Thursday, May 15, 2008

On Tenterhooks Again

The phone rings, I pick up
“Watch the news, quick, bomb blasts in Jaipur”
I switch to news channel
Seven of them in less than thirty minutes!
And the media…they are at it again.
Familiar scenes, blood, mutilated bodies and other gory details
Too soon for a mind that hasn’t yet forgotten Hyderabad or Mumbai
People on tenterhooks again

Alerts resounded … How frequently? At such regular intervals?
“Meticulously planned mass murder of such magnitude,” everybody reacts
Police, government, people all over
Was it RDX, was it something else
Were they from Bangladesh or Pakistan?
Help is assured, bodies are kept in morgues
Cell phones of dead are used for conveying the news to their dear ones
Half lived lives, these young men, ill-fated and hapless victims
Their people crying, helplessly at the loss
Panic spreads, life is threatened
People on tenterhooks again

Stoic reaction to this barbaric act
Matter-of-fact kind of approach to deal with terror
If we don’t hear of such terror attacks periodically
We feel something is missing
Bane of modern life
Curse of this century - Terrorism
Temples scan coconuts before offering them to God
At Churches, Mosques and Gurudwaras very soon security men may outnumber visitors.
People on tenterhooks again

Next morning, my little niece looks at the newspapers and screams “bomb blasts again”
Kids of this generation will grow up differently- I tell myself.
I get ready and leave for my office.

The Tale of my Ingrown Toenail

“Is it going to be very painful”, I asked the surgeon.
“Yes, the injections are a little painful – three shots for local anesthesia”, said the surgeon.
I was in two minds again – to go ahead with the surgery or not.
“What is the other option”, I asked.
“You can take a course of antibiotics and painkillers and see me again after five days, then the chances of infection on the affected area would be less. But surgery cannot be avoided”, he asserted.

Sounds like a serious matter right? Can’t believe that the seemingly innocuous ingrown toenail can take you to the casualty ward of a hospital. I was mentally preparing myself for the inevitable pain and agony and decided to go for it. I firmly told myself: It is better to solve the problem than endure its symptoms repeatedly.

“We can do it right away, it may take an hour for the whole process, you need to take rest for two days and then visit me for removing the sutures”, said the doctor at Yashoda Hospital. As I needed someone to be with me for help I went home and brought my sister along with me.

There I was, lying on the operation ‘table’ (which was actually a stretcher), grimacing at the nurse who was trying to adjust the focused lamp on my foot, telling her about my phobia of needles and syringes and how I can’t stand the sight of blood. She laughed and told me that it’ll not be that painful. The surgeon, actually a plastic surgeon, reassured me that it’ll be okay soon. Nevertheless, deep in my heart I was actually very scared, I didn’t want to show it up, because I had decided to be bold and undergo this intervention. For everything there has to be a first time, isn’t it?

“You can see what I’m doing”, he said, “oh, no I won’t I’m scared” I immediately blurted out. “Okay, then relax” he comforted. First, I saw that he applied the yellowish brown solution (Betadine, as I learnt later) on my toes and part of my foot. Then he asked the ward boy to bring some surgical instruments and the nurse was ready with three syringes. This sight was enough for me to shut my eyes tight, turn my head and tell myself that it’s going to be fine soon.

Just then, I could feel three syringes being pricked in three different points of my big toe. I shrieked with pain. Next minute it was comfortably numb. I have no idea how the ingrown portion of the nail was removed, towards the end of the process I could feel that the skin was being tacked up. I asked him, “how long will it take for healing, will I be able to walk, drive, and carry on with routine soon?” He laughed and said, “Till now you were scared of surgery and now you are worried about healing”. He informed me about the precautions. I was advised to lie down for sometime before leaving the hospital.

The ‘real’ pain began after four hours of surgery when my toe was getting back to senses, it continued in spite of painkillers. I endured. I took all precautions not to hurt myself at this most exposed part of the body. I patted myself for this show of ‘courage’. I’m so glad now - my fear of injections and surgical instruments has considerably reduced. At least, that's how I'm feeling at this point in time:)

Few days later, the sutures were removed and the doctor advised me about how to prevent the problem of ingrown nails in future. "Just let your nails grow a little, file them and apply nail polish (this advantage is not for men as the surgeon said) why do you need cut them so deep!?" I smiled at him at the mention of nail polish and vowed to follow his advice carefully!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Honey, they're eating away my food!

