Monday, December 29, 2014
Lost in Translation
So I continue to be amazed by the responses I get from the bunch of students I am trying (mostly unsuccessfully) as it turns out to teach the basics of surgery. So this happened last week
Student: Sirrrrr (in a loud panic stricken voice)…this patient is bleeding.
Me : hmmmm, ok, when you cut into human flesh with a sharp pointy thingy, you expect to see a little blood missy, you should only call me when you see no blood coming out when you cut in, then I will come running with a crucifix or stake.
Student : Blank Look
Me…Should can the vampire/zombie references, poor students musta been studying so hard they don’t watch twilight or go Goa gone.
And again this happened this week.
Student : Sir how can I treat this patient, he is already very sick.
Me : Ok then we should chase away the sick patients and treat healthy people only. Why don’t you go out into the corridor and drag in one of the patients attenders, they should be healthy enough for you to treat.
Student : Blank Look
Me : Sarcasm is so lost on this modern generation.
End result is I realize that they would rather do anything, cook up any excuse just to get out of seeing a patient that they have have been allotted to treat and would instead prefer treating only those patients they find interesting or easy to manage. But how will they ever learn if they don’t tackle the difficult patients now with us there to guide them and prevent any mishaps? Or maybe I am too severe on them and expect higher standards than they are used to? Beats me.
P.s. Just wondering if its true about what they say- that those who cant do, teach. Maybe I am the opposite type, can do but cant teach?
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
A Eulogy To My four Legged Friend
So my friend died yesterday and I never even knew its name. Yes, you guessed right. My friend, who died so suddenly, pushing me into shock, was of the four legged variety. He was a stray, an abandoned mutt who made our street his own. We made friends by being the only two persons who walked about that street at all times of the day. The other residents usually saw the street from behind the tinted windows of their cars. Only I and the dog I mentally labeled as that brown mutt were the two souls to regularly walk those streets. Me, I did it for my health and to try and lose a few grams after gorging on kilos of food. He, well I guess he walked just for the sheer joy of giving me company. In fact he didn’t walk, walking is such an inadequate term to describe what he did- he usually gamboled along joyfully, sometimes in front of me, sometime behind me pausing to investigate every interesting thing in the road but usually managing to catch up with me even if I took a turn into a neighboring street while he was busy with his detective duties. With a whoosh he would go past me, then stop turn around and give me that look accusing me of not waiting up for hi patiently while he was a bit busy. I don’t remember when he attached himself to my person like this, I don’t remember how it all started, but for some time now I have developed the habit of going out to walk with a mandatory biscuit packet (tiger biscuits only- for so odd reason I could never find out) for my walking companion to give at the end of our walk. He would accompany me till the end of our gate, happily wolf down the biscuits and scamper off to sleep at his usual place below the street lamp right in the middle of the road. He was the boss. He owned the street and he was never shy of letting others know about it- humans or animals. There were many people on the street who didn’t like him and one or two even tried to pick a fight with me for feeding a starving stray animal. They wanted him to be destroyed by the authorities. Someone even phoned up the governmental dog catchers to have him caught and electrocuted like a criminal, but he was wiser than they thought and somehow escaped his fate that day. There were also a few who puzzled over how I had the guts to approach him and spend time with him (even pet him on the head) when he was such a stinking sorry mess. To those I replied that love knows no stench. And I meant that.
As time went by I even had to force myself to go for a walk on days when I didn’t feel like doing so (lazy bugger I am) because I knew he was waiting for me and would starve if I didn’t feed him those biscuits. He became my responsibility weighing on my conscience even if he never stuck to me beyond those times when we went for a walk. In fact, the clothes-ironer opposite our house told me once that I was the only person he allowed near to touch, to pat him on the head while he barked the hell of anyone who tried to get near him. I must say I was both pleased and exasperated by this unlooked for privilege. Then last evening I went out on my regular round and he was missing. I asked around at the clothes ironing shop and learnt that my friend was lying dead inside the garbage unit at the end of the street. The ironing man hinted that someone had poisoned him. In fact he more than hinted and accused the person who lied in the house opposite the street lamp as the one who did it to off the dog as the dog spent all its time lying in front of their gate, even if it was on the street. If so, I couldn’t help thinking it’s the worst possible of all crimes. Poisoning someone who is just trying to satisfy their hunger cravings, poisoning someone who trusts you. Such a kind of cold blooded killing shook me to the marrow. I wanted to go over and fight but what could I say? Who would support me for fighting over an abandoned stray dog that lived on the streets? Anyway I had more important things to do; I rushed home, changed, took some money and a sack and went to the body. I retrieved my friend’s corpse and took it to the nearest burial ground where I paid to have him buried. I shed a few tears standing there and promised to come back with a sapling to plant over his grave and came home. And that night I couldn’t sleep much because I was thinking of four legged creatures who were gentlemen and two legged creatures that are monsters. This world is indeed a scary place if people can use others trust to murder them with food. And such monsters walk among us dressed decently and pretending to be persons.
