Monday, February 24, 2014

Dermatology and Love and Facebook

Watching a random guy with a whole bunch of colorful balloons floating on his bicycle carrier (should have gotten a photo) cycle past me, was one of the best parts of my day. Anything which induces spontaneous smiles is. Also, it reminded me of my blog and the imminent need to get back to it. (Don't ask me how the two correlate. It's un-explainable).

So, hello blog, and hello readers. Also, hello spammers (I hate you but I have to be polite on my blog).

I have come to love Dermatology, and for the first time in my medical career, do not hate and begrudge studying. That is basically a life-altering situation for me. But more than anything else, I love treating patients. Just basically talking to them, spending time with them, and helping them. And please note, I do not use the word 'love' lightly anymore, as someone I know taught me not to.

Dermatology seems to be one branch where everyone needs a consult, but everyone is too lazy to actually see a doctor for some skin solution? Catch hold of the PG resident at the wedding, and get your free consult. :D Don't worry folks, I quite enjoy being made to feel so important. Also it removes all need for awkward wedding conversation. Double faayda, no nuksaan.

(Yeah, that may be the first time I said something in Hindi on my blog. I promise never to do that again)

 Right this moment, the soundtrack of Dil Se is pealing from my speakers, and it leaves me feeling quite at peace this February night. Of course, I occasionally do suffer the impulse to belt out the vocals in my own not-so-melodious voice, but thankfully, for everyone involved, I have gotten rid of that dreadful teenage habit of mine :D

Did I mention how much I love Dermatology? Oh well.

Also I think half my facebook friends list is either engaged or married by now. Within the next few years, the remaining will follow. Then the babies will start popping up. Followed by all other life milestones. Funny how, if anyone notices, your school friends will be the most synchronized on facebook in the timely achievement of life milestones. And funny that, now with facebook, you get a chance to have a bird's eye view of the life of all the people, you first entered the education system with at the age of 5...what happens to them, where they go, what they like, what they achieve, which country they end up in, where do they meet the loves of their lives. So many stories, all moving together in synchrony. Uncanny, really.

And this happens because age-and gender-defined roles are so specific and so well followed in India. Remember the Hindu ashram system? Brahmacharya (student life), grihastha (household life), vanaprastha (retired life), and sanyas (renounced life), in exactly that order. Seems this system is extremely well ingrained in us Indians.

Be born, learn to walk, talk, grow hair, grow your bones, enter school. Bam. Then books, books, heavy school bags, tuitions, extracurriculars, boards, studies, entrance exams, college, competition, studies. Bam. Graduation. Bam. Post-graduation (or not). Bam. Get a job. Learn how to hold your drink. Learn about diplomacy. Bam. Engagement. Facebook annnouncement of the same. Marriage. Facebook showcase of the same. Honeymoon. Facebook photos of the same. Bam. Then, well, I don't know how it progresses from there, but I can safely guess it will continue in rather the same trend.

Facebook - a rich database of information about everyone else's lives. That should be their tagline.

Okay. Now that I have written paragraphs and paragraphs about facebook, let me move on to whatsapp. Just kidding.

I'll leave you with a joke. Or two.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Wandering, not lost

A guest post by theabstractruth.


Disclosures first, I guess. I am not your usual friendly neighborhood blogger. The usual writer of this blog asked me to write a guest blog for her. We’ve been friends for 7 odd years now (Maybe 5, tough to speak for a girl who only expresses when she writes). In another life, I was in Bombay for my medical college and left the country for lonelier pastures in the US (greener in Bombay by far, if you get my drift) in the August of 2012. I also feel very proud of being an Indian (<<insert snorts by misplaced nationalists here>>), but I feel it’s important to stretch one’s comfort zone and experience different perspectives. I currently study in a school with people from 67 different countries. So I have watched an India-Pakistan cricket match with a Pakistani friend (we won) and discussed world religion and politics in a group with friends over potlucks (Jews, Muslims and Christians, although that might not be how they identify themselves primarily.) Needless to say, it’s been quite fascinating. I found out some things (‘Murg-e-shaandar’: I can cook!) and then I found something (political correctness: a pain in the.. well rear).
If there is one thing I do miss, it is drinking on weeknights with my hostel friends. Here, weeknight-drinking is unheard of (although so is ‘hostel’ and such ‘friends’).
Therefore, this country ironically also offers a lot of loneliness and ample time and opportunity for reflection and self-exploration. So here is the ‘wisdom’ I’ve gathered in these 16 months; more accepting about certain things, more cynical about others:
1.    Success is a ridiculous term if used as a common denominator. What you're looking for is acceptance and/ or external validation. Structure is overrated, your metric is not my metric and no one metric is correct. The devil is in the metrics.

