Pleasant surprises

Dr Roshan Radhakrishnan

A friend asked me a question a couple of years back : "Who cares what you write ? You think many people read what you write ? Or that it affects them in any way ?"

I got a call yesterday while I was in the operation theatre in Mangalore. I was, assisted by three students, managing 3 cases simultaneously, and was pretty worn out. The call was from my former Head of Department in Pune... from the college where I learned to be an anaesthesiologist.

I had planned a surprise for her a few weeks back. Aided by a trustworthy post graduate there in Pune, I got a copy of "Chicken Soup for the Indian Doctor's Soul" with my story in it hand-delivered to her in the hospital, with a personal note from me. She called me almost immediately after reading it and the happiness at this unexpected gift was evident in her words. She was so overjoyed with 'the pleasant surprise' that she planned a 'pleasant surprise' of her own.

It turns out the senior students were due to have their semester exams the next day. Madam sent the message to all the seniors in the operation theatre that after lunch, they had to meet in our 'seminar room' for a surprise class. Apparently, all the students had their hearts in their mouths because they all figured the 'surprise class' was just a ruse and thought their semester exam was being preponed by a day. So you had half a dozen scared students scurrying all over for books to read the topics at the last moment. I'm sure it was an uneasy lunch for them too that afternoon.

However, when all the students assembled, they found all the staff gathered there as well and understood this was no exam. Madam then revealed to them the true reason she had called them all - to show them my book. She happily read them the letter I'd sent with the book and had my story read out to all of them.
I wasn't there which is just as well... some people don't take criticism well. Me ? I get really embarrassed when praised and prefer to stay in the background while working for my successes.

The students called almost immediately after ( by which time I'd finished my cases for the day and was relaxing in the ICU, imagining the late lunch I was gonna devour ) and I could just hear the smiles on their faces as they talked. They were 'obviously' overjoyed there was no exam but they also liked the story ( some of them knew the patient personally ) and it was a welcome distraction from the tensions and worries of everyday work in an operation theatre. They'd had some sad news earlier in the morning and this brought a smile back on their faces.

Of course, knowing that my story had been read aloud in a department where I had studied - where I had worked day in and day out for 3 years, where I had presented so many powerpoint presentations to my staff and peers, written exams and yes, eaten many a celebratory cake-piece as well - it was an honour and a joy for me which I can't explain.

I wanted to bring a smile to a person I remembered fondly with a surprise. She brought a smile to a lot of students today with her surprise. Everyone's happiness made me smile and brightened my day right back.

A friend asked me a question a couple of years back : "Who cares what you write ? You think many people read what you write ? Or that it affects them in any way ?"

Today I got my answer : Yes. It does affect people. I know it for a fact. If it brings a smile on even a single face a day, I think I've done my job. And that matters to me.  


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Let me know what you think.

  1. Spreading the smiles... It is truly a great feeling..

  2. thank you... especially for the "trustworthy postgraduate" part.
    i was gonna call n tell you... reading ur writing aloud to everyone really helped, especially to deal with the bad news we had received earlier. despite d fact that i had to really control myself towards the end. almost crying in landmark is ok... but in front of the whole dept... no way. thank you once again, O Exalted CR!!!

  3. :) i think the biggest gift in life is to know that u cud touch someone's life even in the tiniest of ways.....

    and you brought smiles to soo many...
    you must be ONE HAPPY MAN now.. :)

    and hey!! congrats!! happy 6th anniversary of ur blog :)

  4. very well said!
    "I did my job and thats wht it matters to me"
    Congrats..if you cud touch a heart ..bring smiles ..wht else? its a blessing in its own way!
    keep up the good work!
    looking forward to hear more good things frm you!
    God bless!!

  5. Rohan, thats what its all about indeed man :)

    Arunima, thanks for maintaining the surprise... I meant every word of the trustworthy bit :)

    Jalpari, I did feel good honestly... in between personal sadness, this was a really happy moment.

