Sunday, June 25, 2006


Well, I have been preparing for an examination for about 2 years now (from the day of deciding to take it up till date)! I am supposed to know all the rules and all the loopholes to get through this harrowing process (read applying, required documents,procuring the papers,and the details of the exam itself..a multiple choice type). But guess what..I actually don't!! I am just 2 weeks away from the d-day and I have no clue of what is going on!!

There is a syllabus.There are boundaries of how much I am supposed to know. But as I got started working on the subjects,I realised that the borders are undermined. So there is more depth than it appears from the top! That leaves me clueless on how much I know or how much I don't!

There are many skills other than just knowing the subject that should help in the exam, like the analytical power and the eternally helpful, power of elimination! But solving more n more questions got me at my wit's end to eliminate and the analytical power, I cannot always trust. The choices are just too close!! So, I'm back to square one....clueless!

The other preparation involved,less stressed on, but equally important, is the physical preparation and setting the frame of mind for long hours involved in the examination! My God on earth (mother) takes care of that, feeding me with sumptous food,so I am never at a derth of energy to 'think' (duh!) and those eats that 'enhance' memory and intelligence and what not. The result of this is that everytime she fills me, I end up snoring for the next 2 hours... studies, exams and all tricks neatly forgotten!! The moment I wake up, a glass with the most obnoxious drink and an equally scary colour is brought in front of of the 'enhancing drinks'. I look at it with a question mark...will it help/won't it help... I am clueless!

The examination center is another important factor. An acquainted place is obviously easier to deal with. My center is not only in a new place but incidently on the other side of the globe. I have visited the place once or twice in my geography class though! So, examination center...clueless!

Then there are people who whenever I pick up the phone ask me "so, how is it goin'?"

Excuse me...if you know exactly what's going on.. I think you'll already know the answer to that one! But the very fact that you are asking means you don't!

Well..welcome to the gang...I don't know either!!

Friday, June 23, 2006


If you are an atheist, don't read this!

This is a story of a little boy who was sitting on the floor resting his head on his mother's lap. Everytime he looked up at her, he saw, threads in all colours going in all possible directions, crisscrossing and overlapping, creating a big mess.

He could no more watch the threads running in such asymmetric fashion and finally asked his mother, why she was so painstakingly working to only create a mess? She smiled at him and said "Son, you are looking at this embroidery from the wrong side." She turned the frame and showed him the beautiful bouquet of flowers she was embroidering.

When you feel messed up in life and don't seem to have anymore patience, just hang in there.... He is creating a beautiful picture of your life!

Thursday, June 22, 2006


This is an article by Shobha DE that I came across. For all those medica students and wannabe this what we wanted when we joined?

"Almost everybody I know has a horror of hospitals. The worst thing you can do to an elderly person is to say, "Sorry, no more home care... you'll have to be moved to a hospital." The sound of that dreaded word (hospital), is enough to freeze the staunchest heart. It's a universal phobia, and yet, in India it see-ms more exaggerated. Senior citizens would rather spend their last few days at home than have their relatives book them into an impersonal hospital, even one in which their chances of survival are far higher. Why are Indians so hospital-phobic? The reason is as much cultural/emotional as practical/rational. Basically, hospital care in India is regarded with suspicion, even hostility. Though our physicians and surgeons are amongst the best in the world, virtually everything else is suspect. Doctors may do their job with honesty and integrity. But what about the others? The problem starts with money. A friend underwent such a traumatic experience recently, he's still fuming. A relative who'd suffered cardiac arrest over a weekend was refused admission in the hospital closest to his home. Reason: he couldn't produce Rs 50,000 in cash, on the spot. Hospital authorities left him gasping on a chair, while desperate relatives beseeched them to accept a cheque.

