The Ideal Doctor

I’ve finally accepted that all doctors are uniformly and completely corrupt. There’s no hiding from this obvious truth. It must be true because the greatest intellectual of the modern era, Bollywood superstar and busybody Aamir Khan, says so. Another great humanitarian Akshay Kumar has confirmed it in a movie called ‘Gabbar Is Back’ which showcases the greed and bloodlust of doctors. Since this movie is earning crores at the box-office, it must be a true depiction. Politicians have been constantly making statements about it, and news anchors have been screaming it into our bedrooms every night – leaving no doubt at all about the festering bog of dark slushy corruption that doctors have immersed themselves into.

So I have decided to pull my ostrich head out of the sands of self-deceit and acknowledge this fact. And do something about it. And since, the best way to do something (as Confucius advises) is to tell everyone else how to do it, I have drawn up a complete list of what doctors should and should not do.

Characteristics of The Ideal Doctor

  • Let us start right at the beginning. Firstly, as the Supreme Soul Aamir Khan says, doctors should not be persons of high IQ. Now since Aamir himself was barely able to pass school and is still able to issue guidelines about such advanced medical issues as how to treat Chronic Kidney Disease, this must be true. So I suggest that only students who find themselves classified as morons or idiots by their school teachers should appear for Pre Medical Examinations. While most readers will immediately agree to this statement, the less discerning reader might inquire as to how such intellectually un-blessed students could be expected to pass such a tough examination? My suggestion is, that since all PMTs are MCQ based, students rely upon the throw of a dice to determine the answers. Whichever number appears should be ticked as the answer. If it happens that the number 5 or 6 turns up on the dice, that question should be skipped. Another very effective method could be to simply close one’s eyes and pray to God before ticking answers at random. Since patients treated by such doctors would most certainly depend mostly on prayer, this method sounds the most logical and appropriate.
  • Supreme Soul Aamir Khan also says that doctors should be motivated not by money, but by the spirit of selfless service to people. After all, it’s perfectly logical and rational to believe that someone would devote 12 years of youth in study and another 3 years in low-paid residency to perfect oneself just to get the opportunity to do noble, selfless service to other people. Isn’t this exactly what engineers, chartered accountants, bankers, bureaucrats, lawyers and Bollywood actors do – selfless and tireless service to society? Why then should doctors be any different? Also, youngsters should remember that the true rewards of selfless service are not monetary in life, but heavenly in the afterlife.
  • A good doctor should never, ever think of money. He should treat people free, because money has been ordained by God only to be used by Bollywood actors and lawyers. The less intelligent reader might inquire as to how doctors can survive without money? That question is very easily answered. A good doctor should study the lives of great men like Mahatma Gandhi, Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal – and like them – learn to subsist on sips of mere air and water. Readers of even lower intelligence will ask how such a good doctor would be able to afford a house, buy a car, buy smartphones and iPads and send his children to English medium schools? I would simply retort to such readers – did Mahatma Gandhi ever do any of these things? A good doctor should travel by foot (good for health) and send his children to the excellent and free government schools that our marvellously efficient government has provided in every village and city of India. As for a house, why the hell does a doctor need a house? Isn’t a doctor supposed to stay 24×7 in his hospital, so that there wouldn’t be any delay in attending a patient?
  • Right from his student years, a doctor should cultivate superpowers within himself. Superpowers are extremely crucial for a good doctor. For instance, a doctor is supposed to instantly get up at any hour in the night for such dire emergencies as a sneezing patient and be of perfectly clear mind while doing so. Also, a good doctor never really needs any expensive investigations. If he has paid sufficient attention in his superpower-cultivation classes, he should be able to see right into a patient’s deepest organs and easily diagnose diseases ranging from bronchitis, tuberculosis, Crohn’s Disease, diverticulosis, heart attack and kidney failure to AIDS and cancer. A competent doctor never uses any expensive medicines, but cures even the most complex cancers with simple remedies like crocin and good wishes. The only guidelines a doctor should follow for any treatment are those outlined in The Principles Of Medicine and Surgery written by Supreme Soul Aamir Khan (the first edition of this incomparable tome is yet to be printed however, because of the minor problem that Aamir Khan, being busy in such philanthropic activities as shooting for his next blockbuster, has been unable to master the English language sufficiently to be able to write a grammatically correct sentence in it. Till he does so, the student is advised to refer to the instructional videos by this great master in a series of lectures titled ‘Satyamev Jayate’. Other excellent authorities in complicated diseases are Baba Ramdev’s Yoga CDs or your non-medical neighbour, who possess vast and extensive knowledge about the diagnosis and treatment of every disease ever known to mankind and aliens).
  • Unfortunately however, many doctors (from lack of sufficient application and hard work) are unable to master the nuances of these superpowers. Such doctors have to rely on modern diagnostic techniques such as X-Ray, Ultrasound, CT scan and MRI. However, such doctors should never ever charge exorbitant sums of money from the patient for these facilities. For example, the great charitable foundation called Zee TV Network has conclusively proved that sonography should not cost any more than Rs 3. Some doctors have objected that sonography machines cost anywhere between 10-20 lakhs, and that this along with minor costs such as rent and upkeep of the establishment, commercial electricity charges, staff salaries and need for constant maintenance of apparatus makes it impossible to keep costs so low. To such doctors, I have only one suggestion to make: procure yourself one of those easily available appliances called Aladdin’s Lamp. Every time you need money, just rub the lamp and ask the gentle Genie that appears. But for god’s sake, never ever be so greedy as to ask the patient to bear the expenses of the investigations that are being done to diagnose the disease in HIS body so that HE may be able to live a healthier and more enjoyable life. Also, never ask that Genie to provide you with such luxuries as iPads – those things are strictly meant to be employed by IIT and IIM graduates to play contests on Twitter.
  • A doctor should never refuse to attend to a patient. Even if he’s in a movie with his family, he should jump up from his seat to attend to a patient’s phone. When going to the loo, a doctor should always carry his phone, so that the mundane act of discharging his bodily refuse is not allowed to interfere with the noble act of discharging his duties.
  • A doctor should never find time for anything else other than his patients. He should have no hobbies or passions. He should especially never waste time on Twitter because it is the uniform opinion of Twitter that a doctor shouldn’t have time for tweeting. And as you all know, Twitter is the highest body of intellectuals in the entire Universe – people who know everything about everything.
  • It’s a well known fact that medical science is now so advanced, that all diseases are completely curable and all human beings are immortal. This means, that if a patient dies, irrespective of his/her age, or the seriousness of his/her disease, it is the treating doctor who has caused the death. Even a notoriously bad doctor knows this fact. So if a patient under his care dies, a doctor should take full responsibility and empathizing with the emotional rage of the deceased’s relatives, present himself in full humility to be manhandled and thrashed by them. If in the process of venting their rage, any of the relatives bruise their own knuckles, or splinters of glass from the hospital’s broken windows should happen to hurt some of them, the doctor should politely treat their wounds. He should also encourage them to file a suite of negligence in a court of law against himself, and be cheerfully willing to pay out the lakhs of rupees that our courts of law are only too willing to impose on erring doctors. To the moronic readers who ask how the good and selfless doctors will pay such money, I’ll point out the aforementioned Aladdin’s Lamp with its faithful Genie.

