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Thursday, October 23, 2014

LAKSHMEE- A short story (Guest Post)

Many years have passed since she left this imperfect and unjust world, but still she floats around in my memories time to time. Today I have decided to tell the story of Lakshmee as was perceived through my eyes. Lakshmee was born as a first child in a family which had seen a girl child after two generations. Although a boy would have been more welcome in this case also, Her arrival in this world was tolerated or I dare say welcomed in much better way than many of other girls had in my village. At that time you could guess by the silence and gloom at home that a girls had arrived or by noise of celebration that a boy had been born. A feast was arranged as celebration for her birth which was generally reserved for boys. Her grandfather christened her Lakshmee, consoling his son that she will bring prosperity, material and money as well as many boys to family.

She was a very lovely child with plenty of smiles and comfortable with anyone wishing to carry her in his/her arms. Since she was first child in family, she was attended well. There were plenty of people in house who were unoccupied and now had something to keep them busy. Seeing a child grow is greatest of the joy one can have. After three years she had her brother born. A big feast was arranged with village band performing. Suddenly object of attention changed from Lakshmee to newly born boy who was named as Vaibhav. She enjoyed for few days all the traditional music and noise accompanied with her brother’s birth. A lot has changed in her status in the house but she hardly recognised it. She was constantly reminded that she was very lucky to have a brother who will fulfil all her dreams when he was grown up. So it was her duty to give him all the comfort, care, love and attention even if it was on the cost of her. She accepted it very readily and now onwards everything in her life was secondary to her brother’s happiness. She will sit all day long beside him, amusing him in whatever way she could, oiling him with her little hands, carrying him in her arms with unsteady steps. 

Now she was six years old and had one more brother and a newly born sister. By this time she had came to understanding that brothers were more important than sisters in the family. Surprisingly she never resented this fact and accepted it as truth and reality like her mother. Her mother was indoctrinated in this philosophy from childhood and had never equal rather a very narrow space in her heart for daughters. For her boys brought her respect in family and hope for future but girls a misery in form of over increasing dowry demands. She had seen throughout her life differentiated treatment to boys and girls and had accepted it as reality. She never had any crisis of conscience in perpetuating this bias further. Some family in the village were changing with time. Girls in these families were getting increasingly better treatment and opportunities. The main driver behind these changes were mothers rather than fathers. Mothers, who had opportunities to witness increased role of women in society, supported their daughters more strongly. 

Lakshmee now 9 years old  was attending government primary school and best part she enjoyed there was midday meal which had been recently started. This scheme had brought life to otherwise deserted school with good number students waiting eagerly for midday khichdi. The students were getting free books as well as an uniform also. Her brothers were going to local convent school in nearby town by rickshaw. It was convent only in name, eduction provided was as best as mediocre but still better than primary schools where two teachers were teaching five classes. Her father said that he couldn’t afford sending her or her sisters to convent school and money spent on daughters was waste as he would have to give even larger dowry to better educated girls. Lakshmee never seemed to care about this and she felt very happy attending her school and in fact she proudly told her classmates that her brothers go to expensive school and one day they will become big people like engineers and doctors. She always dreamed of her brother success and she had attached all her own dreams and desires with them. Before going and after coming from school she would help her mother in household chorus and managing of her youngest one year old third brother ‘Vishal’. Vishal had started crawling and sometimes would stand and take one-two steps before falling down. One day Lakshmee was with him on the roof. Lakshmee was with her newly received books. She was eagerly exploring the book and for sometime took her eyes off her brother. When she turned her eyes towards Vishal, she found him standing on the verge of roof which was without railings. Her blood froze and in panic she rushed towards brother to get hold of him. Her brother was about to fall down. She caught him but she couldn’t control the momentum and fell with him in her arms. She landed on her back to the ground. With the noise everybody in family gathered there. Luckly due to rain previous day ground was wet and muddy so impact was not dangerous. Boy was safe so was Lakshmee with minor scratches to her hand and pain in back. Her mother was enraged at her and even Lakshmee was also feeling guilt for her carelessness. Her mother took the baby out of her arms and told her father to rush to doctor. She wanted to beat Lakshmee but her grandmother took her away. Her father went to doctor and got his son examined. He was found healthy and without any problem. Lakshmee was put with quike lime (chuna) on her scratches and given turmeric laced milk (Haldi-milk) for pain by her grand mother. After one week Luxmi was again same sportive like fawn. Her mother had not pardoned her yet but she felt that she deserved that.