Friday, December 12, 2014
Déjà- You? Based On A True Story.
And so this happened a few minutes ago.
Standing alone at one (hidden) corner of a rocking anniversary party of a famous institution, my seventh sense alerts me to someone else standing alone in an opposite corner. The sight of a well endowed backside encased in a tight and short mini skirt drags me over almost involuntarily and so I sidle up there to strike up a conversation. And as she turns over to face me, it’s a déjà vu moment…
Me: Hi, you look familiar. Have I dated you before?
She: Uh, no…I am a famous actress. My name is Ca….....
Me: Really? Famous uh? Sorry I don’t remember you …
And I carefully sidle out of there.
P.S. If it looks like an ex, talks like an ex, it probably is an ex and a sign for you to make a fast ex-it….
End of story
Moral of the story: If you keep dating enough women, you are bound to forget one or two as time passes and start asking them out again. Its just age related senility and loss of memory- no insult meant to the ladies.
Friday, December 5, 2014
Fat Shaming And Scare-Mongering
So the other day I was on a visit to a friend working at a large (lets leave it unnamed) famous corporate hospital where I was waiting in the reception while my friend was busy with a patient in one of the consultation rooms – professional courtesy requiring that you did not disturb a man who is busy earning his living and just by happenstance I managed to overhear what seemed to be a doctor couple counseling a patient in one of the adjacent consult rooms – telling him candid stuff like “you are too over weight, don’t you know that obesity kills?” and such stuff. While I waited for the hither though unseen patient to exit out of the consult room curious as I was to see such a morbidly obese patient on the verge of getting a coronary, I was shocked to see a pretty normal looking guy in his mid thirties with a mild paunch walk out of that room with a dazed expression clutching a bunch of sheets full of tests to be taken. I was shocked to say the least and I couldn’t wait to discuss this with my friend in the privacy of his consult room. But he was largely dismissive of my concerns with “it’s just the practice around here to get people to sign up for regular screening programs”. By then I was seriously wondering whether I too should sign up for one of their screening programs since I was way too over weight compared to the guy who had just come out of the adjacent cubicle. In fact if I had even accidentally popped my head into the other consult room- the doc’s there would have taken one look at me and immediately admitted me into the ICU for a heart surgery. I guess I am just exaggerating here or maybe not.
The thing is, ever since- for the last six months or so- I moved out of doing cosmetic surgery and into working with a surgical oncology group doing facial reconstruction for cancer patients I have achieved a far better perspective of life and my profession than what I used to believe in my younger days. Treating real patients with real diseases- life threatening diseases made me realize the kind of stress I was dealing with in my past practice- suppressing it with sweet words directed at clients who were never satisfied and always wanted more –even if they (or their husbands/parents) were paying for it through their noses. I feel such mental relief that I don’t have to think anymore naughty thoughts about paying clients like “madamji, all that botoxing and firming of your upper back and arms to fit you into that sleevless, backless, strapless dress is still not going to change the bitch you are basically”. I wish I had never thought of such things but once the thoughts came in I wish I could have detoxed them earlier from my consciousness. Pardon if I sound like an asshole but I am, again, detoxing here.
