Friday, September 20, 2013

Death and after

It has been my lot over the years to visit the homes of those who die. Many of them being my patients.There is always an atmosphere of sombre sadness at the place with relatives and friends busy consoling the bereaved family. There is also quite a bit of whimpering and often loud crying. Some times I detect contrived sorrow and avoidable histrionics.

There however was one instance still green in my memory though it occurred more than 30 years ago. Then in my area f practice there were a fair number of Anglo Indians,most of them retired, living and some were my patients.One such family were Smiths.Mr Smith [ I have forgotten his first name] was past75years and suffered from episodes of angina and in those days we practiced what from today's standards primitive cardiology The drug for angina was nitroglycerine tablet placed under the tongue. Mr  Smith had a stock of these and needed to use it only rarely. He was full of life and told me once that a shot of whisky worked better than the pills I gave him. They were a nice couple and when ever I visited  them I was sure of a cup of tea and home made biscuits.

When the call came to see Mr Smtih one day, it was close to my closing time in the clinic and when I went to see him, he was  already feeling better and was sitting with his evening shot f whisky listening to music. Having gone there I took his blood pressure and found his heart ticking well. Reassured them that all is well and promising them a visit next morning, I returned home.
 Next noon when I went to their home, I found a small group of people outside. And when I went in I found Mr Smith's body laid well prepared for the final journey. Speechless and distressed I went inside to see his wife Mary. If she was shocked and sad, she didnot show it, instead when I told her how sorry I was she said,' doc ,he had it coming, and he went well with out nay pain' and got her self busy making a cup of tea for me!

I visited her a week later, except for he cousin there were none in the house. I said what a fine man her husband was and how I was going to miss him and his wit. Her pent up emotions cut loose and she broke down with huge sobs, holding on to me for support.

When, I finally took leave of her, her cousin came up to the gate and told me, 'now she will feel better'.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


I said  decluttering one's mind leads to peace. With so much happening in day to day strife ridden lives, how can this be done?

Let me explain what I have attempted with some success. Keep your mind occupied with less number of thoughts. Yoga teachers have different methods of approach to achieve this.One such is concentrate on breathing. Forget about breath being the elixer of life and such other kinds of yogic mumbo jumbo. What it does is that it is relatively easy to observe your own breathing and when you are doing it the brain [mind] has one thought, that is breathing! this single thought can be for few minutes or if you are jobless can be for hours. Sport,physical work outs, listening to music too achieve the same purpose. The opposite happens when you become jealous, angry and sad. Being humans with a huge mostly unoccupied cerebral cortical cells, it is easy to engage them with these negative thoughts often leading  troubled lives.

Therefore the trick is to occupy our minds with few pleasant thoughts.Whether these lead to pleasant actions or not is not really material. It will at leas keep you happily idle!

Try it out,will you?  

Saturday, September 14, 2013


I take long walks in this wooded community, barely disturbed by other walkers and joggers, my thoughts run to what this land had been barely 200 years ago. Mexicans owned this land which was nothing but dry scrub land. What transformed it into what it is today? War, violence,subjugation,hardwork,suffering and above all harnessing the waters of the river Colorado  and the snow which earlier melted down and went waste. In two hundred years this land has become the bread and fruit basket of the country.

Was it all worth it? Decimating whole population of natives,Indians to achieve this? I wonder. Some times it i better to remain backward and poor if it means happiness. I met and interacted with a gentleman who teaches techniques of relaxation. The mind [mostly located in the cortex is essentially made of thoughts leading to either action,both negative and positive. It may also lead to pent up[locked up feelings not resulting in any action]. The need is to delete this clutter of feelings and free the mind and make space for positive inputs

Day to day life is full of these minor and occasionally major strifes. And these involve second and third parties.These may be your relatives,wife,lover,business associate or even random men and women. How we react to them is in essence what our emotional mind is made up of. If the inputs are happy and positive, you remain relaxed, other wise you will be restive ans tense.

Is it making some sense?

I will try and explain how to next time I write

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Breaking the silence

June to September is a long time to remain silent.
But then I was in no mood both physical and mental. Mental because of the social, economical and political atmosphere in my country which was so depressing. Our PM on whom the likes of me had so much hope when he assumed power 8 years ago, has proved such a disaster what ever angle you look at him. We have erudite spokespersons of ruling party who speak rubbish and gibberish in impeccable public school English. They irritate me no end.

In my own professional life I see gradual and inexorable taking over of medical care at all levels by private players and venture funds leaving the lower middle class and the poor high and dry at the mercy of the poorly managed and funded public health service. Even here the care[private] is not always ethically correct but is often dictated by profit motive as illustrated by a real life incident I came to know of recently[see below].

Money meant for public works goes waste and often into the pockets of beurocrats and politicians. Example is the road in front of my home. It is pot holed and has not been tarred since ten years. Repeated pleas have fallen on deaf years and written appeals have found their way to the waste paper baskets. May be the next step would be to hold a hunger strike in front of the local MLA

Physically, I had a worrying time after undergoing surgery and fighting a wound infection which took time to clear.

I am now in the U.S, and each time I come here the contrast becomes much more glaring,  especially the civic amenities.

An Ophthalmologist sought a job in one of the well known corporate hospital in west Bangalore. He was received well and looking at his impeccable qualifications and experience, he was offered a post. He did not take it. Reason: he was told at least a third of his patients need to be admitted!

This is an example of corporate medicine where money rules ethics.