Lakshmee entered fourteenth year of her life. She was a brilliant student in middle school and always stood first in class. In spite of studying in government school she was performing better than her convent educated brothers. But this fact brought further misery to her. Her mother resented that the one needn’t study was doing well and those who were expected, didn’t. Her school teachers suggested her father that she should continue her studies and one day she would make him proud of her. Her father said that in two years she would complete her 10th and that was good enough education for her. Once she was eighteen he would marry her as day by day dowry demand is increasing. Her In-laws and husband would decide on her education as they were the one to be benefited by it. 

Raising five children was not easy. Grandmother was too old to be of much help. Her mother would get irritated with en-ending domestic work. She would frequently loose temper, specially if any trouble created by girls. Lakshmee was prime target as in contrast to her younger sister who never enjoyed studies, she would try to get every opportunity to turn pages of her books. She would rarely complain and seemed to be putting no ear to constant nagging of her mother. She would eat anything even two-three day stale food. She was especially fond of eating stale chappaties with hot tea. Now raining season was going on. Very few people in village had toilets. It was very cumbersome to relieve oneself specially for women in rainy season. She caught diarrhoea which was very common in this season and every year one or two people died because of it. She was having motions and was vomiting from morning only. Nobody seemed to care. Her grandmother gave lemon water time to time but Lakshmee lost her strength very fast. By evening she was not able to rush to the fields to relieve herself so she would use backyard of  her house. In the evening her mother told to her father to bring some medicines. His father said that early morning he would call Sharma doctor who was from nearby town but he was only doctor available for nearby villages. He was not MBBS but he would practice allopathy medicines. He would prescribe and sell most of the medicines himself only charging a very low fee. All night Lakshmee would be running up and down the backyard. Mother and father thought that she could pull up and there was no need to worry too much as in the morning only she would be provided with medicines. In the morning mother was aghast at seeing whole bed dirty. She shouted at Lakshmee but she somehow gathering her whole strength told her mother that she couldn’t move her body. Now her mother new something terrible had happened. Her mother started waling and shouting as well cursing that neighbours has done some black magic which is causing all the problem in the house. 

Her father ran to Sharma doctor.He and Sharma doctor came hurriedly on Sharma’s moped with drips and glucose bottles and started putting glucose to Lakshmee. He told her father that all the trouble was due to deficiency of water in blood, due to low volume of blood on account of this deficiency, there  was less oxygen reaching to brain. It caused paralysis which could be reversed if proper medication was given but it was not guaranteed. Her mother never believed the doctor and believed black magic by neighbours was the only reason. She wanted to consult Ojha (Black magic heeler) in neighbouring village. Many of the neighbours gathered with different types of advices and recommended different specialist doctors. Some suggested a multi speciality hospital in commiserate headquarters while others suggested a Homoeopathic doctor in district headquarters who was equally good but quite inexpensive in comparison to multi speciality hospital. Father decided to go to Homoeopathic one as he was not ready to stake all his money for her sake while he was not sure if she would ever recover. So her father arranged a auto and took her to homoeopathic doctor. Her mother accompanied with her women friends went to Ojha.   

Homoeopathy doctor began his treatment. Slowly-slowly she was recovering. Now she could move her fingers and hands a little and sometimes legs also. Every day she was regain control of her body progressively. I still believe that it was her strong will rather than the medicine that was recuperating her. Father would praise the doctor endlessly and mother would give credit to Ojha. Ojha had said to her that neighbours had installed three strong ghosts, a Brahma (dead Brahmin ghost), a Marhi (a dead child ghost) and a jinn ( a  moslem ghost). But slowly slowly he would remove them with his sustained efforts but it would be a difficult struggle. Her mother was confident that his efforts were going in right direction.

Time passed by. December came. Now she was much better and everybody was confident of her recovery. She could now sit down on her own could stand supported with a stick for few minutes. But now she was suffering with small cold. Doctor had suggested to keep her protected from cold. But Lakshmee wanted very badly to walk. By afternoon she was walking slowly-slowly with the help of stick. She was very happy. Now a days everybody was very sympathetic to her. Her brothers and sisters would devote considerable time to her and her mother would make her favourite dishes now a then. Her father would bring sweets frequently for her. She has not remembered any time till now being treated so well. Whole family was happy to see her walk and wanted all neighbours to see it. Lakshmee walked all evening supported by his brothers and sisters but around 6pm she was shivering and heaving very badly. She had strong fever. His father rushed to local medicine shop who would also prescribe medicines for small ailments. He gave him some medicines for fever and some injections to be given in morning when Sharma doctor would come to his Dispensary. His father gave medicines to her but her condition worsened. There was no transport in the village and one could get one only in the morning from nearby town area. Around 4 AM she closed her eyes and bade goodbye to this world. Probably she died of pneumonia. But nobody know for sure and her mother is confident that it was black magic.

