Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Leh Trip - The Weight

Heart patients are told to take it easy, and indulge in only recreational activities. So guess with plently of time in hands, following is my rendition of a song called 'The Weight' performed by 'The Band (1968)'; - used as a road song basically.

So, Sunandan, Pankaj and Chandra - three friends since teenhoods, took their bikes to Leh, i.e. upcountry north to explore a little bit of their India and themselves; and boy, it has been six months now and the trip is still sinking in - which all will agree. Following is the album dedicated to same.

Original by 'The Band' following is a youtube to the song. If you haven't read the lyrics, maybe you are missing something!

Friday, 25 December 2009

East versus West – Some Lessons from the heart

Look at the ‘east versus west’ debate, where one accuses the other. One refers to the other as ‘the third world’ and in return gets a name called ‘industrialized’ in the today’s times of global warming concern. The intellectual topic - ‘east versus west’ starts turning trite as - to quote famous Paul Friedman – the globe turns flatter.

Look at these examples from the author’s case of his heart attack – one from the emergency medication facility available at that instant, and second from the long term recovery. Make notice from the contrast.

Angioplasty invented in California and/or Switzerland saved my life because I was cautious enough to land up at the emergency doors of a hospital in India. And, I am not sure I would have used the emergency facilities if, for example, I was living in the foreign lands of Europe. I am an easterner, and in comparison almos a same age but a westerner and a celebrity, Brittany Murphy, unfortunately, wasn’t as lucky as me.

Plavix is one of the important few medicines the doctor prescribes. Plavix in India is available in two types- One ‘imported’, and other ‘desi’ (Made In India). Just like shampoos and hair conditioners. The apparent difference is in the prices of the both. While a leaf of fourteen tablets cost around 1500 Rupees, the Indian version is cheaper by ten times. Now, the prescription is for the imported one for a few initial months, and later I could shift to the desi type. Though people (of east or of west) would sight that this difference in prices is because of manufacturing cost, plain patent costs, or some other reason, I would only adduce that my doctor is only concerned about the quality of my medicine since I can afford it, unlike some.

Some fun I had here comparing ‘east and west’!


Post.P.S. Merry X-mas

Monday, 21 December 2009

Slow down, read a book

One of the after effects of surviving a heart-stroke is that it slows one down. Doctors tell to do so - and no matter what, you don’t have a choice. And one of the results, positive, is that one would pick up books to read. Books which are slow, or books which are insightful, books which are shit, or books which heal, and so on so to let the time pass by.

Tortilla Flat’ by legendary Steinbeck became an unintentional efficacious companion. The period of recovery changed into gestation, for there were new things to learn. To me, more than the Arthurian connection or a beautiful community of Paisanos in the book, it was – to quote Thomas Fensch, the introducer to this edition (ed. year 1997)–

Above the bay, and in Caramel and elsewhere, the shacks and shanties of the paisanos are gone now too, bulldozed for tract houses, shopping centers, and roads. But through Steinbeck’s eyes, we see them still, talking and laughing under the golden warmth of the sun, in those idyllic days of the Great Depression, when friendship and wine meant more than money.

Thomas Fensch talks of the year 1935, when ‘Tortilla Flat’ was published. That is, in between the famous big wars of the west - evidently, bad economic and financial times.
And this fact apart, somewhere in chapter XIV in the book there is an important healing advice-

They did not awaken quickly, nor fling about nor shock their systems with any sudden movement. No, they arose from slumber as gently as a soap bubble floats out from its pipe. Down into the gulch they trudged, still only half awake. … Life took shape about them, the shape of yesterday, and of tomorrow.