5 ‘Unconventional’ study tips that trick you into studying

Shiv 2 Go

Exams suck your soul. It’s a fact of life. And studying gets even harder when your subjects are boring, and summer is right around the corner – proof being the GORGEOUS weather outside.

But keep slugging through it! Freedom tastes even sweeter after trying your best at exams.

Here are some tips I actually use to ‘trick’ myself into studying.

1) Keep your homework open on your desk before you go to bed.

This way, it will be the first thing you see when you wake up, and it’s pretty hard to ignore. As an extremely lazy person when it comes to studying, laying out your notes and textbooks ahead of time also rid the obstacle of ‘setting up’ for a long study session, which may deter you from studying. Even if you don’t jump right into your pre-prepared layout, you’ll feel guilty just looking at it….and will be too…

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From Scales to Skills

Luis Dias

I’ve mentioned that our music charity Child’s Play India Foundation (www.childsplayindia.org) is a decade old.

I’ll never forget how we were welcomed by Ms. Mangala Wagle of Hamara School, St Inez. In my tribute to her after she passed away in 2018, I had written “At the very first meeting, [Wagle] totally ‘got’ what we were setting out to do. This was such a change from other heads of charities we had met before this.”

When meeting other charity heads, I’d rattle off statistics supporting the beneficial effect of music education on children’s academic performance and all-round development. I began in the same way with Ms. Wagle, but she stopped gently at the outset, saying “I already know this to be true.”

At one of our many meetings over the happy years that followed, she told me of her sister-in-law Edila Gaitonde,

(spouse of her brother, famous Goan…

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Top Indian/Asian Literary Magazines to submit your Creative Writing to.

The Bombay Review

Literary magazines are a catalyst to good publishing in any country, functioning as a parallel industry to traditional book publishing. A rich literary magazine landscape comments on writing being taken seriously, and also nurtures a reading market for aspiring writers. Stimulating intellectual conversations, niche catering, lending support to Creative Writing programs, and providing a platform to be heard, or well, read; surround the larger role of magazines.

In India, South Asia, Africa and certain parts of the world, literary magazines may have another role to play. Support writing careers. The magazines are a pillar to graduates of literature, passionate readers, bibliophiles, hobbyists; lending them the shoulder to spring start a probable writing career.

Here, today, we have curated a list of our favorite literary magazines of Indian/Asian origin, publishing steadily for a couple of years. Persons of words in this part of the world, or anywhere else, go ahead and…

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Writing Competitions and Awards for you

The Bombay Review

the bombay review
annual CREATIVE WRITING awards (2021)


The Bombay Review is now inviting applications for the Annual Creative Writing Awards, a series of international literary prizes for both emerging and established writers. The winner(s) for both categories : Regular (Open to all) and Upcoming (Writing Workshop pieces) will be judged by an eminent panel and will receive a cash prize of up to $350, with total cash prizes up to $1,000 including writing opportunities, grants, and award.

Deadline: 15th December 15th November, 2020.
Submission details: Click here.
All contributors will be paid.
To publish up to 20 writers.
No submission fees.

UPDATE: This call was posted before the incident at Hathras, India in September, 2020. In light of the same, the deadline for this edition is being pulled to 15th November. Thank you for the great submissions, we…

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Life is Interesting

Many years ago, on a trip to Peru, we added new words to our vocabulary. Sin gas. If anyone offered you water, they gave two choices. Gas, Sin gas. Gas is for sparkling water, Sin gas is for water “without gas”, i.e., still or flat water. It’s the normal water most people in the world drink. We learned to say sin gas promptly. It may seem silly to admit this, but the words “sin gas” and “stillness” as used in yoga and meditation occupy the same space in my brain. With working from home during the last four weeks because of the pandemic, including a fourteen-day mandatory quarantine when I couldn’t even leave my apartment or allow people to visit, there were plenty of opportunities to reflect on “stillness”.

Thoughts of stillness bring to mind

…. A scene in the movie Kung Fu Panda where the panda sees a reflection…

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My Dentist

I want to be a clinician like her.

in an alien tongue

As she tied her apron, I asked her ‘Do you know why I came to you?’

