Sunday, December 6, 2009

A prayer....*

... for fallen angels....
.... and fallen saints.....

To attack the right cause
To defend the wrong
To exploit the helpless
And embrace the strong

To our daily wickedness
Depravity let us add
Mighty Lord, we pray thee
Make us very bad...


* with apologies to the original author (who I can't remember, for corrupting the original words, which I can't recall)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Hey li'l Angel...

It's me...
Um... you...
Um... us... Look... I'm you from a (many) years later, popping over to say hello. No, I won't tell you how old I am... or how it's done... or how to go back to fourteen and tell you to not send that mushy love letter to Sxxxxx...

Focus, will you...!

Okay, okay... I know you just got out of hospital, I know you went through red hell for two weeks... and I know you nearly died. I was there, remember? And I still carry the scars. But don't worry... your hair will grow back, and your skin will stop flaking at the slightest touch. You'll gain weight too... I know 34kg makes you look marasmic, but trust me, there'll come a time when you look back fondly at that number and talk about your "twiggy days".

The next few years are going to be good. You'll travel around a bit, visit 3 new countries, watch autumn leaves, walk on cobble-stoned roads, dream by babbling brooks and be drenched by the spray of massive waterfalls. Live every minute of it. You're not going to be able to go abroad for nearly a decade after that.

You are truly lucky to have Ammi and Thaththi and you'll realise that more and more as the years go by. I know you won't always agree with them, but when you roll your eyes in frustration, or lash out, please make sure that you do it when they can't see you and that a pillow is the only thing on the receiving end of your anger. Be nice to Malli... he's going to be one of the best friends you ever have. Old cliches are right, you know... blood is thicker than water.

Speaking of friends, girl - that's one area you'll never have any regrets. You are blessed with the best of friends now... and that "sisterhood" will prevail for years and years. University will bless you with another circle of love... and these friends will be your strength through the best of times and the worst of them.

Work on your anger issues... temper tantrums are very uncool. Re-read the paragraphs above... friends and family are important. Kicking your brother is not a healthy way to express annoyance. Do not slap friends who attempt to pour oil on troubled waters. Do not punch committee members who disagree with you. Do not throw cups of scalding hot tea at batchmates, even if they're mean to you.

Don't worry so much about your studies, you''ll never top your class, but you'll still be good. Try not to rely too much on short term memory ok? I know it works and it will continue to work, until you come to a point where you follow courses with huge content loads and, however good you are at speed reading, it will be humanly impossible to cover the entire syllabus in one night. And no, you won't develop super-human powers. While we're on the subject, think long and hard about your A'levels. Make sure what you want to do is really what you want to do. You're going to agonize endlessly (well, a fair bit past the last minute, anyway) between choosing "Science" and choosing "Arts". Choose carefully, and you'll save yourself your youth, a good bit of your sanity and a helluva lot of angst.

Keep dancing, but don't limit it to your bedroom. Learn to do it properly... go back to a bharatha natyam class, or learn to waltz or jive or do the cha-cha. Pick up that tennis racket and join K on the courts instead of giving up after three weeks. A few years down the line you're going to get a fever that will be accompanied by a crippling arthritis. You won't be able to get out of bed or climb stairs or even roll over without pain... and this will last for months, maybe years. And the more you work out, and the more flexible you are now, the easier it will be then.

Love your body. You have fairly good legs and a nice ass, but you'll never grow taller and will have the same bust size for a good long time. Love your body anyway. Guys like petite girls too... trust me on this one. Guys? There are going to be a few... there'll be more if you stop that goody two shoes act of yours. Stop being so "smarter than thou" in classes. Of course you are smarter than the guys, but you needn't flaunt it so much. When that cute guy in the library asks if he can buy you a coke, say yes instead of "I never drink cola drinks" (honestly, how lame can you get?) And when you end up alone in a room with a totally hot South American guy, stay in there a little bit longer, just for my sake, ok?

And don't forget, the sad process of overselling and under delivering does not apply only to goods and services. Guys will cause you heartbreak and anger and frustration. They will make you feel ugly, stupid and worthless. One will physically abuse you. And when that happens, be strong and walk away... please, please don't become another statistic. You are an attractive, sensitive, talented and more than everything, a strong and determined woman. I know that you will not let them bring you down.

Oh yes, and do get rid of those tacky plastic earrings! The retro period ended a couple of years after you were born. I don't mind people thinking you're a flirt, but I object to them thinking you have no taste!

I guess that's it... I seem to have covered my ass on all points. Of course, you do realise that if you listen to anything I've said here, I may not be there to say it in the first place? I'll leave you with that little bit of existential uncertainty then...

Take care, Li'l Angel...



Thanks Scrumpy for the tag... and I tag in turn Knatolee, Chaar and Cerno... :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Soon after the mouse episode...

Dad : I brought a mouse house

Me : eh?

Dad : you know... a trap...

Me : aney pau!!! No way!

Dad : don't worry, it's one of those non lethal ones...

Me : (reluctantly) ok then...


The next day...

Dad : (totally crestfallen) there's no mouse in the mouse-house...

Me : did you remember to bait it?

Dad : of course!

Me : what did you use?

Dad : um.... garlic bread....

Me : (facepalm!)

Darling : maybe it's a vampire mouse!

Monday, November 9, 2009

A mouse in the house

In my house.... in my piano, to be precise. It seems that the rainy weather has driven a little hikmeeya into the house. Barely the length of my little finger (not counting the tail) he scurries frantically behind the ornate carvings of the ancient instrument... and in the dark of the night, I hear little chitterings, and an occasional twang - and make a mental note to call the piano tuning chap.

The piano is over a hundred years old. My grandma bought it from her neighbour Phoebe, who had inherited it from a grand aunt. It's an upright model, made of carved ebony and once had an ivory keyboard. this was removed by an overzealous piano tuner who replaced it with cheap plastic keys because "the old keys are badly stained, madam". I'm sure he made a tidy profit from the whole deal... My mum says to look at the bright side - at least we're not playing baila on what is effectively a murdered elephant!

