Tuesday, March 30, 2010

In loving memory of a friend far away...

I have been trying to forget something that I also never want to forget, for a long time. But then, memories are weird, aren’t they? They surface at a time when you are least expecting them, and leave you sore and bleeding yet again, even after all these years...

I really cant remember what started the discussion with a friend about Denny, a friend who is just a fond memory for me today. I think its the strange similarity I see between the both of them in many ways. I think so. I think its that, but I cant be too sure. But the fact is that the memory has surfaced and its made me really uneasy. Again.

I hate to remember the night Denny slipped the stairs that lead to the terrace and bled to his end. I still remember him lying right there immersed in his own blood and friends rushing him to the hospital only to know it was too late and that he had already breathed his last. The entire college flocked at the ICU to see the remains of the person they only had good memories with. But I did not go. I did not want to see him lying there – cold and lifeless. I wasn’t strong enough then, and I wonder if I would be strong enough at all to face this reality, ever.

I remember the time we hanged out for the first time when we were just freshers in medical school. A strange chemistry it was, the one that we shared. We just clicked right away. I mean, isn’t it rare to find someone who thinks exactly like you. That you just look at something and you can bet that you know what the other person must have thought. And that it would be the same. Well, that was what it was with Denny. But the good times did not stay long, and we separated and tread separate ways. Made new friends and our territories never intersected. And we moved on. But somewhere during the walk, I knew I wanted to talk to him, and wanted to clear things, but ego isn’t something we can let lose so easily, isn’t it.

Death. That changes a lot, doesn’t it? It changes your perspective, your outlook about a situation, a person, everything.

After he died, it was like a part of me died with him. A part that took a long long time to regenerate and that which I know today is just a myth because when I think about him the pain and the longing is still the same. The very same as it was 7 years ago.

I started off writing this entry with the idea of telling the world as to what fantastic person Denny was, and the amazing human being he should have been, being what he was. But its like I cant go any further. The thoughts, when they become overwhealming, I get stuck. Frozen. Lifeless. Like now. Like then.

I don’t like this. I don’t like to know that he is no more. Still. I don’t like to know that I can never ever tell him that which I always wanted to. I don’t like that he left his closest friends in a sorrow that they would never surface from. I don’t like that the void his absence left his family would never fill. I don’t like the fact that I cant change anything inspite of praying so much to change that one day in his life. I don’t like that the only reality that we have is now, and tomo is just a distant dream, an illusion, a modern myth. I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all.

Dude, where ever you are, I just want to tell you that there are still people here far away from you, hoping that you were right here, with us, to share the madness. Know also that you will forever be missed. Peace to the soul.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Foster Moments

Yes, this blog entry was due yesterday, but the hangover Vodka can give you is much more then Rum. Let me assure you that. Ha!
I wanted to tell about the great time I had in Dimpaur, Nagaland with my friends. As I keep updating on my blog and my statuses on FB and Twitter, my boss is away on leave. And since he is not the kind of boss one would miss even if he was dead, you can wonder how much relieved every single one in the battalion might be feeling. Most of all, the adjutant, Capt. Kaushik, who also is the staff officer to the Commanding Officer – the one who takes the maximum of his shit. Being the doctor, I am away from the decomposing shit most of the time, but when it hits the fan, you know you cant escape, don’t you. With times like this coming in, one tends to realise that its not the intensity of work that can get you worked out, its the hostile environment – a boss that sits and craps onto your head really isn’t the best setting you know. The mental rape that one is mercilessly exposed to, inspite of the unforgiving mountainous and cold terrain just acts like kerosene to fire.
That is a lot of deviation from my actual topic though. Yes, as I saying, my very close friend Divya and her husband raj(also a great buddy) were on their way home to Delhi and decided to take a transit at Dimapur to catch up and party. Its been a long while since I had seen Divya, and though we never miss a day without hearing from either end, the sight and the feeling of your close friend just next to you is an amazing experience. Divya and I had been together through a lot of stuff. We have scaled highs and lows together to extreme proportions. There has been innumerable fights and emotional confrontations, but we have always ended together, like how small birds end up into a mothers nest by dusk. So, getting to meet someone so emotionally attached to you is a feeling I know all of you can relate with. And her husband Raj is the perfect definition to – A gem of a man! And this coming from me, he must be really good, for those who know me.
So, Anupam and I drove all the way to Dimapur where we met up with the Rajs and caught up over a cup of hot coffee before driving down to Baskin Robbins for our favourite Hawaiian Surprise. A quick gulp of the chocolate sin down our throats and we found ourselves in the dimly lit Mc Crommes lounge, bang on the heart of Dimapur town. Australian for beer – Fosters, is amazing company. I must tell you that. A lot of chitter chatter jabber there and we headed to the Escape Lounge, where Dj Raaztu rocked the dance floor. Dancing has always been a passion for me, and with a great company like this, what more could one ask for. There was fantastic music, great food, awesome crowd, and best of friends. Man, did we move the night away or what!?
Time ticked and as they say all good things has to come to an end, we heard the swans song at the railway station where we (anupam and I) went to see of the Rajs. Better put as the cherry on the cake, this day in the midst of already good days was the high point in the vacation like time. I realised how much I missed great company like this for a long time, and how much my heart called for it. Well, what do I say... this is indeed a gold mine in my pocketful of memories. Hell yeah!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Met friends!

