Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2019

Ode to the season.

Christmas is fast approaching and so is the winter with it's delicious sun and sickening cold that gets to your bones in Varanasi.We are at it ,practising the Christmas choir,Sharon is taking us through the rigours of vocal exercise-basically, teaching us to sing. .I am also doing some oil-painting with a lot of inspiration from my sister .My first painting is done for now but I am told that the final bit is to wax it which I am yet to do after it dries out.I enjoy it but the finger painting takes the cake. It's been a season of grace all through.I am hoping to travel home for Christmas which at the moment seems a little far-fetched with last minute changes in plan.I have my ticket booked and ready. Was dreaming of cooking the Christmas dinner at home this year but I will leave it at that at the moment. Winters are wonderful at home with clear blue sky,oranges a plenty, sun, Christmas, family,fire and the list goes on... Work is lighter but with the juniors down with v

Looking back ,we draw strength, for the road up ahead......

                    I have just come back after attending   Emmanuel Hospital Association’s golden jubilee celebration .It was a privellage to meet up with so many stalwarts and dear friends and also to just watch all those seniors being commemorated for their long years of services,people who put their lives on hold and actually dedicated their lives to serving in the North Indian missions.For many it would not have been easy but they persisted inspite of all odds,that is what makes it all so special.I had the privellage to sing in the choir .The theme song was beautifully composed by Drs Arpit and Amy Mathew and the choir ably managed by Dr Ashita who had to deal with all our idiosyncracies.I was blessed by it.There were others who had worked night and day behind the scene,Dr Jameela and the central office team were mentioned. The entire programme was tightly managed .Ms Jubin walked us through the history of EHA and Mr Jaykumar shared his memories. What t

Grey hair...fsmily and friends.

Getting a year older feels good.Just the other day a cousin and a sibling noticed a few grey hairs on my head and had mixed reactions to it.My brother who is a breezy seven years older than I but looks younger was surprised whereas my cousin who is five years younger than I and always complains that we never seem to grow older started teasing me.I relish my grey although they are few and far in between. Special thing about birthdays apart from the fact that the family treats me like I was made of glass is the fact that you get in touch with your long lost friends and sometimes family.The ones who remember do so inspite of years of distance in time and place and we chat and we catch up ,albeit once in a year but they are precious,each one. Good thing about getting older is that a lot of things in life start getting sorted.We tend to prioritise things a lot better,chanellise one's energy in places where we need to ,feel happy doing small things that matter.count it a

A day so precious....

I spent a day in the hospital at the dentist's for my mother's tooth.The doctor pulled out the second tooth in the last two years.It was skillfully and well done.She also got the doppler of the lower limbs done which was normal. Aie Mimi with her wards stood by the road-side waving my parents goodbye even as we boarded the car homeward bound.The same expression of sadness in their faces each time they have to do so. What is it that makes parents so special. Agya is away in the hills with the local villagers scouting for good tourist places they can build up proposals for.He is in the woods for four days at a stretch.The last place he went to was on the top of the gigantic hill I can see from my homestead.He had taken excursion tents which he used for himself but the locals decided to rough it out  in the open jungle.The climb and the descent was a sheer drop,and there were places I believe where they actually had to keep looking at the wall while they swung down the cliff

Some memories...

In memory of Manoj ,a man with XDR tuberculosis who walked into my outpatient some eight years back to collect his medicines but would succumb ultimately. I gave him the gospel of John ,he thanked me profusely and just when he reached the door turned around and said,'doesn't this gospel begin with ''In the beginning was the Word,the Word was with God and theWord was God....''Even as I looked at him with an open mouth he quietly walked out.He passed away in the next few days.The last few days of his life he read the parts of the Bible to his mother, shared the gospel and went to be with the Lord peacefully.

Some memories...