I have wrestled successfully with the urge to play a few crashing chords and scare the daylights out of the little guy who has made it his home... and that's the very thing that stops me... he's such a little guy. Unlike the Maradana rats that frequent the hospital, the ones that send the moggies running for cover.

Besides, he's a sociable little fellow... even in mid scurry he would turn and look at me with shiny, beady eyes. And when I shone a torch behind the piano, instead of cowering in the shadows, he stuck his little head out and stared at me, blinking owlishly in the glare.

Ah well... live and let live, I guess!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Of dress codes and ragging

I recently met a rather lovely young lady, a lecturer and student counselor at the Arts Faculty. During the course of our conversation, she brought up the fact that it was approaching "rag season" and how the seniors had dictated that they carry a file (presumably for identification) and that the girls wear only skirts and the boys wear "proper" trousers instead of jeans.

I guess this would amount to the ragging in its mildest form - I have read of, spoken to and treated students who have been victims to the more atrocious and horrifying facets of this sad aspect of university life. Thankfully, I have never been ragged, and my only exposure to it was when several batchmates were bucketed when we went to sit for an exam at the management faculty premises - and this in spite of protests that we were final year medical students!

Back to the topic, I listened with interest to her indignation at how students had no right to dictate to others as to what they should or should not wear. She pointed out how most students face economic hardships, could not afford trousers instead of jeans, usually have one or two pairs of pants which they match with different blouses and couldn't afford skirts, faced great difficulty traveling by bus wearing a skirt etc.

When we met, she was dressed in a gorgeous kurtha top and pants. I was looking slightly disheveled in a saree which I hadn't bothered to starch. She asked me if I had driven to the meeting... I said I had taken the bus, and that I travel home by bus, saree and all.

But what amused me the most was the difference between our two faculties. Medical students are expected to dress formally/professionally from day one. This means the guys wear "proper" trousers and shirts and the girls wear skirts/dresses/shalwar/ and sometimes even saree according to their preference. Jeans are not allowed. Slippers are not allowed. Of course, if it is vacation and there are no scheduled ward classes or lectures we dress much more casually. I guess this is because the patients and the public expect something from a doctor - a projected image of competence and professionalism as well as good knowledge and skills.

I'm not arguing the merits or demerits of either way of dressing, nor am I denying the fact that many students face great economic hardship especially during the first few years where sometimes they literally don't have enough to eat - those are for another post altogether. I just find it funny that in the same university, what is considered ragging/harassment in one faculty is more or less the dress code in another faculty!

Monday, November 2, 2009


I guess it all started with the damaged contact lens, the one with a defect so "tiny" that I decided to continue using it. Being stone cold broke also played a part. Independent woman that I am, I firmly refused Darlings offer of a loan - the fact that my usual treatment of his credit card causes the plastic to melt was a mere detail. Then the pharmacy was out of my usual contact lens solution and another brand was recommended. I guess I was allergic to it, because even though there was no itching, my eyes were getting redder by the day, accompanied by sniffles, and the ultimate resemblance to a vitamin C deficient vampire.

A few nights ago I noticed that my left eye was blurry... further experimentation revealed that both near and distance vision was poor. The next day the eye was red, stinging and vision was even worse... in spite of saline washes and whatnot.

It was a dark and stormy night by the time Darling finally dragged me off to see a specialist. There was the diagnosis, in black and white (and slightly blurred) - kerato-conjunctivitis, inflammation of the cornea and sclera of the eye. Pit like erosions in both eyes. Left more than right. Thankfully no ulcers or abrasions (scratches), and no bits of left over contact lens.

So the past few days have consisted of eye drops every few hours and cool compression whenever I remember. Minimal reading, movies and computer. Total boredom.

And Darling trying very hard not to say "I told you so" more than once a day!

Friday, October 23, 2009

It is really hard....

To pretend that one has been sticking to one's diet...

my obsession....

.... when husband pauses in mid smooch to say... "you've been snacking on the chocolates, haven't you...?"

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

In the production line

Fact: I have put on weight. A lot. 9 (NINE!!!) kilos in 5 weeks.

Fact: I have no idea how this happened. The empty pail of malteasers under my bed has nothing whatsoever to do with it. Honestly.

Fact: every time I meet an old friend/acquaintance/teacher/enemy they bring up the million dollar question - are you pregnant? And when I, as always give the shortest possible answer - NO - they ask, but why not?

The fat doesn't show all that much... only in the hefty arms and rounder than usual ass. Sadly, my bosom (why? why?) has been spared the extra padding. In other words, I don't look as if I have a basket ball cunningly hidden under my waistband. So what's wrong with these people? Do I somehow exude an aura of overt fertility? Now that I have married a suitable boy and completed my degree, is it essential that I incubate a small human being and then shove it out of my body in a very painful way?

Yesterday, I fielded THE question from 3 of my lecturers - one of whom started nearly embraced me saying "oooh, you are in the production line!" With all due respect madam, WTF? Another one solemnly advised me to have kids before getting too old because they need to have a job before I retire.

Family somehow manages to be worse... sensitivity scores are at an all time low. One aunt actually nudged my husband and suggestively remarked that he hasn't shown the family his "abilities" yet! I could only stare open mouthed in horror, and then hustle an equally shocked husband as far away from there as possible!

Another aunt patted my tummy during a pirith ceremony, eyebrows arched and when the words "are you expecting?" are met with the blunt NO, consoles me "don't worry, it'll happen soon enough!". At a completely different pirith ceremony another distant relative, hand placed protectively on my tummy coos "any good news yet?"

Aaaarrrgh!... get off my tummy will you? It's not pregnancy, it's just greed!

