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A tomorrow that never was

>> Sunday, November 27, 2011


“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”(Oscar Wilde)


Last week, two farmers committed suicide in my place. They had struggled all their lives to make a living, but instead, accumulated only debts and decided to end their lives . Their families will continue the same struggle for the rest of their lives too. I have often wondered at the way life goes. Some people live comfortable lives not by virtue of their efforts, but by a matter of sheer luck. Others toil their whole lives making ends meet. But those ends never meet. If you are poor, life is difficult. No one will even lend you money. For those who have, there is no need to ask. It is all the more difficult if you are poor and sick. Then there are others who have money, but forget to live.

I was not going to write about poverty and money matters. It was Chackochan’s death that prompted me to write this.

I had known him from the time I joined the hospital. He was well known at the place as a businessman by that time. His was a rag to riches story. He had come to Khorfakkan as an ordinary laborer and built up a business all on his own, which grew in to a big money making business. He had been living in a cheap dilapidated villa and still sent his wife for a very low income job. He was said to have a palatial bungalow in his home town and many buildings at prime locations which he had leased off. But he lived frugally his all life in that dilapidated rented house; his wife still went to her work place by taxi.

Once when this lady came to me as a patient, I asked her.

“Why do you have to go for work now at this age, you are sick”
“There are lots of expenses, doctor, children are studying, and no money” This lady didn’t have money to buy the medicines I had prescribed and I had to send her away with some sample medicines.
Their house in their home town had a swimming pool and was fully air conditioned. But neither of them ever lived in that house. They never enjoyed the swimming pool because they didn’t know how to swim .All the while, they toiled and lived miserly in that slum like place.

And finally, last week, he made an unceremonious departure from this world.

This is not an isolated story. Half of the expatriates, who live in this part of the world, live their lives this way. They all tighten their belts to make money for the future and finally get old and sick and die, never enjoying the fruits of their labor. Their children live lavishly and lead care free lives and finish off the bounty in no time.

I know many who are rich by the standards here. They buy the cheapest of clothes, the cheapest of whiskies, the cheapest of perfumes and the cheapest of everything they can see. I seriously doubt if they do it as a matter of principle.

We all have this tendency to keep the best for the future. Like keeping the best dress for an occasion, the good food for tomorrow, to finish the stale food in the fridge, but end up eating the back log of stale food every day.

The other day a friend of mine asked me to go to the beach with him. Early in the morning, the weather was cold, the air was fresh and fragrant, the sea was calm and a gentle breeze blew all the time that brought with it the spirit of energy. The sun was simmering at the red horizon far away. We enjoyed a walk along the shore and then bathed in the sea and enjoyed swimming. It was a wonderful day. I was thinking….I have been living in the same place for ten years, I just had to cross the road to reach this sea, but never bothered to go to the sea and enjoy this wonderful pleasures of nature, that came free!

The best things in life are probably free for all of us. People spend thousands of dollars to travel to exotic locations and spend some time at the sea side, and here I am, living by the sea side and never bothering to enjoy that luxury, which was always free for me.

Now a day people kill themselves to eke out a living or improve their living conditions, but they forget to live. In fact, many people don’t live, but they exist and survive each day, for they are too busy, too tired, too stressed and too worried to really enjoy the pleasures of life. There is no going back in time. Thus, hours become days and days become months and years and all those years become a wasted precious life, and what for? To make a better living for tomorrow! A tomorrow that never was.

It is always said that to be successful in life, you have to work hard and never stop, because if you stop, another person will come and take your place. Besides, as the present world demands a lot of effort to survive and keep a decent living, pleasures are the first thing to be put off when wanting to achieve any goal. However, if you postpone your enjoyment until the time money and proper conditions arrive, that time may never come or come too late and you are unable to take care of yourself, leave alone enjoyment.

The strains of modern life force people to live in such a hurry that they don’t have time to enjoy the beautiful world we live in. People forget to take delight of the bonny things nature provides us. It costs no money and takes almost no time.

"This world, after all our science and sciences, is still a miracle; wonderful, magical and more, to whosoever will think of it." - Thomas Carlyle.

We always want more than what we actually need. People accumulate things for others to enjoy them, for they value their lives by the things they possess, which is a quite sad way of appreciating life.

If at the end of the day we review the day’s tasks and ask ourselves how much we enjoyed the day, we’d probably conclude that we missed another chance of feeling alive. Responsibilities are absolutely necessary as well as a work, career and material things, but life goes beyond that. How many people at the end regret for not taking the opportunities they had to live, to have some adventures and experiences? There is nothing better than to look back your past and be able to say; “I lived and lived very well. I enjoyed life, this world and everything it had given me, I made mistakes, but I learned from them.”


Our time is not eternal. Each second, minute, hour, and day we waste is gone, and gone forever. To overwork for something you won’t enjoy is as silly as having the opportunity to live but to prefer to exist in order to talk about the ones who really live.

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Do you have an answer?

>> Thursday, October 27, 2011


I always used to walk very fast. It had become a habit for me from childhood. Unknowingly, I would also keep my head high and straight. Many have asked me if I had worked in the army! Others concluded that it was because I was so proud that I kept my head high and walked as if I didn’t care for anyone else or the rest of the world. I walked as if I was kept on a cruise control. Even if I tried to walk slowly with all my effort, after some time, I would pick up speed.

Sometime back I was at the corniche for my daily walk. It was a weekend and there were many people perched on the low wall at the sea side, enjoying the sound and sight. The weather was good and I walked enjoying the gentle breeze. I was at my usual speed and suddenly heard a clap and a call

“Sadeek !” (Friend ! )

I was surprised to find it was a young local girl clad in the traditional burkha.

“Shuf ! Minnak phi radar” (Careful! There is a radar ahead!)

I never could believe the girl had such a sense of humor and more than that, the guts. Traditionally, the local girls shy away from outsiders. Times have changed. She had a hearty laugh and so too others who heard it. A group of boys sitting on the other side,probably watching the girl than the sea, clapped and encouraged as well. That was a pleasant evening.


Our hospital was spread out in a very large area. There were long corridors running criss - cross at many levels. I could easily walk about 200 metes from the ward to the out patient clinic. As always, my walk would always be fast and people would think I was running to attend an emergency or the sort. Over time, the staff got used to this, and they would not bother even if I hurried for an emergency.

One day I was on my way to the clinic when I heard the call form Venki. He was our senior male nurse at the emergency. I paused for him.

‘What is your secret, doctor? “He asked as he came near me.
“Of what?”
‘Your speed, doctor, how do you manage to run like a horse at this age?”

I didn’t like the question and specially his mention of my age. That reminded me of my age, which I don’t remember at other times.

He guessed from the expression on my face and just grinned.
“That is a secret I don’t usually share”, I said and walked away

When I reached home, I felt a kind of severe fatigue and tiredness. I went to bed after taking some pain relievers and couldn’t get up from bed for at least three days. Every inch of my body ached and I couldn’t move.

