Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas

This year I had it in my heart to share the christmas dinner with my fellowship group of all the singles in the campus.The girls who had a day off went for shopping and those of us who were working continued to work.
I managed to pick up some nick nacks for all the ladies from Jabalpur when I went for my christmas shopping.The menu was a roast which incidentally came out beautifully with vegetables and the girls cooked a lovely curry with inards and a soup to warm our cold souls.The marble cake graced the occassion  beautifully both cup-cakes and a bigger one.
We read the christmas message,sang some christmas hymns ,prayed especially for all our families and members of the fellowship who were away.Shared our gifts and then enjoyed our dinner.
Every year,our christmas families change.Atleast that has been the case ever since I have joined the missions.
I remember christmasses all the way to celebrations around bon-fires making new friends,amongst drums and tapping feets,amongst non-beleivers who opened their doors to strangers abroad,amongst friends in the lap of all things grand like cathedrals ,blueberries,and traditional christmas lunches,tension of bruised egoes,being on duty on christmas eve resuscitating patients back to life,eating dinner in the villages sitting on the floor.
My childhood christmas stories were more predictable.It was about family gatherings,christmas carols,christmas stockings,mom's delicious cakes and tea in the beautiful crockeries,the church and the sunday schools where old christmas post-cards handed out by the sunday school teachers brought so much of joy to our hearts.It was also about the post-man delivering christmas cards to our doorsteps,love feast in the church and ofcourse new dresses.I remember one christmas shopping where my sibling ,who was hard to please, had made up her mind that she wanted a gown for christmas.Reading about christmas gown is onething but getting the village tailor to make you one is another thing altogether.You would have to talk to our village tailor about the limit to which his skills have been tested by us.
My older sister's 'seventeen magazine' with Brook Shield in various attire used to be our sample book .My sister stuck to the purple gown she wanted and she got it.Getting a shoe to match the purple gown was another story altogether.
I also remember celebrating christmas in south avenue in Delhi  with a host of extended cousins who were doing so for the first time,I think .I remember dancing around the christmas tree,two people around that tree have passed away eversince.Our hindu neighbours then used to be an MP from Bihar and one from Rajasthan..all the children were part of the celebration.
I really have no idea what christmas will be like next year ,what family and where I will be celebrating it but that strange longing and a feeling that there is something better..a Home where I will belong someday will continue to haunt me ..till then I will continue the celebrations........

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Give me breakfast any day…



Breakfast is a quintiessential problem whenever I travel.Eating Geeta bai’s alu-parathas hot off the pan is a healing process.She always stuffs in extra bit of potato and coriander and it is heaven with tomato sauce,I am not sure of the health benefits of it all .While in Bhopal the timing for breakfast of eight-fifteen in the morning in the pastoral centre was a tad too late because I had to go across the city to speak in a student’s conference.At  seven thirty, I started walking the roads in search of breakfast. A Haldiram’s was open and suggested I wait out another fifteen minutes for the hot samosas and kachoris .I was not tempted at the thought of the dripping oil.
I hardly walked a hundred yards when I spotted teenagers in ones and twos eating something out of paper pages  with a spoon.I walked up and there were these huge utensils with a hill of poha .Ten rupees per plate, enough and more for your breakfast.I bought it,relished it and I had this secret joy of having had a phenomenal breakfast for ten rupees.
Before I discovered poha, egg bhurji and parantha used to be my favourite north Indian -mission breakfast.In the south when in  Oddanchattram I loved the breakfast.Shravana Bhawan breakfast used to be after my own heart.However,there was one particular breakfast which seldom went down my throat .My cousin, in his book, has labeled it ‘the poison ‘you put on the table when you want your mother in law to make her stay as short as possible’.Yes it is ‘puttu’.I am yet to develop a taste for it and I guess I never will.
I was not a breakfast eater but with time I am beginning to watch my body clock more closely and am beginning to understand what anybody and everybody keeps chanting,-’you need to eat your breakfast,it is good for you.’
I often find myself saying it to all and sundry who will give me an ear . I say it with conviction now.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Mystery of "Catholic food" and others...

