Sunday, July 22, 2012

In-a-body experience

Image Source

You lean against the wall, thoughts straying,
Until you can't remember how you got here.
You look across the room... & feel nothing,
The sight of your hand seems unfamiliar;
That it obeys your command, surreal.
You wonder if this body will take the punishment, this sense of freedom,
& then a familiar sense of carelessness, it comes flooding back.
Amazing how the right song and a pair of earphones
make you the loneliest philosopher in a crowded room

Thursday, June 21, 2012

To Do List

Someone recently shared a picture with a To-Do List on Whatsapp that had me splitting with laughter! I take no credit for it, but thought I should share it with you!
Personal favorite: No.6!!


Monday, June 18, 2012

Easy Living

There's been so much happening recently, I've been giving a lot of thought to what my 'life philosophy' actually is. Is everything I do as random as I think it is? The answer's so hilariously beyond me, it reminds me of the Roadrunner & Wile-E-Coyote; but here's what I think makes my days tick:

  1. "That's what she said!"
    These glorious words should only be used for that spiritually enlightening game of sexual innuendo & double entendre. Using it to bitch about someone is just depriving someone of a good laugh! Not familiar with the game? You'll find the light here

  2. Tell your friends just how amazing they are
    Why? Because they are! Boss making you miserable? Girlfriend won't give you head? Marks slipping? Rubbed your local mob the wrong way? There's always at least one person to help you out. If not, at least find a friend who bakes. Yumm, the sweet taste of misery

  3. Go hug your mom at least twice a day
    There's an acute shortage of mothers in the world. Everyone has just one. Tells yours she's special.

  4. Question everything
    What's the reason I'm here? How can I win her over? What can I do to succeed professionally? How can I make the world a better place? Why won't this itch go away? Figuring out the right question is half the battle won. 

  5. Make Love, Not War
    Stop spending so much time fighting or arguing with people; & especially stop investing energy in avoiding 'mortal enemies'. Unless you have a Batcave or come from the planet Krypton, you can't afford to have mortal enemies! Stop sulking & skirmishing. Move on. And oh yeah, have sex. No particular reason. Well, you know what I mean. 

I'm sure I've missed a few important points, but you couldn't possibly handle anything longer. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

You Chose Already, Now My Turn

Someday when you're unlucky, I'll kill you with my words. Start running away right now.

Image Source
Dear friend with the beautiful back, 'cause that's all I see now,

I chose to write to you. The convolution of the situation was scalding me & I chose to walk away. No, I didn't admit defeat, I didn't cower, I chose to do the sane thing, I wrote. I wrote because I can always erase the hurtful words I write, before they reach the person they're meant for, I can vent without being angry. I wrote because I can't really take back the things I angrily say, that which I don't think through, mean or don't believe in. I wrote because it's difficult to be angry at a letter, because when we're at war, seeing you makes me want to sit down with you; seeing me, makes you want to run away.

If you thought I was wrong, why didn't you just say so. I would've let you shout, scream, moan, throw your arms & legs up in the air. I would've gone through it all because you were more hurt than I. Why'd you choose to walk away instead? It aches to think years together have whittled down to nothing more than distance. Before you left, you used the choicest of words. You tore the flesh from my bones, clinically dissected my mental faculty & still had some left to share with others around you. You told me of your bitterness I wasn't aware of, of problems that I thought were long gone. You chose to bring them up, because when there's that much blood spilled already, some more would surely help you vent. What's worse is you committed yourself to your words. You stood by your decisions. I'd salute your steadfastness, if only I could justify it. 

Isn't there just the slightest chance we're both at fault here? Had we deteriorated without notice? Yes, you're the judge, jury & executioner. You based our relationship on your account of that one day. You're impervious to my pleas, ignorant of the truth, & in denial of what I meant to you. You may say you're angry enough, but you're not, unless you're going to punch me. Unless you're eager to land a right-hook, there's still hope. Because when the smoke blows over, there isn't any nuclear winter, just a few people getting on with their lives. 

Its more a game of time than words right now, & too much has passed. I'm tired of writing. I'm wiser because, I finally realize that letting go has its own charm. I have many friends, none better, but I chose to fight for you. And now, I choose to walk away from you. 

Maybe someday, you'll look back at what happened & a doubt will creep in. You'll wish you'd chosen your words wisely. Maybe, someday you'll move on, not walk away; you'll remember how intimately I loved you, our time together. 

