Thursday, September 21, 2017

To truly see.

Sisters are such a precious gift from God.I am tripple blessed,I have three.Today is aie Mimi's birthday.Aie Mimie is two years older than me and we have been buddies since the time I remember.I was the younger and so have always had my way with her.She would let me win every race,take precedence in all the games we played as a kid,This day I celebrate her innocence,her prayerful dependance on God as she stewards two little children from difficult backgrounds in a christian upbringing,as she wrestles with the sheer schedule of everyday living teaching her college kids and yet holds all the certificates to her name.She is faithful and comitted in the way she looks after mom and dad,ever mindful of their desires as she takes all the effort to fulfill it in what way she can.I am grateful to God for her.
She was the tomboy of the family.Always included in all the adventures my brothers planned out,whether it was hiking,going to the cardomom fields for the yearly survey,running after wild horses,or wrestling with the boys.She was an athelete in school winning shotput,javelin and the disc throwing events,she was also good in marathon.An average kid in school she excelled from her 11th standard and went on to pick up the maximum number of certificates in the family.She always remains a child at heart it seems grappling more with life than the rest of us.
Last week Nabeel Quereshi died.I have never set my eyes on him as a person but he was mere 34 years when he passed away to glory.I was deeply touched by his life and his testimony and his passing away had a deep impact on me.A pakistani immigrant in America,had such an impact in his short life on so many people around the world.God's infinate grace helped him see.He was a chosen vessel of God,meant for His glory.
I realise how finite our lives are and how we spend the major portion of it chasing after things which have no eternal value.We live trying to live to other people's expectations and it is when we face death that we have to come face to face with our fears and most importantly the God we know.
How well do we know our God?Is it a borrowed faith that we have built our lives on ,do we truly know our God?It is only by God's grace that we come to junctures like his when we truly have to face ourselves through unsmoked mirrors.
As Elizabeth Browning famously said,

"The earth is crammed with heaven
and every common bush afire with God,
But only he who sees takes off his shoes,
the rest sit around and pick blueberries."


Father,help me to truly see.
In Jesus' name.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

A heartbeat away..

Two things happened this week that made me feel vulnerable.I am known to be a tough cookie otherwise.
I have been following the Harvey and the Irma story quite closely and have beem praying with the beleivers since the 1st of September when the Lord put it in my heart.
On thursday mprning I found a small paronochia forming in one of my fingers.It was painful but I pushed it to the back of my mind while I continued to work.The second day ,there was pain but it was busy and so I ignored it again.In the morning one of my colleagues insisted I run down to the minors and see someone there ,but I was caught up with the work so ignored it.Towards mid-morning I noticed a reddish track forming along one side of my finger all the way to the back of my hand(Tracking),so I ran down to the minors and registered myself.The nurse practitioner who looked into it was very kind.She put a nick,squeezed out the pus ,put a water proof bandage and gave me enough Flucloxacillin for the next five days and kept asking me if I was okay for work.I was finishing my duty in another hour or so.I felt comfortably vulnerable and very grateful to the NP in the busy A and E.
It was a friday,two whole days of weekend to rest and enjoy.
It had been a busy week and I start with my hot from next week where I work longer hours and also have a lot of zero days for the next one month.
In the evening I decided to cook some rice and dal and store it for a week.I put them to cook and forgot about it for a cool half and hour.By the time I realised it the rice and the dal had charred to bits and the kitchen was full of smoke,the fire alarm started and went on till the fire officer came and put it off.
It made me realise how vulnerable our human lives were.having heard about a young doctor in Liberia who got charred to death in the accomodation he was living in,it could have been me.
This morning speaking to my near ninety years old father,I felt vulnerable again.I realised while I jaunt around the world doing what I do ,how dependant on his just being there I am.This is a father who can never see a tear in the eyes of any of his children,soft,kind,always there for us.
I spoke to my mother ,she has always been the strong one,the disciplinarian.
I realised anew how dependant on the grace of the almighty God we are everyday.
'What is man that you are mindful of him,son of man that you care for him?'Psalm 8,vs 4.
Whether it is a Harvey,Irma,fire,earthquake,sickness or anything...it is just a heart beat away-we live and breathe in Him by His grace alone.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Sunday in London thus far.

I booked myself into the summer accomodation ,Prince's garden of the imperial college,comfortable room in the heart of south Kensington ,along the exhibition raod leading to Prince's consort road ,across the road from the science mueseum and the history museum.Hyde park and the Kensington park are five minutes walk along the same path.Amazing location!Breakfast went with the accomodation.A generous english breakfast.Good way to start the day.Met Dreier,a french data analyst who was on a break in the area as well.
I spent the morning walking through Hyde park,something I have wanted to do since I landed in the UK.I remembered some bits from my visit earlier.I spent the morning with flowers,ducks,a squirrel,the water and the expanse of green, memorials gallore,psalm 25 in company of a statue of a woman aiming an arrow ,held up by four people with water flowing out all around her and below the chalice that held her is a torch made of cement.It made me think a bit.
I walked to my heart's content and then took an underground to tottenham court to attend the hillsong church in the Dominion theatre.
Brian Housten was visiting from Sydney.I reached when the worship had started and the dominion theatre was packed to the hilt.I somehow found a seat in the stall.
Brian's message was short,impactful and the prayer powerful.
He spoke about taking stewardship of the changes in our lives because whether we liked it or not,changes would definately come.
He talked about Peter who after he had betrayed Jesus thrice,comes out and weeps bitterly ,in other words his betrayel of Jesus overwhelms him,but Peter's life is a life of ongoing transformation.
Same with David,when he decides to fight Goliath he talks like his life as a shepherd was already a thing of the past and there are three things that helped him to move towards his God-given destiny.
1.He knew the source of change.He knew God.
2.He had a motivation for the change-Firstly he had a cause-He pertinantly asks ,'Is there not a cause?'secondly he had a reward in mind.The reward the king had placed for anyone who defeated Goliath.
3.He embraced the change.He spoke about his past like as though it was already behind him.
The one liner that stuck out for me was,'Our lives are as powerful as the cause attatched to it.' I was blessed.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Extended weekend with a bank holiday.