2.    It's no fun being on a rollercoaster, unless you're a masochist or you enjoy making sense of chaos. There is a Method to most of the madness around. Believe in it and try not to look for it. It will save you your sanity.

3.    Money is everything. The beyond only exists once you have enough money. No money = no “best-things-in-life” (and “best-things-in-life” ≠ money).

4.    Getting drunk n dancing the night away is a form of spirituality. You owe it to your spirit. Assuming you work hard and honestly the rest of the time, in which case it can also be called an escape (or again, spirituality).

5.    Celebrate diversity. The world is a massive place. Your own little region/ religion/ culture is the matrix and everyone can be Neo. Just step out.

6.    Enjoying something you do and doing it well is nirvana. Even if it's doing nothing and being a bum.

7.    Never say never about anything you never want to happen.

Now go discover these nuggets of wisdom for yourself, if you haven’t already, and the purpose of this blog would be achieved.


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Skinny Love

"Come on skinny love, just last the year" 

I miss the good old days. Life used to be only about college, fights with friends, latest classroom gossip, and I was a fiesty young blogger who loved Taylor Swift.

Now suddenly, I've grown out of things. I'm having doubts about everything. My facebook news feed is full of people getting engaged and married, left, right and center. I almost feel jealous when I look at all these people in love. Conversations with old classmates centre around marriage. Workplaces are impersonal. You can never trust anyone's friendship. And there's a party every night.

Even blogging has become a task. The Indian dailies have somehow started thinking that promoting the youth's nightlife is the right, and mature thing to do. An entire generation of Indians is now starting to believe it is only natural to have a drink every evening. And that is okay. Yet somehow disturbing.

"I tell my love to wreck it all,
Cut out all the ropes and let me fall,"

Sunday mornings, however, thankfully, seem to have remained the same. I still take secret joy in skipping my glass of milk and starting the day by munching on a bar of chocolate. The powers of chocolate have only grown on me over the years.

The world, however, has just not remained that bright a place anymore. I can't even muster up any wisecracks for a blogpost. All I want to do is curl up inside another SEP. It's said that she writes "modern fairy tales". That does ring true, even though she never has themes like magic and the supernatural in her books. Themes like love and happily ever after do seem like fairy tales.

" Come on skinny love, what happened here?"

There is just something to be said about having most of the world look at you from a safe distance, silently judging, while staying away. You keep them away, you do, but sometimes you don't want to feel like an anomaly in a mass of laughing, gyrating, happy people who have got it all right. And how dare you not agree? How dare you not dance to the music? And how dare you not talk to them?

"And I told you to be patient,
And I told you to be fine,
And I told you to be balanced,
And I told you to be kind,

Talking is such an important thing. The big talkers, the networkers, the social animals, they have personality. The charmers, the crowd pleasers, the standup comedians. The girl who is friends with everyone. The girl who is invited to every party. The boy with the easy laughter. The boy who gets the most back-thumps and fist-bumps. The boy who is everyone's favourite in the workplace.

How dare you not be like them? How dare you brood? How dare you be a homebody?

I'm not even going to talk about the meanness people are now capable of. Best to ignore the hurt.

If you're going about your life being nice to everyone, that never means that others are going to do the same. Oh never. There will always be that girl who is mean to you for no good reason. And there will always be that boy who laughs at you behind your back. And there is always that friend who has let you down.

"'Cause I'll be holding all the tickets,
And you'll be owning all the fines."

As someone who has been subjected to more inscrutable looks than she can count, let me tell you, it changes you. It gets you down. Casts a shadow beneath your smiling eyes.

It's ironic that you're writing a blog post and wishing no one will read it. It's ironic that there are only two people in the world who would read it and understand, and not judge. And that only one of them might not lecture you.

