around the lungs.

b.    Such a loss of fluid would have caused Jesus to go into shock and have a great loss in blood pressure.

c.    The two most signs of loss of body fluids is weakness and intense thirst. The Lord’s lips would have protruded; His tongue would have swollen and would have dried to the roof of His mouth.

       Psychologists report that the pain from the thorns in the head would be so intense that it would cause many people to commit suicide.

       The pain from the nails would cause “casaligia,” resulting in lightening bolts shocks running up the arms and legs. Intensity would be so great that morphine would not relieve it.

       There would have been a symphony of pain – back & chest, face, head, hands & feet and an intense thirst……from carrying the cross all the way to calvary.'(Refe-bible study)

And I have not mentioned the mental pain  of mockery,betrayel,isolation……….!

Christ has been through it all.

 Even as he says-‘I thirst!’….He embraced it for you and me readily.

2)The spiritual thirst –PAST THIRST

The  pain of the sin of the world that he readily took on which  separated Him  from the father and the Holy spirit-

The reason for the  Cross.

I don’t know how many of you would have had the privellage of having a part of yourself being torn away from you?

This is not just any part of himself-it was anhilation of  His very being,Who He was ..

You and I would not even begin to understand the magnitude of deep agony he must have been through.

‘I thirst’-He would have thirsted for the restoration of His complete being,the oneness of the Holy trinity –Father ,Son and the Holy spirit.

3)The vocational  thirst,FUTURE THIRST-The thirst to see His finished work of Calvary.

To see the light of Easter in the lives of the humanity he had just  given His life for.

The thirst to see souls being saved and the restoration of the fallen humanity into the most Holy fellowship of the Trinity.

It was AWTozer who said-‘Eternity won’t be long enough to learn all that God is or praise him for all that he has done’.

 There is always a paradox in Christianity and I was searching for one here too and the Lord lead me to it-

“in the midst of sorrow is consolation,in the midst of darkness is light,in the midst of despair is hope,,in the cup of sorrow was the cup of joy,''(Henry Nouven)

And here it is-“In Jesus’heart-rending cry of ‘I thirst’-was the key to the Living waters.”

You want  the Living waters to flow through you ,embrace Jesus’ crucification ,you will inherit his thirst….

 1)The thirst –as you go through the pain you have been called to embrace,  whatever it may be,not trying to escape it,nor dull it but live through it to experience the birth of something BEAUTIFUL which can be taught and manifested only in the school of Pain.

(Henry Nouven)''When I say the pain I mean the true pain and  not the false pain.

False pain is when you feel rejected and you think of yourself as a failure or misfit-When the pain is nothing more than perception -It is not true.

You have to disown these pain as false pain.This will kill you spiritually.

But there is a true pain,the dull or excruitiating ache which will not go away regardless of how much you surpress,repress it.

You have to embrace it ,live through the uncertain dark Saturday,……….and wait for the easter to dawn…...

Learn to discern your pain…''(Henry Nouven).

Jesus did not own the pain of betrayel,rejection or mockery……,he disowned it and defeated it…-He restored , He affirmed and He gifted His  life….

But He embraced the pain of  Crucification which made way for the Resurrection… and Easter….

Learn to discern your pain.

2)Thirst  for your own intimacy with the Trinity….

‘As the deer panteth for the water….so my soul longeth after you….u alone are my heart’s desire and I long to worship you….

Do we really thirst after God?Is he our heart’s desire?

Do we long to know him and worship him?

My sincere prayer is that you and I inherit that  precious,priceless thirst….this Holy season.     

3) Thirst -for the vocation of Christ,

for the restoration of others towards the mandate for which He gave His life for ,-the thirst for souls.

Christ had a vocation-He moved with his head towards Jerusalem….

Do you and I have one?Was it Thomas Merton who said  ‘When (the living waters in you) Your deepest Joy embraces the deepest  hunger (thirst )in the world-that is your vocation!’

Your embracing the cross and inheriting Christ’s thirst…………will lead you to the ….. living waters..and the living waters in you will go and water the parched places of Christ’s thirst.

This is our God of paradox! Be on the lookout for Him!