Doc Diaries #1 – Mid Week Quests

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When we met last, I was babbling about my future prospects, the first baby steps of which were to be taken last week and sans hesitation, let me say that it was taken, on a warm note to my relief too. Although, one way or the other, I have been serving the Government for the past few years, as an intern first and as a resident later, this is the first time I feel that I have been imbibed into the otherwise enclosed and privileged terrain, without the constraints of time and bond limiting my stay. Am I happy that I have had a taste of what it feels like to be secured by the promise of a job for life? Yes.  But as they say, the fact cannot be denied that I still have miles to go before I sleep and the sheer rawness of the undeniable truth keeps me from relaxing at this juncture. My eyes are set on higher studies, one that will consolidate the professional in me.

The job is in another district, to reach where I have to travel for around 2to 3 hours. The place is calm and serene, as far as I have seen. But you know, a doctor confronts bloodshed and goriness day in and day out. They are mostly the first halt for assaults and medico legal cases, especially the ones serving Government hospitals and there in surface the darkest and depressing facets of the place we serve. One cannot judge a place by what we see in a quick glance. The undercurrents are mostly hidden, like the massive, albeit inconspicuous chunk of the iceberg wallowing beneath the surface of the ocean.

Sadly, there is absolutely no place to stay there, particularly for a few kilometers around the hospital premises and because of that I am forced to adjust my duties in a way that will let me commute for work in a comfortable manner, thanks to the colleagues who understand the wariness of the situation. 

As far as the commute is concerned, I get to travel a lot by train. And undoubtedly, I am delighted in that regard as well although I have never much travelled far and long for my job almost on a daily basis before. If you haven’t heard about the speciality of train journeys through Kerala before, the best way to imbibe the raw beauty of Kerala is to travel by train, a fact vouched by any tourist who has travelled the length and breadth of the state. The cold rush of breeze against the hair, the warm motes of sun settling on the inviting skin, the evocative and enticing sights of nature and the thrill of being on the move imbibing the nuances of life, both from within and from around sound insatiable indeed. 

Even when the matters were almost settled in my mind and heart, the first ever duty that I took in the hospital gave me reasons to worry. Because of the adjustments, I was to take a straight 19 hour duty, which I thought would be, if not a cake walk, at least doable with the amount of experience that I had in medical colleges where we serve for up to 36 hours once a week. Somehow, here, there was a seamless flow of patients, granting me little time to rest. The variety of cases that arrived left me astonished too. There was never a plateau phase as far as the depth of the cases were concerned.

After the duty, even though I had barely two hours of sleep, I found myself all peppy, happy and satiated. Having had my breakfast, smiling, I took an auto to the railway station and waited there singing a song and clicking photographs of the deserted station, sipping from a cold drink in between. But the vibrant time was not to last long. The train was supposed to come by 10.00 and there was no sign of the train even one hour after that. I was all sweaty and tired, my hair was shaggy and ruffled and I could sense distressing drops of perspiration starting to collect on my skin for the hot weather and my dreary body. On top of that, to make matters worse, the inevitable migraine kicked in mercilessly. Needless to say, I was a bundle of havoc  in no time. Before things got out of my hand and made me swoon, the train arrived, trundling in its own pace and I got in and settled without much ado. I came back home and slept 5 hours straight in broad daylight, much to the awe of my parents.

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Now that I realised I cannot trust that train, I have changed plans so that the dark episode wouldn’t happen a second time. Nevertheless, I am content that I am working and am hopeful that the initial hiccoughs would part ways, soon and forever. One learns along the way, isn’t it so? However old a person turns, he or she would still have so much to learn from the pages of life. Even though it is too early on the path to state affirmatively, I have a hunch that the following days would be liberating, both with regard to my inner professional and personal space. 

The last one week has been so utterly a busy one that I missed my Mid Week Quests, although, it should be stressed that I truly have been on one of the worthiest quests of my life. Seven days of weariness and the whole routine is threatened to be toppled down headfirst onto the ground. But I don’t think there is a reason to worry as long as something good is happening along the way. I can always write when I am settled. I can always catch up on my reading the next free day.