And there is good news dammit! I graduated in the top 5% of my batch, won a gold medal, completed a hectic internship, not only with glowing references from both my consultants, but with my sanity intact! I faced four interview panels, and competed with doctors more senior and (in my opinion at least) more qualified than me and still managed to land a dream job post that I believe will keep me happy and fulfilled. I am an office bearer in a national association and in the editorial board of an (admittedly obscure) international medical journal. I have built a wonderful, loving relationship with a really incredible guy and six years on (and in spite of marriage,) we are still going strong. And that's just the past 4 months.

It's not that I don't want children... I do... and am even ready to run the risk of them emerging with miniature pitchforks brandished defiantly. But I want to have them when I am psychologically ready to give them all the love and care and attention they need to the best of my ability. Not because my ovaries are ticking away, or because it will reduce my risk of breast cancer or because the whole world and his aunty think that I should.

I have no idea what to do... :(

Friday, October 9, 2009

Party favour!

So this luscious little shot glass was the party favour from M's bachelorette party... isn't it gorgeous?

AND, each the added little touch of the recipient's name emblazoned across one butt cheek! Thanks D for getting it done - great idea! :)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

To a certain young lady at the class last night...

Honey, I have the greatest respect for your fashion sense and your ability to flawlessly match the hue of your yellow T shirt to your yellow rubber slippers and your dainty toenails painted alternatively in yellow and blue, presumably to match the dangerously low riding jeans, hanging precariously to your hips.

And if your shockingly mismatched thong with it's little pattern of faded strawberries didn't do the trick, I'm sure that the sight of your (thankfully non-hairy) ass-cleft would have been enough to make the rest of the class want to gouge their eyes out. Well... except for the ogling, hormone happy dude whose pimples were exploding at the sight.

I have the utmost respect for your right to stand in full view of everyone and chat to your BFFs while doing a little one footed twirly dance. I'm sure the entire class was entertained when you reached deep into your pants and started tugging the exposed part of your undies "back inside". I'm so glad you realised that the same treatment should be offered to the posterior, and applaud the neatness of your careful half turn at that point.

I may be an old bat nearly twice your age, but seriously... what are young ladies taught at school these days?

Oh yes...


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I remember Rajani...

Photo credit : Kevin Lemoine

September 21st marked the 20th year of the assassination of Dr. Rajani Thiranagama.

An academic, idealist, feminist, human rights activist and a deeply compassionate human being, she was brutally assassinated as she cycled home to her two daughters. Her killers cynically waited until the last Anatomy examination was held before punping bullets into her head - a defenceless woman, travelling alone. She was only 35 years old.

Indoctrinated to the LTTE ideology by her sister, Rajani cared for the war wounded and campaigned for support both in the UK and in Sri Lanka. An academic to the core, she continued to publish scientific papers, completed her post graduate studies and was appointed as the head of the department of Anatomy at the Jaffna Medical Faculty.

Atrocities in the name of "truth" "freedom" and "social justice", which were merely used as screens for political and personal gain, caused her to rethink her position. She felt there was something fundamentally wrong in a political group that not only had no room for dissent, but also did not allow the dissenters to leave. She rejected the narrow and totalitarian ideology to stand up for what she believed.

Rajani stood up aginst the insane adherence to the gun... she abhorred actions that were cowardly, destructive and unjust. Creating a "space for truth" she co-founded the University Teachers for Human Rights that documented and publicized human rights violations by all parties involved - the LTTE, the IPKF and the state of Sri Lanka. She went on to say "a life is a life... we wanted to show, in the first place, we valued life".

The Broken Palmyrah, a book co-authored with three other academics, describes many mind numbing events - among them the devastation of the Jaffna University, the despicable invasion of the Jaffna hospital, with mindless lobbing of grenades that killed scores of patients and healthcare workers. It provides a brilliant political analysis of the background and early days of a struggle that turned into militancy. It was the writing and impending publication of this book that was the stamp of finality on her death warrant.

Although intially there was doubt as to who her killers were, it was later proven to be the LTTE, who, as usual, claimed no responsibility. The meticulous planning and timing of the assassination was almost a hallmark of their proven brutality. And brutal to the very end, they showed no mercy to the woman who had tended to their injured with such compassion.

And so, on a lonely stretch of road leading away from the Jaffna University, Rajani died. Two children lost their mother. A husband lost his wife. Sri Lanka lost a bright spirit that embodied brilliance, compassion and a deep sense of justice.

When I remember Rajani, I remember the countless others, unnamed, unknown who died pointless deaths for similar reasons. I remember the values she promoted, in precept and in practice.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Love is...

Thanks Surani for the tag and apologies for the delayed post. So anyways, I WAS reading many of the takes on blogosphere... touching, thought-provoking, interesting, sweet and in-your-face-and-up-your-nose realistic (for a given value of real...)

Anywez, for those who are still intersted, here's my two cents...

Love is...

...Mumsie working every day and saving her leave, so that she can be with me when I have a baby...

...Catching Thaththi leafing through old photos of me taking my first steps...

...Darling getting up early every single morning to make tea, just so I can have an extra 15 minutes of sleep...

...Waking up screaming after a nasty nightmare, and being cuddled and shushed into a peaceful slumber...

...Being called to the Nurses' room at 3am on a hectic casualty night, and being given a mug of hot soup...

...Trading insults with Brother...

...Getting a foot-rub from darling, even when he knows there's no chance of getting a back-rub in return...

...Forgetting your husband's birthday and he still hugs you and insists you cut the cake with him - after you remember an entire day later...

...Agreeing to let Brand-New-Hubby have lunch at Rahumanya's on first day of honeymoon...

...Giving your Brand-New-Wife "unlimited" credit as she goes shopping at ODEL on first day of honeymoon...while you have lunch at Rahumanya's with the driver...

...Sometimes overrated....


Monday, August 31, 2009

Murder Most Foul...

My neighbour's dog has been killed...

