It’s a strange world.

Post truth and all.

The world seems to be under some sort of a dark veil.

The globe under cover of a grey veil of half truths and outright lies.

Everyone knows about it, even talks about it, but won’t do anything about it.

It suits them, this cover of darkness, keeps them comforted.

I dreamt of this veil last night, a grey veil with seams, covering the beautiful blue globe of ours.

I imagined I was superman, looking at this grey veiled globe from outer space.

I flew down to the globe, caught hold of the veil, tore at the seams, and started uncovering the globe, as the globe revolved past.

I was left with a heap of this grey cloth, at the edge of the earth.

I burnt it in a bonfire.

There was a huge pile of ash left, I took it with me to space.

As I was flying past, I sprinkled it into the earth’s atmosphere.

The ash created a rainbow over the blue planet, I smiled.

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“Once you have anaesthetised the kid, you must leave the room?”

This is a question I frequently encounter.

What does an anaesthesiologist do? This question intrigues a lot of laypersons, in fact some doctors too, who aren’t too familiar with the OT environment.

Let me answer this question as plainly as I can, so that even laypersons can understand.

The anaesthesiologists work begins before the patient is taken up for surgery.

We make sure that before the surgery the patient is optimally prepared for surgery.

We ask for and check whether all relevant workup has been done.

We do a physical examination of the patient, particularly the “airway”, because general anesthesia often paralyses the patient, so that the patient is no longer able to breathe on his own. We must make arrangements for breathing for the patient.

We usually make the patient fast for a few hours before surgery so that when the patient loses consciousness, food doesn’t come up from the stomach and choke the patient. ( can happen when the patient is unconscious )

We usually give something to allay the patient’s anxiety, because everyone is somewhat scared and apprehensive about the surgery. And a calm patient often translates into a good outcome.

After everything is ready, and checking all the drugs and equipment in the OR, it is the anaesthesiologist who wheels the patient  into the OR, and after connecting the relevant monitors, we make the patient go to sleep.

It is the anaesthesiologists responsibility to monitor each and every vital sign of the patient, during all the time the patient is in the OR. This includes ECG, BP, temperature, urine output, among other things.

These things are monitored continuously.

We use optimum drugs, based on the  patient’s weight and age, and type of surgery, for pain relief, to keep the patient asleep, and make sure that the patient doesn’t remember anything about the surgery, and wakes up comfortable and happy.

After the surgery is over, and if conditions permit, we stop and “reverse” the anesthesia at the end of the procedure, the patient wakes up, breathing on their own, and we make sure that their is maximal pain relief.

If the surgery is such that the patient needs to kept sedated for some time after surgery, as happens in cardiac surgery, we continue the anesthesia after the surgery, and transfer the patient to the ICU.

Note that it is the anaesthesiologists who wheel the patient in, and also wheel them out, when the surgery is over.

And are continuously responsible for their care (including administering drugs, etc ) during all parts of the surgery.

The anaesthesiologists care doesn’t end here, we are also actively involved in patient care in the ICU, though the primary care giver there is the intensivist ( who may or may not be an anaesthesiologist by training )

I have never liked the idea of ” RIP”
Do we ask the person, would he have liked to RIP, or would he have wanted to live ?
This is just another way of consoling ourselves. Just as we console ourselves with statements like ” his pain is over” ” he is at a better place”
But I don’t like this, I mourn the loss. The loss of a life cut short. Of so much that could have been. Of so much that wasn’t to be.
Nadeem would have wanted to live more. He would have wanted to see his sister getting married.
He would have wanted to get married.
He would want to have a family.
He would have wanted to enjoy his work. His music , his poetry.
He would have wanted to be there for his parents in his old age.
( he would have wanted more followers on Twitter :-D. ) ( that’s how he would have said it )
I knew Nadeem for four short years.
And he got on to become one of my best friends.
Always there for me, without judgement, without condition, but always with a PJ.
Ziddi tha bohat, apni zid mein duniya se bhi chala gaya.
Always cheerful, always trying to cheer people up.
Even though he wasn’t well, he had a zest which was unparalleled.
Ek din akele bike leke  chala gaya Himachal.
He loved to explore , take photographs, and then write beautiful blogs about them.
It was he who always came up with plans to meet. To explore.
I remember the time Aaquib came to visit last year, he spent the two days with us, was exhausted, but never complained. He went along with everything that we did. With his characteristic smirk. :-D. ( or 😛 )
His passing has left a crater. The air seems too heavy to breath.
I can’t bear to look at his Twitter TL, or blog, but I keep going there again and again.
I wish we had more time together.
Naddy boi, tu changa nahin kitta.