Actually, the ideal doctor has many more qualities. But my intellectual faculties not being as advanced as Supreme Soul Aamir Khan’s, I feel myself exhausted for now. So I will stop here. Maybe I’ll write another such article after having refreshed myself with that sumptuous intellectual feast called ‘Mela’

NB: The discerning reader might have noticed that in my article, the word ‘soul’ is sometimes an abbreviation of the longer word ‘asshole’

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Posted in humour, Satire

The Cultured Youth

A certain afternoon, in my second MBBS, I was walking on the shaded avenue between college and hostel, the harsh sun filtering through the trees on my drowsy head, when I came upon Krishnan boss (boss is how medical students address their seniors). Krishnan boss was the sort of person who if given a choice between Pamela Anderson and Jennifer Lopez as companion on a marooned island would always choose Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine. His batchmates had stopped forcing him to attend video screenings of porn movies (which at that time were available only in cassettes) in the hostel, because the sight of the female protagonists always made him remind the gathering that the lymphatic drainage of the breast was very important and likely to be a full question in the examination.

He sighed in response to my hello.

“Which book are you reading these days?” He asked me

“War and Peace”, I lied, because I felt he wouldn’t approve of my reading Penthouse Letters 5.

“I read that in class 6.” He sighed with sad satisfaction. “You do remember tomorrow’s meeting, don’t you?”

“Of course boss. How could I forget it? It’s in Home Science College after all.”

He sighed at my attempt at levity.

“It’s a SPIC MACAY meeting remember? We’re not going there to leer at girls. We’re going there to save our cultural heritage” His sad intellectual eyes threatened to devour me in their sadness.

I hastily apologized and promised to be there at the correct time.

Inside the hostel, I met Amit, the most disreputable boy in the hostel, and consequently, my best friend. I plucked the cigarette from his fingers and sucked greedily.