Brownie was an affectionate and loyal mongrel who was sheltered, fed, vaccinated and lovingly cared for by our neighbours who found her whining outside their home one day about 5 or 6 years ago.

Brownie repaid them with all the love her doggy heart could give, wriggling like a puppy when petted, running to fetch sticks and guarding all our houses with fierce determination. She'd queen it over their pedigree dachshund and over the other street pooches and lie on the dusty road leading to our houses and give everyone the once over before letting them past.

I guess this was her downfall because the local petty thieves seem to have their activities greatly hampered by her presence. Some cruel bastard (who will surely rot in a special hell for ever and ever) had poured boiling water on poor Brownie!! Her yelps of pain had awakened my neighbours and although she was rushed to the vet and given every possible treatment that money could buy, she died soon after.

Being scalded to death is something I wouldn't wish on my greatest enemy and I shudder to think of her wordless sufferings, her blistered skin, the relentless infection and incessant pain. I can't imagine what sort of horrible person would deliberately inflict such harm on a helpless animal.

RIP Brownie...

We miss you...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Munching-munching I

For those of you who don't know... I lo--ove food. Specially stuff that is salty, fried and totally unhealthy. The only things I actively avoid are beef and seafood... so you can happily invite me for dinner and rest assured that I won't nick some of your hot butter cuttlefish. :)

Anyway, last month has been one of gastronomic delight as I've frantically tried to make up for a year of semi-starvation. Darling stifles sighs and images of being on the parental dole as he reaches again and again into his wallet... his credit card has melted around the edges from being swiped so many times... (cheesy grin - he thinks I love him more when well fed!)

Sunday Brunch at the Taprobane

This was Darling's "hurray you finished internship in one piece" treat. Did I mention that I *heart* buffets? This one certainly lives up to expectations and is a tad better than the same-old-same-old wedding buffets you usually get at the Cinnamon Grand. It goes on from 11.30 am till about 3.00 pm, which means you can nicely start with bacon, eggs, sausages and baked beans and then sashay your way through soup, salad and the main courses before turning to polish off the desserts.

So they have action stations with mutton kebabs, crab-and-seafoody stuff (greeted by Darling with cries of delight), a pizza oven where this guy in a tall hat would bake you a pizza of your choice and a pasta station, with a choice of toppings and sauces. The paneer pakoda was a real let down though... the pieces were too big and the batter on the bland side and the sauce sucked.

Soups on offer last Sunday were roast eggplant soup and hot and sour chicken soup... both really good. They were also The salad bar is very well stocked and once again heaven for seafood fans with shrimp cocktail, mussels, crab meat salad, smoked salmon, sushi and sashimi, seafood terrines and the like. People like me can happily ignore all of the above because of the mmmmm.... potato salad, pasta salad, vegetable terrine, honey glazed ham with pineapple (to die for), coleslaw and loads of cold cuts. They have this really good thousand island dressing as well, which was generously drizzled onto everything and then topped with bacon bits and freshly grated parmesan. Bliss!

We both unanimously decided to ignore the traditional main courses on offer - rice, noodles, chicken masala, brinjal pahi and the like. I'm sure they're really good, but we can have rice and curry any day no? Instead we tucked into roast turkey with cranberry sauce, roast pork (a tad on the tough side) with apple sauce and pasta. They also had yummy oven roasted potatoes and steamed vegies that were nicely done, colourful and crunchy and a good accompaniment to the meats.

Even though we were feeling full-ish, neither of us wanted to ignore the desserts. To my delight, they had waffles and these were much better than the ones at Coffee Stop - thinner and crispier and with great difficulty I limited myself to a single waffle drenched with chocolate topping and butterscotch sauce. Chocolate biscuit pudding, baked chocolate pudding, apple strudel, cheesecake, velvet tarts, fruit trifle, strawberry panna cotta, ice cream, fresh fruit salad, tiramisu - did I mention that we were spoiled for choice? The only thing I don't like is that they serve the trifles and panna cotta in those fancy little shot glass thingies... and the spoons are too wide to really dig in and finish the last remnants of dessert. Oooh, and I almost forgot... they also flambe fresh fruits in caramel sauce (it was pineapple this week, and banana last time) which is totally divine!

And for those of you who like to finish of in style, they have a decent cheeseboard. The Camembert was especially good.

The restaurant was quite packed when we got there, so it was a good thing we made reservations. The atmosphere was very Sunday-morning-laid-back with lots of people chilling with the sunday papers and families with little kids running about. Our seat had a good view of the goldfish pond and the pool beyond. Actually that's not much of an advantage as overweight suddas in abbreviated bathing costumes don't really promote a healthy appetite... :)

Not that it stopped us.

The tab was 1990/- net per person, which I think is a pretty good deal considering the choice and quality of food, and the fact that it's a five star joint.

Well - I'm off to have lunch... stay tuned for more!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

New pet, old pet.... slimy and cold pet

So I'm back at my mum's place, enjoying a lot of pampering in peace and quiet. Happily munching away at home made hoppers, I notice two beady eyes staring at me from over the edge of the table.

I glare back.

Fellow slithers off with a flick of a speckled tail.

Apparently, that's my mum's new pet. We're not even sure if it's "pet" or "pets" because they don't stick around when we come to investigate! But every night without fail, mum leaves some hopper fragments or noodles or a bit of thosai on the table. Every morning it's been polished off.

Pic from here.

He only comes to share our dinner though.

I guess he doesn't like takeout for the other meals!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Of copper suns and scarlet seas

Born in SL, I grew up in Africa...

Some of my earliest memories are of the swaying grasses of the savannah as we drove from Zambia to Zimbabwe to Kenya. Long legged giraffes grazing peacefully by the roadside, zebra, elephants and antelope. The blazing hot sun as I ran around the garden.... and the dense exotic smell of the flowers cultivated in dazzling, unruly profusion by my grandfather.

