Category Archives: general

UNWISE VICE-CRACKS

So this patient of mine (and it was a tough day, lemme tell ya) is asking me in my Outpatient Department room, “So, Doctor, when you say drink a lot of water, why do you say that?”
Me: “Because it is getting hot, and you would lose a lot of fluids from your body.”
Patient: “And how much should I drink?”
Me (increasingly restless with the thought of more such specimen waiting outside): “Around 5 liters…”
Patient: “Should I drink all of 5 liters in the morning?”
Me: “Yes, definitely, if you can. But remember, if you do so, you should NOT drink any more water for the rest of the day.”
Patient (in auto-TV reporter mode): “And how should I drink this?”
Me: “By chewing every mouthful of water properly. Every time.”
There is a class of patient (usually the relative of one) who is born to be a TV reporter. One patient’s husband asked me questions like, “How do you know this doctor (the referring physician)?”, “Where did you study?”, “Are you a South Indian?” and even about my physical lackings (you know how people in India think you have TB if you are looking thinner and ask, “You have become so thin. You used to be more healthy in the past. Why is that?”). To this last question, my patience (not my patients, though) ran out and I said crisply, “Because camel’s milk, which I love to drink, is not available in the stores any more. Can you get me some?”
Then there are patients’ relatives whose stories would need blog posts in their own merit, so honorably funny they were.
Have you encountered the reporter types in the past?

WHY NANDAN CANNOT FIND INDIA ON A MAP

I have not had any urge to write all these days, and I can’t say I am in the best of mindsets to do a good job. However, here is a small essay written, with my active help, by my son. I hope you tolerate me for this. You cannot find a drier piece than this, I am sure.

I live in the city of Kolkata, surrounded by dusty buildings, most of them made of bricks, and some of them of a mix of thatch, wood, mud and plastic. The latter type of building makes for the shanties that freely thrive in my neighborhood.
In one such shanty lives Nandan. I have been seeing him for the last two years. Nandan does not study in my school. He works in a garage next door, by the side of the street.
At those times when the ball flies out of the building walls and lands in the garage (whenever we play cricket in our compound), Nandan is found ready with it, handing it over to us reluctantly. I have sometimes heard him being rebuked by his master for wasting time looking for the ball beneath some damaged car or the other.
Nandan looks like a grease monkey. Really. He works on his back, lying on the rough muddy ground and hands over tools to the car mechanic who is his teacher and mentor. As the day goes by, the muddied lubricants from the spare parts of the cars find their way from his hands to his face and neck. The only thing the black paint cannot hide is his brilliant smile. But that is something I have seldom seen.
Nandan does not play with us, as he is busy at work. When we are at school, he is at the workshop, and when we are playing, he is right there. We got talking sometimes, but not much.
While me and my friends are getting plumper watching TV and playing on the computer, he is thin as a rail. He cannot even find his country on a map, I found! He told me one day that he wanted to learn English and maths, and asked about how my school looked. I don’t know whether he believed me when I told him how grand and old my school was.
At home, Nandan gets to eat with his brothers (while I have none), but his mother is too busy with household work to talk to him or put him to sleep. Or else she is too busy fighting with other ladies in the shanties over whose turn it was at the toilet or the water pump. I have seen this many times from my verandah, high up in my building.
I am sure he must be getting bitten all over at night by bugs, while I sleep in comfort a few storeys above him. I sometimes wonder whether I deserve being better off than him, but then, this is not the age when I need to handle tough questions!

WHAT’S NEW THIS YEAR?

Every year, my friends, promises to be new in some undefined way. Unfailingly, it remains the same. Even the way one wishes for the current year to end, as if that would take the sting off life, remains the same year on year.
In the midst of this splendidly non-productive philosophical eructation, I got some people from Washington asking me to become the next US Surgeon-General. I was honored, and rightly so, you may say. After all, I have been serving millions of Americans by my healthy posts on vaginoplasty, phallic enhancement (among others), on top of promoting a universal respect and love for all things feminine. And doing this with a child-like intensity makes me a doubly more politically correct choice.
The fact that my political views are construed to be on the right side of the libertarian stance went in my favor, as Mr. Obama is surrounding himself with the few Americans left over who oppose him, so that there are no opponents to respond to those pesky reporters who take popularity counts of Presidents.
Mr. Obama also likes the fact that, outside of the unemployable Mr. Cheney, I am the only credible person who can call Ms. Hillary Clinton a canine equivalent and get a point across. He specially liked my parody of Ms. Clinton in the immortal Harry Potter story I wrote a while back.
All things not said and even less done, I have respectfully declined.
Mr. Obama says I will make a great Surgeon-General.
I said, “Listen, you want your next Surgeon General to put a sticker on cigarette packs saying ‘If you choose to kill your self by smoking, the US Surgeon-General will support your right to do it’ “?
He was aghast, “No, you won’t do… that?”
“And more: I will send you a recommendation to privatize the Center for Disease Control. Can you take that?”
“Say no more, Doc! I get the message: You will make a great General Surgeon, but a horrid Surgeon-General!”
I said,“Mr. Obama, I hope you will make as great a President as you were a Presidential Candidate.”
End of the day, the offer goes to Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Heard of him?