Their pleas that cash would be produced the minute banks opened on Monday, went unheeded. The patient would've died, had my friend not offered help (read: cash ) at that late hour.... Since the good Samaritan is essentially a New Yorker, he mentioned how such an inhuman approach during an emergency would never take place in America. Most hospitals in India adopt the opposite approach. They project such a ruthless attitude, one dares not fall ill. Countless parallel rackets flourish under the noses of doctors. Patients are not just short-changed but frequently cheated. Sub-standard and expensive medicines are demanded at all hours. From a strip of 10 or 20, only four or five capsules are actually administered. What happens to the rest? They are promptly pinched by ward boys/nurses and sold outside. Nearly every medical facility that ought to be included in the astronomical rates, comes at an extra. And even to avail of those on offer, one has to provide chai-pani paisa to lowly staff. It appears as if these semi-literate fellows are the ones who actually run the hospital, such is their clout. The gate keepers behave like bouncers at night-clubs, using their discretion to "allow" visitors after visiting hours.

Everything comes at a price, including getting the dearly departed to leave the premises with dignity. Procedural forms and bill settlements can take hours, while mourners are roughly herded out to make room for the next patient/victim. Over-worked surgeons behave like bar-girls with metered taxis waiting to take them to the next customer. Negligence suits? Forget it. Who has the patience or money to battle it out for 30 years? Ah, tipping! You tip when you check in. You tip, while there. And you tip again, when you leave — dead or alive. It's an intrinsic part of our hafta culture. Why should hospitals function any differently? If you know someone, who knows someone, chances are someone will look in your direction. If not, leave it to God. Healthcare is going to be India's next big story. We're talking about health tourism, too. This is an area of tremendous growth, provided we get our fundas right. It's not enough to have well-qualified doctors, or competent nurses. What we need is an altered mindset. A more humane approach to the management of sickness and disease. Till then, we shall have to put up or shut up. It's that or chanting Ram naam satya hai, before time. "


Recently my father decided to sell our car and buy a more sophisticted and sleeker version of the automobile. After weeks of looking at 'profiles' of various cars from various companies, the family finally decided on one called the Azeera (A Hyundai car,common in the middle eastern countries) . I termed it the upper middle-class' Mercedes. We were all excited about our latest and so far the most extarvagant buy.

We were to exchange our old Camry for the Azeera. The date for the exchange was set. Like little kids waiting for their new toy to come, Dad, Mom and me, hardly slept the previous night.
The salesman came and delivered the new car on the doorstep, beautifully wrapped in red ribbon. She was gorgeous. He then asked us for the old car keys. Dad handed them over and the Camry was slowly driven out of our lives. As it went past the last visible bend of road, my eyes were filled. The Camry had driven me to all my exams, all my parties, all my movies. I had discovered the city sitting in it's lap and now she no more would be ours.

With the lump in my throat, I confessed to my parents, that last night I had hugged the Camry and lay in it's lap for sometime. I had muttered a silent Thank you and bid a personal goodbye. Both Dad and Mom, then sheepishly confessed that they had done the same.

Months later, we parked our 'Merc' at a new shopping complex that had opened up. As I approached the entrance, my eyes fell on a silver Camry parked. It looked like my car. To take closer look, I walked towards it. It was all painted new and registration plate wasn't the same. There was no way to say it was mine. As I shrugged and was about to leave, suddenly I felt a tug. Looking back, I found my shirt entwined around the radio reciever antenna. Smiling I released myself and ran to mom n dad and said " OUR car...our camry!"

Are non living things really not living?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


We all search for a hero in our lives. As prejudiced as man sometimes is, it is often among the highly successful (I understand that is a relative term) people, or, to be clearer, the more public persona that we hunt our hero!

Let me tell you the story of a girl I know. She was the eldest of 5 children and lived with her parents who were daily wage workers in the smallest village I have ever seen in South India.
Her father was an alchoholic and drank away all that he earned in that day. Her mother having to fend for her children alone, sent away little Naima to a rich landlord's house as a house worker. Naima was all of 8years. In that house she not only learnt her work but also the basic activities of life and her employers were kind enough to make her literate. Staying away from her mother's house, Naima learnt from childhood how to look after herself and not let emotions take over her life. During her years there, she lost her father. For any daughter that is a painful loss ,no matter how the father is.