Maybe someday, I'll turn & there won't be any time for letters; I'll tear you apart with my words, except I won't be there to stitch you up again. Would you fight for me then?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Superficially Me

Its been over a year now & no, it hasn't washed away, although I did once have a nightmare that it did. I thought discussing my tattoo would only mean narrating why I got it; instead I've got stories to share about what happens during and after as well.

Lesson #1: Needles hurt. Who knew?

Yeah it hurts, but its not really pain. Its this indescribable mix of scorching heat, vibration, pressure & a couple of IMs going in at once. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't apprehensive. Thoughts of choosing between whiskey, tequila, paracetamol & Tramadol kept going through my head. Eventually, I chose a girl to hold my hand.
I have the tattoo over my upper back, a good place as the skin here is thick and from what I've read, relatively insensitive to pain. Medicine never taught me the meaning of "relative".
And yes, its not funny when the stupid machine cords start tickling your lower back & the artist thinks you're tensing up because of the pain. I don't think he bought that story; not a proud moment for yours truly.
Would I do it again? Yes!! This damn thing brings out the masochist in you.

Lesson #2: Exhibitionism is out of the question

I've always thought people get the most amazing tattoos on their wrists, or the inside of their forearms, but its forbidden territory for doctors. I wouldn't personally get one anywhere that was easily visible. Its just that every physician is supposed to conform to the layman's idea of a competent doctor. You wouldn't ever want to be in a plane flown by a pilot wearing his hat backwards, would you? That being said, this tattoo was personal & I'm deeply attached to it. I don't think about whether its visible to the world. Its very cliched to say this, but I got it for ME! My shoulders, arms & feet though are reserved for future.
Also, I'd take this moment to thank my friends, who've never refrained from ripping apart t-shirt collars to get a better look.

Lesson #3: There'll always be 'people'

I was posted in I.Med last summer & still remember beads of sweat rolling down my nose when I did my post-emerg collections. I avoided my coat like the plague. So, I'm strolling ahead of my Unit Head during rounds & she goes, "Is that a tattoo?". I just nodded and slowled my pace to let her pass me. I thought she'd stop; except, (long pause) she didn't. She then did this great impression of a National Geographic journalist interviewing the tribes of the Amazon."How much does it hurt? How much did it cost you? Does your family know? Is it safe? Where did you get it? Why did you get it? I swear if my son one day walked upto me and told me he wanted to get a tattoo, he wouldn't have a home anymore. Personal reasons?! I don't really understand your generation." I looked at my registrar amid all this & we shared a simultaneous facepalm moment.
Other nicer instances include a Gynac nurse who almost hit me on the back because she thought the halo was a bug & then proceeded to get all the nurses to gang up on me to show it to them. Did you have a facepalm moment right now too? See, we're bonding.

Lesson #4: Those lingering moments of doubt eventually wither away

Of course, there were times after I'd taken the plunge when there were genuine doubts.
Did I make the right call?
Didn't he open the needles in front of me? Damn! Should've checked the seals myself
Maybe I could've gone with different artwork
Does this seem lopsided to you?
But, I love it & am at peace with it. I would've done a million things differently, if I'd had time. But, I suppose anyone would be that paranoid with something this permanent. Eventually, I'm going to go get some white retouches done on this to add more details at the flexion of the wing. But, I'd never change its structure, or what it says.

Lesson #5: Bis Vivit Qui Bene Vivit - One who lives well, lives twice

Those are the words I chose for my angel. This was my little slice of closure over losing someone close to me. And that's the lesson I hold dearest. I read the statement in two different ways.
One should live their lives to the fullest, take in all they can, because a life truly 'lived' is worth twice one spent in vain. 
A person who's been honest & good to those around him, deserves another chance. 
Getting inked wasn't ever about holding onto a memory or letting go. It was just honouring someone, knowing I have a keepsake with me, a sliver of where I'm from and what made me.