She looked. Inquiring.

‘Because on your website you say, that even when you inject there is no pain.’

She smiles. ‘We will see.’
Over the next three seatings, there are anxious moments. Pain. Pressure.

And she comforts. With words.
‘Is it unbearable? I know it is.’
‘ Oh just a few minutes more. There will be so much relief.’

And after every sitting she would apologise. ‘I know it has been painful. I hope you feel better.’
When all was over, I felt so much better. She said ‘ I feel very happy that your pain is gone now.’

She then explained me the whole procedure. What it was. What it is now. Post-RCT.

A clinician who demonstrated the best of both qualities that make the best of the breed. Of clinicians.

Efficiency and…

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My ‘anklet’ story!

In my convent school, I was a lil 🌟 to an extent of having young junior fans👧🏻 who used to cut out the my press article-photographs published right after a Youth Festival. I was recognized not for my ‘Veena’ but as a solo classical dancer. I was vigorously trained for 9 years in 4 Indian classical dance forms – Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi and 2 traditional dance forms of Kerala state – ‘Keralanatanam’ & ‘Ottanthullal’. The last one needed a lot of stamina as it was a dance (continuous jumping up and down) plus poetic performance. Although the performance was solo, we used to have an ensemble percussion cast. It wasn’t a hobby/fun thing. I mean I was happy when I dance but the teachers were focused on your youth festival achievements.

After 11th grade I quit dancing because I could not dedicate a lot of time and energy as I was preparing for entrance exams to get into a Med school. My 2 pairs of anklets are kept as a souvenir from those wonderful years.

I never had a photograph to showcase and all I had was 50 something certificates & 🏆. My first stage dance recital was when I was about 6-7 years old (4rth grade)👶🏻, and all the photographs caught mold. I badly wanted atleast one picture and luckily I found negatives. My Uncle said there are no studios out there right now who converts a negative to a color photograph. Yesterday, I asked my mom to find out and fortunately got it converted. Here they are!

They are really really special ✨💫 It’s not like I never danced after that. I did, but not the proper orchestrated ones. When I am happy – for myself-in a closed room or (if I am really comfortable and I am very sure they are not watching)even in front of my room mates. Free style – like no one is watching – for myself – to my favorite songs – classical/Bollywood/pop/bhajan- You know, like Elle Woods say “excercise produces endorphins and endorphins make people happy” !



The first song from my classical instrumental musical album ‘Heart Strings’ is titled as ‘Pink Petals’. Pink petals of a lotus 🌸 and lotus is related to Lord Krishna, major deity in Hindu Mythology. The feet of Krishna is often referred to as ‘lotus 🦶 feet’. He is also described as the one with garland of lotuses, both in spiritual texts/poetries/epics and in deity at shrines. Pink Petals is set in Raag Brindavani, the Raag/Raga/Ragam which made Lord Krishna to come down to Brindavan/Vrindavan – a location in India mythologically believed to be his birthplace (which exists in the same name even today – in Uttar Pradesh State).

Indian classical music has 2 major derivatives. South Indian/Carnatic classical music and North Indian/Hindustani classical music. This Raag originated in North Indian classical music, however is used in South Indian classical music as well. Created by Swami Haridas, a spiritual poet and musician who is also the mentor of Tansen – the one who believed to have miraculous musical abilities including lighting the lamps with his recitals.

Raag Brindavani evokes devotion, joy, the feeling of the wait and romance. The girlfriends of Krishna, whom we call as ‘gopikas’ (maiden cow girls) used to sing songs set in raag brindavani waiting for the Lord to return to Brindavan. This raga consists of 5 notes in ascending and descending and creates a pentatonic heaven which travels the listener through love and devotion.

Sa Ri Ma Pa Ni Sa’

The Nishad (Ni) is ‘Kakali’ in the raga’s aarohana.

The avarohana of this raga goes as follows -:

Sa’ ni Pa Ma Ri Sa

Ni is ‘Kaishiki’ in the raga’s avarohana.