I remember during my Oddanchattram days,everyday I used to start my day with this song.'One day at a time.'we led a very sheltered life there,everyone extremely caring and looking after each other.The department where I am posted at,has a wonderful set of colleagues.We all have become good friends in a short time but one hardly gets much time because the rotas are made in such a way that we get as much exposure as possible and we keep moving around .How fascinating is it when we actually realise that all of us come from extremely different backgrounds.We are from India,Egypt,Iraq,Zimbabwe and England.In one of the early weeks ,one of the senior consultants gave us a good advice-'take time off to sit and eat lunch together so that you can get to know one another.'was what he said and that advise served us in good stead. Come September I have a hot month whereby I will be doing 12 hours of calls at a stretch and will have a lot of zero days as well.As disorienting as it may be, I am looking forward to it.
This weekend is an extended weekend with a bank holiday on Monday.
I struggled trying to make up my mind as to what I should do and finally zeroed down on spending the weekend in London just wandering around which I love actually.I booked myself into a place in Central London.However ,just yesterday,outside the buckingham palace there was a terrorist scare I think.
Will it change my plans?No,life has to go on.
I hope to catch 'Evita' in the theatres.Fascinating charecters etched in the history of a continent.
I have also started doing some courses that will help me be more mobile in the future.
One year of my life-precious handful of moments-may I be able to squeeze every ounce of it,equipped to give better,live better and love better.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Psalm 115,vs 5




The river Ganges is the most worshipped river in India and yet the havoc and the devastation the river causes every monsoon is unparalleled .Bhupen Hazarika , the assamese singer-writer  in this haunting song has this quetion for the river 'Why are you silent?'Who would understand this better than a person from a state which has faced the fury of the water un-paralleled and has lost lives,stock and livelihood unaccounted for year after year.
Another thing that struck me was a picture of a missionary of charity's sister amongst the suffering in the picture.





Oh the love of God.

In beautiful moments of worship with fellow beleivers in my church ,God suddenly brings to mind people and families I have known in my short journey of life and I plead before the almighty for them.This sunday while we were worshipping ,the family that the Lord brought to my mind was Dr Sam and Sarah David.In that moment of communion with God I cried out a prayer from deep within.How the Lord loves them.
The portion we studied was from Philipians chapter 3 vs 1-14.
Philippians 3:1-14New King James Version (NKJV)

All for Christ
Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe.
Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit,[a] rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, 4 though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Pressing Toward the Goal
12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.




It was a simple illustration of the passage the pastor gave us.A child was called out to help with the sermon.Each point where Paul enumerates the reason he could boast ,the child had to put four wooden blocks one on top of the other till a tower of pride was formed and then Paul considers it all a loss , for the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus,His Lord.The pastor tumbled the tower with one stroke and it was all 'a garbage',as Paul puts it.
I had not stopped to think that Saul of Tarsus was from the tribe of Benjamin,the tribe of his namesake,the first King of Israel.He had actually been named after him.Look at God's humour,the lineage of Saul becomes the diehard servant of the lineage of David and gives his life for the former's glory.
The other verse that was stressed was 'lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has laid hold of me.'The pastor asked us if we knew what Christ had laid hold of us for?

Monday, August 14, 2017

Remembering the bizzare-this independance day!

Working in the UK especially in the gastro department in the past two weeks I order human albumin to be transfused to patients every day..it brings back sad memories of my time in Lakhnadon in Madhya Pradesh.Every now and then there would be a need for HAS in the hospital with variety of patients trickling in.The administrator in all earnestness would search frantically for it.I never got hold of any during my time there.Once one of the suppliers even offered to get me some in 'black'.
The other thing which appalled me to no end was getting blood for transfusion.We had patients coming in with a haemoglobin of 2mg% and each time arranging for transfusion was a mountain of a struggle.Blood transfusion was available in Jabalpur for anything from 1800Rs to Rs 4500 and there were middle men involved.There was a time when one of the patients needed blood so badly and did not have the money required so since Saneesh's (my colleague)blood group matched with the patient concerned he offered to visit the blood bank to donate the blood in Jabalpur .He just made it in time for his train home to Raipur after the donation.
Human lives in India is a big business.Investigations and lab kits would dissappear from the market overnight so as to promote equipments.I remember so many times ,when suppliers would point blank tell us such and such kits were not manufactured anymore so for one to do a particular test one would have to buy a new equipment.
The government had strict legislations for ultrasound on one hand and a doctor was sued for some pleural tap one had done blindly.This is also a country where quacks are rampant and most patients who land up at your hospital has been through multiple hands trying everything from potions to black magic before they land up ,sometimes stone cold in rigor mortis from conditions like snakebites which are completely treatable.Nobody pays for it.
My colleagues in Emmanuel Hospital Association and other mission organisations work under considerable challenges ,in these difficult areas against a tide which does not make things easier.Everyday is a new day with new challenges with an inner drive to reiterate the value of the human lives we come across,each one made in the image of almighty God,precious and beautiful..often marred but a step towards retoration to the image,God meant it to be.
Happy independance day to my country men!.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Chewing the cud..

