December 11, 2012

Hats off to women

I just started my first 4 week long Obstetrics and Gynaecology appointment yesterday and I was not at all happy because I just could not connect to the patients.
But today, I felt such a strong bond develop between myself and the patients I spoke to - I am so happy & relieved. I was feeling so guilty yesterday.

Working in these wards full of women is such a good learning experience - I see myself and so many other girls in these women in the ward.

Today, my first patient was a young mother of 26 pregnant with her first baby - she was so excited! The next  was a mother who had delivered the previous night - her eyes beamed with happiness looking at her soundly sleeping baby girl. The next was a mother in her 40th week of pregnancy waiting to deliver tonight - she was anxious yet very excited to welcome a newborn into her family of 3. The last patient was another young mother of 29 who sadly had a miscarriage - she was in grief and was full of questions regarding the possibility of her being able to conceive again.

It's amazing how strong each of these women were - all of the had such touching stories, some of happiness, some of sadness. I salute these women for being able to go through such overwhelming emotional states and emerging out of it stronger than ever!

For someone who isn't really fascinated by pregnancy and kids, today was a table turner of sorts - I felt a baby kick while examining a pregnant mother's tummy, I held a 12 hours old baby girl in my arms and I shared the grief of a mother who just miscarried.

Today, I am more than thankful to everyone who helped me shape my decision to take up Medicine. I am so lucky to be able to feel this multitude of emotions and learn from this wonderful Sri Lankan population!

December 4, 2012

Happy moment*

If you're in a non medical field and have friends pursuing medicine,  it'd be very common for you to hear your medical friend brooding and complaining about how hectic and stressful work is.

My friends go through that a lot too -very often I complain to them about how exhausted and sleep deprived I am.
No matter how much I love and enjoy the course,  there are times when I get up after measly hours of sleep and doubt if I'll survive the day. (Thank God I've had no episodes of faints and falls!) But it does take a toll on your health sometimes.

These past few weeks have been hectic - not just work wise but also deciding on how many days can you miss from work to have a vacation of a reasonable time with family.

Just yesterday when I had a five minute conversation with a friend (yes, I have to cut it down to 5 minutes) I was wishing that God does some magic and gives me all the time to catch up on missed sleep. And guess what? He heard me! :)

This morning,  I found out that the eye surgeon we're studying/working under is going abroad for a week and so we need not go from tomorrow!  I almost did a small happy dance infront of her when she signed our record books. We finished four days ahead of time which means four days of adequate sleep.

Happily I strutted on to university where there was more good news in store for me!  Afternoon lectures had been postponed!  I leisurely had my lunch with delicious prawns,  tried a new bottled yoghurt, took a short nap and got some studying done in the library.

And now, I'm at home lying flat on bed,  working on this post from a new phone I invested on recently, ear phones plugged in listening to One Direction's Up all night and munching on a huge chocolate bar.
The thought of being able to get up late tomorrow,  the fact  that my tickets are confirmed and that in 18 days, I see my mum - I've got to be the happiest medical student right now :)

They say sharing happiness increases it manifold, hence this post. I was smiling the whole time I wrote this :)

And girls, Michelle Phan has an awesome giveaway. Go over to her YouTube channel and participate!

November 12, 2012

Have you confronted your dream? Your personal calling?

I've been reading Paulo Coelho's "The Alchemist" and I agree with Times, full on, on saying that his books have had a life enhancing impact on millions of people.
I've loved this book so much - I might just read it all over again!

Anyway, this post is to share with you'll the Author's Note. Just think about reasons why you think you're on Earth and the things you've done in order to live up to that reason.
With that at the back of your head, just read this abstract: 

What is a personal calling?
- It is God's blessing, it is the path that God chose for you here on Earth.
Whenever we do something that fills us with enthusiasm, we are following our legend. However, we don't all have the courage to confront our own dream. Why?

There are four obstacles.
First, we are told from childhood on wards that everything we want to do is impossible  We grow up with this idea, and as the years accumulate, so too do the layers of prejudice  fear and guilt.  There comes a time when our personal calling is so deeply buried in our soul as to be invisible. But, it's still there.

If we have the courage to disinter our dream, we are then faced by the second obstacle - love. We know what we want to do, but are afraid of hurting those around us by abandoning everything in order to pursue our dream. We do not realize that love is just a further impetus, not something that will prevent us going forward, and that those who genuinely wish us well want us to be happy and are prepared to accompany us on that journey.