Raag Brindavani evokes devotion, joy, the feeling of the wait and romance. The girlfriends of Krishna, whom we call as ‘gopikas’ (maiden cow girls) used to sing songs set in raag brindavani waiting for the Lord to return to Brindavan. This raga consists of 5 notes in ascending and descending and creates a pentatonic heaven which travels the listener through love and devotion.

Please listen here – PINK PETALS 🌸



Oncology & Strings

Being a professional musician had profound influence in shaping my career as a physician. Music taught me the sacredness in human connection and being a physician help me create soulful music. This symbiotic relationship among two vastly different cultures intrigued and inspired me. There were days I used to return home exhausted from the hospital. Burnouts in healthcare providers are being discussed widely in it’s different aspects scientifically. Stress, anxiety, and depression are one of the few symptoms. I have heard from chief residents that in a year they advise a large fraction of residents, to get psychiatric consultation for depression. Having a support system consisting of family and friends who provides love, care and respect are of supreme importance, the huge pillars of strength.

Fortunately I am blessed to have all these. However when I stay away from them, this support becomes only virtual, which is less effective. Obstetrics and Gynecology rotations were extremely challenging for me. Especially the 12 hour labor room duty. On one of those days, I lied on my couch with a heavy head and heart. After a few minutes of looking into pitch darkroom, I switched on the lights and took my classical (musical ) instrument – the Veena and I started playing a piece (Indian classical music). Being a physician, I did not have an explanation of the neurobiology behind it at that time but the heaviness in the head went away like how the dark clouds disappear from the sky and it becomes blue and bright again.

The earliest memory I had about my maternal grandmother was waking from the middle of my sleep, listening to her yell, with excruciating back pain. Her bone marrow was expanding with lymphoblasts. Music can not help alleviate the pain as much as an analgesic could. However it has some effect in reducing the pain to a small extent. My Uncle bought a brand new red tape recorder and played her favorite Indian classical music – ‘Mahaganapathim’ set to Ragam ‘Nattai’.

In my medical school, one of the surgeons used to play music in his OR. I have seen therapeutic music therapy performed at corridors of the cancer center, patient waiting room an infusion centers. They were all in the back of my mind, inspiring me. A few months later my mentor, Dr. Amit Dey, researcher at NIH discussed with me about performing a Veena recital at one of the most reputed hospitals in the United States. It did not work out in the end. But the idea he seeded in my mind only started growing. While rotating through Weill Cornell hematology/oncology program I kept seeking for opportunities for a Veena recital. Again disappointment.

During this time, I received an opportunity to meet with Dr. Eric Kandel at Columbia University, NewYork, the Nobel Laureate for Physiology/Medicine 2000. His work was a milestone achievement in Neurobiology and Medicine in general. He found out the basis of how memory is stored in neurons. I am so grateful to Dr. Kandel for taking time to discuss with me about my interest in the effect of music therapy in human emotions. He gifted me a book written by him titled ‘Reductionism in Art and Basic Science’.

Weeks before I reached Stanford for another 2 months rotation in Oncology I started digging deep into the opportunities. After leaving from the clinic for the day I enquired my lymphoma attending whether there were any spots where I could perform a classical music session. They advised me to contact someone who co-ordinates a weekly recital inside the hospital. I went to the front desk to find that out. They gave me a phone number and email. Before I contacted them, I googled the name of the weekly event. Google showed me another venue inside the Stanford campus residence with the same name! That was surprising.

The former one was all pre-occupied and latter turned out to be hopeful. It’s an on-campus gorgeous venue where Stanford students can perform/get together/organize meetings. On a weekend I went to the location to meet with the officials. Upon reaching there the residents of the housing informed that they do not run an office on the spot. You can only communicate with them via emails. By now I received a response from them asking me to book the spot 2 days before the event. Only the Stanford campus (regular) students can pre-book the venue.

