Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Two Stories

"Heparin, a powerful anticoagulant, is a drug discovered in 1916 by Jay McLean, a second year medical student in John Hopkins University."

Prof. Rajendra "Hitler" Holla, Associate Dean
and Head of Department of Pharmacology

"Hear that? He’s only in second year and he made such an awesome discovery. What have you done so far in second year? I’ll bet that your greatest achievement to date is to not die in the first 10 minutes of a DOTA game."

Me, whispering to Shaki

"Dude, had DOTA been available in 1916, this McLean guy would never have discovered Heparin."


Okay, this post’s quotes have nothing to do with its contents. Just thought I’d share a bit of light-hearted in-lecture banter before I dive into today’s picture-less wall of text.

Let’s do things a little differently here this time. What I’m going to do here is share two separate experiences of mine with you. I will not offer my usual narrow point of view on them. I will not attempt to entreat you to think as I. And I promise that I will try my best to present to you as objective a narration of the events as I’m able to.

I want your unaffected and uncontaminated opinions on the two happenings - and so as to not let others’ subjectivity alter your own, I will turn on the comment moderation function of this weblog.

I will later approve your comments for Joe Public after an unspecified number of days of my own choosing and whim. But if you do not wish that, tag your comment with "for your eyes only" and I’ll take it as a private message to me, and keep it confidential indefinitely.

Give me your commentaries, your two-cents, your two-rupees, your one-liners, your death-threats, your ransom notes, your whatever! Just talk!

Humor me.

Story One

Manipal is the home of many universities and colleges, and a great number of these institutes are of the healthcare persuasion – like medicine, nursing, dentistry, pharmaceutical sciences – and naturally, a substantial slice of the population is students hailing from these lines.

Besides that, Manipal is also a regional hospice Mecca comparable to the likes of big-ass cities like Bombay and New Delhi. The streets are practically crawling with white coats.
Take a brick and lob in it any old direction and you’ll probably kill a doctor.

Okay, enough back-story.

I was walking home from my solitary lunch at Dollops when I saw a scruffy man lying on the asphalt road where a great number of vehicles traverse daily. He was not propped up against the sidewalk, or lying with his back against a tree, or chillin’ on a particularly shady spot. In fact, he was lying flat on his back, his limbs sprawled at odd angles with a beam of the blistering noonday sun spotlighting his face and chest. I am quite positive he wasn't enjoying this.

I wondered if the man was ill – or worse – dead. I observed him for a quiet minute from a distance, seeing many men and women garbed in medical white coats and stethoscopes around their necks walking pass that man as if he was simply not there.

That man was lying on the road right in front of the International Centre of Health Sciences (ICHS), where most of our lecturers have their own private offices. Most of them are doctors in their own rights. Many of them also walked past that man without offering so much as a glance.

It was as if that man was simply not there. I know I am repeating myself, but that was precisely the eerie sensation that scene gave me. I just want you to know that.

An unexplained feeling of urgency rose in me and I homed in on Lying-On-Road Beggar Guy. I called “Namaskara (which was “Hello” in Kannada, the local dialect),” loudly for several times before he woke up with a start, squinting because the sun’s ray was shining right into his eyes.

Having no linguistic means of asking him whether he needed any medical help, I pulled out a 20 rupees note from my pocket and gave it to that man.

Then, I walked away.

End of Story One.

Story Two

This one is short and simple.

I saw an old beggar woman sitting on the pavement right outside Saiba, where I had my dinner. She looked weathered, undernourished, emaciated – more deadwood than human. I knew life is tough for people holding a bowl for a living, but it seemed to me that she had it much tougher than most others.

My curiosity was piqued when I saw an old beggar man sat down right beside her, so I decided to watch them for a bit from across the road (I observe people; it’s like a hobby of mine), where they won’t notice my looking.

The pair of beggars talked a bit, and from the woman’s gestures, I guessed that that day wasn’t quite as productive as she would have liked. It must be pretty hard for a woman her age to go begging on the streets – an occupation more suited for the hyperactive (and very, very persistent) beggar kids.

The man then untied a bundle he was carrying, uncovering the paraphernalia of objects that a pauper would number as his possessions. From among them, he selected a battered-looking, half-eaten corncob which he probably have been saving for later. He then gave it to the beggar woman who tucked in with gusto.

Then, gathering all his stuff, he stood up and left.

End of Story Two.

Both the events happened last year.


[Edit: The comments are published. Thank you for playing. This post is a study in humanity, both of the people in the stories, and of the people who reacts to them.]

Am listening to you,
k0k s3n w4i


pinksterz said...

evil pinksterz:

india is just like egypt. infested with beggars. and most of them are too lazy too work.

sane pinksterz:
first story
people are being as ignorant as usual. maybe the sight is so common to them, that they don't care anymorelah.

second story
i realised that you seemed to enjoy looking, and observing people secretly eh? dangerous cangkul guy you are. heheh.

michelle - "bleeding heart" - sy said...