Anyway to get back to the topic in question- dealing with death, real death row patients just living out their lives raises uncomfortable questions in my mind about the practice of the medical profession to use scare mongering and even death mongering to make a living. Haven’t we all – basically all doctors including me, been guilty of saying at some point or the other of “oh, you are over weight? You are obese? You have diabetes? You have hypertension (high BP)? You are going to die- you are going to have an heart attack you are going to have a stroke or you are going to have a so-and-so” just to get a patient to agree to some test or treatment which we feel that they may hesitate to commit to? Even though we may justify it as being in the patients best interests surely we alone know the truth if it really was for the benefit of the patient or if it was a tight month with a lot of unpaid bills piling up for us. I am not pointing fingers but just throwing up some hard truths here.
Besides, the worst culprits in such scenarios are not even the doctors themselves who know when not to talk too much but the support staff - especially in the corporate hospitals who prime the patients with fear before unleashing the doctor on the frightened patients. Naturally people who cannot make the distinction between causal and casual take association studies seriously enough to believe that they are going to die soon and hence sign up for whatever unwanted treatment fads the corporate hospital is pushing currently. At least when I was practicing cosmetic treatments the most I could do was appeal to people’s vanity “I can make you look as young as your daughter, madam, so that on her wedding night people will wonder who the actual bride is” and such marketing spiels. But people who throw words like heart attacks, strokes and deaths so casually frighten even me into believing that a little bit of weight around the waist and you are a walking corpse who doesn’t know it yet. Seriously dudes (fellow docs?) do we have to resort to this level to make a living? Why don’t we tell those corporate receptionist/front office types where they get off and stop scaring our patients? After all the real judge of people’s lives are they themselves and if they do feel they don’t mind, who are we to predict death for them? After all we live in India- a place where death is a constant companion- your building may collapse on your head any day you sit relaxed at home, a rich young brat may plough his jaguar into you any minute on the road and even the police may do an encounter death on you if they don’t find anyone else to fill their caseloads by the end of the month- shit happens in India naturally so why add to it by scaring people?
All I am saying is lets advice and counsel our patients to our hearts content but lets do it in a postive way stressing on the benefits of healthy living and being fit. Lets not use the threat of impending death to make patients take notice/care oftheir own health. After all if it for their benefit shouldn’t they invest in it? As someone once said, the truth shall let you free- so lets all tell the truth and hope our patients take care of themselves because they want to and not because they are afraid. Lets trust our patients to make the right decision for themselves, ok?
Saturday, November 29, 2014
Swach Bharat Stupidity
So this morning I was on my way to work when I happened to notice a bunch kids in their school uniforms enthusiastically sweeping and cleaning up the road outside their school gates. It took me back to the days when I was in what used to be grandiosely named as RSF- Road Safety Patrol of my school where we used to stand outside our school gates every morning and direct traffic – the vehicles driven by parents coming to drop off their kids at school. Now before you get the wrong idea that I was a little goody two shoes at school and teachers pet and what not, let me confess that the thing which attracted me to the road patrol was, more than the cool arm band, the chance to get off the daily prayer time while I stood outside the gates ordering the cars to stop with just a flick of my wrist. I was never very religious when young and doing group worship therapy at the beginning of the day, every day, was at the bottom of my wish list. Ergo Road safety patrols duty. I also, for your kind information, joined the scouts- the sea scouts to be specific because I had dreams of turning sailor and enlisting in the navy. Well, that was before I read in the newspapers that the Indian navy had ships which sunk when tied up to the dock in peacetime. That kind of safety record made me change my mind about enlisting in the navy and I ended up applying to the army (with a plan of turning into a tank man if selected) after school. But the Indian army in one of its wisest decisions to date refused to grant me admission and saved themselves the cost of organizing a court martial for insubordination and refusing to follow rules- which would have happened as surely as Adam ate the apple, for I was never very good at blindly following orders – like all those poor guys who pleaded so at the Nuremberg trials after world war two.
Anyway to come back to the sweeping school kids, I thought about how these kids were outside on the orad cleaning up everyones litter while classes were going on inside the school for other kids. Is this what the parents of these kids would have wanted for their wards when they paid the steep admission fees for their children in such prestigious schools? Cleaning up after oneself is all very good and proper but is it the duty of the school to clean their roads using the children who have come for an education? To learn something? Or should they have employed some cleaning personnel, paid them a decent salary and made sure that they cleaned up the school while the kids were where they belonged? In the classroom? Will making the kids sweep the streets for one day really make achange to the cleanliness of the orad? And who will clean it every day after this? Will it become the duty of the children- to sweep the streets for an hour daily if they need to get an education? These and other questions were revolving around my mind all day and I could not come to any conclusion.
