Prioritizing Life 🙂

I hear the land cry, over and over again – “let all the dead awaken and teach the living – how not to die” – Temsula Ao

(All views are personal and the blog in itself is a journey of personal growth for me, you – my dear reader may differ on opinions , please do share your thoughts :))

Stardust we are!

I will die someday. I know You too will. Our lives , a fleeting glory, in this vast expanse of time and space. A rainbow with all it’s colours of happiness, anger, glory, sadness, guilt, jealousy, hatred and so on.

Why am I writing about death, my dear reader, you may wonder. Lately, I found two things , that make me question my priorities, travel and death. Both have a profound impact on me.

I was traveling alone, to a different state, in search of meaning for my own life, met beautiful people, made friends, found some strangers helpful and some critical, (all in a span of three days) most of all , came to a realisation that what ever we have be it joy or experience, makes meaning only if we have people with whom we could share. Any amount of wealth, travel, food, luxury would be totally meaningless if not for that deeper connection with people who matter to you and for whom, you matter.

Other was a collection of experiences of people dying or dead, whom I have known personally or through friends. Death and disease are so frightening, that most of us play ostrich until it affects us, personally. We think we are mighty, the world is at our disposal. We build walls of every form in name of caste, religion, language , race, capitalism etc and cut us off from each other’s brotherhood.

Would people live lives differently, if we understand the triviality of our existence? Would I live differently? I wish to. What will I want to change about my life ?

I would care less about being ambitious and more about making those ‘human’ connections. I would give up on the ego struggle to be the dominant one in any argument and rather be the accomodating one, focus on being humble and not be arrogant, that power gives.

I would be sincere in my work to the extent possible, because I know for a fact that what I do, has a huge impact on people’s lives.

I would travel, enrich my life with varied and livid life experiences and connections with the world around, rather than living a routine schedule for the rest of my life.

I would be less hateful and critical towards myself for not being perfect. I would make an effort to understand that I am imperfect and willing to learn and work towards being better.

The world is highly flawed, needing changes at so many levels. It is much more beautiful. I would want to see the beauty of the world in all it’s minute details and savour its charm.

I would work on creating a safer, happier world for everyone and not focus on making money at the cost of others. I feel that’s a huge problem with the present world. We all are motivated to make most money and consume resources at any cost, without understanding the repercussions of our actions and effect it will have on fellow humans, nature, life and in effect on us.

I would learn the art of caregiving, something I always flinch away from, because disease and death cause me so much anguish that I prefer to always look away. I have seen my mentors adept in the art of caregiving, right from the words they speak, their actions and everything they do infuses energy into the patient to push them to faster recovery/hold on. I can try.

I would stop worrying about the past and future problems, and live and give my best self to the present. I will not judge people, rather make an effort to understand. I would make an effort to be much more fun and easy going , knowing our finiteness.

All of this is easier said than done. Our lives are complicated, we run marathons, dictated by our societies. We do have a choice though, to change our lives for better – for ourself and for a happier world. 🙂 what would U do?

The story of a Queen and her Princess

*All names and locations are changed to protect identity and privacy of people.

I stumbled upon this photo of a woman and her daughter , while browsing through some of my old photo memories. You, my reader may wonder why I am making a post about such simple folk. This photo I feel is very beautiful and endearing. It gives me meaning and purpose for work I do. This post/ story is an attempt to share that sense of
purpose, with you, my dear reader.

The kalrayan hills is a hill range in the eastern ghats of Tamilnadu. It has hundreds of small villages , a beautiful hill range with
picturesque landscape abundance of nature and mostly innocent tribals. While working in sittilingi, G , my mentor would ask how to identify a tribal , he would answer by saying , over time – you would always know – mostly through their innocent demeanour. *Sheela and Ramu are such couple who came to Aruna hill clinic – a one day a week op clinic of
Tribal (secondary care) hospital, Sittilingi in the kalrayan. Why I am mentioning Aruna is that that is close to their village in the hill,
compared to sittilingi which would take a few hours to half a day to reach from their village depending on their mode of transport, whereas
reaching salem – the closest town to offer tertiary care – would take almost a day’s journey for them, which most of them – as sane a decision it would seem for them – would defer unless it becomes
critical that they had no option than to go.

When they visited us, Sheela was pregnant , not sure of her dates, she looked she could be in her second trimester. we probed a little into her history, all we could get was she had had few previous deliveries all of which were probably still births at ?PHCs, we weren’t sure, she didn’t have her records that time. She hadn’t got herself booked with the government system in place, as of that day, so we thought we would ask them to come to sittilingi , so as to investigate and help. They visited us and we spent more time with them , gathered that she had lost four to five previous babies all in her eighth month of pregnancy to stillbirths. we took care of them, had proper follow ups with them, admitted them in her third trimester, and one day when she had developed fetal distress , we delivered the baby. Though they were innocent, they were co-operative and compliant with care. It was a team effort- our hospital team and the couple, I being a mere observer through all of this. For Sheela and Ramu , this kid is special – probaby woud mean all the world to them, their first and only child.
(kids- not necessarily should mean everything for all couples). I clicked this picture , more than a year during one of her follow up
visits in Aruna. Thinking of sittilingi, many such stories come to my mind.

