Pursuit of a Medical Miracle

“Do you have any tattoos?”
“No” I replied
“Do you have any metal implants?”
“No”
“Do you have diabetes?”
“No”
“Are you Claustrophobic?”
“No” I said, not sure if I should be proud of that answer.
Few more questions later I was taken into the room, and the technician asked me to lie down on the table facing upwards. I obeyed. She took my left hand, searched for the vein at the elbow, and asked: “are you good with the needles?”. She prepared the injection before I replied – seemed like my answer would not have made a difference. The needle pierced the veins through the skin, and I squeezed my foot in retaliation to the pain. The technician observed this, and tried to divert my attention “Where do you work?”. I mumbled, “In the city”. She plastered the injection to my skin and remarked “this injection may give an unpleasant taste on your tongue and cause nausea. It is common and not to worry. I will observe you from behind the glass. I will give another dose ten minutes later”. Her words were unsettling. She handed over a button to press in case of emergency. The MRI was switched on and the bed moved into the hollow machine. A few moments later the machine whirred with a loud buzz, and I felt a tingly feeling in the mouth, followed by nausea. As if that’s not enough, claustrophobia kicked in from nowhere.

***********************************

I walked into the centre with a nervous smile. The practitioner at the reception desk glanced at me and gave a perfunctory nod as if to say ‘you know the routine’. I would be a fool if I hadn’t known the routine by then. I walked into room number 2, unstrapped my watch, emptied my pockets onto a nearby desk, removed my shoes, and laid on the elevated bed. ‘The bedsheets need a wash’ I thought as I settled on the bed as if I owned the place. A statue of Buddha stared at me from the corner of the room – he looked so serene, lost in his enlightened world, oblivious to these human afflictions.

A moment later the practitioner walked in and asked the toughest question “how were you feeling last week?”. I stumbled for an answer “I guess it was ok however not sure if it had really improved”. “Hmm” he said “let us try it differently today – I will focus on mind relaxation. You will have a good sleep tonight”. He picked up acupuncture needles, and without wasting much time started to puncture my skin across various places starting from the hind foot, moving up to calf muscle, stomach, wrist, ear, forehead and a final needle on the top of my head. “Yell if you need any help. I will be across the room” he said “see you in 20 mins” before leaving. I gazed at the ceiling wondering what I should conjure up in my imagination for those next 20 mins. Many thoughts during that time, but what remained in my vivid remembrance were two – 1. next time I should ask them to play some Bollywood songs instead of the soft music heard on the speakers. 2. I should gift them an air conditioner if I were to become any better because of this treatment.

***********************************

The doctor greeted with a smile and welcomed me inside. I followed him to his room.
“How do you feel now?” the toughest again.
“I will be very honest” I declared “I don’t think there is any improvement at all”.
“I guess we should continue our trial and error” he conceded.
Ah, the words ‘trial and error’ are enough to bring mountains down in the medical world. After a detailed discussion, he prepared a new medicine and explained how and when to take them. I thanked him profusely. At least the visit was pleasant – no needles penetrated and the air conditioning had worked. Just as I was about to leave, I noticed his head and his receding hairline that has seen better days when I initially started seeing him.
I stepped out of the homoeopathy clinic, with the lowest morale of that day. Not much motivation as of now and the path back to home looked lonely. I needed something immediate to keep my spirits up, something tangible – my family wasn’t there at that moment; good music, entertaining movie, or an engaging book were beyond the reach. That’s when my hand involuntarily touched my heart that was beating continuously devoid of any qualms, just doing its duty. In that heartbeat, I found my motivation and I took a step forward.

Hypocrisy Is Our Birth Right!

Very early in the morning

“Are you ok?” I stifled a yawn

“Yes” replied my wife

“You don’t seem alright?” I further probed

“Nothing, it’s just a Facebook post” she looked at her phone

“What about it?”

“Well, there is this post about an old age home back in India. They have interviewed few parents on how their children leave them unto themselves in their old age. It is heart wrenching”

“Ah, I have seen that too” I looked at her “My heart bleeds upon hearing such. Its atrocious how these scoundrels leave the parents in pursuit of their personal happiness”

“Hmm” she concurred

“You shouldn’t see Facebook as soon as you wake up” I said as an afterthought

“You are watching your mobile too”

“Well, I am seeing twitter. Its news, unlike Facebook. It’s different”

“Right”

“By the way, remind me to have a skype call with my mother this evening. It’s been a week, and the last time I spoke to her she hasn’t been keeping well”

Little after mid-day

“Am I late?”