From that day, if I see this guy, I would take a side turn in another direction and escape. Because this has happened to me on more than one occasion.

I don’t know if you would believe such a story, especially from a doctor. But I had the same problem more than once, for it to be a chance. On another occasion he said
“Doctor, you look too young and bright. Look at me, your same age and people ask me why I haven’t retired”
The same day my back ache and kidney stone started giving me trouble and I was forced to bed for a week. My knees started making that crepitus which I had never heard before!

During my younger days, we had some very notorious persons like this in our neighborhood. There was this woman near our home. People would always hide anything good from her. If the mango tree blooms and gets heavily laden and she just looks at the tree and says’ Wow! My goodness, so many mangoes! Can the tree hold them all! And there it goes. The next day you will find all those unripe tiny fruits fallen all around and the weeping tree without a single fruit on it. Or if she looks at a baby and makes a comment “Oh….so cute and healthy looking”, the next day that unfortunate baby would fall sick.

I don’t know how many of you would laugh at this. Last week I made a visit to my old hospital. I met few of my colleagues and then went to the wards. I met someone at the corridor who was notorious for this kind of comments.

“Doctor! You look much better!! You have become ten years younger! You must be happier there? More money...Eh? I am sure there are many good looking girls around as well “

Till this I day I haven’t felt good. Every single day, I have aches and pains. With all my efforts, I manage to go to the clinic and do my work.

Whenever something good happens, I had this tendency to go and tell it to everyone around. I just can’t hold happiness. On one such occasion, a colleague of mine called me aside and said “Babuchayan, there is no need to tell all this kind of matters to everyone. Tell it to only those you think will wish good for you. There will be others in whom jealousy will brew and might think. ..What the hell...how come he gets everything, all goodness comes to him “ , and then the opposite will happen”

I don’t know how to explain these things.A friend tells me it is some kind of bad energy.Well,if you believe in good energy,then there could be bad as well. In medicine,we learn that many illnesses work through the immune system and this system is regulated also by emotional and psychological factors.

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A Stitch in time

>> Tuesday, October 25, 2011


The clinic keeps me busy all the time. I had never thought this could be so demanding.And then,when you finish the work,there is always this last patient who walks in.
Today was the deadline for submitting an article for a local magazine.It is meant for the general public and so I tried to make it as non professional as it could be.I haven't written much of medical stuff on the blog,so I thought I would share it with you.



“Doctor,can we accept one more patient?”

It was from the reception. I was going to call it a day and they knew too well that I have never refused a patient.

Khan( Not the real name) walked in limping,his belly first,and then the rest of him.

“It is my toe,doctor, he said,while I was flipping through his thick medical file. He had diabetes for more than ten years,hypertension, and lipid disorder, what we could call the ‘triple jeopardy’. A quick look at his file told me that his diabetes was never under control.His toe looked swollen and discolored and lacked blood supply.I was afraid that he might lose that toe.

‘It is because of your sugar,Khan”, I said. “ Your toe is badly infected and the blood supply is poor”.
He had most of the complications of diabetes. He had vasular problems, neuropathy,and kidney dysfunction.

“When did you see the doctor last? I asked him.

“ Six months back. But I bring medicines from home and take them’

He was no exception. Four months in Family Medical Centre,and I realized that the pattern was not different from what I had seen in the Governmental hospital for ten years.We had always argued and discussed why most of our diabetic patients were not properly controlled.

‘I am taking my tablets every day’. There ends the effort. No adherence to diet or exercise,no proper monitoring and follow ups. While at the diabetes clinic,I had noticed that more than sixty percent of our diabeteics didn’t follow the advices on life style changes.Most of them had uncontrolled diabetes.

“ Well,what is the point of taking medicines if your diabetes and hypertension are not controlled?”

This was a question I always asked patients.

Most of them do not realize the fearful complications of diabetes.

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic condition that can lead to dangerous complications over time. These complications can include:
Coronary heart disease, which can lead to a heart attack.
Cerebrovascular disease, which can lead to stroke. 50% of people with diabetes die of cardiovascular disease (primarily heart disease and stroke).

Retinopathy (disease of the eye), which can lead to blindness. After 15 years of diabetes, approximately 2% of people become blind, and about 10% develop severe visual impairment.
Nephropathy (disease of the kidney), which can lead to kidney failure and the need for dialysis. 10-20% of people with diabetes die of kidney failure.
Neuropathy (disease of the nerves), which can lead to, among other things, ulceration of the foot requiring amputation and affects up to 50% of people with diabetes.

Many of these complications produce no symptoms in the early stages, and most can be prevented or minimized with a combination of regular medical care and blood sugar monitoring. The long-term complications of diabetes are caused by the effect of high blood sugar levels on blood vessels. For most people, a target for fasting blood sugar and for blood sugar levels before each meal is 80 to120 mg/dl (4.4 to 6.6 mmol/L)

A blood test called A1C is also used to monitor blood sugar control; the result provides an average of blood sugar levels during the previous one to three months. An A1C of 6 percent or less is recommended; this corresponds to an average blood sugar of 135 mg/dL.

Diabetes can decrease the blood supply to the feet and damage the nerves that carry sensation. These changes put the feet at risk for developing potentially serious complications such as ulcers. Foot complications are very common among people with diabetes, and may go unnoticed until the condition is severe. It is said that a diabetic should care for his feet,the way a young woman cares for her face.
People with diabetes should examine their feet every day. It is important to examine all parts of the feet, especially the area between the toes. Look for broken skin, ulcers, blisters, areas of increased warmth or redness, or changes in callus formation. Proper foot wear is of extreme importance.

One out of every four citizens of the United Arab Emirates has diabetes and this is one of the highest prevalences in the world. 70% of the UAEpopulation is at risk for developing diabetes according to current indicators. The UAE's diabetes rate of roughly 20 percent for all residents belittles the global average of 5 percent. Though a genetic predisposition can be given as an excuse, it is the striking change in the life style from hardworking nomadic life to an ultramodern,sedentary way of life which could be equally held responsible.

The change in life style is almost universal. I remember,as a child, our games and activities were always physical and outdoor. Now the young and old alike are getting glued to computer and television,with junk food for company.
It is alarming to see diabetes on the rise at such a rapid rate. While new diabetes treatments continue to be developed, the disease continues to rise at an unprecedented rate.

Simple lifestyle changes are proven to be effective to prevent or delay the onset of type II diabetes and control the diabetes in those who have the disease. These include regular physical activity, a healthy diet, weight reduction and smoking cessation.

Khan was attentive all the while.He appeared a bit apprehensive towards the end.

“But why didn’t they tell me about all this from the beginning?” he asked.

This was another issue. Diabetes education is probably the most important part of its treatment. Like in anything else, we lack the time and patience to educate the patient.

Most of the microvascular complications of diabetes are related to the degree and the length of exposure to hyperglycaemia( high blood sugar levels).New data from studies on Diabetes emphasize the role of glucose control early in the course of the disorder and its value in prevention of later complications.The phenomenon of ongoing beneficial effects on diabetic complications after a period of improved glycemic control ,even if followed by a return to usual (often poorer) metabolic control has been described as representing “metabolic memory” or “legacy effect”.Earlier control of blood sugar is of utmost importance to prevent later complications.

