Friday, June 30, 2006

Paper packages and cranberry squash

What do you do when you fall ill? You go the doctor.

According to my experience, going to the doc consists of the following steps:

1) Go to the doctor
2) Doc examines you, identifies the illness, writes out a prescription.
3) Take the prescription to the chemist, buy medicines, take them.
4) Get well.

But it works slightly differently in Mumbai.

1) Go to the doctor
2) Doc examines you, doesn't tell you what is wrong with you.
3) Doc's assistant puts 3-5 pills each into little paper packages, puts these packages into ziploc covers, and hands it to you. Each ziploc cover is for one day, and the contents of each paper package is to be taken after each meal.
4) Get well(???)

I discovered this paper-package phenomenon when one of my pg-mates, D, fell ill. Since we did not know any docs around, PG-Auntie took her to her family doctor. D came back with these paper-packages-in-ziploc-covers and a bewildered expression.

Me: What are these??
D: Medicines!
Me: For what?
D: I don't know!
Me: What did the doc say is wrong with you?
D: He didn't say!
Me: So you don't know what medicines you are taking, and for what illness?
D: No!
Me: Didn't you ask what these medicines are??
D: Of course I did! He said "How can I tell you my formula?"

I made her throw the tablets away, and dragged her to the OPD of a nearby hospital, without telling Auntie. There they diagnosed her sickness, and wrote out a prescription. We bought the medicines at the pharmacist, and got back. Ah, the comfort that comes with knowing what you are swallowing!

After that I did a lot of research. All the docs I enquired about in and around Andheri were the paper-packages-in-ziploc-covers types. So I took refuge in the OPD of the hospital, and brainwashed other pg-mates to do the same.

Once, my roommate R told me that someone told her about a good doc, and it looked like he is the prescription type. The next time I developed a sore throat that I couldn't cure on my own, I thought it was best to go and try out this doc. R came with me.

Scene at clinic -
The doc examines me.
Me: What's wrong?
Doc nods.
Me: Is it an infection?
Doc writes something on paper.
I reach out to take it.
Doc looks daggers at me, passes it on to assistant.
Assistant starts wrapping up little pills in paper packages.

I look daggers at R.
R looks at me apologetically.
Doc takes out a big white can that one normally associates with kerosene. Can contains a bright red sticky liquid which reminds one of cranberry squash. Doc pours out an amount into a small white leaky plastic container. Hands it to me along with the little paper packages.

Doc: After every meal, take the medicines in each packet and drink two spoons of this liquid.
Me: What are these medicines? What is this liquid?
Doc: (Glares at me) Sixty rupees.
I don't reply. I pay doc, and leave with R. Leaky bottle is disposed of right outside the clinic, and medicines are thrown away after being brought home and subjected to an unsuccessful scrutiny to determine what medicines they are.
Next morning sees me at good old hospital.

Now, why, you ask, can't I trust the doc and take the medicines that he hands over to me. Here is just one reason. Suppose I turn out to be allergic to something in the medicine, or a pill has some side-effect, and I need to be treated. Imagine the conversation.

Me: (Aaakkhhhkkhhghgkkghg) I have rashes in my throat! Please doc! Do something!
Doc: Have you taken any medication recently?
ME: (KKKGHHHHGHhhhhhh ) Yes!
Doc: What medicines?
ME: A large round white pill, a little red pill, half of a yellow pill, and an orange capsule. And cranberry squash.

I rest my case.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Arbitrary Articulations

When I was a kid, my mother made all my clothes for me. A-L-L of them. The ones that were not made by mom, were made by my aunts. Anyway, you get the picture. The best part was that though mom chose the cloth and the design, I could choose my own button, my own lace. Then the fittings. One fitting before the sleeves were attached. One fitting before the final hemming. One fitting before the buttons and the laces were attached. And then the final trial. How exciting it was! To see the dress take shape from a piece of cloth to a favourite frock!

