Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Contract (Part 4)

Update: For those of you who are wondering about the previous parts to this series, please check the September archives. Will post links to those parts in this post at a later time.
Krish sat in front of the camcorder. The camera prepared to capture a slice of reality. The digital screen filled with a blanket of smoke. The smoke cleared to reveal Krish’s face with a vacant expression. He peered into the camera blowing another puff of smoke.

He began talking into the camera.

“If you are watching this I am probably dead. I have been thinking about death a lot lately. It is strange how you end up thinking about life really when you think about death. The things that happened and more so the things that didn’t happen. Like that trip you meant to take or the words that never escaped your mouth or the goodbye you never got to say. I thought about all the people that were close to me and I lost…forever. I realized there was so much I did not know about them and they did not know about me. It was like they lived another life that I never knew about and desperately wished to be a part of. But now they were lost forever. How can they not exist?

So I got thinking about this. I thought how about I make a video diary and leave a piece of me behind. If ever anyone wondered what I was like they could pop this in and there I am. Videos are really like time machines if you think about it. Although you can only go back in time it is a pretty darn good invention. It is definitely one of the top 10 best inventions ever made in my mind. Lately I have been in awe of everything around me…sort of like Kevin Spacey in American Beauty. But you can’t live in awe of life. It is exhausting. The adrenaline rush overdrive will either make you crazy or dead. Some part of life is meant to be wasted. What a catch 22 it is…you can’t have much fun when you intend to have fun.”

Two puffs of smoke later.

“What would I want to say before I die? I don’t think anyone can really know until the moment they die and then it is too late. You can never really fake your own death in your mind. I mean look at me…I know people die. I have seen the limp bodies. I know they never come back. It is still very unreal to me. The second hand experiences of others dying does not convince my mind that my death is impending. I know I will die but I secretly don’t believe it. It is actually pretty amusing.

It is a very surreal mind exercise. You should try this sometime…fake your own death in your head…try to face your mortality. I mean really try and you will realize how delusional the brain is. My brain is taking the thought of me dying as seriously as it takes the occasional fire drill at work. The thought puts my brain in a loop. I have always lived with a feeling of invincibility. My death is one piece of reality that my brain does not process. If I think about it long enough to overcome the inconceivable probability of my death in my mind it gets more exhaustive than imagining an infinite space. It is bizarre.

But I have pushed myself hard enough to think about what I would say if it was the last contact I could make with everyone and everything I had ever known. All I have come up with is that it feels incredibly depressing. The thought strips me off my rationality and intelligence….it leaves me in an emotional wasteland. All there is left is feelings because the meaninglessness of it all disarms the thought process. It is a point of no return. The questions about why death happens are erased because the futility of knowledge at the threshold of life and death is overwhelming. The questions about how it happens or what happens after one dies are frivolous at that point because they are about to be answered. Whoever said change was a good thing was not talking from their death bed. Come to think of it, those who get to be on the death bed maybe the lucky ones because they get to say a final goodbye to their loved ones. I am reminded of the 9/11 phone calls the victims made to their family. Call after call the words that were uttered were the same…I love you”.

Krish’s face softened. The screen went blank. Krish appears in frame again.

“I took experiencing life a tad too far with the hot dog this morning. Some things are best not experienced…like the ordeal I went through in the last 10 minutes. But I don’t even feel like complaining about it. When I think about my options as a dead person suddenly everything that I have now seems fantastic. I can get up from this couch right now and go do…(lost in thought)…I can think of a hundred things. That is just incredible”.

The screen catches Krish’s half smile before it goes blank.
( be continued)

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Ankhen nikalke gotiyaa kheloongi



Friday, October 13, 2006

Better safe than sorry

My advisor told me a scary personal story today. Her father was in an accident a while ago and was admitted in the ICU. There was no conceivable improvement in his health for weeks. Then her father acquired infection in the hospital due to his weak immune system. More than a month passed and there were no signs of improvement. So the doctor decided to pull the plug. My advisor asked the doc if her dad had any organ failures and the doc said that wasn’t the case. My advisor was appalled and took it up with the director of the hospital. Eventually the doctors decided against euthanasia. After 3 months her dad recovered and was released from the hospital.

This brought up several issues in my mind. Her dad would not have survived had it not been for my advisor’s resourcefulness. She was knowledgeable enough to make a call on the diagnosis given by the doctor. She did not treat doctors as the authoritative figure to make the decision. Had she put blind faith in the doctor and given up on her dad because the doctor said so, her dad would have died that day.

From personal observations I can say that everybody does not take the initiative to understand and investigate the treatment options available. Some are afraid that they may not have the aptitude for understanding all the issues with medical treatment as they did not receive any medical training. Others have faith in the medical staff and don’t intervene. There may be other reasons to it that I am not aware of. But time and again I have heard about medical mishaps, some of which could have been prevented had the patient’s family taken an active role in the process.