"Earlier they took away our jobs and now look, they're eating away our food! Why are they grabbing our food? What are they upto? How dare they can afford such a prosperous life! Aren’t they supposed to remain ‘poor and undernourished’ as they were in the past? We never realised the magnitude of this problem, look at their teeming numbers, just the middle classes alone outnumber our entire population and we hear that their poor classes are also on their way to improving their lifestyles. Honey! you know something? These intimidating Indians are also adding to global fuel scarcity, do you know how many cars get sold in India each day? Isn’t it a pity that we are facing the worst food crisis because middle class Indians are able to afford superior quality food. Very soon they’ll overtake us in terms of consumption and I’m getting almost paranoid at the very thought that they may dictate terms in managing the global economy! I will not let this happen, certainly not, I hope they remember what we did in Iraq when we found a threat to the civilization in the form of Saddam… as you know the problem here is not that simple; it’s not one person but 350 million Indian middle classes…life sucks!"

Give me a break Mr. Bush (and Ms Rice), it’s so sad to see that your knowledge of Indian middle classes is so limited, dangerous and superficial, you seem to be addressing the ‘nouveau riche’ upwardly mobile classes who swear by brand America, blatantly flaunting their consumerist attitude especially in food; consuming tons of Lays chips, Coke and Pepsi, Pizzas, McDonalds, Tropicanas, Washington Apples, Kelloggs Corn Flakes, ActII pop-corns, sweet corns, chewing gums, chocolates, etc etc…the truth is such Indians are a just a handful of the total billion plus population. The real middle classes are born thrifty, they struggle to earn and save for their children’s education and marriage, for building a house of their own. This class restrains from indulging in wasteful expenditure on food and prefers to cook their meals buying stuff from local grocery shop and enjoying with their families and friends. Rarely you come across such people splurging money on anything beyond simple necessities. Then, there are lower middle classes for whom managing a square meal a day is an ordeal. They strive to make their ends meet by saving on food and other expenses. Then, there are millions of those who live below the poverty line. Then, there are those who die of starvation and malnutrition. Here I'll not get into the argument about how much we produce and consume in our country or why there is so much poverty or why farmers commit suicide...

Where I’m in complete agreement with you is the fact that our country is unfortunately getting flooded with many things American; today people are spending a lot to buy and eat the junk served in your franchisee eateries, sadly and inadvertently profiting your economy. Perhaps your blinkered vision is drawing parallels and extrapolating this trend to be the ultimate truth about our country and various strata of our society, particularly the middle classes. Thanks to the ‘glocal’ food habits the upper middle classes are not aware of the hidden risks they take while adapting our food habits to your taste. But Mr. Bush, please be corrected – the actual middle classes have always been eating healthy homemade food unlike the tons of pre-packaged frozen food consumed in your country. It’s time you did some homework before making a mockery of Indians with your unthoughtful and outrageous statements. Same applies to Ms. Rice.
Cricket - the next level

Cricket, as we knew it for so long, will never be the same again! It’s redefined and re-engineered beyond its original identity. It's moved far beyond color and glitz added by glam-girls like Mandira Bedi. It’s packaged for media, for TRPs and for entertainment. It’s produced and directed by Bollywood and business badshahs. It can only be matched with horse racing and no other sport. It is meant to excite your passions in whatever way – from cheergirls and other props to the actual players on the field. It’s supposed to arouse your erotic sensibility while watching the game as you would while watching a movie or a soap on TV.

It is played and lost for money, it is not a ‘sport’ anymore. It’s a neatly crafted gamble and we are expected to enjoy the sensationalism associated with it. At stake are millions of dollars, with a hefty price tag for each player. Perhaps it will take time for old time fans of this game to accept its new format and frenzy. The fact remain- it lost its credibility as a character building sport long ago thanks to the matches fixed by the respected team members. Wondering what is in store in its new avatar...well, wait and watch. Did I hear someone say Advt revenues;)