For the next 10 years, she toiled in the feilds and worked at home, to help her mother who was now getting old. She was eventually, single handedly raising her siblings. Time came for the prince charming to come Naima's way and sweep her away to a better place. She was married to the most good looking boy she had set her eyes on and was instantly in love! Two days after marriage, work resumed. The poor never seem to have the luxury of a holiday! This time she was working in the fields with her husband.That night her husband din't return and eventually turned up at 2 am...... drunk! Naima knew instantly she had fallen into a darker pit!

Clock ticks and Naima moved on. She grew deaf to all the shouting and insensitive to all the physical assault.She had 2 children , a son and a daughter. Her world was bliss when she lay her eyes on her kids but knew that she would have to toil all over again to create bliss for her kids. So, back she was,doubling up,handling two jobs at a time and looking after the house.

Her kids grew,the daughter was a nurse and son had become an electrician.Naima was getting old but din't stop working. It was time to get her children married. She made the right matches and the children moved to a better world. With time and progress, the children went abroad for work.Naima now retired, lives in that small village with her husband, who for her was dead the first night he came drunk.

Today, Naima is exhausted with all that life has put her through. She has never taken a whole breath and felt the cool air fill fer lungs, never felt the warm sun rays caress her skin, inspite of working all her life in the fields.But everyday she wakes up, she does the Namaz five times and thanks God for all that He has blessed her with.

Ladies and hero..Naima!

Monday, June 19, 2006

who are we fooling?

While scanning the newspaper yesterday,I came across this article on Kofi Annan being honoured in Copenhagen. In the dinner he said " war on terrorism is undermining the civil rights and ruining the very essence of law." ..."it is giving a victory to the terror organisations that they cannot win on their own."

Sometimes I wonder, what exactly are these organisations fighting for? To me, it seems like their way of feeling the euphoria of having power in their hands, a feeling of being omnipotent. For, if they were fighting for a real concern, they would do so in a manner that would cause least suffering to their own people ,yet make the point to the world. Over all these years of terror, have they really achieved something? They have just added on to the number of orphans, amputees, childless parents, refugees, lawlessness, unemployment, poverty..the list can go on.

Combating such a force and such principle by it's own method is just going to cause more chaos and this time, widespread. It is like throwing stones in slush,the more you throw, the dirtier you get. Yes, remaining silent audience to their deeds is not the solution, but I am sure there are more peaceful methods of uprooting them.

If a child brings worms into the house, you don't try to kill the worms in the house and in the process bring the roof down, you reprimand the child,punish him and order him to refrain from doing so. Similarly, you cannot set out to kill every member of millions of such organisation, you need to cut of the nutrient supply. The nutrition comes from a complex network among which there may be organisations from upfront countries. When such secrets come out, the concerned organisatons must be taken to task and not hidden under the carpet.

Being honest to ourselves and honest to others is the only resolve to the issue.

millions are not enough...

Having finished my graduation recently and being jobless coz I was not qualified enough to work anywhere else other than apna India, I was forced into doing this 'observation' in a local hospital.

This is what I observed!!

The boss and all the staff in the department I joined are locals, except for one Indian who is in a pretty senior post. There are about 10 interns. These are fresh grauduates just like me, here for practical experience. There is no dental college in the entire country but surprisingly every primary health center in the remotest of the locations has a dentist. How? Well, students train themselves abroad in countries like UAE, Syria, UK, Ireland,Spain and India. They return with the degree to do a one year compulsory internship in the main dental hospital of the country. They are then posted to the various primary health centers. The system functions very well, coz, inspite of training all over the globe, the internship appraises them of the principles and practices followed in their country and streamlines the quality of treatment. The dental health and treatment options get standardised and unified through out the length and breadth of the country.