Now I need to source a Veena. It was a near to an impossible task. Veena was available but nobody was ready to lend one, not even for a day. I was disheartened but kept networking. Through phone calls, social media, online shops etc. I am thankful for everyone who asked around with their connections for the instrument! My mentor, the Grammy winning renowned Violinist, L. Shenkar helped me net work with a fellow musician in the Bay Area, Jim who connected me to a kind musician who lend me her Veena. Two days prior I emailed them and they replied saying we can’t give a guarantee and the booking schedule they have showcased in their website wasn’t synchronized and not updated. I had only 2 weeks left in the United States with a hard-earned instrument which I have to return soon. I wrote to them stating these. Lost all hopes, on a Friday morning I was attending the rounds – my phone vibrated. It was an email confirmation of the venue on the requested time and date!

Now I have 1.30 hours booked. I started planning how can I make this event unique. Since the attendees will be Americans, I thought giving a small lecture in the instrument, then shifting to the current music therapy trials and the structural and acoustic uniqueness of the Veena. Followed by a recital on a few tunes/Ragas which reduce stress and anxiety. I was pleasantly surprised about the research that was going on in the field of music therapy-palliative medicine-neurobiology. My several ‘How’s got answered after reading various papers on pathways on music evoked emotions. Fascinating story of music and medicine was as old as a tale. From Apollo to Homer, from one civilization to another and now from technology to technology. Amazing array of information. Science and art – those brain pathways -what a splendor! The extensive and promising randomized controlled trials gave me insight and confidence in what I always believed only based on personal experiences. Thanks to this talk, I learned a lot in the process of preparing for it.

My interest in oncology made me think through about the psychological aspects of patients undergoing chemo and radiation therapy or hematopoietic stem cell transplant. Severe stress and anxiety are frequent complaints. Speaking with so many patients in India and the United States taught me that every patient is unique, their story is unique. How their mind responds after this devastating diagnosis varies. A small fraction of patients are happy and content and this diagnosis never could shatter anything from them, neither happiness nor confidence. Their faith is bigger than their fear. But there is a large fraction who are haunted by the diagnosis.

I invited all my attendings, nursing staff, residents to the event. Spread the news in social media. My housemates were the kindest of people I have ever met. They invited their friends too. Just like my parents would have done if they were there with me, Carolyn and Robert drove me the venue, help me set the stage, greeted all the attendees and made them comfortable and last but not the least cheered for me!! They ordered Indian food for dinner to celebrate the day and Carolyn said “ When I saw you standing there speaking about music I felt so proud of you Tara. This is not an easy thing to do. You never gave up. It’s not even your country, things were difficult. You did it”. I hugged her!!

Although I had done my best at inviting everyone I could personally and via emails, I was wondering whether people would turn up. It was nice sunday 3 PM. Carolyn, Robert and I started from home at 1.45PM and was setting up the gorgeous venue. At 2. 45 my friends started coming. If you are reading this, guys you have no clue how immensely grateful I am to all of you.

My attending, thoracic oncologist Dr. Neal whom I had worked with at the cancer center outpatient clinic, who was on call that day attended the recital for 15 minutes and I was pleasantly surprised and honored by this gesture. He drove all the way from the hospital to attend the recital for 15 minutes. I am profoundly thankful for his kindness. Later when we met at the clinic on Monday, he said. “ I was busy the entire day. Sorry I couldn’t listen to you longer. But the time I was there, I closed my eyes and listen to your music – I could forget everything else!”. And that was an most amazing compliment I have ever received for my music!!

A week before the concert I happened to meet a Hollywood actress with whom I was friends in social media. She saw my announcement and was so kind as to make it to the event along with her 3 daughters and husband. She is aiming to buy a Veena for herself and her daughters is the highlight of the event!!

That was the birth of my child “Oncology & Strings” March 17, 2019! The successful launch instilled in me the confidence to do more sessions.

SESSION 2 – India

When I returned, the Dean of the medical school, Dr. Pragna Rao MD Kasturba Medical College, Manipal(She is an example of the epitome of leadership, indeed an Iron Lady) gave me a fabulous opportunity and platform to perform a recital in KMC Manipal, Manipal University at the privileged auditorium of Padmasree Dr. TMA Pai Hall. The hall I always wanted to perform as a medical student. Truly a privilege. The event was organized by Dr. Veena MD, Associate professor, Pharmacology and chaired by Dr. Naveen Salins MD, professor and the head of palliative medicine and who was a former professor at Tata Memorial Cancer Center in Mumbai. It was such an honor for me to speak in front of my professors, residents and medical students.

