Friday, March 4, 2022

Happy Bday Amma

Amma used to be the first person who’ll wish everyone in the family on their birthdays. To find how old someone is, you just needed to ring her and tell the name.
But if we asked her age, she’s bluff saying her official records are wrong!

She used to take me to Hidas photo studio on all my birthdays and get a picture taken.
But then after all those years, it was after Lakshmi’s entrance into our lives that we first celebrated her birthday with a cake cutting. That was truly a surprise for her.

During the last few years when she was restricted to the walls of our house she would dedicate songs for her loved ones via the All India Radio and Radio Benziger on their birthdays. If I was away at Cochin, she would ring me and hold the phone close to the radio and make me hear the whole song.

Well today’s her birthday.
(Lol, yeah yeah I know you are younger than that)

She should be having a great time, with her father, mother, sister, brother in law and many of her dear ones.

Missing you lots Amma,
It is really hard to live in your absence.
Happy B'day to you.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Theatre fright സഭാകമ്പം

സഭാകമ്പം തീരെയും ഇല്ലാത്ത ഒരു മനുഷ്യൻ ആണ്. എന്നിട്ടും ഇന്നൊന്നു വിയർത്തു. 

കാര്യം നിസ്സാരം. ഒരു സിസേറിയൻ സെക്ഷൻ.

പക്ഷെ surgeon സ്വന്തം ഭാര്യ...! Anaesthetist ആയി പാവം ഞാനും.

അതും ആദ്യമായി ഒരേ തീയേറ്ററിൽ വച്ച് കണ്ടു മുട്ടുകയാണ്. 

നാട്ടുകാർ (തീയേറ്ററിലെ മറ്റു സ്റ്റാഫുകൾ) ഉറ്റുനോക്കുകയാണ്. 

(Tense music in the background)


ഇനിയിപ്പോ സ്‌പൈനൽ കുത്തിയിട്ടു കിട്ടീല്ലേലോ?

ഇനി മരുന്ന് കുത്തി വച്ചിട്ട് ഏറ്റില്ലെലോ?

ശെടാ, അവൾക്കു ഞാൻ ആയിട്ട് ഒരു നാണക്കേട് ഉണ്ടാക്കേണ്ടി വരുമോ?

ധാരാവിയിലെ തീയേറ്ററുകളിലെ സകല കേസുകളും  ഒറ്റ രാത്രി കൊണ്ടു അനസ്തീഷ്യ കൊടുത്തു ഒതുക്കിയ ഞാനാ, എന്നിട്ടാ പരുങ്ങൽ.

അവസാനം പടച്ചോനെ കാത്തോളീ,

എന്നും പറഞ്ഞൊരു കുത്തങ്ങു കുത്തി.

സംഗതി ഏറ്റു. Success.

അഭിമാനത്തോടെ ഭാര്യ ബാക്കി സർജറി പൊളിച്ചടുക്കി. 

അതേയ് കൂട്ടുകാരെ, അങ്ങനെ ഞങ്ങൾ ഒരു മോർണിംഗ് ലിസ്റ്റ് അങ്ങു ചെയ്തു! 

Sunday, September 5, 2021


Contrary to what the media try to assert, this world isn’t that bad and we aren’t living through some of the worst days. There are a lot of kind hearted souls living among us and it is not tough to find them. All you need to do is to be ‘good’ and they’ll appear at the right time, Godsend. The whole Multiple Myeloma saga that my family went through taught me that there indeed is a mystical force that controls everything. Well, this post is not meant to be another chapter in Chicken Soup for the Soul. 


It was in the midst of all the covid chaos that Amma had a relapse of myeloma and got admitted. Her condition kept getting worse, it was certain that a count down timer had started to tick, and I was stuck in the UK unable to travel. And then Dr Roja would keep saying, “Don’t worry, we’ll keep her safe for you”. She kept updating me all the time. Finally I managed to catch a flight to India, but then there was this wearying layover at Bengaluru airport. Amma had already been shifted to the ICU. Had Dr Roja not given me a video call at that time to show Amma, whose eyes brightened seeing me on the phone, I would have collapsed out of stress. I had never met Dr Roja prior to all this, but she took care of my Amma and was a real guardian angel. I am sure there won’t be many who can be as modest as her. 


Amma is now in the ICU in a sinking stage, we still have no idea about the infection that is killing her. It should be around 11pm, I stand in the corridor with a heavy heart, clueless. My brain is too befuddled to make any more decisions. And then this angel walks in. Dr Govind took the helm from that moment onwards. I can’t explain how relieved I felt from that moment onwards. I didn’t have to worry about the medical part anymore. 

There comes this moment, the wee hours of the 25th of May, when I collapse on to a chair in the ICU, Amma is lying on the bed, she is no more. Govind gives me a call, “Just take Amma home. I will deal with all the hospital procedures, don’t worry about running behind the bills or anything at all”. 

Govind is a rare blend of knowledge, diligence, compassion and emotional intelligence. Ah, well, he carries the genes of Gangadharan sir and Chithra ma’am and hence it is hardly a surprise :) 


Anything I write about Dr Anupama would be an understatement. To me, she is an avatar of God. While Dr Gangadharan gave my Amma, an otherwise 'poor prognosis advanced multiple myeloma patient', a new lease of life ten years back, it was Anupama ma’am who watched out for her all these years. It was the faith I had in her that gave me the courage to move to the UK, for I was sure, Anupama ma’am would always take the best medical decisions for Amma. It would take a whole book if I keep on writing about ma’am. 


Remember Jai & Veeru from Sholay? That’s what Gayathri and I transformed into during the final hours of Amma. It would have been impossible for me to deal with the situation if she wasn’t there. Amma had crashed, and I was juggling between being a doctor and a son. Well, I’m still not bold enough to type in all those harrowing moments here, for it has been the most traumatic experiences I have ever had in my life.


Lakeshore, has been my second home for ages. It is the one place that always makes me feel special. The security guard who didn’t even let me pay for valet parking, the attender chechi or brother who would always enthusiastically usher my amma & achan even when I’m not around, my colleagues who rushed to blood bank in the wink of an eye...the place is full of people who keep showering love on me. 

Nahas used to run hither and thither managing Amma’s OP visits in my absence, well I once even turned green with envy when Achan ‘wrongly’ rang me and told, “Oh, I thought I dialled Nahas, we reached Lakeshore just now” (I was in Liverpool at that time). My family in the department of anaesthesia that include Radhika (kili), Anupriya (missworld) and Elizabeth (chungy) used to make sure that my parents never felt my absence during their follow-up visits. Even to this day, when I can’t hold my tears, I just take my phone and ring Jaya ma’am or Mallie ma’am. Naveena turns out to be the sister I never had.  Though notorious for forgetting names, my Achan still asks about Naveena. She was a huge support for my parents during the recent hospital admission. Nita ma'am & Tina ma'am used to fill me with confidence and they gave me the strength to take tough decisions. I used to feel guilty for having gone far from my parents and it was Mohan Mathew sir who made me feel better. 

It would be unfair to ‘thank’ all these people. Shwetha ma’am (matha shwetha) who kept visiting me at the oncology ICU once said, “Don’t ever thank your friends”.

(It's been four months since my Amma left. I have been waiting for a chance to get a picture with these gems. Missed Gayathri & Nahas though.)