Monday, November 16, 2009

3 Deaths, 24 Hours

I had a great Diwali vacation at my village Paikmal in Bargarh district of Orissa till Wednesday, October 21, 2009. Everything was going fine till my aunt called me in the evening around 16:00. I had to rush my uncle to hospital as he was very sick.

The doctor in my village asked us to take my uncle to a bigger and better Hospital. They suggested us to take him to Veer Surendra Sai Medical College Hospital ( VSS ), Burla. VSS is the biggest and most popular hospital of western Orissa.

We reached VSS around 23:30. We went to the causality ward and 2 young doctors came and checked my uncle and around 2 we moved him to the general ward. We requested for a cabin but we were told that we can not get one, as the senior didi (nurses in Orissa are called didi and this didi was in charge of cabins) will not be coming till morning next day. When we reached General ward, we saw the hall was overflowing with too many patients and attendants. It was difficult to recognize the patients from the attendants. It looked more like a railway platform than a general ward in Hospital. Forget about getting a bed there, it was impossible to walk on that Big hall. The stretcher guy who got us there asked us to spread the bed sheet in the floor. Yes, there was not even a bed for my uncle. I and one of my uncles protested, asking for a bed. We said that the patient was in a serious condition -- Can't a bed be provided? One didi angrily replied, "There are many patients in the hospital who are surviving on Oxygen and we do not have bed for them. Who are you?" That is it; I said to myself – Son, this is the condition of hospitals in our country.

I had never seen a dead body very closely before that night. That night I saw 2 and next day I saw one. I was sitting with my uncle, my father was sleeping on a table with 3-4 other attendants. My three uncles were sitting with my uncle, along with me. Two doctors came to bed behind us, checked the patient and covered his face with the bed sheet. A few minutes before one of my uncle had told me that the patient had taken his last breath. The son and the daughter-in-law of the patient took the dead body out of the ward. They came back to wake up the dead man’s daughter who was sleeping. She did not understand what was going on. It seems they had not informed her about the tragedy. She gave a look to the bed where his father was being treated without finding him. She did not say a word but her eyes revealed that she knew what she had lost.

We were waiting for the night to pass. We all were very tired because of a long and tiring evening and night. We were heading out, frequently, for tea and bread in order to stay awake and energized. The hospital canteen was not open in the midnight. There was a small tea shop near the hospital gate and it was more than one mile from our ward. The person who was in charge of the hospital stretcher came to general ward to lift another dead body. The relatives of the dead person requested the stretcher guy to wait for few minutes as they were packing their belongings. The stretcher guy responded, rudely, "Make it fast, I have to go and pick up other bodies". He said, in an hour he picks around five bodies and he cannot wait even for few minutes. I realized that there is no sympathy for you even if you had lost a dear one.

It was early on the morning and our eyes were red like blood. My uncle finally got a bed, the one where the first patient had died. We asked for a bed sheet to one of the Didi because the one in which my uncle was sleeping was not in good shape. The Didi replied, "Why you can’t use the one we gave you last night". We showed her the bed sheet and then after some buttering she gave us a clean bed sheet. Just when we were shifting my uncle to bed, a very sick patient came. The patient was very old and sick. He was in such a bad shape that you could easily count number of bones on his chest. He was nothing more than a skeleton. The instance we saw him, we knew he is not going to survive more than few hours or even minutes. As it happened to us and many more patient there was no bed for even that dying patient. It seemed he was suffering from heart attack. The doctors came and gave him shock treatment. They put him on drip and left. After sometimes, I saw him and I knew he was not breathing anymore. I knew he was dead but I could not find a way to tell his relatives about this tragedy. But to our surprise the patient’s relatives were not aware of the same and they were trying everything possible to keep him alive. The doctors were coming and going but the relatives of the dead person did not bother them. The patient was dead and lying there for hours. I was attending my uncle in the afternoon with others. At that moment one of the most surprising things happened to me. I was very tired to keep my eyes open. Even a death body so near to me could not stop me from closing my eyes. After 4-5 hours of death of the patient one of the doctors came. Immediately he knew the patient is no more. He did CPR, knowing it won’t help. He declared the patient dead.