Incidents like the ones that is happening in Gorakhpur are disasters waiting to happen in a country like India where corruption is rampant,and accountability non-existant.
Ideally what public should demand is a transparent enquiry into the incident and a look into where the system failed.The right heads need to roll,politicians from the past record are often unable to tell.
The systems need to be put in place so that it does not happen again.
The incident should not be swept under the carpet ,whether it be the media houses championing the cause or film makers looking to make a film.The idea is to contribute in what way one can to make India better.
I am not sure,if life-saving devices like oxygen ,anti-snake venoms,insulin should be monopolised by the private sector.It does sound bizarre that a government medical college was dependant on a private supplier for its oxygen supply.Do I smell a rat here?
In the hospital where I worked in central India,oxygen used to be a major issue.The staff would often wonder why I was getting so worked up over it.One would often find empty cylinders sent back from the suppliers as filled and at times there would be leaks in the cylinder.
Many a times I have had to send in an extra personal with a meter to measure the pressure at the point of receiving the cylinders.
The same year by God's grace we centralised the oxygen and bought ten large cylinders for a five bedded ACU so the alarm would keep us alert but I still found myself having to check from time to time how the flow went.
I have had similar experiences with snakebite patients with ASV prices roof high and the government hospitals for some reason not even comitted to intubating and ventilating a patient ours used to be the only hospital in the area which used to manage snakebites,
We did struggle with the logisitcs especailly initially when we were financially constrained.The government needs to remove taxes on these essential life-saving items and make sure that no extra cost is incurred by the patients for these items.
In Jharkhand one used to see adivasis from remote corners pushed into the out-patient with snake-bites with envenomation ,with no money in their pockets.For institutions like ours where we had to buy every medication there used to be a healthy tension but no patient's treatment are compromised in any way.God provides.
The normal trend in these parts is that the poor quietly pay the fees whereas the rich muscle their way and try to weild out as much charity as possible thus making institutions with good intent struggle.However the poor who quietly pay the fee often do it at a considerable added baggage to their person.A sudden sickness could set them back in their lives by a couple of years because they give themselves as bonded labourers to the rich landowners for the money that has been advanced to them.
Thus the vicious cycle goes on..
Yes this is one face of India...I have known.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

A song -inspired by the psalms.

I will praise You Father
Flourish in worship
like an olive tree
in the house of God.

I trust in God's unfailing love
forever and ever
I will hope in Your name
for Your name is good.

I will praise You Lord Jesus
will always love You
my life is Yours,
for what You have done.

For from the Son comes
the theme of my praise
in the great assembly
my heartfelt song ,sublime and pure.

I praise You Holy Spirit
always adore You
welcome You
for who You are.

For You sweet Counseller
keep my lamp burning
You make known to me
the path of life.

I glorify You
Holy trinity
my true home
forever more

for You fill me
with the joy of Your presence
with eternal purpose
at Your right hand.


Sunday, August 6, 2017

Lord Jesus lead us.

What a gentle spirit the spirit of the Lord is.
Today we had a challenging message in the church.It was from Philipians 1 vs 12 to 14.'Now ,I want you to know brothers.....that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel....'
Paul's cry runs on through generations of martyrs unheard,unsung ,unknown but very dear to the heavens and our Lord.
Vs 27 is a beautiful direction Paul gives for the believers,'Whatever happens ,conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of gospel of Christ....'This is where most of us fail.As soon as circumstances start becoming to the contrary,our flesh takes over.
As the pastor said 'God over-rules our circumstances for the gospel to be preached and proclaimed'. We looked at great examples from the bible of the lives of people whose lives regardless of where it was, was over-ruled by God for His glory...Paul,Joseph,Daniel,and the list goes on.
We also saw a clipping on the life of Polycarpus,a martyr,the bishop of Turkey who it was said, was the last connection to apostle John.
Paul and Timothy were slaves of Christ.It was never about comfort,never about what they wanted but how God would be glorified.
We recited a prayer in the end.
Where we are to where you need us -Jesus Lead us....

Friday, August 4, 2017

New day,a new way.

Middle of this week I changed over to gastro.It is an entirely new way of functioning but so far seems to be a much healthier option.The two months in acute medicine I got thoroughly bushed.The last but oneday I was seeing patients till eight at night.Somehow I seem to have made it over the week to the weekend.I have two whole days to rest.Thank God for that.I find working hours a lot tougher this time through.The roaster also seems kind of crazy,much like the third world ,the concept of rest put to the edge and a lot of people seem to be on the edge.one often has to repeat requests slowly and twice before one realises that one has been a bit abrupt.It is all a learning process.
Meeting new people,adjusting to their idiosyncracies,getting to know them...interesting because in these times in the UK one finds people from all sorts of community and colour,getting to know them,making friends,it is interesting.From Monday ,most of the team in gastro is going to be new,so we are more or less on our own.It is a learning process and the patients are pouring in all the time.The system seems to be understaffed.
It is also a time to learn medicine especially in these specialist postings,there is so much to see and so much to take in.I thank God for the oppurtunity I seem to have got,strangely my acute medicine boss also seemed unaware of it when it happened.
By the time I get back from work I just barely have enough energy to eat a meal and go to sleep.
I look forward to the weekend and I look forward to the church.
There have been times when I have felt physically weak to the point I have almost collapsed but the Lord has carried me through.
Since last week I picked up an iron supplement from Tesco and am regularly having it.My haemoglobin has been hovering around 9 for sometime.That could be the cause of my tiredness.Hopefully it will pick up.I am trying to avoid getting myself investigated with scopes et al because it has never really gone below 9.I was a healthy 12 till I came down to Lakhnadon ,where I cannot say for sure if it was the blood donation,unhealthy eating or something sinister that did me in.
So now I am well into August.Another season slowly but surely getting on.We have started pulling our sweaters out,our textbooks out,there is so much to learn,so much to discover,so much ahead of us....With the Lord on my side ,everything is possible.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Just stop .