I find it very difficult for me to judge her passing away. Was it better for her to leave this unequal or unjust world where girl is still a burden? Were her parents responsible or the society they were part of? Or as countryman we ourself who very much like to discuss and then forget that there are villages in our country without proper sanitation facilities, worthwhile education facilities, road connectivity, transport and basic health facilities. Perhaps I know the answer but ashamed to admit it.

Written by my elder brother, Manish Kumar Singh

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Misanthropist

There are moments when I find myself no less than a misanthropist, especially, after a rough timing with people. The innate selfishness driven with opportunistic trait attributes the majority of people and it often creates a doubt whether all those people who we see as good and others as bad have just difference of opportunity and fear. Morality often seems to fall apart falsifying the universality and Sat, Chit, Anand view of Human character. It is intriguing to see how we construe our own code of morality, though, limited in domain to exploit profit without having guilt of contradicting the larger aspect of morality. And there is where ‘Ethics’ comes into picture. After having many encounters in the past some days with people ranging from doctors to Rickshaw-wallas in the streets of Varanasi, I can say to some extent that we, human, are socially and emotionally controlled but selfish people. No doubt, there are instincts quite natural required for our survival who inadvertently lead us to selfish behavior but there are also social needs and emotional feeling like empathy, kindness which regulate our selfish motives. When survival becomes crucial, a person loses all the characteristic of being human. As study suggests, in the time of famine there are certain hormones secreted inside human body which make human to do everything for survival, even killing other people without any remorse. When the rules in the society along with innate kindness of people override these selfish instincts, society become safe and secure. Reducing the insecurity of people for survival and increasing the dependency among people could help in such scenario. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Fan And Me

As a doctor, my younger brother has more to show his importance to my family members and neighbors. But being an engineer, I don't get much chance to showcase my abilities with practical utilities to people, other than engineers or scientists. Then, there is this opportunity I somehow convinced my mother of the importance of being an electrical engineer. It happened as the speed of ceiling fan of my room was not as fast as it should normally be. When the electrician came, he just replaced condenser of fan. Surprisingly, even though the fan was speeding fast, it was not throwing air downwards. Actually, all the air was being thrown upwards as the speed of fan had got reversed. Electrician had no idea how it happened.  And that was the time, I remembered the question asked during comprehensive viva about single phase induction motor during my engineering days in IIT, BHU and it took no time to realize that, in fact, the winding of condenser had been interchanged and therefore, the torque had got reversed. I just convinced the electrician to change the condenser location  and with all the surprise of my mother and electrician, the fan started running in the usual direction. And that was the time, my mother proudly introduced me as scientist to the electrician and It made my day. :)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Time Derivative Of Life

Gazing outside the window from the first floor of scientist hostel, I could feel the wet and cold sensation of wind blowing against my face. The feeling itself has a magical pull which brings myself in present, time and again whenever my mind drifts away in remembering the past and dreaming about future. With each passing time, I am loosing this place and within a month, I would see the place placed just in my memories. These three and half years of my life have witnessed many aspects of life which I am very sure have helped me to get an abstract meaning in rather meaningless world. Success and failure are too vague to define these periods of life as these event of "success" and "failure" consist of many dimensions, in some, they are antithesis of what they are perceived in another.
Little do we know about the end of journey when we start it. With each steps forward we discover a new path promising us to give another view of life. We are presented with the choices we cannot avoid. Choices might bring misery but without choices our journey would be just horizontal. We invite choices rather choices invite us. And it needs persistence and hard work to be awarded by choices. Choices are like twigs of trees where each twig will help us to move upward on the tree. Even though I am sceptical, if there  really exists any scenery other than what I see now. However, I find it as worth trying for at least, it would make my life derivative a non-zero.
Very often, the memories of past defines the path we are about the follow. They impress our mind with EXperiences and sometimes they change our perceptions too. That’s why we don't live a moment, we live a life where past and future are equally present.
I don't know where my thoughts got headed from the time I realized the cold sensation of wind against my face. Perhaps, it became bit philosophical. Though, I would be glad if  it would paint the picture which I was looking at while writing this post.
Quotes:
Often when we are at the verge of success and failure we can see the big lie of glory and much hyped fear of failure- Amit
Time derivative of life, when tends to zero.. Boredom is imminent- Amit


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Feeling Worthy??