Each piece of cloth was chosen with care. Comfortable cottons with floral designs. Smart, bright, checked patterns. Once it was brown suede, another time it was purple satin with self prints. Then once it was a soft synthetic bottle-green, matched with cream. My mother and my aunts pored over Sears' catalogues, identified good designs and brought pretty dresses into the world. Scores of photos bear testimony to those lovely dresses.

And then once, I don't remember why, mom could not stitch a birthday frock for me on time. So my parents decided to buy a dress for me. I was highly excited. I was actually going to the SHOP to buy a dress! It was a never-before scenario. I jumped around all day, and finally we went to the shop. There it happened. For some obscure reason, I fell for a blue and yellow monstrosity. I wanted that frock and nothing else. I thought it was fantastic, totally unlike anything I had ever owned. My parents were obviously shocked, but being the nice parents they are, *Ahem*, they gently tried to talk me out of it. They reasoned that I might not like it after I went home. I did not care, I stood my ground. Finally they gave in, the horror was packed, paid for and brought home.

I don't remember liking or disliking it, but I know that I wore it. Photographs tell me so. Among all the pretty pinks, lovely lilacs, this one stands out. Blue and yellow, with patches of white. Oh, how I cringe whenever I see that photo! I even go to the extent of accusing my parents for not having talked me out of buying the dress!

But isn't that what we always do? We think that we are right all the time, in spite of our parents' warnings and advice. We throw tantrums, shout at them, and do what we want, and realize much later, that our parents were right most of the time. [Not all the time. No :)].

It might be that friend whom you thought the world of, but of whom your parents disapproved. It might be that party you wanted to go to, about which your parents had misgivings. Anything. Everything. But the best thing about parents is, that they never say "I told you so". Nor do they hold any of your harsh words or "You don't know anything"s against you. How do they have so much patience? How can they tolerate their kids? Those selfish, stubborn, foolish little packages of overgrown ego?

[Why this post? I have absolutely no idea.]

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Swamped with work nowadays. (You can see by the sporadic posts, and lack of my comments on your posts). Sometimes, I feel like just dropping everything and running away and doing something really crazy.

That made me think. What is the craziest thing I have ever done? If I think back, I realize that my life has been pretty dull that way. But the most thrilling thing I have ever done (which can be safely mentioned in public without fear of embarrassment) is to cycle in the dark through pouring rain.

I had come back from a day out, and reached college just a couple of minutes before the time the hostel gates would close. I had parked my bicycle near the main gate, and I needed to cycle about a kilometre to reach hostel. The rain was coming down with a vengeance. I couldn't see two feet ahead of me. I just had to get to the hostel before the gates closed, or else there would be a thousand explanations to give. As I found my bicycle, and fumbled with the lock, the lights went out. It was pitch dark, there was water everywhere, and I had just over a minute to reach hostel. I got on my bicycle and pedalled furiously. The rest was taken care of by the slippery road.

Even in that tense moment, I was aware of the greatest feeling of exhilaration ever. The wind was whistling past my ears, my eyes were full of water, I could feel the pricking of the rain drops on my face and arms. It was dark, and all I could see was a vague blurry road. My heart was thumping away, and I could hear it in my ears. I cycled blindly until I could vaguely make out the hostel gates in the distance. The guard was just closing them, and I rang my bell desperately. He paused, and held the gate open. I whooshed past him through the gates faster than (it seemed to me) an arrow.

Needless to say, I was dripping wet by the time I reached my room. But the thrill of reaching on time, and the pure unadulterated joy of cycling that fast in that pouring rain - it made me shiver with excitement (or cold?), but at the same time, I felt a warm glow inside me. It was a beautiful, beautiful feeling.

Ok, Amma, Papa, you can stop reading now, and you can call me and scold me. The rest of you, go on, tell me - what is the most thrilling thing that you have ever done?? [I won't tell your parents.]

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The burning ambition

I had a burning ambition. The thought of it had been eating into me for quite a while now. Finally I achieved it.