“Hey man, let’s go to see ‘Beta’ movie tomorrow morning? Heard Madhuri has danced WOW! “Dhak-dhak karne laga!” And he started squeezing his pectorals together in a grossly indecent imitation of the screen diva.

“Stop that disgusting contortion” I said. “I can’t come to witness such promiscuous, crass, brazen displays of populist culture. I need to attend a SPIC MACAY meeting tomorrow and try and protect our classical heritage”

“Oh wow!” Amit said. “I’ve heard that Shikha and Shweta are also a part of your culture-protection troops? You’re right man, protecting Indian cultural music is much more important than watching some silly Bollywood movie. I’ll come with you too.”

“You can’t. Krishnan boss will have a heart attack if he sees you at such a sacred place as a SPICMACAY meeting. Creep back to your dark crevices of sin, and leave the sacred groves of culture for higher souls like me.”

I swerved away from his kick, and went back to my room.

I’m actually quite devoted to Indian classical music. In fact, whenever I see porn movies and hear Mozart and Beethoven give the soulful background to the action taking place in the foreground, I’m often upset as to why Indian classical music isn’t considered good enough to provide the rhythms to the industrious gyrations instead. Which is why I’d joined SPIC MACAY. Also, the fact that a lot of beautiful girls like Shikha and Shweta seemed to have a lot of interest in saving Indian culture, and I felt compelled to support them in their endeavours.

The meeting was presided over by the dean of Home Science College, Mrs Kashyap. She gave a long and beautiful lecture on the importance of preserving our Indian classical musical traditions and the sad fact that our youth are more inclined towards cheap popular music. I kept awake by making careful note of the effect her speech was having on all the beautiful girls present. The end of her speech was greeted with generous applause, and boys and girls dressed in Wranglers and Levis vowed to protect Indian classical music.

Someone put forward the proposal that we should get Pt J….. to play his music under the auspices of our SPIC MACAY chapter. That would get the youth and the gentry of the city interested in our cause. Krisnan boss sighed deeply and said:

“But madam, our coffers sadly are entirely empty. How can we afford to organize such an event, heavenly though the thought of hearing his music is?”

At that point, Atul stood up. Atul was a student in our class, and though quite as young as me, he was well on his way to become the supreme asshole of his generation. He said that he would take care of the funds. He would lead the fund-raising campaign. He claimed to have many contacts with prominent businessmen of the city who would be only too glad to contribute to the sprouting of the holy fountain of culture. Mrs Kashyap’s face grew radiant. All the girls gathered around Atul, while he outlined his plan and distributed responsibilities to the admiring girls. Me and the other boys cast sullen glances in his direction.

The event was finally held at our own college auditorium. All the prominent people in the city, including our Principal and the District Collector attended it. Pt J….. played an instrument that was some sort of a cross between a flute and a saxophone. The music must’ve been divine because everyone said so after the program, though unfortunately I slept through most of it. The only time I woke up was to see Amit and a couple of others being rather ungently escorted out of the auditorium for starting up their own vocal accompaniment from the backbenches. The irate artist was calmed down with great difficulty, and persuaded to continue playing. The cataract of culture continued to flow undisturbed once again, along with my sleep.

To celebrate the success of the grand event, SPICMACAY decided to organize a picnic. Once again, Atul was at the forefront of making all the arrangements. On the eve of the picnic, I foolishly mixed around half a litre of whiskey with about a couple of litres of beer and drank it in Amit’s company. When I woke up with a thundering headache, it was 4 o’clock in the afternoon, and the picnic was already over.

So I roused Amit, and the two of us miserable wrecks crawled up to the college thadi (tea-shop). We were trying to resuscitate ourselves with strong tea, when a buoyant Atul turned up. He was grinning so broadly that I felt like knocking all his teeth in.

“Hey man, why didn’t you come to the picnic?” He said effusively, slapping me enthusiastically on the back. “It was such great fun!” He kept rubbing salt into my wounds. As I kept staring murder at him with my hungover, bleary eyes, he continued to detail all the fun that he had had at the picnic.

“And finally, the boys jumped into the water, and starting splashing all the girls squealing at the bank. But then the indomitable Mrs. Kashyap shouted the war cry and led the girls into the pool. We kept splashing water at each other for a long, long time”

From the pits of misery and envy, I asked:

“Did Shikha and Shweta join you in the water?”

Suddenly, a strange look came upon Atul’s face. Then he sniggered.