TEDX talk and performance-August 17 2019

These opportunities gave me the privilege to speak at the TEDx . I grew up watching TED talks. The talks of Dr. Siddharthaa Mukherjee, Dr. Abraham Verghese, Dr. Vivek Murthy and Dr. Atul Gawande had always made me awe-inspired at that prestiged, most celebrated red round rug. As they spoke about medicine in the privileged podium a young medical student started weaving her dreams. Finally, it happened and quite coincidently on August 17, 2019 – exactly 5 months after founding ‘Oncology and Strings’

TATA MEMORIAL HOSPITAL – Chief guest+Panel member-World Mental Health Day October 9 2019, Invited recital – World Hospice and Palliative Care Day Programme, October 10, 2019

Ever since I developed deep interest towards Oncology I knew that Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai was India’s top most cancer programmes. I have had my seniors study at Tata for DM Oncology from my medical school, (Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore). My mentors at Harvard, mentioned once that “Even presenting a poster at Tata Memorial Hospital would be a great privilege if you aspire to be an Oncologist”. I was fascinated by their clinical trials and publications. I had contacted my senior, Dr. Anup Toshniwal MD and he rightly connected me to the palliative medicine department, Assistant professor Dr. Anuja Damani MD who was kind enough to connect me to Dr. Jayita Deodhar MD. These are the physicians whose work I had ardently read as a medical student and that was an honor to connect with them. On August 16 2019 I received an official invitation from Tata to perform a Veena recital on their World Palliative Care Day programme 2019 and be the chief guest and panel member at work mental health Programme! Speaking at the prestigious podium was indeed a distinguished privilege for an aspiring oncologist/palliative medicine physician/Musician.

The next day, world hospice and palliative care day programme after the recital-demonstration of instrumental music therapy there was panel discussion of the value of music in everyday life. The panel consisted of physicians and nurses and the audience was mostly physicians, psychiatrists, residents, fellows, nurses. It was an enriching experience.

As part of ‘Oncology and Strings’ I have been recording free mp3 classical instrumental clips to various cancer centers, NGOs and palliative centers. The name of the album is ‘Chordae Tendinae’ which means ‘Heart Strings’ which are medically tendon-resembling fibrous cords of connective tissue that connect the papillary muscles to the tricuspid valve and the mitral valve in the heart. But translation of the term ‘Heart Strings’ inspired me alot. This album has 6 short pieces, Pink Petals, The white swan, Full moon, Shades of twilight, Marigold and The golden strings set in 6 different Ragas/scales/tunes.

Thank you, for every blessing, silent prayer and ‘Congratulation’ text!

‘Oncology and Strings’ is an ongoing pursuit in finding my purpose. Thus far, an adventurous and joyous journey in the service of humanity. I am profoundly grateful to each and everyone who were part of this, for every cheer, for every ‘Good luck’ texts, for every ‘Congratulations’, for the silent prayer, for the blessings, for the motivation, for turning up to attend the event, for taking your precious time to listen to sing, speake and play the Veena, for connecting me with fellow physicians, for giving me opportunities, for mentoring !! Especially to my mentors at Harvard and Stanford who motivated me to to fly higher. I am thankful to every rejection and disappointment because ironically that was the biggest fuel for my perseverance!! 🌸


Tara 🌠

Music and the brain (Online discussion #1)

Dr. Jones' Music Classes

Online discussion #1 is open for comments August 29-September 4. Make sure that you email your WordPress user name to music.drjones@gmail.com so that I can give you credit for participating. The rubric I’ll be using to grade your comments is available here.

Welcome to Mu 101!