They say the more things change the more they remain the same but in the case of government it seems they get even more stupider with every change of regime. The new governments executive diktat (like the gulag sending Stalinists) to implement a program calle swach bharat abiyan is the latest manisfestation of colossal governmental stupidity. By asking people, common people, to clean up common areas the government has abdicated its responsibility of questioning why it spends thousands and thousands of crores on conservancy workers and on outsouricng contracts to private companies for cleaning and still nothing seems to be done and our streets remain filthy. By failing to question those responsible it shifts the onus on the citizens who have already paid taxes which were collected by the government and paid to the outsouricng firms for cleaning. So what happened to all that money? Why is no one taking these firms to task? Why is all this being covered up by asking common man to volunteer?
Shouldn’t each one of us be doing their own work to their best of the abilities? Or should we all pitch in to do the work of others who prefer to slack off and will never be called to account for their gross dereliction of duty? Can we cover up this total lack of responsibilty by just volunteerism? And will no one get up and say the emperor has no clothes on?
I rest my case, fellow citizens.
Friday, November 21, 2014
The Cult Of Mediocrity
So there I was one day this week, arguing with a colleague about the relative merits and demerits of a bunch of students of whom a few were exceptional, most moderate and fewer were really pain-in-the-necks. We were collating the yearly attendance to forward to the university for exams and as the painy-types had been absent for more than half the working year – making them ineligible to appear for the exams- my colleague was arguing for giving everyone the required percentage of attendance regardless of whether they had actually turned up or not to the clinics. I, on my part, said it was unfair, unfair to equate the kids who had come in at all times, on all days, rains or riots notwithstanding, to attend to patients who required care; if they were in the end to be lumped along with others who had probably taken it easy by sleeping off all day and turning up only when/if they felt like it. Colleague argued that it was not fair to punish the students life like this over such a little thing like lack of attendance to which I replied “but madam if they didn’t attend the clinics, didn’t treat actual patients, didn’t learn anything, I shudder to think of the damage they will do to people, real patients in the real world, once you release them like this on an unsuspecting world”.
Colleague demurred and said that they still have to pass the university exams to which I reminded her of the unspoken but neverthless strictly enforced regulations of giving a 100% pass percentage to every batch of students (by the simple expedient of punishing the teachers if a student fails) on the theory that students are sensitive people and they will not take the rejection of failing so easily and cant be forced to read and appear again for the same subject after six months. If everyone knows that they are all going to pass anyway, I argued, then what the hell are they going to study for? You are removing the incentive to study, to learn, the incentive of humiliation- of being left behind in a class of your juniors while your batchmates go on ahead. Remove that fear and you remove all necessity for knowledge. And I said I really sympathized with those idiots (for want of a more apropriate word) who knowing all this, knowing that they simply have to appear for an exam to pass, knowing all this and still working hard, still studying so much, waking up in the early mornings, reading all night, the kids who are dedicated to learning and to shining in the profession – those kids who don’t know better but are simply moved by an inner urge to succeed.
And it was only when the said colleague sympathised with and continued to espouse the cause of the lazy shits by arguing and pushing strongly for them that I realized that she had a different (hidden) agenda- she was merely demonstrating the “like bats for the like” principle or the “cover your ass by covering your people’s ass” thing. Those who thrive in mediocrity recognize only the mediocre- they are intentionally blind to the bright and the exceptional. Those who benefit and get through for reasons other than pure merit and talent are perforce forced to defend those of their own ilk as they remind them of themselves when younger. The mediocre at all levels and ages hate the bright and the brilliant- even if the brilliance is a product of hidden hard work and uncounted hours spent slaving in preparation while others take it easy and sleep. It’s so sad to see this cult of mediocrity spread even to educational instituitions- where donkeys are encouraged to amble while horses are hobbled. Everywhere I look in our country I see this same indifference to excellence and an encouragement to mediocrity –for the lazy are an abundant lot while the hardworking are we few.