THE BIGGEST CHANGES IN MY LIFE

As you grow older or younger, as the case may be, you may just slide into the kind of lifestyle and groove that makes people millionaires and above. Or you may just stay afloat in a stagflationary mode till someone comes up with an expensive bailout plan like a bypass surgery or a marriage to a rich widow or er.
In other words, life goes on in a predictable curve till a point there is a brief spasm over which you had, largely, no control, much like an Indian Prime Minister waiting for a Leftist or Casteist nod for a reform. There is the other, organic approach. Here you act like an American President. You confidently make things happen for the best till it is too late for you to realise your mistake and undo what you did.
If a creative and intelligent person could depict this in a graph, this sort of change would resemble your blog stats when you (for example), after years of writing about your interactions with your maid-servant, boss, the lady next door whose brother went to the Obama rally (and such like), suddenly reveal, in one-million, seven hundred thousand and one fifty two colors, a full-frontal photograph of your favorite Senator or religious leader being overly affectionate to a friendly sheep in what he thought was an uninhabited farm.
picture-2
In said graph, EB equals to Eastern Blogger, and WB to Western Blogger. Not an indication of the direction they want the sheep to face, but this is merely an example.

As I was trying to say before I kept interrupting myself, there have been rapid changes in my life in the recent past, and I find myself living a different sort of life. Let me dilate this point (this is not innuendo).

1. I have, after the first hundred-odd days of my misspent youth, become youthful. I now have the energy and the hip to do things like running, climbing, walking and other vigorous physical activities, well away from unsuspecting animals. Workout programs have changed my life, possibly irreversibly.
For one, they have given me that poor, hungry look so favored by camera-toting Western tourists to India. Which takes us to Point Two.

2. I have now realised, after years of rat racing, that even if I were considered to be in the Formula One class, I would still be, at the end of an honest day, a rat. Therefore, in the interests of mice and men, I have opted out of it, and downgraded the importance of money in my life. As long as I earn enough to keep misery and ICICI Bank out of my doorsteps, I am happy. The new master is not money. It is happiness. I will do anything to be happy. Even if it means spending a year’s salary to enjoy a few days in Chile or Spain (neither of these are within my budgets yet- I am waiting for the recession to sink in before I bid to buy their Governments).

3. I have realised how bleak life is without the foolishness fullness of the soul. By this, I do not intend to spiritually eructate. I merely wish to point out that career goals and financial strength are poor replacements for the contentment that comes from the realisation that you have certain inner qualities and virtues that make you good. And poor. To say nothing about how poor and virtuous men, since Biblical times, tend not to get laid. Except for expressions of interest by the odd sheep. Baaah!

4. I have decided to spend more time at home. Not for me any more the constant cries for attention and time. I also find that I get into trouble less if I am at home and being vigorously unproductive, as in blogging. What sort of troubles, did you ask? Well, car dents and scratches, unplanned pregnancies, and anything that makes me look sheepish.

That was about me. Has any paradigm shift occurred in your life of late?

ON QUIRKS AND QUACKS

Well, Dinesh Babu tagged me for some quirky things about me. I don’t know how he imagined I could have any at all, so I had to invent some so as not to disappoint him. Here goes:
1. I have the Pontius Pilate Syndrome: I keep washing my hands repeatedly, especially before eating or drinking anything. I even wash my hands after putting on my shoes, or opening the door! Alternatively, I use hand disinfectants. As a surgeon, I cannot be too careful when transferring germs to others. Fomites are surfaces where bacterial spores and other bugs get transferred from hand to hand and cause infections.
2. The No-Touch Technique: I try never touching the door handles of public toilets. Fomites again! Do you remember The Aviator? Howard Hughes, played by Leo DiCaprio, is an obsessive-compulsive freak, and waits in the restrooms for someone to come in so that he can exit without touching the door handle. Well, that is me (minus the OCD), most times. I often use my shoes to open the doors, and even to flush the can!
3. I am unnaturally (for men) considerate: I keep gym weights, exercise balls and mats back in place so that others are not inconvenienced, and I clean up the toilet basin for the women who share them with me (one at a time, ladies!). Then I wash my hands!
4. I am supposed to be an 18-month fanatic: I am fanatical about certain things, but after 18 months, you will find that I have no interest anymore. Examples include girl-fiends, physical activity, blogging, and many others. Now this is a politically motivated allegation, and I strongly refute it. In fact, as proof, I have been denying this allegation fanatically for more than 18 years!
5. I think I cannot write what I think.
6. I kill tags. Die!

Oh, if you are wondering where the ‘Quacks‘ in the title of this blog post went, here it is:
“Quack! Quack!!”

WEAKLY HUMERUS NEWS 09-06-08

Warning: Mega Post!

