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!