Making an informed choice during growing up years is a huge upward struggle.Most of the decisions one makes is almost in a state of panic ,atleast mine was.Till I was in my school,decisions were made for me.My idea of what was good and bad were very heavily coloured by our teacher's lenses.There was no questioning the order.
when one graduates from school to college,unless one comes across great souls that mentor you the peers take you along in a different journey.I thankfully escaped this phase I think because I studied in good old Bengal.
Our medical college days were spent in a haze of ghugnis,rickshaws,formalin,our straight-jacket teachers,and poetries,it was almost surreal,the entire period.
During my post-graduate days in Oddanchattram I learnt to think for myself.My teacher's advice just stop and think,reflect, took me in good stead and it is perhaps one of the many precious legacies I have carried with me and still blesses me.I have learnt just how precious and valuable the stops are and yet how necessary it is for us to move after that gap,perhaps in a renewed direction with a refined perspective and perhaps in rythem with God.
One of my friends in Satbarwa reinforced this lesson ,every now and then he would reiterate,'just think ,use your head'.
I still think as much with my heart as I do with my head but I no longer function in any kind of pressure by God's grace.
I learnt as much from some of my juniors as I do from the elderly.
My junior in Lakhnadon,during the entire first year of his bond did not spend a single pi of his salary.He had the money which had been lying around from his internship period in a city??He used that .Not that he is stingy ,he seems to be pretty relaxed about life but not the sort of person who would move around with the crowd like a zombie.How do you bring up chiildren who are comfortable being who they are.Children who think and logically make a right choice in life without breaking one's head.
When every thing in the world is out to seduce you mostly to benefit people who intentionally do it,how does one keep one's head above waters?
Millions of dollars are spent in selling ideas and comodities which fill in a few pockets while the mass just gobbles it all up without giving it a second thought.
It is I think a cultural thing sometimes,it is so much more easier to deal with people who do not ask too many questions and follow the book to the tee.
The world becomes so much poorer for it.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Mourning with a friend.

My friend Primula put up a message in our whatssapp group.It was a one liner.'My father just passed away.'
This was the ex-chief minister of Sikkim she was talking about.Felt very sad.
Primula was my friend from my school days.We all studied in Tashi Namgyal Academy ,the only public school in Sikkim which was originally meant for the royal children and later went on to become an autonomous body.
We were borders away from home in the capital ,Gangtok.
Primula was the chief minister's daughter but was the most humble of the lot.She was very caring and concerned about all her friends especially the hostellers.Every now and then huge packet of tucks would come our way and she never forgot our birthdays.I still have a small saving safe marked with orange pen ,a gift from her.Every year on her birthday we were invited to the chief minister's residence to celebrate it with her family.It was a happy affair with the CM himself making it a point to meet us and her mother ,the smart parliamentarian would entertain us.I don't ever remember buying a gift for her.
With time life took us through various routes ,I have been out most of my adult life but I sort of kept in touch one way or the other.We were connected through social media.I have not met Primula after we left school.I continue to carry warm memories of her.The social media has a way of exhibitting our lives sometimes unknowingly.I sort of knew what was happening with her life.
This winter while sauntering with my uncle to the dispensary for parliamentareans I ran into Mr Bhandari and his second daughter who was a junior from school.I greeted him ,he talked to my uncle,a colleague from the political milieu of India.
One thing that struck me about him was his sheer persona.He was shining all through.He in no way looked sick.
On returning back that day I sent a message to Primula saying that I had met her father and she was down south in tirupatti then and sounded surprised.
I suspect it is a great loss for my friend ,losing a father who towered over Sikkim politics for close to two decades,a man who had absolute sway over what happened in Sikkim then.To me ,he is a friend's father,a chief minister who was meticulous to the point when we were invited for dinner to his place after our class ten results were out,we found that he had pinned our board exams mark on the board behind his desk at Mintokgang and had marked out few of our performances and called us out for it.For a child then,it did not seem out of place for one did feel like one had achieved much with that result but as an adult when I look back I feel much humbled.I mourn with my friend for her father.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

A saturday in Arsenal.

Last sunday when I was at the Dominion theatre attending a hillsong London church they mentioned the Just one conference at Arsenal.There was an invite to join the one thousand choir as part of the hillsong team.I booked myself in for the conference because I was off work on saturday besides Matt Reddmann whose worship songs have been such a blessing was supposed to be leading the worship.It was organised and compered by John J and his family.I for one had never heard of John J but the week before the conference I sat and listened to a lot of his messages on the youtube.
It was a joy to see so many people heading towards the stadium.Arsenal stadium was a grand affair,immediately thought of my brother who is very keen on watching a live match in the stadium when he comes over.I believe there was a crowd of twenty three thousand people.It was a happy saturday with people of every kind everywhere around.
The worship was led by Matt Reddman,hillsong,London community gospel choir,Noel Robinson.I,for one prayed ,Lord where are you in the grandeur of the man-made gigantic structures.As Matt led in worship one could see an aeroplane fly above in the skies.A host of pigeons floated around all the time which was amazing.
There were interviews with a footballer,a member of parliament from the House of the Lords,the ex-bishop of Iraq who seems to have multiple sclerosis but was the person who brought John J to the Lord,and a lady who had broken some world record but now was working against human trafficking.
The message was given by John J,beautifully clear ,it was a message of salvation and call to hope.How I wished I had invited my non-beleiver friends along.At the end he gave out three kinds of call.A call to receive Jesus into one's life,a call to let Jesus have the driver's seat in our lives(We mess up because we don't surrender the steering wheel to Him),and the third call was to explore by joining alpha course or a seven course series on Life explored found at life.explo.red
What amazed me was people got up and out of their seats in droves...collected the packets of materials and prayed the prayer of salvation,intent and request with John J.As people started moving Matt Redmann sang 'Amazing grace-my chains are gone'.
I had been a little wary and was questioning the glitter of it all but was strangely humbled.
In my lifespan ,I had never seen so many people respond to an alter call .The message was simple,to the point and clear.
The conference ended with 'one thousand reasons'.John J said that when he died ,he had told Matt Redmann that he would like him to lead the choir and the song he would like sung at his funeral was 'one thousand reason'.
Another thing that really touched a chord somewhere was when he shared about the time when the thought of organising the conference came to him.He roped in a friend...to take the lead in doing this,his words were,'he is busy playing golf so I asked him why do you want to waste your time,why don't we do this and he took it on from there'.

