Friday, December 12, 2008


The sky was a clear blue. The leaves rustled softly in the mild breeze.. People stood in groups chatting quietly outside the old church..

I walked inside.. Some were listening to the hymns .. Some praying.. Some deep in thought.. saying their last goodbyes..

There were no tears.. Only a quiet awe of the figure that lay in the coffin.. Of a life lived so well..

I gazed at the calm face.. I could see the twinkle behind the closed faded eyes. The snow-white beard still gave him that Santa clause look. I could hear the soft sing song voice so common in people from Cochin.. I could hear his soft laughter as he made fun of himself.. his ‘begging’.. He would laugh wryly… holding his palms beseechingly..

He would come and wait silently outside for me to finish my patients ..I chided him lovingly many times.. It hardly took few minutes. Patients could wait..

‘ No.’.. ‘.. Then I won’t be able to talk to you. I would have to go away fast.’ He would laugh softly

He would then ask me in detail about my family.. He had a special affection for my boys. He would then give me updates about the child I sponsored.. Anecdotes about the interesting things that happened when one looked after and cared for two hundred and thirty seven unruly boys. I would give him the monthly amount for his orphanage The Poor Boys Home run by Franciscan Brothers.. He would show me photographs of the boys.

Once in a while very gently he would talk of the spiraling expenses and make me raise the amount.. I paid mechanically.. as I talked to him. The amount was not much.. and I did it automatically as I talked to him

‘Lots of places to visit.. Jeweler shops.. Hotels..’ he would say as he rose up to go

‘.Hmm I know you have lots of rich friends.’ I would laugh..

Yes!!. All rich friends..!!.. To beg..!!.... Holding his hand beseechingly.. He would laugh his huge tummy jiggling

His Christmas cards were always the first one I received. A group photograph of all the boys in the orphanage with a simple Christmas message at the back, I cherished is cos it always was the first reminder that Christmas season was arriving

The good news always came from him.. My favorite Santa Claus.

Brother Julian had died on duty they told me.. He had gone to a bank to collect money from some employees there.. And was on his way to a few shops..

He followed the same visiting schedule every month he had once told me once.. ‘Organized begging..!!’ He had laughed..

I watched the silent figure.. so many wreaths surrounded him.. From jeweler shops.. Textile shops.. Hotels.. Resorts..Organisations

I gulped .. willing my tears away..

Piles of wreaths. Expressions of love and thanks from hundreds... People with more money than they needed.. Who didn’t feel the pinch but needed the gentle prodding of this old man who had gone from doorstep to doorstep gathering the bread crumbs to feed three hundred and thirty seven boys. And hundreds before them

The money was not enough to care for one child but he nominated each regular benefactor as the parent one child.

The feel good factor it gave made people wish to give more..

So much goodness had happened through him..

And we had all gathered to thank him.. For making us do something good..

He had been an instrument for so much goodness.. To so many boys to find a life..

An instrument..

“Lord make me an instrument of your peace.."

My favorite prayer by St Francis of Assisi..

Sunday, November 23, 2008


"Take frequent feeds.. bland food will sooth you.. "I smiled at her

"I don’t feel hungry..” She bowed her face..

“But you need to eat frequently.. Your pain is due to hyper acidity..” I persisted

“I don’t feel hungry at all”

Her eyes filled up.

I watched the plump unadorned face....there were black circles under her eyes

I felt impatience rising within me

“Saradamma.. You need to move ahead.. Concentrate on your family..” Was my tone a bit sharp ?

She started to weep..

I felt so helpless..

She was depressed . Still in mourning.

Her thirty one year old son had died in an accident two and a half years back

Leaving a young bride and one year old girl child.

Saradamma hardly saw them .They were in Mumbai.. With her daughter – in laws parents..

“Take more interest in life.. Eat good food.. Go for walks.. Temples..”

“Don’t you want to go to Mumbai..? Visit them ? “

I smiled encouragingly..

“I don’t like going anywhere”

She started to sob..

“Please don’t cry. You are the pillar of your family. Think about your husband..”

“At least get out of the house.. Don’t just sit and brood. Go to temples then ..Get close to God”

“I used to be very close to God.. Now don’t feel that too” she shrugged.

I would have to suggest professional counseling for Saradamma..if things didn’t improve in her next visit.

“Take frequent meals.. Go for walks.. Pray more. Your problem is hyper acidity. Go out of house I spoke fast writing the prescription”

Patients were waiting me had no more t time to spare that busy Monday morning..