    Harman, thanks. Hopefully more people will take up the cue and look to share happiness

  6. we cant bother about the results, our duty is only limited to do our work well..I am pretty sure that evry good word and evry good deed is amply rewarded.


  8. Renu, true... have to hope that somewhere our actions are making ppl smile :)

    Simply me, thanks.. thats really kind of u. Brought a smile to my face .

  9. Thats true!! Whatever we do express... we should always be concious... u wud never know who is obersving u or reading u...

    nice post :)

  10. Even I have stopped caring how many people read me..I will now write for my own pleasure and if it brings a smile on even one face the job is done.
    Keep uo the good work doc.

  11. "I wasn't there which is just as well... some people don't take criticism well. Me ? I get really embarrassed when praised and prefer to stay in the background while working for my successes."
    I relate to this part so well:-P.

    Keep up the good work Doc:-))!!!!!

  12. Humility is a man's greatest asset...I though still never was able to get to that state yet..
    keep up the good work :)

  13. Chakoli, I used to wonder about that a lot.. esp as years passed and I found out that some of the old friends actually do read my posts :) Made me more conscious... thats actually a good thing I feel in hindsight.

    Alka, I still remember in my first year of blogging.. the only 2-3 people who'd read me were my own school classmates. But it still felt good knowing they were reading... then watching more and more people come by... being able to write exactly what I think and know people liked it or wanted to hear more.. it was very encouraging.

  14. Reflections, seriously.. I get very fidgety in that kind of spotlight.. I'm ok with presentations and all...praise is kinda awkward for me.

    Tangerine...admitting it is half the battle :)

  15. Congrtz...
    That is a wonderful reason to write. No wonder you are a passionate blogger.
    Even I have this problem of getting really embarrassed when praised.

  16. Wonderful!

    I guess you must be hovering on clouds at present! I should gift the book to my mom, she's an anesthetist too!

  17. Keep writing Doc, there is never a post here that fails to thrill in the beautiful way that is truly just your own! now we have proof too:-)

    it was such a sweet gesture and such a high to experience it, na?:-)

  18. LeoPaw :)

    Aathira, I was indeed that day. And please do..its really a fun read.

    Suruchi, indeed felt really good.

  19. Ur writing def brings more than just a smile .
    jUS happened to discover ur blog a few days back wen I was going thru such a stresful period ( me having my MICU posting being a Med PG) . First time i felt happy n quite some time .
    Gr8 blog.. n keep going...

  20. Aswin, thank you very much. Been going through a stressful time myself..its positive comments like this that make me feel happy at athe end of a bad day.

  21. Stumbled upon your blog by chance.
    Very interesting collection of posts. Still need to read through your published stories.

    And I agree with you on preferring to be in the background when being praised.

    Keep going! :)

  22. Thanks man..interesting name :)
    Hope you like the articles u read here.

  23. You are one gem of a person, Roshan!!

    Well, I hav written a few comments on ur posts in the past week or two dat I have been reading ur blogs and dint bother asking...but do u mind if I call u Roshan?

    I am seriously awed by the doc in the you as we'll as the person.

    About this's the happiness that you get to see/hear from the people whom you have touched by your actions/words. At that moment, you feel so happy urself to have been able to do it for someone and bring a smile on their face!

    - Mel

    1. Thanks Mel. Please feel free to call me Roshan.. thats my name, isnt it ? And as you've been passing by my blog, you know I've been called much worse :D

      And you're right. This was an indirect happiness. I couldnt be there myself but atleast there was the happiness of knowing I could make someones day better miles away

  24. Totally agree! sometimes, i also think that and then realize that even if one person is touched, we better do what we are doing.

  25. latasunilJuly 03, 2018

    the question about who cares what you write is so deep. My husband still doesnt get it why I am having a blog and I spend holidays in front of the laptop. But, your post is a good response. It does touch someone someday, hopefully positively always.

  26. keep going Docauthor!

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