Long weekends – Nursing weekends

downloadIt is not very often that one gets to relish long weekends. In India, there hardly are long weekends that start unwinding from Friday and continue right to the ensuing Monday.

But in the other countries I have stayed and worked in, which were mostly Christian countries, Easter weekend is a sure-shot ‘taken-for-granted’ long weekend. And then there is the lovely Christmas break at the end of year that gives you a taste for voluntarily retired life for nearly a fortnight.

But since 2011, I have started fearing long weekends and breaks. Not because of the hiatus that makes the ascent back to work more difficult than it normally is; rather because of a psychological fear that grips me when such breaks arrive: fear of the unknown that will keep me bound within the walls of the house.

I still remember. It was 2011. I was in Brisbane.

I had plans to relax, travel and do some local excursion over Christmas. Nothing defined on paper or booked really, but still the liberty of having time to my own use awarded a sense of freedom and excitement.

18 December 2011: We went to Movie World in Gold Coast. My wife had a fall while ice-skating.

That night: Inability to walk.Swollen knee. No sleep.

Following day: MRI scan done.

Diagnosis: Patella dislocation or Mild fracture. Advise use of crutches. Minimal movement for 3 weeks. Physiotherapy advised as due course for recovery.

I married my kitchen that Christmas. I spend most time with my stove top and sink – cooking, making coffee washing dishes and tending my wife. The Ice-pack became her favourite toy.

It came from my heart to care for her. But the heart was heavy as it carried the unfulfilled desires: relaxation, travelling and local excursion.

After a month the wife recovered after wearing the crutches as well as one wears an ornament. She wore it through shopping malls, restaurants and even flights.

3 years later. 2014. April. Similar feeling dawns upon me. Easter break ahead. Relaxation, Travelling, local excursion. This time it is Viti Levu, Fiji Islands.

Every resort is booked on the main island – courtesy the vacationing Strayans! Nothing booked for us yet but a day trip (at least) was the offing. Until the evening of April 19.

That evening, the squash court saw us both getting in as two archrivals, determined to squash each other to defeat. The game was aggressive. But I was leading 4 to 3. We were on the eight set.

Shobha hit a power-packed straight drive. The ball was about to land on to my side of the court but I instead chose to return a volley.

Bang! The ball left my Dunlop racket and dashed the front wall.

The re-bound off the front wall was powerful. It still carried an impressive momentum.

Shobha took a step back to let the ball loose steam after a bounce to make it easier for herself.

Her body bent back with a jerk. She punched it back solidly with a skid boast. And I heard her saying “Wait. Something happened… to my back”.

Next day: She rests on the sofa now, watching TV, with a newly bought Australian Wheat bag placed to her bag. I have heated it thrice since morning. The scent of Relispray and pain balm fills the room. It is a sprained lower back this time. I wish her a speedy recovery.

I see a Easter bunny chocolate sitting on my dining table, where I sit typing this away. I see a grin on its face. Is it trying to say something to me? Heh?



Email Warriors – building up the binary debris

I have been thinking for quite a while about this one thing and the more I think the more I seem to hate certain “wordsmith species of humans” around us: Why do some people in corporates get a high by sending emails when a simple phone call, messenger tool or a face-to-face conversation could have yielded much better and more immediate resolutions?


I interpret this to be due to one or all of these:

  • lack of courage to face a real-time conversation,
  • inability of think on ones’ feet and be spontaneous – which becomes required of us when in meetings or dialogues,
  • mere laziness to move the legs, walk up to the person or pick the phone up.
  • just a shot at making ones’ presence felt in an argument, or topic so as to escape the criticism of being apathetic or ignorant

Most of us know may know of at least one person at work who will be on the same floor as we’re, or maybe even in a neighbouring workstation, but yet will take delight in emailing to get the most urgent of things done. In some cases, an army of people will be copied.

I understand the legitimacy to resort to emails in reaching people who are geographically distant and separated by time-zones or unreachable when required due to valid reasons. But when emails are abused as medium for “discussions”, or “brain-storming” when none of the above legitimate reasons prevail, then the medium is spent inappropriately.

If over-use of emails was not enough, there are also people who use emails as messengers! With close to or more than a dozen people marked in To followed by a telegraphic assertion or request without addressing anyone in particular is reminiscent of the olden days of Telegram. This is only acceptable for “on-the-move” emails sent from hand-held devices where brevity may be excused at all times and under the assumption that the responsibility to action the request does not drop on the floor waiting to be picked up by someone. If such emails are to be sent while on-the-move, then the responsibilities must be known else it will be an anecdotal replay of the Everybody-Somebody-Nobody-Anybody-could-have-done paradox.

But such telegraphic emails sent while you’re on your desk having liberty of a full sized QWERTY keyboard to your comfort? Strictly No! In many cases, there are multiples of such one-lined emails sent in a rapid fire. Much like the messages we see on a messenger, where the “Enter” key is used generously and tax-free!

There is an abundance of material on the web educating on when to use and when not to use emails, and also on how to use. I am least inclined to have my version as I seem to agree to most of them.

There is no cookie cutter solution to tell when emails are to be or not to be used.But a few simple rules I follow and has not disappointed me to this day:

  • Understand your task and the expectation from you – if you can’t reach your audience in person, over a messenger tool or over phone – only then choose the email. Choose the most efficient means based on priority of the task on hand.
  • If all that matters to you is marketing-your-poor-self by appearing on Inbox ( or Trash?) of others when a phone call or meeting-in-person could have helped better, then please choose to play this lesser-game of wordsmiths. One merit is that the most jobless of recipients may read you.
  • If you want to boast – boast loud and clear but do it over the phone again or in person. Let it into the ear  lest your carefully drafted words in the email that you edited and re-edited ten times land up in someone’s Trash and add to binary debris. An email is too belittling a tool to announce your good to someone whom you desire to take notice of it.

I follow this because I feel content over a problem having been solved or taken closer to solution and not over being an also-ran in the race to writing most emails over a given topic.


Taking long to lecova

Man proposes; God disposes!

I always wanted to take to playing Cricket again. And I did too- with Ashgrove Cricket club in Brisbane. However,during the second session of fielding practice, the whole 84 kgs ( correct up to May 2011 ) of my body landed on my right wrist, bending it backwards beyond normal limits.

Result – Ligaments stretched and strained.

I felt numbness in my right wrist for the rest of the session but still continued to bowl for nearly 45 good minutes and enjoyed every bowl I bowled! I returned home after practise, took bath and had a siesta. That evening I struggled to wear my full pants. I could not even reach out to my right-side back pocket wallet. Not to mention my creative but painful dexterity with toilet paper. But I came out clean, each time.

When my Chinese landlord Shuli came home for inspection the next afternoon, Shobha informed her of my injury. ” Chinese medicine says such an injuly will take thlee months to lecova fully” said Shuli in her distinctive chinese tone and disappeared.

Been over a month now. Gotten much better. Toilet paper is easy. Wallet is easy. Wearing pants is easy too. But I can still feel the pain when I subject my wrist to mechanical shocks!  I think Shuli was right. It will take thlee months to fully lecova.

Summer season begins on 17th September, which is this Saturday. I will miss playing cricket.