“No, we just got started” spoke my colleague munching on the food

“Only 3 of us. Where’s the 4th one?” I asked opening my lunch box

“He said he will join” replied the 3rd colleague

“Have you heard of Bangalore molestation on New Year’s Eve?” I started a topic

“Yeah, few rogues molested women on the roads. My blood boiled reading that news” the 2nd colleague fumed

“Where do these guys come from? Don’t they have sisters?” the 3rd colleague exclaimed

“The pathetic part is that the onlookers just gazed on without helping. The police should shoot them on the spot” I passed the verdict

“Men molest; Movies objectify; Society restricts; No country for women” the 2nd one whirled his head

“What’s up guys” joined the 4th colleague

“Hey, you are too early. We are almost done” I joked

I brought a news. Guess what?” the 4th one continued “the rumours are true. They have selected that pretty girl that came to the interview the other day. She will be our new team member, joining us next Monday”

“What are you saying?” we raised our eyebrows

“You heard me. At last some motivation at work” the 4th one chuckled

“I didn’t see her the other day. How does she look?” quipped the 3rd one

“Ha. If I answer, I bet you will cancel your work-from-home shift on Monday”

“You better bet, and I still would” the 3rd one snickered

An hour after evening

“I love office parties”

“Same here” responded my Aussie colleague

“What do you think this is?” I showed the first platter on the table

“Beef pie” he responded

“Nah, I can’t eat this. How about this?” I peered into the next platter

“Ham I suppose, mate”

“Eww, will not eat this too”

“That’s chicken” he pointed at the next platter

“Great” I took two servings

“You don’t eat beef and ham, I reckon?”

“Yeah, ethical reasons” I bit my tongue “I don’t eat chicken either on Saturdays”

“Ha Ha” he continued “what’s all this fuss about…erm, Jallikattu? Did I pronounce it correctly? Is it a fun game?”

“It is just a bull sport from ancient times. Unlike similar sports across the globe, the bull here is treated with reverence, before and after. The intention is only to tame the bull – just the man vs beast thing, and not harm it. And once it is done, the bull is served well” I explained

“You guys seem to have great respect to the cow, don’t you?”

“Absolutely. We Indians live by certain principles that we take pride in. Non-violence towards animals, and respect to the cows is one of them” my chest expanded

“That’s not entirely true” intruded my other Indian colleague from across the table with a grin on his face and two beef pies on his plate

An hour before sleep

“Don’t watch iPad while having dinner. That’s a bad habit. I told you many times” I raised my voice

“Why, Daddy?” asked my son

“You should concentrate while eating. That’s good for digestion. Switch it off”

“Ok. But why are you watching TV when having dinner?”

“I am an adult. I can watch news on the TV” I chewed a mouthful of dal rice

“That’s not fair, Daddy” he switched off the iPad

“Look, son. We tell you what is good for you. You will grow up a good man if you listen to us”

“Ok”

“Now tell me, who do you like the most – me or your mummy?” I kissed him

“It’s you, Daddy” he didn’t wait a second

“What did you say?” his mom screeched from behind

“I just fooled Daddy. I like you the most, Mummy” I heard him whisper into her ears

“That’s my boy!!!” she giggled

A day in my karmic life

“Carpe Diem: Seize the day”

7 AM: The alarm buzzed, but I was awake by then. My mind raced through the day’s tasks. I fought with my lethargy and dragged myself out of the bed, freshened up, and started Surya Namaskar. The first two rounds I was elevated, and the next two rounds I was exhausted. Pleased with my physical activity, I sat down to meditate. Half a minute into it, I remembered an important task to do once I reach office. Another half minute, I remembered that I was meditating. My son, still on the bed, whispered “Good Morning Daddy” and reached out for his iPad. My wife shouted from the kitchen “your coffee is getting cold”. I woke up enlightened, resolved to show better restrain while meditating henceforth.