What could this ambition be, you naturally wonder. Let me not keep you in the dark for longer than is necessary. Simply put, it was to travel in those cool new Volvo buses on Bangalore roads. Ah, I can hear you say, "What a lame 'burning ambition'". No comments.

I had had no occasion to use these buses before. We use company transport, and I very rarely use buses to commute elsewhere within Bangalore. But each time I saw those gleaming red buses with electronic route display, those wide doors and huge scrubbed windows, those plush blue seats and the yellow handrails and the sophisticated grey interiors, my eyeballs would follow the bus until it turned a corner.

I finally got to travel in one this week. I left office early, and took one of these volvo buses (which have an additional advantage that they stop right at the office gate). As the doors softly slid apart, I entered the cool interiors, and selected a nice window seat. The polite and smiling conductor issued me a ticket with that ticket-vending machine they hang around their necks. The volvo noiselessly made its way through the clean and green streets of Electronic city. With the soft strains of a song from the radio, sitting in the cool comfort of the bus, gazing out at the glass buildings on either side of the road, it was like being cocooned in a different world altogether.

The bus is, naturally, well-equipped and high-tech. A rear-view screen for the driver. A microphone, into which the driver talks to his passengers and announces bus stops. Well, you know, the works.

It was interesting to watch first-time passengers. A family of four got in. The youngest girl was extremely delighted. She was giggling and jumping around, thoroughly excited to be on this bus. Her older sister was as excited, but she tried very hard to maintain her dignity. But ever so often, her face creased into a smile and she let out a joyous laugh, and then looked up shyly at her mother. The mother, supposedly busy telling her younger daughter to keep quiet and sit down, couldn't get the expression of awe off her face. There was suppressed thrill in each action. And then, of course, the father. Exulting in the reactions of his family, his face was a picture of pride and importance as he peeled off notes from his wallet and paid the conductor.

The conductor, ever smiling, stood near the door, and at each stop, as passengers got in, he appraised them coolly. If he suspected that a passenger was getting in without being aware of the high fares of the bus, he would lean close, and ask, "Yellige, sir?" [Where to, sir?] When the passenger told the conductor his intended destination, the conductor would lean even closer, and softly mouth what was obviously the bus fare. Then a shocked look would come over the passenger's face, and he would back off, and stumble out of the bus, while the bus driver waited patiently. It was uncanny, the way the conductor homed in correctly on what he thought was a passenger who couldn't afford to pay his way in the Volvo. It was somehow saddening too. Yes, I know that it is a special bus, and there are many more ordinary buses along the way, yet, it is depressing that the majority cannot enjoy the comfort of the Volvo. Anyway, let me not dwell upon that.

It wasn't that I haven't been in such buses before. It is just that I hadn't been in such buses in India. And they look even more gleaming and inviting in contrast to the other vehicles. Like a shiny new coin in a bunch of old coins. All a matter of perception, huh? Anyway, I finally did get to travel in the BMTC Volvo, and I enjoyed the comfortable ride. More so, because I had at last achieved my "burning ambition". Again, no comments.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Weirdness quotient - High.

Anu has tagged me. She wants me to write 5 weird things about myself. Well, I would love to think that I am very sane, but like everybody loves to keep reminding me, I am nowhere near normal. People who know me will most probably have already concluded that 5 points is just not enough to describe my weirdness. My parents, grandparents,aunts, uncles, cousins, friends - they all think I am weird.

Two people who think I am thoroughly weird are S and my sis P. Especially P. She things that I am the weirdest person to have walked the earth. She is just as weird as I am, but no. She is blind to her own weirdness. S and P go off into fits of laughter at any display of my weirdness. If the weirdness comes out when they are together, the laughter of one triggers off the laughter of the other, becomes a chain reaction, and I need to call for a couple of oxygen masks.

Anyway, here's what I personally think is weird about me :

1) I have infinite patience with people who come to me with problems, I can listen to them for any amount of time, and give advice also if required. But if the same people start getting silly/chauvinistic/artificial/snobbish/nosy/etc., I get so
irritated that I can be very very rude, going to the extent of pretending that they don't even exist.