I was invited to speak in student's retreat in Bhopal on 4th and 5th of December.
I was looking for a place to stay .I wanted some place quiet to gather my thoughts together and pray.Muani my colleague from Mizoram had been to Bhopal some days earlier to write an exam.She suggested I stay in the pastoral centre which she said was simple and the food was "catholic" and nice.Little perplexed by the description of the food I asked our junior doctor Max who is from a catholic background as to what was "catholic" food.He was highly embarrassed,amused and had no clue.
The centre was a lesson in all things efficient and fruitful.Simple but adequate is how I describe the place .The rooms had two beds,a hard one and a soft one.The bathrooms had a wash basin and two taps with running water ,hot and cold and a western toilet.There was a dust-bin in one corner.
Breakfast was at eight but the place comes alive with gospel sounds from seven onwards which includes the St Joseph school  run by the same concern.Apart from that they also run a hospital and a disability centre.
I could  eat two breakfasts in the centre and it was  delicious appam with coconut stew one day and puri and potato the next day.
The salt was less and the spice comfortable.Another colleague of mine was enlightening me as to how christian food always had less salt as compared to people from other communities.So I got to sample "the catholic food".
The conference was a lesson in order.
The students fellowship in the college had been running through generations and were being supported by the previous students who have long since left the place.The first years were already being pushed to take the leadership in leading the church and worship.
Three students who were passing out expressed an interest in joining missions which was pretty good considering they were the only ones finishing their internship.
How we mentor them on the field will I guess decide how far they go.My prayer is that they will be with mature ,prayerful visionary leaders who will see their God given potential and will lead them to become giants in and for Christ.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

How deep the Father's love...



Today  I was reading  a devotion in the morning  from the gospels about the woman with the alabaster

jar  who demonstrated her devotion to  Christ during the dinner  Simon ,the Pharisee ,hosts for

Jesus. Whenever I have read or heard  a sermon on it the stress has been always on what the woman

did.Nowadays,the Lord has been showing me the other side of it which is very evident but we often skip

through.The part where Simon does not do ……

The event reads-‘ Then He turned toward the woman and said to Simon ,’Do you not see this woman?I

came into your house .You did not give me any water for my feet,but she wet my feet with her tears and

wiped them with her hair.You did not give me a kiss,but this woman ,from the time I have entered ,has

not stopped kissing my feet.You did not put oil on my head,but she has poured perfume on my feet….’

Is the Lord asking me this question today?

It poignantly touched my heart because I  have invited Christ into my  heart but how often do I

acknowledge His presence by  washing His feet, greet Him with a kiss ,or anoint His head with oil….in

other words how often do I express  my devotion to Him?

Friday, October 30, 2015

The train Journey.

Almost ten days of anaesthesia haze and I am back in the wear and tear of the field as it actually is.The train journey was unexpected .I had a train ticket on a waiting list and was trying this route for the first time.Had a mind to turn back many a time and go via my usual route,that is through Delhi.So was pleasantly surprised to see an all AC train with my reservation confirmed in the first class compartment.I anticipated a good rest after boarding the train at an unearthly hour at three in the morning.The journey was allright.Each time I felt uneasy I reminded myself of the posture I was in in the station while waiting for the train to come in and it made me enjoy my berth better.
Saw a father daughter drama wrapped in intercultural delimna unfold before my eyes.A lovely daughter and her father were travelling from Guwahati to Kuchbihar for the daughter's marriage to a person from UP.Bengali in origin ,father was in a last minute rustle to put in an extra dose of culture into the child.Every rustle of the jhalmuri man would see them buying some .We were in the first class compartment so it was not too often.A liberal bengali though he was I saw his face harden slightly when he mentioned that his 'son in law to be', was a UP-ite.I tried imagining in my mind's eye what he would be like and I just could not go beyond Amitabh Bachan and his son.I could understand his anxiety,they could not be more different but I guess being a bengali,brought up in the north-east the girl would be culturally confused , like I am.
Theperson on the next berth was an assamese ,post-ESPN journalist who was travelling to be with his family in Indore.It was all hunky dory down there with this gentleman allowing us a peep into his world where he and his wife had adopted a girl child.To me a doctor, he looked like a high risk coronary case.He was fit enough ,on the larger side, but he only gorged on the train biryani whose oil is a suspect and smoked like a chimney.
Listening to them ,on a continuous banter ,I wish I had carried a pen .I had many a moment when I ,a voyeur ,saw a potential article but I did not carry a pen and my mind did not deem it registrable.
From the lovely early winter sunshine of Sikkim I have come straight into the lap of cold Lakhnadon in sweaters in the mornings.I am back to face the winter struggle.......with God's grace.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Joy in the mourning!