Monday, May 21, 2012


Did it hurt?
Is it permanent?
What's that supposed to mean?
Why'd you get it done?
Can doctors have them?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Thanks Bill

Bill Watterson created a fantastic world with Calvin & Hobbes in 10 years. He finally decided to end the strip gracefully while he was still at his peak, not wanting this iconic strip to overstay its welcome or lose relevance. Here's the final comic that ran on December 31st 1995. I think its very apt for this particular phase of my life:

(c) Bill Watterson 

I think we dream so we don't have to be apart so long. 
If we're in each other's dreams, we can play together all night.
-Bill Watterson

Monday, April 16, 2012


Beyond all our exaggerated fights & subdued squabbles, there's a better tomorrow. Beyond hunting for time & the frustration that accompanies failing, is tomorrow. There're just a few hours left today. We haven't spoken much, we haven't met; its been days since I last saw you, took in the scent of your hair as I held onto you; but tomorrow's another day, gives me one more reason to be optimistic. 

I may plan & obsess, but there's no telling how amazing tomorrow may actually turn out to be. Tomorrow, we'll be together, I'll love you just as much, maybe more, but tomorrow will be better than today and yesterday. Tomorrow we get to start afresh with a g'morning call, not knowing what course the next few hours will take. Tomorrow will be a brand new chapter in our lives together. Tomorrow, I'll make fresh promises, and break a few old ones; You'll try harder and then give up midway. But, by night tomorrow, we'll be better for having lived our successes and shortcomings. 

Tomorrows are where I live with you, there's always something better waiting around the corner. It doesn't matter if you can't care enough, I'll do that for the both of us. I'll dream intricate dreams for tomorrow, weave tales around our heads. Tomorrow I'll lay down with you once again; those impatient hands of my watch will wait for me. I'll take in the way the light plays with your curves. Your curves, I'll take them all in, like I'd never see them again. Tomorrow I'll tell you things I've hidden from you for so long, and then tell you what I can't say enough; I'll be repetitive, but I won't be boring, I promise you that. You'll want me to go on and then I'll stop, just to feel how effortlessly your hand fits into mine. I'll trace every crease of your palms, your fingers. I'll trace that arc from your toes flowing onto your feet, legs, knees, I'll keep on going. I won't stop till the wrinkles in the sheets tell our tale; of how we lived, loved, died and came back to life together. Those moments, I should hate them, they pass too quickly. There's nowhere else I'd rather be, no one else I'd rather do nothing with. That window, the fumes of coffee & passersby, all oblivious to our day to remember. Tomorrow, I'll do everything you want, I'll make sure that smile doesn't leave your face. Tomorrow, I'll make elaborate plans for the rest of the day, how I'll push aside the hair from your face, to reveal a smile. Forget my plans, these sheets have been so good to us, it'll be criminal to leave them. 

Tomorrow can't get here soon enough. Thank god, tomorrow's only a few hours away. Beyond that, another tomorrow awaits the light of day. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What a magical journey its been, with friends from Narnia

You have just as much power over choosing your friends, 
as you do over choosing the day you were born

All I do now is look back at the series of most fortunate events. Happy accidents, that's what I'd call them. We never really chose our company, these men and women we walk with. There wasn't a grand plan at work. But, 'we' worked together. We just moved on with our lives, ceaselessly, sometimes aimlessly. There wasn't any grand plan, we weren't capable of making it as good as it turned out anyway. 

That very first day; it was filled with a lot of "Where are you from"s. Such trivial questions! It didn't really matter, we were in this together for the long haul. Five years is very long time, or so we thought. Five scorching summers, five humorous monsoons, five faux winters & innumerable days in between. We lived our lives in these seasons. 

We stepped foot into an unfamiliar, untamed land, & made it our own. It didn't matter how far it is where you were from, or how long it took you to get here. 'Here' is what mattered, & here it seems we would be together without end. Today's not a good day, but it's as good a day as any for saying 'so long'. From lengthy testimonials, short notes, status updates, blog posts to things that're obviously left unsaid; today they all seem deficient. Another day, we'll be 'here' once again, laughing about all that conspired today. How did we get so messed up in the moment? That day wasn't a conclusion to those five years. It just signaled yet another change of season.

We didn't choose one another, but let's say we did, and pat ourselves on the back anyway. We'll meet again someday, right where and when we left off.

Image Source

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Taking stock

Ever so often you find yourself in a familiar place, with familiar faces, talking about things you know so well, and yet, everything seems different. The world stops, the drinks stop flowing, the words cease and you take in that scene, that familiarity, that you want to hold onto so badly. I know the blog says Megalomania in the title but I'm acutely aware of my mortality. I make it a point that those who matter know exactly what I feel about them. I often say, "My friends are my greatest investments"; I sure do feel rich right now.