“Work incessantly without expecting results”

1 PM: In office. Amidst work, emails and phone calls, my calendar buzzed reminding me of a meeting immediately. The calendar invite read “sorry for booking this meeting during lunch time – this is the only free slot available for everyone”. I heard another buzz, this time from my stomach that it’s hungry. I whatsapp’ed my colleagues that I won’t be joining them for lunch, and opened my lunch box to gulp few quick bites before rushing to the meeting room. I barged into the room saying “sorry I am late” and looked at the faces of half famished colleagues.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever”

3 PM: A quick training on ‘Agile process’, and I sat in the front of a packed meeting room. A colleague across the table was busy on his mobile phone, and still feigning curiosity on the subject. “Agile is not just a process” said the trainer “it is also a change in your thought process that warrants you to be flexible, nimble and open to any idea or change”. It all made sense, and I tried my best not to yawn.

“Life doesn’t just happen. It requires your participation”

7 PM: At home. I have put on the TV to watch the leading Indian news channel, and started pranayama.

Breathe in, Breathe out

“Daddy, phone” gleamed my son holding my ringing mobile phone with his tiny hands. That seemed to be a call from my offshore team. I raised my hand to show five fingers seeking five minutes.

Breath in, Breathe out

“Sambar” shouted my wife from the kitchen. That’s her eureka moment for what to prepare for dinner tonight. I raised my hand thumbs up showing my unanimous agreement.

Breath in, Breathe out

The news anchor on TV yelled with the most pertinent question that India wants to know – “Is the Indian PM’s degree certificate authentic”. A furious member of another political party interjected that it’s not.

Breath in, Breathe out

The TV channel nonchalantly scrolled a news at the bottom “Over 100 dead with heat waves across India. Water shortage across major cities”

My breathing became rapid. My heart rate would have been over 100.

“At the end of the day, your success depends on how well you sleep”

11 PM: My playful son kissed me good night as the warmth of the bed overwhelmed the pleasure of playing. He laid on the bed staring at the roof with only few seconds before falling asleep. He looked like a tranquil yogi, and I wondered if he was still thinking about who would win if Indominous-Rex and T-Rex were to get into a duel. I remembered my parents and heaved a sigh on how funny and vicious the life cycle is.

My wife spoke wisely and gave the sweetest advice before closing her eyes – “Don’t think much, and sleep well”.

I questioned myself as I reached out to the beckoning bed “what was the best achievement of the day”, and the answer came from deep within “it is yet to come, and that’s a good night sleep”

 

Anarchy of Democracy – Freedom of Speech

One of my most vivid memories from school, in early 90s, was that of a political science class, in which the teacher explained about Democracy. He used Abraham Lincoln’s quote that “Democracy is by the people, of the people and for the people”. It looked relevant to its time when the teacher juxtaposed democracy with that of school’s class leader election and the rules that we together conceived in the best interest of all the pupils.

Democracy was taught to be a best form of governance given its people centric principles that also protects human rights of the citizens.

The most important aspect that I enjoy in a Democratic country is freedom of speech. I enjoy speaking out my personal opinions across various platforms. While I enjoy the right to speak, am fully aware that this freedom to express comes with great responsibility. Human being is pervert by birth, and what makes him/her ‘social’ is the conscience that filters on what to speak out and what not to.

It only takes a second or sentence to instigate any one. Given this, the freedom of speech is in great danger. Current generation has easy access to social media and can blurt out any momentary impression on any subject. The social media is served to me on a platter that I am tempted to take a bite and be part of the mob that pours trenchant criticism on anything that has to be perceived as a difference of opinion. Media is playing a huge role in creating this personal agony.

Let me take a recent example – Aamir Khan has made comments about intolerance on TV. On that day, I came home after a heavy schedule at office. My regular TV routine is to skim through news channels for some time, and then move on to entertainment channels while doing my evening chores at home. The news channels are full of Aamir Khan’s comments and the reactions on this subject from various parties. I had no interest in his personal opinion and was ready to move on to other news. But these channels do not stop from sensationalising as if it is a national problem. The heated debates did not wane off even after couple of days, and at the end of third day I am tempted to form an opinion of my own and had to express it on social media. An innocent mind of mine was filled with hatred at the end of third day. The most unfortunate anti-climax is that I have forgot this whole episode to move on to another hatred based fiasco based on yet another personal comment, thus falling prey to media.

An innocent view can be a random comment or culpable to sedition. The easy access to express myself has made me vulnerable, and the fact that I can’t resist from reaching out to my smart phone even in a short gap has further proved the point.

Getting back to my school class, if my teacher asks about those that are interested to give a speech, I will raise my hand to concede my indulgence in this very system of mockery of freedom.