 One cannot live forever, relishing the gifts of life. Sometimes we need to strive hard to make those gifts attainable forever; simply that one needs to be sensible enough to realise when to draw the line and take rest to recharge.

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Now reading, mostly in train:  The Cosmopolitan by Anjum Hassan.

 

P.S: This post is tagged with Mid Week Quests, a sub section of this blog where I write on a Wednesday, about random nuggets from my life .

At Crossroads – Mid Week Quests

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A part of my collection at home

Life has it that, it needs to smother us with torrents of sorrows at one time, but to exhilarate us with thickets of joy at the others. Just last week, I was lamenting about the humdrum that persisted in my professional life owing to serious setbacks at the administration front and merely at the start of this week, I am bombarded with alluring choices as to how to take forward my professional life. It so happens that I am not yet done with my higher studies- Another two year would be a boon when it comes to my professional skills, I being in a surgical speciality. Nevertheless, I received the appointment order for a permanent Government job this week, out of an interview that was conducted a couple of years back. There are a few worries about taking up the same, but there are things to rejoice as well.

My parents are overjoyed with the unexpected turn of events much more than me. They think I should grab the job sans any delay, but still make sure that my concentration suffers no aberration from the higher studies dream wheel I am manoeuvring. For doctors, a government job after serving residency means steady working hours and options to relax in between, during the night off days and week off days, although we do have to serve 24hour duties every week or so. The environment is blissfully different, although only relatively, from the residency period, when the resident is supposed to available in the hospital, either in person or as on call duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for 365 days a year.

Residency days witnessed the slow demise of my creativity. I have no regrets, for it died or rather went into hibernation for a noble cause. I see it as more of a sacrifice, which deserves praise, let alone disturbing and remorseful stares. The books that I had so wishfully bought to be read, soon was drowned in an ocean of the academic text books. I abandoned my efforts to seek a muse for there were direr matters at hand imploring my attention and service. I even believed, assertively, to an extent that I would never ever write again in my life and that my passion would remain buried in a deserted, enclosed pit forever. However much I tried to focus on the pages of a novel, I could hardly make myself drag my eyes for more than a few pages at a time. Although, all the while, a feeble voice had been muttering in the back of my mind that the phase should pass soon. Yet, somehow man tends to ignore the forecasts of the soul sometimes and find an inexplicable, mysterious joy in the heinous task of rubbing the salts of apprehension on the still oozing wound. Not much of a ghastly wound when it comes to the scenario I just described, but, an aching abrasion for sure the unappetising emotion was. 

I assumed mine was an isolated case of reader’s block, until yesterday when one of my dearest friends confessed that she was encountering a similar situation, her life being chock a block with the formidable, implicit and explicit responsibilities of residency. She also added that a day without reading a book always felt incomplete for her. How true!

It so turns out that for me, spring hastily follows winter, however long the stone cold era might be. The period of parchment the bibliophilic section of my mind and heart is accustomed to, if the atmosphere transforms to a more favourable one, is without much delay followed by an entirely enriching experience. I know that this endearing halt on my journey has to be considered as an oasis, for the days of sheer bliss( concerning the reader in me, for the doctor in me feels blessed every minute of the day with or without books) are not to last long.

From there ensue the cascade of acts that any bibliophile could relate to- Buying dozens of books online/offline and savouring them back to back, all the while snuggling onto the couch, munching on crispy chips punctuated with sips of tea or coffee. This has happened to me occasionally before too- During my Summer vacations back in school, after my Medical entrance, on year end breaks in college, after my post graduate entrance and now recently, after my post graduate university exam.

The bittersweet truth is even when I pine to get hold of a book; I fear it would be hard to fall back on my habit of reading after a long hiatus. Inertia sometimes take a toll on me, but once I overcome that marshy patch, things start to glide fast smoothly.