“ I will do as you say, doctor”. Khan had become very submissive after listening to my sermon.

“Well,that is a good start,Khan”. There was now a smile of relief on his face.

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A time for everything.

>> Friday, September 2, 2011


Jose had brought his son to the emergency room for some febrile illness. I knew him and his family quite well.

It was one of my friends who called me from the hospital.

“Jessie’s husband came with his son to the ER. He collapsed there and lost consciousness.”

I was at home. I would usually wait for the call of the resident physician. Many doctors get offended if you go and see a patient without their request. But I knew Jessie too well, she was one of my favorite staff members and I also knew her husband. After a difficult start, he had established a business which was growing very well and every thing was just falling in to places.

Jose had a deep seated bleeding in the brain. We placed him on ventilator and kept him in ICU and later shifted to the care of a neurosurgeon at another center. We wanted him to get the best of options. He died at that hospital with in few days, without regaining full consciousness at any time.

I have seen how difficult it is for a woman to deal with problems after the unexpected death of her husband. Their business was running smooth till then. Many employees and their numbers were on the rise. Works going on at different locations. Payments were due to be submitted to the banks. Money to be collected from clients. Jessie had no idea about any of these. She didn’t have an idea where the bank accounts were. How much money was to be collected and who all were the clients. How to take care of business transactions. Her children had not finished their education. It was as if suddenly the world has fallen apart. She would often just sit in the pantry and pray. I hadn’t seen her cry much. She had some kind of strength from somewhere. She was a strong believer and her faith had helped her. Though I often entered in to arguments with her on matters regarding faith, I had secretly admired her intense faith.

I remembered the movie “Places in the heart’(1984) which I had seen recently.

The Spalding family prays together at the breakfast table. That is how the movie starts. A bite of sandwich and Mr. Spalding gets a call from his work place. He kisses his children, leaves the table and gets shot to death by a drunken boy within minutes of leaving his home.

Edna Spalding finds herself, after 15 years of marriage, with two small children to support, a farm which the bank is about to take over, no money in the bank and no talent for anything except cooking and keeping house.

It is the story of an ordinary, simple woman facing the sudden death of her husband, and fighting for the survival of her children, for her land, and for the greatest dream there is...the future. It is a touching movie. It made me cry.

I remembered this story when I faced Jessie. Hers is not an unusual story. Women who face the sudden death of their husbands are often left with heavy responsibilities and have no idea as to how their husbands were running the show.

It’s very common for women to feel both financially and emotionally lost after her husband dies on .Women are numb, lost, emotionally drained,lonely, fragile, weak, frightened, vulnerable,and occasionally, guilty. Some of these feelings surface and some stay hidden.

Death comes uninvited and often suddenly. It doesn’t give us time to hand over business details or say apologies or to say the much neglected words of love to the loved ones. Instead, there is a sudden destruction of the world you used to know. There is no gradual transition, nor time to make changes in yourself, your expectations about your life, or your world. In sudden death you are called upon to face a massive gap between the way the world should be, with your loved one alive, and the way the world is. The person whom you loved, and who provided you with security, is taken away without any warning. This is a major violation of your expectations.

I have often wondered. What would have happened to us if my father had died suddenly? My mother had never stepped out of our home and had no idea about the outside world. She would never know where my father had kept his accounts. She dint know how to write a bank check, leave alone, to go and buy things for daily needs.


Jessie told me. “I’m not the only one. If other women can get through this, I can too. And my God will guide me through” And she was right. There are millions of widows living with the memories of their husband. If the couple shares things such as bill paying, business information and financial details, you’re a step ahead. If not, now is the time to have your banker or a knowledgeable friend teaches you about money affairs. And to husbands.. now is the time to tell your wives what they ought to know about money matters, and tell them what they do not know about your business.

Sometimes the death of a loved one brings up not only grief for what you lost, but also grief for what you never had and now never will have. For example, if you had a very conflicted relationship with your mother or sibling, when she dies you may grieve not only for what you have lost, but also for the fact that you never had a better relationship with them. You realize you could have improved relationships and given them better care. In such a case you grieve for the past, present, and future.

One can always learn from the mistakes of others. Now is the time to learn and to reconcile if you have reasons to do so.


“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live".




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I'm back !

>> Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Ramadan is a totally different kind of life here.The day turns around.People sleep in the day time and work at night.It takes time to get adjusted to this change,and by the time you do that, it is over.

Our clinic timings had changed.We worked from morning till one in afternoon and then from eight at night to eleven.Weird timing for a clinic,isn't it?
And today Muslims across the world celebrates Eid. All the good wishes of the season to all.Heaven's choicest blessings be showered on to you all!

Life in the Arab world is different during Ramadan month.The super markets get busier and start stocking food supplies for weeks ahead of the month.Fruits are imported from all over the world.My friends tell me that targets for all sales managers are kept at thrice the average of the usual months.The first thing you notice when you enter any super market is the stacked up food.People fill their car trunks with loads of food material.I find it a paradox and cannot understand why they have to buy so much more when they fast! They probably might be giving to others.Roads are deserted during day time and bustles all through the night.

I had little time to come to the internet.Some old friends used to peep in at my blog to see if I were around.Hepzibah ( NRI girl) was regular at it.She asks “ Hello,any one at home?”It was good to see there are friends who spend time at that.Anil ( Musings) sent regular mails.Balan ( My travels,my life) kept contact as usual.Nasrin gets worried and calls me every time if she doesn't see a new post.

It is difficult to continue writing at all times.As I had written once,the common problem is thaweet Nursing Home't people run out of subjects to write.Well,if we keep to the initial purpose of blogging ( it was supposed to be a daily web log of the sort,where you can write about anything in your daily life.I had seen earlier bloggers who used to write few sentences like "today I went shopping... My little girl is sick and I am taking her to the doctor” and the like. Times have changed and the blog has evolved in to something totally different.

(A social worker’s blog) Doris Plaster sent me a signed copy of her book ' Home Sweet nursing Home'. I felt so happy that she thought of doing it.Some time back,I had suggested to her that she make a compilation of her anecdotes and make them in to a book.And she did it.It is happy to see a fellow blogger becoming a writer,and good at it.She has collected events from her daily life and made them in to wonderful stories in less than fifty words.But each of those small incidents are insights in to human life.If you haven't seen her blog,now is the time to do that.You will be enriched.

There was nothing more worth mentioning. I am getting adjusted to the change of job, but it is not that easy.And I realize the oft written phrase,” there is no perfect situation in life”.

Balan asked me about the quote I had placed at the top of my blog.He felt it applied to his life the way I thought it did to my life. For most of us,at the end,life is like that.Regrets about things we could have done and failed to do.

Life is like that.



