Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Monk Who Walks Alone.

The Monk Who Walks Alone.

So last week I took time off to travel alone to a few places like chitoor and near about which though just across the border from my state is a nevertheless strange enough place for a city bred fully cosmopolitan guy like me to get by. You know when I say it like this – that I travel alone- people imagine me an as an intrepid traveler bag and cameras slung behind and going adventuring and all that stuff but truth is travelling  traveling alone can be all that bit  it's also, let me admit it a bit scary. Especially if you like me forget your mobile phone at home- leave it connected to the charge for a full charge and forget to pick it up before leaving home. But you know my motivation to do things alone? Its simple- there came a time in my life when everyone I knew was busy and there were so many places I wanted to go see but no one else wanted to go with me as it didn’t fit their idea of trip or vacation. And in the end I vacationed on my own because my desire to experiences something new beat down my fear of being alone in a strange place. Instead of waiting and waiting for people to make time from their busy lives to travel with me, I say just pack your stuff and make that trip. Or else it will always be on your to-do list.

One of the nicest things about travelling alone is taking all the time you want to see the things you want. For instance I cut off, lunch totally because I wanted to experience my visit to the fort fully and I had already had a hearty breakfast at tirupati my first pit stop and I didn’t feel hungry anymore. That’s the prime advantage of travelling alone- a total selfish trip. I also experienced the joys of using a public telephone booth- dropping coins inside to dial – after many, many years to call back home to ask my mom to switch off that damn mobile charger which was actually useless to me when I wanted. Despite not having a cell phone at hand for instant communication I really enjoyed the solo t trip and did not miss for once the interconnectedness of the modern world or the always on state of our lives. More than a solo trip it was a soul elevating one in more ways than I can say here in allowing me to connect to my inner self in utter isolation amongst teeming crowds. That alone- that sense of self worth among indifferent crowds is what made the trip totally worth it in my experience. If you haven’t made a solo trip once- do so at once- but unlike me please carry your mobile with emergency numbers on it as a safety measure. All the best.

P.S. No pictures for this post- as I didn’t have a mobile/camera with me. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Coma- Not by Robin Cook.

Coma- Not by Robin Cook.

So I was chatting with a surgeon friend yesterday when he commented on the paucity of Indian patients who suddenly wake up from a coma of many years to get back their lost lives- as shown by many American medical sitcoms. The reason, as we jokingly termed it was, we have don’t have enough facilities and resources to support the long term unconscious patients who would occupy beds which more traumatized immediate patients would need. And also the unspoken reason which lingered on both our minds- we declare more patients as brain dead than any other country worldwide- because we need their organs to transplant to others. As my friend added- the worst thing anyone who is in an accident can do is to carry along an organ donor willingness card- which literally guarantees that you will not be resuscitated but harvested for your heart, liver, lung and kidney to sell to rich NRI patients. 

Now before you think that I am making unsubstantiated statements and casting aspersions on fine medical personnel who work selflessly to save patients- please go to your nearest government hospital to find out how many trauma/accident victims with brain injuries were/are admitted with coma and placed on ventilator support? And how many were declared brain dead immediately on arrival and their relatives coerced into donating their organs? And how many of those organs were actually transplanted into needy patients in the same government hospitals? Or how many were immediately transported to other private hospitals with the police providing special traffic arrangements and all, for transplanting into NRI recipients? The answers will surprise you.

Organ transplants are a thriving institution in India- because we lack the strict regulatory oversight mandatory in foreign countries. Brain death is inevitable only when the brain stem is affected and the patient cannot self support respiration but nowadays people are eager to certify any neuro injury as brain death simply because they find it the easiest way to legally obtain organs for transplant.  As various films have shown- most recently in the case of “yennai arindhal” the ajithkumar starrer- people will go to any extent to obtain organs to transplant into failing patients. And the easiest way to assist such unscrupulous folk is to, as my friend suggests, carrying a card around saying you are a willing donor. So the next time someone dear to you gets certified as brain dead- get a second opinion and a third opinion (from different doctors) - don’t take it at face value. After all as so many stories around the world have shown- miracles do happen- people do wake up from coma – to gladden the hearts of their near and dear.  