After the above said episode I am reluctant to pass on my knowledge to the next generation as I am more and more convinced that it is going to be unwanted, unappreciated and an exercise in futility. I am even rethinking working here at the teaching hospital, watching the tragedy of bright students getting crushed everyday while the idiots are coddled and feted. All this unnneccessary stress is giving me heartburn and ulcers. So I am planning to shift back to hospital practice and leave the trainign of the next generation surgeons to the wise administrators and their numerous followers who act on the principle “that everyone is equal and no one should get hurt”. This kind of egalitarianism should work out very well for our society when these same batches of student passouts start practicing in the coming years. I am pretty damn sure that my practice will shine all the brighter and my waiting rooms will be fuller once people realize the kind of doctors they have everywhere because of their encouragement of the mediocre and incompetents. To borrow from Actor Vijay (of Thupakki fame)- I am waiting.
Sunday, November 9, 2014
An Invitation For A Public Kiss-In
So I got this email today from some guys who label themselves as free thinkers and who are organizing a- what they call a public kiss-a-thon to show all those old conservative fuddy-duddy rss types that “hell yeah, we CAN” the “Can” in this instance referring to kissing-in-public. On my first read of the mail and even on my second, I was non-plussed. Why, oh why, do they want me to kiss in public? Did any of my ex girlfriends blab about what a great kisser I am? Did they share the technical details of their rapture with total strangers (the above-mentioned free thinkers) who then decided to invite me to headline this, of all events? Ahhh...the price of fame…. Hmm…I can hear you smirking dear reader so let’s pass over my technical skills in the love making department and move on to less personal things.
Now, I am a big votary of kissing- I vote with my lips for kissing and more kissing given every opportunity. But I am certainly not in favor of kissing in public or any other kind of pda shit which makes me go “aww, get a room guys”. For there’s such a thing as exhibitionism and perversion both of which are closely related to each other. If someone feels an over arching urge to kiss someone else (lets skip the specifics on this) it isn’t asking too much to have them hold on to the thought till they get some privacy for themselves where they can do it to their hearts content. And don’t talk to me about the mood and the moment- last I heard -the lips don’t need an erection to kiss. If you are able to hold on to it and don’t piss in public or shit in public or fuck in public you don’t really need to kiss in public- unless you are just doing it to make a point- that the public space is your personal space and regardless of place or time- your personal feelings have no boundaries and you can act as you wish.
In fact, the only one instance i can think of as a mitigating factor for public display of affection is innocent youth. We were all young at one time and I think its quite understandable and excusable (for public kissing) when are young and in your teens and you don’t know when/where/with who you are going to smooch your next kiss from and don’t want to waste the opportunity you get at a weak moment of your partner- in that “making hay while the sun shines/totally spontaneous decision to kiss moment” that I can understand and sympathize with. The root cause for which is the overcrowding populace of our country with very little privacy everywhere- including our homes where even the parents (and annoying siblings) get to drop in every few minutes even into the privacy of our rooms- just to keep tabs on whats going on. But to cold-bloodedly plan to kiss someone in public in front of all the world- it’s either a stunt to prove what a stud you are or simply a kind of perversion where you indulge in exhibitionism in public – neither of which applies to me.
So, I am not going to bore with a lecture on good old Indian values vs. western freedoms and things like that. All I want to say is that personal freedoms and freedom of expression have nothing to do with the fight to kiss in public. The right to speak your mind against the enemies of mankind and against despots who crushed humanity and the human spirit cannot be degraded to the level of being a justification for public displays of affection. Think the pre-French revolution monarchy, think the communist gulags of Russia, think the fascist book burning Nazis, think (closer to home) the jallianwallbagh British empire – those are the kind of fights humanity fought against to demand personal freedoms and freedom of thought, speech and action- not the freedom to kiss in front of a million people. And its idiots like this who first trivialize and subsequently disgrace all those hard fought freedoms for which thousands gave their lives to defend. It’s insulting and degrading to utilize such lofty concepts for such perversions. If you really want to show your kissing skills in public guys, make an mms and watsapp it to the world – just don’t call it “THE FIGHT FOR FREEDOM”. That’s a blatant lie. And its insulting to all the rest of us.
And finally, I am not going to the public kiss-a-thon, even if they offer to provide me with a good looking girl to kiss- its just not in me- no thanks- the decline’s in the mail.