The people who could access health care and get through the system through contacts / networks/ power/education/money are privileged. I myself being a first gen-doctor ( i would prefer healthworker – as Tha
puts it) find the system overwhelming when I had to admit my grandfather for angioplasty in a specialty hospital in madurai, i
found it cold, with as minimal doctor patient attender interaction as possible – serving with a mind of a machine churning to cater whom –
the patient or the healthworkers or the corporate who own the place ? Such interactions with the practical world teach me that we need power for us to be taken care of/ to even be noticed in this ocean. Also
thanks to good friends and mentors, Life means more than just a hustle to grasp that power, for me. What about others in the ocean who don’t have access to power ? Should they just drown in the mighty ocean ? or is it a responsibility to those in power – to do as much as they could to offer a helping hand ? I will try to put it this way – what makes me better than Ramu or Sheela- yes I worked hard to come to the place I am now, years of slogging , sleepless nights, sacrifices on personal happiness to enjoy this power – is it the only reason for where I am now ? definitely not, it is privilege of being born in a place where the basic needs are taken care of that I was free to pursue education. Same applies to most of my friends and colleagues. we are the lucky
ones, some more luckier than others and that’s okay. I am not advocating on losing worldly pleasures and take on the life of service
– that is not possible for most of us , given our own stories and responsibilities. we can be empathetic, empathy is a powerful tool to
connect and bring people together. we can only empathise with people whose stories we know. Stories bind us. Simple acts of asking about
people’s everyday lives, getting a glimpse of who they are , what they do , what their homes look like, whether they had food etc – endears
us to them, for a simple fact that some one is willing to lend a ear to their life, their stories of emotions and facts.

There are success stories everywhere in medicine, what would make this
story any special, you, my reader may ask. we will come to that. Now imagine the same couple coming to a tertiary care hospital. They would have travelled for more than half a day, changed buses , stayed in the varanda or slept in the sidewalks – losing all dignity and comfort of their familiar homes and lives , waited in long queues , overwhelmed by the jostling life of a town or a city , being pushed around from
one place to another for investigations and opinions, not to mention the impatient scoldings from the worker annas, ayyas, nurses and doctors, who will barely have time for their innocence. How many of
such common folk anywhere and everywhere , would want to do that to themselves , to subject themselves to such foreigness that they would
prefer to suffer in silence. If looked closely, the world is full of stories like Sheela’s, may be different from hers all the more similar, Who would tell their stories ?

Some of my health worker friends might disagree to this, that they don’t have time for all this. I agree with You , dear friend. When you are forced to toil for 36 hours continuous with as little as less than a hour of sleep on most days during your postgraduation days, with little help from seniors and other healthworkers, with your only priority being getting to sleep / eat, even I wouldn’t care for
anybody else, if I am in your position. I sympathise for You. I have huge respect for you. The system has built in itself a toxic structure that dries out the very empathy which made you choose what you are
doing. It’s okay if You find empathising difficult. For now, it is the responsibility of those in power to change the system, god knows who they are. I am asking you to be aware of your colleagues who may go
through difficulties, your juniors who would have to be in the same situation as you do, your patients who may need a little more of your
caring self, and when you find yourself in positions of power to help or change things, please do. we are all in this together. 🙂

Bhim!

My heart bleeds BLUE,
It was not my wish
To identify myself as a minority,
As an oppressed restricted to a group
I always aspire to be an EQUAL,
As a human bound only by humanity and love,
Not by any of the divisions created by mankind,
Willing to serve humanity and all life with utmost truth,
Yet, here I am
constantly reminded in every possible way,
By parents, by the privileged,
By lack of oppurtunities,
By the casual remark of a passerby,

By stories of shaming, rape and murders against people

For trying to be an equal,
By people who are comfortable with the ugly rigid system in place,
By loss of Love,


That I am less of an EQUAL.
Most privileged turn
a blind eye and a deaf ear to all vile discrimination
That haunts our society,
yet voice shamelessly that Merit is all that we need,

My heart aches,
Never had it resisted or questioned the toxic system – for fear of being silenced,
Islands of hope and light from friends and mentors have been my bouy.
I don’t wish to identify myself as a minority –
But When the system keeps shoving it on my face,
What choice do I have?
Than to embrace the Identity
As an Equal,
AND Let my heart bleed BLUE.

Love of Nature

Note to the reader:

This post is inspired and affected by scenes I came across on the highway between Thiruvannamalai, Harur and Uthangarai.

Why are people divided on the basis of caste, religion, nation, language, colour, sexual preferences, economic status, so on and so forth? Why is it difficult to accept, let alone understand someone who is different than ourselves. We are comfortable with our own “kin”. But shouldn’t we be tolerant of those different than us? It is okay to like people with the same cultural background as us. That should not make us sceptical of those who aren’t our kin, Should it?

Who decides who is better and who is lesser? Everyone of us have a role in this world. Seeing our country’s present situation is disheartening, why do we need a Hindu country? It is so foolish to hold to something that is so flimsy as religion. The only purpose I see in it is – to divide us, so as to gain vote banks for political parties. We have all evolved from a small group of apes in Africa. In that way, we are all interconnected between ourselves and all nature around us. It is time we appreciate our brotherhood and stop hating someone who is NOT us.

