Books and people


Growing up among people, it was books that brought me up! Parenting was split between my biological mother and my relationship with books. Friendship and love came from mainly my maushi (Pachi), my maternal aunt, my siblings, my friends  and the books I read as if obsessed! Of course I lived in two worlds – one around me and the other one inside all the books I read!

I was strangely fascinated by classics. Since Pachi was a student of English, we had random books lying around at my Grandfather’s place! From Humphrey Clinker to Lord Jim, Lady Chatterley’s Lover to David Copperfield ! And I, like the voracious caterpillar, devoured them all! And that Chrysalis metamorphosed into me!

So many authors, so many books! Its tough to name favorites, though Jane Austen had a special role to play, with me yearning to be like Lizzy! Her assertiveness, her self assurance! those seemed liked massively attractive qualities to have for oneself! Those crisp and coloured days of childhood! sigh! Romance of a different nature! Fantasy of a different lifetime! Lizzy Bennet and Mr. Darcy! I still enjoy going through the eternal ‘Pride and Prejudice‘. It reminds me of childhood – my childhood, especially.

It was always FICTION that I read. I could not do the ‘self help’ and fact based reading. That seemed too much like studying. Though the thick psychology books that my mother got home from her college library were like endless treasures. She also got home the complete works of Arthur Conan Doyle once. I remember that book and the font size and the black and white sketches. The Hounds of Baskerville, A Study in Scarlet ….and so on!

Somehow, Somerset Maugham and Thomas Hardy creeped into my life at some point of time. And with my like-minded friends I would spend time discussing the nuances of the stories and the analysis of the characters!

And I happened to lay my hands on a lot of Russian writers in my Uncle’s home! Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Of course, I also wondered how he managed to be the person he was in spite of reading all the books on his own shelves. That’s when I realized that one had to apply the knowledge and develop the skills if one wanted to grow! Reading a book was not enough. Imbibe, absorb, filter and apply!

P G Wodehouse, of course, added a fun filled twist to life and came as a relief! We were supposed to laugh at the ironies and imperfections of life!


Geometrical Truth

If it is at the Center of the room

And we are intently staring at it

From where we stubbornly stand at

Weird angles.

We move a bit – it changes shape,

The colour does look different;

And in our ignorance we feel elated with

Our discovery.

We go closer – each one of us –

Walking on our own little paths,

Getting to the surreal feel of

Knowing it.

But what stops us in our pursuit?

What drives us to distraction?

We take a left or right turn or even

Turn around!

It remains silent where it was –

It always will exist there!

Not even waiting to be found!

Egoless – Unvain!


Chitale Kaka

First impressions don’t always matter. Especially with Chitale Kaka it just didn’t. The first time I saw him he was in an entirely different state. He was admitted under me in a state of confusion. That’s how I saw him first. His clinical presentation was a rare occurrence and his diagnosis was challenging. As our investigations and treatment progressed, gradually he started improving. And we got him out of his confusion all state and from states of adamancy and stubbornness too. I had kept my options open. A patient in such a state can be an entirely different person. ‘Patient’ is one state, ‘person’ is another. By the time

As he started coming to my clinic for follow ups, we struck a chord of friendship. Though he was in his seventies and me in my forties, we seemed to share a friendship from some other age. I looked forward to his monthly or quarterly visits, where he was accompanied by his concerned wife, Chitale Kaku. They both would wait patiently in the Opd for their turn, never once upsetting the routine or discipline of the place. And the moment they walked in, his face would light up, and so would mine. We would exchange light banter and silly jokes over inconsequential things. He would make light of his tremor in his shaking voice. I would joke about his gardening and his routine and how he should help Kaku in House work and not fight with her. He would mechanically do the routine of a Neuro exam and amidst affection and camaraderie, the visit would end on a pleasant note. And this would be repeated every three months. It seemed like forever then.

Till the last time he got admitted more than a year ago, in a state similar to his first admission – but this time his physical state refused to improve as his other systems chose to not cooperate and instead progressively shut down. It was almost ten years since the last time.

At such times, as doctors we are supposed to be detached. But that cannot always be the case. With old or regular patients, we are parts of their short and long stories, making important decisions for them, affecting the way they live their lives, denying them harmful stuff, while persuading them to be in some routine that is good for them.

And they are all parts of our lives, sharing the time and spaces, the academic aspects of our personas and also the nurturing ones. They mean something to us too. They are Kaka, Mama, Maushi and Aai. They are our children of varying ages. We nurture them and scold them and appreciate them and try and discipline them. We take their side in front of their family or sometimes even stand by them against diversity.

All these thoughts and more were whirring through my mind as Kaka went through his last days. They were intense and stormy. His ageing systems would not respond to conservative management. Since his systems were shutting down bit by bit and he had expressed his unwillingness for aggressive treatment to his daughter earlier, when he was in his senses, we took care to respect his wishes and looked after him till he passed away. We, as a team, focused on his comfort and his dignity. And one fine day he was no more.

But I miss his visits and the jokes we shared. I miss Chitale Kaka.

Animal effect

I am a kangaroo

Sometimes –

When I jump

To conclusions

And believe in them.

And sometimes

I can be a cat

Believing that no one is watching

Because my eyes

Are closed!

I don’t know if I have

Ever been a peacock

Strutting unnecessarily

In an unknown forest.


Sometimes like the dog

I am happy to be playful

In my loyalty.

While the monkey in me

Makes my jump

From thought to thought


Aimlessly –

But secretly purposeful,

The squirrel though

(I can’t get it off my mind! Literally)

Keeps darting

Here and there,

Trying to help



But it’s size

Is so dismissive

That I miss it all the time.

Today is another day

And today is another day

They say!

The pen will win,

It has its grace!

The pen will show the way!

The words will flow

In inkiness

Today – another day!

The squirrel will

Reach out to me

It’s unfurled fingers long.

Perhaps through you,

And perhaps not,

But it will sing its song!

The thoughts will flow

And make sense too!

The words will carry weight!

The monkeys and the squirrels will

I know, decide no fate!

And yet Today !

Another day!

Will dawn upon us all!

Someone within

Someone without

Will surely stand up tall!

‘Justice served’

Can be a dream

From ‘far far away’!

And yet today,

You can’t refuse

Is yet another day!

Will the pen?

Will the pen


Will it conquer


Will it


Will it Sketch out

The truth

From the dredges of


And put it

On the platter

For us

To devour?

Will the pen

Have the strength

To express?

Will it dare?

Will it?

Especially since

Now it no longer exists

To express,

Replaced by the keyboard

– typing out the writing in the mind !

My writing nihilism

Or maybe

Just maybe

I should let go


keep on writing

And something might emerge.

Something important



Or something true.

Or maybe just


Who knows?

Who really knows

What it’s all about?

Do the boogie woogie

And shake it all about –

That’s what it’s all about!

And they go ahead and talk



In which case –