But let me be thankful for at least that one safe sanctuary. That, and SEP, and chocolate.

"Who will love you?
Who will fight?
And who will fall far behind?"

I am fast realizing the disadvantages of publicizing your blog.There's always a movie or show about the secret life of someone or the other. What about my secret life? If my blog is my secret life, why did I lay it open to the crowds? Sigh.

There's a new ad on TV. It tries to appeal to the youth, talks about their loneliness and their lives on the internet. It starts with the line "It's all about me" and ends with "All the world wide web's a stage and this, is my show". No advertisement has ever made me sadder. No one wants to rule on the internet, truth be told.

Every time I read about the newest thing Rihanna did, I feel sad. There's something tragic about what's happening to her, if one is able to look at it rationally.

My mood seems to have changed and improved by the end of this post, so writing does seem to be therapeutic.

"And now all your love is wasted,
Then who the hell was I?
'Cause now I'm breaking at the britches,
And at the end of all your lies."

At the end of the day, there's always music to turn to. Do listen to all the versions of this song (Skinny Love).

Friday, November 29, 2013

Catching up

It's been long since my last post but housemanship is a busy year (Yes, even in my college!). I haven't even replied to comments on this blog, and I hardly ever get time to send postcards. What I have been doing is making new friends and enjoying work. I've also been learning the dynamics of adjusting in a workplace with a predominantly female population working together on a daily basis in close proximity. And don't we all know what happens when too many women get together? :D

One of the best things that happened to me last month was that I saw Ram Leela. And while the movie has many haters, I absolutely loved and enjoyed it, barring a couple of songs of course. What a refreshing change to have Indian cinema portray young adults in love so realistically and with a great sense of humour (who can forget the size 136 bosom? :D)  Also wonderful to see an extremely strong female lead and for a change a female villain. The movie did have many strong and sensible female characters, if I recollect, and actually all the males were the ones doing all the stupid activities except our hero. Ranveer and Deepika looking their best in those wonderful costumes never once hurt the eyes. But actually in the end the true villain turns out to be a  male only! Ha. Well, SLB (please note his middle name is his mother's name and not father's) may well be Bollywood's first feminist.

Two other things happened over the past few months, SRT retired and we had a verdict on the Aarushi Talwar case. But as this blog isn't a newspaper, I won't talk about either of those :P What I will tell you is that for the longest time, whenever I introduced myself to someone, they immediately connected my name to Aarushi's. And then I had to clarify that I am Aayushi and I am not a ghost come for revenge after my murder!

So now my humour has started to be about murder victims. I think that's a new high (or low?). At this point I would just like to clarify that I believe the Indian police, investigating agencies, justice system, and the media have all messed up in a big way in this sensitive case. My heart goes out to the victim's parents and family members.

Back to my non-newspaper blog,  I've been told very recently by some people that I come across as a snob and a very 'harsh' person. I tend to be like that with strangers at first, all high-strung and walled off. But then how else do you get people to leave you alone, I ask? So I've decided I'm just going to keep my snob disguise going and master the art of snobbishness to perfection. Since not enough people in my world have read Jonathon Rauch's famous article about introversion, I'm just going to have to keep up my snob disguise as a survival mechanism. (wink, wink)

One more thing I have been thinking about a lot lately is the dynamics of friendship in today's age, and does the term even really mean anything anymore? I know, pessimistic thoughts, but let's hear your opinions on this.

Apart from that, it seems to be serendipity that I named this blog Gentian Violet two years back, and now I am going to be a dermatologist, which is one of the few medical fields which actually still uses the chemical gentian violet (atleast theoretically if not practically!). The thought always fills me up with glee.

In other news, the search is on for a Gujju boy who doesn't run at the sound of a prospective wife who would (God forbid!) actually have to study everyday for the next few years, and be a doctor, and have to run a clinic! Yes, she wouldn't be home to serve you hot food three times a day and pack your dabbas for office with...gasp!...more food! And yes, she is so haughty she can actually write such things on her own blog! All these terms seem so alien to an average gujju household, I am fast starting to become disillusioned by my own community.