It is a very difficult time and a stressful situation when you have a loved one seriously ill in the hospital. Many people shy away from the patient because they are afraid they might break down in front of the patient after seeing all the machines and tubes hooked up to the body. It is very hard, but I hope that if ever you are in that situation you find the courage to be there by the bedside for the patient. As I suggested earlier, I hope you take the initiative to read up on the disease and treatment. There are many websites that explain the disease and treatment procedures in layman’s terms. Although prepare yourself to be emotionally strong because many of the scientific articles that you may come across may be blunt about the risks of the treatments and disease prognosis.

It is important that you are aware of what is going on. The doctors no doubt are trying their best to treat the patient but there are many diseases where there aren’t definitive treatments. Medical mistakes happen often and some of them can be prevented by your awareness. There was a case where a diabetic person was admitted to the hospital for some other medical reason. There was gross negligence on the part of the nurses/doctors and the patient was administered a glucose drip. The person died. I hold the hospital liable for this death. No doubt they failed to investigate the patient’s medical history and the patient had to pay with his life. But I wonder if things would have turned out differently had the family been more vigilant and proactive in the treatment process.

My mother has received no medical training but she has enough medical know how to help out in a medical crisis. She has acquired the knowledge out of her own interest. If anyone in my family ever gets sick, she is always by the patient’s bedside making sure things are running smoothly. If the saline drip runs out because the nurse forgot to switch the empty saline bag with a new one she fetches the nurse. She may not be able to match the medical expertise of a doctor but she contributes in whatever capacity she can.

The medical staff is there to help you but at the end of the day it’s just a job for them.

P.S. Store your emergency contact's phone number under the name ICE (In case of emergency) in your cell phone.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Failure is not an option

For all those who want to pass exams without studying I might have something for you. I took the W.O.M.B.A.T. grade 2 on Jo’s website and I marked option B for every question start to finish. Jo has already said in the Rumor section on her website that everybody does NOT pass the W.O.M.B.A.T. I can proudly say that I got ‘acceptable’ on the exam.

So for those of you who maybe in a crunch on multiple choice exams take my advice. Take a pick and stick to it for all the questions. You might increase your chances of passing.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Mo money mo problems

With great money comes great responsibility? Are the rich obligated to donate money to charities? Anousheh Ansari is being condemned for spending obscene amounts of money for a selfish cause such as space exploration.

For those of you who missed the articles and blogs on Anousheh Ansari, she is the first woman space tourist to go to ISS (International Space Station). She does not like being called a space tourist because she thinks a tourist is somebody who does not need any special training or preparation before s/he goes gallivanting. Anousheh had to go through months of intensive training before she could go to space.

She has invested more than time and effort in training for this adventure. She shelled out in excess of 20 million USD to get to ISS. This has inflamed some people who consider this huge amount of money wasted for personal thrills instead of donating to a charity.

I quote a comment on her blog :

I can’t imagine having $20 million dollars and doing something as selfish as putting myself on a spacecraft and going to space. The money you spent will not benefit anyone but you; you could’ve done so much more that is meaningful to so many more people. How can you look at yourself in the mirror every night when you have lived such a frivolous life? How could you have been so fortunate to have the money that you do and use it so that you are one up on your society friends at your latest cocktail party? Very sad that money does not equal conscience or responsibility.

First of all…it’s HER money.

She earned every penny by being a smart business entrepreneur and she has every right to spend it to appease herself. I cannot consider Anousheh to be a frivolous spender because she spent it on a space program. It is not like she spent her money building a house made of chocolate (granted that would’ve been awesome too). How can space exploration be frivolous? Going to space was something she had always dreamed of and worked very hard to fulfill her dream.

Having said that, it is true that people (like Bill Gates) who have ridiculous amounts of money can make tremendous difference in the lives of millions of unfortunate people. This brings me back to the questions I started with. Should rich people be held accountable to how they choose to spend their money? How do you determine which causes should be invested in and which shouldn’t? Should we not invest in space exploration until there is no poverty, hunger or disease on earth?

Clip of the week

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Tell me it isn't so...

Take deep breaths...breath in...okay...I am not going to panic but I went to the grocery store and they did not have Haagen Daas Baileys Irish Cream. I told myself this isn't happening. Then a proud carboholic friend of mine said he was hunting for it last week and did not find it.
May day May day...this is not a test.
It's like the Krispy Kreme episode all over again. I cannot take it much longer.
For the love of sugar...where is it?!!! Somebody run to the grocery store and tell me they haven't discontinued this flavor before my blood-sugar system has too much blood in it.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

First 6-string

Are there any guitar players in the house? If so, can you give me some suggestions on what kind of guitar I should buy as a novice? Never played a guitar in my life and I am not going to let that fly. I am going to buy a guitar for meself as a graduation gift.

Can't wait!