I remember being cuddled by Rose, our housemaid, as she fed me kshima (the local porridge, made of maize). Guests were offered a sumptuous meal whatever time they turned up and I remember my grandma presiding over the kitchen, directing a dozen cooking activities at once... I remember Ms. Launa (Laura?) in Nursery school teaching me to curtsy. I remember running screaming around the playground, colour, race, nationality not yet an "issue".

I remember the gentle spray from the Victoria falls, and my mother saying sweetie, this is the biggest body of falling water in the world. I remember wondering what it would be like go over the edge... the water looks smoother from a distance, I had no concept of the mindless raging swells that would have dashed me to pieces.

I like to think that I still retain an essence of that lush, golden, wonderful continent... that it somehow colours my words, my actions, my thoughts. One friend (who had no knowledge of this piece of my history) said I had an "African aura" around me, words that caused me to smile out loud. Memories still surround me...

Copper carvings of elephants adorn the walls...

Ivory bangles and earrings lie nestled in velvet, too politically incorrect to be worn...

A rhinoceros horn necklace gently decomposes in a sili sili bag, too manky to be stored in velvet, too connected to precious memories (raiding grandma's jewelery box, dancing around with said necklace draped in hair) to throw away...

Malachite ornaments... Copper flower vases... Strange carvings of faces, frozen expressions staring at me staring back.

It's been almost a quarter of a century, memories are faded at best... yet in a strange way, I miss it...

And I yearn to go back...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Male Chauvinist Oinkers

What is it about some Sri Lankan males that make them just not able to speak with due respect to educated women? My rant is specifically aimed at all those idiots, who over the last year, kept referring to me as "Miss".

Now that is a perfectly respectful form of address, unless you're a lady doctor, treating them/loved ones. In which case, the term becomes an insult, more so when the male doctor next to you (who is actually junior) is addressed with a bent head as "Sir".

For those of you who think I'm making an a big deal out of a petty issue, it's a big deal to me. My education means a lot to me, I sacrificed time and energy and youth in order to become the best doctor I could. At least have the decency to respect my education. And for those of you who think attire has something to do with it, trust me, I've been dissed while in saree, dress and skirt-and-blouse.

One guy was idiotic enough to snap his fingers at me (accompanied by an imperious, "miss") and beckon me over.... why? because he wanted me to get the urinal from under his bed. I was not amused.

One guy actually had the gall to ask "what do I call you then?".

He comes to a hospital.
He approaches me expecting the services of a doctor
I offer the services of a doctor, minister to his ailments etc.
He has no problems in referring to my male colleagues as "doctor" And he calls me "miss"

The worst offenders* (and I hate to be racially discriminating) are muslim males (young and old) followed very closely by young sinhala males. Tamil guys have in general been quite charming, forces personnel are extremely respectful - and meticulous about following medical advice - and old seeyas generally very sweet. I have never had this problem in the female ward, unless it is from a male relative of the patient.

*Note that the above is merely what I specifically have experienced over the last year.

Okay, okay, I'll get off my soapbox now. I know it's not a life-or-death issue since frankly, I've dealt with enough of those to know one. It just pisses me off, and at least here on my blog, I can rant the frustration out!

Have a good week, all!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Last week...

Well, livin' life to the fullest possible, and totally lovin' it!

The big moment was at work was when we referred one of our patient's to another specialist and she was like, "I want you to do this-that-this and refer back to me". And I could say, M'am, I've already done those things... here are the reports and scans. And she gives me this appraising look and says "you're good". :)

I'm also going to start a "I love the Inn on the Green" facebook group because man, their food is so totally awesome...! I hate places that serve up fiddly little portions of food with little decoration thingies taking up most of the plate space. This is the only place where I can't polish off the potion of pasta... and their chips are like, real chunky chips of luscious fried potato and not just half a dozen limp little fries. And "roast chicken" means half a chicken, roasted to golden perfection and not just a scrawny thigh... (Note : will not be ordering food at R&B unless they change their food policy radically) The only downside is that they haven't included the SC and taxes in the price so gives a false sense of monetery security... still good value for money.


So, went clubbing after what seemed like a decade...

Damn, has it been a decade, no, no not that long, although it feels like it, damn, what do chicks wear to clubs these days..? Will my tube top look too old fashioned..? I can't wear that white halter 'cos that means going bra less and I seem to feel the cold more in my old age

What has happened to the club scene in Colombo? Clancy's is now Shine and Molly's is no more and Tabu was just a dying hen party. Went half way to Tramps but the roads looked so deserted we thought it can't possibly be "happening". Went to H2O and found it closed so went to Sugar.

Eh? What's with the muzac these days? House?? That's music? Kind of zinga-zingbop-zing with an ill advised oooooh yeah baby thrown in? D'ya really need a DJ for that? Ok, this is music you can nod to, if you're high enough... difficult to dance to. Luckily we bumped into a friend of a friend who bought the third round... :)

The actual "scene" hadn't changed much. You still get the stoned weirdos dancing freakishly by themselves... the languid eyed beauties sipping drinks... the drunk chicks bopping around with different guys.... and said guys firmly clutching onto their butts. I had as much fun people watching as I had dancing... maybe even more!

So tell me, Bloggers and Blogistas... what's the best club scene in SL? Where and when do you recommend we go for a really good time? What's the really (ahem) happening place? We're partying again next weekend, so let me know!


I also discovered that you can't really taste the rum in pina coladas... which makes them dangerously, deliciously addictive!

Have a great week, all!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Out of internship, and into the sunshine!

Just about a week since I shed the dark shell of internship and set out, like a butterfly from the chrysalis, into a world without night on-calls, without broken rest and dark moods, a world where I can eat on time, watch TV and read, a world of normalcy.

And babes... enjoy I did...

I cut off my hair (before and after pics are pending...) and am wondering whether to colour it...