Hope is everything when it comes to saving someone close to us and even the best of us would hesitate to cut corners if it means the difference between life and death. We can only conclude by saying that organ donation is the noblest of acts a human being can perform for others- but only if it’s voluntarily from a willing donor.  On any other basis- it is purely evil. Let us wait the good days – not too far into the future when we can make artificial organs every bit as good as original and not have to depend on donor whims and fancies. And hopefully those days will also include treatment for resuscitating patients in coma and making them live normal lives again.

P.S. The opinions expressed in the above post are fictional and does not reflect on any real doctors or other medical personnel anywhere- all characters and conversations merely imaginary.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

OOTD Post- What to wear to the Pool.

OOTD Post- What to wear to the Pool.

So almost everyone I know- every single fellow blogger have transformed into a fashion blogger recently (is it a flu like thing going around?) and are doing OOTD- Outfit of the Day post’s on their blog. Having developed a sudden itch to do so too- I decided to upload my own OOTD blog post with pictures and all today. But as things turned out the place I dressed to go to was the local swimming pool and the pictures as taken by my friendly neighborhood lifeguard show me in my Speedo Swimming briefs- brief being an apt description for them given my vast body size. Fortunately, for the guardians of Indian morality and bharatiya samskriti and my faithful blog readers eyes- the water obscures most of my OOTD and hence it’s a win-win situation for both of us- I get to do the OOTD post and you get to not-barf over my semi-naked body. And so without further fanfare - here are the OOTD pictures- do spot the briefs- if you can ….challenge accepted?

Spot the brief?

Dress - Swimming briefs by Speedo....
Goggles- from my local sports shop.
And my post - swim mandatory last pic....

P.S. Viewers discretion advised for above post- Company not responsible for any adverse effects to faint hearted readers

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Never Say Never Again.

Never Say Never Again.

So Vee texted me this afternoon that she is back in India for the next few days and can we meet up somewhere to catch up on the lost years?  I read that text and was in a cold flutter. I mean, after what happened the last time she was here, did she seriously expect me to reply to her texts? Let alone actually meet her in person? If you are still wondering what I am getting so worked up about, let me take you along in a flashback mode to a couple years ago when Vee was again on one of her vacation visits back home from her university course in the USA. We were texting each other ever since she landed here in Chennai and then we decided to meet up and chat at least once before she took the flight back to Boston. So there we were one evening at a chic resto bar and we started off by reminiscing about the good old days of blogging when we were both active bloggers with lots of readers and fans- me slightly more popular than her (considering the number of crazy female stalkers I had for my blog).

After a few drinks (not more than a couple for me- I am a very light/social drinker) we bid adieu to each other till the next time – if ever there was a next time as she was planning to settle down in the US of A permanently- we could meet each other maybe decades down in time. And I came home and went to bed with nary an inkling of what was to come next. Around midnight my phone woke me up and I switched it on to see the call was from Vee. I was quite anxious to see why she was calling me at that time- didn’t she get home safely earlier? Was she in some kind of fix? Should I go out and see if she needed any help? All this went through my mind even as I switched on the phone and said “Hello, hello, what happened Vee? Are you all right? Do you need any help?” And you know what she said? She said “Yes, yes, yes a thousand times yes. I agree. Let’s talk to our respective parents and tell them the good news”.

