Sep 19, 2014

Whose snake is it anyway?

Eager to share more comical anecdotes here, I had asked my fellow doctors about funny incidents that had occurred during their career that they felt would be worth sharing with the general public. As the responses poured in, I started to realize something – we doctors have a very morbid sense of humour, don’t we? You think I am bluffing? Here are some samples of just the first line of the ‘funny anecdotes’ that came in my inbox:

  • “There was this time when we were removing a cancerous growth…”. 
  • “This guy was high on weed and holding a lit cracker in his hands…”
  • “Did I tell you about the hilarious one with the guy who was bitten by a snake…”
  • “What about that guy who fell from the coconut tree…”
  • “This one time we were performing a procedure for family planning and the mother-in-law objected…”

This was first published in Tamarind Rice's
Volume 2 issue 2 in my column "An Appletini
A Day..."
Click the picture to read the entire
 magazine online for free.

Ai yai yai!
I don’t know if it is all those years of working in a hospital that makes absolutely funny docs develop this scary ‘Addams family’ sense of humour. The fact remains though that we do have some very interesting anecdotes to share with the vast spectrum of people who pass by our hospital doors every day. Having sifted through the many stories that came in, I thought I would share one from the above list with you all this time. So what say we hear about that hilarious one of the snake bite from a doctor presently working in one of the busiest emergency departments in God’s own country?

So we have this guy who was bitten by a snake while working in the field. The nearest hospital adequately equipped to deal with snake bite wounds was a good ninety kilometres away and for some reason the others in his area decided to take him by an express train rather than combat the broken roads (thank you, road tax!). They had of course caught the snake and kept it inside a distinctive yellow gunny bag with the aim of showing the doctors at the hospital.

Sep 17, 2014

How to Write Short Romance...

A Daily Romance asked me if I would be willing to share a few points that I felt were essential to making a good short romantic tale. That did get me thinking...
What really goes into making a love story memorable? A lot obviously, but then what do you do when you are restricted by the word count as well?  How do you make your story stand out? These are some of the points I came up with..

  1. I prefer the time frame in my short stories to be, well, short. An hour, a day, a week… a month at best. It allows me to focus more intensely on the conversations and events within that time frame and gives the reader an intimate birds-eye view of moments as they transpire.
  2. Don’t overcrowd a short story with too many characters. Just use the number you need. At some level, that applies for events too. I like to keep the number of events less and instead focus on how my characters feel.
  3. Dive right into the main part of your story. Let the characters evolve in the readers eyes as the story progresses rather than setting up a major backstory.

Sep 16, 2014

Alcohol Withdrawal: Just another thing Kerala is not prepared for post-prohibition

Today, I am going to be focusing on a topic which I predict is going to discussed across the country (and especially in my home state) quite extensively in the days to come, once the new 'alcohol prohibition' law is enforced in God's Own Country.
While this can also be seen as a medical article, the main aim of this post is to share it with my fellow Keralites so that they can spot the symptoms at the earliest, both as individuals and as doctors.

Let me start off with the key point - Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome (AWS) is not a joke. People can die from it. No, really!
It commonly affects those who have been binge drinkers or drink regularly for consistent periods of time (usually months or years) and are then forced to stop it or significantly reduce the quantity abruptly. Remember how some of your imbibing friends may show off that they do not get drunk even after 5 - 6 pegs? Ya, that's not as cool a thing as they imagine and you may want to let them know that.

Unlike infectious diseases which have a longer incubation period, AWS can affect the individual as early as two hours after the last drink. Symptom progression involves:

  • Anxiety
  • Nervousness
  • Irritability
  • Sweating
  • Shaky hands
  • Severe headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Insomnia

Unfortunately, all those points I mentioned are the good stuff. After that, things get worse.
Hallucinations start to develop (visual/tactile/auditory). Again, this ain't the worst of it. It may then progress to seizures and a condition called delirium tremens.

Sep 13, 2014

The Ongoing novel of Team 'Bards of the Blogosphere' #CelebrateBlogging

As part of Blogadda's ongoing "Game of Blogs", teams of ten bloggers from across the country come together and share their individual insights to help create a unique "one of its kind" novel where all ten bloggers contribute, based on characters provided. This process carries on over a period of three rounds with an elimination every week until the best story is eventually found.

The jury panel for the contest: 

The team Bards of the Blogosphere comprises of DivyakshiPriyanka RoyPriyanka VictorArpitaDattaNupurSulekhaMaria and Roshan.
Random though the selection may have been by Blogadda, the final team has a wonderful blend of bloggers capable of lending their own flair across various genres including humour, poetry, melancholy, intrigue and twists in the tale. And rest assured, we do plan to bring in the best of each of these genres into this story.

Touch wood, we plan to be there when the final results are announced and with that goal in mind, we have formed this page to allow easier access to those interested to follow us on our journey over the next three weeks as our story progresses. Without further adieu, we present to you chapters from the ongoing collaboration of the "Bards of the Blogosphere."