Once we have accepted that love is a stimulus  we come up against the third obstacle: fear of the defeats we will meet on the path. We who fight for our dream suffer far more when it doesn't workout, because we cannot fall back on the old excuse  "Oh, well, I didn't really want that anyway." We do want it and know that we have staked everything on it and that the path of the personal calling is no easier than any other path, except that our whole heart is in this journey. Then, we, the warriors of light must be prepared to have patience in difficult times and to know that the Universe is conspiring in our favor  even though we may not understand how.

I ask myself: are defeats necessary? Well, necessary or not, they happen. When we first begin fighting for our dream, we have no experience and make many mistakes. The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.

So, why is it so important to live our personal calling if we are only going to suffer more than other people? Because once we have overcome the defeats - and we always do - we are filled with a greater sense of euphoria and confidence  In the silence of our hearts, we know that we are proving ourselves worthy of the miracle of life. Each day, each hour, is part of the good fight. We start to live with enthusiasm and pleasure. Intense, unexpected suffering passes more quickly than suffering that is apparently bearable; the latter goes on for years and, without our noticing  eats away at our soul, until, one day, we are no longer able to free ourselves from the bitterness and it stays with us for the rest of our lives.

Having disinterred our dream, having used the power of love to nurture it and spent many years living with the scars, we suddenly notice that what we always wanted is there  waiting for us, perhaps the very next day. Then comes the fourth obstacle: the fear of realizing the dream for which we have fighting all of our lives.

Oscar Wilde said, "Each man kills the thing he loves." And it's true. The mere possibility of getting what we want fills the soul of the ordinary person with guilt.We look around to those who have failed to get what they want and feel that we do not deserve to get what we want either. We forget about all the obstacles we overcame, all the suffering we endured, all the things we had to give up in order to get this far. I have known a lot of people who, when their personal calling was within their grasp,went on to commit a series of stupid mistakes and never reached their goal when it was only a step away.

This is the most dangerous of obstacles because it has a kind of saintly aura about it: renouncing joy and conquest. But if you believe yourself worthy of the thing you fought so hard to get, then you become an instrument of God, you help the Soul of the World, and you understand why you are here.

~ Paulo Coelho

August 30, 2012

Thankful for my sanity

"I hear two people conspiring against me - it's cost me my job, and I'm losing my family".
 "My mother is trying to separate me and my husband and she's told the entire village of her intentions - I can sense it"

These are just two snippets of conversations I've made with patients at the National Institute of Mental Health, Sri Lanka.
I've spent a little over 10 days there with patients from different walks of life. Each one has a different story to tell, each one has a bucketful of problems, each one leads a different life. 

From schizophrenics to depressed patients to ones with bi-polar disorder to heroin/alcohol addicted patients - we saw them all.We got an insight into their lives. And trust me, you wouldn't want to know how it is. 

Can you imagine a person who always hears people conspiring to kill him; but when he looks around - there's no one.

Can you imagine a person who hates her mother because she thinks she's going to kill her new born baby; but the mother is in tears - seeing her daughter become a totally different person.

Can you imagine a person who hates his wife because he suspects her of having an extra marital affair - the wife who loves him to bits and is praying daily for his recovery.

Can you imagine a person who is so depressed that he wants to jump into a moving train and take his life. 

Are you thankful that you have a sound mind? That you are not locked up behind bars in a mental institute?
 I am.
I took my sanity for granted until I visited the institute. Until now, I've lived thinking that sanity is part of life, it's there and will be there. However, it's not. Sanity is as fickle as fickle can be. You can lose it as easily as you lose your handkerchief. 

Coincidentally, I happen to be reading Paulo Coelho's Veronika Decides to Die - a story about a young girl who has everything in life - she's young, pretty, has a stable job, good friends, loving family & boyfriends. But she's not happy & she decides to kill herself by swallowing sleeping pills. Death doesn't come easy - she wakes up to find herself in a mental hospital - she's alive but her heart is severely damaged and she only has a few days to live. During her stay in the hospital, waiting for death (which is so beautifully described by Paulo Coelho that you can actually visualize it) she realizes that every second of existence is precious. She sees life in a different light. 

The book has enhanced whatever I've felt and learnt from what I observed at the mental institute here in Sri Lanka. It has made me feel grateful for the fact that I am alive.
I recommend everybody to give the book a try - it'll be worth it!