A gift of tears.

I was surprised other day with brokenness in one of my patients which crossed the lines of my belief and faith.My first instinctive response was immediate slamming of the door silently in my mind,and then suddenly a flood of compassion came over me ,such compassion ..that broke my heart.I understood little the heart of God..and the heart of Jesus...thank God for the Lord's grace on judgemental smugs like me.
Every day the outpatient is a treasure box ..refugees come for a better life..sick in a foreign land,mothers with disabled children-carers,overworked, bankrupt emotionally ,wives of husbands working abroad,frightened to be alone to face the struggles,divorced women from conservative backgrounds making do somehow,homosexuals frightened of what tomorrow might bring..the list is endless.
The compassion that God gifts us is perhaps the most precious gift God can give us ,a heart that breaks and weeps with the broken world around.
If I don't have that I might as well be dead.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Ups and downs.

I have had an absolutely sleepy saturday today.I was drowsy throughout,I literally had to pick myself up and walk down to TESCOs the long way to buy some food but mostly to give myself some exercise.I am waiting for my laundry so I thought I would let some thoughts at the back of my mind just seep out.There is chill in the air outside and I have hayfever.I can go the whole year round with it in this country and my patients tell me this is common.
Today early in the morning my cousin sent me a single line message ,'S is nomore'.I felt sad.Now how do I know S?One day out of the blue I got a desperate phone call from my cousin.A friend of hers from school who had been instrumental in supporting her baby steps into Australia had suddenly out of the blue been diagnosed to have GB ca.She was young ,may be in her late thirties,looked younger,sensible ,hard working .She wanted to know the prognosis.Looking at the staging and the extent of the disease it did not look good.SO the parents decided to bring her back to India.When she was in Delhi,I went with my cousin to see her.To me she looked extremely chalky, but my cousin insisted that it was her usual colour.She looked tired,thoughtful and talked quite a bit.Her mother ordered KFC from the mall in Vasant Kunj where they were renting a house.I felt mighty awkward to eat anything in that sombre environment although it was well past lunch time.
My cousin had shared the gospel with her but she hardly responded.Her mother had reached a stage where she would request prayer for her but would simultanaeouly be knocking all the other doors.
I took my cousin through the process of how a patient with gall bladder ca with liver mets would ultimately progress.
She called me up again to let me know that she was going through hepatic encephalopathy.She was having hallucinations and could not sleep at night.One such time she asked her mother who she was?When her mother reminded her that she was her mother ,I believe she reiterated ,no-you are lying,I am alone I have nobody.I am a doctor.I have learnt in life to pull myself back from emotional situations to save myself.Like my sister-in-law said ,In Sikkim,peopele are tough.We cannot afford to dwell on our losses so we move on ,sometimes all of it looks vey cold.
In the midst of it all my mother lets me know that the flowers I had planted by the supposed pool at home had sprouted one of which had started blooming and the other had grown shoots which would flower on for a very long time.My sister in Australia had brought a whole lot of flower seeds.One afternoon I planted a few of them in a corner of a plain space and forgot to mark it.Next few days I found our hand walking all over the place while doing his chores.I had given up hope that anything would sprout but it has .Life has sprung overcoming the hopelessness of the situation and it was my mother who spotted it and urged my brother to photograph it and send it to me.Praise God for my mother.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Countries in exile?

Decided to walk into the baptist church today.A beautiful time of worship and the reading and the preaching was from the book of Daniel.These are confusing times indeed.It was a poignant service.The pastor ended the sermon with a statement which touched my heart .He said,'As a nation ,we are entering into exile.'
In the old testament it was the unfaithfulness of God's people that led them into slavery and exile.As they sat by the rivers of Babylon ,they wept when they remembered Zion.God raised up Nehemiahs and Ezras along the way and there were people like Daniel and his friends who were not sold out to the ways of power.They lived lives seperated for God even when under subjugation.Such was the power of God amidst them that even through the fire God was amidst them ,lions mouth were shut before them.
The Lord will raise up Daniels ,Ezras and Nehemiahs even as we see a trend of Babylon taking precedence in the way the world as a whole seems to be moving.
The call of the spirit during these times seems to be to servanthood and humility in Christ because as Mary prays-'...He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts,He has brought down rulers from their thrones,but has lifted up the humble.....'
All said and done God alone is in control.
'Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you.....'
The question is what is our understanding of Kingdom of God?
My sincere prayer is that our understanding will allign with the way Christ envisioned and lived it.
To Christ alone be all the honour and glory and grace.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Encounters

So far it has been a good induction.Much more systematic than the earlier one.Though I am on the ward rota ,they have been kind enough to let me get used to the system but from the second day onwards I am slowly getting the hang of the software which looked formidable the first day.
While I was seeing a patient in ambulatory care the first day a few students entered the unit.I was too engrossed in getting to know the system so did not bother with them.On the second day I got talking to one of them who had an Indian face.She told me her ancestors were from Maharastra.Both her parents were doctors in London and she was studying medicine in Kings college. She was from a Hindu background but had accepted Jesus Christ as her personal savior and was the only believer in the family.
She told me very assertively it is the only true thing isn't it?Then she told me ,'I pray everyday and read the bible ,do you?I was taken aback by her directness but my eyes were moist .What an amazing encounter!
I look forward to many more encounters like this. ..

Monday, May 29, 2017

Just writing.

