Let’s get ready to RAW!


VBMarch 29, 2014-3The month of March was slow. Plenty of hours spent in the hot humid hostel room, eating, sleeping and reading. With the nervousness levels notching up as the dates of the exam got closer, I realized that it has been quite a while since I wrote a major exam.

It had been so long so much so that undertaking a period of constant writing for nearly 3 hours seemed like a task the fingers felt they shouldn’t be doing anymore. As evidenced by the end of the last paper, when my fingers were about to divorce me if I put them through any more torture.

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Despite the slowly building stress to the exams that usually is seen, I began questioning the purpose of this exam that comes after three years of specialty training. No longer having standard textbooks to refer to, the volume of content to be prepared to appear an exam of this stature is just unbelievably magnanimous. The vastness of the subject compiled on top of a degenerating memory bank further atrophied by over reliance on electronic data banks other than our brain, just makes the challenge twice harder!

I fought my brain throughout that month to try to compete like the previous years, but I knew that as we keep getting older, things start to become harder. After battling sleepless nights, and a pensive 1st week of the month, I finally breathed a sigh of relief at the end of the theory exams.

A break was desperately needed but I have postponed it to break officially for New Year and to catch up with my cousins.

VBMarch 29, 2014

I have been away from any gadget frenzy for a while now, but there was one that I had kept on my wishlist for a long time. And that was a digital SLR camera. I was closely monitoring online retail prices and window shopping different companies and models. When the time was right, and when I eventually found the right deal, I decided to go for my first dSLR camera – the Nikon D3200. Apart from the kit lens 18-55mm, I also acquired the 35mm f 1.8G prime lens.

 

Both were ordered from Flipkart and unlike my first bad experience with them, they have been fantastic in all my other shopping extravaganzas. In 48 hours, I received both lens and my cam kit. The tripod, cleaning kit and the memory card are on their way. Here is my first shot. I am really excited about this and looking forward to getting creative with quality hardware. Watch out this space for more captures!

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The Graduation


The finals perilously close, travel out of station was the last thing on my mind, but I couldn’t miss my fiancée’s graduation ceremony. So I set out on a 3 day trip, two spent on day trains to accomodate my study hours and one to completely switch off for the function.

2008121059110301For a day train, the Ernad Express 16605/16606 AC chair car is ideal. With wider cushioned seats and ample leg space, it embarrasses the Jan Shatabdi train for comfort. For a trip from Kochi to Mangalore, it borders 9 hours of journey and you will be able to just catch a tea as you arrive.

 

 

make-my-tripI made my hotel booking from makemytrip.com and found The Saffron Boutique hotel, a 3 star enterprise around 500m from the central railway station an ideal place to stay. Plenty of positive reviews from online portals channelized me into choosing this and I have to admit I wasnt disappointed.

 

IMG_3717Right from the security guard at the door to the receptionist and room service, the behavior of the staff was courteous and receptive. The room was spaceous, comfortable and cozy, letting me sleep like a baby in the night, enjoy some good Indian food in the little time I was occupying the room. I can’t deny the experience was more joyous thanks to watching a resurgent performance of Manchester United against West Brom.

 

Over the last few years, I have tried several cab services in the town, each time a different one. Celcabs was the first, and to be honest they disappointed. The AC did not work and that sums it up. Savaari was the next in line and that was indeed a luxury trip. Couldn’t find any fault with their services. This time tried Clear Car Rental and it was probably not as comfy as Savaari but had a young and sharp driver at hand who made the road trip smooth.

 

IMG_1644As I waited to pick my lady from her hostel, I noticed plenty of well dressed, young doctors with tucked in shirts, blazers and branded suits in the campus. The lady doctors were celebrating vibrant sarees, makeups leaving an indelible mark on all onlookers as they prepared to be officially bestowed the title.

IMG_1682 The lunch ensued in the examination hall of K.V.G Medical College. The parents and relatives of the graduates filed in as we waited for the chief guest to arrive and the function begin. In the meantime the graduates received their gowns and were indulging in a photo session. Soon the chief guest arrived and the graduates were paraded in.

The MC s got to act with the introduction of delegates and soon there was addressal of the chief guest.

 

IMG_1678Men/Women of great honor are usually invited to address at a graduation and while the esteemed professors of the institute went on listing the umpteen publications, international exposure, training and number of conferences Padmashree Dr. C.N.Manjunath has to his name, I was losing track of the list of his achievements the highlight being the Manjunath technique of ‘Balloon Valvuloplasty.

 

IMG_1691He took over the podium to address the new graduates and went on to speak for almost half an hour and that was one of the most resonating speeches I have ever heard from a professional in the field of medicine. (I have limited exposure by the way!)