” Tanha gaye kyun, ab raho tanha koi din aur ” .

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Children were murdered in Peshawar today.
I am sad, even crying. And angry.
I can’t even imagine what it must be like.
My mind keeps going back to those images.
And keeps asking the same questions.
Basically, one question.
Why?
And how?
How could they have planned it out, knowing that there were children involved.
How could they could point a gun at those kids?
How could they have gone ahead with the shooting?
How could they have seen them bleeding, and in pain?
How could they watch them die?
How could they have taken such a burden on their souls?
Do they even have souls?
Are they even human?
They must be.
Animals don’t kill for pleasure or revenge.
Animals don’t plan terrorist attacks.
Animals don’t have guns.
And what about the parents?
How do they deal with it?
Curse themselves for sending their kids to school?
Pray to and curse their God ?
Cry till they are hoarse?
With no one to listen to them?
The dead remain dead for ever.
Will Pakistan come to its senses?
Will the world?
Or will it try to rationalize?
Will there be apologists?
( next time I see a terror apologist/ conspiracy theorist , I am going to gut them alive.)
Will it be about “us” and “them”?
Will it be about some mistaken sense of “salvation ” and “pride “?
“Pride”. The Nemesis of our generation.
The bane of the subcontinent.
Get over it.
I wish we have the sense to rise over this.
Before it is too late.
Let us mourn together the loss.
Let us be humans together.
“Bas ki dushwar hai har kaam ka asaan hona, aadmi ko bhi muyyasar nahin insaan hona. “

The full moon. With a bat.
Creatures of the night.
That is, we can only see them at night.
They are there during the day too, but come out at night. Like the so called emo tweets.
What’s it about nights, full moon ones even more, that makes us remember it all, bare it all?
What’s it that makes us forget the mundane, like income tax returns, which during the day, seems like the end of the world?
What happens? Everyone is not an alcoholic.
Is it the dark?
Is it the moon, causing a surge in our emotions like a tidal wave?
Or is it just some kind of circadian rhythm, a instinct that causes us to have a essential catharsis.
Whatever it is, it is the story of our lives, isn’t it?

Today, I tell you about Rinku.
Who was he?
He was my kid, the love of my life, the apple of my eye, and so much more.
He was my cat.
I was 13, longing for a pet, specifically I wanted to keep chickens, and I would often tell my mom, “Mummy, I want a pet”
I hoped she would take the hint and let me keep chickens. ( I had some a few years ago)
She took the hint, but it turned out different than I had planned ( doesn’t it always? )
My mom went to her cousins one day, and guess what she got from there?
The cutest thing I ever saw, a three week old kitten, white body, grey stripes on the tail, and a similar colored “m” shaped mark on the forehead.
And those eyes. Man, so much longing there.
I knew nothing about cats, but mom’s cousin had provided the basic information.
I still remember the first day with him.
And how it broke my heart to leave him alone for the night in the “spare room ” we had.
Little did I know.
I don’t think he slept much that night, and neither could I. But i was under stict instructions not to “spoil ” him.
And the name. Ah yes.
Rinku. Some years ago, my cousin and I tried to domesticate a stray cat, and named him Rinku. He didn’t stay. But I had a name ready.
He would be Rinku.

