Monday, November 28, 2005


She looked at me scornfuly.. Her smile was confident

Anger bubbled up my gut..My head throbbed.. I felt frustrated.

But then it was her choice.. I kept silent..
She had come to me with a history of missed periods.

A smart young woman.. Sharp features.. Hair in a tight ponytail.. Mother of a two yr old girl.. She was a clerk in a bank.

But somehow I failed to connect with her..

Human bonding is important for me..Especialy when I deal with people professionaly. That’s what keeps me going …

Her pregnancy test was positive.

“Hmmm good news..! You are pregnant..!”
I smiled at her.
“Yes. I had expected it”. She was cool.
“ I want an abortion”
“Abortion..?” I was surprised.. “why?”
“I am planning to appear for The Bank Officer’s test.. Have to prepare for it.. Besides that I want only one child.”
“Then why didn’t you go for a permenant sterlisation..? At least you could have taken some temporary precaution..”
‘We use condoms usually.. But once or twice....” she shrugged..

I felt irritated.. I have seen many women like her.. Who are so casual about these things..

“At least go for a sterlisation along with your abortion.” I pressed.
“No.. See.. I don’t know.. I have a girl now.. I may want a boy later..”

She was so cool.. dammnnit..!!

“Maybe this one is a boy..” I hated myself for saying that… Using that to cajole her..

No. I don’t want a child now..” she laughed casualy..

“But repeated abortions can harm your health..” I told her..

She looked at me scornfuly.. her smile was confident.

I knew there was not much I could say.. she would find a gyenecologist who would cook up some indication for an abortion for her..

I felt indignant after she left..she had had least intrest in what I had to tell her.I felt irritated with myself.. for trying to advice her..

I would never undergo an abortion I thought.. The guilt would be terrible..

I Remembered what Rene had told me ..

About four years back.

She had come to me with pain lower abdomen...Mother of two kids.. Lap sterlisation done.. She missed her periods.

The bonding had been instantaneous..

I advised a pregnacy test and A scan to rule out ectopic pregnancy..Failure of lap sterlisation was not unheard of.And her lower abdominal pain was worrying me ..

The cell rang to wake me from my nap tha afternoon ..
It was Rene on the other side..
“Doc.. shall we come to your house now..?” Her voice was tearful..
She knew that I rarely saw patients in my home..
“Ok. Come along..” I soothed..

Her face was flushed as she walked in..I read the reports silently..
Yes she was pregnant.. But thankfuly the pregnancy was Intrauterine not Ectopic..
“Well… You can consider an abortion ..”

I had to offer her that since it was a case of sterlisation failure..Rene started to cry.. Like a child..Then she rubbed her tears away…

“ I will have to have this baby.. I cant consider abortion.. I know it will be difficult to manage..”“But I could never consider an abortion..” she gazed at me tearfuly..

“ I know it will be difficult.. But it will be worth it..” I soothed..
I smiled at her warmly..

The boy is two and a half years old now.. He has started to attend play school..

Two women..Facing almost the same situation .. But the paths they chose were so different..

Who am I to judge..?

I only hope that I will never be in a mental state to consider abortion as an option..

Decisions appear to be difficult sometimes..But certain values that you refuse to give up.. Certain bottom lines you refuse to cross .. can simplify everything..

Later it makes you realise that it was the only path that you could choose..

Monday, November 14, 2005



As you set out for Ithaka,
Hope your journey is long,
Full of adventure, full of awakening.
Do not fear the monsters of the old
You will not meet them in your travels
If your thoughts are exalted and remain high’
If authentic passions stirs your mind, body and spirit.
You will not encounter fearful monsters ,
If you don’t carry them within your soul,
If your soul doesn’t set them up in front of you..

Hope your road is a long one.
May there be many summer mornings when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you enter harbors you're seeing for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind-
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to learn and go on learning from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you're destined for.
But don't hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you're old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you've gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you wouldn't have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won't have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you'll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.
-Constantine Peter Cavafy

The first version of “Ithaka” was probably written in 1894. Cavafy revised the poem in 1910, and it was first published in 1911. The first English translation was published in 1924, and there have been a number of different translations since then.

Ithaka was the island home of the legendary Greek hero, Odysseus. After his involvement in the Trojan War, Odysseus spent ten years wandering. During these ten years he had adventures, underwent numerous tests of his courage and arrived home a different person.
The narrator, probably a man who traveled a lot addresses either Odysseus, the hero of homers epic poem the odyssey or the reader..

The word ‘Ithaka’ itself serves as a symbol for success, and is used as not only a place but as a sign of achievement and accomplishment.

This poem used to be read to travelers setting out on a long journey ...or as an elegy during funerals..

I wanted to share this poem cos I have found it consoling and reviving as I faced challenges both professional and personal in my life. Especially when I chose to take a road less traveled…

On retrospective analysis I have understood that the fears I had initially, never actually took place..And that my authentic thoughts and passions affected the outcome positively..

I find myself going back to this alluring poem again and again .. And it never fails to fill me with peace..

There is something deeply inspiring about this poem.. It tells us about the importance of having a sense of purpose…but that the pleasures on the way are more important.. That we must be attuned to beauty of each moment.. The pleasures of senses (perfumes) as well as that of the mind..(knowledge)

So now when facing challenges instead of focusing on my fears I have begun to ask the primary question

“What is my Ithaka..”?