And I am sure after reading this (I'm probably stretching my luck by assuming that someone will), every prospective suitor who facebook stalks me (of course they do!), is also going to refuse to meet me. Well well, good riddance, I say. I've never curbed my writing for any reason till date, and I'm not going to start now.

In music, I've been listening to Birdy (In the moment we're ten feet tall - "Wings"), Lana (I won't cry myself to sleep like a sucker - "Damn You"), and Taylor (I had the time of my life, fighting dragons with you - "Long Live").

I've been missing my old college, and my friends, and the carefree UG days. To think we were 1st MBBS students just yesterday, when the highlight of our day was having to put up with the disgusting stench of formalin. Whenever you look back to the past, life always seems simpler than in the present. And that's probably the irony of it all.

I promise to reply to all your comments, soon! This blog is starved for some conversation. And I hope all of you are doing well :)

P.S. Since I am not sure if this author allows her comics to be shared with due credits, I am just going to link you to her superb blog! Don't forget to check out the comic about 12 medical specialities.

Here's wishing you all a wonderful, lazy, and enjoyable weekend! :D

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Lyrics and music

I seem to have lost all my creative instincts at present, so here I am, showcasing someone else's creativity.

Lyrics taken from a song I can't seem to be able to get enough of. Ellie Goulding and her magnificent voice (which goes to waste in most of the other songs she sings), in this haunting song.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Teacher's Day

It's been a wonderful month, August. In a few days I probably won't even remember any of the great things that happened to me this month, but that doesn't matter. I've been happier than in a long time, and I've started studying Dermatology, which has turned out to be an endlessly fascinating and challenging subject. I've made good progress with my writing, and let's hope you get to see a lot more of that on this blog soon.

Next week will be Teacher's day. So here's a post, to remind myself of some of the wonderful teachers who have changed my life in some way, at some point. I am probably never going to show them my appreciation in person, but the least I can do is write a post.

The one teacher I will never forget is Dani Miss. She was one person who I am sure loved me unabashedly. I was her favorite child. I once kicked someone under the table in a fit of exuberance, and well, she just refused to believe that I'd done it. She even had tears in her eyes (if my 5th standard brain serves me right) on the last day when I went to her tuition. I visited her a few times after that, and since have lost touch, but she is very, very often in my thoughts. Her entire family knew me, because they had all heard from her how fond she was of me. As an adult, my pathological shyness and introversion somehow keeps me from picking up the phone and tracing her, but I know she would be delighted if she ever heard from me. In retrospect, she may be my favourite teacher, ever.

Next comes Kanti Miss, who is a local legend in Matunga. The lady teaches French since decades, is very eccentric and lovable, and every daughter from my family has gone to her for French Tuitions. She also charges fees at Rs. 50 per month, and throws open the doors of her house, entire living room, and sometimes even bedroom, to swarms of students. I will never forget her Sunday Morning sessions, and the wonderful times I've had with her. I loved French, and most of that love stemmed from learning it at Kanti Miss's house.

Then comes Naidu Sir, who is also on his way to becoming a local legend. I will never forget the day I first met Sir, he actually came to my house, after I had filled a questionnaire for admission to his coaching institute. He wanted to ask me how I'd got so many marks in the 9th standard, if I studied for less than 2 hours per day, as stated in the questionnaire. What he probably still doesn't know, is that while filling that form,  the minimum option provided was two hours per day, which was the only reason why I marked it. I clearly did not even study for two hours at the time. The concept of studying EVERYDAY just didn't exist for me. (Yes, I was a 14 year old girl who had never uttered the word medicine up until then). Naidu Sir, if you're reading this, and if you still give students that questionnaire, please add an option of 2 hours per month, which will be more suitable for most 8th and 9th standard students! :D

So when Sir came home and asked me how I got so many marks without studying, I told him I just did. I also informed him that I hated Geometry, the subject he would be teaching me for the next year. Anyways, once I joined his classes, what started was my first exposure to competitive studying in an atmosphere of constant hard work and setting actual goals and trying to achieve them. You must realise how drastic that could have been for me, after reading the above stanza. At Naidu's were also sowed the first seeds of fascination with Science, and with Biology. And I will forever remember his Sunday morning 7 am tests, which were an exceptionally painful exercise for me. What Sir probably doesn't know till date is, after the Monday to Friday classes, and daily homework, I never touched a book for the entire weekend off, and only started studying for the Sunday morning 7 am tests by waking up at 3 am. I just refused to touch a book on Saturdays.