That day I realized the conditions of our hospitals. Yet, I do not know how we all can improve the condition in hospital or even what our dear politician can do for this. That day I realized while we were busy in our day to day life there are people dying of disease.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

50% reservation for women in Panchayats.

It's been long that I have wanted to write about this. I strongly believe that well educated and empowered women can do miracles to our society.

On August 27th, 2009, The Cabinet of India approved 50% of reservation for women. Great decision. Now, we should be having woman sarpanchs and maybe, even a chairwoman in our villages. The rural woman would not be any less than their urban counterparts. In fact, they could be more powerful as far as the authority of Sarpanchs and the chairwoman go.

But the ground reality is very different. Let me give you an example of my own village here. In 2002-2003, the Sarpanch's election in my village was reserved for women. There were about 4-5 women contesting for the seat. Considering the condition of women in rural India, this, by any means, was never a bad figure. The fact was that the villagers were actually voting for the respective husbands of those women. Each of these candidates were just that -- a mere candidate. They were, in reality, proxies for their men back home who wanted to run the affairs of the village but couldn't do so because the seat was to be used by someone of the female gender.

Finally, the elections happened and we, in the village, had a women sarpanch. A funny thing happened once -- one of those days, I was in a shop while spending time with some of my dear villagers and one of those, a fine gentleman, then remarked, "Here goes our Sarpanch". I had never seen our lady Sarpanch and bitten by curiosity, I went out of the way to have a look. There was no sign of the lady. It was her husband.

So when I heard the news about the 50% reservation for women labeled as "Breaking News", I, for a moment, did not know to feel happy or sorry for it all. After all this has happened, rules are made and done with and the breaking news banners have mellowed down -- all would be left of it will be the political claim, a sham, a tamasha -- that the bureaucrats and the netas did so much to empower the women folk of those far flung villages.

At that time, where would be those women, the one in those remote villages who stood in that sarpanch election, I can only wonder.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Indian football and a kids dream

As a kid the first sports I played was football, later on though I played many more. I have a special liking for football because of that. Now days we do not see kids playing football in grounds as much as in 80s and 90s. I always wish India to play in either world cup or Olympic as I know on my current birth India can not win.

It was in 1994 football world cup, I asked my teacher why India is not playing. He told me India has not qualified to play in world cup and it will take 50 more years for Indian football to play in a world cup. Then I went on and checked what India’s rank in football is and it was 123. I followed it up for a year or two and it was between 121 and 123 always. I thought, yes we are ranked 123 and how can we expect to play in a tournament of 32 teams.

Then slowly I became a cricket fan. I rarely played football and very rarely watched or followed Indian football. But suddenly my interest grew up in 2006 world cup. I watched almost all matched but then also I did not follow Indian football. In 2007, India won Nehru cup and I came to know that it’s first time India has won Nehru cup. A tournament played in India and India had won it for the first time, I was shocked to know it. India repeated the feet again by winning the cup in 2009. Great, it was not fluke in 2007, the team has repeated it. Congratulation team India, well done.

It’s time to check whether my dream of watching India play world cup will come true or not. India’s rank is 153 now, 30 ranks below than 1994. I am disappointed; I have to take birth again to see India play in world cup.

I asked myself why India is doing so badly though it’s a well known fact.

    • Infrastructure is very poor for football.
    • Numbers of team playing football are very less.
    • We do not have a Hero till now, the one we all know is Bhutia (no offence meant but he is not good enough to play in second division English clubs).
    • Thanks to our Government, we do not get to watch India’s football matches in Doordarshan or DD sports.
    • Thanks to our current sports minister, Mr. Gill, rather than doing something for the sport he criticizes our team and its foreign coach.
    • Thanks to all the parents in India who do not tell their kids that there is a sport called football which is livelier, energetic and less time consuming. More than all this they do not tell them the money involved in football, you can earn more than a CEO of MNCs.
    • Money

The list can go on and on.