Its not the euphoria after path-breaking achievements, its not the darkness in failures, that you remember. You recall the moments you thought you never would, the moments that you never thought deserved a place in the "Best of..." reel of your life. So, once again I'm looking across the table at people I never chose, those I didn't fully understand; these are the people that matter most, I hold them closest. You know that feeling of loss which you never really understood? I feel that now; except I'm not losing anything at all. You look back and miss that you never knew you shared. That barefoot walk on rocky beaches, the bad movies that chewed your brain, those high-fives that hurt so much, a broken sink, so many broken glasses, and creative drunken stories. You've left me with memories that'll take a lifetime to recall & rejoice. 

My friends, my family, I've taken stock of life. I sure do feel rich right now.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Image Source

They met like everyone does, without any control of where and when, but what matters is that they did. He recalls that first day, a kind face amid an unfamiliar crowd. Tried to meet her gaze, in an obvious way yet trying to be subtle; very James Bond-ish. She just swept her hair and turned away. They did finally speak. Difficult not to, when you're locked in a room together for days with a dearth of good-looking, interesting people. He got friendly and ever so often, in conversations that were treading on unfamiliar ground, she swept her hair and looked the other way. 

He didn't like her avoiding his gaze. He strayed to other women, sheepishly blurting out his infatuations, she just nodded and stared into his eyes; beautiful brown eyes that finally broke away from his. Maybe she found the world more interesting to look at than his face. He tried to meet her often, but the conversations weren't the same. How could they be? Time flew past, but not time used well. He didn't wonder or weigh what he missed out on, blissfully unaware. 

Good days have a habit of creeping up on you when you least expect them, or prepare for them. Once again, he found himself moving through an unfamiliar crowd, which suddenly, effortlessly blurred away to reveal those gleaming brown eyes. Pleasantries weren't all that were exchanged; That look, of unsure yearning. This time he made sure they met again. Felt like a fresh start, getting to know each other all over again. Memories of good conversations seldom contain the subjects of conversations themselves. All they recall now is long walks, beaches and sunsets. They weren't one for cliches, but what're good relationships without them? 

The story played itself out all over again. They got to know each other again. He felt closer than ever before, treading carefully on thin ice. He dropped subtle hints, all she did was swiftly look away, her hair moving in majestic arcs. He thought and wondered of what could be, if only she'd meet his gaze. He took that plunge, asked her to be with him. She smiled, stared into his eyes, like she never had before. It seemed like he saw her for the very first time; so open, unguarded, receptive, almost naked. Those big brown eyes. 

Their relationship was stuck in a loop, starting another cycle again. Like an aged bottle of wine lying in a cellar, that's still new on uncorking it. They got to know another side of themselves. He felt like nothing could pull them apart. He took another plunge. Asked her why she always swept her hair and looked away. She smiled, then blushed; her eyes darting between him and the ground. She sheepishly mumbled, "I didn't want you to know how I actually felt. Sometimes I tried to hide a smile, and seldom that look when you hurt me. Didn't make things too difficult for you now, did I?". With that, she flashed a mischievous grin, grabbed onto his shirt, pulling him close and kissed him. "Except now, I don't have to hide my feelings anymore". This time, it wasn't her who looked away to hide a scarlet face. 

Friday, March 2, 2012


Living an enviable life is all about finding memories in moments, 
that you wouldn't otherwise remember

This is our twilight. Everyone's moving around in eloquent, beautiful circles, not knowing what lies ahead. Everyone's looking for their way out. We've been here before, albeit symbolically. That day wasn't definitive, graduation. Of course there were tears, smiles, warm hugs and cold relationships which finally thawed. Unbelievable how one abstract idea of finality can bring such an upheaval of buried sentiments! But now, everyone's finishing off this chapter at different rates. Life's like a child let loose in a playground, plucking leaves and flowers playfully, randomly; one by one, we'll all move away. 

