I was writing my morning pages today when I thought about an experience I had coming through a major South Indian airport. My husband being an ERCP- ist had ordered radiation protection glasses to be shipped to my Indian address. The glasses arrived duly and were packed among other things in my check in baggage. Emigration and check in went on like clockwork. I was in the airport hoping to have a good shopping experience having saved some spending money during the trip. I was in the Duty Free shop when I heard my name being called the public announcement system. As is usual for me, I thought they were calling someone else until something about the name sounded familiar and it clicked in my brain that they were actually calling me. So I hurried towards the airlines counter, from where a girl accompanied me to the innards of the airport. I say innards because she led me far below the airport in its underground places. I hadn’t known such places existed. It was a long walk. The girl told me I was likely to lose my iPad which I had packed into my check in luggage, not wanting it on the flight.
Soon the girl guided me to the place and left me alone to deal with a security person or police woman there, who stood guarding my open suitcase. Heart beating I approached her. She asked me if I had packed any hard stuff in my suitcase- I couldn’t recall having done so. She said there seemed to be something in my stuff which was in the shape of spectacles. Suddenly it struck me- it was my husband’s radiation glasses that were causing the issue. It was not seen properly on the security cameras as it was made of lead. I explained why I carried it and she let me go. Since we had gotten pally by then, I told her I was worried she was going to throw my iPad away as it had to necessarily come through the check in luggage. Reassured by her, I walked the long journey back to the upper echelons of the airport. Needless to mention, I lost my appetite for shopping by then.
On my recent trip to California, in the US domestic flight security check ins, I was separated out to be pat checked. It happened on two domestic flights and I wondered what the camera could not see in my innards that needed me to be patted fondly by hand. It seemed there looked like something was hidden in my groin. Every time I was given the green chit. Perhaps they thought I was smuggling drugs or currency or even a small weapon- who knows ?
I really appreciate airport officials for doing their jobs thoroughly though for the time involved, I did go through some moments of anxiety. Have you had any airport security experiences ?
Our office won the best research office award- again- 6 times in 7 years. It is a record. The sponsors don’t know what to do with our office. The standards we set are too high.:)
As a sort of Thanksgiving for the office, we are set to go to lunch to a Mall about 20 kms away. Many of us don’t want to go- the long drive, the purposelessness of the venture, the lack of communication and true team spirit all boggles us down. Despite contrary opinions, most opted to go, to avoid confrontation with supervisors. I am too far gone to even care.
I brought my lunch from home and decided to sit put at my desk till I go home. This is who I am- this is who I have become. There is no pleasure in social gatherings any more. And the sheer guts I have in defying standards is surprising. There comes a time in everyone’s life when one cannot take things lying down and do things others expect them to do for society’s sake.
I was out of town for a week. While my husband attended his conference, I roamed Philadelphia on foot. Where I live, I miss the use of my two God given legs especially during the summer. I cannot bring myself to hoist myself from my chair and walk a few steps on most days. There are some days when I walk less than 500 steps a day( don’t be shocked- its true).
So I grabbed my chance when a whirlwind decision of my husband to take me along for the conference appeared. Now I could walk at least for a couple of days and the sights to see would be an additional bonus.
So armed with my two New Balance shoes I set out- on foot. Almost every day I walked- can’t say how many steps but it seemed like a lot. My legs screamed with pain and my feel swelled. But I kept on after a few minutes of rest. The jet lag didn’t affect us too much. We stayed at the Best Western hotel as the hotels near the Convention Center were all filled up( due to our very last minute decision). This was the best decision we made, it turns out. The rooms were clean, the towels folded perfect, the beds made daily, bathrooms spotless, all toiletries provided( I had forgotten toothpaste and they had it). To top it all the breakfast buffet was filling, keeping us full for almost the entire day and energizing me for my long walks.
I was back yesterday and the scale showed- drum roll- I had lost 4 kilos- 8.8 pounds- can it be ? I am not sure yet but that’s what the numbers are.
Evita was a great success in my college. It was 1981 and the actors achieved cult status among the students. This was much before my time but we heard about it- not once but many times. Eva Peron, former first lady of Argentina was the central character in the original score. Additional accolades came the actors’ way when despite their grueling medical curricula, they scored high in all university exams. Stories of how they balanced tough dialogues, a lot of medical cramming and a lot of ragging in hostels and emerged with flying colors.