KT and Helen were here for a day visiting.I was overjoyed to know that they had made a detour from Nagpur to come down to Lakhnadon albeit briefly .They must have been here for three hours at the most but it was a time of immense blessing.As always they poured out themselves for the people they briefly met.They could have but one meal and Rajkumari,our bai insisted she wanted to be the one to host them so I reluctantly agreed.
The time went by so easily and I did not even realise how it went by because my comfort level with them is high.
Seeing them relate with the class four staffs was immensely encouraging.They specifically asked for Rita Bai ,the lady who keeps the campus clean.She came with her husband and they had stories gallore from the times gone by.We get a glimpse of mission as it should be.Involvement in the lives of people who God places in our plate and to think He will ask us for an account.
Often we become so busy with things that have to be done that we have no time for the person and people who get it done when infact that is perhaps the most important part of the ministry the Lord has put us there for.People came up to me specifically to tell me how KT and Helen had invested in their lives to make that crucial difference when it mattered.
Thank you Lord for these saints of God,may their tribe increase amidst us.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Bidding farewell to Kamla and Lata in a span of 12 hours.

Lata and Kamla were two strong ladies I came to know in my short span of ministry in Lakhnadon .
Lata had been an obstetrician here for a little less than a decade.She and her husband left the ministry for a private practise nearby.She had a strong tie with the hospital.She came from a hindu background so called the hospital her home.When I was first asked to join the ministry here in Lakhnadon she was one of the person here to fill in during the transition.When I came to Lakhnadon,the ladies around fondly remembered her and kept asking after her.
Lata reiterated my belief that ladies are made of a stern stuff.She was a strong person and a brave girl to boot.While she gasped for breath within the CPAP mask one youngster breezily entered the ICU and asked me,'Are you her sister?'I said 'Yes' and Lata smiled through her struggling gasps.
Kamla was a bright nurse who was full of life.She was a friend in many ways.Everytime I saw her she had her brilliant smile and I found her extremely resourceful.Anytime we wanted something done from Chappara we could always count on her .She would not dissappoint.One thing that touched me about her was that whenever she brought ANC patients for delivary from Chappara she would stay awake with the patient the whole night ,deliver the baby and then go for her duty bright and chirpy.She had her idiosyncracies but I always took it all with a pinch of salt because in a sense I was fond of her.For instance there was a time when one of the hospital vehicles were going on an auction .I received a phonecall from her saying that her husband was putting in his papers for the auction and could I make sure that he got it.I literally had my mouth open when I heard that . I explained to her that it would not work that way and it would go as per norms .
Next time we met there was no awkwardness.I always used to tease her about her dressing ,she looked after herself well.
The last time I met her was when Dr Ann Thyle visited with the idea of starting palliative care service in lakhnadon.We really thought she could be the point person and she had a list of twenty stroke patients from around Chappara.I called her to talk to her about it and the first thing she said was,'My heart fills with joy whenever you remember and call ...' I took it to be her normal chirpy way of greeting me.
That was how we were.Little did I realise that, that was the last image I would carry of her .I left for Delhi for some training and when I came back my colleagues updated me about how she had been suffering from fever and cold but was not mantaining saturation with breathlessness and so since I was not around they reffered her to Jabalpur.By the time I saw her she was knocked out on invasive ventilation.She never came out of that .
One other lasting image this lady kept for me was the sight of a poor man with a tattered clothes standing in a corner and weeping away during the funeral .I was deeply touched and keeping an eye on the person , later I realised he was the local 'dom' or the person who  burns the dead bodies in the crematorium by the river side.
That was one of the biggest testimonies of the life lived ,I have seen in a while.

Bidding farewell to Lata and Kamla in a day.


Friday, September 18, 2015

Learning to teach Alzebra.

I requested Max our junior doctor to help the children of our class four staffs with their school work post-duty hours and he was only too happy to oblige so all the little boys who live in the nearby villages come to him.Savitri Bai was not around when we started doing this so when I caught up with her I told her that if her son needed help with schoolwork doctor Max was open to helping him.
She immediately asked what about my daughters?They were in classes nine and eight and apparently has problems with maths and english.So I told her to send them over to me.
The older kid came with her maths text with a homework given by her teacher to solve three questions.
I had not anticipated that maths would be taught in hindi.Multiple xs and ys stared at me and I had no idea about what they wanted us to do with it.I asked for help from one of the nurses who had sat through a hindi medium and she was as blank.i wondered what the children would do with the xs and ys in their life later.
The child was clutching onto another book and then I realised she had a guide with her.I read the guide and then realised the sum was teaching her simple logic and the children had no idea about how the logic worked.
I had to deconstruct the sum and start .It is just the first day.
I am learning to learn as much as I am learning to teach.
 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Driving to the station..

