Thursday, November 26, 2009

Tea time at the hospital

'Have you seen how they cut casts? Millions of dollars of expensive medical equipment and they use a thing that looks like an electric pizza cutter.' (P.173)

A young medical student doing her internship at the local government hospital told me an amazing story. Last week there was a commotion going on at the Nurses station in the Female ward. Being the doctor on duty she asked what the matter was and was told that the expensive autoclave machine was used to make tea.
"What?" she asked aghast. "How could that be?"
"You see that old lady in the last bed?" Well, it seems that she was dissatisfied with the hospital tea and decided to make her own. So just as the nurses shift changed, she got out of bed, removed all the instruments from the autoclave and put her own tea leaves and gave them a good boil!"

So if Lucky thought the plaster cutter looked like a pizza cutter, was the uneducated old lady in thinking that the autoclave was an industrial tea maker???

It just goes to prove the point that one man's meat is truly another man's poison.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Disengagement Dilemma

'I always knew what you deserved,' Amay said, finally looking up. 'You were the one who went chasing after other things.'
Colour drained from Lucky's cheeks.'You're right,'she said, 'and I deserved what I got. But if it makes any difference, I kept the note you left for me. And I still have the ring.' (p170)

Earlier in the book, we find Lucky looking at the ring that Amay had given her. Hurting from a broken marriage, she is obviously regretful of this decision. But youth often clouds our judgement and sometimes the staid, steady and comfortable love is given up for an exotic, unknown and exciting passion.

Getting cold feet before a wedding is not unknown and there have even been unfortunate cases of people being ditched at the altar. However, in this instance, where Lucky just walks away from Amay, was she correct in keeping the ring? Even though it was just a chip of a stone and not the 4 carat dazzler that Viki dazzled her with, don't you think that apart from breaking his heart, she also pinched Amay's pocket? - After all he was just starting out life when he proposed to Lucky.

So you, dear reader, would you advise Lucky to return the ring to Amay at least now?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Weighty matters : facts and figures

"She told me that there were three illusions and the third was "position". She said that our bodies were apparitions and one day we would lose them." (P169)

In today's world we spend a lot of time obsessing about our bodies, weight, self image and the like.

Now, before you scroll down to look at her pictures, get a mental image of what you think a woman who weighs 320 looks like...

I'm sure you thought that a woman weighing 320 lbs would be one humoungous lady.

Obviously you were wrong!

This lady is over 7 feet tall which makes her weight proportionate to her height.

So very often, facts can be misleading and the truth is very often different from what we imagine it to be.

The corollary to this : the problem that most of us have is not our weight but our height ! So for an instant slim look, all that is required is a pair of higher heels.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Secret ot Life

"Some time back a friend of mine, Shanti, explained to me that the secret of life was to focus on ourselves. It is about dealing with our emotions, by controlling our thoughts, not hurting others. It is about you, Steve." (P162)

Angered at seeing Lucky hurt, Steve is all ready to take care of the person who mugged her. But Lucky tries to talk him out of it, telling him that he would only land up back in prison. Steve responds by saying that perhaps it is his destiny to be in prison and Lucky tells him that he has the power to change his life.

So, even though Lucky believes that life chooses you, she also believes that you can choose your response to it and make your life the way you want it to be.

There are several gurus through the ages who have unveiled the secrets of life.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Wise Men and Elephants

"The truth is like blind men feeling an elephant. Never assume that someone else sees the same thing you do" (P.159)

In the ancient Indian folk lore, there were six blind men who came upon an elephant. One of them touched the ear and thought it was a fan, the other touched the side and thought it was a wall, yet another touched the tail and thought it was a rope, another feeling the tusk thought it was a sharp spear, the fourth who happened to grab the trunk thought it was a snake, and the last one who came upon the leg thought it was a tree.

