Thursday, September 27, 2012

Satyam bruuyat, priyam bruuyat

satyam bruyat priyam bruyat na bruyat satyam apriyam
priyam ca nanrutam bruyat esha dharmah sanatanah

Speak truth in such a way that it should be pleasing to others. Never speak truth, which is unpleasant to others. Never speak untruth, which might be pleasant. This is the path of eternal morality, sanatana dharma.

She lies on the hospital bed, frail, tired, body ravaged by the disease and its treatment. She tries to make small talk, but her eyes speak volumes about her fear and her pain. Her daughter asks me "People tell me that in spite of all this treatment and all this discomfort, the disease might not get cured, it might recur. Is this true?" I am in a fix. I ponder over how to answer that question as two pairs of eyes stare at me expectantly. I want to say something encouraging, so that she doesn't give up fighting; but I hear RV's voice in my head , telling me "They need to know the true picture, we can't give them false hope". I say nonchalantly, "well, true, sometimes the disease doesn't go away and there's a good chance that it might come back, too". Their faces fall, eyes start welling up . I continue speaking, in a hurry to get the words out . "Yet, the doctor says there is a good chance one is cured completely, and we have to take that chance". The despair ebbs a bit and there is a quite desperation in the daughter's voice as she asks me "If it does recur, we just have to take the same treatment again, and it will go away, won't it?" My resolve is shaken, and I take the easy way out . "Yes. Anyway, we will just do as the doctor says; and things should be fine". It might be false hope, but they both look more cheerful and ready to face the hurdles that lie ahead.

I wonder how oncologists do this job daily, of meeting people and telling them the whole truth.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Happy Independence Day

Independence day - the day we celebrate our freedom from tyrant British rulers, the day we sing praises of the innumerable known and unknown people who struggled and even, lost their lives for our country. 

A visit to The Cellular Jail at Port Blair shows the inhuman conditions these freedom fighters were subjected to; their diaries bear testimony to their unbreakable spirit in the face of the hardships they underwent. I saw the miniscule cells, the narrow stairs, the damp dark walls - all designed for solitary confinement, so that a man may go crazy inside his own mind. I balked at the instruments of torture, the pictures and the accounts of the sparse food and impossible amounts of work that these men were forced to do. Above all, I read their diaries - pages upon pages filled with their love for the country, a deep belief in their actions, a purpose to their lives - a hope , a dream of a free country ; and I broke down in tears. These men trusted their fellow country men to take care of their motherland as they laid down their lives for its independence. And a fine job we have done of it..........

This Independence day , I wish for

Freedom - from communal and regional riots
Freedom - from miscreants who go under the garb of moral police.
Freedom - from the rampant corruption that is plaguing the country.
Freedom - from inefficient Governance.

The onus is upon us to bring to life the dream that thousands died for . May we have a truly Independent country. Jai Hind.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The calm after the storm

We had welcome rains in Bangalore yesterday - well, welcomed by all but the spectators of the IPL match at Chinnaswamy, I guess ! The showers soaked the parched earth and soothed the fevered minds of people. It rained through the night, as the people slept fitfully to the lullaby of the pitter-patter rain drops.

The morning after, is glorious. The sun shines benevolently, a gentle breeze runs through the trees, the birds chirp, squirrels squeak and run around with renewed enthusiasm. The grass looks greener, the ground is strewn with gulmohar petals, giving a red carpet welcome to the early risers. The entire campus looks as though it has been scrubbed clean for the arrival of some dignitary.

As Robert Browning would say -
THE year 's at the spring,
And day 's at the morn;
Morning 's at seven;
The hill-side 's dew-pearl'd;
The lark 's on the wing;
The snail 's on the thorn;
God 's in His heaven—
All 's right with the world!

P.S. Wonder why the snail is on the thorn - ouch!