We donot need a hindu country. We need a secular country. We donot need a government that oppresses people, deprives them of their right to speech /action / protest. We need a government that doesn’t pour money into making temples / statues but into actual wellbeing of its population. We need (privileged) people to prioritise politics, law environment, education etc. We need people to come together and question people in power of their actions and inactions.

Having said this, the sight just to the sides of the highway from thiruvannamalai gave me so much to ponder.

On one part – from thiruvannamalai to harur, I came across lot of trees and anthills which were the centre of worship and lot of trees on either side of the road which made the journey very pleasant by providing shade and reducing the heat of the travel.

An ancient tradition seen all across the world where (now a days it is mostly restricted to so called ‘underdeveloped’ tribal people) people worship nature. No idols, no big temples, nothing to fight each other against – just simple nature worship.

If there is anything that needs worship, then it can be nature, right? Nature gives us so much good things, from clean air, water, food and much more

But what do we do? We exploit nature in names of consumerism and capitalism. We drill the earth and make the place unlivable. We build great industries, polluting our waterways, soil and air. We are so engrossed in consumerism that we don’t actually see the destruction we cause. Consuming things, buying a lot of things is fashion. Everything has a price and is there only for us to experience – is what is told to us in media. As a result we are all so engrossed in the race to be-all, do-all, enjoy-all people.

Do You think, it is time we slow down? I am not saying you to renounce life and become a Saint. I am just saying keep a tab on your consumption. Plan for a simpler life. If possible, help nature by protecting trees, planting or help organisations involved in such work. There is always something you and me can do.

Why do I say this? Because the sight on the way from harur to uthangarai which used to have a lot of trees on either side of the road – is now bare thanks to construction of wider highways. Trees which are hundreds of years old and which will take us a hundred or may be even more years to grow, are fell. Why? So we can travel faster. I found it to be deeply disheartening and sorrowful. Something so majestic to come down at the strike of an electric saw, just so we can lead easier lives. It will have its repercussion in the forecoming years.

Photo from the internet showing felling of trees for development.

We can be sensitive towards such issues and do anything that is within our ability to protect nature.

It is high time we plan for a life integrated with nature than away from it. I am not saying You should worship nature. Be aware of what nature is giving us, be sensitive towards every life around us. After all, It is a small world we live in,’OUR EARTH’ the only one of its kind we know of, so full of diversities, so full of LIFE 🙂

– Palani raja

Lockdown diaries

I am having new learnings and experiences in the past one and half months.

I had read Bhimayana – a comic strip version of Ambedhkar’s life. It was beautifully made, very powerful in showcasing the life and story of Ambedhkar. I am now reading Harry Potter. I finished the first book, ‘Philosopher’ s stone’. I am now into the second book, ‘chamber of secrets’. J. K. Rowling is an amazing person who has concieved such a good story, so much to learn and experience from the books, makes me time travel and become a kid again.

I watched Gypsy, Thenali and Thappad, powerful movies. Tha tells me about tree names in our campus. I made Rava kesari, ladys finger poriyal, molaambalam juice and lemon juice. Ravi Anna makes amazing cakes and bread, that it was hard to believe he is trying it for the first time. Shwetha, Divya and Vaidheesh made carrot halwa which was nice. We went to Muneesh Anna veetu function. Sangeetha, Vaidheesh and Aishwarya had birthdays, which we enjoyed.

I went jogging with Ravi anna, shwetha, went cycling with Pravin and by myself. I do yoga, walk etc. I am happy for working on my physical fitness . We tried to play volley ball one day. I was very bad at it. I played chess with Ravi anna and dice with nursing students. It was exciting. I tried to teach Rajamma akka cycling on two days. I wish I could make her learn it well enough so she could cycle alone to work. We played in the rain and got ourselves drenched. It was exhilarating. My garden and plants are doing well so far.

I went to kotapatti to buy vegetables and groceries with Pravin. We went to avalur and silambai and saw a very old beautiful banyan tree in avalur. I felt very tiny in front of the tree, it was a very humbling experience. I tried to learn something about photography and editing photos.

We had gone to Thulir and had talks with Anu, Krishna. I went to G and Tha’s place at a time of unhappiness at work and got some clarity by discussing things with them. It was very helpful. I tried to follow up on news articles but then stopped it after a while. I have to do it more. G taught us about money management. I talked with Prinal and Maamannan over Phone. I tried to catch up on thatha paati and uncles at times.

Medical front had been a rollercoaster. I was very unhappy and dissatisfied with work as I hadn’t given enough time and care for my patients. I mistook hypoglycemic seizures for stroke. I panicked when we had to deliver a shoulder dystocia baby. I panicked in the middle of a c section. I had ego clashes with a colleage and at times with staff akkas and junior staff. I lost my cool and I had shouted at my subordinates or patients, which I deeply regret and wish to never do again. I gave popliteal block to two people. We had a role play on communication with staff. I spoke with staff akkas, shobi, and shwetha on gender issues. It is a deep seated problem in our society. And the problems they raised made me feel how much they are aware and how much they want to come out of it, but couldnot because of social constraints. I didnt feel anything when one of our patients had a perinatal asphyxiated baby which died. I didnot take responsibility for many times. Once I had a patient with ascitis who firmly believed that she was going to die. Whom we thought had abdominal tuberculosis, but omental biopsy revealed metastatic ovarian cancer. She once said Palani Sir, enna kaapaathunga Sir. I had met her only once before that. She remembered my name. I feel bad for her. I am now trying to be more sensible at work. I need to become better.