In memory of Manoj ,a man with XDR tuberculosis who walked into my outpatient some eight years back to collect his medicines but would succumb ultimately. I gave him the gospel of John ,he thanked me profusely and just when he reached the door turned around and said,'doesn't this gospel begin with ''In the beginning was the Word,the Word was with God and theWord was God....''Even as I looked at him with an open mouth he quietly walked out.He passed away in the next few days.The last few days of his life he read the parts of the Bible to his mother, shared the gospel and died peacefully.


I was well immersed in my outpatient work multi-tasking as usual, seeing patients, advising my juniors, watching the patient’s get impatient when I noticed that a lady with a small child was just standing in one corner of the room.I don’t like other patients hanging around when I am in consultation with a patient so I looked questioningly at Radha who immediately pounced on the  duo.She was very careful because they looked like tribals and very poor.The lady kept pointing at me and seemed to not have registered as is the procedure . That was when I realised that we had struck gold. They were actually from the community we had been reaching out to with clinics every week and in various other ways.This was a small step towards victory and I am very grateful to God for it. It is a community of ‘musahirs’ originally so called because they were rat eaters. They live in their so-called village /slum ,work as daily labourers ,eat when they work and form the part of India’s


Kamla is a dwarf with two wiry legs ,deformed but she stands on it.Her husband has a leg deformity because of which he crawls.on his knees.What struck me about the couple whenever I saw them coming to the antenatal clinic was the joy in their faces and the dignity.As impoverished as they looked they never seem to ask for charity or show a dull face.Kamala’s haemoglobin would not budge above it’s 6.5 value.When the times comes we would have to take her for caesarian section because she had CPD and there was no way the baby was going to come out PV.I asked my colleague to put her on iron injections if blood transfusion seemed impossible and  we had barely managed to give her a dose ,a few days later she came back to us. On my day off she came to the hospital in labour so we had to intervene. She and her husband make their living by selling roasted corn for ten rupees each. We made that difficult decision of posting her for Caesarian section with th


I was almost in time for the church .After having finished a contentious rounds I headed home for a quick bath and rushed towards the chapel which must be around fifteen paces away when a brightly smiling face greeted me.As always it takes sometime for me to put a character and name to faces I have not seen for a while. I sat in the church trying to dig my memory and suddenly it dawned on me that he was Rakesh’ (name changed) father. Rakesh was a super intelligent twelve year old who was brought to us with a terminal pleural effusion secondary to relapse of osteosarcoma in the leg.He had had an amputation but the sarcoma had the time he came to us he was very sick. The oncologist had given him a week to live but he lived three months longer, a time when he became sicker,got to know our campus kids who would run up to him to read him stories and play board games with him while he came in and out of oxygen ,got to know the Word of the Lord better and professed fai


The samaritan woman was going about her livelihood as she would daily ,drawing water from the well she had pride in.She calls it ‘Jacob’s well ‘and it was .She does not see anything beyond, although there is much more to life as it is and then she chances upon Jesus who offers her ‘a stream of living water’.She is convinced even as she listens to Jesus and goes back to the village to spread the news of the messiah.,ASTONISHED. The woman caught in sin ,condemned to be stoned to death.Would you and I stand up to an angry ,self-righteous crowd like that against injustice?Jesus stands up for her,rescues her and she stands before Jesus ,RELIEVED. The sick women ,bleeding for twelve years,convinced that Jesus has the anointing but touches his cloak and she is HEALED. The synagogue leader’s daughter’s funeral ceremony was going on but because of her father’s faith in Jesus,Jesus goes over to the synagogue and picks her up by her hand and she is ALIVE. The Canaanite woman whose dau

Bonds....that keep us..

