Saturday, August 28, 2010

visits from the magi

Rituparna, Aprameya and Anubhuti  come to see me. Like the Magi they arrive, bearing gifts to preside over a new confinement. There are long stemmed red zerberas reaching out to the sky, a gauzy gold and translucent bag filled with chocolates wrapped in pastel metallic foil and chocolate fudge icecream, a flavour wherein Mother Dairy surpasses  itself.  We move upstairs and settle down  and I catch up on  their lives. Graduates now, Aprameya and Ritu are moving into top-gear and are enrolled for a  Master's Programme  In English Literature at Delhi University, while Anubhuti is in her second year  of MA at Arts and Aesthetics at  JNU and has a musical timbre to her voice that definitely evokes associations with vintage Shubha Mudgal.  My life revolves around reading these days and so i tell them about my first blog, initiated by the event of getting my fingers in the way of the whirring mixer grinder.
 All of them exclaim then. They had thought that bandaged fingers were part of the treatment for carcinoma. When i tell them it is an independent injury i have contracted they are in a state of disbelief as they had not wanted to draw attention to my "unwellness." Anyway over ice cream and home crafted khakra and tea we quickly laugh and share a host of other details about academia.
 They leave shortly and it is time for me to meet  my surgical oncologist who has had a long day. He doesn't notice my solidly bandaged three fingers at all, till i draw his attention to it. He is immediately contrite and concerned. Probably the repeated barrage of gauze and surgical cellotape has  rendered him immune So while he is pronouncing the health or otherwise of my  fingers, i tell him about  my visitors of  the day. He is very amused  that such possibilities of non-knowing  exist and he laughs and says "literature walone ki kya baat hai' and suddenly the air is light again.
Driving back home i wonder at the innocence and joy de vivre of my students and their palpable concern for me and the practical efficiency with which Harit Chaturvedi  deals surgically with threats to bodily well being and this brings me back to my favourite rumination..,,when we distribute the spoils of education and give all the literature and the humanities to one section of students and all the physical and empirical sciences to another does this choice in effect  develop some aspects of personality and  push into cold storage other aspects?  Should we rethink the paucity of options we provide for our students at secondary schooling levels..?

Ratna Raman


  1. your magi have such lovely names! and i totally agree - we have to rethink the options we provide for our children. on a personal level, with kanishk veering between history and maths/sciences, i'm so worried about different doors getting shut depending on the choices he makes in a couple of years.

  2. wow. we are famous. and deceptively "innocent" apparently! :P Kudos to your tendency to ferret out things to think about and connections to draw between seemingly apparent incidents, ma'am. Very humanities- ish, that too? Perhaps!

  3. I'm one of the Radiation Oncologists involving in treating Ratna ma'am. I had a very brief stint at the college where she teaches, although I never met her...
    After being steeped in the medical profession for the last ten years (albeit as a student ...and still learning), I find that my love for literature has abated. And only for lack of time and the guilt of not perusing a medical journal in whatever time I do get. Somehow, my intense hunger for books was slowly replaced by a love of the outdoors, like a caged animal suddenly released from captivity.
    Of course, for the past few months I've joined a good library and have started reading whenever I go out...alone on walks...on the treadmill...everywhere I can.
    The point I'm trying to make here is that I'm sure my love for the written word could have been stoked if we'd had some elective language courses even in medical school. Why not????