Posted in Anecdotes

Remember

I feel like a stranger in the white coat. A little fresh, a little raw, a less confident version of myself. A little unprepared for the routine of the Emergency Department. A month of posting in ED is mandatory for residents from other departments to ease the workload of the regulars and I walk in to do my share.

I start documenting the cases alloted to me. 

26 year old unmarried male, driver by occupation, with a history of accidental fall from a height of 15 feet presents with complaints of severe back pain. Power 0/5 in both limbs. Sensation absent below the umbilicus. No external injuries. Adv: Xray DL and LS spine. Provisional: Traumatic paraplegia.

My age! Damn it, he’s my age.. And he may never walk again, let alone drive..

3 year old girl brought by parents with history of drowsiness and headache since morning. Known case of pinealoblastoma with hydrocephalus; VP shunt in place. Adv: Non contrast CT Brain. Provisional: ?Shunt Block. 

Neurosurgery is full. They will never be able to take up the case for surgery at such short notice. Yes, I understand you don’t have the money to go anywhere else.. Yes, Bangalore is far and you don’t speak the language, but the institute there is the best option for her.. Please don’t cry, we are as helpless as you are.. There is only so much we can do right now..

64 year old lady with end stage renal disease brought with high blood sugar. Pulse not palpable. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation initiated. Injection atropine and adrenaline stat.

She’s back from the dead! Can’t say I expected that.. 

35 year old male, known case of Rheumatic Heart Disease/Double valve replacement done admitted with sudden onset breathlessness. History of chronic alcoholism present. On examination, patient comatose, pulse not palpable, pupils dilated, not reacting to light. Stuck valve suspected. ECG gives flat line. Death declared to parents.

Hesitation cuts all over his left forearm.. linear scars that once bled frustration and pain. Maybe he was already tired of this tormented life? Bouts of chest pain, dyspnoea, medications and surgeries. Maybe he willed his heart to stop just like he willed the blade to cut into his wrist??

Hope and helplessness intertwine as the minutes inch forward. And at the end of 7 hours, as I walk away a mess of nerves and relief, I remember how lucky I am to not be in pain, to not be connected to half a dozen machines, to not be just alive, but healthy too. Not just surviving.

It’s funny how often we forget that.

Posted in Verses

In The Depth Of Your Eyes

Drench me in the silent

Depth of your eyes,

Pull me close, envelop me

In your white lies,

I care not if I am as beautiful

As you claim, nor surmise

That you speak the truth

In sultry disguise;

Just take me along –

Let each sunrise

Begin bright and burning

In the afterglow of a paradise

Found in each other’s arms,

Get lost in the spiral highs

Of desire twirling out of reach

As smoky screens of madness arise

And blankets of passion

Engulf my trembling sighs;

My love, let me live an eternity

In the depth of your eyes..

Posted in Musings

All It Boils Down To

Global warming for me was nothing more than a high school topic, a frequently asked question to be mugged up for the tests. How ignorant we remain even in the light of knowledge! 

Today, enduring the sweltering sun in Puducherry on a daily basis, I lament the lack of shade on the highway and curse the glare of the road. And when I run home to Kerala, allegedly God’s Own Country, in search of respite, I am faced with the same. I have personally witnessed such a dramatic change in climate over the last two decades that I fear what the rest of my existence has in store.

Sustainable development, environmental hazards, man made disasters.. Somehow all these seem to stay in a separate compartment in our heads, foggy and aloof and pertaining to obscure journals or news reports. The link between our actions and consequences is lost in translation. Humans, the society, mankind – all detached terms, and unrelated to single entities that make up the whole. Unrelated to me and you.

The hot sun pairs up with the humid air to chase me indoors, and I breathe a sigh of relief as the cool air from the AC vent meets my sweaty face. Little do I wonder about the paradox, the vicious cycle I am thoughtlessly perpetuating, how the Air Conditioner might be releasing hydroflurocarbons that are killing the ozone layer and adding to green house effect and global warming. 

But of course, all that is just 8th grade science. All it boils down to are the test results. 

Right??

Posted in Anecdotes

Pink And Proud

It has been so long since I last posted something that I have actually been framing and editing the opening sentence for a full ten minutes now, till it finally transformed into this. Nothing spectacular, I know. These fingertips are badly in need of inspiration.

It has been exactly a month since I wrote something other than research proposals or official letters. Being back at college is proving to rain on my literary parade. But I can’t quite blame the curriculum for it; it’s me of course. Old habits die hard and laziness is immortal. It’s just so easy and convenient to sit back against a cushion, whip out one’s phone and text the people you -wait for it! – spent the entire day with. So unnecessary, but such an integral part of one’s life these days..

Today.. umm wait. I realise I effectively procrastinated the post so well that it’s actually yesterday. So yesterday, the 19th of April, I came to know through a WhatsApp forward, is the World Cycling Day. Yoo-hoo!! Here is to eco friendly and healthy transportation! Bikers unite!!! 