We'll meet again some day, beyond this twilight, when separation has finally set in. You'll still be you and I'll still be me; and I hope we'll be ourselves again. We'll look back at the times we laughed hard, sitting uncomfortably in the most obscure places, not remembering what the jokes were about; Reminisce of the times we felt lower than we ever imagined we ever could; Wear smug looks thinking back of when we pulled through. We'll meet without wondering where time has flown, or where we've been. We've always been around. I'll tell you of the times I walked down those corridors again, a familiar scent in the air, but something seemed amiss; how I sat again in those chairs, on those stools, sidewalks and stairs; how I wished for those familiar faces around. We'll talk about the music we shared, where we heard it all first, how we so effortlessly changed the tune and words, yet the song still remained the same. The coffee may not be that sordid excuse for burnt milk from the canteen, but the company will still be the same. We'll still share laughs, without ever thinking twice of what the punchline actually is. There'll still be gossip, although not as bold, but then we were always creative.

Our memories are like a song that's stuck in our head for ages which finally recedes, until you can hardly remember any notes at all; until someone sings you a line and it all comes flowing back. Our company will be that catalyst for nostalgia. How we'll long for that comfort of constancy, riding a wave, knowing we're all surging ahead together. That feeling of loss, it crept upon unchecked, unnoticed, like a river swelling behind a dam, until something gave way. Somehow though, things will remain the same. We'll be so much more than ourselves then, value what we took for granted. Of course there will be tears, warm hugs and cold relationships that finally thaw. One abstract idea of mutual belonging will unearth all we hadn't felt for so long. 

We'll be so much more than just wrinkles, responsibilities, families, experiences, successes or regrets. We'll be us again, someday, sharing obscure memories we don't recall with anyone else.

Friday, February 10, 2012

For The Graduating Class of 2006

Good afternoon ladies, gentlemen, professors, fellow interns, med students, little brothers & sisters, people who wandered in wondering what’s going on and importantly, the parents who are already screening the room for potential in-laws. My own journey with Nair started off rather funnily outside the CET counselling center when I was frantically asking people if Topiwala National Medical College was in fact Nair, because I had just filled that in the form and had no idea where I was heading! Strange how a place whose name I wasn’t sure of would become this important to me.

It’s customary for the Valedictorian to give the graduating speech, but it’s far too long that we’ve been swooning over the numero unos in this class. We only have one Nikshita, one Shruti, one Tazeen and hell, a few Ankitas for extra measure. But, it’s about time to speak up for the rest of us.

For far too long have we told people we’re pursuing medicine, only for the next question to be, “Beta, heart surgeon kabhi banega?”. Way too many people ask where we’re heading for residency, way too many seniors ask for our final year marks. Look here, being part of a crowd is a full time commitment. We may be average, but we try extra hard to stay that way! Why can’t we just take this moment to celebrate average awesomeness?

Average is the medical student who watched way too much House and Grey’s Anatomy before coming into medicine. Awesome was their reaction when they realized not all doctors are as good looking as the ones on TV!

Average is the student who knew exactly who Peter Roberts was. Awesome is not knowing who his examiners are.

Average was the student who got pulled up for low attendance in second year. Awesome were the parents who said, “Koi nahi beta, isi bahaane doosre parents se mulaqaat ho gayi”

Average is the resident standing behind the examiner who’s frantically gesturing answers in the vivas, awesome is the professor who notices but doesn’t look around.

Average are the parents who send amazing food with their kids back to college, awesome is how they always remember their kids have friends who need a little fattening up too.

Average is knowing that other colleges have campuses, while Nair has a compound. Awesome is the fact we have the one thing that no other med school has... Speech Therapy!

Average is the parent who expects his child to make them proud. Awesome is the student who fulfils their wishes and then goes the extra mile.

Average is knowing that you can’t walk through life on the Dr. Title before your name alone. Awesome is doing something that makes people add the Sahab at the end of it.

Average is knowing that life’s a struggle that you’re willing to face; knowing that in life, being just booksmart or streetsmart alone doesn’t cut it anymore, you need to own the space around you. Average is fighting for that very space you crave. Awesome is not letting anything stop you from being a part of a great tradition of medicine, where knowledge, like the proverbial torch, is always passed on. Extraordinary is that person who teaches without expecting anything in return but time and patience. You teach because you wish to be taught.

For the past five years, Nair has defined awesome. Its been way too intimate a part of our lives to serve as a stepping stone. It’s much much more than that! We don’t spend our days backbiting about other colleges. We’re proud, we’re not delusional like the rest! Let’s hold on to that quiet confidence. The average Nairite isn’t that uber-competitive nerdy medical student most others in the city are. Look back at all the years here and you’ll find that the first few months were probably just as exciting as the next few years: meeting terrific people, meeting first girlfriends, often our only girlfriends, first gut-wrenching exam failure, second gut-wrenching exam failure, third failure to finally realizing that you hate the anatomy part-exams! 