Image courtesy: studiomothers.com
For many, there are two distinct ways to feel worthy. Either by doing a worthwhile work or simply, by proving his work worthwhile to others. Former is  self-driven  whereas later is driven by other's judgement. People whose ego only feeds on  external motivations can again be classified into two not-so-distinct classes. First one tries to prove his work worthwhile whereas second one condescends other's work insignificant and mediocre.  Unfortunately, the hazards these second type of people can bring into any organization are often underestimated. Their egotism combined with arrogance engenders a lethal combination which poisons and erodes the core value of organization.  It is worth pondering how such 'mutation' happens; How a fresh graduate from college ends up being such creature. Though it would be amateurish to conclude based on limited observations nevertheless, It is not difficult to find a pattern. The pattern shows a direct relationship between being such creature and being an incompetent. Incompetency leaves no choice for survival other than to devolve into such being.

Where does the solution lie? Solution lies in recognizing such creatures as soon as possible. One needs to put  efforts as it might be difficult at times to see their real face in  the veil of intellectualism.  But once pinpointed, one should keep his/her ears and eyes away from them as it is more than enough to starve their ego.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Quotes

  1. If you have not made any mistakes in your life, you would not have anything interesting to make other's laugh.
  2. Choices engender confusions. But, often out of the confusions, we come to correct decision.
  3. The image, we see of others, is always tinted with our own colors.
  4. Experience is the additional lens; life rewards us to see the subtlety of life more clearly.
  5. In hindsight, justification is often driven by rejection.
  6. Happiness and sorrows in life are like poles and zeroes of control system. If positioned correctly, they       make life more happening and responsive.
  7. Uniqueness lies in diversity. 
  8. Efficiency : Meaning :: Adam Smith : Karl Marx :: Machine : Human
  9. To me, an author is just an instrument who amplifies the thoughts and ideas filtered out by his consciousness. The 'bandwidth' of consciousness is critical in such scenario as it largely decides what thoughts and ideas it would amplify. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Anonymity

Anonymity is a great blessing. It gives you freedom and let you truly be what you are. Even though there are people, who enjoy such freedom in the most conspicuous way, most of the people are not so fortunate to have upbringing which can strengthen them to have ability to face society and culture while being original. For them anonymity is a bliss no matter how cowardly it seems.There can be many argument against anonymity as it somewhat passive and subjective way of living your life without pushing or rebelling against the system which imposes many layers of artificiality over our true being. But the truth is that the labyrinthine structure of social tradition weighs us down and ruins  our confidence to be ourselves. It is not surprising to see that many people don’t even realize how their behaviour is accustomed to the norms of society. From the very beginning of our life, we are disciplined to certain norms. We are told to behold the certain distinction of right and wrong. Little do we know that these criteria are neither absolute nor permanent.  Time comes when we are left to ponder over the contradiction of what we believed and what it really is.
It is said that when we can’t fight, we should hide. I don’t find any feeling of shame in accepting the veracity of this statement. Fighting against system as a person would never have as impact as fighting it with an Idea. Anonymity protects one as an individual and provides a platform where one’s idea can grow, spread and influence the society. This little anomaly in form of idea has the potential to bring out truth by foundering the orthodox norms of society.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Phantoms In The Brain

As an observer's point of view, the world- from a tiny atom to a vast galaxy, seems no less than mystery and apparently can only be comprehended through 'something'that is more mysterious than  mystery itself and when we search for this ‘something’ , nothing seems more reasonable than  our brain- A three pound jelly type structure consisting billions of neurons. There would be times when most of us ponder over the purpose of existence, the feeling of ‘I’ emanating from the deep inside, the observer sitting inside the brain going into a recursion and many more abstract aspects of life. It would not be exaggeration to say that since advent of the existence, these fundamental questions have been searched and what we see today as religion, belief and philosophy are merely by-products of this mysterious expedition.

Some weeks before, I got familiar with the work of the one of most sought neuroscientist of contemporary world, V. S. Ramchadran through his lecture-video on TED where he was describing his experiments with the patient diagnosed with different brain disorders in an attempt to unlock the mystery of brain. It was quite intriguing and interesting. To understand brain is more like a crime investigation where every clue, however small and trivial, should be logically deducted to conclusion with logical consistency of assumption. If someone, Ramchandran’s video on TED and his book “Phantoms in the Brain” made me remember, it was Sherlock Homes and it would not be an exaggeration to crown him as “The Sherlock Homes of Neuroscience”.

