Finding smiles online

 More often than not, I find myself skimming through social media and rushing out before it can suck me in. Well, that's what I plan. How often I am successful is another story altogether. Part of the reason is the humongous amount of time the wide web makes disappear, but part of the reason is the negativity online that leaves me exhausted. But then there are those wonderful times when I find myself smiling... The reply came from a parody account, but it made me smile when I first read it. It still does.

Unequal equality #ThinkingAloud

I am a slow learner. Or maybe I should say 'I am a slow analyser', that is to say, that I have all the information needed to be able to analyse and therefore, understand and learn. But it doesn't happen. I have too many epiphanies - stuff which when I realise it, my first thought is, why didn't I realise this before. Part of the reason is the fact there are a lot of things that are taught to you, but you are not able to apply it to the current/different situation. I remember reading about Hitler and his beliefs of a superior race. Of course, it was wrong, is how my brain had instinctively processed it - something I consciously realised much later - and everyone knows it now, so that problem is now behind us. No, the problem remains the same. I have realised that it is difficult, if not impossible, to convince people of the 'wrong' in something without the basic accepted premise being that 'all are equal'. 'All', with no qualification of caste, ra

Television - Stories from an ICU waiting room

As I have described before, the first waiting hall led to the second one. And there was one wall-mounted television in each. The choice of the channel was with the guard posted just outside the first waiting hall, next to the reception area. The receptionist had the remote in her 'custody'.  It is funny--and tragic--how often there were arguments over which channel to pick. No entertainment channels were allowed. But within the news and educational ones, there were constant tussles. And don't get me started on what time the televisions would be switched off. There are sleep-with-sleep-timer on people and then there are pin-drop-silence-to-sleep people. And I realized that most people are I-don't-care-I-am-in-an-ICU-waiting-area-I-need-things-my-way people.

Sanctum - Stories from an ICU waiting room #AtoZChallenge

Faith is discussed often. Or at times, the lack of it. Or the decision to give up faith. As one enters the first waiting hall, on the left, in the corner is an area of 6 ft., separated from the rest of the area with partitions about the same height as the other dimensions. The lower half of the partitions is wooden and the upper see-through glass. You would find photos and smalls idols of almost every 'god' there. There are folded papers that have been put under some of these. I thought often of pulling them out and seeing what was written in those, but it seemed too much like inviting bad luck. Superstition? Maybe. I just couldn't. People would go in, pray, and come out, especially just before the visiting hours. Surprisingly, I never saw anyone ever just sitting there. I used to sit there a lot.

Relationship - Stories from an ICU waiting room #AtoZChallenge

It is surprising how much we care about what others think. Even those we hardly know. Virtual strangers. Ships passing one another at night. The ones in the waiting area of an ICU. His father was in the hospital. He lived in Delhi, a medical student. The father was from Panipat, a few hours' drive from the capital city.  She was there with him, day in and day out. They were both in their early twenties. She was a medical student too. Even though they were very frank about their lack of knowledge about the actual practice of medicine, they always patiently answered any questions asked from them about various ailments, the cure, etc. They were married. Or so we were told. Oh, she's my fiance, he said a few days later. We are in a live-in relationship, she told me, during a late-night chat, when he was sleeping and we were strolling outside. Despite the 'official' version being that they were married, there was gossip. Gossip in an ICU waiting area - can you bel

Quintessence - Stories from an ICU waiting room #AtoZChallenge

A lot happens in those waiting rooms, but the quintessence of the existence of each one there is the person in the ICU and the quintessence of the mood of each is the visiting time. And when there is an announcement besides these times. The palpitations. The nervousness. It could be the doctor visiting and that is why you are called. If so, it could be the doctor taking routine rounds or it could something important... good or bad? Except for the doctor's visit, it was almost always bad news. Anyway, the visit. The first glance sets the tone for the whole visit and for your emotions till the next visiting time. Happy, hopeful? Exhausted, given up? Angry? Trying to squeeze in the whole time spent lounging in those waiting room chairs in the few minutes allowed. Finding a place to touch among all the tubes and needle. Trying to convey that you are there always.  How you wish you could be there always? How you try to convince yourself that the isolation in I

Picnic - Stories from an ICU waiting room #AtoZChallenge

This memory is different from most others that I have written in this series. It is not strictly from the ICU waiting area. Usually, some relative would get packed lunch for me. Having food in the waiting area was not allowed, although that doesn't mean that everyone followed this rule. Anyway, there were a couple of small parks in the hospital premises outside the ICU building with benches. I'd usually have my food there. This memory is from one of those. A family of six - three females and three males, each about 35-40 years of age. I was standing leaning against a fence behind one of the benches. They sat on two benches facing each other and put three covered, plastic picnic baskets in front of them. Out ca me crockery and cutlery and tissue papers and bottles of water.  There was Rajma Chawal, Paneer, Chapatis, and Salad. They ate and conversed as if they didn't have a care in the world. I have seen and written about those who were clearly not there for love. Bu