I'm glad that this course is teaching me not just Medicine but also morals, various feelings and values of life. 
That's just one reason why I love what I'm pursuing! :) 

August 9, 2012

A time; A choice

I was reading the book "Eleven Minutes" by Paulo Coelho, and I stumbled upon this short piece in one of my favourite chapters of the book.
It's from a Hebrew book, called  Ecclesiastes.

A time to be born, and a time to die; 

A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; 

A time to break down, and a time to build up; 

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; 

A time to mourn, and a time to dance; 

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;

A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 

A time to get, and a time to lose; 

A time to keep, and a time to cast away; 

A time to rend, and a time to sew; 

A time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 

A time to love, and a time to hate; 

A time of war, and a time of peace. 

I'd recommend the book - it gives you an insight into the lives of prostitutes - and it's based on a true story. 

August 3, 2012

24 Life Lessons, Courtesy Of My Dog

I've been a little free this week so I'm spending a lot of time pursuing my hobbies - one of them being reading.
I came across this lovely piece on a fellow blogger's blog - it's so true on so many levels & I thought it's definitely worth a share.  (Even better if you're a dog lover like me!)

1. You can choose not to run to get the ball, but it’s always a lot more fun if you do.
2. Never underestimate the value of a simple plate of food and water.
3. Sometimes it’s all right to roll over and let someone pamper you.
4. Never bite the hand that feeds you.
5. Make sure you stretch thoroughly before you get up.
6. If a loved one is sad, approach slowly, cuddle up to them and wait for them to tell you what’s wrong.
7. There are times you lead, and there are times you follow.
8. Never discriminate. Cats can be a lot of fun to hang out with too.
9. The best place to nap is under the sun.
10. There is no bigger sign of affection and closeness than a big lick to the face.
11. It’s OK to be overly excited about things that pass you by.
12. Wading into water is good. Jumping in is infinitely better.
13. Pick carefully where you go to the bathroom.
14. A good run will always improve your day.
15. Only bark when the situation warrants it.
16. Leftovers are always delicious.
17. If someone enjoys scratching your back, stick with them forever.
18. Always know how to find your way back home.
19. Take good care of your teeth.
20. Loyalty is priceless.
21. Someone hurts someone you care about? Run after them and make them pay.
22. It’s all about opportunities: you’re not there, someone else gets the morsel.
23. Even if you’re alone, there’s someone out there that’s thinking of you.
24. Always go for what you want.

 -Emil Caillaux

July 29, 2012

Been there, done that

Been there, done that - Yes, I can proudly say that when somebody asks me if I've watched a cricket match live from the stadium! =) *all smiles*

I'm an ardent fan of cricket - I don't know the rules of the game in & out, but I have enough understanding to enjoy the match, despite it being lengthy (considering the fact that I don't have a lot of patience).
I developed interest in the match when I used to watch cricket matches on TV with my uncles and whatever I know of the game is what has been passed on to me by them.
I've grown up rooting for the Indian Cricket Team & my all time favourite is Rahul Dravid. Now, I have a soft corner for Virat Kohli - he's the most good looking player in the team, for now.

I'm now in Sri Lanka, a country where the people are cricket fanatics!
Sri Lanka co-hosted the Cricket World Cup last year (2011) and I desperately wanted to go watch atleast one match where India was playing. But, I could never get tickets.
But this time, when I heard of India touring Sri Lanka for the ODIs, I did my share of planning in advance. Thanks to a very good friend of mine, I got tickets and so, yesterday, I headed out to watch my first live cricket match between India & Sri Lanka played at the R. Premadasa Grounds in Colombo.

I was so excited! I wasn't even one bit sad that I couldn't watch the Olympics on TV!
But I was in a dilemma on which team to support - I've loved the Indian Team since the day I understood cricket but I love Sri Lanka - it's my second home and there arises some feeling of patriotism.

When I got my seat and looked down to the ground, I actually pinched myself - it looked so surreal. I couldn't believe I was seeing cricketers whom I've watched on TV playing just few meters in front of me. I squinted my eyes, craned my necks - did almost everything possible to see each one of them!
Only when the second wicket was lost, did I actually realise that I was there, in real, in person watching it all happen.

