The Good in Medicine

Hospitals are places one goes to for treatment, to get better and to kick their illness. Everyone knows that. Like every profession, there are some good doctors and there are some bad ones. What really gets my goat is how every other person has an opinion on how evil medicine has become recently.

I read a post today, about a child’s surgery costing way more than it should. It stated that the hospital charged more than a lac for simple stitches. It also stated that the entirety of the medical profession was dirty, corrupt and unreliable. But now, were they just simple stitches? I looked into the matter, I just had to. No, they weren’t all that simple. Under General Anastesia, the surgeon found that the eyelid and a part of the boys eyebrow was shattered; it was bone deep. Being an experienced plastic surgeon, the surgeon replaced the ocular muscles layer by layer, and then used fine stitches to close the wound up. It was not a 10 minute long procedure. Here’s the dirty little secret: Running a hospital is a business like any other.  Doctors and hospitals are going to charge you for the services and amenities they provide otherwise how the hell do they survive? And if a patient’s family doesn’t have the common sense to ask for the tariff of the best kind of room before taking it up, and then stoop to bitching about it, I have very little sympathy for them. Reckoning the whole profession as ugly and corrupt is an immature and ignorant approach to the situation.

In this particular case, the family claimed the child was shifted to the ICU to create impact and panic them. And what if they hadn’t shifted the child to the ICU? What if the child ended up having a bad reaction to anesthesia? Suppose he lost his vision because the doctor didn’t do a thorough job? Who would be to blame then? Once again, the profession and the people in it. Medicine is a scary profession. Doctors literally hold other people’s lives in their hands and so they make it a point to do their best. A lack of understanding mixed with a unhealthy dose of fear is why the profession is often misunderstood. As humans, it’s not unbelievable that every once in a while, someone makes a mistake. If a doctor is meticulous and keeps your child under observation, there is almost always a viable explanation for it.

I was watching a medical show called Scrubs the other day, and what they say about how people view medicine today in comparison to how they viewed it years ago got under my skin. The Chief of Medicine, who hadn’t really treated patients in a long time, got back in the game for the purpose of a bet. Now, stay with me here, he realized that people in general no longer treat doctors like they used to. “When the hell did patients stop respecting us? Remember when being a doctor meant people would look up to you? When I first started out I could take this white coat out and get a free haircut or a nice table at a restaurant. Hell, I never once got a speeding ticket.” was what he said, and he got a response I find perfect for this particular situation. “Those were the good old days. Today, people think of us as drug dispensing, walking lawsuits who are in fact less informed than their internet phones.” The fact of the matter is, hospitals also need to be very careful, in case they get blamed for something they have little or no control over. It happens all the time.

I have two doctors for parents. My father isn’t home three nights a week because he’s out tending to emergency surgeries. He worked at a Pro-Bono hospital every morning for more than ten years. He operated on people who couldn’t afford the surgery, completely free of charge. He missed my biggest dance performance and the only play I was ever in because he was tending to the sick. My mother deals with very sick children every day, she treats them the best she can and gives discounts to patients who obviously can’t afford the treatment. They both pick up their phones in the middle of the night and rush off to work at 3 o’clock in the morning because one of their surgical patients had gotten a bad case of the hiccups. Yes, that’s right, hiccups.

Of course, I may be a little biased given that I grew up in the profession around good-hearted competent doctors. But I find it hilarious that people who work in other businesses, with the clear motive of making as much profit as possible through whatever means necessary, have the audacity to comment on Medicine being a soulless profession. My masi is a gynecologist and my masa is a general surgeon. My cousin still remembers the time her parents were hardly able to spend time with her when she was back home from college. The day she was leaving, her mother was stuck in an emergency surgery and her father had to check on a patient. They couldn’t spend time with their own child because they were taking care of other people’s children.  So I ask you again, is it morally correct to deem the entire profession as dirty with medical professionals like them out there?