I got talking to a taxi driver ,a sikh gentleman who has ferried around a lot of my kiths and kins in the past and so seems to have a vague sketch of the family line ,that's what I got to know this time.Two days of ferrying to Gurgaon was done in silence ,I had exams to attend to and so must have looked forbidding.On my final journey to the station he suddenly got chatty.He seems to have gathered I am a doctor so he invited me to start a hospital and a school in his village,apparently in Haryana and Punjab border with the nearest good school or a hospital being some sixty kilometres away.He said the folks in his village could not send girls to school because it was very far away.
He had a lot to say about Punjab and his sikh religion.According to him he is a pure sikh so avoids meat and alcohol.Most of his free time is spent helping out in a langer preparing food for the poor of Delhi.He talked about the festivals they celebrate ,how they open stalls all over the gurdwara.
In the meantime some beggars came by pleading through the window.He was of the opinion that it was their way of thinking that was wrong ,even if they had enough of everything they would continue to do what they were doing.
'In our Punjab' was what he said  'even the sheds where animals are kept are squeeky clean and our cows enjoy fans and coolers during hot season so knowing that they are loved they produce a lot of milk.Even labourers who come to help during harvest season know that they will get enough and more to eat in Punjab.No landowner will keep an account of what his labourers are eating.They pick up whole sacks of wheat flour and give it to the workers'. I believed him .
Then he asked me if I had been to a gurdwara ,when I said 'yes, in Dehradun' he immediately quipped 'Paonta Sahib'.He asked me if I went to a temple,when I said ,'I am a christian ' he said ,'oh!'.
Then he gave me another monologue on how in the recent past a young Father(priest)from Dehradun had hired his taxi for a whole day with another guest and at the end of the day had taken all of them for a dinner.
During dinner the Father had offered him 'hard drinks' saying it was allright for them to drink alcohol,but he being a pure sikh had declined politely.Then in the same breath he said the Father tipped him Rs 500 and he had kept it in his purse because someone had told him that when Fathers gift anyone anything  one should keep it  ,it would bring blessings.He asked me if it was true?
Is this how normal people make a conversation or am I missing something in life?
Kudos to the Punjab da putra I remember everything he said.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Whew!!

Last but one week has been crazy to say the least.Everything seems to be moving at frantic pace and I am frankly out of breath and feel like I am walking on cloud.I was in Delhi for my BLS and ACLS accredition by the American Heart Association.I had a first day which was a challenge and second and third day went in a haze with a terrible migraine but things we do instinctively by now does not need too much of effort and by God's grace I cleared it so now I am officially allowed to resusciate patients.In the meantime visited Lata in Stephens who was on a CPAP struggling for breath and barely mantaining saturation.One thing that struck me was she was a brave girl ,I guess having three children below the age of fifteen makes you brave ,every effort was a struggle and yet she was at it looking after herself,acknowledging our prayers ,responding to our scarce queries.Apart from praying with her all I could manage was to express my appreciation of how brave she was and how people were praying for her.
Now ,as I write this she has had a respiratory arrest and is on a ventilator.
I made the journey back to Lakhnadon and was immediately informed about one of our staffs whose pneumonia had taken a turn for the worse and had been reffered to Jabalpur.She was on a ventilator and they were suspecting swine flu.In the meantime our administrator has been transferred to Utraulla .
In between spurts of communication from critical patients we continue with our work of trying to save patients and we continue to pray.
It  makes us realise how fragile our lives are.
My beautiful neice tied the knot on my sister's birthday which is the 12th of September in faraway Sydney.We made do with the snaps that came through.


Thursday, September 3, 2015

Life's little surprises....