All I can do from my side is start praying to God to fulfill my dream.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The common Indian and Pakistani

I do not remember the scientific law in electronics which we changed and for son used to say that “A child always opposes his father”. In real life also we have seen that and in many cases it proves to be correct. But the only difference between the electronics law and real life law might be even if the child opposes his/her father, the emotion stays there.

The relationship between India and Pakistan is very similar to that of father and son. Before 1947, we were a single country. After the partition the relations never seemed to be good. As a child Pakistan always opposed India and vice versa. But the fact is we, Indians care for them and I am sure even Pakistanis do care for us.

If you watch Indian TV channels, reality shows or club hockey or club cricket or even listening Bollywood songs, you will see many Pakistanis in that. You will find there are many Indians who are big fan of Atif Aslam, a Pakistani singer. You ask many growing fast bowlers who is their favorite fast bowler or their idol, 70-80% will say Wasim Akram not Kapil Dev. These are few examples which shows how much we Indians like Pakistan.

I am not very sure about Pakistan but have learned for newspapers that the Khans and Big B are house hold names in Pakistan, even Sachin Tendulkar is admired a lot.

I understand from these things is common Indians and common Pakistanis are still the same. They like each other. They do not want any kind of fight between India and Pakistan. The common man of these 2 countries still understand that even if we are 2 different country the way to look into life is same. I wish the thinking remain the same.

The 10-20 misguided young men became terrorist and killed 300 innocents, but lets not let them kill the thinking of the common man. Let’s pray that we enjoy each others success as much as possible.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dada's last inings

I am a proud die hard Sachin Tendulkar fan and I can do anything to watch him play. But this was a strange moment. The best partner of the greatest batsman was retiring on that day. This was his last test. I had never seen a test match live. This match was to be played on Nagpur, to the place I am related to.

I wanted to see Master and Dada play together in an international match for the last time. If I do not see them on this match then I knew I won’t get a chance again. So against all odds like – travelling back to 1000km after 2 days, leaving some work at office etc, I decided to go and watch. My only worry was whether India will get to bat on Saturday and Sunday or not. Australia has played well on second day of the test to score about 200 runs loosing only 2 wickets. Then I decided why not take a chance leaving everything to the time.

I reached Nagpur on the 3rd days of play. My brother in law was waiting for me and he was a die hard fan of Dada. We started late, post lunch. We saw first session of cricket in TV when again Aussies dominated.

We reached stadium around 13:00 and yes, my dream came true. I will be watching my God, his best partner, the wall and not to forget the man who has VVS, the man who tortured Aussies often. Australia was in a good position when we reached and I saw my dream not coming true. But with me came the luck to Indian team, Mike Hussey was run out by the new player Vijay and I knew I will get it. Australia started scoring slowly and also loosing wicket. Meanwhile Dada, Master, Mishra, Shewag and Zaheer came near to the stand we were sitting to field. I saw my God from so close. I still can not believe that was my God, Sachin. By the end of the day India had a lead of 86 runs.

The fourth day when I reached Shewag and Vijay were making the deadly Australian bowling look like a Bangladeshi attack. I knew I will get it today master and dada together. After lunch India started loosing wicket. First were Vijay and then Dravid. The strange part of Indian crowd is even after scoring 10,000 runs in both test and One dayers when Dravid departs they feel happy. Time for master to come and the DJ played the best song Don… Yes, the Don has come. Then when Shewag got out, the crowd stood up to see who is next, is it our dada, our most lovable captain. No, it was not to be as in this series Laxman came before Dada in all innings except one. When Laxman got out the crowd again cheered.