Fast forward a few years until, ” One Flew over the cuckoo’s nest” was chosen the college play. This was during my time. I watched as a year 1 student, wondering what it was all about. There was no Wikipedia then for a quick reference. Seemed like a lot of excitement in a psychiatric ward and some innuendos to some of us. One of my classmates played one of the nurses in the psychiatric ward. I remember her getting dressed for her part- a nurse’s uniform and she was wondering if she needed to wear a slip under her dress. I still remember her choosing not to do so. Its odd what things remain in a person’s brain after 30 years’.
In the 1980s, college plays and their actors were celebrities of our times. It was thought that along with a medical career, many of them would go on to be great actors on the national scene or even Broadway. Plays chosen for enactment by students seemed to have a lot of emotional overplays, mind games, planning, plotting, cunning and so on. Maybe medical students of my time enjoyed those elements for their doses of entertainment.
Life goes on. How do we measure success in life ? Is it wealth ? Is it relationships ? Is it successful marriages ? Is it great careers ? Or is it being great human beings ? In medicine, often success is measured by publications, fame, academic and research endeavors, recently money, travel, visibility, networking and a great many things. Being a team player matters too as medicine often involves team work. I have wondered why movies glorify good looks with good behavior and greatly desirable partners in terms of relationships. I have wondered also if being great actors on stage predicted great successes in the after life. I am not sure how success in life should be measured. I am just an observer. I study human beings. Using this post to think out loud. I thought this post would serve as my contribution to the ” Morning pages“.
A friend of mine from another university has been on the line a couple of times trying to contact me. I missed her calls a couple of times and didn’t call her back, when I could, always finding excuses to not call. She is one who has been following my journey about leaving this university to pursue my education. And now I am embarrassed to face her. When my visa was rejected, I told her but have been sort of restricting my communications with her to emails.
My mother, who is recovering from two cancer surgeries had her yearly check up last week. There is a small fatty lump in her abdomen still, which doesn’t seem malignant but one doesn’t know if it is residual tumour from the original mass or a new growth. It has been a year or maybe two years since she went to church. What with the hair falling off and the loss of weight and the sudden aging all her illness took their toll and she couldn’t attend church in a while. Today was a landmark day and she went to church and even had communion. For her it was a true red letter day.
I have a chance to go to church either every week- often I don’t take it and blame the weather or something else to keep away. For people who can’t go, the ability to go and stand through a service is such a blessing. I have heard the thrill in my mother’s voice as she narrated her experience being in church after a long time. One learns the value of small pleasures when one is denied that pleasure for a time.
I talked to my friend a few minutes back. I thought I should not put it away any more for now is best. There is no time like now.
This summer has been fraught with short holidays- official ones. That is good, so our leaves are just the same as when summer started off. Thank goodness for compensatory offs for working on official holidays’. Thank Goodness also for being the only one around when others go off on vacations. It makes one feel good to be someone important for a change.:)
So the last summer holidays started or will start on Monday but since it is the weekend, we can count the weekend days too. Plus the fact that a very important leader has died has brought its own compensation. Also family travelling from home has left me to my own devices.
These days I am quite into cleaning and seem to be doing good too. Growing up, my mum did all the cleaning and I used to watch her cleaning, never offering to help as I knew I would never reach her very finicky standards. Result is for all to see- I can’t clean – for nuts. I can’t even see dust or dirt till it is quite a layer high. Such is my sense of cleanliness. And dust mites don”t bite me- so I know until very late about the layers of dust that need peeling off. Today was a cleaning day. I have been watching youtube videos- particularly ones on Cleaning and dusting to start off my cleaning muse. Plus having an empty nest does help.
Last week, I started going to a school gym for 45 minutes of vigorous exercises- the first day it was weight lifting, the second- boxercise and the third it was fitness challenges, something like HIIT. With my 90 kg frame, it was difficult but I managed to keep going. Also remember, I was probably the oldest one in the group. The trainer was a woman who was in her last two weeks of her pregnancy- she did every exercise. I am inspired to go on.