Coming back to my soon-to-be posted job, if I dissect it to shreds there are several pros and cons:

Pros:

  1. There is nothing new to be learnt to perform the job (Now that is one good thing about being a doctor. You are trained to act according to the circumstances, however mind numbing those might be)
  2. I would be ‘working’ after a monotonous gap of five months.
  3. I hope to read and write, now that I am officially a medical officer, and not a surviving medical student.
  4. Reasonable amount of leisure time

Cons:

  1. I would have to shift to the rural terrains of another district.
  2. I would miss the comforts of my home.
  3. I wouldn’t particularly be using the skills I acquired through my post graduation for the time being. But surely, after a while it would happen.

I look forward to penning down a post after I embark on the new job. A whole new list of pros and cons might welcome me there, who knows.

For the time being, I am relishing my much sought after time with books. I am relieved that I reclaimed my habit and to consolidate the same, I signed up for the Goodreads Reading Challenge too for a goal of 50 books in 2016. I long to read more than that, but one never knows how the days turn out to be in my profession. I have had a lot of book talks this week- with my friend whose words echoed my thoughts, with an upcoming author on his debut and right when I thought it was going to end, I received a courier carrying the books I had ordered online last week, stirring in me the flame to write this post for this week’s Mid Week Quests. I am leaving you all with a picture of my latest assets. Posing suavely alongside is the cutest, cuddliest, sleepy little gem who is my writing companion these days.

Ogle as much as you want, but do leave behind your own stories surrounding books. Do you go on a reading spree like me when you finally earn the time? Have you too weighed out the pros and cons enroute a new job? Do you suffer creativity-block yourself when accosted with duty calls ?

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There is not a thing I don’t love in this picture!

 

P.S: This post is tagged with Mid Week Quests, a sub section of this blog where I write on a Wednesday, about random nuggets from my life .

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Being Personal – Mid Week Quests

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Image Source: here

This blog was born out of a misery. A misery which was capable enough to shake the earth beneath me. A helpless and distraught me found respite in the blank canvas that lay invitingly before me on this glaring monitor. It has been close to eight years since I started blogging. The blog started off as a niche where I jotted down random posts that niggled in the depths of me, desperately pleading thereby to let them out. I wrote my first ever piece of poetry, not on a ragged piece of paper or on the blank pages of my notebook when I was a child; I wrote that on an MS Word document and copied it onto my blog, but when I was 20. This blog has taught me many a thing, but more than that, somewhere on the trail, it shrouded itself the cloak of an archaeologist and started excavating the hidden chambers in the gurgling innards of me. I discovered a part of me that lay buried in an abandoned corner, waiting to be unearthed someday, before it was too late.

Around two years into the journey, the concept of blogging in me underwent a drastic change. I started eyeing blogging as an exercise I could undertake to polish my writing skills without depending on anyone. It seemed to me the perfect way to test the strength, durability and flexibility of my writing. Undoubdtedly, the opinions of my readers acted as an essential inspiration all along, to keep experimenting and to try out fresh avenues on the wide pedestal of writing. And that was how I started writing stories in this space. Over the time, this blog changed shades and metamorphosed into, more than anything else, a creative blog. Snippets of my personal life and accounts of my hitherto unspoken emotions dwindled with time.

Over the past few weeks, I have been having a recurrent thought as to why I stopped peeking into the individual in me to lend voice to the forgotten cadence chirping shyly somewhere inside.  I have been busy dissecting the many fictitious characters, that I was never implored to infuse life into the multifarious hues that lay redundant in me.

Talking of personal blogs, I am tempted to confide in you a couple of vagaries too, that in a way, acted as the implicit prompt for this post. These might sound insignificant, or perhaps even undeserving to be encouraged, owing to its silliness. But I do have to let it out, to attain respite from the consistent disturbing urge to speak out the heart’s dilemmas. To put it simply,

  • Is it necessary that each and every post I write in this blog, or for that matter, any blogger writes in his/her blog ought to highlight a particular message?
  • Should it always speak of something that satiates the interests of the readers?
  • Should it always garner comments aplenty?

