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Showing posts from January, 2010

Beating retreat!!

I watched the beating retreat on TV the other day....most times I have been in Delhi,witnessing the fireworks from South Avenue or watching my uncle and aunty get ready to attend the president's dinner in Raisina hill. I realised,I hadn't ever sat through the event earlier. The ceremony was poignant,to say the least. It was hard not to feel an element of pride to see the forces march to those lovely beat.What a perfect rythemn I thought,not one out of place. It was a mixture of beauty,discipline,vulnerabilty(Abide with me..) and most of all the love of the land which is India.Sareh jahan se accha-Hindosata hamara!!

Circle of life!

I was in the out-patient busyly involved in my usual knick-knacks,Prabha entered the OPD,tears streaming,hair dishevelled in her night-gown with Christochit folowing closely with their six month old baby in his arms ,eyes full of tears.The little baby girl sat triumphantly on Christochit's arm smiling from ear to ear oblivious of the chaos. She had apparently fallen from the bed and had cried continuosly which had brought P and C to the state. I surprised myself when I found myself calmly telling Prabha and Christo -'Congrats you have become parents!' P and C have been married for almost a decade.Unable to conceive,they finally gave in to this urge by adopting a pretty little new-born from Himachal,two months ago.After some soul-searching,P was allowed a maternity leave by the organisation and it has made a dramatic difference to the child ,in the one month that Prabha has been on leave one can visibly see that the child has entered that miraculous circle of life,only lo

Blood Brothers.

I had not cried like I did while I read a book as much as I did when I read this piece by Ellias Chacor.I read it in a single sitting on 26th of January,India’s republic day. It’s a real life anecdote of a Palestinian Christian and the story behind the middle-east crisis from the other point of view.I thought the book was great,not because it stimulated my tear-ducts but it brought afresh the realization of the ‘Love at the cross’ and the renewed awareness of it’s worth. It’s a beautiful book.

Simplicity saving lives!

I have been meaning to write about the Newman's ventilator which has fascinated me to no end. At a time when the cost of ventilators were not less than five lakh of rupees,our then executive dirctor introduced us to this quiet ,unpretentious anaesthetist from some part of Maharastra who had assembled this piece of machine,that would cost just Rs 60,000 and would save countless lives in a rural set-up. Taking our ED's word for it, but with some reservations which I did not express at that time, we bought the machine and planted it in our low-cost ACU. The machine could not be more basic,and yet over the years I marvel when I look back at the countless lives that have been saved by it. Each time a patient with respiratory paralysis walks out of the hospital in one piece,and believe me there are hordes of them,I bless the man,I don't remember his name but I remember his offer,'if the machine conks off,just let us know we will replace it with a new one'.It's six

Trying to coordinate the past,present and the future!

I found myself in a unique position of trying to connect several generations of individuals that seem to make up the Nav-jivan. Jeevan,who joins us next year,has a burden for the area and has energy and the passion for the place and is comitted to boot,was visiting to help us with a few project matters.Dr Binks was due at the same time ,i had to do a bit of acrobatics to connect them somehow.All of a sudden the founding missonary of the place landed up.i did not have the time to sit back and reflect at the timing of it all.Praise God for His providence!!


Delimna of working in a rural India out-patients are quite unique. I have a room to myself which I use as a clinic cum office space.The patients who visit me walk in and out of the room at their convenience and time.They peep in to ask for directions,to enquire about issues that irk them,to get suggestions and what not!When they come and they do come they enter the room all at a time,a patient and the bystanders and the rest hover around spilling out of the room,all ears on somebody elses complaints.If you are not strict with them they even put in some helpful choruses.Sometimes I find myself like an actor putting up a show for them even as I try to give them some helpful tip on health issues.Today I had that unique experience of getting some answers to the questions I had put to my patient in the examination chair from the window that over-looks the corridor!It's all in a day's work.

No controversies please! Mr Tharoor.

