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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


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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.


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.


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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