Saturday, January 17, 2015

Shattered Dreams’ - Ramayana-The Game of Life - Book 2 - Book Review

‘Shattered Dreams’ is the second in the series of Ramayana-The Game of Life authored by Shubha Vilas. About a week ago I received a copy from the author with a wonderful handwritten note which definitely has added  to the positivity I hope in this year , also I must say that my inquisitiveness to learn more about the epic which started with the first book is adequately appeased.

Firstly mythology, secondly a series to write in my opinion is a great challenge. To top that keeping a reader of the modern times hooked to the story is not a piece of cake. I did feel some dialogues and scenes above the light reading that I usually prefer but something did not let me put down the book. It does succeed very much like the first in its rendition.

The story begins with Dasaratha’s nightmare on a restless night and ends with Rama, Sita and Lakshmana leaving towards the Dandakaranya forest. What transpires in between is where all the learning of life is, as the author rightly put it for me in his mail-how to handle reversals positively is what one can learn from Rama and how to explore beyond one’s comfort zone is what one can learn from Sita.

What added to my knowledge and confidence about Ramayana is what the other characters had to tell me. Dasaratha, Kausalya, Sumitra, Kaikeyi, Lakshmana, Bharatha, Shatrugna, Urmila, Manthara, Sumanthra, Guha, Anasuya, Vasistha and all the others have myriad things to teach us as well. We all have heard and read about Ramayana from many sources, but what makes this book different is the extreme detailing and the interpretation which contributes to developing our own perspective about the epic. The stories within the story-how people earned their names, why a certain situation had to happen and what made people behave the way they did is what the book offers. For example how Dasaratha came to be called so, why a boatman wanted to wash Rama’s feet, why Bharatha refused to become the king and so on. The book has answers to these questions.

My favourite line is in one scene between Rama and Sita”…she then wove an imaginary garland around Rama’s neck by moving her beautiful eyes and smiled again” This was one poetic portion. I also have to mention about the point to point footnotes. Some of them like these are etched in my memory.

“Relationships thrive when genuine service is acknowledged by active gratitude”

"The decisions to make decisions has to be made in moments of strength not in moment of weakness"

“One ounce of immaturity coupled with ten ounces of ill advice is the perfect recipe for a life of disaster”

“Convenience is about changing the law to suit your life but maturity is about changing your life to salute the law”

On one considerable side I must admit that I was at my wit’s end with some portions of footnotes and explanations, that one thin line when a reader realizes with the flow”Oh wait, let me get back, where was the story!” This happened to me a couple of times when I had to flip the pages back. I guess this was the only pique I had to deal with even with the first book. I decided to overlook this since so many good ideas and opinions came along with the reading . I would only recommend this for people who are interested in looking at Ramayana as our story, because it actually is. 


Saturday, January 3, 2015

Blossoms - The Book Store

"Spot-this place" well if I were to tell this to all the book lovers of Bangalore I am sure as God made little green apples you will agree on a date with me here ;-) I was here after a couple of months and like always it felt like home. I buy books from this place for my bookshelf like my mother would buy veggies from the market for the kitchen. The other bookstores in and around the town are too sophisticated to please me. Bean bags and coffee tables, stationery and accessories is something that disgraces the whole purpose of a bookstore. 

Blossoms for me is like an old treasure house. I usually try and pick books of unread authors, the variety is unbelievable- from old to new. What I like forward to is an old book or two between the hundreds with a personal note or a signature. They add a human touch to the book, I think of what the old reader would have felt after reading,  to go through the same chain of thoughts in a completely different place and time, well that's the contentment no Kindle would give to me.

Also there is this interesting Tumblr page by Supreeth about conversations that happen in this bookstore- Overheard At Blossoms. I made sure I was quiet today for the fear of making it here ;-)

I am off to read one of the books I got for myself. One of my resolutions is to read more and nice books this year. I hope it is treating you all well. Have a happy one, you all!


Friday, January 2, 2015

My Field

"Beautiful!" I remarked when I found this in a field while focusing through the microscope.One of my technicians who was processing samples received in the morning added "It looks like a bouquet Ma'am!" I  gave her a smile and asked her to inform the wards. Many a times we have these eureka moments in the laboratory when we find something prototypical. What matters to us and gives a push is the help it does to decide on the patient's treatment. 

This picture is of a fungus called Candida which grew in the blood culture of a patient diagnosed of sepsis, the moment we informed the clinician about some budding yeast cells being found in the patient's blood he was started on antifungals, we are hoping now that he gets better. We receive hundreds of such samples everyday from different kinds of patients- from neonates in NICU to pre employment check ups to patients with undiagnosed fever to people who come for routine check ups.  Some mornings turn into evenings before we realize. 

Diagnostics is one branch in India which is coming of age. There is no test that cannot be done, you ask for it and you have a panel. So much of science involved in the kind of work we do. A drop of reagent or the temperature of the incubator can make all the difference. Between the laboratory tests ordered and the report that ones gets, there are critical processes that decide what next. While the presence of antibodies in a case like vaccination is a good sign, the presence of the same in an acute infection is a dreadful one. Hippocrates, the Father of Modern Medicine rightly says:

"Correct is to recognize what diseases are and whence they come; which are long and which are short; which are mortal and which are not; which are in the process of changing into others; which are increasing and which are diminishing; which are major and which are minor; to treat the diseases that can be treated, but to recognize the ones that cannot be, and to know why they cannot be; by treating patients with the former, to give them the benefit of treatment as far as it is possible. "

While an abnormal report interests me scientifically, a report with a final comment as NORMAL satisfies me immensely. In fact I end up imagining the joy on the patient's face each time I click VERIFY. My day either way is made if some help has happened. Today was 'Beautiful!' indeed!


Thursday, January 1, 2015


Firstly wishes to you all my friends, a very happy and prosperous new year. I belong to the category of people who consider December 31st or January 1st as just another good day, I also admit that I retrospect a lot at the year end. On that note, one of the best decisions of mine in 2014 was to join a post graduate diploma course in medical law and ethics in National Law School, here in Bangalore. Although most of the learning is through distance education, the contact classes held once a month is something I look forward to. A few days ago, after one such class on a Sunday I couldn’t help but notice one of my favourite poems in the corridor. I stood in front of the frame and read the poem twice, despite knowing it by heart. The scenes that came to my mind are unexplainable. Today when we have another three hundred and sixty five days in hand let us make use of the new opportunities that WILL come our way. Hopefully we become better and make this world a beautiful place to live in.

“Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high 
Where knowledge is free 
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls 
Where words come out from the depth of truth 
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection 
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way 
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit 
Where the mind is led forward by thee 
Into ever-widening thought and action 
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake”

-Rabindranath Tagore, Gitanjali-