You can get surprised by life .Just the other day I had this racking headache.Mosquitoes are having a field-day biting us every now and then.In between looking after guests,running the hospital ,clinics I hastily gave blood in the lab for infective work up.The reports surprised me suddenly with a hemoglobin of 9.6.The lab person checked it twice because he knows  I mantain a steady 12gm always.I pushed aside the result from my mind because I was actually resuscitating a patient then.All work done,at midnight, I remembered I better go and check my reports.It showed significantly low mcv and mch.It was definately iron defficiency anaemia but it was through a relatively short period of two months.To my knowledge I had not bled anywhere,I could have been malnutrioned or have a hookworm.I am keeping the safer options and treading carefully.I have started taking anti-helmenthics and iron syrup ,if it persists I  will happily go for scopies.
But I am ready for anything.




Friday, August 21, 2015

Losing the pillars.

Yesterday evening we lost our pastor ,I got the news today.He's been our pastor babu forever it seems.Eons ago my grandfather whom I never saw groomed him into the office.He grew up in the hills of Mangan along with my parents ,so for them it is indeed a big loss.
I, for one, have never stayed at home and so have not exactly been under his jurisdiction but my family has and I never thought I would feel the loss of that unassuming shy man.He did baptise me.
Slowly a generation is passing by before our eyes.They were stalwarts of all that was basic,strong and dependable not necessarily always in the right.
Home to me means predictability,church,faithfullness,congregation,sweet sincere hymns sung by simple people in churches packed with families,a way of life unquestioned ,unchallenged and falling into a rythemn of it's own.
I grieve acutely with my parents and the senior citizens who I am sure must be battling their own  battles with  vulnerability.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Praying with the Master.







I was overjoyed to catch Georgie over the phone the other day.Needed some help with a paediatric protocol ,had called up Vikram to confirm ,he was in Ooty of all the places and George and Susan happened to be around for their child’s admission, I think.
George being George was not only thorough with the protocol I wanted he offered to pray for me over the phone.Just how many people do we know who do that.I was deeply encouraged.
Bethsheba Eicher is another person who prays with me almost every month over every issue under the sun we grapple with in our respective sphere of work and life.We have been doing this I think for around  a decade now.
Praying with each other over the telephone is a great way of staying connected where it matters with people.We talk to many people over the course of the days that flip by-a few witty comments stay on for sometime but the praying with each other leaves a lasting impact in ways we cannot even fathom.’
One time not so long ago I was struggling with some issues at work.Sarah aka,Sarah David called up ‘just like that’.I suspect it was not ‘just like that’.The talk I had with her for just about ten minutes gave me a food for thought.She listened,she empathized,she built and she prayed a simple powerful prayer.At the end of the session I had a clearer Godly perspective on the thing at hand.
Words of affirmation, words of life ,words of power,words of love,and just the image of Christ my Redeemer praying for you and me at the right hand of the Father-what a powerful picture it is!
Thank God for these servants of God who reach out whenever there is an opportunity with gestures that can only come from a heart that is stayed in the Master.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The two men..

I felt a strange sense of pain in my heart when I heard about Yakub Menon's execution in Nagpur jail.I even wept.Just the other day  another man ,a great muslim died,I was at peace.
I wondered why?
There is a process of restoration ,a full circle  when circle of every being's life rounds up.
When president Abdul Kalam died there was an out-pouring of grief and response all over the net but there was certain amount of rounding up of his life -he had in the worldly sense lead a thoughtful life and had spent his life living intelligently ,there was a sense of having completed a journey well.
In Memon's case everything about the episode reeks of opening new festering wounds in the lives of so many more,his family for one I guess will never heal.
However did India have a choice ?I really do not know.I am not sure what the families of the victims of the 1993 bomb-blast feel .Do they have it in them to forgive,or have they moved on in life.
I wonder if a terrorist thinks about other people's families and the lives that are going to be lost when they plan out such events.
Looking at the trend that the world in general seems to be moving towards where people are killing others in the name of everything but a logical sense of brotherhood of men again I am not sure what to conclude.
India has always been an easy target for everyone because we are as a nation, a tolerant country.
With greatest apologies to all the people who are going to carry this pain in their hearts for a lifetime I realise India did not have much of a choice.
I wept for Menon and his family and loved ones but India cannot afford too many 1993's.
May we learn,may we heal,may we build ,and may we learn to love our country and our fellow brethren,may we learn to try and put on the other person's shoe ,I say try because it seldom is a perfect fit.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Reading Nicholas Spark.