It is little over a week since I have been to England.I am yet to join work .I am waiting for my I'd check by the home office after which I join work.I have checked into my accommodation and am spending my time studying ,revising my medicine protocols,talking to folks at home,walking miles together and enjoying the good food.
In the meantime Annie's results were out and she has scored well enough somewhere in the late eighties with 92 in English and a 96 in psychiatry.
I actually was not sure what I could make of the results and asked everyone around if she seemed happy with the result.That is what comes from living life in your own terms I guess.Good grades are important for a kid but being a good human being takes you further along, by the way.
A high scoring person may get the best deals in life but a good person will make sure that that the deal one gets is done in the best possible way because all our lives are intertwined.Someone has to pay the price for a job not well done.
My parents in their eighties apart from their regular work tend their garden,kitchen and flower. You have to see them at their work meticulously making sure that every stone is in place.
We marvel and enjoy the fruits of their labour. ..flowers,fresh organic vegetables, birds,bees,etc.
Here they are in the photograph separating the good baby potatoes from the bad one even as they enjoy a good weather at home.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Swimming with Anahita ,the fish princess.

Went swimming for two consequtive afternoons with my niece. Learnt three new techniques.Hopefully I will be able to follow it through before I leave for UK.
My niece is going through her interviews for her colleges.She has appeared for two interviews and got through both.Our admissions were strictly based on board results.Interesting times this.
Meanwhile the heat in Delhi is terrifying.The day after I had to go for my paper submission I caught the heat.What would you expect flying in from 9 degree with sweaters and blankets to 43 degrees .I did not loiter in the heat outside nevertheless was bedridden on lots of fluid and pampering from my sister.
I took all of thirty six hours to recover.In the meantime I could have brief chats with Sheba,enroute to Lalitpur, Muani,Divya.....
I am also enjoying the crispness of the language in 'Times'magazine and going through droves of it in these uncertain times.
The world seems so fragile in every which ways. The rhetorics across the border is getting shriller by day,Kim Jon Un seems to be on a trip of its own.Listening to CNN one would think Democrats were saints or superhuman never having any negative news about them and yet always on a high horse with opinions about everything, actually just one thing.I had never followed American politics this closely before so it has been a revelation indeed.
Somethings in the world are getting so predictable that you don't need extra senses to predict who will get the mtv movie awards in different categories. I remember walking with Joy in the corridors of Oxford university centre for South Asian studies. Looking at the topics being researched where thousands of dollars were being spent as fellowships. To a missionary doctor only too familiar with the deprivation that exists in our world, it seemed like a total waste of money.I asked Joy,'What is the use of all this research?How does it make the world a better place?She found it highly amusing and said,"It's about ideas and selling them."For me it was difficult to digest.But world's best institution runs for that very cause so there must be some meaning to those rhetorics in the leather bound books.Of course, to prove and study that christian missionaries were a part of a greater agenda of the Crown to colonise India and the world ....will make
for a great legacy we will leave behind for the future generation.That may be the only idea they will buy???

Monday, May 1, 2017

Jenny,the sunflower and the miracle of life ..

Three days in a row, a helicopter through rain and sun is scouring the banks of Teesta for something.My mother thinks that they must be searching for some clue about something that the rain might have washed in from the hills above.She sadly concluded that it might be personals.It has been raining like the monsoons in between the sun and even bouts of hail.
Last saturday we had planted a host of sun-flowers and the sprouts had come out beautifully .We were at uncle's for lunch when it started raining cats and dogs.Monda's Jenny, a healthy egg-laying chicken ,which is living on her roof-top ,a butt of a lot of jokes, was frightened to the core.Even as the rains started getting out of control ,Monda was on the rooftop equally out of sorts ,lamenting about her country chicken ,Jenny settled itself on a ledge on the other side of the roof.She had to call Diki to rescue her chicken even as we ran heltor-skeltor ,which she did masterfully.
The chicken which apparently was a present from one of the cousins ,was meant to be on the plate in one of the meals but Monda decided to christian it Jenny and much to uncle's discomfort she is steadily becoming one of the family.
We remembered the sun-flower seedlings while it rained river and hail so the first thing I checked when I reached home were the saplings.
They had braved the rain and were proudly bobbing it's head in the mild breeze.
The next morning my mother reiterated that it was the plum tree under which it lay which had faced the storm and sheltered the sun-flower seedlings which in no way could have survived the storm.Another week and the saplings should be ready to be replanted onto the ground,amazing lessons of life and beautiful too.
Everyday I learn so much about the birds and bees.When I sit out in the verandah with my parents,my mother spots birds of different species and talks about the various birds ,plants and flowers in her garden.The day before,just within five minutes she brought my attention to three different species of birds on a tree nearby,all of which looked exotic.
Nature, much like the Holy spirit ,has its healing presence which needs a lot of care and mindful presence to actually enjoy its companionship.Much like a miracle that takes your heart by surprise ,I like a child understand now the preciousness of all these and greedily soak in it while I can.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A sneak review.

I don't write too often because for one I do not own a functional laptop.I have to sneak into my brothers whenever he takes a break from heavy geology work he seems to be neck deep in, all the time.That is his speciality by the way.Everything is in place for now.I am done with most of the paperworks and another fortnight or so should see me in England if it is the Lord's will.In the meantime I am preparing to travel to Delhi for my paper submission,etc.My friend Anu has been literally hauling me on her shoulders helping me every step of the way.She was my room-mate in college some twenty years ago.We have remained friends.
People often wonder aloud why I do what I do?
My cousin always says that I am someone who is basically a 'Head ' girl!I do function with my heart as well but not to make overtly stupid decisions.
I know when to walk away ,when to walk towards ,when to say 'enough!' on most occassions.
My mother has full faith in the goodness of all of her children and sensibility of some.She says so.
That does not mean I am successful all the time but If I see wisdom in something I am willing to stick it out.
I like to surround myself with progressive people but my heart goes out to genuine people.Destructive toxic people I am allergic to.I might for the sake of affection tolerate them for a while but I make things clear and I do not struggle distancing myself from them too hard.I am only too aware that I am also not immune to getting toxic myself.I have often hated myself while I have raved and ranted to my friends,My friends have lovingly listened to me and have gently guided me that is why we have remained friends and I pray we will remain so for the rest of our lives.
Unlike most of India,I am I think programmed to work unselfishly.I get great joy in making life easier and helping other people better their lives.I try not to miss oppurtunities in doing that.My colleagues often point out that I give my heart and soul for whatever I put my mind to.You will see me almost collapsing on my legs at the end of a hard day in the ACU.I would like to think that when I put my head on the pillow my patients are well taken care of.
I enjoy quiet as much as anyone else but I relish some type of art too.Instrumental music,classical,sufi,gospel.I have been trying to listen to the current western charters but I dont seem to like them too much.Bruce Springsteen surprised me with some of his recent lyrics.I enjoy some movies...,most form of art has to touch a chord somewhere....sometimes it is so with people and situation too.
Now What the heck have I written?..This is what happens when you have an open laptop in front of you and some time in hand in between cranial nerve examination.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Life is what happens to you....when you're busy making other plans.