Sri Lanka was batting first and 98% of the crowd (full stadium!) was rooting for Sri Lanka. Inevitably, I was in support of Sri Lanka too. Screaming, shouting, wildly waving the cards displaying 4s & 6s high in the air every time a boundary was crossed - I had the time of my life. Sri Lanka ended at 286 for 5 wickets at the end of 50 overs.
It was almost 7pm by the time the Indian opening batsmen came on to bat - Gambhir and Sehwag. Sehwag was caught off guard and was out for just 3 runs. Gambhir went on to score a century with 102 runs. Rohit Sharma had yet another duckie. Suresh Raina and Irfan Pathan created magic.

India did not look like they were going to win. And with minimal support from the crowd, I was sure they'd lose. I was so bored in between, hoping the overs would move faster.
But in no time, things got very interesting! Malinga almost made a hatrick taking down 2 wickets consecutively. As he bowled to get his third wicket, we were all shouting "Malinga, Malinga, Malinga..."
But whenever the Indians made a 4, I clapped - garnering deadly stares from the die hard sri lankan fans seated around me! Haha!

The last five overs with the Indians batting was just magical.
I was so excited but nervous at the same time. I felt I was missing heart beats. I was telling my friend that had I been Dhoni, the Indian captain, I'd have gotten an anxiety attack by then.
But all of it paid - the Indians went on to win!!!

The funniest incident was a dog who came running onto the field twice, pooped and ran back to disappear in the crowd. A cleaner had to come and shovel away the poop. Haha!

The 9 hours that I spent there was totally worth it.
I'm definitely going to go watch more of such matches! :)

p.s: Trivia - No team has ever chased so much (287) to beat Sri Lanka at home! 

Pictures are taken from my very primitive phone - I'll steal some pictures from my friends and put them up shortly!
Special note of thank you to all who made it possible for me!

Updated (30/07/2012) - as promised, better pictures.

June 9, 2012

I miss you mumma

My mum worked as a journalist for about 10 years - this was when I was around 4 to about 14 years of age. I remember she bringing home work many a times, and I used to read each of the news articles she was working on. Often, I used to stand in front of the mirror and read them, pretending I was a news reader.
Before 1999, we had no TV, so it was only over the radio that I heard various readers. I used to loving faking an accent and read out those articles.
For a brief time then, I wanted to become a journalist!

When BBS TV was launched, mum was among the first few English news readers. When I saw her on TV the first time, I was so excited!
I remember taking pictures with the film roll camera  of her on TV; and finishing the entire roll! I was so proud that MY mum was on TV :)

Soon, it became almost an everyday thing. Back then, news readers had to go all the way to Sangaygang to deliver the news. So mum used to go by about 6pm and get back quite late. I used to wait at home with the maid; so mum & I could have our dinner together.
Soon after the news was over, I used to look out of the window towards the Sangaygang hill (which then, was clearly seen from our window - there weren't so many buildings obscuring the sight unlike now). If I saw a pair of car lights dancing down the ridge, I knew it was mum coming back. I'd quickly ask the maid didi to warm up the food.
When I saw no car lights, I'd be so disappointed.

There were times when I missed her so much, that I used to go out, stand on the tallest window parapet; face towards Sangaygang and shout, "Mummyyyyyyy.....". Many a times, the neighbors used to come running, worried that something had gone wrong. I'd just tell them that I was missing mum. They'd tell me to go in and wait, but I never listened. I waited outside till I saw lights over the hill - only then did I run in to ask didi to heat the food.

After mum quit journalism and started work at the UN, things were even more hectic, work wise for her. She's get home very late. But I suppose it was because I was in my teen years, I was too engrossed in watching TV shows, in making scrap books that I did not miss her as much as I did as a kid. With the invent of mobile phones, I'd just text her and ask when she was coming, and that was it.

Now that I look back, I realize that once I was in high school, I took mum for granted so many times. I don't remember ever thanking her for making me what I was then.
I don't remember thanking her for waiting for me for dinner when I'd get back late from tuition classes. I don't remember thanking her for getting up early and making my favorite steamed broccoli with amul butter and bringing it to my bedside for me to get up. I never thanked her for staying up with me, late in the night, while I studied. I never thanked her for snuggling me to sleep when I was too stressed with exams.

If I could go back in time, I'd want to thank her every single day for all that she did for me. You know how they say, you realize the importance of people and things only when you don't have them - it holds so true!
Now, that I'm far away from her, I realize how much time and effort she had spent on making my life comfortable. I miss her so much - never a day goes by when I don't write to her telling her how much I miss her and how much I love her. I hardly said that to her while I was with her, back home.