Thats about my life since the last blog article. Hope you are good, my friend . Hope you are safe during these corona times.

Things to do :

  • Make time for Appa, Amma, Saro, friends and relations.
  • Be a Good Doctor
  • Develop and maintain cordial relationship with friends, team members in THI.
  • Try to wake up at 5 am on every non busy day and study for sometime and workout.
  • Read more about day to day news , PARI, CARAVAN articles, Santuary Asia articles, Dibang valley project and Wangari Mathai work.
  • Make name board for trees.
  • Cook once a week, learn to cook basic food items by the time I finish two years of Sittilingi
  • Work on nature conservation
  • Learn money management
  • Spend time with kids, learn from them, learn about education.
  • Travel, read novels, photography , drawing.
  • Teach Rajammakka cycling.

Lots of love,

Palani raja. P

Journey called Life

” Journey matters as much and much more than the Destination “

It has been about a month and a half since my last writeup. Over this time, Corona has killed tens of thousands of people and affected much more people , the disease as such and the collateral damage that lock down has brought down upon common people – daily wage workers, migrants, people – with health issues other that corona which are treat/curable (like malaria, tuberculosis, diabetes and heart disease etc), who go into starvation, who are separated from their hometowns by millions of kms, stranded in lands that they raised, treated with indignity, who become morbidly ill for want of health care, who develop mental health issues due to the mental trauma of sickness and solitude.

Corona has had other effects also. Airtravel has decreased. Vehicle use has decreased. Number of Road traffic accidents have come down. Overall environmental pollution has come down. People are spending time at home with their family, spending time on hobbies. Is Corona a remainder from nature that we need to slow down as a species? We, humans, are affecting/exploiting our environment at an unprecedented rate. We have come a far away from being nature worshippers to the point where we see nature as commodities to be experienced /consumed. Mass production, massive consumeristic attitude imposed by capitalistic companies and governments have made us impulsive buyers and unhappy customers. We have separated ourselves from nature to the point that we find it difficult to co exist in harmony with it anymore. Any change in Nature’s course, be it a natural calamity, disease or anything is sought with scepticism and a drive to fight it out. It is not nature’s intention to destroy humans. Nature has a delicate balance where every species is kept in check. We, humans, through greed, have disrupted that relation. It is high time we realise our foolishness and get back. We can start by becoming less consumerisitic, by not buying things that are not needed by us as essentials. It is because anything we buy or consume needed so much resource, which had been derived from nature which is finite.

We can try to empower local sustainable economies and occupations, thereby helping local people rather that buying something on a largescale web platform, or a huge company, where the main benefitter is the company’s owners. We can buy food items directly from farmer co operatives, roadside vendors rather than from supermarkets. We can share food with people who cannot make money especially during these trying times.

I read up about a recent clearance which was given by FAC for Etalin Power Project in Dibang Valley. Dibang Valley is one the 36 biodiversity hotspots around the world. This project desires to degenerate 3100 megawatt hydel power by buildimg a dam in dibang valley. It will be the largest in our country if it comes up. It comes with cost of destroying 270000 trees, 70 + mammals, 300 +birds, and the livlihood of the local people there. It was a rushed decision made over a video conference held during this corona time by the Forest department, at a time when people cannot fight such a massive destruction of nature. There have been studies to say cause of corona, zika, nipah is massive defforestation. And here we are putting up projects to clear Forests. Is this what is development? Are we really thinking? We are all busy chasing a near impossible future. we have all been told to run for a perfect life. We have all been running towards it, much like this donkey with a carrot tied in front of it.

We run for a good college, good job, good salary, good partner, easy lavish life, but do we slow down and think of the means to get there? How many of us neglected some things (like corruption, inequity in name of gender, caste, religion, wealth) because it doesnot concern us personally. Does the end destination actually come? Life is unpredictable, you can die any moment, you may lose a dear one. Life has a way of throwing shocks and surprises at us, no matter how much we try to make life predictable. How then can we define our lives? If the destination is that unpredictable, then how can we base our lives? It wont help if we amass so much wealth and still be unhappy. It is not going to help if we are going to slog for years for a perfect life only to die a unnaturally early death.

What can we do? We can start by focusing on the journey, by living in the moment, by basing our journey on certain principles or choices that we feel is good, rather than on a distant future.

To those of us, who are less affected by corona, think of your privileges, try to think of what we can do. If we will it, we can stop destroying nature, we can change political scenerio, we can choose to not be corrupt, we can be more gender, caste, religion, race tolerant. We can choose to work for a better present, if only we will it. Just think about it.

Peranbu!