Ok, I am going to keep this really short, cos I have lots to write about yesterday. I would like to also keep this short because I am going to have a similar good tym tonight too. So I will pool all the pics and the details together and tell you our Good-Times story.

But then again, I cant leave without thanking Rajashekhar, Divya and Anupam for the fantastic time we had in Dimapur yesterday. Music, party, dance and beer. OMG! Sounds amazing, doesnt it. Let me tell you, it was even better. We had hit Mc Crommes and Escape Lounge, both in Dimapur, Nagaland...and if it was that goos yesterday, cant wait for today...

Going to grab my dancing shoes folks...see you tomo soon...with lotsa good stories.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

As she walked towards me...

I will never forget two days ever in my life. And its both got to do with my wife - Babitha.

I remember her standing behind the curtain, in a red saree...the day I had gone to meet her the first time, trembling, as if out of fear. I could see her legs shaky and fingers trembling with excessive tremors. I had a feeling that she did not like where she was or in plain words, she did not like me. That left me also throat-clenched with not a single word coming out in the beginning. But then I had to break the ice, and I started off...to only last for about one hour. We had a great time talking! We talked about almost everything under the sun. Man, I knew that very moment that if it had to be anybody, I would be very lucky if it was her! And after we got engaged a few days later, I learned that it was the same for her too and she was just apprehensive about me liking her, and she really prayed I did.

And the vision of her walking to me on the day of our marriage. Oh God! My heart still skips a beat when I think about it. She walked towards me like as if an angel, with so much grace and beauty that filled my heart instantly, involuntarily with so much love that I did not even realize that I was on camera. Haha.. It gave me such unbelievable amount of joy to think that in no time she would be mine for life. And living everyday with her love in my life, I cant ask for anything more. All my prayers have been answered through her, and I am now left with nothing more to ask. So many dreams I had kept inside me in the dark and now with her and just with her coming along has light up my life and days and makes me feel alive. I cant even imagine how life would have been otherwise. Love you baby, for all things I know you do for me to just make me happy, and the many others I yet dont. :) :x

Monday, March 15, 2010

The New Pup – Jenniee

Today I felt my happiness doubled. Not just because of the general happiness that is in the air because my boss is on leave, but because a new canine joined the family. My junior got for himself a coffee coloured Golden Retriever. She has been named Jenniee, and is 1 month and 20 days old. After Brownie, I haven’t really held any canine in my arms or played with them. Jenniee came in the oddest time possible. The car I send to fetch her got late and she landed at 0300am. And I was so cranky to open my door thinking it would be an other casuality knocking. But I was so pleasantly surprised to see the delivery – a cute lil pup in a cardboard box. I cant even explain how elated I was to see her. I did not sleep the whole night then, one reason was that I just loved looking at her and other, she would allow me to sleep. By morning I was feeling bad..because in no time Rishi would come running to take his puppy back. By 0500am Brownie woke up and was surprised to see a similar species in the same room. I was anxious in the beginning, but Brownie proved me so wrong. She couldn’t be happier to see the pup. She licked and played with it as if its her own kid. It actually reminded me of my sister who used to bathe and play and make up her doll as a kid. It was a sight to see. And I kept watching the two play, and time just ticked away without notice till I heard the horn of the vehicle, which heralded her departure. And in sometime Jenniee had gone to her master. But the few hours of happiness she gave me was akin to the best breed of marijuana. Ok, that was a metaphor. Miss you Jenniee.


Brownie and Jenniee

Anupam and I with the duo

Rishi with his pet pup!