Even now, when I am  20, I have times when I can't fall asleep due to stress, and I call her at the wee hours of morning, and ask her to talk me to sleep. Nobody but she has that calming effect on me. I have loved people in life, but the love & respect I have for her surpasses every nice feeling I have for others.

My happiness knows no bounds when people tell us that we are more of friends than a mother - daughter duo. My extended family remind me time and again of how my mum has only me, and I tell them that she doesn't have only me, she has the whole of me :)

Every time I tell her that what I am today is all because of her, she tells me that what she is today is because of me - and it's such an overwhelming thing to hear.

I've been missing her all the more today. If only I could go upmto the terrace and shout "Mummyyyyyy....." for her to hear it all the way in Dhaka.
But a skype session's due tonight - so I'll do all the screaming (in joy of course) later! :)

May 30, 2012

May musings

May 1st – the Worker’s Day feels like just yesterday and today it’s the 30th.
The end of the month is already nearing! 

How time flies by.

I remember telling myself that there are two solid months for me to prepare for my exams (in July) and now, before I’m even half way through my preparations, one month’s down.

But, May has been a wonderful month for me. My housemate got married – the first Sri Lankan wedding I attended. She made a beautiful bride and it was a lovely wedding. Being a part of the wedding made me realise how beautiful sari clad women look, so I’m going to learn the know hows of draping a sari soon after I’ve done away with the exams!

May brought yet another Mother’s Day where I could not be with my mum zo that was a little saddening. 

May has also been a month full of shopping, which I absolutely enjoy :)
Also, I’ve had a hair cut – the shortest I’ve had in 4 years! All to beat the heat here.

One weekend, I got my face painted by a very talented artist at a new bread store which I've grown to like.

May (they) made me monitor! I was the monitor of my group for the three week paediatric appointment at Asia’s the World's largest Paediatric Hospital (yes, that is in Sri Lanka). 
It was quite a task, being the monitor. I'd be lieing if I said it was easy; it's not easy having to organise the work schedule of 16 students in a ward with over 60 beds. 
These 3 weeks have taught me many lessons, most ofwhich I learnt bitterly. Patience would be the most important value I learnt.   

The downside to this month has been the opportunities that I've missed.  I saw it, right there before me and I chose to ignore it – you know, like food stuck between someone’s front teeth, you can’t miss it – but I missed it and I regret it.

Dear God, give me the strength to live through June and the much dreaded exam week in July. 

April 4, 2012

It takes us ~

It takes some fears to make you trust
It takes those tears to make it rust
It takes the dust to have it polished.

It takes some silence to make sound.
It takes a loss to make you find it.

                                                                                                                                                                      ◆  Jason Mraz ◆

March 8, 2012

All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my mother.

Every other girl in this world says her mother’s the best.
But my mother beats every best mother in this world
Because what she’s done as a single mother for me,
No other mother has & can do for their daughter.

Today, on International Women’s Day
I salute my mentor, my best friend, my MOTHER
Without you mum, I wouldn't be what I am today
I love you to the moon & back. 

February 12, 2012

From 'not liking kids' to 'liking' kids.

Don't let the fear of the time that it'll take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it.
The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use.
                                                                                                                                - Earl Nightingale

I started my final week of the pediatrics appointment at the children's hospital here with this quote in mind.
I do  not like kids (Don't judge please). It's not that I hate them but I would choose anything else over having to spend some time with a kid. Their crying gets into my nerves and sets me off.
I know I must have cried a lot as a kid; my mum says I did. And it's only fair for the tiny ones to cry considering the fact that they can't speak - but not being able to take in their howls is my problem. 

So when my Pediatrics appointment began, I was totally nervous. The first few days, I maintained a good distance from kids. I never examined a baby during the first week.
I was disgusted at myself because my friends were all smiling and playing with the kids. Then, I tried - I made that effort - to like kids. I realized I was better with the elder lot of kids (say above 3-4 years). So it was those age group of patients I liked. 

I've learnt that as a doctor/medical student, one must connect with your patient to be able to help them. One must empathize. And in the Pediatrics ward, I was failing at connecting. 