Mr Tharoor has a lot standing for him besides the ministerial post he holds in the centre.However,one would expect him to be a little discrete not for the sake of toeing the line for the fear of offending the bosses but for the sake of the country which might need his experience and his expertise for the greater good.We have read his books ,we have enjoyed his acrobatics in the UN now we need to see for sure what stuff he is made of by his performance in the ministry and not in the twitter…or his bylines……We enjoy his rhetorics ,there is no doubt about it ,but the great Indian sense of humour wears a little thin.. some side of the seams. ‘I deserve better’-,was what he said!In public life what you deserve often does not matter….what the country deserves matters…and matters a lot.If Mr Tharoor’s style of politicking is going to make the way India politics healthier,so be it but someone has to pay the price ,I hope it is not at the cost of some bright Indian mind,given a chance to mak

A little bit of heaven!

It's another day in the tuberculosis clinic at Nav-jivan in Palaumu District of Jharkhand. Budhi Bhuiya comes into the outpatient wth clasical features of tuberculosis.He is sent to the laboratory for his sputum,early morning and spot ,turns out to be positive for acid-fast baccilli. Guddu,Amit Minz takes him to the counselling room.His fingers hooked around his belt he paces the room almost emulating a bollywood's police personal interrogating.However,if you hang around long enough,you realise how different the process is.In the fifteen minutes that he spends with the poor villager,he cajoles,bullies,advises,teaches with illustrations,affirms and understands the patient.At the end of the counselling session they have a camadarrie enough to address each other as 'Guddu Bhaiya' and 'Budhiji' and they appear to have made a connection of sorts. When they have been through the entire DOTS hip-hop together,the next is the doctor's desk.Dr.Arpit stretches out h

All in a day’s work!

This was one article which came through on it’s own even as I was sitting in my out-patients post-christmas.Shreeram Singh entered the OPD with classical symptoms attributed to tuberculosis.As the normal trend of questioning goes ,I asked him if he has a history of migration .He says he’s just been back from working as a weilder for ACC cements in Wadi in Karnataka.I asked him how the living condition there was ?He said four labourers shared a room 12 feet by 8ft with a single window….they had a fan.Did anyone in the group have cough?Crinkling his forehead,he thought for a while and he said yes he remembered one of the labourers who used to cough consistently.My next question was did you have medical facilities provided by the company and the answer was no.Apparently the company has a hospital but only the permanent employees are allowed to avail the facility.Immediately a question came to my mind.exactly whose lot are these hordes of rural population who migrate to these industrial a

The Christmas week.

It is understood that every Christmas I get a taste of God’s mercy in the form of one critical patient who tides over a critical emergency by the Grace of God.Every Christmas eve in Tumbagara ,is spent in the ICU resuscitating that vital patient who visibly walks out of the hospital from Death’s door. This year we had the tubectomy camp.We get hordes of patients during the winter months come in from the villages for family planning .Every Saturday we do around twenty to forty tubectomies. This Saturday was eventful ,we had sedated the patient and had started with the tubes,half way through the patient was unusually quiet,she had stopped breathing completely.It was unexpected so we went into a rampant resuscitation spree.She refused to breathe.We put her on a ventilator and we prayed,rushed in fluids even as we could appreciate her vitals collapsing. I remembered very clearly praying before the surgery and asking God to let the lady walk home without complications,-why had it happene


Had not laughed like that for a long long time. Put a lot of things into perspective…..taught me not to take things too seriously …just imagine entities conferring together to decide your life’s journey,changing the climaxes and the episodes according to their whims and fancies.For most of us ,life is pretty much like that ,taking things as it comes.Somehow we never make that connection with our inner selves or with the supreme source of life,so the master-piece eludes us and we live and die mediocre lives.The story of our life would read of the circumstances that took us where we went. I find this illustration I heard from a credible source ,interesting. One lady decided to do an experiment.She stood on the side-walk in the street of Mumbai and looked up towards the sky with an appearance of interest.Soon another man joined her ,and another,and another till a considerable crowd gathered to view nothing in particular-in the meantime the lady quietly slinked out . Her point was, ho