P.S. by the way, what the ----- in-hell does a free thinker mean? Are they insinuating that the rest of us, the world at large, are made of paid thinkers? Isn’t that insulting to all of womankind?
P.P.S. if I said the above with regard to men- mankind-getit- there wouldn’t be much of a reaction, would it? Men tend to shrug and laugh things off…but reference something as an insult to womankind, and you can be sure that the wannabe feminist brigade would wade in to strip the free thinkers off to their bones…two birds in one stone, what say?
Thursday, November 6, 2014
Katthi Vs Tropic Thunder…Which Is The Real Spoof On The Audience?
So last weekend I spent watching two movies back to back- the Tamil film kathhi starring actor Vijay and the English film tropic thunder starring Ben stiller. The reason I watched them one after the other immediately is because they both run on a single topic- the second one being a spoof on the first. And the theme if you haven’t guessed it by now is “action stars Oscar aspirations”. Now I know that’s a mouthful but nevertheless that’s the theme of this post. Now we all know – in fact its never been a secret - that be it Hollywood, Bollywood or Kollywood- some big stars – action stars especially often have unfulfilled fantasies of turning thespians and giving in the performance of their lives- acting chops wise- to earn the adulation of carping critics and be recognized winners of the best actor awards rather than the most popular actor awards. This fever (or madness) more or less affects almost all big stars at one time or the other in their career- be it Schwarzenegger with his Kindergarten Cop, Stallone with any of his non-Rocky movies, Statham with his non-Transporter movies and even Jackie Chan with the Jaden smith starring Karate Kid.
What these stars seem not to realize is that the audiences come to watch their films precisely because they have a well defined sensibility of giving what the audience wants and not to watch pure acting or method acting or the ten hankies were drenched with tears kinda acting. And when the star becomes too trippy for his own good and forgets the audience and decides to satisfy only his critics he ends up doing a disaster movie of epic proportions which falls flat between two stools satisfying neither – the audience nor the critics. After all if the star had movable facial muscles he wouldn't be doing slam-bang action movies right from the start of his career would he? Audiences know the stars limits - their acting talents or lack thereof and still turn up to watch their movies for other things and so it’s quite tragic when the stars themselves don’t know their limitations or forget it in their ego-filled trips and choose awards over their audiences.
This aspect of the ego-trips stars take to end up in disaster is showcased in one of the greatest spoof-movies Hollywood made- Tropic Thunder where Ben Stiller spoofs this oscar mania in a movie-within- a movie called “Simple Jack” wherein he tries to show off his acting abilities to get that elusive Oscar award which is nevertheless denied to him for being , wait for it, too realistic a portrayal of retard…and as Robert Downey Jr advises him in a pivotal scene in the movie- never go full retard man, they don’t like it- which advice is apt for all these action stars- never go full actor man- they don’t like it. This extreme limits to which actors go to be recognized by critics and peers as a, well an “actor” in inverted caps is what lifts Tropic Thunder from your average spoof movie into far higher realms. Every time you watch the film you get to see layers and layers peeled off the hides of action stars who want “respectability”. The movie ends very poignantly with a message- “know yourself man, know who you are and stay true to yourself”. Which advice is eminently applicable to actor vijay and director murugadoss and the entire katthi team.
When you go to watch a vijay movie you have certain expectations- the bare basic expectation of being entertained for the next two hours being the most primary one. But with Katthi the actor or maybe the director has forgotten this basic commandment and moved into award territory. They have taken a worthwhile issue and using a faulty screenplay which sags and drags for a large part of the movie and a wholly cinematic ending involving the hero fighting 50 bad guys etc have managed to shake the audience faith in the vijay “genre” formula. I am not saying that vijay shouldn't act in such films- after all as an individual its his right to decide the movies he is gonna make but as a member of the pay for tickets and watch in theatre public, I for one will hesitate to watch a vijay movie in the future without reading all the reviews- because now I know that it may or not be a typical vijay movie and can even be a preachy- social issues-artsy movie starring vijay as one of the characters.
