Friday, October 25, 2013


Muqarram would have been twenty three years old.He worked as a barber in notorius Muzzafarnagar.He was brought in by his parents barely breathing ,he had a tachycardia of around 170 beats per minute.He was being treated as tuberculosis by the local quacks.

He had chronic rheumatic valvular heart disease with florid Mitral regurgitation,Aortic regurgutation,Mitral stenosis and presented with congestive cardiac failure and infective endocardites.

Thus began our tyrst with this young man.

Everyday we would hopefully go to his bed-side to see some kind of progress.

Blood cultures were hard to come by and he had to travel a distance of more than 60 kms to get the echocardiography.He was hardly stable to make that journey.

Everyday during the rounds I would chat a little bit with his parents.Mother was an unusually strong serene person who never got on our way.The father did all he was asked to without any question.

Muqarram would give us a mute ,blank look everyday in between catching his breath.

He stabilised with time.The gleam came to his eyes.His eyes would light up whenever we came around for the morning rounds.

I requested Paramjeet our local pastor to share the gospel with him.

'The next day he saw me, sat up and promptly said-'namaste Dr jee.'

Somehow through the entire tyrst he seemed to have sensed that he had made some kind of connection.

He went for his echocardiography.He turned out to have infective endocardites after all.He was second week into his antibiotics doing extermely well.

We shifted him to the general ward.I had started talking to the parents about the definative management and arrangements for the valve surgery.He would all along look at me with eyes wide open listening intently.

One day when I went around for my rounds-I happily asked -'How are you Muquarram?'

There was no answer,instead he was lying in the bed fitting away.

The father who had been sitting beside him was stunned-he had been fine and chatting away a moment before.

One of our ward aids carried him to the ICU where we stabilised him.

He still had two episodes after that.

They could not go for a CT scan.We put him on anti-convulscents and waited for the morning to come.

The next morning he had another episode and by the time the doctor on duty came he had arrested fully.His parents refused to let him be intubated.

I was informed after the CPR had failed.

This was the first death I had really faced after starting my work this year in HCH.

I was deeply upset.

I did not meet Muquarram's parents.

His uncle came to see me later .

His exact words were,'You all worked so hard Dr jee but it was Allah's wish that prevailed.'

I needed to be reminded .

Farewell Muquarram ,my friend-I pray that I might have been able to give you some comfort in your last days.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The ordinary bread.

I am in the church.The preacher is a muslim convert.He is preaching from Isaiah.He is reiterating the Word in full gusto.I listen,I pray ,I pray hard-Oh Lord please inspire me today.
The choir sings beautifully.I pray to the Lord of my heart please Lord ,inspire me.
There is a call for the Lord's supper.
The lady's line touches the door but the men's line has just four people in it.
Taking a cue from one of the old nurses I change into the men's line.
I walk up to the Lord's supper and give a reverant glance at the supper before me.
I see crumbs of ordinary chapatti ,hastily torn by the preacher into small pieces.
It deeply touches my heart.
How I forget time and again ,my master.
You have called us to eat the ordinary bread in reverence,in the memory of you.
When you are in it ,the ordinary becomes sacred.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

So much water has....

Walking with Angel this evening in HCH made me realise just how much water has flown under the bridge.As I walked with her ,enjoying her eloquence and her take on what is happening in her life and that of her parent's and her little brother Joshua's,I was painfully aware of the shift in time.
The joy of connecting with the child and learning what was happening with her filled me with a sense of awe .
She talked about her music which seems to excite her and the piano exams which were around the corner.She also seems to be part of the advanced choir in school.
I always relate Angel to the little child who would rush out of the door every now and then to give me updates on what was  happening ,anytime she felt her mother was struggling in any way when her dad was away in the field.
I also relate her to a little girl who used to pray for us every night in a single breath.I have, on so many uncertain dark days taken comfort in the prayer of this little child.
A child she is ,totally unaware of the impact her life has made on a person like me.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Getting back.

I am yet to get some kind of equilibrium in my place of work .
I missed the sunday rest even as I travelled to jolly grant to attend the seminar on scrub typhus.
Now that the weekend is approaching I am feeling the brunt of it.
I struggled through the OPD today especially just before lunch when my sugars I think were hitting a low and then towards the evening when the cards did not look like finishing.
The deadline for my first assignment with the fiction writing is also fast approaching.
I have done the piece .
Each time I read I find something more to edit.
It has been an interesting week professionally,getting back to medicine as practised in the mission field.A week of work has given me a lot of food for thought.
With age comes a sense of rest.
The last week saw an onslaught of people coming in with all sorts of personal problems.I listened,I even wept with them but oddly enough  I had very little to say to them.
Yesterday I had to take the night prayers for the nursing students and I found myself in the odd boat of talking to a batch of twenty students,twelve of who, had never heard the Word before.
At the last moment I decided to share about Jesus calming the storm even as the storm overtook them in the boat.
Stressing on the fact that they had taken shelter in a boat which had Jesus aboard,so how important it was to know who Jesus who was in the boat was and how it would change the way they responded to situations in their life.
I share through a lifetime of learning and living the experience.
In the meantime I listen.I observe,I study my responses constantly, heavily trying to prioritise on time which seems too short every day....there never seems to be enough time already.