Renu's Week

Monday, October 25, 2010

Report of 25 Oct 2010

This is the way to do it.

Wind down at a friend's house, veg, eat good things, rehash memories. A picture of some other friends whom I saw yesterday is up on my camera near me and I am recharged.

This has been an interesting visit. Shortest I've ever had in the U.S. Fundraising has been a mixed bag, as it will be.

However, I managed to see several good people. In San Antonio, I visited with the kids' former pediatrician, Mary George, and that was lovely; Mary has tended to spoil my sons on occasion with Spurs t-shirts and the like, and apologised for not having gifts. Her gift to me was her time, and we laughed and talked and I enjoyed our time together. The following day, she sent a hefty donation to the Banyan through my host and her colleague, David Johnson, to me. So lovely.

The "Conversation with Women Alumni" was nice, and my friend Katharina Hathaway came all the way down from Austin for it. The young students were full of questions for us and that was engaging. It was nice to have Katharina's presence there, she is doing yeoman work as medical director at a center for refugees. I was to have attended a class dinner that night, but came down with food poisoning. I was at a movie - "Red" - just before the soiree, intending to head to it afterwards, but my stomach started to hurt and I could not pay attention to the movie even. As I started to mull over missing the dinner, my stomach made the decision easier by hurting more; so I went to see "Hereafter," a good movie by Clint Eastwood, and then crawled home, getting in bed by 8.45. Linda Johnson kindly checked on me later that night, and the following day, I was well enough to get moving.

Pulling up at reunion breakfast, Emily and Ryan McNellis pulled up also; lovely, lovely. Em promptly handed over a giant sack of clothes for me and we went into the Continuing Medical Education (CME) talks, where Ryan was a panelist. I promptly took a photo - imagine a classmate, young lad, being a panelist! He did well, and then I was summoned outside where Greg Brown was waiting. Greg is also an alumnus, from a later class, and has visited India multiple times. We headed off and he ate breakfast; Greg is a soul-mate kind of person - gentle, funny, kind, cute. I enjoyed the outing. At the b'fast place, we came upon former classmate Jen McKeand and her lovely family: she and husband Chris had had Alec, her son, in 4th year and have since added daughter Lily. Jen was not going to be at any more reunion events, so I was happy to have caught up with her; her sense of humor is very powerful and I laughed almost non-stop for 20 minutes. Jen is also a wonderful OB, and we shared some details of our respective practices, which was nice.

I gave a speech to the alumni at lunchtime, and Emily was kind enough to stay for it. I noticed her head bobbing around others at our table as she craned to see me, and it was an encouraging sight. That experience - speaking - was a mixed bag: all these well-heeled doctors, eating a fabulous meal, and I speaking of the destitute in an atmosphere of little interest (I thought). I returned very despondent to the Johnsons', and then got ready for the glitzy gala; it was nice to see former classmates there. I do remain grateful to our alumni coordinator, David Perryman, and his assistant, Sonia Rogers, for making this trip possible; they are kind and helpful folks, and have worked hard to accommodate me, which I greatly appreciate. Several folks came up to me at the gala and said they'd enjoyed the talk, which mollified me a little. However, the stark reality is that the destitute world will always be one that generates little interest and even lower funds. The only ones who say that money does not matter are those that have plenty of it.

The following day, I left for my friend Latha's place in Houston. Latha and I studied together in Lady Doak College, Madurai, and our families are friends as well. Several years ago, in a horrific accident in India, Latha lost her father and brother while attending the post-funeral formalities of her grandfather. She and I share a bond, and for other reasons as well, it is therapeutic to be with her. We have talked, and walked, and shared, and eaten, and she has managed to fill a part of my spirit that wanted to be filled. She helped arrange a talk in Houston, where I spoke and was happy to see Joycelyn Harris (who used to live in Chennai, and is an extremely "culturally adapting" person) and Mano, a jolly friend from Coimbatore days, and her daughter. It was a nice crowd. Latha and I then went on to visit Bojie, Satchi and their son, Vinod; Bojie is a soul-sharing friend from years ago, looks exactly like my mother, and Latha and I had a spectacular visit with them as Bojie laughed and joked and fed us. Bojie's presence is luminous and all-encompassing. Vinod is our contemporary, and it was nice to share time with him as well. We returned recharged and had dinner with Latha's husband, Ravi, and son Vikash.

I will head to Clear Lake soon to visit my warm and loving friend, Tori, and will share details of that in the next blog. It will be nice to see Tori.

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