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Masters of life

>> Monday, August 1, 2011




When a 65 year old woman became pregnant and carried the pregnancy in her own womb, it made headlines. The doctors had pumped in hormones in to that woman to prime her uterus and make it younger to be able to accept and carry the gestation. The ovum was fertilized in vitro and then implanted in the uterus. And finally she delivered a healthy young boy. It was all success for the doctors and propaganda for the clinic. They had just defeated the rules of nature and become powerful masters of life and death.

The picture of the mother and child occupied the centre pages of most of the magazines for many months.

Last year, while giving bath , the child just slipped in to the shallow basin of water and was drowned to death. The mother was attending a telephone call. That news also made head lines.

I have seen many such miracles happen at the hands of doctors, but all the years of efforts and success simply wiped clean by a clean sweep in seconds.

It was the sad death of the only child of a friend of mine which prompted me to these thoughts. The lady is soon passing the age of pregnancy, and the child was the result of all kinds of medical advancements. Being a doctor couple, they had used all their resources and professional contacts to get advanced fertility treatments. The child died of an obscure illness last week.

Being a doctor myself, I am likely to get ridiculed when I look suspiciously at the many weird things the present day doctors attempt to do. Advancements in fertilization techniques have given a godly aura to some of the gynecologists. When they think they are able to do something, they start believing they can do every thing. That they are masters of birth and death.

There was a time when couples who had problems to conceive by natural methods would accept it as a matter of destiny, or for those who believe in God, as His choice. Times have changed.

God said "I will make man in My image". Now the human race believes that they can take this prerogative of God and not only make, but design men and women to the image of what they think man should be. With that facility they think they can create people, and therefore they think that they can destroy them as well. And that is happening right in front of our eyes. It is time we realize they have very limited ability to create human life. They only have a limited ability to provide the circumstances under which that life will be created by God, but still they take credit for him. I can see eyebrows rising when I talk about God and creation, still. In fact, the best humans can do is to use nature’s laws of creation by putting together egg and sperm or by cutting the cord that maintains physical life with its creator.

Man's earliest desire of wanting to know has made it possible for him to understand certain things and take pride in them. He then believes he can be like God. He hopes for the supreme power over life and death. And this desire was the reason why we were pushed out of paradise. We are getting impatient and restless with the knowledge we have acquired. And that impatience is leading to all the troubles of the modern world.

“Perhaps there is only one cardinal sin: impatience. Because of impatience we were driven out of Paradise; because of impatience we cannot return.”

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Becoming a writer

>> Saturday, July 16, 2011


There are far too many writers on the internet, especially in the blog world who think of themselves as great writers. After having received some comments like “awesome” ,‘excellent’ ,‘fantabulous’, ‘fantastic’ , ‘brilliant’ and so on, we are inclined to believe that we have written some great stuff and continue writing more or less on the same style, assuming that it has become perfect.

Some of my friends used to invite me for food when my family was away. Over lunch or dinner, the conversation would naturally turn to discussions on food and recipes. The lady of the house would expect to hear compliments on the wonderful creations she has done. If the food was good, I would definitely say so and wouldn’t hesitate to give some compliments. But had it been badly cooked, I wouldn’t say it was good. I was afraid, had I said so, they would make it the same way the next time and then I would have to suffer the same stuff again. Some women think of themselves as good cooks. Their only judges would be their own husbands who would have been afraid to make a proper judgment, for fear of losing his daily food.


I was thinking of blogs the same way I was looking at food. If I get a one word comment like ‘awesome’ and 'brilliant', I don’t usually take that very seriously. Like someone who says the food is good without tasting it.They don’t generally mean it. I am inclined to think that the commenter had probably not read it properly or just wanted to write some comments, the way you mark attendance at the school. You make an opinion to disagree, and there goes a follower!


How to become a good writer is a matter of serious discussion. There are no short cuts other than that you should have the real inherent skills, the way some people become singers and painters. Practice can make you perfect in many other things. But I am not sure if it applies to writing. A writer must be sensitive, emotional and able to react and then express it in a way that it affects the readers.

Even though we would find it difficult to become good writers, there are many ways we can look like and act like one.

When Paulo was young, he told his mother that he wanted to become a writer.*

His mother asked him” Do you actually know what it means to be a writer?’
“Being someone who writes books’
“Your uncle, who is a doctor, also writes books and has even published some. If you study engineering, you can always write in your spare time (She was trying to make it safe for her son, like most of the mothers do)
‘No, Mama. I want o be a writer, not an engineer who writes books’.
‘But have you ever seen a writer? Have you ever met a writer?’
‘Never, only in photographs’
‘So how can you possibly want to be a writer if you don’t really know what it means?’

To answer his mother, he did some research. And this is what he learned.*

(a) A writer always wears glasses and never combs his hair. Half the time he feels angry about everything and the other half depressed. He spends most of his time in bars, arguing with other disheveled, bespectacled writers. He says very ‘deep’ things.( In our set up, I would add the dirty sling bag, and unwashed pajamas faded over years of use, and a smoking beedi on the lips. And if he gets drunk and sleeps on the road side, he becomes a writer of the masses))

(b) A writer has a duty and an obligation never to be understood by his own generation; convinced as he is, that he has been born in to an age of mediocrity, he believes that being understood mean losing his chance of ever being considered a genius. A writer revises and rewrites every sentence many times. The vocabulary of an average man is made up of 3000 words; a real writer never uses any of these, because there are another 189,000 in the dictionary, and he is not an average man.

(c) Only other writers can understand what a writer is trying to say. Even so, he secretly hates all other writers. Also the writer and his peers compete for the prize for the ‘most complicated book’
(d) A writer understands about things with alarming names, like semiotics, epistemology, neoconcretism. When he wants to shock someone, he says things like: ‘Einstein is a fool’ or Tolstoy was the clown of the bourgeoisie.

(e) When trying to seduce a woman, a writer says,’ I am a writer’ and scribbles a poem on a napkin. It always works.

(f) Given his vast culture a writer can always get work as a literary critic. Half of any such review are made up of quotations from foreign authors and the other half of analyses of sentences, always using expressions like ’the epistemological cut’ or an integrated bi dimensional vision of life’.
(g) When invited to say what he is reading at the moment, a writer always mention a book no one has ever heard.

(h) There is only one book that arouses the unanimous admiration of the writer and his peers: ’Ulysses by James Joyce. No writer will ever speak ill of this book, but when someone asks him what it is about, he can’t quite explain, making one doubt that he has actually read it.

Now you are armed with all the necessary tips from an expert author. Go ahead, start writing!



*'Like the flowing River'. Paulo Coelho

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A world of crabs

>> Sunday, July 10, 2011

“A woman’s body is the battlefield where she fights for liberation. It is through her body that oppression works, reifying her… sexualizing her.” (Greer G 1999)




I had known Annie since childhood. She was one of the most beautiful girls in my childhood memory. She would walk to her school every day through the narrow dirt road in front of my home. I was at the school leaving class and she must have been in 8th standard. She always looked fresh and clean and would wear clean school uniform of blue and white, would carry the bundle of books close to her chest, like a mother would carry her child. I would wait for her to pass and she never failed to throw a glance with a tint of smile in it, in my direction. I never had the guts to say a word to her. But I saw her every day till I left my home town and joined the medical college. Thoughts of Annie had come to me often; I don’t know what kind of an attraction I had to her. But I never forgot that face.