This semester, we’re going to be using this online forum to have deeper, ongoing conversations and dig into material we might not cover in class. The world of music—all the ideas, people, and ways of thinking that music opens up—is huge. There’s no way that we could possibly cover it all, but hopefully these online discussions will help enlarge your sense of just how big and fascinating the world is!

A very good place to start

We’re starting by thinking about thinking—how does music affect how people think?

Every activity, experience, and piece of information you come across in your life changes…

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One Cautery, my Varanasi, a Story of an above knee amputation and 5 senses


The surgeon kept cutting the muscles with the cautery. Muscles contracted. Suddenly one nerve jumped out. Cutest scenes of Operating room. When you touch a nerve with the cautery, the nerve stands out like a cartoon frog which has popping curious eyeballs. Although this scene was cute, the scenario was serious. Above knee amputation. A 60-year-old male who is a chronic alcoholic and chronic smoker with long-standing peripheral vascular disease of the right leg. We had done a below-knee amputation, a couple of weeks ago. It was expected to be done at around 6.30 pm, which got delayed and we finally scrubbed in at around 8.30 pm. Procedure again got delayed because the spinal anesthesia for some reason took time more than it usually requires. By 9.30 we started the amputation. 11 pm we closed the skin. Push- pulling the Gigli saw around the tibia and fibula was totally a novel and interesting experience for me. To top it all, I received many compliments for my filing and skin suturing.



I was getting a deja vu when I was assisting this above knee amputation. The odor of burning flesh. The only one place in the whole wide world can give me this deja vu – It’s my Benares! Varanasi/Benares/Kashi is the most ancient living city in the world. According to Hindu mythology, The King Harishchandra – who was renowned for his grace and ‘sticking to truth’ had to work as a cremator due to the circumstances. The place even now exists in Kashi- currently known as Harishchandra Ghat . In 2011, on my very first visit to Kashi, I paid a visit to the famous temple of Kashi Vishwanath. I sat on the steps of the Harishchandra Ghat. I could never forget the moment. It was a regular day early summer in India. Corpse kept on coming, one after the other. Some came with loud cries, some with ‘Ramnaam Satya Hein’, some came from afar,some from the premises of the temple, some came in ‘economy’ chariots, some came on arms of 4 people, some were stinking, some came with loads of burning scented agarbathis  on either of its sides. But, all covered in white clothes – then ?…. all naked bodies. As I mentioned it was a regular day, crowded and hectic (for the cremator)! He transferred the naked bodies from the relatives to the place which is arranged symmetrically by the logs. Then follows burning the logs. A half-burned/charred body is thrown into the Ganges. Half ate by the fire and the half by aquatic creatures. Locals say anatomy dissection lab assistants swim and take the body as it reaches a bit far from the banks – interesting isn’t it? There is an electric crematorium as well. Once I woke up early in the morning to watch this most beautiful sunrise in the world – the sun rising from the banks of Ganges –  I could sense the odor which I had never sensed in my life- and which I can never forget in my life. That was the smell of burning flesh. The odor which I described in the prologue.


The sounds of the bells ringing from the temple – the bells are made up with a mixture of 5 metals . They say, even if the world ends – these sounds prevail in this universe! This was told to me by a yogi whom I met in one of my expeditions to a cave situated in a mountain (Southern part of India). They Reverberated inside the temple walls….inside out actually!


What I saw was the scattered skulls, the aghoris chanting  panchakshari, the breathtakingly beautiful Ganges joining the horizons far away from the riverbank, the routine puja of the mighty Ganges called as the Ganga Aarti  – beautiful ghee lamps moving in a clockwise order – dancing magnificent flames in the air – marigold and jasmine everywhere – hours long- loud chanting amidst the echoes of the ringing 5- metal bells,  visitors/tourists/national-geographic professional photographers watching and catching this lifetime experience in their cameras.  I saw everything. I was, perhaps blessed! It’s one of the most spectacular events, you need to be lucky to experience the feeling of Benares.

TASTE: Benarasi paan is loved, always!