The last but three months have been educative to say the least,Apart from doing the rounds of four major cities sans Mumbai for my paperworks,I also had an oppurtunity to see a huge part of Sikkim.WHat was surprising was the joy of seeing the seasons unfold at home in Mangan.I have never been around home for an extended period ,three months in breaks.This year I saw the oranges come and go,mulberries in season,bananas,brocoli,raddishes,peas,potatoes,asperagus,herbs of all kinds.ginger.garlic..and the seasonal fruits and vegetables ....Now the grapes are flowering and so are the peaches and plums of different variety and colour.I have been able to sit back and enjoy it with my parents whose daily rythemn seem so much entwined with nature,flowers,birds and bees.My dad at eighty six and my mom at eighty one have a full life.....I pray I might be so at that age.
I had the privellage to spend time with my siblings...all of them at different times and in different circumstance.Considering we are spread out all over the world it is a privellage indeed.
I also saw a local movie Dokbu with my brother and my cousin,an allegory to the rampant rape of nature in my home place.
The last but one week I had the privellage to go on a movie date with my aunts aged 72 and 74years.They are so full of life and I have so much to learn from them.
John Lennon sings'Life is what happens to you when you are busy making other plans,"He could not have put it better.I was not supposed to be home but it has been a precious three months indeed.I thank God for every bit of it.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A fortnight of detour!

It has been the strangest month to say the least.I should have been in the UK but I found myself in the odd position of having done the wrong ielts and therefore my stint was postponed.
It was a prayer answered for my aunt who had an appointment with Kenny for her spine.She had a disc prolapse in C3 and C4 and was somehow convinced she would be healed in CMC although she could have got the surgery done in the best of institutions in Delhi free of cost,thanks to uncle's CGHS facilities.Churches were praying for her.
Kenny was a little apprehensive about the surgery slot because he was travelling and the slots were filled up till May."Incase" ,he said there is too much of delay he could make arrangements in baptist ,bangalore with a friend of his.It was a joy to meet Kenny as usual and just when  the greetings were over Kenny got a phone call. Someone had just then cancelled a surgery. My aunt got the slot right away.Kenny kindly arranged for admissions the same day so there was no usual strife of running around.My cousin and family saw the hand of God at every step.The Lord was faithful as usual.The surgery went smoothly by the grace of God.My aunt entered the premises of CMC on a wheelchair and left it walking with such gratitude to God and God's people in her heart.My cousin has started a chain whereby she has decided to help another church person with chronic kidney disease to come over to CMC for treatment.
What better way could a fortnight of my life be spent.The Lord had his own share of blessings and surprises along the way.I met up with Dr Sam David,ran into Arpit Mathew in his office and met Sarah aka.The Elim AG church in Vellore was a big blessing.
Kenny as usual was extremely kind and thoughtful.Alex and Roshni were there to fall back on .
We felt ministered unto in CMC .All of us go back with a lot of gratitude in our hearts...and I move on one step at a time...assured that 'My time is in His hands'and the Lord will lead me on.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Just an update.

Sauntering around Delhi waiting for a paper to be delivered by the indian postal service,I needed a book to read.My sister and my neice suggested reading ,'Boy in striped pajamas' by John Boyne.The book is caricatured around Auswitz during the holocaust of the second world war.A deeply disturbing book,written in a childlike language but speaks a grown up  language.It is a deeply disturbing book to say the least.When one steps back and looks at the book from a distance it gives one a voyeur's look into human lives .That is what it was actually like!
In the final leg of my visa application I realised I needed a TB screen for pulmonary tuberculosis.I had done one in my hospital before I left but I realised I needed to do it in an allocated hospital.I got my appointment booked from the airport and sardarjee cab driver  dropped me to the hospital at nine in the morning.The doctor I had an appointment with in her small talks mentioned  that her entire family was in Ashford ,she was prompt,up to the point and went out of her way to finish my work which took just over a fifteen minutes.All I needed was a chest X-ray .
I have a different story about the indian postal system though.Speed post from Lakhnadon to Dwarka in New Delhi took nineteen days to reach.It had my sister and brother-in-law doing the rounds of the post-office for three consequtive days before it was actually delivered.
Finally I have all the papers I need.
The journey to VFS the other day was quite a revelation.I took the airport metro from sector twentyone which delivered me to Shivajee metro station which was the address of the centre.The floor near the metro had a queue  for chinese visa.I asked my way around and I was directed towards  the escalater to the floor above.The VFS global visa has all types of facility mushroomed around it.There was a help unit which cleared all your doubts which included charging for things one could do oneself on the net.To the right is a lounge of sorts which deals with international telephones.nets.driver licence.etc and there are ready coffee shops,eateries catering to international tastes,etc.Smart marketting stratefy,was what I thought.
My neice has submitted a project on 'Bees' for her zoology .It makes an interesting reading.The last time I was in a CMF in London the same topic was the table talk.I remembered a junior colleague of mine who's father is a bee engineer.Interesting carreer to have was what I thought. He tells me he did his graduation in Agriculture and then specialised in apiculture.



