Sunday, July 25, 2010


Oh no,not again,”

My daughter cried in vain.

Another cancelled movie date

“Your work,  I really hate”.

I sat her close,wiped those tears

Some partly mine,some partly hers.

“A doctor’s job’s not nine to five

’tis a reality show,24/7,live.”

Making plans is just a token

When duty calls,they’re soon forsaken.

Dinner,movies,romantic flings

Take a backseat when the phone rings.

“So,why not quit,” my daughter says,

When only work fills nights and days.

Is it money, Is it fame

What pushes you to play the game?”

I paused to take a closer look,

At the writing in my Life’s book.

The answer lay there,a trifle odd

“In my work, I see God.”

Saturday, July 3, 2010


It is my policy, as a busy obstetrician, never to carry work home. But could I help it if a pair of crows decided to set up their bedroom/labour suite/nursery just outside my bedroom window!

We had been observing them painstakingly carrying twigs, twine and leaves to build a nest. It was an architectural marvel; strong, with high walls, a cushioned floor, well protected from rain, wind and sun by the branches of a nearby tree. One fine day, we saw 4 spotted eggs in the nest, with Mama Crow perched on them for hours on end.

Papa Crow, the anxious dad- to- be, kept watch on a nearby branch, fiercely protective, warding of curious, unwelcome visitors [including yours truly] with raucous cries.

Finally, D-Day arrived on 22/06/2010 and one of the eggs hatched to reveal a pink blob of flesh, barely alive. We christened it ‘Crowlet’. The proud parents kept even stricter watch with Mama Crow warming it all day long.

Day 2 dawned with Crowlet showing some signs of life, actually opening its mouth for food.

On  Day 3, a black fuzz appeared and constant demands for food kept Mom and Dad busy.

Day 4 was a windy, rainy day and we applauded the foresight of the crows in making the nest walls high enough so that Crowlet remained snug and dry. Such a glutton I had yet to encounter, mouth always open in readiness for doting Mama to drop in some food.

Day 5 was sunny in more ways than one. Crowlet appeared much stronger. Mama Crow and it appeared to be bonding and of course, it was still greedy! “There is not much difference between human babies and Crowlet” , I thought.

On Day 6, we ran to the window, half expecting to see Crowlet with sprouted wings ready to fly. The nest was empty! No Crowlet, no Mother Crow. Only Father crow perched on his branch,gazing at the empty nest,ready to bite our heads off if we even came near the window.

If only trees could speak! What happened to our 5 day old Crowlet, in the course of the night, we will never know. It has been 6 days since; Father Crow has disappeared. The nest still remains. Who knows, maybe some other crow will spot it and claim it as his own. After all, this is Mumbai city, a squatter’s paradise! And Life, even with ‘ Empty Nest Syndrome ‘ does go on……….

Saturday, June 26, 2010


The 3 most commonly asked questions immediately after the baby is born are:
A] Is it a boy or a girl?  
B] Is he/she ‘normal’?
C] Is he/she fair?
The first 2 are easy to answer but I cringe each time I have to reply to the third, often giving a stock answer,
“Looks just like your husband”; hearing which,
 some look happy while the rest appear a mite dejected! Some desperately ask whether the baby’s appearance is likely to change in the next few days!

Jokes apart, this oh-so-Indian obsession with skin colour and good looks is downright annoying. How boring would the world be if all were cast in the same mould of tall, slim and fair or tall, dark and handsome.

To find beauty in the mundane, the trick is to forget all stereotypes and look closely at the whole picture, with one’s heart as well as eyes.

To illustrate, look at these pics of a butterfly perched on my son’s finger and a moth on my living room floor.

Delicate, colourful, shimmering radiance


Earthy, dramatic, powerful flamboyance

Beauty or Beast??????
You decide. After all, it’s different strokes for different folk!  

Saturday, June 19, 2010


I walked out of the hospital bone tired, only to be greeted with thunder, lightning and gusts of wind. Dark clouds, pregnant with moisture, hung low in the sky. It was unnaturally dark and eerie. I looked at my watch to check the time; just 5-00 p.m.!!! 

The last time I had looked at the sky was at 7.00 a.m. when the day had dawned, bright and sunny. Thereafter, a difficult delivery, an emergency C-Section, a waiting room full of patients, inpatient rounds and a busy afternoon surgical list had kept me indoors for 10 long hours.

As I walked home, the skies opened. Within minutes, the road resembled a river and I was soaked to the bone. My spirits lifted and I had to restrain myself from dancing in the rain, my age and profession playing spoilsport! All around me, I could hear people cursing the vagaries of the Mumbai monsoons. By the time I reached home, it had stopped raining. Twilight had descended, bathing the sky and air with a translucent, pale pink hue. The world shimmered in its radiance.
Slowly the light dimmed and night fell.

I mentally applauded Nature’s theatrics and remembered a poem I had penned almost 30 years ago………

The sky
A lover
With passion
With rage
Fire and hell
Wild, Wanton, Beautiful.