I never thouoght I would read Nicholas Spark.I thought it was too sloppy for my taste.However in the world of hundred and one paperbacks hitting the stand everyday ,I found myself picking it out from the bookshops.
I bought a read from the railway station.The bookseller pushed numerous paperbacks which I promptly rejected but held on to 'A walk to remember'.New York times had written a good review on it.
The book is glowing in it's altruistic intonation.The storyline revolves around a congressman's son and a bible carrying,straight-jacket preacher's daughter.The story is written from the boy's point of view and is a story about a growing love that ends albeit tragically but has  a bittersweet end to it.
'The best of me ' was another movie I saw written by Nicholas Spark.This is the fourth work of Nicholas Spark I have been through,the other two being 'The Notebook' which is supposed to be iconic and a movie ,I forget the name of ,but remember the story.It is about a reconcilliation between an estranged father ,his wife and kids even as the father suffers from a terminal illness.
I am frankly running out of books to read.I as always reflect as to why I am reading what I am reading.
In a world where everyone is making hundred and one choices which reflect in the way they present their art and every body gobbles it up without a second thought ,in these times of shifting values in the sands of time I guess these books echoe a part of us that wants to hold on to all that is good,all that is precious and all that matters in this confused world of ours .Perhaps my tears are for all that isn't , or for all that should be but it takes me very close to the times in my childhood when my mother used to tell us stories with biblical intonation and I used to shed 'big drops of tears 'even as I listened to her.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

His ways are God's way..Isn't it great though He's four days late He's always on time...

These last few days have been adventurous to say the least.The whole of last month I have all but killed myself working without counting the hours.By God's grace lot of patients have passed by our hospital healed physically,have heard the gospel and have gone home.We in the medical team have been stretching ourselves to the limit going much beyond our capabilities.I have done three vaginal hysterectomies in the recent past and so now hold the distinction of being the only doctor in the lakhnadon region who actually does it.I might also be the only physician doing it.The last one was tough,with a slightly bulky uterus and lots of adhesions.It teaches us to be extra resilant,never mind the long hours of surgery,uncertainity,lack of stamina...fear of complications...ask me how to pray through difficult situations ,,I am becoming an expert in it.
Last week brought along with it a lot of sadness as well.I lost a three year old child to snake-bite.
By the time she was brought to us she had been unconcious for about half and hour and her breathing stopped just as I entered the casualty.Intubate her we did.She responded initially,I put her on a ventilator and at seven in the morning not having slept the whole night because of calls,i asked one of the paramedics to keep watch by the ventilator and went for a wink of sleep.It was a sunday.When I happened to wake up by ten the child was in a deep coma,albeit her respiration supported but with no response whatsoever,I waited a day and half for some kind of response at the end of which I discussed with the relatives about having her head scanned.They took her to Jabalpur.The CT was normal and she had a mild spontaneous breathing but early hours of the next morning my junior called to say she had arrested.
The family was anticipating the death but I personally took it tough.That is when one realises we are human.We need time to heal and every incident takes it's toll on us.
In the meantime I connected to whatssapp,so am in touch with my college friends got to see the shape my apartment my brother is building for me is taking,connected with my friend Nithila.
Nithila introduced me to this lovely song by Karen Peck and Bill gaither's band-'four days late'.
It is a song about Lazarus' revival from dead by Jesus here ti is beautifully profound.
'HIS WAYS ARE GOD'S WAY...Isn't it great though He is four days late He is always on time'.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Growing pains.

At a blink of an eye years pass by .My little neice Anhaita was one year old when she used to jump up from any position when she heard any kind of music to do hip-hop.Guests who visited their house, which was most days, because they kept an open house,would be treated to a cute sight of mother and daughter dancing together.
This summer she turned sixteen .She gave me several shocks.Firstly,she sweetly broke it to her mother that she wanted to take up bio-science and pursue medicine for her carreer,secondly she actually scored very well in her tenth and last but not the least she frightened everyone by travelling all alone from Siliguri to New Delhi by train alone because her maid had a family emergency.She refused to have an air-ticket bought for her.
She has always been an extremely protected child thus far.
When I first heard the news that she wanted to become a doctor my first reaction was ,'Why a doctor?'I felt extremely heavy and I wondered to myself if she would be able to go through the rigours of medicine in the Indian education system.One does literally have to claw one's way through the competition and I wondered if she will be able to work so hard.Right from her childhood she has been exposed to all sort of elite professions,her father being an active part of our indian media both print and television.:At one time we thought she would get into cooking,another time nature.She is a fickler for information.whenever I need to buy a gadget I consult her.
When she got her results which was pretty good she did not seem satisfied.Her mother had a quirky explanation for it.She declared heartily that her daughter had done very well and she was very happy because she was a tribal.However Anhaita being a UP-ite from her father's side must be having the added Indian hang up of how her batch-mates had fared,had they done better than her etc ,etc.
All said and done the little girl is becomming a big girl and is making her own very strong decisions.We have our fingers crossed and we pray that all her choices will be blessed choices.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

BONDING WITH OUR PALLIATIVE CARE PATIENTS.