From learning how to dress up for wards, to bunking early morning lectures with shocking regularity, from befriending all the nurses, to idealizing that favorite professor you want to emulate one day, right down to his beard, from doing research projects to having movie marathons at PVR, friends we’ve made to those we’ve sadly lost. Let’s not have to remind ourselves that every little experience, every person we’ve met, went a long way in shaping us into what we are today.

It’s up to us to realize that us graduating hasn’t been a solo effort. Let’s thank our families, our professors, thank the staff, thank everyone who’s been any sort of support over these past years, people who pushed us towards medicine and those who pulled us through.

I don’t intend on ending with a “let’s go forth and conquer the world routine”. Sounds way too average! I’d rather quote Satchel Paige, “No man can avoid being born average, that doesn’t mean he’s got to be common”. Wish you all a great night ahead.

Special thanks to Aayushi for lending me her ear and words amid all the chaos that day.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The White Pillow

The last 2 months in Bombay have been the coldest in recent memory and yes, this is winter to me. I don't have to be told about the inches of snow or the number of people dying due to the cold in your hometowns. The point I'm trying to make is I DO NOT handle cold environments very well. My sinuses start acting up, get nosebleeds, brain freezes & my kidneys obviously start working in hyperspeed & then my legs cramp up from those light-speed approaching runs to the loo to avoid being seen by the residents. 

The problem with a hospital is that no matter how expensive, extensive and brilliant the air conditioning system may be, there'll always be these pockets that are insanely cold. Sadly these pockets hold that which is dearest during a night on-call - an empty bed! The story's from my OBGY rotation that had these awesome on-call rooms attached to the Labor Room. Sadly, they had a huge air conditioning duct right over the beds. The first couple of nights when I went in for some shut eye, I actually fell asleep sitting, trying to hide from the cold draught. Decided I'd be smarter the next time around by bringing some sort of blanket. 

I forgot. 

I was hoping my coat would be enough to sleep through the night. One thing about my gynac rotation was I hardly ever wore a white coat when the professors weren't around. I just felt it unnecessary. If I was needed, I put on the plastic aprons instead; much more effective against you know, blood, meconium and amniotic fluid flying about. Later that night when I went back into the on-call room to sleep, I found it pitch dark, tripped over someone's backpack and then almost sat down on what at first seemed like a white pillow. A few seconds of creepily staring at the pillow revealed it was my cute little tiny resident who'd regressed to the fetal position on my regular bed, with my coat on top of her! So much for staying warm tonight, unless of course she chose that bed for a reason and... 

Image Source
What?!? This isn't an episode from Grey's Anatomy! I got back out there and started working. Sheesh, the things people expect!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Ideal Co-Intern

Now, I'm not one of them hippocrates who passes judgments on residents while leaving my colleagues alone. The Ideal Co-Intern is, in a lot of ways, more important than The Cool Resident. You share responsibilities instead of having them dumped onto you like a car parked underneath an aviary. You go through the same grueling routine, have the same rights, the same work timings. For that month of rotation, you're like Siamese twins, except with fewer awkward bathroom moments (Can't elaborate, you need to have been there, or maybe you'd rather not!). 

