Thursday, May 15, 2008

State of health care in India

Indian health care features in the latest issue of TIME magazine. Its tough to read through it without being angry and frustrated.,8599,1736516,00.html

I live in Kolkata and my sister is a doctor. I keep hearing horror stories from her about our state hospitals. Power cuts are common in the state hospitals rendernig whatever equipment is available, useless. Cleanliness is difficult, true, given the huge rush of patients, but dogs and cats under beds???!!! Whenever something happens to a patient there are doctors being beaten up and blamed. What most dont realise that in the "system" the doctors are also victims.

And we compare ourselves with China? The next global superpower? With a population that cant afford basic healthcare, wont we be too sick to work our way up the ladder to that dream?

Added to that is the mentality of our population. Women are still denied basic care, here, in the heart of the city. Our house cleaners daughter is approx 5 months pregnant (at 16, so much for our govt policies, she married last year on her own). Her inlaws are yet to get an ultra sound done. They were reluctant to take her to the hospital at all, was forced by people like us. My baby's ayah is 24. Her sons are 7 and 6 yrs old. Recently her brother got married. Age of the bride- 15 yrs. This is Kolkata, not some out of the way village. In anything, any situation, women are always the first and the most to suffer.

Monday, May 12, 2008


Like drops of acid on my skin
Hatred drips and slides
Eating into the flesh, scorching my bones.
I can see as they land, poisoned arrow tips
Zipping through the emptiness between us
I watch wide-eyed as they pierce into my heart.

Nothing remains, nothing
Not even vaccum now
The past recedes farther
The present caustic
And the future black, black like empty space.

You will leave, all of you
Go on with your little lives
With your little joys and little sorrows
I remain clutching desperately
Like a beggar to her only bowl
Laugh at the irony if you find that empty
Or my body covered in soot and spit.

I am this and nothing more
To some, worse than a whore
They come and they go, They will not stay
They see my eyes and shrink away
I stand here, like a roadside flower
Any footfall makes me cower
Im afraid, afraid of everything
Of what tomorrow will bring
Im scared of the day, tired of the night
Ive lost all energy to fight
Tears of blood flow like a river
No one near me, I stand and shiver
The little angels of hope are gone
Leaving me here, on my own
I want the raindrops to wash my fears
But only this acid into me tears
I stay alive burning with this fever
As my soul stands and watches me wither.

(The poem is not even. 1st para 6 lines, 2nd 5 lines, 3rd 7 lines, total 18, and the second part has 18, and rhymes as opposed to the first part. Hatred is like that, I suppose.)