The idle mind stirs… Again:)

•December 30, 2016 • Leave a Comment


Its been a while since I last wrote on my blog. I guess that happens with most of us. The initial burst of enthusiasm which inexorably wanes with the passage of time and the involvement in other things.
If needed to cite reasons I probably can reel off several but the fact remains that the most telling of those would the lack of a ‘felt-need‘ to blog. I just didn’t feel the need to… That’s it…
To start off (again), I am posting some verse here. A poem and an attempt at ‘haiku’.
Be gentle with them, its been a while.


You departed, Forever young
Leaving us and the gang
Aging and human
While you remain
Forever smiling, forever young

Ephemeral beings we huddle
Seeking the warmth of a cuddle
As you endure, beyond care
Away from the steely stare
of Pain and Despair

Is this Immortality then?
To transcend time when
Memories eternal and evergreen
Preserve you in frames ever-seen
Everlasting in the minds of men

I did not seek it
If this be it
And I seek not
For those mine this thought.

And the haiku… I just love this form of verse. The brevity and restraint  of haiku are so remarkable!
Here goes…

“The Solitude of Guilt”
The wind bears no scent
but guilt in parentheses
And his solitude.

Here’s wishing everyone a wonderful 2017 🙂


Wow! She did it again…!! :)

•July 18, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Those afternoons are turning out to be real productive…!!

Below is Naina’s second story… Enjoy 🙂

Needless to say, I am most thrilled..!


Once upon a time, there lived a very cruel princess named Lyla. Princess Lyla was so cruel that she became best friends with a witch. Soon, it was time for the princess to get married, but she was so grumpy, she did not want to. So, Princess Lyla told her friend, the witch, the problem.

The witch thought about it and gave the princess a magic necklace. She put it around Princess Lyla’s neck and told her, “Anyone who removes this necklace will become a bead on it; but be careful! If the necklace breaks, all the people will be free and ‘you’ will become a bead!”

After a few days, a prince, wanting to marry the princess came on a visit. The princess pretended that the necklace was troubling her and she couldn’t remove it. The prince was happy to help her remove it and WHOA!!! In an instant, he became a bead on it!! This went on for sometime.

Then, one day, there came along another prince who knew that one of his friends was a bead on Princess Lyla’s necklace. He knew the same would happen to him if he fell for the princess’ plan. So, he had a plan of his own.

When he met the princess, he told her that they would play a game, in which she would do what he does and he would do what she did. First, the princess put on her magic necklace. Then the prince did the same and wore a necklace made of acorn and leaves. Now when it was the prince’s turn, he pulled off his necklace and broke it. Princess Lyla, having forgotten the witch’s warning did the same and broke her necklace!! Oooops!!! All the beads turned back into princes and Princess Lyla became a little bead. And that was the end of Princess Lyla and her magic necklace!


•June 26, 2010 • 5 Comments

Dear daughter…
Proud I am…
Happy further still…
That you too have
Begun to savour
The bitter-sweet joy
of creation..

May the muse
be with you everwhen
you feel the need.

All my love
Boopa 🙂

Naina’s first story – written all by herself on a lazy afternoon…


The Paul family was a family which did not have to worry about money, as Mr. Paul was president of the United States. Their house had about a hundred rooms, but Pinky Paul was wishing to buy a dog. Sadly, Mr. Paul would not let her to do so. He had said you won’t take care of it and it would be a waste of money. So Pinky had decided to buy a dog with her pocket money and train it by herself on the same day. But Mr. Paul knew this and would not give her enough money to do so.

One day, as Pinky was walking home from school with her best friend Gabriel, they saw a dog in a ditch; it was whining very painfully. Pinky who was full of pity, took the dog out. They saw that it’s back legs were bleeding. “Oh Gabriel! The poor thing’s back legs are bleeding. Let’s take it home and nurse it.” “Okay, but let’s keep it a secret and then we can nurse it by ourselves” Gabriel said.

They took it home and washed it’s legs under the garden tap. Pinky then took an old napkin and tore it in half and used them as bandages. They took two old rugs and put them in the garden shed. They carried the dog and laid it on one rug and covered it with the other. Pinky got some water in a bowl for the dog and then Gabriel bought some biscuits from the house.

After this, for a week, they gave the dog, which they found out was a black collie, food and water. One day, Gabriel came running to Pinky’s house and called her. Gabriel had seen a poster saying that somebody had lost a black collie answering to the name Blackie, and would reward them twenty dollars. They then went running to the police station. They told the police the whole story. The police then called Mr. Paul and told him everything. Then he called the dog’s owner, Mr. Haven. The police told the girls to go home.