It was almost twenty years later that I saw her again. I had just joined the clinic in Dubai. It took me some time to realize that the voice at the other end was Annie, even after she introduced herself. She had found me from an advertisement of the clinic. There was nothing much at her hand to remind me. “Do you remember me? The girl with the books “, and it brought me back all the memories in a second. I couldn’t believe that she remembered me all these years. We talked for a long time. Her husband was well placed and they had two children, the same age of mine. She came to me with her husband the next day. She had grown older and put on weight, but was still beautiful and full of charm. The old shyness was gone and we talked and talked of old times, all the while her husband listened with a curious smile on his face. They took me often to their home and gave me some of the best food I had in my life. There was the touch of affection and care in whatever she did. They never failed to visit me every week, till they left Dubai.

I saw Annie again two years back when my daughter in law was sick. I was passing through the Cancer Centre and I had a glimpse of Annie, but when I came back looking for her, she was gone. On another day, she couldn’t escape from me, and then she said reluctantly that she had a small lump in her breast and had come to see the doctor…’but..it is nothing” I guessed she didn’t want me to know about it. She came for Sheri’s funeral, wearing a wig. She had lost weight and had lost the shine in her eyes. No one had to tell me what had happened to her. I couldn’t talk to her much but I could see tears well in her eyes.

Annie died few weeks back. It hadn’t taken much time for the crabs to eat her up. I was sad that I couldn’t see her and be of some assistance to her in her sickness and suffering. For many days, I had flashes of her smile that disturbed my sleep.

When I thought about her, I also remembered Mira who was the wife of my friend Khalid. She had died at the age of 28 years from breast cancer.

It is a world of crabs.

Historically, the term cancer means “crab” in Latin, and the word ‘karkinoma’ means “crab” in ancient Greek. Hippocrates (460-377 BC), the great Greek physician( on whose name we doctors take the oath of good practices) first compared the swollen blood vessels radiating from some breast tumors to the limbs of a crab, and referred to the disease as 'karkinoma'. The word cancer was later used by Pliny (AD23-79) in his scientific treatise, National History, to mean a malignant tumor. In addition, Cancer has long been used for the Zodiac constellation of the Crab, located between Gemini and Leo. In its natural habitat, a crab is a fast, resilient decapod crustacean that springs to action, moves in multiple directions, and is sensitive to its surroundings. And so is cancer.



More than one million cases of breast cancer occur worldwide annually, with some 580,000 cases occurring in developed countries and the remainder in developing countries, despite their much higher overall population and younger age. Recently, at a health conference sponsored by The Women's Record on Long Island, a prominent breast surgeon stated that, because he is ''seeing so many cases of cancer of the breast in younger women,'' he urges ''a baseline mammography for all women at age 35.'' If your doctor doesn't recommend mammography,'' he said, ‘‘Then change doctors.'' All women need to perform a monthly self-breast examination. Untold numbers of breast cancer have been detected by women themselves who, upon finding a lump, have sought prompt medical and life-saving treatment. If a woman finds it too inhibiting to perform this examination, or isn't sure what exactly to look for, she should make a point of having her breasts checked every six months by a doctor or a nurse practitioner.

Recent studies have shown that young women tend to have more aggressive disease, present at a later stage, have many more issues and problems than their older counter parts and have an altogether poor prognosis. Young women tend to ignore small lumps as insignificant and mammography is not as sensitive in the young because of the density of the breast. A delay in diagnosis means shorter time to death. Although breast cancer generally involves women above the age of 50 years, a significant number of young women die of the disease.Young women need to be more vigilant,because there is data to show that they are less likely to survive the illness compared to older women.

The strongest risk factor for breast cancer at a younger age is the history of the disease in a first degree relative.(mother or sister)

As society, we are preoccupied with breasts. A woman’s breasts are symbol of feminity and sexuality. It is within these breasts that the tragedy occurs, striking at the very heart of a woman’s sense of identity and embodiment.

It was Annie’s death that prompted me to write this. In a way, I am relieved that I hadn’t seen her suffering the illness. She probably wouldn’t have liked it as well. I like to remember her as the same old Annie carrying her books, close to her chest.

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Changes

>> Tuesday, July 5, 2011





“Unless the pain of where you are is greater than the pain of change, you will never change”.
Bishop Mark Kariuki



I made a difficult choice recently. Form where I was working continuously for almost fifteen years, I decided to change to another environment. The decision wasn’t easy and it was somewhat painful. Many people asked me why I did that. At my work place, some people really meant what they said… ‘that they would miss me’. Understandable because I was around for too long. Others were just interested to know how much more money it was gong to bring me.

That is how it goes. We all look at the same thing from different points and see different things. In the last fifteen years, I have found that almost all the doctors had left the hospital for better prospects. I had been offered better terms on many occasions. But I decided to stay back .I was happy where I was. The money was less, but the work was comfortable. I was thinking, if it is eventless and flows quiet, do you have to stick back for the rest of your time? Why was it that others had left and changed jobs many times over within the same time?

But then I also realized that you become stale if you stay at one place for too long. People take you for granted and some people would even think that you are sticking on because you don’t have other options. It is also true that as you get older the options get lesser. We are also not tuned to changes. Our parents or relatives would have joined some government service and worked there till retirement. My brother worked for the postal department and retired at the same place. Another brother joined the electricity department as an engineer and retired from the same department. Changes were difficult those days and options were limited.

We are people who do not change. Simply because we are afraid of changes. Or we are too lazy for changes. We don’t want to leave the comforts of home. Or we do not want to leave the friends we have made. Or do not want to break the relationships we have entered in to. We fight and argue all through life and make lives miserable for ourselves and others. Still, we would not think of a new life or a new beginning.

On the other hand, now a day, many in the younger generation change jobs and situations the way they change shirts. They change for better prospects and working conditions. For the sake of leaving their home lands to far away lands they dreamed of. They are no longer afraid of leaving families and loved ones behind. Options are unlimited. There are no sentiments or emotional ties. They have the will to walk away from relationships and do not hesitate to break the bondages of families.

I am not for unwarranted changes. But I believe there is nothing wrong in trying if a change is needed. And no reason to be afraid. Often ,changes end up for your own benefit. I had often thought, if I had lost my job, it would be finally good, because I could be in my home town where I was born and always wanted to live, and I could be with my family and friends, whom I had always missed. You don’t gain something without losing something else. If the reason you need to change is not clear, you need to be patient. Do not hurry to make conclusions about its value. Give yourself time to prepare emotionally and psychologically.

The concept of making changes to life is not the same for all, seems easy for some and frightening for others. The familiarity with the familiar and the already known is always safer and it safeguards from the fear of change, the threat of new and the fear against the unknown.