“Oh, those two? No they didn’t join us”

“Why not?” Amit expressed my own surprise.”They’re certainly not the shy sort!”

“Oh, but they did not – and I’ll give you a chance to guess at the correct reason” He let the puzzle hang in the air.

Me and Amit looked at each other and drew blanks. Atul sniggered again, and then he said with theatrical softness:

“It was the gory phase of their lunar cycle”

It took a moment for us to register his meaning, and then we were both clapping his back, the thadi resounding to our laughter. Atul was not such a bad guy after all.

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in humour, Satire

An Arabian Nights Dream – Shattered

Aladdin and lamp

I was sitting in my clinic, when my phone rang. It was a voice from the past. A very distant past that I’d almost forgotten. “Hellloooo!!!” I shouted so loudly that the elderly lady patient dropped her glasses onto the floor. Ignoring her completely, I started talking excitedly to this old friend, inseparable in college, but now separated by vast amounts of space-time. I think I must’ve talked a rather long time, because my receptionist called on the intercom and asked me testily if I would see the remaining patients, or should she call the riot police. You have to give a lot of latitude to pretty young receptionists, or you’ll soon have to make do with some elderly, sullen matron. So I cut short my conversation with my reunited bosom friend, and since he was in the city for only a couple of days, I fixed up an appointment for the very same evening at a perfectly disreputable bar.

The whole day I remained in a sort of magical bubble, thinking of all the wonderful times we’d shared in college together. College life, as you’ll agree, is one of the few oases of paradise in a landscape of life which is otherwise mostly filled with the meaningless sand of daily, mundane drudgery. So needless to say, I was filled with excitement at the prospect of revisiting that Arabian Nights’ paradise with my friend.

We met in the bar, and for a while it was all bear hugs and back-slapping, and mock punching, and affectionate abusing which drew rather reproachful glances from the other patrons of the establishment. Finally we settled down and ordered the booze and snacks. We began to catch up with each other, where we were working, our spouses, our kids, and all such stuff. And then he popped a French fry into his mouth, and asked:

“So how much money do you make?”

His tone was casual, his eyes were downcast, apparently looking at a corner of the table, but I could sense that all his senses were alert. Like a lurking beast of prey. I pretended not to listen to what he had asked, desperate to preserve the magic of reunited friendship and nostalgia for shared happiness. But then, he looked at me directly, all pretence of carelessness gone, and asked me again:

“How much money do you earn man? In a month?”

“Come on man! Do we have to talk of such things?” I responded. “I make enough money to get the bread on the table and to pay my EMIs”

“But still, tell me, how much?”

Damn! Damn! Damn! I thought furiously. Why did he have to ask that? I mean, aren’t old friends supposed to talk about the heady, golden past? That girl with big boobs we both admired, but who ultimately became the girlfriend of a guy we both hated? That time when a group of us went to the local cinema and smashed up the refreshment stall because an idiot behind the counter had called our Manipuri friend a Nepali? That night, when we returned drunk and dishevelled from a drinking session in the college garden and on our way paused to serenade the girls’ hostel with catcalls and wolf-whistles until the police came and chased us away and I got hit on my butt with a police baton? That table tennis game in the college championships quarter-finals, where I beat him and then broke into tears at having beaten my best friend? Weren’t we supposed to talk of all those unimaginably foolish and incredibly wonderful things we did? Of the times, when happiness was a shrill howl of heartfelt laughter, rather than a mere dignified smile as it is now?

But no, he had to bring money into it. Should friends even talk about this damned, soulless, hard, fucking necessity called money? Should friends evaluate and judge each other on the basis of how much money they make? Should friends even judge each other?

The magic spell was broken. Aladdin’s Lamp had been stolen, and he was poor again. I drained off my glass and told him that I needed to take a leak. I went straight to the parking lot, got into my car and drove away. On the way, I paused and put his number on the blocked numbers list. I’m very angry at having lost a friend. I’m thinking of writing an anonymous letter to his wife saying:

I’m sorry madam, but you married a soulless asshole

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Posted in humour, Philosophy

Paint The World Blue

Blue, blue, blue

Paint the world blue

Faces, dour grim and blue

Just pieces stuck together by glue

Just the eyes, sullen and red

Angry, sad, dull and dead.

 

Blue, blue, blue

Not daring to think it through.

Colors remind you of joy

Of all you couldn’t enjoy

And the guilt! Oh boy!

 

Blue, blue, blue

Paint all other colors blue

Just remember that the world is bad

That all but you are mad

Forget all that you never had

That will only make you sad

 

Just pretend that everything is just blue

Blue, blue, blue

Just paint the goddamned world blue.