I got a pedicure and a wax and my legs don't look like their from the stone-age anymore... I bought new shoes.... little slippy things and peep toe pumps and hooker heels and also stole my mum's flats that have the little shiny sequins on them... :)

I got a great new job as "Medical Officer" in a cool new unit with a musical boss and a sarcastic workmate. After looking after 65 patients (sometimes single handedly) I now have less patients than I have fingers. I have time to sit next to them, listen to all their problems and think out the cause... I have time to give each and everyone of them 100% of my attention, my medical knowledge and skills and expertise and damn I feel so fullfilled! It seems like after an age of offering on-the-run attention (which couldn't be helped, given the working conditions) I can actually sit and care for people.

That said, I was able to go home before 3pm almost every single day (since it's near the hospital, and I can reach the ward in less than 5 minutes if needed) and shower and sleep for a couple of hours before cooking dinner. 2 hours sleep in the afternoon, and I still conk out at about 9pm... I have a massive sleep debt to make up for! Sleep is like a holy word to me... and it's only now... after 7-8 days, that I'm feeling refreshed...

I visited my in-laws after about 3 months... drank fresh passion juice and discovered that the family puppy has grown to the size of a calf and is one scary looking doggy indeed!

I watched Maid in Manhattan (again) and Street Fighter and Angels and Demons... I'm reading a book titled The Hours by an author whose name I can't remember, but who nevertheless has won a Pulitzer prize. Am reading The best of Oscar Wilde at the same time.

I'll be going dancing and out for lunch/dinner/coffee with friends... I'll be going to the temple and not feel like a philistine for neglecting my spiritual duties and needs for the last year.... I'll be going for movies and plays and maybe even see this TedX guy that everyone seems to be raving about... :)

In short, ladies and gentlemen, I, Angel, am going to live again!

Lo$t Art

Look at the absolutely gorgeous new header I've got, courtesy of Lo$t!

Wish I could have some marvelously gothic-y template to go with it...

Being a fan of dark text of light background, the rest remains more or less the same.. except for a minor twiddle with the colours...

Oodles of thanks, my friend... it makes me feel so special that you custom made this for me...


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Last Day!!!

7th of July 2009

In exactly 24 hours, I complete my internship...

I will no longer be obliged to work 36 hour (or longer) shifts...

Even if I do work nights, it will be at my own convenience (mostly) and better yet, I'll be paid for all those extra hours...

I will be able to welcome Darling home after work, instead of talking to him from the ward at 9pm, saying sorry honey, I'll take a good couple of hours longer. I'll be able to make healthy meals for him and not feel a pang at the sight of the bulls-eye and bread dinner he ate alone the previous night. (To be honest though, most of the pang is at the unwashed plate, but whatever).

I can actually take time to be nice to patients instead of snapping at their questions because I'm overworked...

I can get a haircut, pedicure and maybe go on a trip with some friends...


It's my LAST DAY folks.... wish me luck!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Tagged again! - and late, dammit!

Okie... I typed this post about a month back and stupid silly me forgot to hit "publish". And since I only get one Sunday a month off, I didn't see it until now... oh well.... better late than never, I guess!


Aww... I love all you lovely people who tag me!

Big grin... (I'm such an attention whore)

So I was asked 5 words about what I feel and to tag five more bloggers (I understand that RD is responsible for this latest one... cool!)


1. Relieved : fewer casualties and hopefully no more coffins coming home
2. Nauseated : seeing bodies of VP and others being flashed over the TV, have you no respect for the dead?
3. Inspired : by friends and fellow bloggers who are taking a really active role in helping IDPs
4. Hopeful : that health, hope and happiness will be soon achieved by all who have been crushed by both sides (intentionally or otherwise) during the conflict
5. Slightly stunned : as this is something I didn't think to see happening in my lifetime.

Ah, now the tagging part... since I'm usually late in getting involved with happenings at Blog-world, looks like everyone is tagged already... so it's open... TAG! You're it!


On a different note... it's good to be home and on broadband again. Honestly, my job truly sucks. I get one day off every 3 weeks. I work late on 6 days of the week, and can go home by about 5.30 pm once a week. I am chronically exhausted. I hate my job. Oh well, just about 5 more weeks to go! :)

I was actually quite annoyed during the whole we have won the war, VP is dead, all hail the free kiribath attitude prevailing last week. The TV was blaring full blast in the ward while I was clerking patients and since every one who could hobble out of bed was clustered around it I couldn't exactly ask for it to be turned off. The plus was that it helped weed out the malingerers... if you are well enough to dance in front of the TV, you are well enough to go home.

The OPD decided to have a kiribath party, thrusting plates into the hands of all and sundry walking by the hospital. Of course this meant that not a single minor staffer could be found in the ward and NONE of the referals got done, blood transfusions were delayed and the nurses and doctors were generally annoyed. I came across three of my ward staff, traces of lunumiris around their mouths, one dancing insanely while waving the National flag. The grinned sheepishly when they saw me and were so embarrassed it was impossible not to grin back.


I graduated last week too! Bit of an anticlimax seeing that I actually passed out of college a good 18 months back. So there I was all cloaked and gowned and on stage with the parents and Darling looking proudly on... I also went home with a nice shiny medal! Not bad eh?

So anyways, this is it for this month... with any luck, I'll be back soon! :)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

No words to describe...

The feeling...

When the alarms start to scream...

When the monitor shows a flat trace...

When you yell for the emergency trolley and launch into CPR...

When you pound on a chest, and pump air into resisting lungs...

Sweat dripping down your forehead...

Ignoring the stares of the other patients and bystanders who have clustered around...

Trying to ignore... typical Sri Lankan morbid curiosity...

When your arms ache and you think, damn, another one...

Keeping time, injecting cycle after cycle of life-giving drugs...

And then you feel it under your hand, a vague bump...

And then you lay your palm across the left side of the chest...

bump, bump, bump...

blip, blip, blip...
on the monitor

And you look up... tired smile fluttering across your face...

We've got the heart!


Doesn't happen often...