Last two months were Good! We had gone to kotapatti to have onion dosas. Varsha’s Birthday came and went. On that day, We had pooshnika halwa and vadai made at their home. I took varsha to Anu krishna, Ram Anna, Tha’ s place. RSP came and went. I went with Varsha on cycle to see Ambi Akka’s papa. On the way we saw a shooting star. It was very beautiful.

I neglected patient care over social reasons. I didnot examine mothers on few days. I sent people home / refered them because I wasnot willing to think / spend energy and time on the patient / study for the patient. I pricked a child a few many times for getting iv access – which was bad.

I had gone to vellore for cmc classes. I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent there at Harsh Anna’s place. I watched movies with them, spent time with the cats, we went out for dinners, the classes were good. I spent time with Bharathi, we went for walks, had dinner together, he took me to his hostel terrace and we watched the night sky and enjoyed the breeze and the view. Vellore stay was memorable. Sam and Jessy brought me home. I spent happy time at home with family members. Amma taught me cooking basics.

One random person gave me a lift home. Some random people helped me on bus and trains. Family people have always told me to be skeptical of everyone. The world isnot that bad a place. Some thing I realise now.

My Birthday came and went. I made dates payasam ( which everyone liked) and ladysfinger poriyal. My friends in Sittilingi gave me birthday bash – which I enjoyed, loved, felt happy to be here in Sittlingi. We had a send off dinner for Aru and Jerry the same day. We also went to Sumathi Ka ‘s place for dinner.

I am starting to do C sections, under Ravi Anna’s guidance. I need to improve a lot on my ANC care.

We had a meeting at our hospital on CAA / NRC. Tha told us about the condition of Tribals in Andaman. We went to Karumandhurai for thiruvizha there. I enjoyed the stay there with my friends. Tha made ‘Pal payasam ‘. Tha taught me about trees, birds and flowers.

Myself and Pravin – we went on cycling trip over 36 kms. We did birdwatching which was nice.

I went to Rajapalayam, saw thatha, paati enjoyed the stay there. I went cycling to hill base and on the way back talked to Jakkama paati. I helped thatha paati with their meds. I printed photos for my great grandfather, which I felt happy doing.

I went to Anu Krishna’s place one evening, ate amazing cake made by Anu. I talked with them about life decisions, which was very nice.

Corona happened. Nation wide janata curfew and 21 day lockdown was implemented. We tried to go talk with few members in the community and teach them about Covid 19 and what people can and cannot do. It was nice going to the community and doing that. We started to restrict patient admissions and started a separate flu op. And we are trying to take precautions to avoid covid 19 transmission.

Thats my life in the past few weeks friends.

Things to practise :

  • Be in touch with friends and relatives.
  • Study, work / think and do as what best care you can give to the patient. Donot refer simply, or send the patient on simple meds, just because taking extra care needs extra energy. Do it because it is important. It is not that difficult. Go slow and steady.
  • Keep in touch with current affairs on all fronts.
  • Donot push people away. Be polite with everyone. Make friends.
  • Have light time – photography, drawing, stories, cooking
  • Take care of health, Yoga, gardening, cycling and Jogging.
  • Most importantly LIVE, that’s what is the thing that matters the most. 🙂

A letter to me across time

This is a letter to my past self, a set of my reflections on life.

Dear 5 year old Raja,

You were innocent. You said you wanted to be like Rajinikanth when you grew up. I remember you touching a hot utensil, when Amma jokingly said you to. You wanted to be like one of the kids in Anjali movie. I remember you wetting pants, losing water bottles (and the anxiety of having to face Appa for that) I remember you having a crush. I remember you envying all the children who did well in sports.

Dear 10 year old Raja,

Things escalated very quickly. 3 rd standard happened. You didnot fare well in the monthly exams – Amma started to sit with you each day to make you do your lessons. Your marks soared, you got good rank in the class. Amma, Appa and the teachers were proud to have you. You start to identify yourself as a studious person. You start to pick up drawing skills. Everything was a competition to be won, to be shown you are better. Because that was what was expected of you – at home (because your parents thought being academically good would ensure a good future for you – something they struggled with, coming from humble backgrounds)

You did academically well – because you were appreciated for that, you were rewarded for that, and you became an apple of every teacher /parent’s eye. And also because of the extreme fear of failing, of being looked down, of having to bear the brunt of scoldings from parents and teachers if you lose a good rank. You were afraid. I sympathise for you. You took up abacus classes (the shittiest thing you ever did in your life) and slogged hard for that for more than 2 years – getting runner ups in national level abacus competitions – at the same time missing out on what life is for a 10 year old. You did not realise that winning is not that very important, living is. The abacus institutions (which now I realise) brain washed parents into thinking it is good for the child’s brains, it will help him to be better at Math. I now realise that It makes you more of a machine like a ‘ competing’ calculator / computer, than a human with love, relations, friendships and bonds.

You liked spending time with toys, you loved the yearly once visit to grandparents place. You loved the people there. It was fun to play cricket with the kids at thatha paati place. You enjoyed the hide and seek, lock and key, raja rani, cards, carrom, chess, you enjoyed being with other kids around. You were still afraid of Appa. You had your first puppy – Tiger :).