Mourning your child death.. Is there any pain more intense than that ?

I know a couple who distributes laddoos on their dead son’s birthday.. Every year. To the whole school where he studied.

A mother once asked me if they could donate the organs of her brain dead teenager ..

I remember a woman I met on a train journey to Mumbai.. She talked to me late into the night the tears falling unabashedly down her cheeks. She didn’t even bother to wipe them away ..

She talked and talked.. Describing how exceptionally smart first born had been.. An IIT student. He had died in the hostel at Gorakpur.. With undiagnosed cerebral malaria.. Fourteen years back.

But once the tears had died, I remember her eyes glowing in the dim light as she spoke of her grandchild for whose wedding she was going to Mumbai.. About herblooming garden.. How one day old kanji water did wonders for her anthuriams and roses..

She even told me the recipe for perfect lime rice.

( I still follow her recipe)

As a child I had heard stories about a brother of my mom, who had died at the age of twelve due to typhoid.. My grandma used to stand on the terrace during the weeks following his death.. gazing up at the sky waiting for the stars to fall down..cos she believed that definitely the world was ending..

But the grandma I knew was so full of life.. Laughing incessantly. She loved cooking and would feed the whole brood lovingly.. Her mysore paks. Halwas.. Mutton chops.. Dried mango pickles…all were out of this world..

I remember her in her eighties bringing me steaming coffee at 4. AM as I sat reading for my medical entrance. Watering her plants herself..

They all had survived.. And moved on.

When one survives life’s devastations.. With acceptance.. Strength.. Courage .. And Hope.. There is so much power in that.. It becomes a miracle..

I would have to suggest professional counseling for Saradamma..

She too must move ahead.. With smiles.. With hope in her heart.. And love in her soul.

Monday, November 10, 2008

To be a child..

“Know you what it is to be a child? It is to be something very different from the man of to-day. It is to have a spirit yet streaming from the waters of baptism; it is to believe in love, to believe in loveliness, to believe in belief; it is to be so little that the elves can reach to whisper in your ear; it is to turn pumpkins into coaches, and mice into horses, lowness into loftiness, and nothing into everything, for each child has its fairy godmother in its own soul.”

-Francis Thompson

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

dance in the drizzle..

Dark dull clouds filled the sky..

I looked around with pleasure…

The road along the side of the canal stretched ahead. There was not a single soul in sight.. only the soft soft rain.. and the wet chilly breeze..

The moist earth was totally drenched.

I watched the slow unhurried drops slanting into the burgeoning canal... millions of tiny ripples danced in the waters..

The coconuts palms glistened as they swayed gently in the wet breeze.

A few bird sat brooding on the electric wires. Not bothering to sing...

The leaves and the flowers drooped… overburdened with the last night’s rain..

I shivered with pleasure as the rain drops fell like pins and needles on my skin... ....the chilly breeze stung m y cold cheeks

My dress was getting damp.. My shoes slowly soaking...

The soft sound of the drizzle had awakened me from sleep early morning....I had rushed out..

I love to walk in the drizzle..

I took in a deep breath as I walked briskly.

Four short inspirations... then four short expirations...the fresh cold crisp morning air was literally cleansing my system. I matched the rhythm of my steps with my breaths

She was walking towards me fast , her bare feet faston the sodden ground.. She wore a graying polyester skirt that reached mid calf...a dull brown blouse hung loosely over the dark skinny body... A thin cloth possibly torn off from a sari was wrapped around her head and shoulders...

I smiled at her warmly but she didn’t notice me as she walked past across me.. crouching under the thin cloth.. her frown deepening.. her body cringing with discomfort as each drop fell on her face...

I looked back to see her walking hurriedly..

Unmindful of the dark murky beauty unfolded around her.

The beauty of the drooping flowers... the soft rhythm of the drizzle... the millions of ripples dancing on the water...

Yes.. she was hurrying towards the tiny shop attached to a hut that sold minor provisions..

Probably to get something for the breakfast.

Throw back that cloth , take a deep breath and smile at the clouds sweetheart..!!

I wanted to tell her.

Allow the drops to caress your cheeks. Let the chilly breeze play with your tendrils.

Close your eyes .. Pull out your tongue and taste the fresh drops...

Breathe in again...

Smile flirtly at the clouds...Cajole the birds to sing... Pat the drooping flowers playfully and watch the rain drops dance around madly.
Dance in the drizzle sweetheart.

Love the rains...She is your friend...’

