Last Sunday, I was on my 2nd consecutive night shift. When you do night shifts, it's like confusing your body. The next morning, you crash in bed. And then when you wake up at 5pm, your body thinks it's early morning but alas! It's mistaken. The body cycle is messed up and there isn't much you can do about it. You find yourself tossing in bed at 4am and that's only an expected side effect of the ever-changing shifts you work in ED. So, one finds a way to get past it, before it's dawn already. I read. These days it's either on my iPhone5 (which was a graduation gift from my parents, so I'm still hesitant to replace it with the newer version) or on my Kindle PaperWhite. I do not mean to be marketing, but I will hands down advocate owning one of these. It comes with a light adjusting mechanism which is all the more soothing to the eye especially if you're reading in darkness, like me!
Many stories headlined this week; Aruna Shanbaug, the nurse who was sexually assaulted by a ward boy in a hospital in Mumbai; and thereafter remained in a vegetative state for 42 long years, finally succumbed to a pneumonia on Monday, May 18, 2015. The perpetrator Sohanlal, was charged for assault and robbery (not rape, sexual molestation, or unnatural sexual offence) and served two 7-year terms; and continues to roam on Indian streets under another name. But what shines more brightly from a so-called comatose life of 42 years - (i) The hospital healthcare team looked after her, with utmost diligence and even on her last day, there wasn't a single pressure sore on her body (which is usually expected in any bed-ridden individual) (ii) Her friend/journalist appealed to the court, and in March 2011, the Supreme Court though rejected plea for active euthanasia; allowed passive euthanasia - that, in my personal opinion, is a milestone in the annals of palliative medicine.
May 19, 2015 - my in-laws were in Kolkata; Team 'Upasana', their creative brainchild, was staging Rabindranath Tagore's "TotaKahini" (Parrot's Tale). I read up the translated version of the Bengali short story by Gurudev - a simple yet biting satire on the conventional educational system of rote-learning, prevalent even today in the much-reputed schools and universities across India...
By mid-week, news spread about Maggi having significantly higher levels of MSG and more importantly, lead. Sigh! Maggi was lifted off shelves at many department stores, while I'm certain they continue to be hoarded in many households. I had a last packet of Maggi Masala at home too, so in deep mourning, I slurped on the 2-minute noodles mid-day. Twitterati was abuzz with memes and what not - people claiming they'll continue to have Maggi considering their brains are already damaged/fried thanks to their wives etc (you know the usual jokes on marriage blah blah) - but on a serious note, do keep your children away from these. I personally, know of a child with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder thanks to Lead toxicity at a young age - he'd need special tutoring at school and more often than not, he'd go off on another tangent altogether. Maybe he was happy screaming during class hours about airplanes on fire, but oh well, I know his parents and teachers found him hard to control/discipline; and as adorable as he was, it's not an easy task to bring up a child like him. More power to his family!
More cover stories flew in from the Cannes film festival; though more often the media covered the red-carpet fashion display by the celebrities/brand ambassadors rather than the movies themselves :P
By the end of the week, thanks to more sleepless nights, I had finished Jhumpa Lahiri's "The Interpreter of Maladies"; a lovely and varied collection of short stories. As a voracious reader in my childhood, I would read a lot of fictional novels but owing to my current work schedule, I've begun to love short stories more. I've always felt short stories end quite abruptly, but I guess that adds on to their charm and mystique. If not anything, I'm glad I'm back to reading :) Thanks to the Kindle, which has become a constant companion, be it in bed, at a coffee shop or even while traveling in an MRT.
Two of my close friends, from college, were setting forth on their post-graduation journey; and I was really thrilled for them. So, I decided, to surprise them with some gifts :) I sent them both books from the Gawande collection - 'Complications' and 'Being Mortal'. I'm hoping they find solace in the pages - as I did - for in this tumultuous journey as a doctor, nothing is more reassuring than knowing that we are not alone.
May 22nd - 3 years ago: I was still fresh from my grandmother's demise on the 22nd of January. Though, I put on a facade of pleasantness and went about with it everyday, there was a void, I refused to ignore. She was a beautiful woman, inside out - brave, determined, giving and unconditionally loving. Though, I spent only summer holidays with her; she continued to inspire me, everyday. That day, I remember, I was quite quiet and from thousands of miles away, while we were still only long-distance friends, @PranMaz, suggested, I focus on making someone happy that day - as that is in keeping with my grandmother's spirit. That struck a chord, somewhere deep within.
So, on this 22nd, I surprised him, by going shopping and picking up t-shirts for him. And then, we met for Thai dinner, followed the mocktails with some cocktails at Victoria Bar, to celebrate happiness :) and then ended the day, watching 'Tanu Weds Manu Returns' at an Indian theatre - entertaining to say the least! :) 'twas indeed a happy Friday #TGIF
Saturday, home with the husband, meant adding to our combined kitchen diaries :D We made Chinese fried rice and some Pepper Chicken to go with it. We had it, watching 'Criminal Minds' (our latest Netflix addiction after Shonda Rhimes' 'Scandal'). When, on my own, I just watch 'Friends' re-runs; Joey and Phoebe never get any less funny!
Before I realise it, it's time for the next blog post :D While he's at the cricket ground for a Sunday game, I sit, in the pleasant breeze, typing away...
As Muriel Rukeyser aptly put it, "The Universe is made up of stories, not atoms".
A week filled with stories - fictional, reel and real.
A week of reading; and more reading between the lines.
A week of 'Friends' and friendship.