Dying in Benares is said to be the best. Why? Rational reason refers to Hindu mythology again. Lord Shiva chants  ‘Rama Rama’ in the ears of the one who is dying so that he will have his way easier to cross the river vaitarana – which is apparently a difficult path for the souls to cross. When you die in Varanasi you will never have to reborn. One attains moksha . There are hotels where one can stay until they die. Every year lots and lots of people with terminal illnesses, old ages come happily (?) to these hotels and stay there till they die. Again, Interesting isn’t it? I played with the sand pellets after taking a holy dip – on the other side of the ghats. A splendid mixture of purple and red colors aligned in the sky!

The Ganges – The river who only took out the sin and blessed in return – wish I was as pure as you! The one who received a newborn baby and years later she had to painfully receive his ashes – that’s the story of the legendary archer – Karna. In one of the holy texts of Hindu religion, they say ‘Jale Vishnu sthale Vishnu vishnurakashamuchyate sthavaram jangamam vishnu sarvam vishnu Mayam Jagad’. Which means basically Lord vishnu is there everywhere…… in the land, the water, and the sky….for those who believe!

Night ICU Duty : A story of 12 hours : Indian chapter

7.50 PM : Internal Medicine Resident (PGY2) in charge of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) handovers a note.

1 Say Hello to the intern ( and That’s so sweet )

2 Take down their Phone Number

3 Send blood for Artierial Blood Gas Analysis by 4 am (Bed No: 2,6,7,8,9)

4 Send Blood for Liver Function Test ,Renal Function Test and Complete Blood Count, for all the patients.

5 Blood culture for Bed No : 11

6 Stool Routine for Bed No: 8

7 Femoral catheter tip culture of Bed number 9.

I Shifted Bed No. 2 for Magnetic Resonance Imaging ( MRI) Brain , handover given by the day ICU intern. I injected the dye ( I had never done that before ). MRI took around 20 minutes.

9 PM : Encephalopathy patient is yelling and is trying to pull off the clothes tied to his limbs to the bed.

(Dramatic events follows !

“ Nurse, Blade Kodi..bega kodi… “ ( Nurse, pass me the blade….give fast)

“Nurse, or else give me 1 rupee, let me go and buy a blade and cut this stupid thing off”

“Doctor – Nimage chooru budhiyilla ?” ( Doctor, don’t you have a brain? )

“I want to leave this huanted place”)

A women opened the door a bit and peeped in. Oh! It’s for Bed 12 : She has been there in the ICU for a while. Around 6 months. Her mother has come to feed her dinner.

I sat on the chair for a while, reading “The Namesake”. It was an year ago I had visited Harvard, Boston ! The words made me nostalgic.

10 PM : My Resident who is working in the wards came to call me for help. There is a snake bite case in the casualty. I collected an antibiotic vial, emptied, washed and dried. 2 ml Blood. It clotted way before 20 minutes. The patient is a chef who while collecting logs for the kitchen got bitten by an unrecognizable variety of snake. I drew blood for all routine investigations as well. His bystander and the Boss of the Hotel gave me dubious looks : “ Now, How much will this cost ? Make everything free for us – It’s a government hospital right? Discount should be there “. The entire course of Anti snake venom will itself cost around 7000 rupees. I called the resident to speak with the furious bystander.

10.30 PM : Again my ward resident calls me for an emergency ECG. Only casualty has ECG machine. I ran to casualty. The technician is already taking an ECG for a Myocardial infarction case. As soon as it was done, I pulled the technician to the medicine wards. Technician had filled 2 bottles of water from the cooler “ Doctor, this year’s summer is way too harsh than the last year’s.” I held the water bottles and she carried the ECG machine. It was almost a hilarious scene.

11 PM: While returning from the ward, I saw our discharged patient from our medicine ward. He had passed stools on the floor. Security guard yelled at him and calls cleaning personals. He is a destitute. Some political parties on a national imprtance day on the gound of social service picks all the destitutes to hospital and admits. I heard that they get paid according to the number of people they get admitted in a hospital. He never gave any history. A reference to psychiatry was given. The only time he spoke up was to ask for a discharge : It was a DAMA – Discharge Against Medical Advise.