You do know that underneath this cynical exterior, I'm one big bloody bleeding heart?

Which explains my unnatural fondness for ankle-biters (literally, remember that little sh*t who chomped on my shin?), the old and wrinkled, and little four-legged persons of the furry kind.

As a child, I used to be like that 24/ 7 which was.....draining to say the least. I used to cry and feel and emote and bleed over every little frickin' thing.

I cried when I saw my neighbour kicking his pooch (May curses rain upon animal abusers).
I cried when my sister had to go to the hospital with a fish bone stuck in her throat (She managed to expel it in a rush of sputum. Three hours later).
I cried when Mom bawled me out for not bringing the laundry in when it rained (I was having a nap - hence my insensibility when the rain came pelting down on two days worth of washing).

My poor mom - she had to put up with my Which was a damn unsettling experience for the emotionally reserved Mater I think.

But Mom was Spartan in her outlook (journalists usually are). She soon toughened me up.

And I also came to the realisation I couldn't keep it up forever. Heh - you get dehydrated pretty damn quick when you're spouting tears every other second =D

I can't say if what the white coats did were right/ wrong. That's between them and their conscience.

I say I can't say because I haven't been exposed to the difficult living conditions that some have to live through/ in in Manipal. Perhaps, bleeding hearts can only bleed so long.

But what I can say is: I think what you did was very sweet.

michellesy the very amused said...

ROTFLMAO at Shaki's comment!!!

Shaki's really shaking hey? How do you managed to maintain your composure sitting next to such a joker?

Or do you match him joke for joke? =D

bubbly soda said...

the humane touch. despite being in the somewhat same condition, he still helped her. the best quality in a human is humanity.

fuolornis said...

I js had exactly the same thoughts as you. Give Rajendra a Nazi German Officer uniform and make him speak german in class. I think that would be fun

Story 1
- Beggers are a norm here. So thats the reason no one bothered about him. If i was you, i js notice him, thought some thoughts in my head and walk on.
But js asking... have you seen him begging b4?

Story 2
- I know which old lady you're talking about. She must be complaining about her hunger and he gave her something to eat. I think you woould do the same if i told u that i'm hungry also?

Crux said...

Story 1:

No one cares anymore. We're driving this world to the next Ice Age and we're also just not bothered, as we continue to pollute it and kill all the natural systems in place with a million tonnes of garbage and 10 billion petrol burning vehicles each day. What you saw is the same behaviour, on a smaller scale.

Story 2:

A rare glimpse of humanity in a world no better than hell.

PS: Screw comment moderation, I know this is going to be approved anyway. Heh.

Mischique said...

Sigh...the poverty rate in India is inexplicable. To think we people always take food for granted...*bends head down shyly*

-Princess Shin- said...

I see you're a dota fan too! Haha..

k0k s3n w4i said...

In India, there simply aren't enough jobs to go around. If you see the amount of employees in any food place, you'll understand.

Being ignorant is one thing... but when beggars are more kindhearted than doctors...

And I study people as a hobby. where got dangerous!? ;)

I half predicted your reaction - I knew you'll be more interested in story 1 over story 2.
Maybe those that have lived all their lives in India has a reason to be callous - but I frankly don't expect the Malaysians and US students doing the same thing. I saw them looking, but I didn't see them letting that bother them.
To tell you the truth, I wasn't proud of what I did at all. I kept thinking that I could have done more. Maybe I'm getting more desensitized too.

P.S. Shaki and I - we have our moments (actually, the punchline of the joke belongs to me, but it wouldn't be nearly quite as funny had I written that)

I couldn't say it better myself, Mel. :) We need more humans.

His accent actually sounds pretty German if you stretch your imagination abit. And he kept pacing on the podium like inspecting his Nazi shock-troopers mia. damn funny.
Story1: No, I have not seen him begging before. but i'm just lending my impression. he certainly looked beggarlike.
Story2: I would feed you if you ask, but I'm not having problem getting food, am I? :)

Let's all blame bloggers for this, eh? LOL
Anyway, I care about our planet k, haha. See my WWF badge? I'm a net-activist. Tree-hugger k0k, you can call me.
A rare glimpse of humanity in hell is maybe enough to put some of us to shame, if we still have any conscience, that is.

Pray for them ;) It's the least all of us well-fed people can do. Let us help them whenever we can.

@-princess shin-
Haha, what are you doing in a damn ugly guy's blog, LOL? I actually quit DOTA more than half a year ago. Time is scarce here in Med Skul.

This post is a study in contrast, and - as Melly and Crux pointed out correctly - of humanity.
Thank you for reading :)