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in poem

My Experiments With Marital Independence

orange shirtAll the consultants of our hospital gather every afternoon in the doctor’s lounge and eat lunch together in a convivial atmosphere, without – incredible though it may sound – trying to stab or strangulate each other. We have many fruitful discussions on many important matters such as Kejriwal’s latest U-turn, Modi’s latest speech on the coming achche din, the likelihood of Preity Zinta being able to land a husband for herself, and so on.

An important fact to emerge from these daily discussions is that every single male consultant in our hospital is absolutely petrified of his wife. For instance, our spinal surgeon who has 32 sweet teeth once consumed a kilo of laddoos on the occasion of someone’s birthday, and afterwards literally pleaded with tears in his eyes with the rest of us to help him finish his tiffin. His terror of the stony look his wife would give him on taking home an uneaten tiffin was so great, that we took pity on him and helped him dump his tiffin into the garbage bin.

Whether a consultant’s wife is a doctor, a non-medico professional or a homemaker does not seem to make any difference to the amount of terror she inspires in her husband’s breast (some studies have claimed that men married to gynaecologists are more terrified than the rest of men, but these results are yet to be confirmed by rigorous case-control studies). Each man of us agrees that none of us is man enough to buy even a shoelace without his wife’s approval.

One day though, I was feeling particularly suicidal, and I declared that henceforth I would buy my own stuff for myself. It took 10 minutes for the uproarious laughter to settle down. I remained firm however, and swore a mighty oath that the same day I was going to go to the nearby mall and buy a shirt for myself – without being supervised by my wife. The neurosurgeon said that he hoped that my life insurance premiums had been paid for this year.

Straight after work, I drove to that mall. I’ve always fancied myself in an orange shirt, but my wife believes that I look like a particularly dumb fruit in such a shirt. Committed to be brave, I strode full of purpose to the Arrow store and brought an orange shirt for myself and drove home with it.

About the time we were preparing to retire for the night, I casually said to my wife:

“Uh, I went to the mall today.”

“Oh?” She said, her eyes on her laptop.

“Yeah. And I bought a shirt for myself.” Casually, like it was what an adult man was supposed to do – buy his own stuff.

“Oh?” Her eyes were still on the laptop, but her voice was laced with an ominous tinge.

“Yeah. I thought why bother you for these petty things. It’s foolish of me to drag you around to buy stuff for me. After all, it’s no big deal for an adult man to buy stuff for himself, ain’t it?”

Another ominous “Oh?”, followed by an ominous silence.

Now that I was standing right at the edge of the precipice, I decided to take the plunge.

“Shall I show you the shirt?”

A sweet smile this time. “Of course. My husband’s badge of independence.”

I unpacked the shirt and put it on

“What do you think?”

“Ah! Orange!” The same sweet smile.

“You like it?”

“The important thing is that you like it.” She put away the laptop and lay down in bed.

“You don’t like it?”

“Oh it’s fine.”

“Should I wear it to work tomorrow?”

“Of course. These days patients like their doctors to be attired a little cheerfully”

My heart sank. From the time of the Cro-Magnon man, patients have never liked their doctors to dress cheerfully. People want their doctors to be dignified, dull, grumpy and dressed as conservatively as possible.

“You think it’s a little too bright?” I asked

“No, no. It’s quite okay for you to experiment with your dress.”

“So you approve of the shirt, eh?”

“I thought you had decided to be independent in buying your stuff from now on? Adult men shouldn’t need their wives’ approval.”

The upshot of the whole thing was that I accompanied my wife to the mall the next evening and exchanged that damned orange shirt for a sober white one. And we also bought two suits for her. Needless to say, I was the butt of jokes in our doctors’ lounge for the next week. What the hell. Maybe I should start with the small things first – like starting with buying my underwear for myself

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in humour

Our Moments

Our moments of togetherness,

Condensed, dense with passions,

Packed tight with life.

 

Now stretch them,

Like a bit of chewed gum,

Across the empty space and time of lovelessness,

Sustaining life in our shells,

Till we meet again

 

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in poem

What I Really Want

I get the best of you

Your dazzling smile

Your warm eyes

The gentle brush of your fingers on my skin

The glow of your passion

The height of your desire

The depths of your lust

A nest in your arms

A rest in your dreams.

 

And yet,

What I really want is

Your uncombed unkempt hair

Your grumpy morning annoyance

The flash of anger at my carelessness

The sharp words aimed to wound my heart

What I really want is to be

A real part of your real life

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Posted in poem, Uncategorized
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