This week, we had some lovely guests over for lunch. Part of the 'online to real life friends' category, they, like us, are food lovers. And so, we had an assortment of dishes ready for them when they arrived.
There was idiyappam (string hoppers) and prawn curry, biryani, chicken curry and stew besides a bunch of the regular accompaniments. One of those accompaniments was something I had never had at home before. It was a lovely spicy watermelon salad.

You can read the rest of the post here

Back when I started blogging in 2005, an easy way to find something to write on was to take up tags featuring questions you needed to answer. In addition to getting you back into 'writing mode', it also helped you open up about what was weighing on your mind.
For me today, that would be via Shalini's tag of "Ten to One in My Life"  where we answer 55 questions about ourselves as we count down from 10 to 1.  

Ten How’s!

How did you get one of your scars?

As a kid, I was fielding in a silly mid-on position while playing cricket. Turns out I was a little "too silly" mid-on and the swing of the batsman's bat hit me smack on my head, leaving a permanent mark on my eye brow. 
How did you celebrate your last birthday? Like a kid. I brought sweets for my department co-workers and nursing staff and also for those in my bus. Had a surprise cake courtesy a cousin and his family.
How are you feeling at this moment? Unsure of myself. A lot of things seem to have gone wrong recently.
How did your night go last? I binge watched Stranger Things till 2 am. Then fell asleep finally.
How did you do in high school? Pretty good. Good grades. First love. Excellent friends.
How did you get the shirt you are wearing? Bought it online via Redwolf. It has a silhouette of Scooby and Shaggy being stalked by one of those cartoon monsters. I love their shirts not just because they are unique but also because they are top notch quality, good value for money and best of all, fit me well considering my XXL chubby size.

How often do you see your best friends? It has been awhile. 
How much money did you spend last month? A lot. More than 3/4 th of my salary, I reckon. There were lots of expenses and gifts and stuff.
How old do you want to be when you get married? I'm the wrong person to answer this at so many levels :)
How old will you be at your next birthday? A lot younger than the white hairs on my sideburns suggest.

You can read the rest of the post here

Stay still where you are and look at yourself.

You are you and that is truer than true. 
You are your shade, your nationality and religion & in your mind, it defines you. 
It is your pride and differentiates you from the others - 
the ones of a different race & religion; from different mothers.

Now take one step outward and look from above. 

Soar with the birds and stay still in the winds. 
Use a telescope if need be but look at yourselves. 
You are you and that still remains true. 
But there is no difference from up above. 
For from the skies up yonder, you are all the same. 
Your religion and nationality do not define you; nor does your name.

Take one step inward and look from beneath. 

Ignore the proverbs and indeed go skin deep. 
Use a microscope if need be but look at yourselves.
You are you and that still remains true. 
But there is no difference from deep within. 
For beneath your skin, you are all the same. 
Your colour and religion do not define you; nor does your name.

Yes, you are Hindu and Christian & Muslim and Jew. 
Yes, you are black and white and yellow too.
You are you - one of God's blessed few 
But so are each and everyone - all seven billion - of you. 

Below the skin and above the ground, 
you are separated by birth, land and name, 
Yet every other living animal on this planet knows it... 
the simple truth that you are all the same. 

So take a step outward or take a step inward. 
And look - really look at me.
Because if you change your view for merely a moment, 
perhaps you will see - finally see 
that you are but me and I am but you 
and above all else, that remains truer than true

Authors note:
It is hard to watch the news today. 
People kill strangers and kids and say it is because they are different. Innocents are forced to suffer the hatred for being the same religion as these monsters. Millions who had a home at the start of the year are turned into immigrants and refugees, victims of the hatred burning within despots and people blinded by bloodlust. 
Even today, innocent people are being killed by policemen for being the 'wrong colour' in USA.
Eating the wrong food, wearing the wrong clothes, reading the wrong books... everything is an excuse to end a life. Educated privileged young men with their whole lives ahead of them choose to become terrorists in Bangladesh and kill strangers just because they perceive everyone different from them as vile. 

The key ideology is always the same - that others are different from us. And that is such a wrong notion.

At any other level, microscopic or macroscopic, when you just look at it, we are all alike. Every other creature on Earth sees it, except for us. The only difference arises from how we teach the next generation to hate based on our biases instead of working towards loving everyone equally.

Stop allowing man made boundaries and century old ideologies to make you hate someone you have never met. 