The invisible line

Yes, lots have been written and re-written about this. Poems to scripts to songs to letters to blogs. But the way I see it, there is no way to perfectly describe this amorphous entity – the invisible line that separates familiarity from concern. Ok, I am sure this line I just wrote hasn’t made much sense to you as much as it dint to me. But I will try and explain.
How many times have u felt so intimate with a person, apart from family, and you almost said something personal to them, but still did not. Havent you been there? Isn’t it a throat clenching situation? I tried analysing it and I think its because in spite of the liberty you share with them, you don’t really know how much this person feels for you. It is that insecurity that holds you back. You are scared that your emotional liberty would be misunderstood for undue license and that is not a very pleasant feeling at all. Atleast for me and some people I know expressing one’s true feeling is an Achilles heel. I think its very cheesy and also to be frank, I feel a wee bit embarrassed too. (It was that bad in my interaction with my wife too, which now I think was the extreme, but now which I have come closer to good.  Love!) But I also know that there are points in time when one should say those lines from the heart, when its being expected so much from them. Its just not enough to keep those feelings inside, with all its purity. You should deliver it. I belonged to the school of thought that believed that if someone really loves/knows you, he/she would understand you and your feelings without you having to say it. By their actions, their gestures, their subtle hints. But then also, not many are so sure of such signs, because it’s not definite, it can’t be measured, and it is not out there – like your words! Bible says and I quote, “words can give and take life”. And I can’t agree more today.
But all said and done, when does one know what is the limit to keep with a good friend, a dear acquaintance. Should there be a boundary, should be there a guard? I think having a guard doesn’t allow you to be your true self and it would definitely be fake, and there is a good chance that no one but you know it, but then again – how much worth is it? And if you cross that line with conviction, you would stand the risk of offending the other person which would again affect your cordial relation. Relationships are so complicated right? No matter how much we try to convince ourselves, no body can give a NO answer with perfect conviction. Such are the matters of the heart. So amorphous that one can’t really palpate it, so vague that one can’t measure it, so invisible that one can’t even see it.
But taking that risk for the person you care about – it’s worth it. Isn’t it?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Happy Women’s Day, Men!

Many a times haven’t we heard women ranting with special emphasis to the line – “its a men’s world...blah blah blah”. And we the lesser mortals haven’t even conceived the idea of coining such terms for them, which is my way of saying : have a heart ladies!! We aint that bad. Atleast anymore. ;)
Sometimes I think the conflict between the sexes is so overrated and so hollow. Today I think there is no reason for women to fight to prove to the world or themselves for that matter, that they are EQUALS. I think today men realise more than women that there can never be a time that the both sexes are equals. Women are way too SUPERIOR to us. I find it funny when women fight for their rights to come to a level that in reality is degrading their original position in the superiority ladder. I still think that the respect a woman commands for any job she does is more than what a man gets for the same job. And its not because she is ‘just’ a women and she boldly did the ‘man’s job’. Its because women have a knack of doings things better, and neater than men, atleast in lots of areas that I have seen. Their endurance levels are way too higher, their perception of danger much more acute, their response to crisis (except the tears ofcourse) are anytime more than the XY chromosome holders. I am not going to rattle away about their contribution and endurance as mothers and daughters, which anybody would not debate about. But the very power that the XX carries with it, is way too much to compare.
And here comes men! What they have done in the past is bloody unforgivable. Not just for doing what they did, but for making the lives of many that came after them a lot more tougher. Even in school, the girl-team would win every time this topic came up. First because, its a girl who speaks - A girl who has graduated from the destined-to-be-a-homemaker in life image, to the substance lady, who has a point to make. And secondly because in the past those buggers (men) had crossed the line way too much. I wonder what kind of weird grass they were on to make this so difficult for us. Anyways, things continued. The image of the subdued and subjected-to-pain image of a women in the yesteryears still lie etched in the psyche of every women, who are far from what they were then. Today no matter how far they push things or how much they cross the line, they are still women, and we are still that insensitive men! Many a time, even in the movies, the word MEN are dictated as if is a swear word. A cheap abuse! But he still moves on...
Men, don’t lose hope. Because though the light at the end of the tunnel seems to be the light of the train that is going to run over you, there will definitely be sunny days ahead. Someday. They say man reaps benefits for his past actions and just see it as our redemption time, as much as its payback time for the other end. Our endurance today will definitely be paid off too by the same rule. So soldier on, because for what you do today, your future generations will reap the benefit.
The biggest irony of the situation as I see it is that, women also have a day for their ‘joy’ of being women. Haha..seriously, why shouldn’t they???
All those wonderful women out there, Happy Womens Day!
(This entry has been generated a few days late. That ‘funny guy’ at the server end is so bloody clumsy!!!)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

No no Mr. Messenger!