Sunday, February 12, 2017

God of glory!

I make my onward journey today,unusual journey to say the least.The church at home has been such an encouragement.Yesterday the word was from Deutronomy 11 vs 8-12.Today I started my  journey in faith with an open agenda.I got the word yesterday,I started walking today,truly a walk of prayer and the closed doors just started opening one by one and the glory goes to the Lord who has called me and will lead me safely home through His everlasting purposes.
Amen.



Saturday, February 11, 2017

Morning in Mangan

 Morning sounds of the dripping tap ,garden hose watering the green ,the birds chatting away ,singing sweetly unconcerned what day and what time.The milkman's can creaking in tandem with the boots as he makes his way from the cowshed to the kitchen where he empties the can into different cannisters,some for the supply and some for home.The thick layer of cream on the milk ,for butter,, cheese, curd and buttermilk,Hen-len and her siblings had gone on a self proclaimed holiday for sometime has started laying eggs again.Egg fried-rice in pure ghee with a tall glass of thick milk brings back childhood memories of house helps hastily making snack for me when I made a detour home from school at odd hours as a child.
Hero enjoying his new kennel hastily built by 'friday',looks like a beach-shack in Goa.Does not miss a thing.What a blessing dogs have been to the family.I am not much of a cat person.
The old structure,built in ethnic style which has stood the ground for twenty years and has served as a kitchen for the servants,storeroom and rooms for the drivers and maids has been razed to the ground.The complex now looks so much prettier with a ground in the front for the sun,peanuts,barbeques and oranges in the sun.
Emptying the old structure was like going on a treasure hunt.Things forgotten,things long lost,old heirlooms but most precious of all was me and my older siblings mugs which emerged from one of the cupboards.The mugs had had the privellage of only holding milk because tea was 'no,no' for the children.Mangar Baje,our evergreen  .housekeeper poured milk into the mugs every night and morning 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Little moments,big implications!

It is little more than a fortnight since I have come home.I was actually to be home less than a fortnight but my IELTES result which is essential for my visa was postponed on two occassions so I am home longer than I anticipated.This time it has been postponed for a week more, so I get to meet my older sister who is here at the end of the month.I consider this the most precious days of my life.
Farmlife is a different ballgame alltogether.There is always work to be done and fruitful work for that matter.I find the whole thing very restful.
Yesterday I spent the early morning picking a huge bunch of mustard leaves ,the green fresh ones and sent half of it to the bible camp for the youth that is going on in the church and seperated the yellow ones to dry them .I am learning to make 'gundruk' a traditional nepali dried mustard leaf.My father gets mighty impressed to see me show interest in the farm work.I also picked up the first brocoli of the season to be sent to the church.Later in the day,I took down the large quantities of garlic that has been left to dry ,I seperated it from the stem,unshelled and cleaned a lot of them and dipped them in vinegar.
I also enjoy the three wards of my sister aged between seven to nine,who have just come back from their vacation at their homes.It is a joy to watch them as they develop into different personalities,their equation with each other;One of them is here just for the vacation,
My cousin Monda who is full of life, always has something up her sleeve.The other day ,we went boating in the newly formed Mantam lake which is beautiful to say the least.I hope it survives the monsoon though.I saw some youngsters building a raft with bamboos and drums to ferry a pick up across the river.It reminded me of Burma and south America.We sang our way back with the audio,,,,hillsong,vineyard and so on.
I also spent some time in the evening doing some research on an appointment for an aunt of mine who might need a neck surgery.Our dear Kenny David has asked her to be brought to Vellore for a look over and surgery if required.
These are interesting times and I would not change it for anything else.
I thank the Lord for the grace of these precious times.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The raddish,the ginger,the cat who demanded it's feed and the upper room discourse!

Yesterday the workers cleared one part of our kitchen garden to put in new seeds.They unearthed mamoth-sized raddishes ,like the types I had seen during the south american revival times.Each one weighing a couple of kilograms.My dad thought that it might be much too ripe and was asking the boys to use it as cattle fodder.I had other thoughts.I spent half a day cleaning and cutting them and making simple pickle in lemon water with green chilly,giant sized ginger ,salt and a herb I am not sure what they call.It is in the sun .
I also made a lot of raddish chips some of which I packed for my cousin and a senior church friend.The dinner was raddish parathas made in pure home-made ghee.Even my diabetic uncle who is on insulin and very careful with his food ate five mini parathas.My cousin who had eight mini-parathas argued that it was like eating two,looking at the size of the fare.
In our family reading we are looking through the upper room discourse and it's significance as being the heart of christian faith.
My sister is neck deep writing on 'the church architecture ,a window into the christian presence in Sikkim' for the state gazzetere.It is a fascinating read.
In between all these I bake biscuits,just spend time in the sun with my parents,watch the carpenters in the minute details of their work,feed and talk to Hero,our tibetain apso.The other day I had just gone to feed him and was walking back to the kitchen when one of the cats with no name, nudged me.I unconciously complained ,'why is this cat hitting me?'Instantly my mom observed that I had forgotten to feed the cat.
My neice is studying for her final exams in Delhi and we all are busy scouring the options she has for her specialisation.Hope she makes it to the UK with me.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

So far so good.

The church today was a simple affair.A young preacher preached about choices and destiny.It was precise,simple and profound .The concluding verse was John 15,stressing the relationship between abiding and being fruitful.
We sang some old hymns of the yore and we prayed...oh we prayed.
The last few days have been spent with the family....amongst oranges,carpenters,family dinners,and decisions.
My neice Rachel got married in faraway Sydney and is enroute to the US.My cousin and her kids are on their way back to Newzealand after some time at home.My sister is expected home next week from Australia....and I start making some noises for my UK stint from next week.I am treading prayerfully and carefully for the Lord's leading as I make feeble steps forward in faith.My simple prayer for my life is that I will be used of God ,for His glory.....Nothing more and nothing less.