I think it is necessary for me to recollect some of the key issues he addressed, more so because it will be something that I would like to look back and read again as my career unfolds. (These are my perceptions of what Dr. Manjunath spoke)

 

  • Family: He mentioned how he got lost in the sea of work so much so that he was working 7 days a week and that meant literally ZERO hours with family. He realized it a bit late, but better late than never, and since his 40s, he has been keeping a day aside purely for family time.
  • Comparison with peers: Classmates from school who turned to branches other than medicine are probably taking a flight, while you are taking the train; driving a car while you are waiting at the bus stand; using a Samsung Galaxy S4 while you are still on your budget smartphone. Comparison gets you nowhere. Self satisfaction in your job is key and that does not lie in comparison with others.
  • He/she earns more: Comparing your salary with peers in other specialties will keep driving you nuts. You should commit to your work and the money will come. Chasing money will get you nowhere.
  • Dream big: Sky is the limit. Unless you dream high, you will not set out targets to achieve. Strive to live your dream and nature will shape you to get there.
  • Hardwork, determination, goals: To realize your dreams, you need to be committed hundred percent to your work, put in the hours to churn yourself out ever closer to your goals.
  • Cost effective treatment: With the outburst out of technology in the field of medicine, the number of investigations available out there are ridiculously large. Treating the disease is easy, but treating the patient is what matters. The same disease can probably be treated with Rs 20,000 or Rs 2,00,000. The financial status of the patient is very important to ensure the treatment you met out is reaching the patient. Do not offer false hope if you know no treatment can help the patient’s survival. Do not add further financial burden to the supporting family if no positive outcome can be achieved.
  • Compassion: The healing touch of the doctor is becoming obsolete. Doctors enter electronically data as the patient gives history. Never underestimate the power of the emotions. Doctor patient relation runs purely on trust and faith. That makes you stand out from the average doctor. Be a leader.
  • Behavior and culture: Cracking jokes in front of the patient, talking on your mobile phone with the patient at your desk are simply not acceptable. The patient loses the trust in you and all the academic accolades one achieves will be of no use if you do not gain the trust of the patient.
  • Communication skills: It is imperative the patients bystanders are always well informed about the day to day status of the patient. Miscommunications can lead to un necessary scuffles. It is the right of the patient and patient party to be informed of the progression of the disease and the care being provided.
  • Patience: The patient and the bystander might ask the same question again and again. Is he doing ok? Is he improving? Etc. It is your duty to be courteous and respond appropriately.
  • Time management: Probably the most important thing. Prioritizing the right amount of time for doing the right things will make you reach your goals.
  • Detox stress: The average life span of a doctor has fallen by 10 years. Find your own ways to circumvent stress.

In this short interval of time, these are a few things I recollect from the address. I must admit I could relate to most of the things he stated being a member of this fraternity.

 A day away from my study routine, an inspiration from an unexpected source. Thank you sir.

Detour..


The creases on the forehead are more apparent, the sleep hours self conserved; the nights are perilously short; tempers flare, emotions blunt. The heat is on; so is the battle, and it’s time to take a detour. As I am slowly but steadily treading the unknown path, it is time to forego some of the (i)social  luxuries.

When liberty returns, I will return. – Victor Hugo

Life.. is all about love.


A couple of months after I joined my postgraduate training, mom encouraged (more like kicked me into) listing my ‘availability’ on the ever growing bharatmatrimony.com portal. The idea was so that I could find someone by the time I finish my training.

For over a year and a half, luckily all interactions with parents of potential ‘would be’s’ were solely limited to internet and phone conversations. Things beefed up as I approached the beginning of my final year of training. I was no longer a free member. I became CLASSIC PLUS, i.e., now I get to personally contact potential candidates online. I was getting more and more immersed into my residency and the responsibilities it carried.

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Scene 1

In January, the online meets led to an actual pennu kaanal chadangu. I had seen the pic of the girl online. Petite with bright eyes. Rest all had to be deciphered once I met her.

Boy meets girl. Boy nervous. Girl very nervous. First time for both. Boy tries to blabber rubbish to calm her nerves. Moves into common areas of interest. Discussing MBBS (thank god there is 4.5 years and shit load of subjects to bring up!)

Meet – from an academic perspective is a success.

Our astrologer enters the scene – Stars do not match. Chapter closed.

Outcome: Tasty roasted cashews the best part of the visit.

Scene 2

Mom invites me for round 2 a month later. This time I manage to convince her to fly back home. Decide to focus on studies and work.

Our astrologer, girls astrologer – give the green signal.

Pressure: See girl before May, else no girl walks into your life for the next 365 days 24/7.

Boy sees picture of girl.  Sharp features, captivating smile. Boy meets girl.

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On April 14th, we met. We spoke, for almost 2 hours. I was blunt, trying to portray all the dimensions of my personality that might drive her away from me. She sat there, listening, smiling, acknowledging. She was bright, confident, mature. A good student of experience, I found it difficult to find fault with her. I went back home, having failed to find anything that could turn me away from her.

BSNL, Vodafone and IDEA made the distance between us disappear. Whatsapp kept us on our toes.

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Official: On September 6th we vowed to take the plunge. Her coming into my life was apt in many ways. She brought color to the grayscale routine I have been in for the last two years. It is an inexplicable genuine feeling knowing you really matter to someone out there, that there is someone to share the fruits of your success, to support you when you need it most.

Last one month has been crazy. With family around, I managed to spend some quality time at home and I take this moment to thank each and everyone from family and friends to colleagues and teachers who have kept us in their prayers and wished us. This is a journey of much excitement and I hope to savour every moment of it.

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