Kyle

Loss. There is nothing like it. It’s accompanied by regret, anger and a whole lot of pain. It makes one’s head swirl and stomach churn. After a while, you’ll know how it feels, and you’ll know exactly how to deal with your own pain without shoving it in other people’s faces. You’ll deal with the stabs of pain that pierce through you, you’ll expect your body to tingle with the thought of it, and you’ll anticipate tears splashing down your face at any given point of time. But eventually you’ll realize that you expect too much of yourself. None of this will happen. You’ll look into a mirror and feel a kind of numbness you hoped to never feel. You’ll listen to that voice inside your head that says,” Big surprise. What did you expect?”

You won’t break down because you expect your mind to wander to the “what if’s” and the “why’s”. You’ll be prepared for your mind to convince you of your utter unworthiness. You won’t mind missing those daily conversations that lasted till the nightfall, and you’ll forget how his face looked like. It will become as simple as that; going through the motions.

Loss is the only feeling that makes you feel alive, but you’ll learn to deal with it when you’ve gone through it enough. What you won’t learn how to do, is accept the help you need from the people around you. This time around, I’ve decided to turn a new leaf. I’m not hiding anymore. I’m grabbing on to the people I need and they’ve never let me down. So, let’s call him Kyle. He is my personal happiness haven.

The older you get, the harder it becomes for you to include someone in your comfort zone. The relationships you forge earlier on are the ones you usually carry till the grave. I met him four years ago and he quickly became a part of my most inner circle. Imagine a man who has no particular responsibility towards you, but you never feel the need to back off. I called him four times a day when I had nothing to do, and each time he would answer, it would be the same happy “Hello” I got to hear. I never wondered if it was a bad time, there was no such thing. Picture someone listening to your ramblings about the fly who wouldn’t let you sleep and the girl you hate in college, without saying that you’re petty even once. I know, it’s hard to believe he exists. But he does.

It’s difficult to not take people for granted when they’ve never let you down, or made your stomach churn. I’ve done that, forgotten about him when another man enters the frame even if he’s literally all I need for happiness to encompass me. That’s how I define him now; happiness. I’ve never been afraid of him leaving my side, even if I threw the shallowest bitch fit in the history of bitch fits. He didn’t go out of his way, I just asked him to stay, and he always did.

The kind of friendship I share with him is hard to understand for anyone on the outside. It’s more complicated than the normal stuff you see. Men I’ve dated don’t understand it, it makes them turn into a bundle of insecurities. All this time, all these years, he’s picked up my pieces and he’s put me back together. He’s built me up to believing I’m invincible, that I’m a dream who’s larger than life itself. For someone who’s been accused of being heartless and shallow for the majority of his life, he sure is my best person with a heart of pure gold. I can talk about my deepest, darkest secrets with him and I don’t need to worry about an ounce of judgement coming my way. There is no one who has helped me deal with loss the way he has. And for him, I am grateful always, even if I forget to tell him that ever so often.

 

Things I Need

I need a lot. I need great coffee shops, beautiful sunsets, and tedious road trips where I sing myself hoarse. I need a few hours a day to sit idle and contemplate every aspect of my day. I need long walks in the chilly night sky, I need a terrace where I can sit with my memory box and relive the days I miss. I need to sit by a stream and listen to the songs that touch my soul. I need books to live a few hundred times. I need to cycle through what looks like a tapestry and I need to eat food that makes me feel thankful for it. I need to get out of the real every now and then, and surround myself with the surreal. There is so much I need. But most of all, I now realize, I need people. I need other people, because I need to be surrounded by the living, breathing, screaming invitation to believe in something better, something more complex, and profound, than me.

