Posted in Cartoons, Comic Strip Saturday, Humour, Life, Me and moi

Comic Strip Saturday: Commitment-phobes

I wouldn’t call myself commitment-phobic. I was in a fairly long term relationship till about 2 years back. It’s just that I enjoy being single and not having to deal with someone else’s problems too much to even consider being in a relationship right now. Does that make sense? It does to Karen.

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Ah, Karen.

I can’t find the original artist of this comic. If you know who it is, please tell me so I can credit them!

Happy Saturday!

Posted in India, Life

What have doctors done to deserve this?

I have been in medical school for four years now. Before this month, I’d heard of a few cases of doctors getting beat up by patients’ relatives. It’s one of the hazards of working in a government hospital in India. Unfortunately, medical students are not properly taught how to break bad news to patients and their relatives; some doctors tend to be quite rude and insensitive.  We should remember that while sickness and death are part of our job, it is a catastrophic event for the patient’s family. Even when someone dies of a longstanding illness, the doctor must provide support and space for the relatives to mourn.

There is a flip side to this, of course. In a government hospital, there is a near constant system breakdown. The main job of an intern is to hoard as many syringes, vials, catheters and IV sets as they can away from other interns so that they can provide these to their own patients. There is never enough infrastructure to accommodate the patient load, and doctors are always trying to do the best with what they have. Patients are often accompanied by ten or more relatives, each one more aggressive than the other. If one of them has even the slightest connection to a local political goon, you’re done for. They’ll be loud, rowdy and demanding. Doctors tend to divide resources, when they are limited, according to which patient needs them most, not which patient is well-connected. This, obviously, causes some angst and friction.

Residents, I think, have the worst of the lot. They have the longest hours and the most direct accountability to the patients. They’re poorly compensated and insulted both by the patients and by their higher ups. Most residents I meet day to day can seldom tell when or what they ate last. It’s a terrible way to spend your twenties; most of their friends in other professions are already well-settled, rich and independent. Residents, however, see their residency as paying their dues and are resigned to having stability only in their mid-thirties.

Then, something like this happens.

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This was over a week ago, and the doctor is still in the ICU. Only watch the video accompanying the article if you have the stomach for it. After that incident, the Maharashtra Associaton of Resident Doctors (MARD) called for a strike. The High Court deemed the strike illegal, and it was called off. In the past week, there have been seven instances of doctors getting manhandled by patients’ relatives. Residents have had enough. 60 percent of the state’s residents are on casual leave till they feel safe to work again. I have to remind you, these are struggling people who need the money they get when they work, and yet they are choosing not to. Today, the High Court called the mass bunk unethical, saying that “It is a shame on the profession; if doctors go on strike like factory men, then they are unfit to be doctors…what doctors will do, if people thrash them in their rooms” (sic). Basic and emergency services in most hospitals are now being conducted by interns and consultants. Candle marches occur every day. My Facebook feed is filled with post after post asking laymen to understand why residents want better security. But all this is happening within the medical fraternity bubble. I don’t see this having any lasting effects apart from losing, even more, the goodwill that doctors have in society.

Most people I know, and me, have taken up this profession because we want to serve and we want to heal. Please let us do that without having to fear for our lives and health.

UPDATE (23 March 01:02 IST)The Maharashtra government has threatened residents with the loss of 6 months salary if they continue the strike. The residents are not backing down. The Indian Medical Association has called for a strike of 40,000 doctors until the demands are met. Only emergency services will be functional. The interns in my college have gone on strike as well for support. God help us all.

 

 

Posted in TV

I Heart The Crown. [No spoilers, don’t worry.]

A relative lull after my exams in January meant that I was ready to get hooked on to a brand new TV series. I have always been a bit of an anglophile. I never got around to watching Downton Abbey, but I was very excited about watching The Crown.

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First things first: Hans Zimmer. The main theme is brilliant and really sets the tone for the series. The molten gold that eventually forms the crown seems almost malevolent in the first frame where it looks like the head of a snake.

The first episode is a bit slow, I thought, and I almost stopped watching the series mid-way through the second episode. I’m glad I didn’t. The rhythm and pace of the series do take some getting used to, but then it grips you and never lets you go.

When Prince William and Kate Middleton got married, my mother had let us bunk school to watch the live broadcast. My image of the monarchy is peppered with gold and diamonds and expensive fur. Peter Morgan goes a long way to ensure that the splendor is not what the viewer focuses on. The opening sequence features closeups of the goddamn Kohinoor Diamond, but the black light robs it of any brilliance. The sets are ornate and authentic, yet you never feel awed by Elizabeth Windsor’s wealth. She is in a position of undoubted privilege, but she wears the diamonds like one would wear a work suit. The tone of the first season is melancholic, almost poignant. I must be quite masochistic to watch episode after heartbreaking episode, and yet I couldn’t stop.

