Thursday, November 19, 2015
Being Mortal, But Moral?
This post is about death. If you feel its too morbid a topic to talk about and would rather not read anymore please feel free to stop right now. If not lets continue talking.
The average human life is replete with failures, setbacks and rejections. We put on a brave face, tell each other that its all passing clouds and we have to stay positive and get on with living our lives as best as we can. But there is one facet of our life which we cannot change despite all the best intentions, positive thoughts and Facebook memes shared between strangers and acquaintances and that's the great leveler, death. Now you may wonder why i am talking so freely about something we all avoid talking about, most of us even hesitate to think about and you are right- its only because people like me, who work in the healthcare field are on an ever present acquaintance with death, so much so that it makes a lot of us doctors talk matter of fact way about death to everyone we meet as if we are somehow immune to its effects. And we need that shield of immortality (mentally) to walk into sick rooms all day long, everyday of the year to stand beside people who are sick enough to die soon and treat them without giving thought about catching something from those patients and dying ourselves. If we think that way for even one minute, we wont be good doctors at all, we would just have to retire.
But death comes to doctors too- despite their denials in their own fallibility. And death comes to patients- despite their doctors and their best efforts too. I have seen so many doctors who give that perfunctory – he/she will be alright soon in the hope that they will be alright and not because they know for a certainty that the patient will be alright. Its a humbling fact to agree to but its the truth. For all the advances we have in diagnostics we can still predict only the amount of damage and disease we discover at that point in a patients body and we cannot with any fair degree of certainty extrapolate the results from the test to predict the date of death. A man who get a 64-slice or 128-slice sonogram and pronounced to be as healthy as a mule heart-wise can still drop dead the next day because the heart muscle may refuse to cooperate with the doctors prediction or the liver refuses to produce clotting factors or the kidney has been abused too much and simply shuts down. And even the postmortem might not be conclusive for it can only tell about how it happened- a thrombotic event or a coronary occlusion but not about why it happened when it did.
That “why death comes when it comes” is still a whole lot of mystery to everyone. Oh, we have theories to explain it. Modern medicine has all these researches about aging, cellular damage,apoptosis- programmed cell death which is the he simplest and most widely believed reason. It goes something like this - every cell in the body contains DNA, which acquires gene mutations over time. These mutations can sometimes occur in an instant or they can build up slowly over decades and when these mutation reach a certain tip over point- cell death occurs. If enough cells die- the organ dies. If some vital organ dies- the whole organism- the human body in this case dies. Thats just the scientific explanation of how we die. But the why, still remains unanswered. Death is final, death happens to everyone, we are all on the road to death and we might drop dead tomorrow- you, me and everyone of us. Accept that and it makes the rest of our life easier to live with.
And now i come to the moral part of this post. Knowing that we are all going to die soon, despite all our best laid plans and maneuverings and a thousand little things we do to ease our lives in the long run- what if we do not have that long run? What if we were to die tomorrow? Would we still lie, cheat, back-stab, betray and character assassinate if we know that we would no longer be around to reap the benefits later on? Would we still make long term plans that involve short term evil actions justifying it to our conscience as necessary evil on our way to future success, if we realize we don't have a future at all? Or would try to live a more moral life remembering that what we do today is not going to change anything to our benefit? Will morality rise if we knew that our days were numbered or would we go the other way? I am curious to know what you think. So do share your thoughts with me on this question.
P.S. This question about the morality of our actions applies only to the average normal person among us who wont mind cutting a few corners to get ahead in life, regretting the necessity of doing so all the time under their pricking conscience. For the other kind- the born evil kind of people, this question does not apply, for they would go to their graves doing evil to the last minute even if they never benefit from it. Lately i have been meeting a lot of such evil people who gave me the germ to write this post. And i am curious to know others experiences about such ones.