Baby Talk

Hate is a strong word; that’s what my mother drilled into my head growing up. I wasn’t really allowed to use the word, dislike was a convenient replacement. That changed during college though. I contorted into somewhat of an extremist. There is love and there is hate; there is no middle ground, and the top of my hate list is reserved for Baby Talk.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the urge to mispronounce and mush words together when there’s a baby around. What I don’t get is the need for women to speak to their significant others in that particular manner. I was interning in New Delhi during my junior year of college and as fate would have it, my roommate was a Baby Talker. I never realized how much I could hate it until the summer was over.

Imagine this; you’re exhausted from a tough day of lugging mannequins around, you get home barely alive, and all you want is a hot meal, a thick blanket to cosy into, and most importantly, silence. Instead, you are subjected to the sound of a grown woman addressing a grown man in the most irksome toddler voice you could possibly imagine. If that wasn’t enough, you also get the divine opportunity to wake up to the same unpleasant noise. And you can tell said roommate to cut it out, but that won’t change a damn thing (mind the language). The shrill Bengali baby talk shall continue after a brief two-hour break.

I couldn’t help but think it was a bizarre daddy-daughter thing they had going on which only fuelled my hatred for the concept. The idea that a woman must seem child-like, helpless, and weak for a man to find her attractive really doesn’t appeal to my sensibilities. A damsel in distress is a common kind of woman men fall for, but actively dropping IQ points and making them feel needed all the time is taking it one too far. I could go on about the underlying significance of women who baby talk, but that’s not what I hate the most. It’s the sheer pitch and the shrill squeals that makes my blood boil with a burning passion.

There was also a gang of girls back in college; a gang I had aptly named Butterflies. They would put Elle from Legally Blonde to shame. Not only did they babble with their boyfriends in their tailored baby voice, they also took it upon themselves to talk to each other in the same way, day in and day out. Yes, day in and day out. I was in the same class, there was literally no escape. Needless to say, over the years my hatred for Baby Talk only intensified.

It’s the equivalent, no, it is worse than nails on a chalk board, a wet bathroom floor, yellow light, or slow internet; these all are a few of my least favourite things. One may not understand the hatred for all these, but nails on a blackboard is a universally hated sound. And I would take an hour of it, if I could avoid Baby Talk for the rest of my life. If anyone could get me a deal, I would take it, and be more than eternally grateful. So, anyone?

 

 

 

The Window

A flight at six in the morning wasn’t my idea of the perfect start, especially when I hadn’t got a wink of sleep. Cranky and in no mood to talk to anyone, I found my seat. Flights always had a way of making me cantankerous. The window seat I had been assigned was the only solace to my crabbiness. . I settled in, buckled up, and tried to untangle my earphones, but in vain.

As I struggled with the last knot I saw a young mother struggling with numerous small carry-ons pull up to the seat next to me.  “Excuse me, is it possible for you to take the aisle seat? My daughter doesn’t like flying, the only saving grace is the window,” she said as she tried to arrange her hand baggage. At first I was appalled, no one talks at this ungodly hour. Then my eyes darted to the young girl clasping on to her mother’s hand as if her life depended on it. An odd memory squeezed itself into the foreground of my mind…

“If you sleep now, you won’t feel the plane taking off, sweetie pie,” my mother said.

I was six, my family and I had a red-eye flight from Heathrow to Mumbai. I could taste the anxiety and excitement; moving meant a new school, a new home and a new life. At six, that seemed more exhilarating than terrifying. I don’t remember the take off so I must have slept through it. Mission Accomplished. What I do remember though, is waking up to magic.

I woke up in the hopes of curing my parched throat. Disoriented, I looked around, and that’s when I saw it. In the pitch darkness, outside the window, I saw some of the most fascinating stars. These weren’t just regular old stars, they were huge and they were the colours of a thousand rainbows. It was like these stars were meant for me. I gasped and counted them, forgetting completely that I was on a flight. Just as I reached six, I was sure I saw a green blur. It was Peter Pan, finally here to take me to Neverland! I was antsy and fidgeted the whole journey back, but to my dismay, Peter Pan only flew by to say hi.

“Ma’am?”

