Renu's Week

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Report of 5 Jan 2013

Happy New Year!

It will take me a bit to write "2013" - I have already written 2012 a couple of times.

The son is shining brightly, a certain husband is sitting next to me in shorts and his new short-sleeved shirt (a gift from us for Christmas), one son is travelling back to college and the other is out and about doing theatre stuff.

Last Sunday, we went out for an expensive lunch with both boys.  The food at upscale restaurants is delicious, and we pay for it, too.  But we had a good time, and talked.  The boys do not hold back their opinions at all - any clue where they get this?  We returned home and all hung out here.  I went to work on Monday, it was busy.  An older Muslim gentleman brought 6 students from his Madrassa (Islamic school); 4 had complaints of the testicle, which is not my area of expertise at all, and one had a ear problem, one was too young to be seen by me.  I referred the 5 to the Government hospital to be seen by a specialist.  These young men had my sympathy, I tell you - likely separated from their families due to poverty, like many, many others, and having to study in a strange state.  In other countries, Madrassas take the form of indoctrination into the violent world of Islam, but not here.

Many patients balk at going to the Government hospital.  If they get there, many are sent on a wild goose chase to get to the specialist of their choice and hate the denigration they experience.  This is not unique to Indian patients: there was a patient at our residency clinic in Indiana who stated that the specialist's office had yelled out to him in the crowded waiting room, "Mr. X, are you on Medicaid?"  (Medicaid is a U.S. Government health insurance plan for the poor.)  He had not liked it at all, wept on saying it and liked coming to the residency clinic, busy though it was.

At last weekend's Family Day, we had sat together with the students and Stray Factory for lunch, and a merry time was had by all.  Our deaf-mute patient, Ms. L, had already kissed one of the students and she then proceeded to plant a kiss on Navin, embarrassing him thoroughly.  She had been on stage prior to that, dancing when Naren and I were dancing, trying to follow the steps though she could not hear the music.  (There were several other residents and others up on stage with us, too, quite throwing off our concentration but adding to the overall merriment.)  I heard yesterday that Ms. L had died, drinking wood preservative and not surviving.  I told Navin he would go back to school, overseas and far away, with her blessings, as he had been kissed by an angel.  In the midst of our sadness, I am soothed that Ms. L had been very happy the previous week - dancing, getting attention, kissing men and women. 

A gruesome rape happened in Delhi about 3 weeks ago.  A young woman was travelling on a bus with her male friend at about 9.30 PM; 6 others in the bus raped and brutalized the young lady and then threw both out of the bus.  The woman was a physical therapy student from a poor family (her father had sold land to finance her education) and 23 years old; she spoke of wanting to bring the accused to justice and of wanting to live.  She fought for life bravely, and was transferred to a Singapore hospital, likely for non-medical reasons.  She died last Sunday, her persona and her situation have resonated with many, and her demise has been mourned nationwide, with calls for increased safety for women.  Among the debates: why should women eternally be told to be safe and cautious, why can men not be taught to not rape women?  Yesterday, our sons and we had a discussion on this and the death penalty for rape, and as always, I was hushed with awe at these boys' extremely insightful arguments. 

We ushered in the New Year with friends and then the boys got together with their own friends.  We saw some dearly beloved family friends on New Year's Day, getting their blessings, and then spent a couple of days in Pondicherry, a lovely former French colony about 100 miles from Chennai.  It was a nice time, eating out, playing games, enjoying family time.  We returned on the 3rd and the boys promptly fled to their friends, while Scott and I - did laundry :).  Navin left yesterday and the house is quiet.  The financial penalty to change Navin's ticket and get him home was well worth every cent - we got to experience his gentleness and sense of humor and sensitivity.  Naren's boisterous sense of humor and chattiness complemented all this nicely, and a memorable time was had.  We took some family pictures yesterday to commemorate this occasion.  We went out for lunch to a restaurant co-owned by Chef Willi (who'd so kindly and graciously provided the biryani for the Banyan), and as it turned out when we asked for the bill, Willi gave us the sumptuous lunch on the house.  Wow - that was super nice of him and was a great start to the year!

We heard from the students after they left the Banyan, and that was very nice.  They were a fun, exuberant, enthusiastic and curious bunch, and enriched the lives of many at the B. 

Happy New Year to you and yours!

Unw -



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