Saturday, November 7, 2015
This Company Pays Well
So my friend had recently recommended me to try a few dating apps as a way to improve my hit percentage. Although initially skeptical about finding someone trustworthy enough to date on such instant swipe sites- i decided to trust my friends sagacity as an expert user of these sites and decided to take a call after doing a real life experience. To try and get over my cynicism about online fraudsters and go out on maybe one date and see how it goes from there. So i installed one of the most popular such apps on my phone and got an immediate hit on my profile for someone had taken a swipe right at me and then sent me a personal chat message which asked for my number. Which in my new spirit of credulity i enthusiastically shared with the unknown girl who had liked me enough to start chatting immediately- remember i told how new i was to this game? And then this happened.
Yes, like you dear reader, I too was flustered and flabbergasted to say the least, when i realized the person above (in the screenshot) wasn't joking but serious about offering me money for spending time in my company. Although i take it as a compliment (i should, shouldn't i ?) the implied meaning that i had been wasting my time talking to a pucca professional is what makes me repeat ad infinitum that unless and until you meet an online friend in person, you can never ever be sure that they are what they claim to be. So am i validated or not? You tell me.
Monday, October 19, 2015
THE KID GROWS UP AND LOOKS BACK
So i was talking to a couple of my friends yesterday when we accidentally veered around to our childhood dreams and what we thought we would grow up to be. That took me to a new thought what if i went back 20 years ago to visit my childhood self. Will the kid recognize me for what i am now? And will i look kindly on the kid for what he was doing back then? An intriguing question which made me take a trip back on a time machine and observe my 11 year old self. And here's what i found
1) The Betting Master -the kid was an incorrigible risk taker and daredevil – when i recently went to a school reunion by schoolmates some of whom had only been on nodding heads basis even back then with me remembered me even after these many many years as challenge ganesh- for the kid always had a reputation in school of never turning down any challenge or bet. My schoolmates said that the easiest way to get me to do anything was to bet me that i couldn't do it and then watch me take it up. The kid could never resist a challenge despite how many times it led to the headmaster rooms for a lecture on breaking necks. But me the grown guy i am the poster boy of playing it safe nowadays eschewing all risk - i even have a driver nowadays to avoid the hassle of driving in heavy traffic.
2) The Bully Beater - the kid was always ready to fight and for others. – when i younger i was taller and larger than most of my classmates and school mates so i never had an issue with being bullied. But nevertheless whenever the kid saw other little boys being bullied and harassed by larger kids the kid used to jump in and fight. Torn clothes, torn knuckles, broken watches broken glasses were all part of everyday life for the kid. The kid used to get lectured by everyone around him to walk away from fights which were not his own but he never did turn his back on little kids being bullied by seniors. The price of adulthood is i have learnt to choose and pick my fights and learnt to let others fight their own battles- whether its a good thing or not i dont know.
3) Speed thrills- the kid was fiend for speed he loved nothing more than going on roller coasters again and again- the scarier the better. In fact the kid once promised himself he would buy Disneyland so he could ride all the roller coasters all day long- once he grew up. But poor adult me haven't even been to Disneyland yet. And travels around town in a big SUV with the best safety features money can buy- how the mighty fall.
4) Fire in the belly- the kid was sure he was going to change the world and he had an uncompromising belief that he was destined to do so – he devoured a lot of books on revolution, communism, nihilism and other ways to bring about the revolution for a better world. That belief has slowly eroded with time and the adult me knows that its too big a project for me to take on. Its enough if i can change myself and be the best i can be instead of being on a world-crusade mode.
5) Mr.Teresa - the kid was a bleeding heart liberal out to help others all the time..the adult is far more responsible and knows when to help genuine cases after having been preyed upon once too much for being empathetic to others.
So what would the kid think of me now? To be honest i would say he would be a little disappointed at what i am right now and wont listen to my explanations of what it means to grow up and being responsible. But hey, who listens to kids nowadays?
P.S. I dedicate this post to my buddies Minu and Mahesh who gave me this idea while talking over our childhood ambitions- mahesh to be batman and minu who wanted to be a nun when she grew up.