Friday, February 27, 2009

Networking... Social networking

There were days when ‘orkut’ was the new buzzword. Suddenly people started asking whether i was in orkut or not. When i said i was not, they would make it a point to convince me that i am missing something important in life. After hearing this time and again i gave in to the temptation of finding out what this word had for me (initially i felt it was taken from mandarin). Although i was bogged down till then by the countless arguments of elders that internet is a haven of ‘dirt’.

When i made my account on orkut, i was under the able guidance of one of my happy go lucky friend, prabuddh , who scared the wits out of me when, in order to screw me, he added one of the girls from my coaching class as ‘friend’ in my account. I was really worried about the prospective consequences of declaring a girl(whom i never talked to) as a friend on web.
Then there was a phase of juvenile enthusiasm, of making a community, meant just for me and my friends. It was the birth of the bad boyz (hail all you Bad Boys!!!!).We, monkeys... running in a rat race... really got overboard with our community... and most of our recess discussions in school were dedicated to this... the teenage blood was at work and the innocence and fun that i derived from such trivial things really makes me miss my teenage.

I remember when one of my ‘interactions’ ( :P) with a junior, i figured out that people can have ‘networking’ as their hobby(initially i was impressed, thinking he was talking about computer networking, to be dawned about my ignorance of the usage of a term). It really amazed me how a thing so unproductive can feature in that list.
I agree that it is really a nice medium of keeping in touch with people and i myself have benefitted a lot by finding long lost friends on net. The thing is, these sites are social networking sites and not keep-in-touch sites. And so these come with value added services which can keep you occupied for hours together, only for you to find yourself growing grey and dumb.

A very significant important social/cultural shift that has happened lately, is that people are given an option of living two lives at the same time. One in which they are what they are and they cant change how people look at them. Then there is this virtual world, where one can manipulate their own image. Where everybody becomes the cool dude they always wanted to become. Those cool funky names that people keep on orkut.... or sudden escalation of interest in photography specially in the art of self portrait... or people using the ‘about me’ column to write in length about how complicated a creature they all are and use that space to display their command over English language . Hypocrisy has mutated from the time of jews to social networking sites.
And well i am no exception to this hypocrisy and myself have gone through all that i have criticised. But at times my conscience does prick me. Living virtual can never bring a real peace. It has now become a necessary evil. But then i guess i have bigger evils to deal with and this doesn’t need my efforts :P.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Bleeding Nephrons

Living in this college and having a decent standard of living created a bubble around me. A bubble of complacency which got a pinch in the winter vacations of December 2007.
                After surviving the gruelling round of my first set of comprees, with the hope of taking a break, i boarded the bus to my home. Little did i know that the pre planned visit to a hospital could shake me up.
                My mom was suffering from a stone in her kidney and a surgery for the removal of the same was scheduled in last week of December. It was to take place in Muljhibhai Patel Urological Hospital in Nadiad,Gujrat(considered one of the good ones for kidneys).
                Since  i am a fraud mallu( if you are encountering this term for the first time, it refers to all those people who have their native place in Kerala but are settled elsewhere) all my relatives are spread across the country and so it was gonna be my dad me and devaraj bhaiya( very good friend of ours) who were gonna take care of my mom( my granny was supposed to join later). It was on the Christmas morning (25th dec) that we left for Nadiad . I was extremely relieved to find that the hospital was really clean. But that was just a consolation to much more that was to come later.
                The next day i got a feel of the magnitude of thing that we were gonna face as a family and it made me shiver. My mom was gonna be on the surgery table, and then my head flashed all the surgeries that i had seen on television ( by then i hadn’t seen house md). One day before the surgery we were asked to arrange for blood as a ‘precautionary’ measure. I was getting more and more and scared. My mom is O- but gladly we were able to arrange the blood from the red cross blood bank( devaraj bhaiya gave his blood as replacement).
                The surgery took place the next day. By God’s grace it all went well. I was relieved. But then came the challenging part. It was very very sad to see mummy in the post operative ward. She looked so sick and weak. That was really scary. My dad was the only person allowed in. And then i had to replace him there for some time so that he could take a bit of sleep. It was somewhere around 4 in the morning i guess. I sat next to her the rest of the night. Had never experienced anything like this before. Then I went to the railway station to receive my grandma. Finally we( me and dad) felt relieved.
                The day after that, everything was alright. My mom got her consciousness back. The surgery was without any complications and she was recovering properly.
                But the whole ordeal didn’t end here. After my mom was out of any kind of danger, i started observing my surroundings and found that the place was full of sick people.
                I was shocked to see the various kinds of diseases that people suffered with. There were young people with fatal conditions... old people with endless complicacies... it was a mayhem of kidney disorders.
                There was this one person whose one kidney was not working and the other kidney was shrinking. There were rooms full of people getting dialysis(blood clean up in normal language) done and delaying the final verdict of death. Wards full of patients waiting for their names to slide up on the kidney transplant list.  There were many more people i saw. I don’t remember what they were suffering from. But there was one case which i cant forget. It was a lady who was terminally sick. But she didn’t have enough money to continue with the treatment. And the hospital authorities asked her to leave the hospital and enrolled her name for aids given by NGOs.... there were lot of other patients.... and each and every one depicting misery in different forms and shapes.

I was shocked. It was the first time that i had ventured out of my ‘bubble’. Out, to a living nightmare of people. Where hopes were run by strands of irrationalism because rationality was cruel. In the midst of all these bleeding nephrons i suddenly felt small. Suddenly me, my problems, my aspiration and my circumstances looked microscopic when scaled up in front of these traumatised folks.
                Whenever i remember those days, it gives me jitters every single time. I will treasure this experience forever.
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