Don't hate me because you are taught the lie that we are both different.
Love me because you finally see the truth - that we are both alike.

Yes, I know. I have been away from the blog for awhile. What can I say? Life...

Anyway, as it has in the past, when I find myself unable to carry the blog, it takes a life of its own and carries me. I have been struggling to find the words through a tumultuous month and lo!and behold! My words wake up and appear on print even without me typing them. 

What I mean to say is, I ended up getting featured prominently in the 'Doctors Day Special' feature of the popular Kerala based Health Magazine, Manorama Arogyam

A lot of friends and well-wishers did ask for an English translation of the above article which was written with a lot of heart by the senior editor of the magazine Mr Santosh Sisupal himself so here it is. 
I'm extremely grateful to Dr Sifana Razack for helping me in this translation. Could not have done it without you.

The Self Sacrifice of a Doctor

by Santhosh Sisupal (Senior Sub Editor, Manorama Arogyam)

"As a father, you will find me as broad minded and tolerant as they get. You will have every opportunity to choose whether you want to retain your religion or change it based on what resonates within your mind. You will have every opportunity to choose the love of your life irrespective of caste, creed or even gender. I will let you have every choice in life and I will be there to support you and guide you along the way.  You can be a wildlife photographer trekking through the Amazons or dance the poles at Las Vegas. But I will never allow you to become a doctor in India."

And that is how one of India's most famous blog articles end. Written by Dr Roshan Radhakrishnan, a 35 year old anaesthesiologist hailing from Kannur and a blogger for over 10 years, "Why I will never allow my child to become a doctor in India" has gone on to amass over 3,00,000 page views and over 30,000 shares till date. A strong take on the many difficulties that those in the medical profession face today, Dr Roshan's blog has indeed become a powerful one, so much so that doctors all over India hold it as a shield against all instances where the doctor has been blamed for negligence.

You can read the rest of the post here

After the highs of dancing in the streets of Delhi in January and getting my first published articles (plural!) in Huffington Post in February, the last couple of months have had a lot to live up to if it wanted to match the start of the year.

So did it? Here are the moments that I am grateful for... moments made me smile in April & May

Winning the #WRITEINDIA contest

When the Write India contest was announced by Times of India, I found myself intrigued.
Every month for 11 consecutive ones, one of India's most popular authors would give a story prompt and the people of India had to come up with a great short story based on the guidelines the author set. The final winners would get their stories published in an anthology.

And I won

Durjoy Datta's extremely creative prompt featured a unique girl with superhuman features and the guidelines he set were even more unique. And I knew exactly what I wanted to do with that story the very first time I read his paragraph. I am so glad to do a decent enough job (I always feel I can do more every time I read my old stories) that got me the win. As huge as it is to win this when competing against the entire country's immense talent, it was more personal for me.

After the highs of the past two years where I have had over a dozen stories published across almost all genres (from romance to horror and even action), I seemed to have hit a slump. My heart just was not into it... I could not focus long enough to even care to write stories. Dozens of short stories lie all over my Evernote, abandoned and incomplete. This win helped me prove to myself that I was worthy. And right now, for me, that is the big victory I need.     

A Wedding in the Family

A celebration of two hearts uniting is a win in my book. Always.

Two souls but a single thought.
Two hearts that beat as one.
- John Keats

You can read the rest of the post here

"The more things change, the more they stay the same."
- Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr

When we first enter the dimly lit room, we see the magician.
Intrigued by what we know he is about to do, we gather around him.
In observing the hands at work, we understand. 
In understanding the power behind magic, we are inspired to do it ourselves.
In doing, we realize the true struggle behind the faux effortlessness. 
We fail yet we persevere. 
We evolve yet we strive further. 
We better ourselves every time we fail. 
We stay focused every time we succeed.
And without even knowing it, one fine day we look up and suddenly realize that we are no longer the watcher any more. 
We are now the watched. 
We are now the hands that inspire. 
We are now the magicians.

"The more things change, the more they stay the same." - Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr

The medical world may have evolved in so many ways over the last 1 and a half centuries but still the building blocks remain the same - Observe, Understand, Do, Persevere, Evolve... Succeed.

Authors note:
Watching young medical students today in my operation theater, I was just reminded of the images from over a century ago when scores of enthusiasts in the field of medicine would watch as surgeries were performed in huge amphitheaters.
Placing both images side by side really did bring home the reality of Alphonse Karr's prophetic words.


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