This parable has been captured for all time by the American poet John Godfrey Saxe and memorised by many an Indian school child as "The Six Wise Men of Hindoostan". Every culture has such stories which illustrate how biased truth can be - our opinions of the world are dependent on our perceptions. So in the ultimate analysis what is the truth?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Managing life singlehandedly

"Her right arm was immobilized and in a sling. Dr. Pauling's instructions were terse and clear: the less she moved the better. Any disruption might prevent the nerve from regenerating. She also warned Lucky that the first month was crucial in the healing process. For lucky everything became more complicated - opening and closing the car door, using the telephone, bathing, eating." (P154)

Strangely enough, like my heroine Lucky, I find that life always has people come in to help. Somehow, somewhere that good Samaritan comes to the rescue. But it cannot be denied that a broken arm particularly if it is the one you normally use literally brings your life to a stand still. The simplest of tasks becomes monumental as you learn to you manage life single handedly!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Warding off the evil eye

Just as good luck is necessary for things to happen, bad luck should also be kept away!
Different cultures have different ways of warding off the evil eye.

The Turks have a NAZAR Boncugu an amulet made of glass that wards off the "Evil Eye"

In my city of Mumbai, particularly on the crossroads, little children come up with green chillies, a lemon and a piece of coal strung together so that it can be hung from the cars or near the entrance to your home so that all evil spirits are kept at bay.

The fierce looking mask that will definitely drive away evil spirits that dare enter any home bearing this
This Hamsa amulet is from Jerusalem. The Hamsa or Hand of Miriam protects Jewish children from the Evil eye. The Muslims in this region have a similar Hand of Fatima with inscriptions in Arabic to ward off the evil eye.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Wishful thinking

When Amay comes to meet Lucky after her mugging, he asks if he could be the first to sign her cast.
"Sign my cast?'
'It's an American thing. For good luck.' ( P.154)

To re-phrase a popular saying, one can never be too lucky or too rich.

All of us have our special symbols or signs that we look for in our daily lives that will assure us success in our work. An actor going on stage, is wished good luck before a performance by advising him "to break a leg"!

Many people believe that finding a penny on the street or a safety pin means some good news is on the way while walking over a crack in the pavement or having a black cat cross your path means something bad is going to happen.

The Irish believe that finding a four leaf clover signifies good luck while the Dutch believe that finding a spotted beetle will bring good luck.

People also make a wish on a fallen eye lash, blowing it away after making the wish. If it flies off, the wish comes true and if it stays stuck on your wrist, you can be sure that your wish will not be granted!

Some people believe that walking under a ladder is bad luck and walking over a crack in a pavement is not very lucky!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Lucky Escape

"Funny how the smallest decisions can change your life. What if I'd stayed for dessert? What if I'd just gone home instead of shopping?" (P.153)

Time and time again, I've noticed that a spur of the moment decision can indeed alter life's course. Last year for instance, my friends and I made a last minute dinner plan. I was all set to go when suddenly my young son grabbed me round the waist and told me to stay home with him.

"But why?I'll be back soon, " I promised him.

"Please ma, just tonight don't go, na?"

My boys are very independent and never make such demands on my time so I thought I'd indulge the younger one and humour him a bit. I called my friends and cancelled. They were none too happy and teased me that I was becoming a typical Indian mother - pandering to my son's whims. I laughed off the jibe and proceeded to go ahead with whatever plans my son had planned to spend the evening.

Later on in the evening, the servants came rushing into the den and asked me to put on the TV News. What unfolded, is now familiar to all those who watched the terror attack unleashed on an unsuspecting Mumbai on 26th November 2008.

A chill went down my spine as I recognised one spot as our familiar watering hole. With trembling hands, I punched in the number on my cell phone and was relieved to hear that they were all right.

I hugged my son in relief and thanked God for looking out for my friends.

" Since you cancelled,"they told me, " we decided not to go along to the Oberoi but to hang out at the Club instead."

What a lucky escape then! I kept thanking my stars that I'd decided to stay at home! I couldn't stop hugging my son as I realised how close I was to losing everything! Not only me, but my friends too !If we had gone on with our dinner plans, I may well have been running away, petrified or worse still, holed up in absolute fear.

So, it would seem that my one decision saved all our lives!


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