I have been occasionally having this feeling ever after seeing City of Angels. Is there any possible chance that there exist some messenger that comes to take the soul of the dying? Its called "messenger" in the movie, but the scriptures of various religions are replete with references to the god's messenger. Azrael, viewed as the good angel of death recording every birth and death in Christianity; in Islam referred to as Malak Almawt. Samael, an archangel (in Judaism) and Yamraj (kaalan) in Hinduism are a few references to the same. I particularly remember a dialogue in the movie where Dr. Maggi asks her fellow doctor," everyday we fight in this operating room to save lives. Have you ever wondered with whom we are fighting with?". I think that was a very powerful line. Maybe it takes so much significance because I am a doctor too and dealing with life and death issues are part of the trade, and maybe many viewers would not have even noticed the irony at all. But it did strike me. There has been times where I have seen patients almost in a delirious state talking to someone and looking fixed onto some point, as if someone was stationed there, and smiling or talking or just gazing, so happy that they are here after their absence for a long time. The grey areas that science can never explain. I think it is that, because always after that particular episodes we have lost our patients. Their memory and their minds never woke up to tell the story of their meeting with that one person who stood amongst us, whom only they could see. I wish I got some patient back, so that they could answer many of the questions that haunt me in times like these. These erratic, unexplainable behavior have been termed medically as hallucinations, or in some contexts as Delirium or Delusion.

Picture this possibility : Every patient that I have seen die in the ICU, and beside whom I was too unfortunate to be had shown some activity looking at one point beside the bed. There has been times where the entire family was beside the patient, and the patient would look at all their faces and the last face he would look just before he would die is 'that' face, the face with no form. I have tried and discussed the possibility of having that 'messenger' between the crowd that encircles the dying patient. I have tried and fixed my gaze too onto that one point that the patient looked, but the fact of how small we are to many bigger and enigmatic truths that lay hidden, gapes me into my eye, almost paralyzing me with the strength of its conviction.

I also think that the worst job among the men of God might be to be a messenger of death. This job must be reserved for the souls who just barely managed to pass the heaven test! He would by far only see the pain and agony that rips the very root of many families right before his eyes. How the very absence of that one person would invariably change the lives of all the people around him for ever. How even the doctors to the OR to the grieving family for that frame in time feel so connected in the circle of life, that immensely reflects in their longing against the messenger. The amount of curse he would harvest. The unfortunate will that he would not be able to see the blessings that life has to offer. He would see just the end, the death.

Though I would want to know if there is that Mr. Messenger who comes to take the souls away, I also would not want to know much about him, because as they say, he only comes alone, never leaves the same way.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Yummy yummy says my tummy

This blog post is directed to re-living those moments I spend in the kitchen with my wife, cooking, cooking and more cooking, now which is a happy spot for memory to rest.
I took a vacation in Jan this year, which was not actually according to my leave plan. I had planned for my leave in March, and had charted lots of activity for then, which I know today has shattered because I have been denied leave because of the paucity of staff. Now the leave I took then has taken even more significance, one because I could meet my beloved in Jan, and two because if I did not have gone then, it should have too long a wait, more of an agony. The plan came into my head like a bolt from the blue and...... wait, this isn’t what I am trying to tell!!!...I so easily miss the point. (But I sure will touch on this some other time)
Yeah, so I was @ home with Babitha and it was just the two of us. The entire home for us, for love, for talk, for eat & drink, for the occasional fight and yes, the awesome cooking! Babitha isn’t well versed in the culinary department. I think I am more a high-grader there. My wife thinks that I have it in my genes to cook well, dad being an executive Italian chef and mom an amazing cook herself, I cannot find reason to refute. So, she and I decided that this once we would cook more and order less, just to enjoy the moment spend in bringing out something with joint effort. And the story began. I have learned a bit helping mom in the kitchen. Shiju (my only brother) and I are really fond of cooking and used to try our hand in it from a very small age. As kids, both of us used to take pride in cooking sausages and making fresh juice. After beating all those apples and grapes and mangoes in the blender, we would put sugar syrup into it with so much air of precision as if it was rocket science. Then we would make each other or mom taste it and exclaim, wow!! Fantastic it is! But now, we would make Indian and Chinese and the occasional Italian and I still think Shiju is still a little better than me.
Babitha and I decided that we would work on Indian cuisine more and would use those spices to give it the extra spice and flavour. As a test group, we had chosen our neighbours cum first cousins, who would give us the final verdict on everything we tried. They were also kind enough to send in regular supplies of meals every day, just in case the whole cooking season flopped and burned. We started with fresh salads with dressings of olive and salad oil and graduated into making a full blown 3 course dinner for four members and they say, and I think too, it was awesome. But I know one thing for sure, we had an even better time cooking it for them. Here are a few moments of the same.

