Saturday, January 14, 2012

Festival Travails.....of Yours truly

Any Indian festival is a reason for the family (extended) to get together and rejoice. And that happens in my case too, with all the near and dear relaties dropping into the house to spend the festive occasion with us and enjoy gossiping about what went on through the whole year in the lifes's of everyone around us. Things are spicened up even more during the New year/Pongal season as our distant relatives who take the time off (or is it their vaction times?) to visit the ancestral place, drop in to share the festivites with us. Its become somewhat of a tradition in our household, to everyone's entertainment except of yours truly....why, i will explain as you read on.

My dad as is his wont, holds forth, on the days events as reported in the half-a-dozen newspapers, he reads every day, to all the male relatives who make the mistake of sitting down in the drawing room to converse with him. It is more of a monologue with the hapless relatives ruing the moment that they decided to introduce the topic of world affairs in a till then family-oriented conversation. But I guess, they hold on to the slender hopes that pretty soon my dad will run out off things to say and go back to reading his paper and they can enjoy the primary reason that they are there- my mothers cooking.

My mother spends all day in the kitchen with a whirl-wind trip around the whole house every ten minutes to update herself on what is going on in every room of the house- but always leaving something smelling divine, simmering on the stove. My aunts, her sisters, and my cousins will all be talking in some room or the other, with a busy discussion going on a heated topic and my mother will suddenly breeze in, and without a pause offer some absolutely unrelated (to the topic being discussed) comment to the discomfiture of everyone around and then suddenly, with a "Oh!! I left that on the stove" she would rush out again to the kitchen to continue her fight with the dish simmering there, without bothering to pass and see what the rest of the conversation was or the response to her comment.

And me?, I would be trying to make myself invisible with a book in some nook- preferably a relative-less nook. the reasons being - I am basically a shy type, I don't have much to discuss with relatives who visit us rarely and wanted to be updated on all the news chronologically in bullet-pointed highlights and most importantly they get on my nerves, by expressing sympathy/enquirng about my "Still-Single" status.."Why are you still postponing marriage? you are losing so many festivals to enjoy?" "uh!as if i am doing it on purpose???"  and by the way, is marriage about festivals or is it about finding compatibility" I think to myself and then "Poor guy you should be at your in-laws place right now, enjoying with them" will start Aunt-1 and Aunt-2 will respond immediately with "Yes the first festival remembrances will be unforgettable" she willl say this with a sneaky look at her husband and then said uncle will give an obscenely grinning smile back at that remembrance....and the point is- at some time or other it is going to happen in my life, but I am not going to stampeded into marriage by assorted aunts and uncles just to clebrate festivals...

Being single is such much fun right now and I guess being married is not that much different or better and a marital status is not essential to enjoy a festival. what say people???

Wednesday, January 11, 2012



A wise man once told me that if you hang around enough bars you can learn to make a  great cocktail and if you hang around enough wards, you can learn how to treat patients. The reason I am bringing this up is one of my friends recently asked me to give a little pep-talk to his younger brother who has joined medical school. This is a gist of the talk I gave him.

1)     Dress The Part:  Always,always wear a white coat. Our patients always respect the Dress more than the person. The dress will help you get an automatic entry into the expert club and the average patient  will hesitate to cross question you regarding any diseases or treatments. But expect to be asked about the way to all those deeply-hidden departments and wards every time you walk around by everone you meet .

2)     Always Reply With A Counter Question- when someone asks- why do I have  this pain doctor? When will you discharge me doctor? Can I eat everything? Will I ever get cured? Never give them a straight answer- always respond with an obscure counter question. Like- are you quite sure that your mother or father did not have this same pain when they were at your age? That will really bother  them as no one is ever " quite sure " of anything- especially about others diseases. Their brains working overtime thinking about your question, chances are great that they might forget the original question they asked you and you might escape with a very general answer instead of getting into specifics (and getting into trouble at a future date with your chief)

3)     Spout Jargon- learn to talk in a technical way. For instance, don’t worry, your  pain is nothing but a momentary electrical impulse transmitted through the dendritic fibres via chemical messengers called neurotransmitters. By the end of this statement the patients eye would be semi glazed and they would have forgotten all that they had asked/complained to you.

4)     Hang Out With The Real Experts - in a  Indian hospital these usually are -the nursing superintendents (the matrons) who know everything there is to know about medicine,  the emergency technicians (casualty assistants) who can quite literally save your ass by teaching you how to save others asses and your drunk seniors. Disregard anything a sober senior tells you- he will most probably be lying/misguiding you.

5)     Multitask-  Sleep in the library. When I was doing my post graduation, I had a Professor who used to call up the librarian at all odd hours and inquire whether any of his students were present at the library at that time. This was his way of finding fault with us,  to blast us the next day- regardless of the fact that he used to so overload us with work, that by the end of the day we were walking around like zombies in a permanently sleep deprived daze. I solved this problem in my unique way-  by multitasking in the library-sleeping, snacking, chatting to friends and even stalking ex-girlfriends online- all were done courtesy of the semi- private cubicles of the library.

This is just a highlights only sharing of my hard earned experience of surviving a medical education. For specific doubts mail me and I will suggest more tips to survive  your sadistic prof’s, bamboozle your examiners, convince your exam patients and finally pass your exams. Best of Luck.