Beyond the motions of acute medicine,one gets to peep into other worlds respectfully,sometimes in awe. One was a busy weekend .The clock had ticked well past the midnight hour so to save the trouble and time I decided to get a wink in the duty room.It was a wrong decision.The alarms in the ACU,the people on call with their doubts and the flow of patients allowed me barely fifteen minutes of sleep.Before long,a host of faces were peering in through the window.It was four in the morning. I walked into the ACU for a quick sweep so that I could go home to catch some sleep when I noticed this sprightly but slightly built lady ,around seventy years enter the ACU with a small lota(Indian pot) of water.She walked towards our flashy deliberate self harm patient Rajesh' bedside.He was fast asleep.She fiddled with the bags and fished out a half finished loaf of bread ,took four slices ,broke it into pieces.Even as I watched fascinated, she nudged Rajesh who opened his eyes ,wordlessly rais

Good To Me

I have had special visitors this last one week. Dr Manoj and Manju were here all the way from Cochin.I was introduced to them long ago when I was in the second  year of my medical school.I had attended a conference in Gopal-pur-on-sea .They stood out as a young couple just married ,comitted to serving in Lamtaput as pioneering medical missionaries.Lamtaput then was a difficult place which ,as one of our managers put it ,even the Oriya people were afraid of venturing to, because of the fierce tribals there.Now a flourishing community serves there with a hospital as its focal point. I was impressed by the quality of resource in the retreat and the testimonies and remember praying that I wanted to be among them because there seems to be so much one could learn from them. God's meandering hands took me to Oddanchattram straight after my internship and I had the privellage to work and learn with these giants of faith . The other couple was Andi and Bethsheba Eicher,my fellow sojo

Foxes in the vineyard..

I am trying to beat the Benaras heat with crayons,colour,psalms,gospels,song of Solomon,and Audrey Assad. Song of Solomon 2:15 says,'Catch for us the foxes ,the little foxes that ruin the vineyards,our vineyards that are in bloom..'How often I have to go beyond the movenment of everyday living to commune with my King before I can detect the little foxes.How he yearns for us to come to him broken ,blind and bleeding to be shown these little foxes we would willingly give up for our Master. Audrey Assad was introduced to me in a baptist church during my years's furlough.I remember one of the pastors sharing how she while walking alone up the Mount Everest base camp was helped by listening to this song even while she plodded up the hill which was cold,tough ,tiring and which at that time seemed scary and endless.A beautifully meditative track ,I say. In my personal reading I have been struck by a phrase from the book of Romans which says '...We do not support the root


April has been an eventful month.I got to meet most of the family.My father celebrated his eighty-eight birthday,my sister and my brother-in-law was home for the holidays which was nice and I got to meet the greater family ,and my immediate family thanks to the elections which comes around once every four years and just being home..Most of my greater family memories are entwined around the cardomom harvesting season.....which is becoming rarer by dozen.We spent a considerable part of our holidays painting the fences at home in between the rain and shine,I managed to paint my book-rack,apparently ages old,talking of of the copper containers were actually from the sixteen hundreds.My mother continues to use my grandfather's aluminium bowl from his Sreerampore theological seminary as a rice measuring bowl.She makes sure all of us keep it filled each time we measure out the rice to be cooked for the day.We do not understand the logic but I do believe that blessings come

Thoughts...just thoughts...

This fortnight has been different from any other.I am anticipating a tough summer but I am sailing in by the grace of God.I have developed a new interest in eating fish with whiskers fried just right and as have been advising the patients thus far,I hope my haemoglobin takes a kickstart.I already feel so much better. In the work front ,it is getting busier,more interesting and after a laboratory and x-ray closure imposed on us has been lifted I am enjoying medicine as I should .We had a freak viper bite come in with local swelling,AKI and a prolonged CT.He is on the road to recovery.The last I saw a viper bite was fifteen years ago. A day earlier another lady was pushed into the casualty with a history of having consumed insecticide.We asked them to show us the pictuere of the poison and the son had a picture of Cypermethrin in his mobile.Apart from the smell which was strong enough to give me a headache her saturation was in the seventies but she was bright and awake scolding her