Her fury
All spent
Weeps softly
Each drop
Jewelled, Bright, Pure.

Through eyes
A smile
Shyly pleading
Sweet laughter
Rainbow-hued, Joyous, Gay.

The sky
A lover
With joy
Of giving
Hope and Life
Union, Bliss, Fulfillment
What a Drama Queen!!!!!
World Theatre at its best!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Of Babies and Baths

It's Baby Bath Time! All the newborn babies in the hospital have been lined up. Baby oil, soap, powder, fresh towels and baby clothes are kept in readiness. As the unsuspecting baby is plunged in the warm bath water, it wails in protest. However, once dried, powdered and warmly wrapped up, peace reigns. For the next two hours at least, the freshly bathed babies will nap, their shining faces scrubbed clean. The comforting smell of baby soap and powder fill the air.

I look out of the window. Today is the first rainy day of the monsoons. Since morning, it has been threatening to pour. A grey light filters through the trees. As the wind blows, it litters the compound with bits of paper, leaves and dust. A light drizzle begins spraying my face with a fine mist. Very soon, the pouring rain works its magic. The building compound is cleared of debris and the trees have been washed clean of their summer dust. The air is filled with the rich fragrance of wet mud. I take deep, rejuvenating breaths and say to myself,"It's Earth Bath Time!"

Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Birthday To Me ........................


Got up in the morning feeling happy and excited. Laughed aloud, looked at the beaming face in the mirror and wished myself,"Happy Birthday".

You may not believe it but even after 48 years of life, 22 years of medical practice and 18 years of motherhood, Birthdays still excite me! It's not as if some special celebration has been planned for the day, but still it feels like a celebration of life.

I look out of the window to see the sunrise and feel blessed with the gift of life, love, health and joy. My husband and kids will soon awaken to smother me with hugs and kisses. My Mom will definitely come to gift me a painstakingly chosen greeting card penned with words of wisdom, pride and love along with a carefully folded crisp Rs.100 note. My sisters will have bought me a gift and will be planning their day around mine. My mother-in-law will remember me in her prayers and my father-in-law will wish me in his booming voice, a trifle embarrassed because he had mistakenly wished me the day before! My little niece, Kiara, will soon arrive to cut my birthday cake for me as she is the self proclaimed cakecutter for all family birthdays! Friends will soon start calling and......

........The phone ring interrupts my thoughts and duty calls. I rush to the L.R.[read labour room]. My patient delivers a beautiful baby girl. As I hand over the newborn to her mother, she looks up at me with a smile on her exhausted face and says,"Happy Birthday, Doctor. I hope my daughter grows up to become just like you." I am overwhelmed! What could be a better gift than this? 

I told you- I just love birthdays!!!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Sometimes a look, is all it takes...

The first week of gynaec residency! I was in a mess. Somehow, the theoretical knowledge I had gained during medical school and internship did not suffice to cope with the rigorous demands made of a lowly first year resident.

A municipal hospital in a busy city like Mumbai is like a crowded railway station at rush hour. Patient admissions, discharges, paperwork, blood collections, dressings and a million other odd jobs vied for my attention. Day and night merged into one.

The busiest days were Mondays and Thursdays which were the O.T. (surgery) days. The O.T. in municipal hospitals works like a busy conveyor belt with patients being wheeled in and out. In the midst of this cacophony, I noticed the quiet efficiency with which a junior anaesthetist was doing his job. I looked up to see a pair of intelligent, warm, brown eyes meet mine over a surgical mask.

Thereafter, every O.T. day, our eyes would meet and exchange smiles before both of us got immersed in our work. I was fascinated by the precise movements of his hands, the look of intense concentration in those eyes and his confident body language when a difficult case was on. Very soon, Mondays and Thursdays became my favourite days of the week and that special pair of eyes my anchor in the mad,mad world of first year residency!

When it was my turn to operate independently, at the start of every surgery, I would look into those eyes and be filled with confidence.

Today, 25 years later, the story remains the same. My eyes meet my husband’s eyes, still an intense, warm brown; I pick up the scalpel and begin surgery.
I know, all’s well with my world…

Friday, May 14, 2010

Cry, Please........ It's a Kodak Moment

Every newspaper and magazine is flooded with adverts from various  beauty and slimming centres promising a better 'YOU'. The 'BEFORE' and 'AFTER' photographs are especially hilarious and I often wonder, whether they are for real.

A dowdy, grumpy housewife metamorphoses into a sexy siren! A 40 pound weakling who gets sand kicked on his face by a bully is now a brawny, handsome hunk! Come on!!! I have yet to meet anyone so transformed by a few visits to such centres and I wonder at the gullibility of people who flock there.

So, I decided to take a few 'BEFORE' and 'AFTER' pix of my own in the Labour Room. Here are the results:

Just born- 3.01pm


 Just Cleaned- 3:03pm

 Just Bathed- 3:10pm

Just Dressed- 3:12pm

This is one instance where the 'BEFORE' pic wins hands down.
Just as a warrior emerges triumphant from a battle smeared in blood with a war cry on his lips, so does a newborn baby make its appearance in the world, anointed in its mother's body fluids, with a lusty cry.