I was a late bloomer in the cycling scenario and learned to bike quite late. I am reminded of the first time I attempted the antic of riding without side wheels. I was in my 5th grade and it was my friend’s cycle and the road leading up to her house used to be a precarious fall. It either levelled out as I grew or my visual capabilities recovered from imaginative hyperbolic perceptions. Either way, it doesn’t seem as notorious now as it did then. Anyway, I clearly remember screaming in horror as a coconut tree came rushing toward me. Thanks to the impact, the bike was broken and I stayed away from the similar adventures till I got a cycle of my own for the first time in 8th grade. 

My dreams of riding with abandon were soon put to rest as a local toddy shop opened right across my designated cycling route. Mother felt it inappropriate and unsafe for a young girl to bike in the area where drunken hooligans aka potential molesters loitered. The other route was all uphill – not exactly the average weakling’s cuppa tea. So that too came to a premature end.

Childhood whims are like one’s first love, you never quite get over them. Which is probably why, the moment I stepped inside the sprawling campus with its wide shady lanes, I knew I had my opportunity at long last!

Now, 12 years down the line, I am the proud owner of another bike. It did take a couple of weeks for my atrophied thigh muscles to get used to the climb, but they don’t complain as much now. 

The colour does make me cringe, but apparently ladies’ cycles only come in pink and lavendar in this town. Oh well. At least it stands out among the fleet of sober scooters and motorcycles!

Posted in Verses

Siron

I had a chance encounter

With a word today.

A name, an acquaintance of old,

Siron.

Is it C-ron or CY-ron?

In all those years when I frequented the joint,

I never cared for how it sounded in my head,

But now I do.

S-I-R-O-N was all it was,

Bright painted letters

Above the single dingy room,

With cheap chairs

And dusty corners

That promised milkshakes and ice creams

At rates we could afford;

And so it was

That a shoddy little place,

Grew into a horde of memories –

Haven for hot days,

Birthday treats,

Risque solitude

And covert first dates;

Sweet days tasting of

Thick mango shakes in summer

Choco deluxe in autumn

With cutlets and rolls

And watered down sauce;

.

I had a chance encounter

With five letters today

And together they spelt out

Mangoes,

Summer evenings,

Friendship

And love.

Posted in Musings

Misplaced Sentiments

We were a group of five, three Tamilians, a Bengali and a Keralite, sharing lunch and a frivolous chat when the casual conversation veered towards the varied cultural differences and similarities across the expanse of our country. Someone put in a word about how each state in India has an identity of its own and how, even Kerala and Tamil Nadu are different in so many ways, even though they cuddle together at the bottom of the map. I remarked how true that is, and indeed that Kerala has a lot more in common with the geographically distant West Bengal than with Tamil Nadu.

And all of a sudden, the discussion turned into a debate.

I still have no clue why my statement should have provoked them as it did. I did not intend to mean that TN is inferior in any way, just that things are different. Comparisons have always been drawn between Kerala and West Bengal with respect to popular culture, the kind of movies made, the high regard for Communist ideologies in the political set up and even the crazy football fanship in a country where every other state adores cricket. That is all I meant to put across. But somehow the innocent comment was conjured to be an attack on their cultural integrity and mocked to be a sign of how one always disregards one’s neighbours and worships distant lands.

Oh boy.

I found it rather ironic in retrospect that the Bengali and myself were on one side of the ensuing argument even as they vehemently opposed our attempts at clarification.

This is not the first time I’ve come across such incidents either. Certain opinions are lost in translation across borders, even if we happen to be speaking the same language. Inherent insecurities are projected as an overt need to stand up and shout down ideas, and many a time remarks are taken out of context and interpreted in ways deemed right. 

Maybe a lot of the violence and hatred that breed among us is the result of ill communication, and perhaps our own perceptions of how we are being perceived. If I were to remark someone is dusky, it becomes an insult, if I happen to hail from a place where the majority have a fair complexion. Dark becomes less of an adjective and more of a derogation based on who says it. Abstract theories define our sense of right and wrong, and indignation sprouts from simple matters.

I’d say patriotism and belonging are often separatist barriers that prevent us from viewing the big picture. How beautiful the world would be if diversity were embraced as the crux of existence, and not some precious aftermath of human interference that needs to be protected and fought for. 

Posted in Verses

What You Feel Like

You feel like my grey pajamas.

Old, worn

With the memory of many a day

Curled up in comfort;

You feel like warmth

On winter nights.

You feel like the sea breeze

That traverses long miles

To cool my brow

Under the sweltering sun;

You are the salty tinge

That rests on my lips.

You feel like the mighty mountains

That watch over me

From a distance,

And yet I need only turn

To know it’s there;

The misty hills

On my bare landscape.

You feel like dog-eared pages,

Like musty souvenirs,

Like inky letters on scrapbooks,

Like the lyrics rolling off my tongue,

Like ancient dreams,

Re-runs of childhood whims,

Like the smell of fresh rain

And coffee and the earth;

Yes,

You feel like home.

💕