After working a little while here, these dentists go to the UK for further training and come back as specialists to work in their own country. It is part of the deal by the government. They pay totally for your education and you in turn work for your country. Nobody cribs coz the pay scale is very high.

Infrastructure is excellent and high quality materials flow like river no matter how costly they are. Sometimes, I feel like picking up even the wasted materials and shipping them back.Each day's waste I collect would suffice the treatment of atleast 10 poor people back home. To tell you some more..every patient that walks in to the government hospital here gets state of the art clinics with quality treatment using some of the world's best and widely used materials...all for free!! No minimal amount even for opening up a hospital file!!

This amount of standardisation of dental health, dental health workers (dentists and adjunct dental health workers),infrastructure and patient acceptance through out my country will take more than just money to establish.It needs foresight, planning, dedication, commitment and sincerity from a whole network of people that ranges from the level of the government to the mason who puts each brick in place to build the wall of the clinic.
Something that will take a whole generation and more to come into being.

Saturday, June 17, 2006


I am a product of the recent trend of nuclear families and the single child phenomenon. As a child I once asked my mother if I would be called an orphan once both of them die.Alarmed by the thought, she put in a concept that all my cousins were my sisters n brothers and that they would care for me as much as my parents do.I have grown up with this belief and hence have loved my siblings like they were my own. Some reciprocated,a smaller number and some ignored.

There is a brother of mine, I don't know which group to put in. As single kids and having mothers who were twins, we were almost fraternal twins. We would spend all the summer holidays together, he played dolls with me and I would climb trees with him,our school achievements were always compared, a healthy competition was created and prevailed between us and we cared for eachother immensely. There were no secrets between us, as it is with someone your own.

Time passed, we were growing, from kids to teenagers and still were sharing secrets.. galfriends,mischeifs, skipping classes n going for movies n lots of those beyond-the-rules gimmicks.Stepped in together into professional college,he a future engineer and your's truly the future dentist. Our worlds were far apart yet we managed to find things in life, friends, hostel nights, canteen, movies and whole lot of things. He definitely was in the smaller group of my siblings.

Out he came as an engineer and in he went into a management course. Somewhere in between the two, he met this girl. For the first time he kept this to himself. At the fag end of the management program, he decided to let me in on his little secret and arranged for a meeting of the two important women in his life. Both of us had mutually agreed to meet in the abscence of my brother and din't want him anywhere around. I was sure I would like the girl, after all my brother's choice!
We met. We talked.We left. My opinion was not totally positive. She was a nice girl but I was not sure if she would suit my brother's outlook. I was frank with him telling him exactly what I thought. He was obviously a little upset. I vowed to stand by him if he was convinced that he would be happy with this girl.

A few days later he called me and said.."It's been a long time since we have shared things. I have changed a lot over the past 2 years. SHE knows me better now and can easily manage me. I will not force you into supporting me through this. I can do this on my own. She will be a part of my life and how you come to terms with it, is upto you." From that day on, secrets remained secrets.

Don't know when and how my brother eventually jumped the fence to the larger group. Today, as I think back...I don't know which group to put him in.

He was always my 'twin' brother. Somewhere along the line, I died as his 'twin' sister.

the beginning!! is all I have been hearing for a long time now..seems to be the latest and most widespread mode of expression!! But that din't inspire me enough to start blogging. As with the human mind,anything new is not easily accepted!! There are reactions to all of the stimuli. reaction was ignore coz I was under the impression that one has to be dipped in literature n be dripping with literary skills to be able to blog...neither of which I am. So..the obvious thing to do was say 'not my cup of tea'!!

well..what finally made me get to blogging?....curiosity!! wanted to see what would happen if a not-so-skilled writer wants to try a hand at here i am!!

cheers to my new beginning!!