Quite contrary to what I used to think, I liked the subject matter. Our consultant was an awesome lady and she taught us extremely well. Her team was as good as her, so we got some excellent input. 
But they say, in medicine, it's the clinical practice that matters, not the theory bit you inherit. So I was really lacking! I had/have no intentions of becoming a Pediatrician but I was failing the duties and responsibilities of a medical student and I was very disappointed. 

Perhaps luck was on my side - we had to do only 2 weeks of the appointment at one go. We excused ourselves to gain a week more in our study leave of a meager 7days. But due to the rescheduling, we had to do a week more of Peads. So instead of the regular 3 week rotation in Peads, we were to do 4 weeks. 

The third week too, was as same as the first 2 weeks. But on the weekend prior to our last week at the peads ward, I had a heart to heart with my mum. 
And with that I realized that the kids I don't like are innocent. And I'm being the cruelest of the cruel by saying I don't like them; even more cruel by not trying hard to break the "don't like" bond. 

It was time I change; else I'd never enjoy the privileges a woman enjoys. 
I crept into the Baby Room and started watching the babies sleep. I saw reflections of happiness and utter joy in the eyes of the new mothers.
What kept me in the Baby Room for almost 2 hours was really special - there was this baby with liver cirrhosis whose chances of survival was minimal because liver transplants for children aren't done in this country and the parents couldn't afford to take the baby abroad for surgery. The mother understood it all and yet she loved the baby unconditionally.
The mother had gone to get some syrup from the nurse while the baby was asleep. While the mother was away, the baby woke up and started crying. The mother at the next cot tried to calm the baby by showing her some toys but there was no stop to the crying.
I went up to the cot & stroked the child and guess what? The baby smiled and stopped crying. The other lady made a comment saying the baby likes me and you have no idea how much that meant to me. I stayed with the baby till her mum came and not once did she cry then. 

I spent some more time in the Baby Room - watching the babies being fed, being changed, being put to sleep. And it was amazing how these little things go together to help these children grow from the tiny ones they are now to big, beautiful human beings. 

Perhaps God was happy with the progress I was making - all my patients during this last week were children under the age of 3.
And with every patient, after taking the history, I always spent some time playing with them, tickling them - knowing them :)

I didn't know how time flew by and it was the end of the week so soon!
I'm glad it was a productive week - I've grown to like children a little. I still would not want to take up treating children in future - I'd suck at it but I'm proud of the steps I took that week.
Saturday, the last day in the ward, we gave chocolates to the kids and donated a few instruments to the ward. 

Goodbye Pediatrics,  for the time being.
Still have 2 small rotations and the Professorial Appointment with these tiny humans. 

Pictures are from the time our group decorated the ward during New Years.

January 29, 2012

Making the most of my time on earth

There are things I've always wanted to do, to see, to feel and enjoy. I've done some while many remain only dreamt of.
Perhaps getting it listed will help me achieve the un-achieved ones, especially with worldwide rumbles on December being the end of our world.

                Lets see how many more I should be doing before I kick the bucket because:
                   A well spent day brings happy sleep; a life well spent brings happy death.