I feel so lucky that I was there to see one of the great to see his last innings. I realized it was worth spending some money and more than that time to come here. I will never forget the song DJ played when Dada came. It was from movie Jodha Akabar and the song was Ajeebo Shan, and the song suited to the man. Yes, it suited him. He showed all cricket lovers of this country we can. He made us believe in ourselves. He made us realize that we can win and achieve anything. Yes, he is the loving prince of India cricket and its fan. As one line in the song is Hindustan teri jaan, tu shane Hindustan, Dada is the one. He is our shan.

I know you all know what happened next. As they say, you do not get everything in life, I also did not. Though my dream came true to see Master and Dada play together. But I came out of it in a few minutes as Dada gave a simple catch and got out on his first ball doing a Bradman.
No matter what may come, India might win world cup in future, will be a test champion in future, the no 1 team, but the belief of doing this came from none other than Sourav Ganguly. Sourav, you are a Gem, Thanks for everything

Monday, August 4, 2008

The beautiful begger in train

The greatest man of India, Mohan Das Karamchand Gandhi loved to travel in the general compartment of the train. He always said you see the real India when you travel in local compartment.

I feel what he said is so correct. You meet with the realities when you travel in local compartment. True, it is never comfortable. I do not know what was the condition in those days but now it is kind of imposible to get a place to sit even if you travle to the remotest part of India.

Recently I used this medium for about 3 to 5 hours. Yes, it was difficult to get a place a sit but I reached to the station well 1 hours early. I reserved a nice seat next to window by keeping my towel there. I was happy that now I will travel peacefully listining music in my mobile.

Everything was going as I planned. The rain was coming and going. Outside it was beautiful. I was surrounded by other travellers and their luggage. I was happy and overjoyed to get a seat.

God, they say plans things differently. Most of the time it does not go as we plan. It can be better or worse, but rarely perfect. I saw a kid of age less that 10 boarded with some unique musical instrument in her hand. That scean was one of the cutest girl I have ever seen my my life. I wish if I ever have a baby daughter I would love to have her as beautiful as her. But the unfortunate part was, that kid was a begger. And the cutest and most beautiful begger I have seen. I never give a penny to beggers. But when I saw her I felt like can't I adopt this girl? I was thinking about her and she came to me and asked for some penny. And what I did I could not beleive I gave her Rs5. I do not remember when I gave some money to begger last time. I do not support begging.

She went away, I still think about her. I still think why can't I adopt her? Why I can not take that bold step of adopting a begger? Or is it a bold step?

After thinking about her for many days, I remembered about some beggers in Bangalore near one of the best mall in India, rushing to everyone who comes to the mall, they were also cute and beautiful. why can't some of us take a few steps and adopt them. Why? We go to malls and spend money like dust. we wear the clothes of best brands. Then why can't we adopt some kids, these some cute and beautiful kids. I do not know whether I will ever get the answer to my question. And if I do not, why?

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Rain

Recently I visited to my native place, a small village in the state of Orissa. I was going to my mother land after a long time. I was happy like anything thinking that I will be able to meet people I have loved so much.

To say something about my village - In my village almost eighty percent of population depends on agriculture. Most of them depend on the monsoon rain for their livelihood.

When I met my villagers the usual beautiful smile from them was missing. I could not figure it out why is it so? When I asked them I came to know the rain has not come as expected making them tensed. Then I felt what is going on their mind.

Few days before going to my native place it started rain in my work place. I felt why it rains whenever I start from home to office or office to home. I asked then why it rains on weekends spoiling all the fun of weekend. I asked God how my clothes will dry to wear when I get drenched every time I go somewhere?

But from the time I realized why the lovely smile of my villagers is missing, I said to myself "What was I asking to God". Now I feel I can do anything to see that smile on my villagers face forget my villagers any farmer's face. I am ready to get drenched 10 times a day. I am ready to wear that wet clothes as many times as possible. I am ready to get drenched everyday ten times in a day.

A trip to my village has changed my view from "Why rain God?" to "Why no Rain God?"