You don’t have to hit rock bottom before you are motivated to change. You don’t have to wait until the doctor tells you that you have diabetes and high blood pressure before you choose to take decisive action with your life style. You don’t have to go broke before you confront your fears, stop procrastinating and get your act together. You don’t have to wait until you get a diagnosis of lung cancer to choose to quit smoking. You don’t have to wait until your estranged loved one is on his deathbed before you make the effort to reconcile and say’ sorry”.

The denial to change stems from the fear of loss. When you have doubts about a change in your life, ask yourself what is that you are afraid to lose? Is it about control? Is it self-respect, freedom, familiarity, income, or comfort? Discover the root of fear and try to get over it. Accept that the discomfort, doubt and uncertainty are all by-products of change. The more familiar you are with these feelings, the more you will be able to distinguish the real effects of change.

I have long wondered about this. And I’ve come to realize that it fully depends on how fed up you become and how badly do you want it. It infuriates people to hear that, but it is because it means we have to own up, take responsibility and make the necessary change. As humans we naturally take the path of least resistance; we have to fight to go in a different direction. The belief that you can suddenly stop everything and make a fresh start is utopian: regardless how much you want to leave the past behind you. The best way to make a change is to face your past and plan for the future.

I have been through many difficult pathways. I am a stronger person from this passage. I have learned from my past. I am happy with where I am today and I can try to be happy where ever I am tomorrow. My life has taken me in a full circle. I am not a shadow anymore. Changes in my life have kept me going. I love my past. I love my present. I’m not ashamed of what I’ve had, I am not thrilled by what I had either, and I’m not sad because I have it no longer.






“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle”
- Albert Einstein

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A farewell

>> Saturday, June 25, 2011


So there I was, sitting with the hospital director and our tech director on either side, listening to all those good words about me. We have had frequent farewell get together recently because many of our staff were leaving the hospital. I had always wondered when I would be at the receiving end.

It is a sad and nerve wrecking experience. I had this vague kind of restlessness and embarrassment from weeks before I was leaving. I was reluctant to meet people and say farewell to them. I knew I wouldn’t be a good performer at that. Many would have thought why I had left without saying a word. That was easier for me.

I had made some wonderful friends at the hospital, mostly among the nurses. Being a doctor I know there are some unique qualities in the medical fraternity.. Ego is the one thing that leads us. Every doctor probably thinks he is the best. They usually cannot bear the experience of listening to someone talking good about another colleague. So, I was not at all surprised at the reaction of some of my colleagues. Many were prominent by their absence. Because they wouldn’t feel comfortable listening to all those good words. All that stuff spoken during a farewell are not probably meant. No one talks ill of a person when he leaves. That’s all about it.

The nurses who had worked with me were sad that I was leaving. I have some of my best friends among them.

Fifteen years is not a short span in any one’s life. I have been around Khorfakkan that long. I came to this place as a young energetic man and have grown old in age and profession. I have learned more about life than about medicine.

There are people who can never be happy. They always find reasons to be unhappy. There are some who don’t feel happy if good things happen to them in life. They can only be happy if bad things happen to others.

All through my career, I have taken care not to snatch something belonging to others. Still some are unhappy when you get what ever was over due. I have learned not to trust people with personal matters. They always reach where they shouldn’t.

I feel sad about leaving this hospital. I don’t know why I have made this decision after so long. Changes are inevitable in life. I was getting bored with working at the same place for too long. I know it is going to be difficult to start a new job where every one would be looking at you and whatever you do till they get to know you well. I know I am kept under a microscope, like a bacterium.

I would definitely miss my friends at the hospital. I have spent more time with some of them than with my own family. I would miss the cleaning staff who would say good morning to me all along the corridors, Sr. Fathima who made me the best coffee in the world, the ‘professors’ and ‘preachers’ as I called some of them, and all the rest of them with whom I used to laugh and joke. They had made my life easier. They stood by me during difficult times.

I was reminded of what Paulo had written about Manuel*.

“Manuel works for thirty years without stopping. He brings up his children, sets a good example, and devotes all his time to work, never asking: “Does what I am doing have any meaning?’ His one thought is that the busier he is, the more important he will be in the eyes of the world.
“His children grow up and leave home. One day, he receives a watch or a pen as a reward for all those years of devotion. His friends shed a few tears, and then, the moment arrives… “

“One night an angel appears to him in sleep: What have you done with your life? Did you try to live your life according to your dreams?”


It is a difficult question for those who had dreams to live.For me....it is too late to ask all that. I would rather go to sleep than answering that question. But.. .has he written about me? He doesn’t even know me!

Work is a blessing when it helps us to think about what we are doing. But it becomes a curse when its sole use is to stop us thinking about the meaning of life.

So, at the end of fifteen years I walk out of the hospital, not only with a watch, but with a camera, many more gifts and a heart full of memories.

That is how life is and I am consoled by the verse ( Ecc 3)

" To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven..."




* Like the flowing River. Paulo Coelho

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Template Moods

>> Monday, June 13, 2011





Over the last few days I received some mails from friends asking me why I had changed the appearance of my blog. Most of them seemed to like the change, I don’t know if they seriously meant it. Or just wanted to agree with the change.


Then I asked myself why I had done that. Looking at it, I found I had some reasons. My blog had the picture of an old man with a camel against the background of a sunset in the desert. The whole picture was fiery red . The rest of the template was black with tongues of flames on either side. Altogether ,red and black and the gloomy figure of the old man with a lantern walking towards the end of nowhere, as if in search of something so far far away.

Over a period of time I got bored with that old man. My mood when I chose that template was one of anger and resentment, which changed to some kind of gloominess and then some vague indifference.
When I decided to change, I had no doubts about the color. I always end up with blue. Most of my shirts are blue or some shades of it. Even if I go to the shop with the idea of buying something of a different color, I end up coming back with something in blue. I don’t know if you would believe, a friend of mine once bought me a birthday present.. a gold ring on which was set a blue sapphire. I asked her why and she said that was my birth stone.
.
Don’t we have personal choices of colors? I tried to find out some information on colors and mood and stumbled up on some interesting facts. Look at the description of colors below and see if it has something to do with your own choice of colors and your moods.