  • Visit Europe
  • Go bungee jumping
  • Go on a cruise (December, 2011)
  • Achieve my ideal weight
  • Hug a stranger
  • Visit a church (2011)
  • Attend a Sunday mass
  • Visit a mosque
  • Join a gym  (2012)
  • Make my dream home
  • Adopt a dog
  • Bake a cake
  • Go on a road trip
  • Scale a well known mountain/peak  (Adam's Peak, Sri Lanka)
  • Learn how to swim
  • Travel to an island  (Saint Martin's Island, Bangladesh)
  • Drive a speed boat
  • Donate blood
  • Go parasailing
  • Visit disney land
  • Walk bare foot in a desert
  • Ride a camel/elephant
  • Experience sun rise (Atop Adam's Peak)
  • Watch the sun go down the horizon by the sea  (Done this over & over again!)
  • Take up dancing lessons
  • Learn the art of crochet (My art work is proudly displayed at home)
  • Meet my King (2009 - gave him a peck on the cheek too!)
  • Attend a live concert 
  • Complete a marathon
  • Learn to play table tennis  (2012) 
  • Be a member of the school team in one discipline (Quiz team, Badminton team)
  • Go on a safari
  • Camp in the jungle
  • Learn how to say hello in 10 languages 
  • Learn to play one musical instrument
  • Sing karaoke 
  • Get an autograph from one celebrity
  • Get a celeb to tweet/retweet me on Twitter  (Xteeener, Meiang Chang)
  • Visit at least 3 of the 7 wonders of the world.
  • Watch an open heart surgery being done
  • Help deliver a baby
  • See the Stonehenge
  • Spend a day in a five star hotel
  • Go on a pilgrimage
  • Sponsor a girl child's education
  • Attend the Oktoberfest 
  • Learn a magic trick
  • Learn to make candles
  • Help raise funds for an NGO
  • Read every book by Nicholas Sparks
  • Give a CPR 
  • Discover what makes you truly happy
  • Say "I love you" & "thank you" to mum
  • Get over my weakness of overeating
  • Learn to say "no" without feeling guilty
  • Touch a snake
  • Get a poem/story published (My poem "Salute to our Kings" published in 2005)
  • Get into Med School
  • Become a surgeon
  • Give a speech at a university
  • Address a gathering of 500+ people
  • Address a gathering of 1000+ people
  • Address a gathering of 5000+ people
  • Meet Oprah Winfrey
  • Hug an HIV/AIDS positive individual
  • Open a Swiss bank account
  • Fly first class
  • Find the love of your life
  • Have a pet
  • Celebrate your 50th anniversary in Maldives 
  • Visit Ladakh
  • Meet Dalai Lama
  • Learn yoga
  • Donate clothes to a shelter
  • Start a blog
  • Create a you tube video
  • Write your memoir
  • Make the front page of a newspaper  (2009 Jan - BHSEC results)
  • Watch the World Cup
  • Eat crab cakes
  • Slap an eve teaser
  • Stand up for your rights
  • Get your palms read
  • Get hypnotized
  • Have your portrait painted
  • Get a tattoo
  • Travel solo

Life is too short to let it pass you by.
      We only have one shot at this & then it's gone. 

January 15, 2012


Today I turn 20
Today I leave behind my teen years and venture into the third decade of my life
Today on wards, I can no longer use the excuse,"I'm a teen"
Today I feel mature, confident & independent.

Today I'm grateful for having such a wonderful mum
Today I'm grateful for having a loving partner
Today I'm grateful for the bunch of great friends
Today I'm grateful to God for giving me 19 years of happiness & success

Today I'm grateful that I am in good health
Today I'm grateful for phones & skype which keeps my family close to me
Today I'm grateful for being born in Bhutan
Today I'm grateful for being accepted into this Medical College

Today I'm glad that I was born
Today I'm glad that I had my share of lows cuz it made me a stronger person
Today I'm glad few people betrayed me - it taught me how trust is not cheap
Today I'm glad I have a wonderful dog - she teaches me how to love

Today I'm glad that I am me! (:

January 10, 2012

You, I, he, she, they - we are all the same.

As I walked through the corn field, I looked up to see a perfect blue sky without a speck of cloud. The gentle breeze I felt on my skin refreshed me and kept me going forward. I was in the center of an acre of corn field and I was determined to make it across the field. Not because a box of treasure awaited me at the other end but because I hadn't been to my village for the past 6 years and had missed all the natural beauty that the environment there provided. My village is towards the southern part of the country with hot & humid weather prevailing most months of the year. I despise heat usually but today, even the scorching sun didn't deter me from heading out into the corn field all by myself. 

With a cowboy hat protecting my head and knee long shorts, I strode across the field, sometimes switching onto little runs. Time & distance flew by in the blink of the eye and I had made my way to the other side of the field by late afternoon. I had just laid down on the lush green meadows to catch my breath when I heard a group of people shouting their lungs out. Initially, I ignored it thinking it might be some kids but when I heard the cries of a girl a little later, I couldn't resist but go check out what was wrong. 

I followed the noise and reached a small house around which scores of people had gathered. Since I'd returned to my village directly from college, everybody called me "The Doctor" and they knew me. On seeing me, they let me go past them to the front. 

My picture perfect day got cast with gloom when I saw what was happening. A group of 4 people were thrashing a young couple with leather whips. The girl's clothes were almost torn, while the boy's legs were bleeding profusely. The girl was screaming in pain while the boy was face down on the mud and writhing in pain. I asked the people around why they were being beaten. I was shocked at what they told me. 