Palliative care patients come our way because there are no such facilities anywhere else around.
They end up staying months on end and they bond well with us.
ICP was the first patient to come our way.Transferred from ICU in Nagpur due to brainstem bleed he stayed with us for almost three months before we discharged him for home.Every now and then he collapses and is wheeled into our casualty.
We had not seen him for seven months.His sons ,when we met them in the market would politely invite us to their place.They would tell us he is doing well.ICP could not talk ,would not respond to any of the commands when he came in .Our nurses diligently worked around him ,we counseled the sons about including him in conversations.We would take time in our morning prayers to specifically go up to his room ,sing some hymns and would share the gospel and pray.Tears would stream down ICP’s eyes.There was no knowing if we were actually reaching out to him.
Yesterday the son came to our hospital at around eleven o’clock to enquire if Madam could go to their house and have a look at ICP .He was staying just around the corner and was having high grade fever and was breathless.That was a one off request for a house-call.Having explained that I would not be able to do anything for him at home I called Kamlesh,our hospital driver who picked ICP from his home.
He was spiking 105 degrees and had on a winter warmer.
The urine out-put was nil.We started an IV fluid,pushed in some antibiotics and our young nurses ever so diligently did a beautiful cold sponging and at the end of one hour our man’s fever was down.He gave me a beatific smile.His son asked him how he is feeling and he nodded implying he is feeling much better.
He mumbled something ,lying in the comfort of the air-conditioned ACU,and it was -‘ Good night’.
The other gentleman was a school-teacher with terminal cancer of the colon who was ever so intelligent.
Each morning I would go up to his bed and greet him-‘Ramanjee,aap kaise hai?(Ramanjee,how are you today?).He would reply –‘Jee,ache hai.’ ‘Thank you,I am feeling good.’
We would talk about the knick knacks and then we would go through the procedure of doing some dressing,tying crepe bandages,just processes to make the patient feel cared for and comfortable.
As his gut started closing and we knew the time was near,we continued to greet each other in the same way.We continued to spend time with them in prayer.The wife did not want to take the patient home because she thought that she would not be able to manage the visitors.He had a lot of friends and families in and around Lakhnadon.
Ramnjee would meticulously chalk-out plans for his family’s future with his wife.On one occasion the family requested we allow him to go to a temple for a dip in the holy water.He went one evening and came back.
One day it looked like he would not make it past another day or two so when I went for my morning rounds I asked him ,’Ramanjee,aap ghar jana chahate hai?’(Ramanjee, would you like to go home?).He replied ,’Ji’.
I requested the family to take him home for the last time and they agreed.He apparently died the next day surrounded by all his friends and family.
We remember each of them,the ones who have passed away, with a pang in our hearts.
These palliative care patients not only leave us richer for the experience but they also allow us to walk into the life and struggles of the families they belong to.We feel greatly privellaged to be allowed to participate in so delicate a time .

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Another sunday in lakhnadon.

It has been a difficult week correcting,tolerating,working,struggling with nagging administrative issues.I was looking forward to the sunday to bounce back.I had a restful day but for the mid--morning when I was caught up controlling the seizures of a one and a half year old child who had been reffered to Jabalpur from the government hospital seizuring.So much for the defensive medicine the health practitioners are at these days.It took sometime getting an intravenous line but by God's grace as we dilantinised her and with the benzodiazepams in,his seizure settled.
This evening I had another youngster join us for the evening fellowship.


We are studying the book of Mark these days and there are a few themes that keep recurring.
1)We need to really know Jesus of nazereth for who He is.The gospels is like an introduction God
gives us ..as the son of God..,Lord over nature,Lord over diseases,Lord over death,Lord over evil
spirit and satan,a compassionate God,a generous God,a righteous God,a caring God,....