Red
Red is a stimulating and energizing color. It also enhances self-assurance.. Red is the most intense color choice. It is bright, vibrant, and draws the eye. It is the color of love, and also of anger. It is a hot and passionate color. In the bedroom, red light helps sexual activity, and could lead to active nights.
Yellow
Wearing yellow will rejuvenate and balance the mind. It wipes out the feeling of heaviness and oppression. Yellow is  sunny and reflective and is a pensive color. It will lift ones mood to be positive and optimistic.
Orange
This  is also the color of love.. Wear it to lift your love life. Orange is a very high energy color imparting boldness and distinction. Like red and yellow, orange is stimulating. It is an antidepressant and also stimulates the mind. Anyone with a desire to sharpen and add focus and purpose to their life can do with a little orange.
Green
Green is relaxing and tranquil to the eyes. It reduces stress and brings a feeling of tranquility. Wear it to inspire harmony in others and restore your energy. It represents dependability and tactfulness. Green is also reminiscent of nature and serenity.
Pink
The color pink is trendy. It is a girly color and is a symbol of innocence and beauty. Pink has a soothing effect. It also speaks of pure love. It is a romantic color, while red is hot and passionate. It also is bright, vibrant, a strong and healthy color.
Blue.
Blues are amongst the most relaxing of colors, reminding viewers of summer skies and ocean water. Blue causes a slight psychological change which results in people feeling less hungry.. Blue is also regarded to be effective for increasing wisdom energy. It is the color of peace, tranquility and is excellent in increasing spiritual meditation and healing. Blue is also something of a paradoxical color, because in certain settings it can appear cold, formal, and sad. “The Blues” got their name from the sad aspect of the color.
Purple
Purple balances the mind, brings serenity and combats fear. It’s connected with psychic powers and helps wake up that aspect. It is  also the color that speaks of royalty. The color purple rarely appears in nature, so overuse of this color can appear artificial.

I was not planning to write on colors, but ended up just doing that. I wanted to ask how often would you change the appearance of your blog or would you do it at all.







When I started the blog I experimented with many themes and colors before choosing one. My choice of colors and theme was just natural. Over a period of time, readers connect the appearance of the blog to you and your personality. I don’t know if others think the way I do, but I sometimes get an impulse to make a change. But how often can you do it? Frequent changes can erase the mental image of a blog that the reader has. Can also irritate some readers, for sure. I change the colors when I myself get bored  looking at it. Not because anyone has complained.

It is true, content is the king of the blog. But kings need good castles too !  Having good content is the priority but a good design can definitely compliment. Clutter and difficult navigation can be avoided.

Custom made templates will cost you. But there are far too many designs available free. Wear the color that fits your mood and the nature of the blog. Changes are a matter of personal preferences.

I am no expert. But these are tips I got from experts.






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Monsoon Magic

>> Thursday, June 9, 2011


I came home hearing the news that the monsoon has arrived. I was excited to come home at this time, because it is my favourite season. From the time I came I was waiting for the heavy down pour, but nothing came, except the occasional drizzle. The sky looked dark and cloudy lighting up my hopes. And I am still waiting for that magical music of rainfall.












For me, monsoon is a word that stirs up my fondest childhood memories. Monsoon mornings bring an invigorating smell of damp earth, budding leaves, knee-deep water, crisp air, and ominous clouds rolling across the sky. We woke up at dawn to the sounds of rain water gushing through the drains into the courtyard. And to the drumming of rain drops on the tin roofs. Frequent lightning and thunder across the darkened skies, and I would fearfully take shelter in my Amma’s arms. Bathing in the heavy shower was near ecstasy, and Ammachi would warn me, not to catch a cold. We walked and waded our way to school and back, with overturned umbrellas and dripping wet skirts and knickers. We would peek through the school windows wondering why it was not raining then, and when the school bells would ring to let us go home earlier. The raging winds would make the palm trees sway like willows. And the fun we had in the evenings making paper boats with old newspapers and floating them in the water which had formed puddles and streams. The boats would dance their way to oblivion.

The terms 'monsoon' is derived from the Arabic word ‘ mausim ’ which means a time or a season. A monsoon is a seasonal prevailing wind which lasts for several months. Monsoonal rainfall is considered to be that which occurs in any region that receives the majority of its rain during a particular season, and so monsoons are referred to in relation to other regions such as in North America,  Brazil, Sub Saharan Africa and East Asia. Monsoons are caused by the larger amplitude of the seasonal cycle of land temperature compared to that of nearby oceans.. As monsoons have become better understood, the term monsoon has been broadened to include almost all of the phenomena associated with the annual weather cycle within the tropical and subtropical land regions of the earth.

South West monsoon winds bring rains to Kerala, Goa, Gujarat and Maharashtra. The rest of India receives rains from North East monsoon winds. The monsoon season in India is generally from June to October.
Monsoon season is also a season when creativity blooms. Poets give expressions to their feelings by writing poems on the rains. They also describe the magical effect it has on the earth. One Marathi poet writes, "The earth looks as fresh as a young lady who has just taken her bath".

That rain is gloom and sunshine happiness is metaphorical rather than scientific, though it rings true because we humans are inherently sympathetic to our environment.. Barring a mood disorder, our emotions are not casualties of the weather.

Balan’s post " MonsoonDepression" prompted me to say something more about the ‘rainy’ mood.

Since many years, researchers have sought to confirm a relationship between weather and temperament. Predictably, the lion's share of studies correlate a low mood—episodic depression, lack of  energy—with high humidity and limited exposure to sunshine. Spirits tend to rise with increased time in the sunshine. In October of 2008, a group of European researchers examined the impact of six different daily weather factors—temperature, wind, sunlight, precipitation, air pressure and length of day—on more than 1,200 participants from Germany, most of them women.

Contrary to most prior research, the study's central conclusion was that the average effect of "good" weather on positive mood was minimal.  "People differ in their sensitivity to daily weather changes."Some people's emotions are simply more vulnerable to weather changes than others. Someone prone to a low mood on dark, cold days will likely experience a depressive winter when there's a prolonged string of like-weathered days".

Our lives are inseparably linked to the monsoon. Indian music is also associated with rains. It is believed that singing the 'Raag Malhar' brings the rains. We also associate the arrival and singing of cuckoo and the dancing of the peacock with the onset of monsoon.

There is a scene in Mira Nair's sensuous film, Monsoon Wedding, in which the Delhi sky opens to let out a torrential downpour that is the Indian monsoon. That scene, and its accompanying song, Kawa kawa kawa, captures the many moods of the monsoon.... gutters becoming streams..... drenched women in yellow saris running for cover.... vermilion powder streaking down from a man's forehead. There is some sensuality about the rain scenes which triggers your hidden fantasies.

In spite of all its problems, monsoon is the favorite season for all. Monsoon is my favorite season, for sure. Its magic engulfs and encompasses one and all. Crisis such as floods brings out the best in each one of us. It brings about a spirit of co-operation, even among animals!


Two things unite all Indians, be they rich or poor, rural or urban, Hindu or Muslim... an innate desire to be hospitable and a love for the monsoon. The monsoon is a meteorological event, yes, but for Indians, it is also a seasonal life giving cosmic force. We sustain and survive on it. People pray for it; festivals are celebrated around its occurrence; movies and music are inspired by it. Along with spices and colour, temples and festivals, the smell of the monsoon is part of the Indian collective unconscious, evoking nostalgia in even the most hardened souls. The Indian monsoon, for anyone lucky enough to have witnessed it, and lived and grown with it, is a magical memory, to stay forever.


Courtesy: None of the pictures posted above are mine. I have borrowed from the net, buzzintown.com/peppertrail.com.
  

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All is fair

>> Thursday, June 2, 2011





Don’t get me wrong.


