Feast for Thought

Not pontificating. Only trying to bat on the side of the environment. And ethics. And simple living. And slowing down. (And trying to learn and practise before preaching or teaching...)

Monday, March 28, 2005

Continuing with brave moms...

Another brave mom - mine. Last week she underwent a three-hour surgery to remove a 6-kg growth south of the diaphragm detected hardly a couple of weeks ago: one of the umpteen things the female of the species can end up with out of the blue. Having the scalpel working on the abdomen for the fifth time, that too when you are heading towards your platinum years in an otherwise active and satisfying life, is somewhat unusual, don't you think?
The docs said they did have a little difficulty deciding which scar to start the invasive surgery on, but they did a neat job of it, going by the looks of the lump that they weeded out. A few jittery moments: arranging for blood of a certain negative group, and waiting for the biopsy report.
Fortune favoured brave mom - she did without a refill, and the growth turned out to be benign. What a load off one's mind - and mom's tummy, of course. Three cheers for brave moms! May their tribe flourish!

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One brave mom

There was this 18-month-old cherub on Tuesday last at the blood bank. I was there waiting to have mom’s blood cross-matched with a donor’s. At the visitors’ area, with more than an hour to wait, my son and I had this baby for company, perched in the arms of his mother. What was noticeable apart from the smiling face was the left hand fully swathed in ‘banded’ (as baby himself helpfully explained).
The mother satisfied our curiosity: they were monthly visitors to the blood bank for the baby to receive transfusions - Thalassemia was the reason, discovered when he was seven months old. The parents' awareness and understanding of the condition and efforts at coming to terms with it was possible only courtesy the Net. From the mother’s account, it seemed that their social circle is woefully ignorant about the affliction, so emotional support appears scant.
In no reply to the mother’s wondering at why at all this should have happened, I jotted down my contact numbers in her diary, with a mention of the blood group the baby and I shared: B+ (which, I always interpret, is a message for all about seeing silver linings in dark clouds, like for example, the baby’s ready grins that touched his eyes as well). Throughout that brief companionship in the waiting room, there was not a whimper from baby, even with the needle stuck into his wrist. Brave mom and dad, and baby, really.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Verses to recharge oneself

The here and the now

Past is past - let
Bygones be bygones, avow,
See resting in your hands
The Here and the Now.

Unmade hay and unstruck iron,
Let not cloud the vision,
Spilt milk of a day gone by,
Is at best tomorrow’s lesson.

An unheard knock, a missed call,
Rattle – they will – every hour
On the morrow wake up wise,
To see the sun surely rise.

Clear the mind to prepare it
For Fortune’s future favour,
Tomorrow is another day – with it come
Many more Here’s and many more Now’s.

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Monday, March 21, 2005

Lavishness at weddings

The other day I logged my 'gracious presence' at the wedding of a friend's daughter. From valet parking and outdoor traffic management to the 'thamboolam' (a farewell cum thankyou gift) for the departing guests, it was evident that greatest pains, utmost care and least penny-pinching had gone into ensuring zero-hitch success of the occasion. Among the educated elite, it appears that the dowry has been replaced, (thankfully?), by an equal-terms, healthy approach to the nuptials. Though of course no one can deny the continued presence of that bargain-barter combo among the pretentious-literate and the hapless-illiterate: God - and a hopefully extant sense of not-looking-a-gift-horse-in-the-mouth - help them.

The mind rolled back to reports and videos of celebrities' vow-exchanging - where media frenzy and hysteria serve to lengthen public memory to a little more than average - the currency-value, the rights-value, the guest-worth, all meant to pop out the eyes of the average reader / viewer. Only to be followed a few months or years later with more graphics of a break-up here, an estrangement there, a court-battle elsewhere; the products if any of the union going through their own identity-crisis.
What can be done? The funds can always be put away for the future, say to celebrate the 20th/ 30th /40th/ 50th anniversaries, or for future upkeep, whatever form that may take.

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Learning a new "language": About Aurally Challenged Persons

Armed with more than a passing command over Tamil, Hindi and Malayalam, I looked forward to becoming literate in Kannada as well by training under friends, street and bus nameplates, billboards and screaming headlines. With my work finding me in Bangalore, I took efforts to put my daily couple of hours of travel to good use – reading, 'thinking' with 'eyes closed', observing fellow passengers and noting the innumerable ways the average road-user finds to gain inches forward in daily road races.

‘Talking nineteen-to-the-dozen’ was what occurred to me one such day as I looked up from my crossword to see a couple of schoolgirls dressed in smart beige and brown uniforms when on my way to work on busy Airport Road. It seemed to me that they were carrying on an animated conversation (some, who didn’t know better, would have termed it loud). Whether standing a couple of feet apart or seated across the aisle from each other, the dialogue always proceeded unbroken. As I continued to observe, I had no doubts that they sometimes even shouted in their excitement. Going by the non-stop flow back and forth, here’s how I reconstruct part of it:

“Could you complete the homework?”
“Oh yes, and you?”
“Only half – I was reading the lesson.”
“No problem – I think.”
“Hey look at that traffic – mad don’t you think?”
“Yes. I am glad we are on a bus.”
“Me too – I wish more people would prefer to take the bus rather than driving their own vehicles.”
“Oh well, let’s hope things improve… what did you do over the weekend?”


Seeing this, and taking in what my mind heard with appreciative fascination, I resolved to learn the language, and in the process, am discovering a whole new world - perhaps also the better to eavesdrop with, and relive carefree old school days… No - I am not referring to Kannada, in which tongue also I am picking up reading and speaking skills, courtesy obliging (indulgent?) friends – but to the (sometimes cruelly mimicked) sign language so expressively, ‘tell’ingly, and uninhibitedly practised by my speech- and hearing- impaired bus-mates.
Nov 2012  update:
Apparently, “Sign language is often the easy way out when it comes to communicating with such children. They never develop the faculty of recognising speech,” quoting from Articulate Expressions

Schools like Oral School for the Deaf in Secunderabad do not resort to sign language while teaching, instead, the students are trained in any one language.
Just fyi - Oral School for the Deaf
Near Bus Stop, West Marredpally
Secunderabad -500056
Ph: 9247574979

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