After my results, I remember talking to Naidu Sir on the phone, and the last thing he told me was, "Aayushi, I hope you will stay in touch..." I fervently said yes at the time, and went on to do the exact opposite. Again, my pathologic shyness is to blame, I never feel the need to go and talk to people, I've just survived by replying to their questions for many, many years of my life. I've remembered his words and our good times at the classes many times, and pretty much done nothing about it.

Next up is Prabhu sir, Abhang Prabhu. The man who single-handedly is responsible for a LOT Mumbaikars' admissions to medical colleges. He definitely takes most of the credit for my admission. If I sit to think about it, I can not really say without doubt that I would have gotten into med school if it were not for this man. He is the only teacher who had the audacity to complain to my parents about me, who one fine day called them and told them they should make me a model instead of a doctor, because I clearly wasn't going anywhere with my lack of studying. But well, in the end, his tactics worked.

He got me to shut myself up in a room for months and study and do nothing else. He made students give up their cell phones, stop watching TV, forget the internet and their social lives. He knew what it took to beat the competition, and he made sure all his students knew as well. He used plain logic and cold calculations and coached you to perfection, with only one aim in sight: to crack the CET. No one can doubt that he had a perfect system in place. He taught us the approach to an MCQ based exams, he even taught us the best ways to bluff for MCQs, and he brainwashed the system of rote learning out of most of us.

And mostly, to add to all that, he taught fabulously well. His teachings of genetics have implanted in me a lifelong fascination for the subject. And well, I remember most of his classes being a lot of fun, because he had a good sense of humor. He also managed to create mini celebrities out of students who were rankers, with his system for displaying weekly rank lists. Consequently, when we went to medical school, it so happened that we already knew the names of many of our colleagues who went to Prabhu's, but we didn't know their faces. We just knew that this person with this name had made it to the top his rank list at some point of time.

I'm trying to think of a memorable teacher in Medical school, and well there's none who personally affected my life. That probably says a lot about the kind of Medical Education we have in our medical colleges.

Currently, I'm working at a place where I'm surrounded by many teachers, and most of them are eager to teach and share their vast knowledge and expertise. This is a first for me in many many years, and I'm basking in the feeling of being taught, for now. It's too soon to write about them, but maybe in three years, there will be another post, with newer stories to tell.

Until then, here's wishing a Happy Teacher's Day, to all the teachers I've written about, and many others who have all affected and changed my life. I don't celebrate things, and I don't wish people for anything including their birthdays, but it's high time I wrote this post.

P.S.: Please tell me about your favorite teachers in the comments section!


Source: here

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The end of my crush on Ranbir Kapoor

This trailer. This trailer!

Frankly, the trailer evoked nightmares! Ranbir has acted so well, he resembles every roadside tapori to perfection. Just imagining an entire nation of young, influential minds, watching this trailer and this movie, and then aping Ranbir and learning tricks they didn't know already, is enough to give me the chills. To top it off, he looks utterly boring in all the scenes. The *wondrous* dance steps, and the closing scene just seal the deal. Finally, Ranbir has done it. He's acted so well, I have started to dislike him. Somehow my mind just went "ewww.." after watching this trailer. 

I still remember the very first time we saw Ranbir Kapoor. The first trailer of Saawariya to come on TV, and there he was, looking like that! (For reference watch the video below). I remember watching the trailer countless times on TV, and of course everyone either loved him immensely or hated him. The girls who hated him thought he looked too feminine, but mostly everyone loved him.  

After that, I enjoyed most of his movies, Raajneeti remains a top favourite, though it was in Rockstar that he truly stole my heart in the intense role of Jordan. That was followed up with Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani, another movie which I thoroughly enjoyed. (Now why wouldn't I enjoy a movie about a frustrated medical student running away from home? :D)

And now, he goes and does this! Makes a movie like Besharam! I now officially declare that I do not like Ranbir Kapoor anymore! I may admire him at times, but that is all. Now when people ask me "Who is your favourite hero?" (Yes, people do ask such questions all the time), I won't have an answer. And thank goodness for that, right? ;)