Dance in the monsoons that batters your life sweetheart... That’s the best way to beat them...

Make sorrow your friend..

Yes sweetheart.. dance in the drizzle

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A white pillow and a wooden cross...

The coffin was closed. The jasmine garland decorating it had already started to wilt. I caressed the small wooden cross.

The family burial chamber was a very very old type. The top, slanting slab was still intact. There was a trap door at the front. The coffin was pushed in through it and placed on an iron grid just below the ground level.

The trap door would be sealed. The bodily remains would drop down through the grid....join the mortal remains of those gone before her.

Till the trap door was opened again...and someone, his breath reeking with alcohol....his senses dull, would be sent in through the trap door. He would clean up the iron grid hastily and
keep it ready for the next person..

Then we all would go again. Singing hymns, some weeping, some numb, some just on looking and man watching...

Some with beautiful memories..some with not so good ones.. some curious..some just out of duty, wondering when it would all be over and they could go on with their precious lives..

The trap door was still open.

I could see the coffin placed on the cleaned up iron grid.

It was closed....Silent. The flowers had already started to wilt...

A soft white pillow daintily trimmed with white lace was placed on top of it.

It had been removed so that the lid could be closed.

People had started to leave....Some silent, lost in their own thoughts... Some talking to one other softly...Some laughing and chattering as they saw long lost friends and relatives.

Only we, the family remained. Each one lost in the last goodbye, the last prayers

The coffin was silent..but soft white pillow daintily trimmed with lace whispered to me...

'Even I was removed.'

I caressed the small wooden cross again...

It had also been removed from her hands at the last moment....’Becaus the Cross is never buried’ They told me as they handed it over to my hands.

I looked at it...

My mom in law had handed over...I had taken over.

Who would take it over from my hands? I wondered curiously.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Symbol of hope..


New beginings..

The harvest is over.

The barns are full

The new seeds are ready.

There is hope...

In the fertility of the soil.

The bounty of rains.

The smiling benevolent Sun.

There is hope..

In trusting our inner self.

In the love of our sweethearts.

In his grace that guides us....

New hopes are rising high..

'Happy Vishu' to all of you..

May all your hopes and dreams come true..

:)) on the foto for experiencing it fully..

Saturday, March 22, 2008



To everything there is a season,

a time for every purpose under the sun.

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 weep and a time to laugh;

a time to mourn and a time to dance ...

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

a time to rend and a time to sew;

a time to keep silent and a time to speak;

a time to love and a time to hate;

a time for war and a time for peace.

ecclesiastes 3:1-8

PS. My special thanks to the gifted person, Mr Rajesh Rajendran for being so generous and giving me these beautiful fotos.. and for the following words..

"Sun is the only witness of the events that take place in the world. Bright sun with its all good blazing rays could be attributed to the happiness of life and the dull one masked by the clouds to the sorrows. In your lines,the two aspects of life that is positive and negative are implied such as love and hatred;weeps and laugh etc.So, i am sending u two pictures that seemed suitable for me.."

Friday, February 29, 2008


She looked better… face calmer.. stronger..

‘You look good ..!!’I smiled at her warmly

‘Yes. Doc..! I feel better too..! See.. My hair is growing back..!!” She turned her head to give me the full view of her scalp.

Sure.. It was growing back.

‘Has stared to curl already…!! ‘I giggled.

She had come to me last May. With a lump breast. Detected two days after her husband’s first death anniversary.
Her unmarried daughter was with her. She has one more daughter she told me .But she was married. Now living in US.

She was jittery, over talkative. Fear clouded her eyes. She repeatedly begged me to give the report fast. Even though I reassured her that I would give it the next days itself.

It was CA. She was referred to RCC .

She underwent mastectomy and chemotherapy.

I watched helplessly as her inner self-crumbled several times and tears flowed down her cheeks as therapy ravaged her body and spirit...

She spent days in bed retching her guts out. She became pathetically thin. completely bald. Her eyes often looked terror stricken.

But today she looked different. Her figure looked fuller.. Her eyes were calm. Her gaze steady, as she smiled at me.

‘Eight months.’ She sighed deeply.

‘You survived it..!!’

I grinned back.
‘Why don’t u make a trip to US..? Visit your daughter..?’

I wanted her to come back to life fully.

‘No doc I prefer to be alone now.’ That calm smile again..

Pray. Cook a bit. Take frequent rests’
‘Hmmm.. true..’ I nodded.

‘How you managed..?