This diminishing of the stars “star value” for want of a better term is what saddens me as a vijay fan and and as a fan of potboiler mass masala movies. If even vijay can compromise for the critics sake what hope is there for the average movie fan like me who expects and demands a non-intellectual “no-issues only entertainment” movie with the mandatory 3 duets and 4 fights screenplay? Or maybe I should just stick to watching Telugu movies henceforth- at least Mahesh Babu and Pawan Kalyan will never betray their fans like this. Or wait for the next Ben Stiller movie with bated breath – for there’s an actor who knows himself.
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Does Getting Angry Helps?
I have always considered myself as a patient man. Someone who is seldom if never seen to be angry. One of the proudest boasts of my dear mum – especially when we go bride hunting/girl seeing- is that she has never seen her son, never ever, get angry. Which is true to an extent (only)- I am pretty slow to get angry (a very, very slow burning fuse) and even if I do get irritated its almost always strictly under control- I never express my anger in an ungainly manner, or throw temper tantrums or use the anger as an excuse to throw harsh words at others as a way to get things done my way. I mean, I get the concept of what the heck does this moment matter in the big picture of life without waiting to count the mandatory 1 to 10 recommended as anger-control measure. But lately I find that this is turning out to be a pretty big disadvantage in my day to day life.
Those who are considered short tempered people, those who throw temper tantrums and other things at people's heads when provoked get more things done easily than reasonable ones like me who try to deal with issues in a more nuanced manner. After watching numerous colleagues get things done more easily by raising their voices and throwing a temper tantrum at the drop of a hat, I am tempted to indulge in one too. Especially given the feedback I get from people when I ask why I am not served but made to wait while the angry ones get precedence and the matter of fact explanation I am given is that “sir you are an understanding person and will wait but he/she is a very angry person and hence we want to get rid of them fast by doing their work first”. Which shows that being calm has now turned into a very big disadvantage as it ensures your work keeps getting postponed indefinitely while the angry ones get served immediately.
And I am reminded of the old Indian folk saying of the “the child which does not cry does not get fed” and am sorely tempted to do something completely unexpected of me next time I want things done- raise my voice, throw things or shout hysterically and rant and rave. But the problem is how to stimulate anger when I don’t feel it really? Can I be that good an actor? Remains to be seen...watch out for more news on this page.
P.S. On reflection, do I really want to join the gang of the foaming at the mouth brigade? Can’t I be a calm and reasonable person and still get things done on time? Does our society really want to oblige only the beasts who lose their temper rather than serve reasonable and calm persons? Is this my fault or society’s fault? Do you have any suggestions or views on this, gentle reader?
Monday, October 27, 2014
Too Much Info…..
This happened in a large teaching hospital with a patient who had reported for a minor surgery and was allotted an intern to be operated by
Me : Call me when you are ready to start- after anesthetizing the patient. I have to check this PG student’s surgery which is nearly over and I will be with you to oversee your surgery.
Intern : yes sir, yes sir, all right sir. (leaving out just the 3 bags full)
Me : (approaching a few minutes later) Everything ready? Shall we start?
Intern : yes sir.
Me: (taking knife in hand) – Let me make the first incision. So, which area?
Intern : First I was living in vysarpadi sir, now we have shifted to perambur.
Me : (giggling into my mask which is thankfully hiding my face)- I meant the area of surgery- right or left? Which side? And I don’t mean your house site…
Intern : silence.
And I wonder why this kind of thing happens only to me.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
YOUR 7AM FRIEND.
So there I was talking to a friend of mine who stays alone in the city, actually works alone in the city, with her family in a different state and I was talking generally about how boring festivals like Diwali are when you are alone in a lodge/hostel room while the rest of your colleagues are off celebrating with their families and the talk slowly veered around to friendship, best friends, close buddies and the recently much hyped 3AM friendships – where you designate any friend (preferably one without an irate/jealous spouse) as the one you can call without hesitation at any time of the day or night and demand they come over immediately to satisfy any issue/fancy of yours which arises after midnight and which cant wait till sunrise.
And so this girl was asking me “So can I count on you to be my 3AM friend?” and I answered truthfully “Hell no, don’t count on me like that. At best I can be your 7AM friend- I sleep so soundly that even a canon let off near my head won’t wake me up mid-sleep- let alone a ringing mobile phone. So the best I can do is wake up at 6AM, see the missed call on the mobile and get to you by 7AM. Is that acceptable?” Needless to say such candor on my part was not received with the appreciation honesty deserves but was derided as inadequate friendship. Well that's the way of the world, isn't it?