Part 1: THE REPUBLICAN CONVENTION

TOP QUOTES OF THE WEEK

One of the big themes for convention speakers was that we need to elect a Republican that will go in and clean up the mess in Washington. I think that’s a great lesson for kids — always clean up your own mess. (Jimmy Kimmel)

To hammer home the message that 47 year old, first-term senator Barack Obama is too inexperienced to be president, John McCain picks 44 year old first-term Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. (PNN News)

John McCain’s vice president choice, Sarah Palin, is an avid hunter. Let’s see — a vice president who likes guns. Well, what could go wrong there? (David Letterman)

Today President Bush called Gov. Palin and congratulated her. Bush told Palin the job of vice president is very important because as vice president, you get to tell the president what to do. (Jay Leno)

Democrats are bashing Sarah Palin’s speech because it was penned by one of President Bush’s speechwriters. Yeah but this time, he didn’t have to spell it out phonetically. (Jake Novak)

Barack Obama was criticized by Republicans for the stage he used for his acceptance speech. it was modeled after an ancient Greek Temple. John McCain said “I knew Plato, and Barack Obama is no Plato.” (Jim Barach)

Today, John McCain was endorsed by the Log Cabin Republicans. They’re the organization of gay Republicans. McCain and the Log Cabin Republicans agree on one thing: They both want to distance themselves from Bush. (Craig Ferguson)

According to Fashion Magazines, Cindy McCain’s outfit at the GOP convention was worth almost $300,000. To be fair, Hillary once had a dress that was worth way more than that, actually, after getting stained. (Pedro Bartes)

People need not worry that Sarah Palin’s duties as vice president will conflict with her family obligations. The law covers such circumstances. Immediately after being sworn in, she can return to Alaska under the Family and Medical Leave Act. (Scott Witt)

And how are you going to be the vice president of the United States with five kids to take care of? She’s got a four-month-old of her own, she’s about to become a grandmother, and she’s partnered with John McCain. How many diapers can one woman possibly change? (Jimmy Kimmel)

Citing the success of the new Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series, Simon and Schuster today announced the publication of the new Horatio Alger, Jr. series. The initial book to be released November 5th is “From PTA President to Vice President of the United States in Four Years: An American Success Story” (Stan Kegel)

An early survey shows that only 39% of the people feel than John McCain’s running mate Sarah Palin is qualified to be President. What’s sad about that is that only 29% feel that way about President Bush. (Jim Barach)

Continue reading

SWEET DREAMS ARE NOT MADE OF THESE!

After toiling from mid-morning to mid-afternoon, like an honest politician a few months before the all-important elections, I crash like Windows Vista when the clock strikes nine, carried away in sleep by a Blue Screen of Dreams to that land which is inhabited by Socialists and Spurned Lovers.
Now, not having any good, positive sensory stimuli through the day (one of the drawbacks of surgical practice), one would expect me to have a dream like one or more of the following:
* Giving a slurring stirring speech before the Society of American Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgeons in Phoenix, Arizona, after which the entire audience seems transformed into cheerleaders of a different sort.
* Being awarded the Nobel Prize for discovering that a sharp kick in the pants could cause a permanent cure of all groin hernias that largely afflict males.
* Operating on US President O’Bummer for an abdominal tumor, and calmly announcing to the waiting world, “The President had a couple of loose screws from his past operations that had created a mess in the left side of his brain (in the world of border-less clouds you can do things like that: operate on the belly and take things out from the brain). The only change this operation will have on him will be that he will look transparent, like his wife.”

Now, lest you think I am a scheming, dreaming monomaniac with a scalpel, there are other things I could have been dreaming off:
* A feast of chocolate cake. Locally, the one at Costa Coffee has me babbling like a tongue-tied Mamata Banerjee, the spit hitting the fans, so to speak.
* Becoming the Prime Minister of India and declaring war on all controls, making politics unprofitable, and putting all committees and brokers out of business, thereby increasing national unemployment significantly.

Do I not have a romantic bone in my body, you ask? Of course, I do have one! I could dream of:
* A trip to South Africa with the woman of my dreams, enjoying the Indian Ocean over a chocolate truffle cake…. (aargh! there I go again!)
* A hectic session of laugh-making with my women woman, ending in a candle-light dinner that ends with chocolate…

All said, the impatient reader, if not already lost to more serious blogs, would be wondering where I am going with this post.

I am getting old, or I am losing it. I am not dreaming of any of the above. I am not even dreaming of becoming a social worker who distributes his hardly hard-earned money like an Amar Singh. Instead, as I move in my sleep, my hands feel my sore and hard muscles, and I keep imagining me (surrounded by sundry girls lying around me) pumping hard, ‘fast out, slow in’, as I reach a climax of exertion to loud, sweaty moans.
At the gym, another target is reached, another set complete, another muscle tested. “Next set, no more rest, start!”

I think there is something seriously wrong with me. You guys must already know it, perhaps. What is it you dream of, anyways? Or is your sleep a Blue Screen of Death?