11. 15 PM : We have a new patient in the ICU. Shifted case from the Cardiac ICU. A rare case of Juvenile corpulmonale. 21 year old girl, Past history of Tuberculosis. Her Chest Radiograph was not taken from our hospital and hence I ran to room number 14 to call the XRay technicians. The attending of this girl called the ICU resident and asked him to repeat all the investigations done for her (Obviously – I am the one who is repeating the investigations).

12. AM : There is only one computer for the entire hospital during the night shift . Outpatient department of Surgery has a computer but the room will be opened only in the daytime. I went to casualty computer room to check whether all investigations were billed or not. I clicked a photograph of that screen and returned to the ICU. I switched on my internet : Weirdo (My best friend) had sent me a text “ Pupppppps, made pancakes – image” I hid the notification and started entering the old investigation reports in the case sheets. Everything is on paper.

12.30 AM : My batchmate came to charge his phone in the ICU. He is pediatric ICU night intern. He waves at the ICU resident.

Resident: “Hey! How is it going man ?”

Intern : Busy PICU – Full bed Sir”

Resident : “Why have you bathed in sweat? What’s up?”

Intern : “I was doing CPR Sir, We had a death. 15 year old HIV positive patient with tuberculosis. Continous succtioning – Full of blood. We gave CPR but she passed away.”

He left his phone in the ICU for charging and went back to PICU. Nurses went to sleep, taking turns. ICU resident went to have coffee. I went back to ‘The Namesake’. He came back with “Twix”and a water bottle for his hardworking intern.(How sweet!) I started filling forms as well labelling the vacuitainers which has to be send by 5AM.

2.30 AM : Resident went to sleep and I started off with the ABGs. ( Well, I love to do this !)

Bed No 4 : “ Doctor, don’t prick…last time they hurt me alot…so please don’t prick… Don’t touch me…no more blood”

I somehow convinced the patient.

Patient is silent . – Novagiddhiya ? (Did it hurt?)

Not even a little, Doctor : Thank you ! ( I went all “Aww” )

4 AM : In our wards, we had a case of tetanus and my ward Resident asked me to go and do a monitoring. He was admitted in the isolation ward. The room had no lights. I called the patient’s bystanders and advised diet modifications – especially the protein diet. His respiratory rate was fair. General condition was as well good. No laryngospasm. I wrote my notes in the case sheet.

5 AM: Bed No: 12’s mother came inside to change her daughter’s diapers. She wiped her daughter’s body using a wet cloth, combed her hair, applied kumkum ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kumkuma) and vibhuti (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vibhuti)on her forehead. Bystanders of other patients came following that – to do the same. I gave the urocol bottles to them for collecting urine and stool for the investigations. The entire ICU was stinking. Staff nurse who just came passed a mask to me. I went to check blood pressures of all patients. One patient, I could not even feel the pulse. Most of the patients were edematous. While removing the cuff of the sphygmomanometer, I could see pitting edema.

6.30 AM : I replied to my weirdo

“Ah! Pancakes – save one for me”

I received an almost instant reply

“Idiot! You are replying after hours, meanwhile – I slept and woke up.”

“Weirdo man, I had night ICU duty”

“ Oh, I feel you puppps, I have OPD today, Let’s have breakfast today”

“ Sky bakery 8.15 AM ?


My ward Resident called me again for a diabetic foot dressing and sending blood for the routne investigations of 3 new admissions. That would make around 30 ml blood and 18 vacuitainers. I had ran out of vacuitaniers, I had almost 60 of them at 8 PM yesterday night – All got over. I called my Ward cointerns to come a little early with the vacuitainers.

7 AM : Few more XRays. I again ran to Room No. 14, for some reason it was closed. I returned to the ICU to write follow ups, Blood Pressure, GRBS and the investigation reports.

8. 05 AM : The day ICU intern came. I thanked nurses and residents for the great work and walked back to meet weirdo for breakfast with my backpack. A great company, hot sulaimani (black tea) and an authentic Kerala (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerala) breakfast. Scorching March summer’s Sunlight sparkled and danced with the top layer of my ‘sulaimani’. I was gleaming !

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