2) I love going to get-togethers and weddings and such events, and I am always in my element, the perfect social animal. but after 3 hours, an inbuilt curfew plays up, and I withdraw into a shell. If I escape before that, I will be fine, but if I am already inside the shell by the time I leave the venue, I need at least 8 hours to recuperate.

3) I love the play of light and shade, and the dance of light on water. I love watching reflections, and I love to watch water in any form. I see beauty in unlikely places, and can spend hours observing all the above, without getting bored.

4) I am crazy about food. I can get lost in thoughts of food, I hallucinate about food. I dream about food. I wake up in the middle of the night with thoughts of food. It is an obsession.

5) Is for you to fill. Go ahead, this is your chance! If you know me personally, you won't have any problem filling this up.[But go easy on the personal details, please :D] If you know me through my blog, I would love to know what impression I have created :). Have fun!

I tag (no compulsion, of course) -

1) Chitra, coz I am sure some of her weird characteristics will be "yuxtremely" similar to mine.

2) Nirwa, coz I myself can name 5 weird things about her - she is that crazy.

3) Sachin, coz he sounds so sane and level headed that I would love to see if he is weird.

4) Ravi, in the hope that at least this way, he will put up a post.

5) YOU.

Thursday, June 08, 2006


Floccinaucinihilipilification (FLOK-si-NO-si-NY-HIL-i-PIL-i-fi-KAY-shuhn) noun

Meaning - Estimating something as worthless.

[From Latin flocci, from floccus (tuft of wool) + nauci, from naucum (a trifling thing) + nihili, from Latin nihil (nothing) + pili, from pilus (a hair, trifle) + -fication (making).]

- My current favourite word!

Ever since my uncle introduced me to A Word A Day from Wordsmith , I have been hooked. A Word A Day(AWAD) usually lands in my box at lunchtime, and it is one of the brighter moments of each work day!

AWAD was started by Anu Garg. Each week, he presents five different words with a common theme. Along with the pronunciation and the meaning of each word, he also describes the root and the origin of the word. There is usually a short witty note on the word too. He also gives an example of the usage of the word in the media. And as a bonus, he puts in a very interesting quote (not related to the Word of the Day). [Sometimes I suspect that I wait for the quote more than I wait for the word!] At the end of each week, Anu sends across a mail, a collection of titbits and inputs from readers all over the world, on the words of the previous week.

Each email usually brightens up a dull day, and livens up a lifeless post-lunch Shruthi.

In fact, the credit for the name "Nychthemeron" goes to AWAD. The day I decided to start blogging seriously, I decided to change my url, and was trying all sorts of words. Nothing was available, and I was getting increasingly frustrated. Then I received that day’s word, and found that the word was Nychthemeron . I loved the meaning and the way the word slid off my tongue. I tried it – and it was available. And the rest is, of course, a branch of Social Science.

If you like words, and have not subscribed to A Word A Day yet, then go ahead and do it NOW. By the way, not all words are long and unpronounceable like today’s word is. This week’s theme is “long words”. So don’t worry!

AWAD is interesting and informative, and yes, you cheapskate - it is free.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

A few links.

Since I am very busy (for a change), I haven't been able to blog at all. So I will leave you with a couple of links.

Anu, on Mysore - this beautifully written post reduced me to tears - with my love for Mysore. And no, this statement does not mean you get the license to crib about Bangalore on this post , coz I still love Bangalore :)

The weekend was very eventful. I have written about the Kannada serial Muktha earlier. When I went in search of info about the serial, I landed here. During the course of discussions, I was drawn into writing daily updates of Muktha here. The regular commenters at this post became so familiar, that we decided we had to meet up. We did meet up last Saturday, and the surprise guest was Mr.T.N.Seetharam himself. (The acclaimed, popular and well-loved director of the serial). I am itching to blog about it. Let's see if I can.

I gotta go now - please don't forget me ;)
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