Cry, please... I pray and the baby obliges.
What a Kodak Moment!

Friday, May 7, 2010


Woke up in the morning to headlines in the TOI : "KASAB gets what he gave - DEATH !"
LIFE and DEATH , 2 sides of a coin, seen at close quarters by doctors. It is argued that Science is the antithesis of Religion and as trained scientists , we should have an explanation for all events. However, it would be more correct to say that we are witness to miracles which defy logic.

I see the hand of GOD every single day in the L.R. [read labour room] The entire process of Life Creation unfolds in front of my eyes. The birth of the marvellous human body, the ultimate machine, created from two phenomenal cells , the oocyte and sperm.

What drama occurs in the L.R. ! Once I remember, I was delivering twins.The first baby was out,a healthy female child , when suddenly the beeping of the monitor recording the second baby's heartbeat stopped. All efforts to locate the heartsounds failed. I consoled myself with the thought that atleast one of the twins is alive and steeled myself to deliver a stillbirth. I tugged on the baby's legs which were the presenting part[a Breech delivery], pulled gently till buttocks, hips, back and shoulders were delivered. As I gave traction to bring out the head, I almost wept at the near perfect face of the baby. Suddenly its eyes screwed up, mouth opened wide and he gave a lusty cry! I almost dropped him in shock! What joy and noise in the L.R. with two wailing babies and a bunch of shouting, dancing doctors and nurses.

The other miracle which comes to mind is when the umbilical cord of the baby, in rare instances, has a true knot in it! As you know, this cord is the baby's lifeline . The fetus has made the arduous journey from its safe haven inside the womb to the outside without the knot tightening. Surely there is a grand purpose to its life which has protected it. I make it a point to show this knot to the parents so that they know how special their child is.

So, Life and Death are my constant companions always reminding me that I am but a puppet in the hands of God. In fact it is my work which has converted me into a believer. For me, Science and Religion co-exist!

Bye for now! Keep Pushing... Good luck!

Sunday, May 2, 2010


It's 1:30 am, Saturday night. Guess what I am doing ? No, it's not what u r thinking ! I am waiting for my patient to deliver. It's really crazy. Her fourth child ! One would think that a sneeze would be enough to put her out of misery. But no ! She has gone beyond her due date, her blood pressure has shot up & now she is in active labour. The night watch begins.

The dilemma in front of me is whether I should go to bed & catch a few winks only to be rudely awakened by the phone as soon as my head touches the pillow ( that's a rule ! ) or should I try & stay awake till called to the L.R. The house is quiet & the only sound is the whirring of the fan & occasional rustling of leaves in the tree just outside my bedroom window.I really wish I had remembered to borrow a book from the library today.Normally my daughter always picks up something to read but , being exam time , no such luck. I have just called the hospital to find out how long she will take. At least an hour, I am informed.

I look out of the window. There is a light shining in a window far away. Wonder who is awake ? Perhaps a mother nursing her child. Maybe a student desperately cramming before exams. Or a movie buff or computer addict eyes glued to the screen. Maybe a couple enjoying a few moments of privacy or kids having a midnight snack. Perhaps an ill person in the house ? A novel so good that it has to be finished or a misery so great that sleep eludes. Whatever the reason, that one shining window in the dark gives me comfort. I am not the only one awake. And so I drift along somewhere between sleep & wakefulness till my call comes.

It's 3:00 am.
The world population has now increased by one. A shower, a cup of cold milk & some Parle G biscuits to bring up my blood sugar & calm the adrenaline surge. I am off to bed. A last thought before sleep takes over - perhaps it's just someone who is afraid of the dark or has forgotten to switch off the light . Whatever ...........

Keep pushing, Goodluck !

Friday, April 30, 2010

My very first Blog .. Yippeeeeee!!!! :D

Hey! I'm so excited. My very first blog. I wonder if anyone is gonna read it. Whatever!! Its fun to write. You maybe wondering whats with the handle "Dr.Aunty". Well, that's the name I am most often called by. It started with the neighbourhood kids calling me "Aunty" and their parents calling me "Doctor". Presto, one fine day I was Dr.Aunty. A doctor who is like an aunt or an aunt who is also a doctor. Its a warm feeling.

"Aunty" such an Indian feel to this suffix. While in other countries it works as a prefix like "Aunt Susan", in our country there is this tendency to add an "Eee" to all female relatives like Kaki, Masi, Mami and now, Aunty.

The great thing about this profession especially my specialty(Ob-Gyn) is that you become a part of your patient's family. You celebrate births and console the bereaved. Jobs, maids,pets, meals, clothes, travel plans and even bedroom tales are unhesitatingly shared with complete trust. This is why i love my job and never grudge the long hours i spend at work.

Bye for now. Keep pushing, Good-luck.