Dear 15 year old Raja,

I remember you start to develop a liking for reading, you started to read magazines like chutti vikatan, novels. You continue to like drawing. You liked those make-yourself toys that come with chuttivikatan. You were beginning to think beyond just academics. You loved those wildlife / nature documentaries in Animal planet / national geographic. You particularly loved the one on papua new guinea, to the extent you wrote a article on it. You wanted to be a wildlife film maker / documentary person, cameraman or anchor. Those films have a profound impact on you, teaching you the importance of conserving nature. It would have been a fairytale if any of that happened. Before you could even think of what you like (nor was there any option) the trauma of tenth board exams came. You slogged, and you got marks. You forgot about relations, friendships, entertainment or even just the joy of doing something just for the sake of it. But you made it to the next level of the race.

Dear 20 year old Raja,

You went to a new school in eleventh, new people – people more previleged than you are, better skilled in a lot of things – academics, music, dance, writing, art, sports – you name it, there was someone better than you. It was a great learning experience albeit a difficult one to pull through. You begin to appreciate that life is more than marks, but you still had to focus on marks as you thought / the system wanted you to think – that it was the most important thing. You sacrificed time with family, friends and life, so that your life would be happy in the never coming future. And you won. You got into a good medical college, the so called best in Tamilnadu. Now you slowed down, to think of the nuances of life – the finer details of love, longing, happiness, friendship and relations.

You found it difficult to bond with people, make friends as that part of your brain was still rudimentary – thanks to years of slogging with books. You found it incredibly difficult to form love relations – much less – you never even learnt how to strike a conversation with a person of the opposite Gender – thanks to years of slogging with books. You won in quizes, you could draw well. You could conjure poems. But you couldnt be social. You resorted to easier, passive stuff – more books and mobiles. You started developing a passion for films. You had good mentors.

Dear 24 year Palani,

Past four years were a roller coaster, with a lot of ups and downs. There were illness, heartache, crisis, learning, joy, happiness, friendship, family and new beginnings. You were like a lost boat in a storm wanting for direction, and life showed you just that – as a hard pill. You learnt the importance of lasting relations, you slowed down in your life, love had a new understanding /meaning, you found friends, you were starting to explore the finer details of life once again. Your life is more meaningful now. You made choices to not follow the rat race, create your version of a happy life.

I donot want you to regret anything. You were born in a middle class family. Your parents and teachers wanted you to have a good life. They gave the best of what they could afford. Education is liberation. You have become a Doctor now and it was not a easy joke. It was and still is a burning dream of many. You literally saved a few lives now and then. You should be proud. I want you to be happy for what you did, for what you are. You have good friends. You tried to do best with what you had.

You now live in a place where there is abundance of everything good in life. Learn to forget about the rat race and focus on relations. Focus on making your life meaningful. Do things that make you happy. Bond with people. There will always be work. You needn’t always be perfect. Be human. Relax, it isnot a big deal. Money, work and financial stability are not the only things to live for. Spend less time with books / mobiles, alone or sleeping, accomodate people. It is not easy, but worth it. Be responsible though. As Tha says – amidst all the hurrys and worrys of day to day life – admire the little things – say a flower that blooms once a year, a songbird, butterflies, glowworms, rains, love, touchmenots, dewdrops, monkeys, bridge conversations, late night random chats, moonrise point talks, laughter, streams, people.

Life is indeed beautiful 🙂 ❤️

பருவ நிலை நெருக்கடி : நாம் செய்யக் கூடியவை

– பொ.பழனி ராஜா

எனக்கு ஒரு ஆறு, ஏழு வயதிருக்கும், என் அம்மா என்னிடம் மின்மினி பூச்சி ஒன்று காண்பித்தார். அந்த காட்சி மந்திரம் போல் இருந்தது. மனதில் இன்று நினைத்தாலும் நீங்கா இன்பம் தருகிறது. ஒரு சிறு பூச்சி இத்தனை அழகென்றால், அது போல் பல கோடி உயிரினங்கள் நிறை இப்பூமியின் அழகை எப்படி வர்ணிப்பது?

இயற்கையில் ஒவ்வொரு உயிரினத்திற்கும் ஒரு முக்கியப் பங்கு உள்ளது. ஒரு உயிரினம் அழிந்தாலும் இயற்க்கையின் சம நிலையை மாற்றிவிடும். உதாரணத்திற்கு மனிதன் விளைநிலங்களில் உபயோகிக்கும் பூச்சிக்கொல்லியினால் தேனீக்களின் எண்ணிக்கை குறைந்து கொண்டே வருகிறது. தேனீக்கள் இல்லை என்றால் மரங்களின் மகரந்தச் சேர்க்கை நிகழாது. மரங்கள் இல்லையேல் ஆக்சிசன் இல்லை. ஆக்சிசன் இல்லையேல் அனைத்து உயிர்கள் இறக்கும்.