But when it does... no words...

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Yapa was an old guy who was transferred in from Mathara somewhere in December last year. He had spent so much time in the ward that he used to joke that he had been added to the ward inventory. Always greeting me with a sweet smile, he would say, every morning without fail, "no need to check my blood pressure Nona, there's nothing wrong there... see if you can fix my lung".

And that was precisely what was bothering us. His left lung was virtually non existent as the left side of his thoracic cavity was filled with fluid. This had been drained 5 times in Mathara, only to fill back up again. We were reluctant to stick a needle in again - this type of collection usually meant either cancer or TB, both which need specific treatment but no matter how many tests we did, no diagnosis was reached. So poor Yapa was bounced around, from our ward, to the Medical Investigation Unit, to Chest Clinic Borella, to Chest Hospital Welisara and back to our ward and no one had a clue what was going on. X-rays, bronchoscopy, bronchial washout, CT scans etc. etc. Even Dr. House, MD would have been impressed by the thickness of this guy's file.

And every day he'd get a little more breathless. Each night, he'd have more difficulty in breathing. And each day I'd get more concerned at how little he was eating. Finally the decision was made to put in a tube and drain the fluid... and for a couple of weeks he was walking around carrying the tube and bottle as if it were a special kind of handbag and looking absurdly happy about it.

Then one day, he just deteriorated. Hands were cold and clammy, blood pressure was low and breathing was irregular. We pumped in saline and plasma, nebulised him with everything we vould think of, gave high dose oxygen and he pulled through. That evening as I did the round he told me, "Nona, I'm going to die in the night... the forms I have filled to donate my eyes (coreal transplant) are in this little bag under my pillow, don't forget". I pooh poohed at his statement, patting his arm and reassuring him that he was now on the mend.

Yapa survived the night... but he died at 8 am the following morning. His last words to me were once again, not to forget the forms. He sank into a stupor and then died peacefully a few minutes later. He died not screaming and begging to be saved, but convinced that his time on this earthly plane was over and his last wish to help someone in his death.


May he attain Nibbana

What's with these women...?

Hi, y'all!

OK... it's been a very long time. Needless to say, I've overworked, underslept and been in a generally foul mood for the last two months. Many thanks to all of you who dropped by to see if the blog was updated... and to those who sent kind wishes during the Avurudu season, which alas, I spent in hospital.

Ah well, 41 weeks down... 11 more weeks to go...


I work these days in a female ward... the one and only house officer. The complaint rate is generally higher than in a male ward, but then, when males are sick, they are really really sick. Most of my patients are wheeled in on trolleys and chairs, looking like death warmed over... A bottle of saline and a night in an uncomfortable bed later, they're just begging to go home. They remember the kids, the washing and the shopping. Sometimes all they need is a break... one sweet old aachchi actually admitted that she came to hospital for a nice rest away from her chaotic household and I didn't have the heart to boot her out until the following morning.


A recent admission to my was was a 19 year old girl who worked in a small shop at Pettah. She complained of fever for 6 months (mind you, 6 months of feeling unwell and she turns up at 12.45am - go figure). This is what we call "fever of unknown origin" a clinical mystery to which both myself and my registrar delved into with great interest. Blood tests, ECGs, x-rays - and then we find she has very high blood pressure and that her kidney function is miserably poor. Is the high pressure the cause or the effect, we mused, and ordered more x-rays and gave several different types of drugs in order to control the BP. Finally, a scan was done and what that report said freaked me out like nothing else... 16 week single live fetus seen in the uterine cavity.

Holy shit! That little idiot was pregnant!! And she lied to me about her period!! And the pregnancy test was negative because it was an advanced pregnancy!! AND I had taken 3 x-rays and given her a bunch of drugs that are virtually guaranteed to harm the baby!!! I was so mad that I actually slapped her across the arm and and yelled at her, asking whom she was trying to fool!!! Turns out that the guy who was responsible is married to someone else and has two kids from that marriage and all he wanted was an abortion. She wanted the kid - more I think because she couldn't contemplate the thought of abortion.

Cue Angel calling up her sister (both parents had passed away) breaking the news, stopping the sister from committing physical assault, arranging for counselling and finally transferring her to a specialist maternity unit that would take care of both the kidney problem and the baby. Sigh... I swear that whole episode took years off my life!


A friend of mine works in the adjoining ward and she has a far more suspicious nature and more experience, having worked in a maternity unit on her first 6 months. The very next day she points out a new patient to her side, a rather chubby young girl, and said "Angel, she's complaining of body swelling for 6 months... can you make a spot diagnosis?" The girl is 22, unmarried and looks thoroughly bemused. I hazard guesses of hormonal problems and connective tissue disorders. My friends shakes her head... "can't you see the pigmentation on her face?? She's definitely pregnant." Examination of the tummy shows a wriggling baby, scan confirms a baby and girl continues to deny that she has had sexual contract, or a boyfriend or has even seen a man before... Her parents are equally skeptical. "No no, our daughter is a good girl. there's no way she can be pregnant, she never even talks to boys, you are educated people, why do you lie to us??" etc. etc.

She delivered a bouncing baby girl 2 days later.


Such incidents never fail to surprise the continuously naive Angel, but my friend says that 6 months in a maternity ward and nothing would make her so much as raise an eyebrow. She told me of how she was called to the ward one night to see a heavily made up young woman who was complaining of abdominal pain. A closer look confirmed that the said young lady was in her bridal outfit and - you guessed it - in labour. Apparently it was some shiny puffy garment that was swathed around to hide the bulging belly and she had come straight from the reception when the pains had got too hard to bear.

So the blushing bride was rushed into the labour room and gave birth within two hours. By dawn the next morning, she had signed herself out of hospital, saying that she needed to be on her honeymoon, and that anyway the homecoming outfit would now need adjustment. Her mother was left in charge of the kid and later took the kid home once all the vaccines were given. It was all my friend could do to stop tearing her hair out - and since nothing was actually illegal (only very fishy) there was nothing much she could do about it.