Monday, October 6, 2014
AGREE TO DISAGREE
So there I was talking to a friend of mine and he said “we never seem to agree on anything do we?” and I reacted with a “so?.....” and left it hanging there as I left for the day. All the way back home I was wondering about what makes me have such great friendships even with people I have nothing in common with at first sight. But then again, I decided, we do have one thing in common, obviously, one vital thing and if you haven’t guessed what it is yet, hold on, its something called “maturity”. Yes that’s right, when you spend time with people who are mature and have no hang-ups and insecurities (like how most of my friends are) then you can listen to and acknowledge differences of opinions without being offended by it or the speaker who expresses it. It’s only people who are unsure of themselves and their own opinions who want/crave like-minded people to always agree with them. Having a different point of view is not necessarily a bad thing in my view. We are sometimes restricted by our own life experiences and it takes someone with a different life journey to shake us out of our complacency and show us a different life.
Like in the movie Aladdin when the super hit song “A whole new world” (written by Alan Menken) and sung by Aladdin and Princess Jasmine contains the words “I can show you the world…….A whole new world, a new fantastic point of view,……..” and that’s what friendships are supposed to do – show you a new point of view, taking you beyond your own limitations of imaginations. And in the course of that if we feel we don’t always agree it’s a good thing according to me. I am a great lover of masala films- the dishyoom, dishyoom ones with two duets/four fights formula…while I have a few friends who watch Korean movies (or as I term them “award” movies) and keep raving about them all the time. And you know what? we get along well with each other because we might not agree on our choice of movies but we are both, in the end, movie fans. Similarly I have friends who swear by Ayn Rand while I regard the old hag with distaste, still it doesn’t stop us discussing books in general and being book-worms together. And I could go on and on with examples.
In the end it all boils down to this- if we are intelligent and mature (and not necessarily in that order) it doesn’t matter to us what our friends eat or what they watch or what we agree on….we are human beings all and we have our individual quirks and none of them makes a whit of difference to our friendships. And that’s how being friends with me feels like. So tell me – are you mature enough to tolerate me when I disagree with you? Do tell…
Monday, September 22, 2014
The Art of Plastic Surgery
How do you teach art to students? You can teach science but how do you teach the nuances of art? How for example do you teach someone to look beyond the lump of stone in front of them; at the beautiful statue it is going to turn into at the end of your chiseling? This question – the how-to communicate the excitement of the end result at the initial start is something which has been plaguing me ever since I got to teach a bunch of interns the nuances of plastic surgery work.
Let me confess- I am a bad teacher. I just don’t have the inclination or patience to stand by watching people mutilate tissues in the name of learning while I, the expert am standing there hands tied behind, itching to take the knife in my hands- my expert hands- to finish the case and get a beautiful result. But working in a large teaching institution means I have to bear these crosses and trials everyday – to stand by and just watch and direct – all in the name of teaching. And I have found by empirical study of the students that although surgery can be taught- plastic surgery cannot be taught- at least not that easily. It not only requires good, make that “great” surgical hands and tissue handling skills it also requires a fantastic imagination to see the end result before you even start- to stare at clay and see the statue. I don’t know how art teachers do it- how they inspire sculptors or painters to exceed their limitations as students and learn to produce masterpieces and I for one, would certainly like to learn the secret of how-to-teach imagination, a bold rethinking from mundane objects- if anyone who knows can share it with me.
And all these weeks of teaching has shown me only this- most people, make that the majority aspire to just mediocrity- if I can do such and such as a basic minimum that’s enough to earn a comfortable living kinda mentality. It’s very, very rare to find someone who wants to go beyond this morass of mediocrity and aspire to be a great surgeon- someone who can compete with the best internationally- like I aspired to do when I was younger and in training to be a surgeon. That kinda ambition, that hunger, that pride is absolutely not there now and I don’t know why- is it the educational system or is it individual drive which is lacking. But till now- all I have seen are also-rans. I am still looking forward to gaining a thoroughbred as my apprentice- someone worth teaching all my techincal skills to. Am waiting guys….