I snapped out of one of the most exciting memories of my childhood to the face of an earnest mother. I smiled, picked up my purse and said, “Of course”. The memory was gone as quick as it had come, with only nostalgia as an aftertaste. I didn’t want to give that seat up, but every little girl deserves a magical window. The more I thought of it, the more I was convinced that it was a dream or a figment of my imagination, even though it seemed so real in memory. But just how remarkable would it be if it wasn’t?

My Choice

Women have been objects for centuries, not people, objects. The past few days I’ve been trying to write about it, trying to understand why we cannot be who we are. Why we are defined by the clothes we wear, the sex we may or may not have, the men we choose to be with, the friends we have, the way we look or the manner we talk. I am so much more than all of these together. I am me. Just me.

A Liar and A Thief

She was a liar and he was a thief,
Suspended inside different stages of grief,
When nobody listened despite how she sung,
She learnt to twist truth on the tip of her tongue,
His pockets were laden with diamonds and keys,
So no one would notice the blood on his knees,
They lived worlds apart but one thing they both knew,
“I’m fine” sounds the same even when it’s not true.

-Erin Hanson

Bookshelf

She has a bookshelf for a heart,
And ink runs through her veins,
She’ll write you into her story,
With the typewriter in her brain,
Her bookshelf’s getting crowded,
With all the stories that she’s penned,
Of people who flicked through her pages,
But closed the book before the end,
And there’s one pushed to the very back,
That sits collecting dust,
With its title in her finest writing,
“The One’s Who Lost My Trust”,
There’s books she’s scared to open,
And books she doesn’t close,
Stories of every person she met,
Stretched out in endless rows,
Some people have only a sentence,
While others once held a main part,
Thousands of inky footprints,
That they’ve left across her heart,
You might wonder why she does this,
Why write of people she once knew?
But she hopes one day she’ll mean enough,
For someone to write about her too.

-Erin Hanson

This is not me; these words are not mine but they are beautiful and heart-breaking. And I loved that.

Them

They’ve been in close proximity, but never are they really present. They linger and just wait for you to break. They speak through a veil of contempt and disrespect even if the words they use are friendly and comforting. You wanted to play because you thought you were the ultimate player, little did you know you were playing their game along and they were in fact, the masters. They will choose you, play you, and erase you once they are done. They will break you down just to prove that they are capable and all you will be left with is dry sadness and raging fury. You will overcome the dryness but the rage will live on, like a ball of wildfire in the pit of your stomach.

You will ultimately turn into a ghost of a memory for them but they won’t budge an inch from yours. They will drive you away from the image you had of yourself and they will persist till the time you look at yourself with disgust. And at the end of it all, they will finally walk away with a smugness you despise while you are left to pick up the pieces of your oh-so-broken self.

True Story.

Not Love

You are the shiznit. Yes, I said it. You are all that you are looking for, whether you like it or not. Your life is neither a movie, nor a fairytale. If you believe it is, you’re either incredibly romantic or incredibly stupid, none being a very great thing to be. I read a quote by F. Scott Fitzgerald which said, “And in the end we were all just humans, drunk on the idea that love, only love, can heal our brokenness.” But is that necessarily true? A failed attempt at love is generally what breaks us in the first place, and a couple of them changes us irreversibly. But who decided all we need is love? I certainly didn’t come up with that hypothesis. Rather, it was thrust upon me by all the hype around the concept of love. What if that’s not the point of life at all? What if the point in life is to simply make connections, romantic or unromantic?

The conformist relationship between a monogamous couple has never been my deal. I get restless after a period of time, . Through all the ups and downs there is just one theory I realized to be true. You are never as broken as you think you are and there is nothing you cannot overcome. Sure, you’re bound to have some bruises and some old scars that never fade, but honestly, who doesn’t? We are all super heroes in our own way. And all heroes have some scars. So breathe, think, and give yourself a break because all you really need, is you.