T'was two years back with a senior friend when the concept of the Ideal Co-Intern (ICI from now) took shape. He explained how it's not always beneficial to have a friend working with you during internship as the relationship sours over time, neither is it easy to have a total stranger who you don't have any pull on. He explained that delegation of duties is as important as showing up at all; and that you can't really survive without good people around. Here're the qualities of an ICI:
  1. The ICI shows up, preferably on time, all the time. You two should have the SAME work timings, unless of course you're taking turns while on-call. 
  2. The ICI gives two days prior notice for remaining absent, even if it's for an acute medical emergency. 48 hours are a bare minimum to finish crying and cribbing about the work you'll have to do alone. 
  3. The ICI never tells the residents you haven't shown up. "He's off tracing histo-path reports", or the classic "The professor gave him some personal work" never gets old
  4. The ICI let's you alternate shifts with that hot new extern who you've been meaning to talk to since before you knew her.
  5. If you're surgically inclined, the ICI agrees to take care of the world outside while you're scrubbed in. 
  6. The ICI always has backup lists of everything, so if you lose yours, no harm, no foul
  7. The ICI shows up when it's not his turn, even when he has a hangover, because he knows you HAVE to show up hungover yourself. Wasn't that sweet?
  8. The ICI does not entertain friends, relatives, strangers during on-call days. It's not cool to go visit your uncle, aunt, father, niece, fiance and spend ages in the cafeteria while your co-intern is slogging it out
  9. The ICI never forgets to make it clear to the residents that you live extremely far away & that it you must cross mountain ranges, rivers and landslides to get to work on time
  10. The ICI always calls at dinner time to make sure you've eaten
  11. The ICI always has that elusive EDTA bulb when you need one
  12. While on that point: the ICI is a thief! Their bag is littered with an awesome collection of syringes, needles, varied catheters, urosac bags, central lines, micropore tapes, labels & a phone charger! The ICI doesn't mind you raiding his/her bag ever so often
  13. If you're romantically involved, you share those all-too-corny cinematic moments when one of you has only syringes and the other, needles
  14. The ICI always starts work in the morning without waiting for you to show up
  15. The ICI is always courteous and offers you the chance to doze off first while on-call
  16. The ICI is NOT a sexist prick! Cause all women are more than capable of performing their internship duties with flair, and men shouldn't have problems getting basic work done by the ancillary staff just because they don't have the right type of 'pair'
P.S: I know the difference between Hippocrates & hypocrite. Do you? Or did you miss that altogether? Good job either way

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Who kidnapped good 'ol Humour?

It may come as a surprise to many, but I was once a child. In my early formative years, I made friends with a chap called Humour. Humour was always there to protect me from bullies, unfair critique, and even some relationship issues I'd got myself into. Humour made me believe that as long as I had him by my side, nothing could go wrong; or at least if it did, it didn't seem so bad. Humour didn't ask for much in return, except to humour him when he was friends with other people. Humour explained, being able to take stick well is just as important as being able to dole it out with class. Sadly, it seems Humour didn't make too many friends over time. I pray to the mighty Bearded One each night that others discover my friend as I did, open their hearts to his awesomeness. 

Why am I ranting about personified abstract ideas? Well, because there's way too much "Real" out in the real world. It seems that somewhere between illustrating the Kama Sutra and humming along to Kolaveri Di, we Indians lost our sense of humour! Here's what you need to know:

  • Top Gear, one of my favorite shows of all time is lambasted for making a documentary about a road trip across our great country which showed us as quirky, eccentric people in the lightest vein without being judgmental; but importantly, they were honest about it unlike a certain movie which the world lapped up. I'm pretty sure the presenters and producers steered  clear of the usual Indian stereotypes, creating new ones along the way. I thought the show was amazing, but hey, I'm friends with Humour. What do I know? More info here
  • Jay Leno recently cracked a joke about Mitt Romney's wealth by showing a picture of the Golden Temple, saying it was Romney's summer home. Where he insulted the Indian community, I have no idea, but people aren't having any more of it, I tell you! Read this. Was it racist? No. Was it derogatory to a holy shrine? In my view, derogatory is a very strong term. The joke may not be in good taste, but is definitely not derogatory. I'm not trying to start a war here, but this doesn't even come close to the sort of insult and 'derogation' that other deities have faced in the past. One wrong doesn't justify another or make it bearable. But, one really has to look at it from the writer's point of view. Type in "Golden" in Google Images and and the first picture resembling a building is that of the Golden Temple. More than anything, the joke reflects the writer's ignorance. 

We're the land of a thousand cultures, a billion people from a million backgrounds, and yet we lack a single funny bone. Hey, it's a free world. People have the right to crack jokes and people have the right to be offended & lodge protests. But, I equally have the right to brush aside those protests because they seem to be stemming from what I can only imagine is a 10 year old cranky child quite pissed cause he dropped his ice-cream. Grow up for God's sake! 