Week 1: 
Chapter 1 - Princess' Day Out
Chapter 2 - The Weekend Brunch
Chapter 3 - The Journey
Chapter 4 - The Phone Call
Chapter 5 - Through the Eyes of a Stranger
Chapter 6 - The Princess and her Pied Piper
Chapter 7 - Shadow play turns real
Chapter 8 - Mysterious Tattoo
Chapter 9 - The Confrontation

Do bookmark and return to this page tomorrow. The bards will be back with the next chapter of the story.
Have a wonderful day.

#15to50 Challenge: Live the Lie

“This cheery persona, these colorful masks... they are all a lie. I feel so empty inside.”
“Then live the lie.” he told me. "Be one with the cheery false appearances until gradually the lie becomes your reality and the darkness is no longer visible, even to you."

Authors note:
Word Count - 47.
This post is written for the 'From 15 to 50‘ challenge hosted by The Moving Quill
The Prompts are:
Word prompt: Perspective
Phrase Prompt: ‘Three in a row’
Picture Prompt: As seen above

Sep 12, 2014

Bards of the Blogosphere: Chapter 1 - Princess' Day Out. #CelebrateBlogging

Authors note: This is the first chapter in the "Game of Blogs" for the team "Bards of the Blogosphere." #CelebrateBlogging

“You know, she was really beautiful on that stage.”
He nodded as he looked away from his mobile and smiled. “Yes. She is my daughter, after all. Good looks run in my genes.” 
He leaned sideways, trying to avoid the punch he knew was coming. Instead, she just stared at him with an exasperated look that he knew so well.
“Don’t try that grumpy mama look on me, Tara.  That may cause shivers back at your news station but not here. After all, I am made of much sterner stuff than those newspaper boys who work for you. Ouch! Ouch! No pinching!”

She withdrew her hand but the glare remained upon her face. “They are news reporters, not paper boys! And look who’s  talking? You freelancer!”
He put on his best mean expression and turned towards her, one eyebrow raised in battle-mode. “Hey! Don’t mess with us freelancers! We are taking it easy on you and your newspaper boys. If we choose, we can take over the press with our awesome stories. You will be left running twenty five minutes of underwear ads with five minutes of news copied from us.”
She raised her hands to strangle him and he backed away within the chair once more. Any further violent event was halted however as a shrill voice shrieked while she bounded up the stairs.

Sep 10, 2014

This is not how my story ends #SuicidePrevention

Depression is not a sin. In India, people will take medical treatment for impotency but they will never take aid for depression or related bipolar disorders. That is something we all noticed as doctors. The stigma of mental weakness was too humiliating to even disclose let alone treat, the individual's suffering be damned.  

Everything will be okay.” “God will find a way.” 
“Pretend it never happened. Don’t tell anyone.”

This is the Indian way of treating depression, is it not? Bury it deep under the carpet and tell the person to just move on. Raped? Move on. Cheated? It's okay. Failed? Don't tell the neighbours.
One ten minute conversation and you feel you have done your job. They are expected to just start doing back flips and smiling for you again. That is not the way it works. Any number of reasons can cause a person to entertain suicidal tendencies. Their faith has been broken, their hopes ripped. That is not something that heals in ten minutes. They are not different from you – they have just undergone events that have affected them harder and they need someone to be by their side. In particular, I do have something to say to all the ‘devastated friends’ who line up on social media after a suicide and say “May the Lord forgive him/her for his sin of suicide.”

Your friend did not commit suicide because she failed humanity… she committed suicide because humanity failed her. You failed her.
Do you understand that? We brought her down to her knees, cheated her, broke her, showed no sympathy, ignored her as though her sorrow was contagious, gossiped about her in stage whispers which reached her ears and took judgemental moralistic stands because we saw ourselves as being superior to her at that point in time. 

Do you see it now? YOU failed her so don’t ask God to forgive her… if you are a true human being, ask God to forgive you for not making the effort to save a life you knew was in peril. Just because there were no splashes of water in a person drowning in sorrow does not mean you cannot see she needed help back to the shore. So what stopped you? Was it
  1. You did not wish to be associated with the mess she was in.
  2. You were scared of how the public would react seeing you associating with her.
  3. You did not think it was serious enough to be a big deal. Others had been raped/ bankrupt/ broken hearted/ cheated before… it is not like they all commit suicide, right? Right?
  4. You really just did not care enough about her as a friend to want to help them. 

If your reason lies within these points, it is time to re-evaluate your stand as a friend for others. More importantly, it is time for your friends to re-evaluate whether they want a fair-weather buddy like you in their lives.


To those of you losing that will to live, I would like to share certain things I learned along the journey of life, both as a doctor and as a human being. 

Sep 9, 2014

Yummy Crab Curry

Indian seafood crab curry

Everyone always mentions the site from which they took their stock photos for their blog posts. Well, this post is slightly different. Because this crab curry dish and the pictures all originate right here at home. So where's the tribute?
Well, this is a thank you to the blogger Aarthi from the wonderful site Yummy Tummy.
This dish is based on her recipe here which all of us at home just loved.

Indian crab curry

Indian crab curry seafood

Seafood lovers, do try out that recipe - trust me. It's yummy.
Aarthi, on behalf of all of us at home here in Kannur, thank you very much for an awesome recipe.