நான் அந்த மின்மினிப் பூச்சியை என் வீட்டு வாசலில் பார்த்தேன். 20 வருடம் கழித்து ,இன்று அதே இடத்தில் மின்மினிப்பூச்சிகள் இல்லை, மழைக்கால தவளைச்சத்தம் கேட்பதில்லை, வால் பிடித்து குடும்பமாக செல்லும் மூஞ்செலிகள் இல்லை, குட்டையின் சிறு நண்டுகள் இல்லை, சிட்டுக்கருவிகள் இல்லை. மரங்களும் குறைந்து விட்டது. அந்த இடங்களில் கான்கிரீட் கட்டிடங்கள், மின் கம்பங்கள், நான்கு சக்கர வாகனங்களே உள்ளன.

கடலில் முன்பு பிடித்தது போல இன்று மீன்வகைகள் கிடைப்பதில்லை என்று மீனவ நண்பர் கூறினார். குடிநீரில் நுண்நெகிழி உள்ளதாம். டில்லியில் காற்று சுவாசிக்க உகந்ததில்லையாம். சென்னையில் நிலத்தடி நீர் இல்லை. உலகம் முழுதும் வறட்சி, வெள்ளம், பயிர் இழப்பு, புது நோய்கள் பரவி வருகிறது. இப்படியே போனால் 2050 குள், 10 லட்சம் விதமான உயிரினங்கள் அழியும் என யு.என் ஆய்வு கூறுகிறது. இதுவே பருவ நிலை நெருக்கடி ஆகும்.

காரணம் :

எல்லாக்காரணங்களையும் இச்சிறு கட்டுறையில் விவரிப்பது கடினம், முக்கியமானவற்றை மட்டும் எழுதுகிறேன்.

  • முதலாளித்துவம் ( capitalism)
  • நுகர்வோரியம் (comsumerism)
  • பொருளாதார முன்னுரிமை ( Economic development through environmental degradation / considering environment as resources to be used)

நாம் செய்யக்கூடியவை / வேண்டியவை :

  • மரங்கள் மற்றும் மற்ற உயிர்கள் , காடுகள் பேணுதல்
  • மரம் நடுதல், இயற்கையை பாதுகாத்தல்
  • எளிய வாழ்வுமுறையை கடைபிடித்தல் (Embrace minimalism)
  • பொருள் வாங்குவதை குறைத்தல் – துணி, பேக்கேச்டு உணவு, மின்னணு பொருட்கள் முதலிய.
  • எல்.ஈ.டி விளக்குகள் உபயோகித்தல் (change lights to LED lights )
  • இயற்கையுடன் இணங்கிய கட்டிடக் கலையில் மாற்றம் (sustainable architecture / green buildings)
  • சூரிய சக்தி, காற்று ஆற்றல் பயன்படுத்தல் ( solar and wind energy utilisation)
  • சைக்கிள், மின்சார பைக் உபயோகித்தல் (Use cycles, , electric bikes)
  • புதைபடிவ எரிபொருள் பயன்பாட்டை நிறுத்துதல் (avoid fossil fuels)
  • பொது போக்குவரத்து சேவைகளை பயன்படுத்தல் (bus/ train over car)
  • வான் பயணங்களை குறைத்தல் (Reducing air travel )
  • அசைவ உணவு உண்பதை குறைத்தல் (minimal animal based diet – avoid consumption of large scale factory farmed animals)
  • உள்ளூர் பொருட்கள் வாங்குதல் (buy locally available vegetables, fruits,Dress, furniture etc)
  • ஆர்கானிக் உணவு பயன்படுத்தல் (consume organic food )
  • வீட்டுத் தோட்ட காய்கறிகள், வீட்டு பறவை கால்நடை சமைத்து சாப்பிடலாம்
  • வீட்டில் உலர் கழிப்பறை பயன்படுத்தல் ( Built dry pit toilets at homes – consider what happens to your shit after flushing the toilet)
  • கழிவுகளை ஆங்காங்கே போடாமல் கழிவு மேலான்மை மேற்கொள்தல், ( Proper waste reduction,reuse, recycle, segregation and disposal )
  • இணைய உபயோகத்தை குறைத்தல் ( Reduce internet data usage as it consumes lot of energy globally)
  • நெகிழி உபயோகிப்பதை அறவே தவிர்த்தல்
  • பற்பசை, நுரைமக் கழுவி , தனசரி உணவு வீட்டில் செய்து உபயோகிக்கலாம் ( Learn to make basic products like toothpaste, shampoo etc to avoid plastic waste generation)
  • உணவு, மின் சக்தி வீணடிப்பதை தவிர்கவும். (Avoid wasting food /resources as they are finite on earth)
  • தங்களது குடும்பத்தில், நண்பர்களிடம், சுற்றத்தாரிடம் பருவ நிலை நிருக்கடி பற்றி பேசுங்கள், மாற்றத்தை கொண்டு வாருங்கள் ( Talk about climate crisis with family, friends and neighbourhood circles)
  • அரசாங்கத்தை கால நிலை மாற்றத்தை கட்டுப்படுத்த நடவடிக்கை எடுக்க தள்ளுங்கள் ( Push govt to take climate responsible actions)
  • கார்பன் வரி வழக்கிற்கு வருதல் ( Carbon tax – individuals or companies with high carbon footprint have to pay more and vice versa)
  • இயற்கையை அழிக்கும் பெருநிறுவனஙஃகளுக்கு எதிராக குரல் குடுக்கலாம். அவர்களின் செயல்களில் மாற்றம் கொண்டு வருதல் (Protect nature from destructive corporates/capitalists)
  • வங்கிகளை பணத்தை இயற்கையை காக்கும் திட்டங்களில் முதலீடு செய்ய அறிவுருத்தல் (choose banks which invest in green projects)

இயற்கை அழகானது. நாம் வாழ இயற்கை , பிற உயிர்கள் மிக அவசியம். இத்தகைய இயற்கை அன்னையை பாதுகாத்து அடுத்த தலைமுறையிடம் நலம் குன்றாமல் ஒப்படைப்பது நம் அனைவரின் மிக முக்கிய கடமை ஆகும்.