I happened to see this article on color preferences of men and women and the controversies it has created. Men often do not talk about it openly, but can guess their attitude.
From what I have seen, my own feeling is that men, in general seem to  prefer fair skinned women. Not just between blacks and whites, but even among the light skinned Asians. The sale of fairness creams in Asian countries is sky rocketing. It is as if fair is all lovely. Don’t we have clear examples in our choice of actresses? Bollywood imports fair skinned girls from abroad, as if we don’t have enough of them here. And they act with the dark skinned men, no problems. Fairer the better. Even in the south, most of the actresses are light skinned. There are very few dark skinned heroines.

In the marriage market, the demand is for the light skinned. It is common to see marriage ads, “very fair… good looking “and so on. I know of many marriage proposals for girls in our own family did not materialize, simply because the girls were on the darker side of complexion. Fantasies linger around fair skinned women. Is it so?

An article posted online last week by ‘Psychology Today’ provoked controversy and cries of racism. The title of evolutionary psychologist Dr. Satoshi Kanazawa's piece: "Why Are Black Women Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women ?"






Though the article compared the blacks from Africa to the whites, I think it is equally applicable to men and women across the world.
His argument is that there is a set of data, which shows black women to be "objectively" less attractive than white, Asian or Native American women, but that the same data does not find black men less attractive than men of other races. Kanazawa accepts this data and then tries to explain why it is the case. He suggests that black people have more testosterone than other races, and so possess "more masculine features." He states too that women are "objectively" more attractive than men, so if black women have more masculine features, this explains why they are rated less attractive.
Now, in the tagline to his Psychology Today blog, Kanazawa warns, "If what I say is wrong (because it is illogical or lacks credible scientific evidence), then it is my problem. If what I say offends you, it is your problem."

Following outraged responses, Psychology Today changed the article's title to "Why Are Black Women Rated Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women?" and then, took it down altogether.

“Men have been conditioned into thinking that white skin is mankind’s anthropological model and so the desirable trait. The truth of the matter is  that probably, white skin is a genetic defect! They're more prone to skin cancer, aging wrinkly skin and skin infections compared to blacks who don't get that stuff. All human life came from Africa and black skin is the original skin color . Whites and Asians are pale skinned mutated versions of black people caught up in the last ice age some 60,000 years ago”. This was the response of a young black woman.


Gentlemen do not just prefer blondes, but lighter-skinned women in general, another study has suggested. Scientists looking into attractiveness in men and woman suggest that men from all races find fairer-skinned woman most alluring, while women are the polar opposite and favor darker, brooding men.
Academics at the University of Toronto in Canada say their study proves the fair maiden of myth has a basis in scientific reality.


They studied more than 2,000 advertising photographs - chosen on the basis the models featured were considered among the most attractive people of the races and sexes - and found that the skin of white women was 15.2 per cent lighter than the skin of white males, and the skin of black women 11.1 per cent lighter than the skin of black men.
Dr Shyon Baumann, a sociologist involved in the study, said: "What the research shows is that our aesthetic preferences operate to reflect moral preferences”.


Two years ago, research from St Andrews University in Fife found man's attraction to blondes could date back to the caveman era.
Researchers say, a rare mutation of light-colored hair heralded the arrival of the blue-eyed blonde 10,000 years ago.Until then, humans, who originated in Africa, tended to have dark hair and eyes, so blondes stood out from their brunette sisters.
According to anthropologist Peter Frost : "When an individual is faced with potential mates of equal value, it will tend to select the one that stands out from the crowd."

I said at the beginning, don’t get me wrong. This is not my personal view.But this is what we see. It is usual to ask, is beauty only skin deep and all the stuff. The real question is ,what really attracts you, on plain simple terms.




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Letting go

>> Friday, May 27, 2011




Last week I was reading the book “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle. There is a story he has mentioned in it.

It is the story of two Zen monks Tanzan and Ekido, who were walking along a country road that had become extremely muddy after heavy rains. Near a village, they came up on a young woman who was trying to cross the road, but the mud was so deep ,it would have ruined the silk kimono she was wearing. Tanzan at once picked her up and carried her to the other side.
The monks walked on in silence. Five hours later, as they were approaching the lodging temple, Ekiso couldn’t restrain himself any longer.
“Why did you carry that girl across the road? He asked.” We monks are not supposed to do things like that”
“I put the girl down hours ago” said Tanzan.” Are you still carrying her? “

Me too, have been nurturing the sores for too long. Never letting them heal. And I learned to get some painful pleasure out of them.
It is time to let them heal. Let them go for ever, if possible.

“The past lives in you as memories. But memories themselves are not a problem. It is from memories that we learn from the past and from past mistakes. It is only when memories, thoughts of the past, take you over completely that they turn in to a burden. Your personality which is conditioned by the past then becomes your prison.

We often say’ this too will pass’.  Everything will pass, whether they are good or bad. Like the bad times, the good times will pass too.

“Nothing ever happened in the past can prevent you from being present now. And if the past cannot prevent you from being present now, what power does it have?”.


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A tablet for death

>> Tuesday, May 24, 2011





From the time I entered the ward I could hear the cry. I had to pass through the front of his room and the nurses’ station to reach our meeting room. While passing, I had noticed the resident physician beside his bed.

We started our daily review of cases, and all through it, the cry was getting louder. His voice was rough because of his thyroid problem and sounded like a frog croaking. He was yelling also at the top of his throat, something which I could not decipher at the time.
I asked the doctor what was his problem.
And he said” Ah...nothing.. It is his usual tantrum ”


I knew this old man for some time. He was very old at about ninety years,  was unmarried and living with some of his relatives. There was no one to take care of him except a Bengali boy and the old man survived on his allowances from the government. He had a heart problem and thyroid disease and was  confined to bed.
I was not convinced of the explanation for his yelling. After the meeting, I went straight to his room. The Bengali was beside the bed and trying to console the old man. He was still crying at the top of his voice.


I asked him” Baba, tell me what is your problem”
He didn’t seem to listen and continued his tantrum, the cry now getting louder when he saw me.
I asked him again.
It was the same slogan, louder. I could make out” tablet for death”
“What is it that you want?”
“Give me tablet for death”
“OK, fine, I don’t have it with me, but tell me your problem”
“Tablet for death”


I was losing my patience. But I made a quick examination and found his abdomen was tender and he had a distended urinary bladder. Retaining urine, and not able to pass it, is probably the worst problem one can have .It is unbearably painful.
I gave instructions to pass a urinary catheter, and about 1.5 liters of urine came out.
I told him I would bring his tablets when I returned.
During the rounds I noticed that his cry was getting less aggressive and after some time,  faded and ceased.


While going to the outpatient clinic, I peeped in to see that he was sleeping comfortably.


The next day I saw him during morning rounds. He was lying comfortably and greeted me with a smile.
“I have brought your tablets” I said.
“What?” as if he was surprised.
“The tablets for death you asked yesterday, I brought them”
He grinned from ear to ear, and said
“Not now, I will let you know when”









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