I personally love to read blog posts that are written from the heart.  I may not always have words to express how I felt for the writer when I read those, but I sure hold those accounts close to my heart. And it was when I thought it that way, that it struck me that blogging needn’t always be about the readers. At times, it should also be about satisfying the writer in you; let it be through pointless rambling speeches, introspective posts, stories, poignant poems, or however else it may be.

On a very positive note, I have decided to not unnecessarily chain this blog with reins any more. This blog shall have everything till the time I decide to wrap it up sans a return journey– Stories, poems, reviews, random musings and photographs- Everything that touches my heart, everything that I would want to segregate and have etched in this space in black and blue, so that they would have a soul of their own to realise that they are to look deep in my eyes and smile when I feel the inevitable need to reminisce. This space ought to be and would be a hint to what I am in the inside. 

Also, I shall strive hard to keep posting regularly in ‘Mid Week Quests’. I have started liking this section of blog the most. Now, after writing this post, I have the inkling that in 2016, this blog might witness the celebration of the essence of being. Well, I cannot be happier for that revelation. 

If something as evocative as deciphering the whispers of my soul would nudge my pen to scribble more, then why not?

 

P.S: This post is tagged with Mid Week Quests, a sub section of this blog where I write on a Wednesday, about random nuggets from my life .

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Now Reading : The Catcher in the Rye (Paperback) and Lolita on the Kindle App. 

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To The Reader’s Heart Through An Email – Mid Week Quests

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Image source: here

As I mentioned before, I recently exported my blog at blogger to the much appraised WordPress platform. I happened to lose my followers, as the inbuilt export feature ignores just that, and nothing more. Even when I miss the admirable blog stats I enjoyed back there, I feel happy in a way that I could retain my posts and comments as such, which for me comes as a huge relief.

The idea of blogging descended on me around seven years back, when, I, for the first time in my life realised that I could write something substantial. Being blessed with a gift becomes comparable to almost being devoid of it, if one lacks the judgment and revelation that he or she could use it appropriately and with confidence. I had written a couple of articles back in school, but nothing more than that.  I knew then that I could write, but I wasn’t sure whether would I fit in the circle of writers. For me then, people who called themselves writers were a rare entity who enjoyed an elite status, to be a part of which demanded superlative knowledge of the language, world affairs and above all life experience. I knew that I had a decent grip on the language for I happened to score a good percentage in English language for my tenth std exams. But when it came to the abundance of knowledge, I considered myself illiterate. I grew up reading authors of the likes of Enid Blyton, Agatha Christie , Sidney Sheldon, Jeffrey archer and Arthur Hailey among the international authors and Amitav Ghosh, Amit chaudhari and  Rabindranath Tagore among the Indian authors. I viewed their talents as heavenly blessings par excellence which could rarely be emulated. I was too intimidated by their formidable presence to even encourage the creeping thought of writing more in the years to come. However,  life had a surprise in stock for me in the form of an irresistible tug. Passion is an alluring term just as alluring as the effect it has on a person. Deny it, ignore it, but you will realise it shortly that you were created incapable of resisting it for long. The irrelevant scribbles on my diary gave way to naive posts on the blog which, as years passed metamorphosed to well manicured accounts which could be labelled readable. Thus started my blogging journey which ended up being one of most inspiring, evocative, rejuvenating experiences I ever had.

There are a few nuggets I picked up from my time here in this space. Any one who has been around here for more than a couple of  years would imbibe those naturally. I am not going in to the details of which, but I sure would love to share with you a recently inculcated hobby of mine. In my early years of blogging, having used blogger, I hadn’t known much about the email subscription feature. I did discover the importance of which a few years into the trail, but then I had, by then, lost steam on the blog hopping routine.  I had, by that time, started concentrating more on the writing part than the equally prominent reading part. I wasn’t expecting readers, rather, I simply wanted to write my heart out, for my own sake, for my own satisfaction.