I was eager to know how she has brought about the transformation..

‘It was tough doc. But I held tightly to god. Would’nt let go of him.’

Her eyes were earnest..

‘And I tried to find comfort within myself.’ She continued..

‘You know it’s always better that way. Only if you are unable to console yourself should you go to others for support’
‘Oh..!’. I was impressed.

‘Yes doc. The fear of relapse is always there.. but I trust in god. In myself.’

She got up to go. Then grinned at me.

‘You look lovely today..! “

‘Oh thanks…!’

I smiled back delighted

The room felt quiet after she had gone. I closed my eyes. I had witnessed true human spirit.. Human endurance and strength.

Trust in god. Don’t let go of him. Find strength in yourself..
So true...

Saturday, February 16, 2008

April rain

I love this beautiful poem...

It is not raining rain for me,
It’s raining daffodils;
In every dimpled drop I see
Wild flowers on the hills.

The clouds of gray engulf the day
And overwhelm the town;
It is not raining rain to me,
It’s raining roses down.

It is not raining rain to me,
But fields of clover bloom,
Where any buccaneering bee
Can find a bed and room.

A health unto the happy,
A fig for him who frets!
It is not raining rain to me,
It’s raining violets. '

-By Robert Loveman (1864-1923)
ps.Love n hugs to ashi for helping me with the template.. Thanks a lot sweetheart..!!

Saturday, January 26, 2008


The girl was in bed most of the time. She was not clearing her exams. She was not talking much.. Eating much.. Not sleeping much either..

I requested her parents to wait outside. I needed to talk to her alone.

‘Tell me Jamie..? What is your problem ?’

She stared back.. blankly.
Her face looked puffy and pale.. The eyes dull..

‘Tell m.’ I repeated.. smiling cajolingly.

The blank stare again..

‘Jaime are you afraid of something some body? Worried?’

‘No.. Its not fear.’


I knew it was not anxiety.. her expression was too dull for that. I was just poking around. Trying to instill some response in her.

‘Err.. Hmmm.. Thoughts keep coming..’


‘I keep getting these thoughts..’

‘What thoughts?’

‘About one person.. I love one person’

‘Love..?! Great...!!

I smiled sweetly
‘What does he do?’

‘He is a teacher.’

‘He loves you too?’


Yes.. She believed it. Her eyes told me so.

‘So what’s the problem?’

She glanced at the closed door

‘He is a Hindu..My parents don’t agree.’

‘Hmm.. ‘ I nodded..’So tell me more about him’

‘He is a teacher

Where does he live? How u met him ?’

‘He gave me tuitions’




‘He is married ‘

‘And he loves you?’


I looked at her dull and washed out churidar . Her cotton shawl was crumpled

‘He wants to marry you ?’

‘Yes. But he will not tell that.’


‘That’s the understanding between us.’


‘Yes. When he says I don’t love you he means‘ I love you’


‘And when he says I must not call him he means I must keep calling.’


‘Any kids?’

‘Yes. Two girls’

‘He loves you..? He wants to marry you…?’


The blank stare again.

‘Ok. Call your parents... and Jaime please waits outside’

‘Your daughter suffers from delusions..She needs psychiatric evaluation.’

‘Delusion ?’

‘Yes…fixed false belief. typically occur in neurological or mental illness

‘Oh..!They stared back at me.’

‘The false belief is firmly sustained despite what almost everybody else believes.. despite obvious proof or evidence to the contrary’

Some patients belive that their spouse is having an affair.. some that their neighbours are harming them …some that their co workers have ganged up against them ‘

‘They will not belive belive that even if you try to convince them. They suffer a lot of agony thinking its true.’.

‘Your daughter belives that a married man wants to marry her.’
‘Yes we know.. he is also upset because of it.’

‘We took her to a priest for counselling..’

‘No counselling will not help now..’
‘Her delusionsWill start to break down after six to eight weeks of treatment.. Then conselling may help.’

‘Till then don’t support her views or tell her she is wrong.. it will only aggravate her distress.. just be neutral..’
I refered Jamie to a psychiatrist.. Ifelt disturbed the whole day.. I could imagine her pain.. her despair..

Do you know anyone with fixed beliefs that’s obviously wrong to everyone else.. ?

Do you feel that you reach a dead end ..a blank wall when you talk to them….? Don’t just get frustrated.. consider if it could be delusions.

Delusions have wrecked my friend’s life.. Proper treatment at the right time could have prevented it..

That’s why I wrote this post..