Chopping those fleshy onions will always make me weep

But lady’s finger was easy for the lady’s fingers.

The raw materials I managed to click

The orange suprise (we named it! It’s got fresh orange juice, wish a dash of white wine and a bit of vodka. It tastes awesome. Trust me!)

And here it comes... (Plz ignore the presentation. Firstly, we were too famished by the end of it and secondly, we are still to know more about it.)







We were just too tired for the pudding, hence..

So that was how it went, and I am so proud of the ameteur chefs that is still in its infancy in the both of us! Yeeeah!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Holi Hai!

1st March 2010. Another Holi in the battalion. And the last. Next year this time I would be at some other place, with some other unit, with lots of new people. So, this Holi would bring with itself nostalgia, as I would look back in the years to come and this would be a happy place for memory to rest.

Since it is Holi today, I will try and encapsulate the strings, that went into delivering this festival of colour and happiness.

The celebration of Holi is very ancient in its origin. And by its very origin, it celebrates an ultimate triumph of the 'good' over the 'evil'. While, a feast of colors associated with the Holi, is the face of this celebration, the original reason of celebrating Holi, lies in its soul. And this gives us the 'why' of this ancient festival.

Literally "Holi" signifies "burning" in Indian language. But, how it came to be associated with 'burning', is a story. The reference is found only in ancient Indian mythology. And It is the legend of Hiranyakashipu, to whom the celebration of Holi is associated.

Way back in the pre-Christian era, there lived a demon king named Hiranyakashipu in ancient India. He wanted to avenge the death of his younger brother. The brother, also a demon, had been killed by Lord Vishnu, one of the supreme trio, monitoring the life and death in the universe, (according to the Hindu belief). To take on Vishnu, the tyrant king wanted to become the king of the heaven, earth and the underworld. He performed severe penance and prayer for many years to gain enough power. Finally he was granted a boon. Powered by the boon, Hiranyakshipu thought he had become invincible. Arrogant, he ordered all in his kingdom to worship him, instead of God. The demon king, however, had a very young son, named Prahalad. He was an ardent devotee of Vishnu. Despite his father's order, Prahalad continued to pray to Vishnu. So the demon king wanted to kill his son. He asked the favor of his sister Holika who, because of a boon, was immune to fire. They planned that Prahalad would be burned to death. A pyre was lit up and Holika sat on it, clutching Prahalad. Yet, at the end Prahalad emerged unscathed by the fire, And Holika, the demon, was burned to ashes. The earnest devotion and complete submission to Lord Vishnu savedyoung Prahlad. Thus was the triumph of Prahlad, the representative of good spirits. And the defeat of Holika, the representative of evil. Later, even the demon king Hiranyakashipu was killed by Lord Vishnu. But that is quite a different story. It is from Holika, that the Holi originated. This legend is relived even today on the Holi-eve
when the pyre is re-lit in the form of bonfires, called CHOTI HOLI. Even today, people celebrate this occasion. Huge bonfires are lit up every year on the eve of the full moon night of the Holi to burn the spirit of the evils. Hence the story associated with the soul of the celebration.

Now, let us look into the face of it. How did the celebration of Holi assume a colorful face? Well, it is linked to yet another legend, the legends of Krishna. Though of much later origin, still, it was in the pre-Christian era.

According to the Hindu belief, Krishna was a reincarnation of lord Vishnu himself. It was Krishna, or, Krishns, the king of the ancient city of Dwarka, who popularised the tradition of Holi. The origin of the colorful and frolicking tone of Holi lies in the boyhood of Krishna. It all came up as part of his pranks, he used to play with his boyhood mates of Gokul and Vrindavan. Situated in north India, these are the places where he spent his childhood.

It was at this time of year, Krishna used to play pranks by drenching the village girls, with water and colors. At first it offended the girls. But they were so fond of this mischievous boy that soon their anger melted away. And, it did not take long for other boys to join in, making it a popular sport in the village. Later, as Krishna grew up, the play assumed a new dimension. It added more colors to Krishna's legendary love life. The legend of Krishna's courtship with Radha, and playing pranks with the 'Gopi's. The girls in the 'dairy' village of Gokul were mostly milkmaids, and, hence locally known as the Gopis. The same tradition has transpired through the ages, turning it into a community festival of the masses. As time kept flowing, the culture spread roots to other regions of the country. The Holi play of Krishna is documented in hundreds of ancient paintings, murals, sculptures and scriptures found across the subcontinent.



Vaibhav, Anupam and I : The gangsters!

Anupam and Vaibhav, I know I will miss you in the years to come.

Everyone, once again, HAPPY HOLI!