A world where the line separating real and imaginary, feeling and substance seems blurred and enigmatic, the book “Phantoms in the brain” not only stimulates with the questions but also provide answers, very much like a scientific explanation with logical consistency that unveils the long-hidden facets related to reciprocity of mind and body.  The simplicity of writing with systematic elucidation is riveting. Once I got hold of book, it took me into a mysterious world where I could relate my electrical circuits very much to the functionality of mind. The question whether the technology is abstraction of mind or understanding of mind is mere widening of our understanding of electrical circuits (pattern-finding-behaviour) is similar to much notorious question- which came first, the egg or hen.

The case-studies of numerous patients described in the book will not only provide the deep insights and complexity of brain but also provide the glimpse of inevitable and indisputable link of mind and body and consequently, it kindles the possibility of a new kind of therapy in medical field in coming future. And, no doubt it emergence in near future might create a paradigm shift. 

Nothing sounds so interesting to me when a book which defines the humour in neurological way and also illustrates the possible reasons behind having a sense of humour exclusively in human-beings is quoted as one of the most funniest and original book (Guardian, Newspaper). The simple experiments devised by V. S. Ramchandran outlines the illusory nature of self. Through intriguing relationship between perception and conception (Blind-Spot), he delves into utter mystery of existence. With Various references of philosophers and scientist like Freud and Darwin, this book provides insights from various dimensions.  

 Read this book, it may hammer your notions of GOD but I am sure it will give you sense of humility- the ultimate purpose of religion, for being an inevitable part of cosmos. Somehow, this book points towards a window from where, I firmly believe, one day we would be able to discern the mysticism and spirituality which are hitherto been perceived as incomprehensible.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Horrible Bosses- Review


“Horrible bosses” is a rib-tickling story of three friends, Nick, Dale and Kurt, who are deeply upset with their bosses for different reasons. Even though Nick puts his full effort in office, his boss, Dave Harken, scolds him for being two minutes late and tricks him to drink scotch at 8:00 in the morning. Adding more fuel to fire, he declared himself as the vice president of sales in addition to his current designation and thus, he blows out Nick’s dream of being the vice president forever.  Dale is working as an assistant to Dr. Julia. Dr. Julia sexually offends Dale. She also threatens to expose his nude pictures with her, roguishly shot while he was unconscious, to his girlfriend. Kurt likes his work until his boss dies of heart-attack and his psychopathic son becomes his boss. His new boss threatens him to fire unless he fires one of the “fat lady” and “Mr. Xavier”. While drinking at the bar, they find a hypothetical solution of their problems and that was to murder their bosses. They meet mother-fucker john who becomes their murder-consultant and gives them a five -thousand- dollar- idea to kill each other’s boss. What happens next is full of lots of twists and turns and then finally, it ends with an unpredictable and humorous note...

Jennifer Anniston as a sexually harassing and foul-mouthed boss has done a splendid job. No doubt, this is one of the finest performances of Anniston till date and more importantly, it lets her come out of  comfort zone and play a character she had never done before. Kevin Spacy (Dave harken) as an office-jerk has done a remarkable job. . I loved the Kevin spacy’s performance as Dave Harken most. The way he characterizes himself as an egotistical jerk, shows ingenuity to his role. Collin Ferral as bobby completely justifies his character.  He almost dissolves his character into a drug-addict maniac. It was hilarious when he argued with Kurt to fire one of the “Fat lady” and “Dr Xavier” or else he would fire all of the three.  Not to mention, Nick (Jason Bateman), Dale (Charlie Day) and Kurt (Jason Sudekies) have done awesome job.

In a nutshell, Seth Gordon, the director of movie, has done a fantastic job by providing intensity to the dark, crude and hilarious plot of this movie.  Kudos to him and his strong cast.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Those Umpteen Years


Deep inside my skins
The bluish veins were carrying
My life...cold and entrenched
Equivocally dead
Laughter subdued into restrained
Hollow smile
An innocent heart was seeking to be guile
Belief, hope, trust and love
Seemed just a fantasy...perhaps a pun
This tiresome, tedious and treacherous run
 Was it worthwhile for just a minuscule fun?
Then one day, it knocked my door
It entered; I was lying on the floor
I was pulled apart into two
Detracted into Me and him
I saw those numb dead eyes
I felt the void, the emptiness
Perhaps...in those umpteen years
When it was carrying me
I never loved him...
And in turn, not loved by him.