The girl, 20 and the boy, 22 were working in the nearby tea estate and had fallen in love with each other. The girl's parents were very strict and the boy was from a lower caste. When the girl told her mother about their affair, the mother had told her that her father would burn her alive if he comes to know of it. She was told to break up with the boy. 
The two, however had plans of their own. The boy, though from a low caste, belonged to a good family. He did not drink, smoke or gamble and was known for his humble and kind nature in the village. The girl felt safe with him and so, they eloped and got married. They sought refuge in the neighbouring village and when the girl got pregnant, they decided to come back. They had thought that with a grand child on the way, the parents might accept them.

However, their parents thought otherwise. They didn;t show the slightest hint of happiness on seeing the girl with her baby bump. The father pulled out his whip and lashed her. Soon, neighbours gathered and they got together and started beating both of them. I was appalled. 
I quickly ran to the nearest temple and requested the head priest to come with me. Once they saw the priest, they stopped lashing the two. However much the priest tried to explain to them how inhumane and illogical they were being, the father was content on killing them both with his own hands. 

I told the father that I'd like to speak to him and his wife alone but he bluntly refused. So I asked the priest to tell all the people gathered around that I want to speak to all of them. I, being 'The Doctor', they agreed. 

Once everyone was quiet, I told them that I want to narrate a small incident that happened to me a few years back in this same village. 
Few years back, I was walking past an orange orchard with my cousins marveling at the number of oranges that the tiny trees had. Our mouths were salivating, the aroma was enchanting. 
Suddenly, we saw an old lady come towards us from the other side of the road. She was returning from the market, with a huge netted bag full of vegetables and fruits. We were sure that she was coming to scold us for loitering around the orchard! 
On nearing us, she asked, "You little ones want to taste the oranges, is it?" We quickly said no, and that we were just looking at the trees. She chuckled and looked at us for a long time. She told us how she as a kid used to go around orchards with her friends when it was the harvesting season and ask for fruits. Her eyes sparkled with happiness as she talked of her childhood days. Suddenly, she sighed and said, "While most of my friends were given an orange each, I was never given one...", on us asking why she said, "I am from a lower caste, my little ones. They believed that if they gave anything to people of my kind, their harvest will get them nothing" We were dumb struck. 

She put her basket down, went down on her knees and started removing plastics of vegetable from her bag. She pulled out a huge black polythene bag and gave it to us. We asked her what it was and she urged us to open it. 
Our eyes were greeted by huge oranges in the plastic! The old granny said, "I was mistreated as a kid but I do not believe in castes-not because I belong to a low caste but because I know that all humans are the same. Both you and I bleed blood when cut & both you & I return to the same mud on dying, so how are we different? Eating oranges given by me wont disfigure you, dear children, so relish it." And she left. 

I told the people gathered around this story.After I finished, everyone was silent. Nobody uttered a word - I was embarrassed, I thought I just made a fool of myself and nobody understood what I was trying to convey. Suddenly, I heard somebody clap and in no time, the crowd was applauding me. 
In a row, people came forward and talked to the parents of that girl and told them that the boy's caste doesn't matter. What matters is that he is a good human being and that their daughter is happy with him. The parents were very stubborn and didn't give in, initially but when so many people spoke to them, they agreed to accept the couple. The two were rushed to hospital and I heard they recovered from the trauma. 

I was in my village for about 3 weeks following that incident and every time I went out, people recognised me and looked upto me. Some families even called me to their houses and asked me to give my advice on problems they were facing. Some mothers wanted to admit their daughters to school, but the fathers were against it. On educating them on the importance of schooling, many of them agreed to admit them to school. 

I was only 20, but people listened to what I had to say. They had faith in me. And I was glad that I was making a difference. I always believed in equality and justice. I always watched television programs that advocated social justice and often, my mother would tell me that I should be a lawyer or a social activist instead of a Doctor.. 
Today, I am content that I could instill principles of equality and solidarity in the minds of my village people. I'm glad that I was there, that I advocated for what is right although I was the only one against the scores of people gathered there, that I managed to get people support what is right. 

The mindset of people in the world are changing and they're evolving to accept many changes. Yet, there are nooks and corners in various parts where women are still looked down upon, where girl infants are being killed, where girls are denied the opportunity of schooling, where young boys are forced to join the army - every one of the these people have a voice and they deserve to be heard.

If not for us, the educated lot, who will  help them out? Without help, these people will have a very bleak future and die dis-satisfied.
 Let us help them, when we can.

Fiction story I wrote for a friend.