After some time, there came Mr. Haven with Blackie and twenty dollars for the girls. He gave it to them and went away. Pinky then bought a dog called Puggie. Don’t you think she’s lucky??

Mom, is that you?

•April 12, 2010 • 1 Comment

Once a week, I undergo sleep deprivation in the afternoon – voluntarily. For a person, whose afternoon siesta is sacrosanct, this is BIG! I don’t mind late nights, totally missing out on sleep at night – even awakening early, (though grudgingly) is something which I can do without much ado. But! My afternoon slumber is something I cherish – not just from an indolent, king-of-loll point-of-view but from a physical and mental aspect as well. My mind and body are refreshed from an hour’s sleep in the afternoon. Deprive me of this and I am, as my wife wearily describes – an insufferable grouch. I become irritable, short tempered, nit-picking and walk around with a persecution complex. I deny all this of course – growling through gnashing teeth “I am FINE!” every time my wife or children choose to enquire.

I kind of think it as the male equivalent of PMS.

The reason I forego my sleep once a week, is that I have an afternoon clinic on Mondays. The premature babies under followup for ROP who have been discharged from the SCBU follow up in this Clinic on Mondays. Its something which I enjoy, being with babies, seeing the progress they make each successive week –  becoming stronger, bigger and ever more vociferous in their protests during examination. Most of the babies become a blur in the routine – the high volumes in the clinic, kind of necessarily overwrite memories of the routine babies. But there are some who remain etched in the mind,(like Omar) surfacing in memories when you least expect it.

There’s Baby Jojo for instance, whose Filipino mother died soon after giving birth to her. Born 8 weeks premature, she never knew her mother’s touch after birth much less realise her death. Her Egyptian father – for reasons best known to him – fled the country and she was left orphaned in the SCBU. The good nurses of the SCBU stepped in, they collectively became her mother, fussing over her, taking care, feeding, burping, cuddling, nurturing…
Usually, babies get discharged from the SCBU when they are about 8-10 weeks old, the sick ones stay longer of course but usually by about 12-14 weeks they are out from the SCBU. either discharged home or to the Pediatric department. Jojo stayed on till she was nearly 10 months old. Her milestones were achieved in the SCBU to the oohs and aahs of the staff members, turning over, sitting up, standing with support.
The days I had ROP screening in the SCBU she would either be brought in by one of the nurses or would toddle into the examination room herself, navigating around in a walker, wearing pretty clothes brought in by the doctors and nurses. Her ROP screening days were long done but I liked to see her each week just the same. The nurses fought for her affection and she was pampered, spoiled and cherished like every baby should be. There were times when I would wonder what her first word would be when she started talking. The staff were a linguistic mixed bag – Arabic, Filipino, Hindi, Malayalam, English, Tamil. I think the nurses had this secret competition going… which language her first word would be. But she left for the Philippines before that, taken in by her grandparents who had to labour long to complete the paperwork to get their daughter’s child to be with them. I hope this is a happy ending or rather a happy beginning for Jojo.

Mom ?

There was no way she could stay on in the SCBU indefinitely, however loving the nurses were, however much they wanted her to stay but at times I wonder – the SCBU was the first ‘home’ she knew, the collective beeps of the monitors were probably as soothing as a mother’s lullaby to her, the warm embrace of a thermal blanket the first embrace she felt. With her grandparents now, I hope human touch supplants these memories… a.s.a.p.

And the good news is…

•April 5, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Sometimes it takes a conversation with a friend to actually define what one was always doing. Life and work go on as a routine and it isn’t often that I am able to introspect on what is going on. Pausing a moment, taking stock, reviewing my work doesn’t happen a lot – as long as things go on, there is no compulsion to do that.
Last night, I chanced upon an old friend from UK online – a public health researcher, we ended up talking about our work. Post that conversation, I lay awake awhile, thinking about the work that I do.
The bulk of my patients have diabetic retinopathy in various stages. Being a welfare state and an affluent one at that, there is a real problem with obesity and poorly controlled diabetes. Add to this, probable ethnic and genetic factors which dispose to the disease and one ends up with a prevalence of diabetes which is staggering.
Diabetic retinopathy is, frankly, not a nice thing to have. Inexorably progressing, the patient and the treating doctor, most of the time can only exercise what can be euphemistically termed – damage control. Yes, it is true, that disciplined control of blood sugar with a regulated lifestyle and exercise can help control the disease process a great deal… but… a lot of diabetics don’t fall into the regulated/disciplined category. The result is what I mentioned earlier, inexorable progression.