There's this line in The Inscrutable Americans, "We Indians are extremely arrogant, without much to be arrogant about". I can only imagine how these borderline-hardliner protests make us look to the international community. I know the BBC refused to apologize for TopGear and I can't really see Leno doing anything else. Where does that leave the Indian High Commission in both these matters? Yes, looking like a child whose ice-cream just fell to the floor! 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Of Growing Up

You're all 'growed up' in medicine when:
  • You enter the college library and can't recognize a single face
  • You head to the cafeteria and can call out any attendant/waiter by first name
  • Its worse when they know the order before you say a word
  • You head to the common rooms and see the young 'uns completing their journals. You peek in to find you don't recognize any of the crap they've written or horribly drawn
  • You have your own "Tab" in the canteens
  • You know all the makeout spots in college. Been there, done that
  • You know all the residents walking past and their food habits; "He's a strict vegetarian", "She's a heavy drinker", "He starves himself to make himself more attractive to that Dermat resident", "She never pays for the food bill!"
  • The people you so sheepishly ragged when you turned into a 'super' senior ask you for advice on tackling first years
  • You rub your face so often while brooding that your hands get beard-burn
  • Your friends are categorized into: Still in college, passing out, passed out
  • You have an utter dislike for all things un-medicine. Blood feuds with MBAs & engineers are not infrequent
  • You can shoot down at least half the exam questions that're asked by juniors to leave only the bare essentials 
  • Worse, you're called in to supervise their exams
  • You use phrases like "Back then when...", "End of an era", "Time flies", & "Which rat bastard stole my steth this time?!?" 
  • You begin to believe in the power of multi-vitamins in curing everything from fibromyalgia to pancreatic cancer

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Cool Resident

Woah! I think it's been ages since I last blogged. Partially cause I was out holidaying for New Year's and then I was detoxing from New Year's. Anyhow, I still had my awesome phone on me where I jotted down all the other itsy-bitsy ideas that I wanted to write about. So, if you were taken aback by my December Delirium, January, or what's left of it, should be a good ride.

"The cool resident" was born when I was interning in Internal Medicine. My first and third year residents were extremely likable, efficient, friendly, & respectful, while the second year was none of the above. As usual, I was spending the on-call evening with friends (sadly also on-call) in the canteen, sipping tea, discussing resident horror stories where we just labelled our senior colleagues as cool or idiotic. What better judge of residents could there be than a bunch of nosy fresh interns, right? Anyway, the concept of the cool resident evolved over time and rotations and here's what we've come down to:

  1. The Cool Resident realizes that blood collection, hematology, histopathology is a part of a resident's job description and the intern is merely helping them out, NOT the other way around. He/she promptly starts work in the morning without ringing the interns if they're late, thinking that their oh-so-sexy-morning-voice is enough motivation to be on time for the "morning chores"
  2. The Cool Resident  takes full responsibility for errors on the interns' behalf. Vicarious Responsibility is a reality, not a theory! 
  3. The Cool Resident gives full credit to the intern for any clinical cues picked up. I hated my senior resident who told the professor he'd diagnosed a patient with Cheyne-stokes when it was I who had pointed it out! (angry fists flying!)
  4. The Cool Resident never allows the intern to pick up the bill. I know this is kinda silly, but hey, I'm yet to meet a resident I like who left the food bill to me
  5. The Cool Resident  chooses to order the awesomest chicken tikkas and ice-creams when on-call & makes sure the intern eats with the residents in spite of the workload at the time
  6. The Cool Resident protects the interns from the nurses and the ancillary staff
  7. The Cool Resident preferably plays a musical instrument or sings, even if its terrible. I can't tell you how the sound of crappy old Hindi songs just lifts you up after a night on-call
  8. The Cool Resident has a tattoo. I'm just partial to them, period.
  9. The Cool Resident allows the interns to perform procedures and offers full guidance during the same. Conversely, after enough practice, he/she lets the intern loose on patients.
  10. The Cool Resident trusts the interns' clinical judgement when no resident is around
  11. The Cool Resident takes the interns out drinking, because they did a good job
  12. The Cool Resident rings up the interns months after their rotations have ended to bitch about their current interns. Its fun getting nostalgic together
  13. The Cool Resident speaks to the interns with respect and realizes they wouldn't be where they are today without a solid foundation. They offer the same to their interns.
  14. The Cool Resident protects the interns from the professors, associate professors and lecturers, and fights for the interns' rights as stated above
  15. The Cool Resident offers to teach every step of the way, even if it means making the intern sweat for the carrot. Give & take. 
  16. The Cool Resident makes you go, "Sigh, when I'm all grown up, I'll be just like him"