All Kashmiris are Kashmiri, even Kashmiri Pandits. Yes, it is important to state this. Should be obvious, but sometimes the obvious needs to be said, in very clear terms.
The Kashmiri Pandits have as much rights and claims to Kashmir, as any other community / religion.
Religion should really have nothing to do with this, but sadly, this is what it has come to.
Why am I saying all of this? Because there is an elephant in the room. And I intend to address it here.
The Kashmiri Pandit exodus is one of the blackest chapters in Kashmir’s recent history. ( champions of Whataboutery will jump in here to cite many other incidents, of course there are, and they are no less gruesome, but let’s not compare one with another, frankly, that’s cheap)
If there is one thing that gives Kashmir a bad name, it is this exodus.
How I wish it had not happened.
How I wish that Kashmiri Muslims had come out on large numbers to protest against their leaving.
It is important for Kashmiri Muslims to talk about this injustice, for if we don’t talk about this, and talk about other atrocities, we are hypocrites.
Now the question that is often asked is, why did this exodus happen?
And here, things get bizarre. Two versions, selected according to what suits one best.
One, which suits the Kashmiri Muslim conscience, is the “Jag mohan conspiracy theory”
The state facilitated the exodus.
Even if true, wouldn’t you want to leave, if you were a minority, and had different views about being Indian and Azaadi?
Of course you would want to leave. Even if for a short while, more so if the state machinery implies that it cannot protect you, and you are better off somewhere else.
Maybe the state facilitated the exodus, maybe. But does that make it less horrendous?
No. Not at all.
They left because they were afraid, for their lives.
They left because the home they had lived in for centuries was turning upside down, and they feared that they had no say in what was happening.
They left because they were a minority.
Plain and simple. With or without the state’s help, it doesn’t matter at all.
Point is, the Kashmiri Pandits lost their homes, overnight almost.
Which is a terrible terrible thing to happen.
I can’t even imagine having to give up my home of centuries, and forced to live somewhere else, as mere refugees.
Imagine having to live in a “refugee camp”, leaving behind sprawling houses.
Imagine all this and more.
Now imagine this, you go through this indignity, and your own people, the Kashmiri Muslims, deny you this acknowledgement of loss.
They claim it is all your doing, you are somehow responsible. That’s where it hurts.
Denial. ( imagine someone telling you that the GawKadal massacre didn’t happen, tells you that it is an exaggeration. Makes you boil doesn’t it ?)
Denial doesn’t help. Never. We have to confront our demons. Unless we confront and slay them, they will always have control.
Again, what’s the point of all this?
Because I am Kashmiri Muslim, I have to say this, othewise, I have no right to speak about other things happening in Kashmir.
This is an elephant in the room. And I will address it.
Why must we address this?
Because the Pandits must return, without the Pandits, there is no Kashmir. And no peace in Kashmir.
It will be a “desolation ” as Agha Shahid Ali called it.
How can they return?
Well first, the Kashmiri Muslim population needs to come out in their support. Very strongly.
We must go all out.
We must apologise. Unreservedly.
We must reconcile.
See, we can’t leave this to the politicians, they have done nothing these so many years, except play games.
And yes, we can’t have the Pandits living in Ghettos protected by “security forces ”
That would be a shame, and not a practical solution at all.
They must live as before.
Side by side with the Muslims.
As one.
Religion shouldn’t matter, once again.
Kashmiri first, then anything else.
With every right to voice their opinion about their homeland.
With dignity.
Of course. It is not a one way street, there must be reciprocation, but we must remember, they lost their home, there can be no greater sorrow than that.
Some leeway is due.
Win them over.
Is it possible? I think it is, but maybe I am an idealist.
I certainly hope to see it happening one day.
Every time I think of this.
I remember something when I was a child, my elder sister, playing with her best friend, ( a pandit) , in the garden, enacting a scene from Sholay.
Perfect times, those.
All Kashmiris are Kashmiris.
All.