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2 Nations in one nation

Traveling through the roads in the state I currently reside, I was taken back in memories to 20 years. 20 years back, there were no real roads or to call something a “road”. We used to say, the fields are better than the so-called road. But the 50 kilometers to nearest town with all these challenges used to take only 1 and half hours. 20 years later after 10 years of constant development we have now a half built road. And the same distance takes anywhere between 2 and half to four hours. The so-called half developed road is daily being dug and rebuilt for the last 10 years.  Where there were about 1500 trucks crossing this Indo- Nepal border town 20 years back, today you find more than 3000 trucks. From 12 wheeler it has gone to 32 and 64 wheeler. Many a day half the road, up to 30 kilometers is blocked with 2 lines of parked container lorries awaiting crossing of the border. And the town as usual is filled with dusty trucks and horse carts, rickshaws and cycles, cars and buses with …

One Nation 2 Narratives

We were traveling in the neighboring state visiting friends. And listening to friends share stories of contexts and challenges.
We heard about patients traveling 100km or more in search of accessible and trust worthy health care. We heard about many maternal deaths in villages. We heard about rupture uterus's presenting to institutions every other week. We saw in small clinic 7 cerebral malaria patients all with Hb less than 5 or 6 gm/dl. We heard about 80% institutional deliveries of which only 20% only happens in institutions, rest at home, the data cooked up for reimbursement of health care staff under NHM. We heard about early data from a study on malnutrition where 80% of kids are completely off the road to health chart - they needed to create a separate chart (weight was off the basic minimum). We heard about the need of a bribe of Rs 3000/- to get blood from a state blood bank. We heard about large numbers of patients with partially treated TB landing up in these clinics a…

Dreams

I had a haircut on Sunday. Well, this is nothing unusual, nor something special to write about, but the experiences of this routine activity left be wondering….so I thought I will pen down by wonderings….
Living in a gated community, generally we have a “home delivery” haircut every month. Our home delivery person has been missing for last few months, the story is that the business is poor and he has migrated to Kathmandu, (told by my friend who cut my hair on Sunday). But this absence has forced many of us to venture out and try out the various other providers around our campus. I for some time resisted trying these out. Mostly because of a “laziness” and because of a story that keeps reverberating in my mind whenever I think about barbershops in Bihar. My father who left this world almost a year back, while visiting in 1995, had one experience of haircut at a local shop. He loved the town and the community, and he always wanted to come back and stay here with us. But that was not to …

Cultural transformation

It was a month back that an 18 year old girl, from a middle income household, who was seen by my colleague in the OPD was brought to me for second opinion. Unwell with profuse watery diarrhoea for many years, she was anaemic edematous, and quite sick. The parents seemed to be a disengaged from the condition she was in. A quick history and evaluation led us to think about a protein losing enteropathy and or malabsorption, leading to anaemia and hypoproteinaemia. In the conversation with my colleague, the girl told that her younger brother was quite sick and had underwent intestinal surgery at Lucknow. A possibility of a rare genetic disease crossed our mind, and we advised them admission for evaluation. The parents had not given this history at all.
A colonoscopy done next day, confirmed our diagnosis, of “Polyposis Coli”, and I was now to talk to the father about the only option for the disease being colostomy and intestinal resection. As I started talking to him first question I ask…

Re-visiting batch of 1978

I remember my early years in the Medical college where I studied. We had Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Atheists all under the same roof. We knew where each one was in terms of their religion and faith. But it never mattered. What mattered was, we were the batch of 1978. We are still the batch of 1978. My roommate was a Hindu and a Marxist. Yes we had our share of politics, but that was in line with the dominant political movements of those times, but never in the name of religion. Some of us who were not happy with the dominant political movements, remained apolitical and that was respected by the politically active. Some of us were strong in their religious faiths. I being one such example. But that never reduced our friendship or relationships in any way.  We respected each other’s faith and beliefs and gave space for that.  I did not even know the caste of any one - nor do I know till today!
I remember five of us deciding to go on a tour. This tour took us to a Christian Mission Hosp…

Prophetic life

What does it mean to live with a “Prophetic Life Style” for us today?
It means to have a ‘Prophetic Imagination; and allow that imagination to influence our life. What were the aspects of this imagination that influenced the life of prophets?
One – Life perspectives.
They lived in three domains of life simultaneously. In the past, the present and the future. They had reflective remembrances from the past. They had a revealed recognition of the present. They had based on the previous two, renewed responses for the future.
They reminded themselves on the past stories of their community and nation. God’s purposes for them as community, His promises, His provision and protection in the past, the precepts He had given them.
They had revelation of the current context – based on God in action in the current context and understanding of God’s heart.
They had a renewed understanding of what God was going to do in the future, based on their reflections of past and revelation of the present, both …

Reflecting on fathers….

When I was growing up, I do not remember having had a day to remember my father. There were no Father’s Day or Mother’s Day. Or in one sense not many “remembrances days”. Especially in the dominant culture we are part of and even in other cultures, there are a few remembrance days, to remind yourselves of what has happened in the past and how this past should influence your present and future. Time to remember, reflect, and reorient your lives based on these past experiences. Remembering great leaders of the past, reminding yourselves of their lives etc also are part of many traditions.
But about your father and mother, one was not expected to have a day to remember them! You were to remember them every day. As long as you are with them, there is no way but to remember them. But even when you are away, because of what you are is due to them, (after God of course) you would remember them every day. Even after they are gone I do not think there is a day when I do not remember them. Havin…