But now, since I have decided to revamp my blog and at the same time, have undergone a stimulating change on my personal terrain as well, nudged by my own innate passionate self, I yearn to be alive and agile here in this space. I yearn to read others, I yearn to write more and last but not the least, I yearn to connect with the readers who take a precious few minutes from their routine to read and comment on my posts.

Having understood the value of email subscriptions, I decided to subscribe as many blogs as possible; the process being endless continues even now. These days I love to read posts directly from my mail. It doesn’t seem like a hectic task to be undertaken and at the same time it is fulfilling as well. Sometimes I reply to those posts then and there, other times mark them and comment when I revisit my mails at the end of the day. I find the process convenient when the fact remains that I check my mail at least three to four times a day, even more than I visit my blog. One may abandon the blog page for months at a stretch,  but an email has become a necessity which we dare not ignore according to our whims and mood swings. Even if one is not regularly blogging, he or she can keep up with the posts of friends,  keep replying to their posts and there by remain in the loop.There have been times when an irked, dejected I was stimulated enough to slide back in to my ‘at-work’ diligent form, simple because  I was inspired by a blog post I read from my email. Sometimes, it just makes my day to know that I have a few good posts by my favourite bloggers, waiting to be read on my mail at the end of the day. The way our hearts and minds respond to bloggers whose writing we admire is inexplicable. And I secretly believe that even if most of my readers aren’t responding to my posts as comments, they might be going through my blog occasionally; at least the readers who have subscribed my posts. They might have liked at least a few posts I have written. We all do that, don’t we? Go through a blog and not comment on it even if it we liked the content? And so also, I would recommend an email subscription box to be included on your blog with out much ado, if any newbie out there is reading this post.

The joy of being with words is incomparable and I am glad that I am successful in digging out more and more facts about blogging that are intriguing, which in turn inspire me to keep coming back to the world of blogging every time. Blogging is indeed a rewarding experience. I sincerely hope that I would never part with it, ever. Would you? What do you think?

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P.S: This post is tagged with Mid Week Quests, a sub section of this blog where I write on a Wednesday, about random nuggets from my life .

Mid Week Quests #1: Yes. I have Changed.

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So I was drudging monotonously through the dreary task of brushing my teeth today morning, when the thought struck me deep; thought that I have changed a lot over the past few years. The realisation, when put to words might sound quite normal, vapid even. Some people pride in the fact that they have been able to maintain the essence of the elements that form part of their innateness unscathed from birth to dust. Some others admit that they have indeed changed, but for the good. I, interestingly, find that I have undergone metamorphosis to become a slightly different version of me, for good, bad and everything in between. I have grown better in ways, my interests have changed and I find happiness in a whole sort of things that are impressively unrelated to the world that the ten year old or even the twenty year old I harboured. We accept certain things into our lives without bothering to stand back and give it a graver thought. We all change, but we are so busy going with the flow of our lives that we rarely take time to sit and mull over the changes that have been happening in our lives, unassumingly.

The ten year old I used to love gardening. Watering the plants was more of a habit than a hobby. The habit wore out somewhere down the lane while I was busy growing up. Similarly, I used to spend time sketching cartoon characters as a kid. I used to consider my products good, if not perfect. Still, the interest withered before it blossomed to spread fragrance. To add to the list, I used to like teen movies and young adult fiction ten years back. I remember changing my password to the title of a teen movie that I loved watching, back in my college days. I used to discuss for long hours with my friends, the characters in the books we read taking turn, dissecting the plots and dialogues, simply because we found the idea of a blooming romance heavenly. I remember a conversation that I had when I was thirteen, with my best friend regarding the ubiquitous presence of boyfriends in novels and movies. In the end, we both took a firm decision that we would, undoubtedly, earn a boyfriend for ourselves when we turned 18. How sweet! By saying this, I am not bracketing YA Fiction or teen movies as a genre to be liked by immature people. In fact, I watch movies with saccharine story line even now, but the difference is that I watch them mostly for fun and to while away time. Presently, they neither affect my thoughts nor do they navigate my decisions in any which way, as they did before.

