Thursday, March 28, 2013


After a small victory with designing a low cost sock aid, some of the PMR doctors asked me to help design some adaptive equipment to increase independence in bowel and bladder management for their tetraplegia patients. Right. “What have I gotten myself into?” was the first thought that ran through my head. I like a good challenge, especially one that promises increased independence for my patients. I was ready to tackle the project.


As I journey through life, I’ve met many people who I’d like to emulate in some way. I don’t have the time to write about everyone, nor do you have the energy to read about everyone, but I’ll highlight some as examples. Naturally, some of these people are my family members; the people I grew up with, seeing their lives and how they handled the situations of daily life. For instance, my dad: calm and collected even when the waters rush over his head, firmly anchored in the Truth of his Savior. My mom: not always calm and collected, but had a heart for her Savior that drove her to live for Him with abandon. My grandfather: frumpy and disheveled on the outside but tender and brilliant on the inside, with a hidden sense of humor to boot! Some of the people I’ve only met in person once or twice. For instance, Dr. Margaret Brand: who ended her life’s biography with “All I have need of Thy hand has provided, Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.” And Dr. Suranjan Bhattacharji: years of selfless service culminating with a charge to the next generation to seek those who need help and go light the world. This post is about his retirement from CMC.


One of the recommended tourist attractions in Mysore is Chamundi Hills. From the top of the hill, you stand to gain a great perspective of Mysore and the surrounding landscape. The prime real estate at the top of the hill is also home to a Hindu temple. We made our way to the top for the views and the intrigue of a unique descent. We had heard that there were one thousand steps that lead from the bottom of the hill to the top, and decided that we would see if we could find our way off the mount via the steps.

Monday, March 25, 2013


The analogy of a weaver’s loom has often been applied to life itself. It is the idea that while living life you don’t see the beautiful patterned product of both the pleasant and unpleasant things in life you trod though. This analogy has always made sense to me, but after a self-guided tour of the Mysore Silk Factory I have a new appreciation for the analogy.


My first experience at the Mysore Palace was watching a caravan of elephants lazily plod through the grounds. No big deal. My second experience at the Mysore Palace was watching my travel companions and I lazily circumnavigate the grounds looking for a way in. We were told to march “that way” by some locals. “That way” eventually got us to the main gate; however, we soon discovered that “that way” was the long way around. Live and learn. 


Much like the other open air markets I’ve been in here, the Mysore spice market is chock full of colorful life. I can’t exactly say I stumbled upon mass quantities of spices, but there seemed to be mass quantities of everything else consequently I didn’t notice the missing spices. It was in this market that I started noticing the unique textures of life in the market space.


My original plan when arranging my posting at CMC was to lay aside time at the end for recreational travel. I had not intended to do much traveling on the weekends during my posting as I wasn’t sure how feasible that would be. After arriving here and slipping into the routine of life as an international student, I realized that there was opportunity for weekend travel if I so desired. At the beginning, I took the first few weekends to settle in my new home or to travel close by (Chennai) to visit friends for the day. I adopted the CMC work schedule by working half days on Saturday, not because I had to (it is optional for international students) but because I really enjoy working here. That being said, I was dragged (almost kicking and screaming) to Mysore the second weekend of the month.

Monday, March 18, 2013


I promised that I would write about the All India Occupational Therapy Association (AIOTA) annual conference that I was privileged to attend earlier this month. This is the fulfillment of that promise. Hopefully I haven’t forgotten all that transpired that week.

Sunday, March 17, 2013


** Note to all my Tamil readers. Please forgive me for any misspellings or misunderstandings of your native language.

When asking for input on a name for this blog, my dad suggested something along the lines of “Say it Tamil.” His reason for the suggestion was, “You’re going to be saying ‘How do you say that in Tamil?’ frequently, ya know?” I should have listened to him.

Saturday, March 2, 2013


I have been in Trivandrum, Kerala, since last Sunday morning. For those of you just tuning in, I came here for the annual national All Indian Occupational Therapy Association conference. When I first learned that the national OT conference was going to be held at the end of February, I decided that I should go if all the right parties permitted. It was a chance in a lifetime to attend the national conference of another OT association. I will be dedicating a post to the conference at a later date for those interested in knowing more about the happenings there. This is about Trivandrum.


Saturday, February 23, 6:00pm: Charlie and I arrive at Jewel’s house for dinner. Jewel is an occupational therapist from the same batch as Neeraj and Alok. She is posted in neuro for her bond period at CMC. Shortly after moving to Mrs. George’s house we found out that Jewel was pretty much our neighbor. Since then we have used her as a reference point when people ask us where we live… “Do you know where Jewel lives? Well, we are further down that road and to the right.” She and Anumeha, a physio student, invited us to dinner on Saturday. The food was incredible and the fellowship was wonderful. Meha’s friend, Jerry, joined us halfway through the evening to add a small male perspective to our conversations. I had come to dinner packed and ready to head off to the All Indian Occupational Therapy Association national conference in Trivandrum, Kerala. My train was scheduled to depart Katpadi station (Vellore) at 9:30pm. Although not my preference, I ate and ran.


I spent last summer working as an agricultural research assistant in Eastern Washington. I spent many hours sitting in solitude, ripping open plastic bags that contained soil samples from research projects conducted decades ago, and dumping them into a huge pit of organic matter. To liven things up I would occasionally be attacked by a flock of swallows who were none too pleased that I was hanging out and kicking up dust in their neighborhood. I had a lot of time to think while I was out dumping soil. Though it was not a job that I sought out to further my career in OT, it was a job that taught me a lot about life. It was at this job that I met Jason.


(This was written on February 25, 2013)

Last week I started my posting at the CMC Rehabilitation Institute. I am working on the first floor with mostly patients with spinal cord injuries. I was told that I would enjoy my posting at rehab, and so far this has proven to be the case. With the OT confidence and energy I gained while working in OPD the previous week, I was ready with plenty of vim and vigor to meet patients and get to work. I was briefly oriented to the facility and then left with one of the OTs on the first floor. She had been told that I was interested in working with patients with spinal cord injuries, and suggested that I spend the day observing and then begin the next day. Little did she know that “spend the day observing” is a phrase that I have come to loath here in India, and I intended to do some “hands-on observing.”


(Written on Sunday, February 24th)

The pace of life here in India is slower, but somehow that doesn’t translate into more free time for me to relax or keep up with my blog. Seems as though I am about a week behind on things. I’m going to try to do some catch up this week as I am not at CMC doing my typical routine. This morning I arrived in Trivandrum, Kerala, for the All India Occupational Therapy Association conference. More on this later, first I need to cover the events of last weekend and the past week.