Now remember that this was in the middle of the night and I had just woken up in a disoriented mood half-asleep and was anxious about how my friend was and what kind of fix she was in and I was hit with this. So after a speechless couple of second’s time I mustered up the courage to ask “Huh, but yes to what?” And she said, coolly “To your proposal of course” and she hung up on me. If I had been anxious before you should have seen me then- I was no longer in a cold sweat- I was in a hot steamy sweat- buckets and buckets of it. Never in my wildest dreams had I even thought about the possibility of a girl accepting my proposal when in fact I had made none such. No. Not to the best of my knowledge. Hell, to the farthest reaches of my memory I had made no such proposal to her at all in my life, leave alone during last evenings meet and greet get-together. We had just chatted polite chitchat about other peoples lives. And here she was claiming, falsely, that I had proposed to her. Now what should I do next?

Not able to think straight- it was the middle of the night after all- I immediately called up Jo and Gopi- my two 3AM buddies- woke them up and spent the rest of the night jabbering to them- over analyzing and cross examining and generally cribbing over what had happened. I am sure they must have cursed me all next day for their lost sleep. Anyway I drifted off to a troubled sleep somewhere in the early morning, wondering how on earth I was going to break the truth to Vee the next day- to break up with her after her high hopes and sheer pleasure of being prospectively allied to me- for it never occurred to my friends to doubt her words- they steadfastly assured me that I must have, in some indefinable manner, communicated to her- verbally or non verbally my desire to get hitched with her. In the face of such overwhelming evidence and unanimous reasoning by those closest to me I had non choice except to accept that yeah I must have inadvertently let something slip out of my big mouth.

Anyway when I woke up the next morning to check my phone, you know the first thing I found? A text from Vee apologizing that she was drunk last night and must have drunk texted me.  I have rarely felt such relief - except on exam results day when I am not sure of passing and I immediately forwarded the apology text to my two unbelieving friends to prove that i had been telling them the whole truth last night. And then I proceeded to delete Vee’s details from my contact list- one such night was enough to age me at least twenty years and I didn’t want a repeat. And then comes this text out of the blue…should I run for the hills and hide myself till she goes back to the United States again to complete her still pending Phd? Or should I just ignore her text or calls, if any and just get on with my life? Or should I meet her one more time, one final time and ask her in person what the hell happened last time? What do you think?

P.S. I still don’t know whether she drunk texted only me or if it was meant for someone else.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Padlock and the Key……a Zen Fable for our times.

The Padlock and the Key……a Zen Fable for our times.

This story, in bits and pieces, was found in and put together from palm leaves found in a long lost monastery hidden in the wilds of the tibetan mountains and was reputed to be written in the 11th century by the Great Lama Gan-fong-shing. This is all we could find of the ancient wisdom imparted to us by the sages of the ages…

So there was this big beautiful padlock made of finely polished brass with steel lined tumblers inside guarding a safe with great wealth for whosoever had the luck to unlock it and claim for their own. Now this proud and strong lock had a mind of its own and whenever some key came near to unlock- it closed itself off and said “now go on , on your way, how can such a pathetic little creature like a key enter inside me and get my treasures. It takes a big brass lock with strong steel tumblers to even approach me, let alone touch me, open me up and take my hidden wealth” and listening to the padlock the poor keys slinked away with their tails tucked behind while the padlock hung there time after time, guarding the safe and its secrets and still awaiting the other padlock- shiny and new – which will open it at a touch. And it still waits. For no one ever told the lock or it never learned by itself that like doesn’t fit like in the real world- it’s always the diametric opposite which makes a difference and all the locks in the world however they look and feel similar cannot open each other up and all it takes is a tiny little key, although tarnished in glitter and unmatched in size but still has the right combination to open up the padlock’s secure and strong tumblers and bring rest to its seeking heart by being the right fit. The secret is- the key doesn’t matter as long as it fits. Now if only all the padlocks of this world realized this.

(P.s.Although I wrote this story once to use as a pick-up line for a girl who wasn’t interested in me but looking at other options-similar option with same tastes, somehow I never got the chance to use it on her as she moved onto the other options before I could even talk to her. So any one else needing a pick up line -please feel free to use this as your own invention- no copyright required….best of luck)