Now, I too have cultivated a suspicious nature. All women are sharply questioned about their period... a stock of pregnancy tests are kept on the emergency trolley (easy access, heh!) and tummies are poked more often than ever. And I recall with great fondness the words of wisdom quoted by an old Prof. 4 years ago "every woman between 5-75 years is pregnant until proven otherwise".


Sunday, February 8, 2009


So did I tell you guys that I got chikungunya fever? You know, the really nasty one where your joints hurt like crazy? Last month. Unrelenting fever at 104F. 2 days in hospital - ironically, my own ward. And now my joints feel as if I've fast forwarded to 80! Aiyoo... a cocktail of painkillers and as of late, methylprednisolone (a fairly funky steroid) is what I use to dull the pain.

The worst off are my hands... the small joints. And my hands are my livelihood. Every time I check blood pressure, it hurts, when I tap at a lump or feel for a liver or percuss a lung, it hurts. Giving CPR hurts like hell. Walking and climbing stairs present less of a challenge. Went to a wedding recently and had to come of the dance floor after about half a song because de ol' joints, dey be acting up. Duka, duka...


One month and a bit done... a wee bit less than five months of this nose to grindstoning left. We did a little mortality count - 16 deaths during the first month. Last Sunday I was freaking out... 3 deaths between 10.30 pm and 2 am... and just 2 nurses and me in the ward (and Darling dozing in a corner, trying to shut out the chaos).



I turned 29 last week - big deal. Was working and then had a long emo-moment with Darling. Sigh. There is a very material girl in me that just loves pressies and (this is the important part) can't get enough. Dinner was at the Sizzle... life seems much more bearable when one is well fed and watered...


Watched Slumdog Millionaire and was totally wowed. Was slightly disturbed to discover that MIA sings most of the songs but hey, just because I think she has had a deluded upbringing and should be seriously re-educated doesn't mean I can't like her songs, right?

Watched Madagascar 2 and was less wowed. Funny movie though... love the penguins.

Am also becoming addicted to House, MD. It's a slow excruciating week until Sunday dawns and I can watch the latest downloaded episode. I can actually guess some of the diagnoses too... although it's a little demoralizing how 10 minutes into the episode they say "do a whole body scan" or something like that.... yeah, if I could scan my patients bodies at the drop of a hat, I'd be a brilliant diagnostician too. I guessed yesterdays one fairly accurately... Darling is most impressed with me (grin!)


Am constantly hungry... I think it's a side effect of the drugs... the prednisolone to be exact.... am also looking slightly moon-faced with all the water retention. Mood seems to have improved marginally though... do steroids have a "Happy Pill" effect? Must tail myself off the meds but seriously what's so bad about eating all the time and being free of joint pain and stiffness?

Okay Angel, focus, focus - you are not, repeat, not getting addicted to steroids, ok?


Okie... I got to go now... have a lovely, lazy half day off left to spend in peace. I slept till 11am today....aaaaahhh.... bliss! I think I'll catch some more soon.

Batter fried mushrooms for lunch.... yummy, scrummy...

I'm off! :)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Days of January, evilness and other randoms

Ok... I realize with a shock that this is only my 2nd post for January.

Life sucks...

Life, in fact, is one big suckfest...

I'm doing General Medicine at the moment, am over and done with surgery and being stressed out more than I've ever been in my life. People just come to medical wards and die... they just die like flies and I'm having a hard time getting over it. There have been more deaths in my new ward in 3 weeks than in my old ward in 3 months. It's nothing to do with the ward, admissions to the medical wards are - in a word - buckets (waiting to be kicked). Heart attacks, strokes, alcoholic liver disease and chronic kidney disease. I keep cringing daily at the ominous rattle of the hospital coffins as they carry their cargo towards the mortuary.

I don't finish work until 10 or 11 in the night sometimes. I start my ward round at 5am on some days simply because otherwise there just isn't enough time. After working in a ward with 30 patients, I'm now in one with 65 patients. Ack!

6 months and 3 weeks down... only 5 and a bit to go...

I pray they go fast...


I have also found a gauge to my evilness....

You Are 34% Evil

A bit of evil lurks in your heart, but you hide it well.

In some ways, you are the most dangerous kind of evil.

Hmmmm.... I suppose 34% is not that bad...

Found this on Scrumpy's blog and couldn't resist!

I guess this is where the pitchfork factors in...


Have realized that all my petty fights and arguments and rants at Darling have centered around food. How pathetic is that? I yell at him when dinner is not ready or breakfast is not what I wanted or when he falls asleep instead of boiling pasta. Darling now claims that I love him only after being fed and watered. Maslow's hierarchy in practice? Maybe...

Dammit, I can't balance being an intern and being a wife... :(

Poor Darling... :(


I'll be hitting yet another birthday soon... in a couple of weeks, actually. Close to thirty, ovaries ticking away...

Did you know that women who have kids after thirty are more at risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer? Is it selfish to want kids partly because it reduces ones risk of a nasty illness?

I want to have a family... but I want the two of us to have a decent married life as a couple first. This year just doesn't count...


Anyway, have to go now... am on-call for the next 3 days... won't be home for a good couple of weeks.

Wish me luck folks...

Anniversary getaway....

So this is the long delayed post about our post-1st anniversary weekend. After me being depressed about work and what not Darling whisked me off to Royal Palms, Kaluthara. It was a lovely weekend and the hotel and the service was absolutely wonderful. I was really impressed by the service... the welcome, the "happy anniversary" decor in the room, the complimentary cake, the candle lit dinner... it was sheer luxury after the brunt of working at hospital.

Darling gets plenty of points for this one! :D


Lobby of the hotel - aren't the white elephants gorgeous?

The cake!

Detail of a pettagama in the dining room

Us being all relaxed and happy!

Lobby decor