I got my roommate hooked on it too, and now she’s quite resentful of the heartache I’ve introduced to her. I have no opinions on the real life family apart from that of a distant viewer. I can’t wait to watch the fictional family again when Season 2 comes in October.

Posted in Books, The things I like to do.

Stationery Shopping

I went stationery shopping the other day with my mother. I haven’t spent more than five minutes in a stationery shop since I left school, so I was a bit taken aback by just how much I missed it.

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We spent three hours in that giant two-storey store trying out different kinds of pens and rifling through hundreds of notebooks. We checked out the different kinds of paper: craft, wrapping, handmade, watercolor, sketching and what have you. We fiddled with umpteen kinds of pencils and graphites and charcoal. We debated over the best kinds of files and folders. We ogled over acrylics and crayons and quilling material. After going through photograph inks and USB drives and art markers, we moved to envelopes and index cards and rubber stamps.

By the time we came home, we were exhausted and exhilarated. We each had two large shopping bags with us, full of stuff we ‘really actually needed’. I now have more beautiful pens than I will ever use, although I’m sure I’ll go through the stacks of new notebooks and post-its quite quickly. I sometimes wish I had a hobby that needed me to buy some of the fascinating things in the shop, but I’m quite happy with buying everyday stationery if I get to gawk at the other things occasionally.

I had a lot of fun doing this, so I thought I might share my joy here. 🙂

Posted in Me and moi, Ten Questions and Ten Answers, The things I like to do.

Ten Questions and Ten Answers.

I’m thinking of writing an infrequently recurring series of posts where I answer ten questions about myself truthfully. I was inspired by this wonderful blog, so I came up with (by which I mean: stole from various parts of the internet) a few random questions that I’d like to ask other people too. Even though I prefer to keep this whole shindig anonymous, I feel like anyone who knows me will instantly recognize this blog as my work. I’ve opened myself up to this blog in ways I never do in the real world; anonymity is my security blanket. However, I do enjoy sharing bits and pieces of myself, and I genuinely enjoyed answering these questions. So, without further ado:

Do you remember your dreams?

I do remember quite a few of my dreams. A few of my dreams are recurring, so by the third or fourth time I can predict what’s going to happen whilst I’m in the dream. Most of the recurring dreams are quite scary, sadly, but they lose their edge after a few times. I channel those dreams into stories sometimes.

Do you believe in love at first sight?

I believe in like at first sight and lust at first sight. I think love is too complicated a concept to happen in an instant. I prefer love to grow and mature until I can trust it to last.

Do you sing in the shower?

I don’t! I’m usually concentrating on getting as clean as possible without wasting time or water. I do sing when I’m alone in my room, though. I also hum at inappropriate times.

How many rings before you answer the phone?

As few as possible. I get very nervous if my phone starts ringing and I can’t pick it up straight away. This is compounded by the fact that I always have to choose the funniest, weirdest ringtones and message tones. I enjoy them when I’m alone but I can’t let my phone ring for too long in public. This is why my phone is on silent most of the time.

Do you like to dance?

I am extremely uncomfortable dancing in front of people, so- no. I’m very ungainly and clumsy with the lower half of my body. I used to have friends who loved dancing, and when we went out I used to sit at the table watching over all the purses and wallets while they danced. My version of dancing is shimmying my shoulders and tapping my feet to ‘Uptown Funk’ or ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’ while being inevitably seated.

Do you take shampoos and conditioners from hotels?

Nope. They never have good stuff anyway. The shampoos especially dry my hair out like nobody’s business. I’ll tell you what I do steal- sewing kits. They’re compact and useful.

If you had treasure, where would you hide it?

Probably somewhere in plain sight. People never look at the extremely obvious or forgettable places. For example, if Voldemort had chosen less conspicuous objects for his Horcruxes, Dumbledore and the trio wouldn’t have stood a chance. Anyway, I could never plan anything even mildly contrived.

What profession did you want to be as a kid?

A fashion designer, a makeup artist, an English teacher, an art historian, a veterinarian, a doctor.

What is something you have tried, but will never do again?

I once drank a liter of Long Island Iced Tea in one swig as a bet. It was very, very strong. I don’t remember much of what happened later.

If you could jump into a pool full of something, what would it be?

Clear water beads. Can you imagine?

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Aahhh.

Is there any specific question that I should answer next time?