Scared of the sacred

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As we weaved our way through them I could sense the fear. Our driver was overtly overly cautious. I wondered whether it was their overwhelming numbers or the unrestrained ebullient kinesics. Some prodding and the driver blurted how a car had been trashed and upturned earlier in the day because it had touched one of them. He further recounted a similar incident in his own compan...
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Distant Friends

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We slowly gravitated towards each other, the seven of us, so different, yet so alike. By the end of second year we were inseparable and had a name Saptrishi. Our friendship survived the rigours of medical education, the insecurities of adolescence and three decades of silence. After leaving college all of us got busy in building careers and raising families. We met a few times ...
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Cats and Dogs

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It was like a sauna, without the health benefits. We sweltered and complained of the heat, while the humidity sapped up energy and killed productivity. And then as I was on my way to Gurugram via Rohtak, the sky grew dark and it started raining. The first few minutes were of sheer joy. It was exhilarating to watch the dust settle, the filth wash away in one giant sweep. As it r...
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Doctors today

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Thirty two years ago I just needed an excuse to proudly count all thirty two of them, the doctors in my extended family. Three decades later only one of my nieces has wandered into a prestigious medical college and is already regretting it. For those who think that this data size is too small to be statistically significant I offer another example indicative of the present turm...
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Faith and Disbelief

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As I was driving home from a party recently I noticed that the Kohinoor on my ring was missing. I use the word Kohinoor very loosely here. For us non- royals any diamond upward thirty cents qualifies for the title. In any case, the loss was enough to give me an arrhythmia if not an heart attack. My friend, who was with me, nearly had one out of compassion. Fighting the mount...
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Taking its Toll

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First an affirmation, although I have not studied it as a subject, my location makes me an expert in this field. Gharaunda, my hometown is flanked by Toll Plazas on both sides, I have thus become a specialist on how ‘toll takers’ take their toll. Most times there is a queue of impatiently honking cars at the plaza. Primarily it is due to the lackadaisical attitude of the tol...
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The eye of a storm

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It always feels bad, but this time because it involved a close friend, it felt worse. The way we Indians are maimed, mutilated and mowed down in freak accidents. Last Friday evening the founders day celebration of our Health University was in full swing when the dust storm hit. The gust of wind toppled a five quintal truss pillar standing near the stage. My friend was one of th...
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Gharaunda Gets It!

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  Now that it had yielded results, it sounded less irritating, the recorded message which played on a loop, disturbing the early morning calm “ Nagarpalika aapke dwar.....shehar ko saaf suthra banane ke liye.........”( the municipal committee is at your doorsteps to clean up your town). Suddenly everything fell into place, it all started making sense. Small things which...
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Of dogs and bitches

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Last night I followed her. She was not her blithe, carefree self. She looked preoccupied, cautious, almost jumpy. To my experienced eyes none of these are good signs so I tagged along. I wish I hadn't for I was shattered by what I saw. I cared for her deeply so it's hard not to be affected. Since then I have been trying to console myself. Telling myself that we are different. A...
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Women with times

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Back then, I was younger and essentially a more patient doctor. I indulged the little idiosyncrasies a rural practice entailed, in fact I enjoyed them. Among my favourites and one that I found endearingly silly was the response to a very basic question. It amused me no end at how women would blush when I asked their husband’s name. If a family member was with them they would co...
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