The walk diaries,

I enjoy watching the swan paddle and swim in the water in front of the hospital.Today I realised why?The ducks and the swans everywhere around the world look the same,regal,dignified and beautiful and go about their daily activity sublime and oblivious of all the dirt and cacophony that surrounds them and yet manage to mantain their graceful demeanour. Today was a strange day to say the least.Our day started with Parwati getting extremely restless on the moderate amount of oxygen which was available.We finally had to opt for intubation and bagging to get her going.By the middle of the afternoon we had got her insurance in order and so was able to cart her to a bigger unit for the much needed HRCT/CTPA and a good ICU care.Vikash offered to accompany her and Vijay went along for the paper works that would be required.She belongs to the Musahir community which is a community of rat-eaters.She has been safely transferred to a tertiary care centre by God's grace,her care covered b

Just a thought.

The burden of rabies in India is supposed to be 18,000 to 20,000 deaths per year as per the WHO figures.In my little over a six month period in eastern UP I have seen more dog-bites and rabid patients than I have seen in other parts of India.I saw young children,adolescents,older persons, a strapping sixteen year old with full blown features.Every other day we get patients with dog-bites,mongoose bites and the list goes on.Today I saw a five month old baby with a wild animal bite.You just walk out of the campus and one sees variety of stray dogs roaming around the country-side. Everytime a person with a dog-bite walks in I give them a small lecture about awareness and the need to vocalise and demand vaccination of the stray dogs in the villages.Everyone gives me a blank stare and smiles happy to shell out the cost of the vaccine which must be taking a portion out of their daily earnings. We even tried to bring it to the notice of one of the officers in the government.He coolly shrug

Reminiscing on the journey...and looking forward...

My spring onions have sprung up and thrived much to my delight in a flower pot.The garlic has also sprouted but is not as good.I had put in some coriander seeds and chilly,some greens are growing from one of the pots but it does not exactly look like anything I have planted so I catch all and sundry who walk by ,to identify the plant and so far I have not had a satisfactory reply so I am just letting it grow.Each time I walk out and walk into my house I give my plants a good look over.It brings me great joy. The campus seems to have perenial flowers and the winter was as colourful as I hope spring will be.The chill of the Varanasi cold did get to me but even as I put on my coat to attend a call this evening I actually started sweating.So the weather is slowly but surely changing.Spring will come to England with a startle.Overnight the daffodils will dance and the trees all around will bloom blood red,purple,snow-white,blue,lavender,yellow and every splash of colour taking one's b


I had some time before the OPD finished for the day so I started talking to one of our young friends who is all of twenty years. Her father is a weaver of carpets but has made sure that none of the children take up the profession because it is hard work. Most people in the villages around do weaving in some form.I met an old person today who weaves the famous Banarasi saris and has invited me to see him at work.This man earns around Rs 400 per day but the sari ,the basic one, costs around thirty thousand without the gold and silver work.He seems to think that most of these saris get sent abroad because according to him 'Indians cannot afford it'.He is blissfully unaware that the richest asian according to the Forbe's list is an Indian.I choose not to correct him beacuse it will not make a pi of difference to his life.He has invited me over to see him at work. My little friend's father weaves the humbler carpet which sells at around Rs 3000 per piece but gets paid on

Where Christ dwells..

I am not sure I should be writing this blog because I am in a confusing space at the moment.I spent a day doing a lot of things which can translate to 'not going for work'.I was meant to go to Varanasi today but after mentally meandering the path and praying about it I decide to take a quiet day catching up on replenishing my kitchen stock,trying my hand at planting some herbs with a lot of inspiration from Sharon,reading through the book of Job and keeping a track on how Ranveer Singh's films are doing. Mid afternoon I picked myself up and realised I had to go shopping or starve, so off I went to the market with a mental list which easily outweighed my ability to cart it.I found myself planting my stuff in different shops to be picked up later.One bright ten year old thing sprightly offered to help me with the shopping stuff and as we walked to my house together ,I gathered that she studied in the christian school.She chatted away brightly as one would expect a ten year