Advanced diabetic retinopathy

Therefore, I find myself, increasingly in the unenviable position where I have to tell my patients that their eyesight is diminishing and whatever treatment I have in my armamentarium can at best only keep it at whatever level it has fallen to. Shorn of all its euphemisms and gentle language, here’s what the dialogue would be like:
Me:Tough luck, you have diabetes retinopathy
Patient: What does that mean?
Me: It means that your vision is going to steadily become worse
Patient: Can’t you treat it?
Me: Not really, I can do some laser and stuff and try to prevent it from deteriorating further
Patient:Good, so you can stop it then..
Me: Nope, I guess I can slow it down
Patient: You mean, my vision is going to come down even with all that treatment?
Me: Most probably
Patient : Are you nuts?
Me: No, and you can pay my secretary on the way out.

You guessed it, my diabetic patients aren’t the happiest lot around. If only I could convince them, that the best thing that was happening to them is going blind slowly…
Researchers, are you listening?? I am the guy, who needs to talk to the patients!!

Another icon emerges from the closet…

•April 2, 2010 • 1 Comment

It seems heterosexual celebrity men are a dying species. Women of the world have a diminishing number of lechable celebrity men who would rather look at the soft curve of a breast than a testosterone firmed pectoral.
George Michael, Elton John, Ian Mckellen and now Ricky Martin..!

Sorry girls,,,

Women are running out of choice men, it seems. There’s the almost inevitable implication in present time where all the guys who are sensitive, tender and caring end up coming out of the closet confessing to their homosexual orientation. Which leaves all the boorish, insensitive, cavemen like dudes as the great heterosexual potential mates of the world.

..Hi baby...burp....

Next time, your wife tells you that you are insensitive, tell her its T.I.N.A. (There is no alternative!).

My name is Khan – and I didnt like it!

•April 2, 2010 • 1 Comment

No eye contact please. We are autistic!

Granted, I have a few ‘prejudices’ at work here… But then I really wouldn’t call them prejudices. I would term them a point of view supported by what I feel is adequate evidence.
1. Yes, Shahrukh Khan isn’t exactly my favourite actor. Would my opinion be different if Bachan jr. was doing the Rainman act? Possibly. Shahrukh Khan can’t act for nuts. Compare him to a character actor like Naseerudin Shah and he just wilts.
2. Being a medical professional, any Bollywood portrayal of a health/medical issue is perceived with a hyper-critical eye. The underlying sentiment being that any medical condition or issue shouldn’t be trivialised by popular media. And frankly, there’s this faint modicum of chauvinism where all things medical are the exclusive realm of the meticulous medical professional. The bottom line, however, is that generally Bollywood has served up melodramatic flatliners when dealing with a ‘medical’ movie.

Why didn’t I like MNIK?

I am willing to forgive insipid melodrama, crass dialogues, ridiculous characters and even sheer stupidity but what concernced me was that this movie supposedly tries to portray an individual with autism.
Autism is probably one of the most enigmatic conditions of the human mind to confront neuro-psychiatrists, parents, siblings,teachers and care-givers. Khan in the movie, seems to have very mild autism. He manages to live alone, travel alone, get life going on alone. His only problem seemed to be an inability to maintain eye contact and a robotic kind of voice (Sharukh Khan speaks like that anyway!). Generally, the kind of autism one comes across is much more profound. The kind of complex social interactions which Khan manages are frankly (??) possible only with those with mild or no autism.Few autistic individuals are savants. Expecting every autistic person to be a genius who needs just to be discovered is frankly a recipe for disaster.

My point is that – is this kind of portrayal a ‘true’ portrayal? Can autistic individuals, parents, or anyone with some association with autism identify with this movie? I have my doubts! My fear, is that it would tend to put unnecessary pressure on autistic persons to ‘live’ upto the Khan model and ultimately shake hands with Obama. I sincerely hope there aren’t parents/care-givers gullible enough to wonder why their Khan isn’t saving people from hurricanes, trekking across the country, bursting terrorist cells and generally being the bestest there is. Karah Johar is better off dealing with the woes of super-rich, helicopter riding heroines, dripping Versace n Swarovski. Leave autism to people who genuinely care. Please…