2)The periods of encounters with the glory of the Lord are encouragements to prepare and
strenghten us for greater responsibilities ahead,most times these moments are to be kept in our
hearts,not to be shared but to help us gird ourselves for the greater challenges that is to come
our way as we follow Christ.Example being Peter.John and James in the mount of transfiguration
,they were chosen to withness the transfiguration and they were also perhaps the ones who
suffered the most for their faith.


3)God's final word to the people was 'Jesus'.Like in the mount of transfiguration Moses and
Elizah dissappear in the clouds,everything must dissappear before Jesus.'This is my son,'Hear
Him'.


Today we encouraged each other with drawings of the parables of our choosing in the first
half.The parables had to be from the first eight chapters of the gospel of Mark,which we have been studying.We numbered it and let everyone pick up a draw to take home one drawing of a parable to encourage him/her.There were lots more laughs and participation and also poignancy of taking home one's own piece of a parable picture.


Monday, May 25, 2015

Crepe, rice conjee and sewing machine.


Somewhere from the inner recesses of my mind recipes pour out as I cook on Sundays for a group of twelve or so.I am not a hoarder,although every now and then I go out shopping and stock my fridge I am learning to use every bit of food that comes in and not waste it as we normally do.I was watching the documentary ,’Just eat it’ and it was quite appalling watching so much of food being wasted in first world countries.In India even scraps are eaten in the street.
This Sunday I racked my head to organize a menu that would compliment the hotter than hot weather outside.I had potatoes gallore,mayonnaise ,condiments and herb,flour ,sugar and salt and some fruits.
I settled on cold mash with mayonnaise,nuts and herbs,crepe made over the hot stove but served cold ,papayas and a shake with bananas ,mangoes and milk.There was no wastage whatsoever which is actually never there and light on every ones stomach.The Crepe was paper thin and ever so light,it somehow reminded me of royalty,although I am not sure what the connection was.Must be some book stowed away in my sub-concious.The plate looked a treat and tasted likewise.
I was describing the dinner to my sister who suggested making a thin rice conjee ,and serving it with soya-sauce ,and tiny bits of salad next week.I am quite for the idea.Cooking is fast becoming one of my favourite hobbies.I am also thinking of buying a good sewing machine and doing some dress making.
I have never done it before but there is always a first time.I remember our mom making various household articles with her machine and how careful and strict she was about us handling her sowing stuff.I sure need some cushion covers and drawing room stuff.
I am excited!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Children!

A and J were with me for the holidays.Bethsheba spent three days with us amidst the hullabulla of her own demanding and busy life.It was wonderful to have her's and Andy's wise presence in my disorganised life , for a short time.They left their children for a week with me.
J and A were a healing presence ,a little surprising for children of their age.They would get up in the morning,have their quiet time,make the chai which J was an expert in,eat their breakfast,go for VBS in the church.The afternoons were spent on their fours on the floor colouring different posters for our wards and we would invariably end the days with stories from my growing up years,a bible reading and prayer together before we would call it a day.
Yesterday by the time I reached home ,they had soaked the dal,cut potatoes,onions,tomatoes and were ready to plunge it into the hot oil even as they looked into their note-pad for their mother's recipe.
We cooked the meal delicious in it's simplicity and company.
Having the children here with me adds a new and delightful dimension in my life.
It is fascinating to have children around us and try and work out how the culture around them is shaping them.I spent a whole evening painting a poster of Jesus' different names with oil crayons with them.It was impressive just observing their know-how in the art of colours and the dynamics involved in poster making.
The only time I remember painting a poster that was selected for my school magazine was a naive poster of the sun-flower and me against the back-drop of a mountain-very revealing of the psychology of the child that was in me.I must have been six then and the principal who was a wise and lovely man selected the poster of a gigantic me with a huge sun-flower and mountains in the back-drop.The psychologists today would have a field day just looking at the poster.Children today would laugh at the proportions.
I spent one whole evening repeating and enacting a nursery rhyme with children all the way from two years to nine years old.Was it a waste of time?-No,we were best friends by the end of it.
It was enlightening to see the youngsters flipping through their thought process to make concious choices about any action they were to undertake.They would independantly make a choice to be a blessing in their quiet way and I would have to give the credit to the parents for bringing up such fine children.
I can confess truthfully that I learnt the art of making concious choices to be a blessing ,in freedom, very late in life and there is so much release in it.
I pray that the children may recognise this gift and develop this further...no doubt they will be great assets for the kingdom.