Continuing the anecdotes, I used to be slightly selfish and moderately arrogant too back then, as I hark back now. Once, being the monitor, I asked a girl in my class to lower her voice, saying, “X, would you speak softly? There are also girls here in this class who wish to study, unlike you”. She stopped talking suddenly and her friends stared at me long and hard. I realised then and there that to take back my words was meaningless as the effect had already been made. What was left to do was to apologise for my blatant outburst, which I did later during the day. Honestly speaking, I have changed a lot from that inconsiderate brat to a better, kinder human being.

The opinions and the things that I believed in also changed over the time. I don’t think at this stage of time, the way I did five years back. Silly incidents or statements don’t excite me now, nor do pardonable mistakes provoke me. I have learnt to think matters over before letting it overpower my vision. I have learnt never to look down on others simply because they think differently. Along with the good changes, certain pitfalls too found their way towards me, unfortunately. I am irked faster nowadays. I have turned competitive and I yearn to put my best foot forward in my ventures, which makes me frustrated and impatient during the well mattered days. I should rectify that rotten part of me step by step, I know. And that is one arena where I feel growing up helps us the most. You realise your downsides and work upon them, before they act to push your over the abyss. You learn to grow over the years. You turn mature and reasonable. You learn from your mistakes to become a better version of you, ultimately, if you kept your heart, soul and mind awake. Although the process doesn’t end there. There might still be events that break us apart, leaving us torn and helpless, to tackle which we might have to devise a perfectly new set of fights. In life, no victory is absolute, if one fails to maintain the valor.

‘These teenage boys and girls! Why don’t they realise that they are so silly!’ Does this opinion sound familiar to you? There wouldn’t be a single family where this sentence wasn’t uttered at least once. This isn’t merely opined about adolescent boys and girls. A woman of twenty years might find the deeds of a ten year old silly and vice versa, which holds true for any two people belonging to age groups which are a decade apart. However, if they judged matters transferring their bodies for once, to the other one’s shoes, they would understand the importance those matters have in the other person’s life and gradually learn to respect those. I know that I loved everything that I spent my time on when I was in my teens. Because I find a few of them silly now, does it mean that I regret having engaged in those back then? Absolutely not. It made me what I am today. Let the other people in your lives, be it your friend, parents, cousins, colleagues, whoever it be, believe in whatever suits his/her astute judgement and desires, appropriate for their age; as long as it is not harmful, hideous, utterly foolish, illogical or incendiary. Let them be what they are.

 

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Image courtesy- here

But does all this talk on maturity assert that being adult takes the fun out of your lives?  Each stage of life comes tagged with appropriate forms of pleasure. I treasure the memories of my childhood dearly. I wish at times that I could fly back to those innocent days and forbid myself from growing up. At the same time, if asked whether I would like to spend my present days immersed in the deeds I found enticing back then, would I reply in affirmative? I wouldn’t. I have my own set of hobbies and habits that keep me happy now. I wouldn’t trade them permanently for anything else. Perhaps occasionally I might indulge in an act of childishness(which I love to while at my reminiscent best), but not otherwise and definitely not always. I realise that I have changed. But those changes are inevitable and I don’t regret them. Nor have the changes taken the spirit away from my soul. To be happy and content in whatever you believe in and to stand by it, at each stage of life, matters the most- be it ten years, twenty years, thirty years or sixty years. Life is indeed a delicacy, waiting welcomingly, to be relished. Each stage of life is unique in its own ways. If childhood was an exciting, soft, creamy mousse, adolescence is a crunchy sweet, enticing wafer. If middle age is a taut, tender, perfectly set pudding, senility is a firm, smooth, moulded, éclairs. That said, can you guess what remains to be told here in this post? Ah, yes. Run. Take your pick, suck it up to the last atom sans regret and don’t forget to savor it wholeheartedly as long as it lasts.

So, tell me, do you enjoy being your age? Have you too, like me, changed over the years?

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P.S: This post is tagged with ‘Mid Week Quests’, a sub section of this blog where I write on a Wednesday, about random nuggets from my life .