Change?

It has been two months since my last post. I went with Prinal after Aruna through pagadupattu route via sulankurichi enjoying the hilly landscape. Just a little travel made me feel I was puny compared to the whole wide world. I came across many very old and tall trees on the way. I saw a beautiful small non poisonous snake in front of Aru’s room and it slithered just feet away from my feet. Another day myself and Aru went to Aruna, then evening we explored eachangaadu roads and stayed at Boo’s place for dinner, which was very nice. While returning we fell from our bikes on the highway, thankfully we escaped with abrasions. We had a night dinner with G, Tha, Anu, Krishna, chutti, Abey and all at Ravi Anna’s place which was nice.

December was busy for the THI team as we had put up a candidate for the panchayat President elections. I went along with the team to kathiripatti for campaigning and it was really nice to visit the villages, talk with the people in their homes, it gives a much bigger picture of them as individuals, their stories /life than when we see them at the hospital. And our candidate won the elections. Without giving money or alcohol to the people, our team worked with dedication with only aim of creating a corruption free local government. There was bursting of crackers, playing of drums and nursing students and us, we Doctors were dancing in the procession that went through the village. It was totally enjoyable. Other day, I helped Tha in interviewing Neela and other members of Porgai.

I went on 30 kms cycling trips twice. I tried to go jogging on few days alone / with friends. I didnot examine a patient with chest pain properly, neglecting it to be gastritis only to find him have Angina. Another day I saw a woman G4P1L1A2 with 2 months amennorhea and minimal bleeding pv, thinking that it was incomplete abortion, only to find on scan that she had a live 10weeks fetus. I watched Avatar film , felt awestruck by the movie.

I wrote NEET exam, got 29 k rank, which was 12k behind my last year rank. It was still a good rank as I had not studied. My friends got good ranks and they are soon to join PG this year and I feel really happy for them. I went home for Pongal, watched Sillu karuppati with family and had dinner with them at Murugan Idly kadai. Then I returned that night to Sittilingi in unreserved compartment which was very difficult.

I returned to Sittilingi for Pongal celebrations, we went to Bharathi’s uncle’s home, Scan radhi/ Periya Vijaya Akka’s farm land for Mattu Pongal celebrations. Their traditions were very unique to watch.

I told stories of Eragon, Narnia and random made up stories to Varsha and veena. I felt really nice doing that. Prinal’s Juniors had come and we went to new Thulir campus for a camp fire dinner, andhakchari and talk. Rasik, my friend visited Sittilingi and he fell in love with the place. I found it difficult to get along with his knowledge as he had prepared for NEET for over a year now. We had good time. We went the waterfalls, with Esther, Michael, Shwetha, Aru, Sahithi, Rasik, Varsha and Ravi Anna. I swam in the chill waters up the hills, I trekked through difficult terrain and had my legs pedicured by a lot of small fishes. We lied on the road and tried to sky watch and all, find constellations using skyview App. It was a blissful experience. I talked with Maamannan over phone on few days.

I went on a 5 day holiday travel to Mysore, Coorg and Bandipur with Palaniraj, Deva surya and Harieswar. It was a long due trip and it was very much fun when we made it happen. We enjoyed a lot. We treked thadiyandamol, we sight saw places and we relaxed. It is a memorable trip of us.

I do basic minor procedures on my own. I still have to spend time reading up on things I treat people for. I with Anna’s help resuscitated a PPH mother. I applied vaccum for a PIH mother. I took a MI patient to Salem for Angiography /plasty. I observed cardiologists do the procedure and I felt really good being there in the cubicle seeing the xray video of a beating heart with all the vessels in it.

Today we arranged for a film night at Prema Akka’s place. We had dinner at Sumathi Ka’s place for Dhakshu’s birthday. I go to Anu, Thitha place for dinner once in a while and the conversations are really mind opening. Yesterday we were talking about how present society is consumerism based one and we are continuously depleting earth’s nature and we see everything as a commodity to be consumed. And how we must take a stand in the present climate crisis etc.

  • I need to learn to live in the present, without rushing.
  • I haven’t studied in a long time, which I need to work on – may be study half an hour daily in the morning.
  • I need to inculcate Jogging/swimming/yoga in my daily routine.
  • I am having my CMC classes this month end and I need to prepare things for that.
  • I need to sit with Ravi and friends here and create protocols for Obs mothers.
  • I need to develop cordial relations with people I work with and not be agitated.
  • I need to spend more time with parents.
  • Take Good care for my Patients.

That’s about my life over past two months.