Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Tolerance Intolerance Debate - I choose silence


"I have regretted my speech, never my silence." Xenocrates, Greek Philosopher

Nothing hurts me more than a bunch of non stop talkers, being sat on the television channels, talking big on some inane topic. The primary focus of these 'lit-adults' are to hop from channels to channels chirping on the same 'asinine' topics every single day. It may not have been implausible if the political vendetta behind their voices was not so glaring. That's another debate though. My point today is the amount of verbosity that goes around every day is not only wastage of space and time but also a horrific cue to the destined digital garbage from this man made assault of words.

The most of this wordiness is shallow and invites bitter retaliation spontaneously. There is no harm in being vocal, in channelizing our thoughts smartly and sharply. But the unwanted gushing of viral verbosity that goes around in the internet - twitter, facebook, blogs, etc. - is highly arguable. Having said that, in most cases, I choose not to reiterate. For the simple reason of not being wanting to be associated with anything not right, anything not plausible or anything not felicitous - I choose silence. I would not want to be associated with anything that I may find 'not OK' and want to disown or that the children would not be proud of later.

So, what if we use our words more intelligently? How difficult it would be to be less wordy? Is it too hard to be sane and peaceful?

The intense profanity in the choice of words is not always deliberate and there are of course wise talkers. But certainly there are less in numbers. I believe in doing things rather than forming social media solidarity. This adds onto digital clutter. So, at a time when even the liberals are fighting over the tolerant-intolerant thing, when people are going overboard with misplaced words, at a time when your voice is accentuated with criticisms - I choose not to talk.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Of Janmashtami, Malpuas, family tradition and more

Janmashtami (Janmashtomi) is one festival that we look forward to ever since the childhood days. It was the time we would have our house wrapped in some undefined joy of festivity. Janmashtami is celebrated all over India in the month of August/September and on the eighth day of the Hindu calendar. The birthday of lord Krishna is a very special occasion for the Hindus. They consider Him as their savior, philosopher, friend, lover and everything that is human, everything that is Godly.

The festival has transcended beautifully over the years and today I see it with much love since that is the time we are fondly reminded of our Dida (grandmother). She was a lady of strong integrity and was revered by one and all. She never forced the ritualistic regime. That probably is the reason that we have learned to imbibe the true fervor of the festivals in their entirety. It was never forced, it was never too much of something that we would have detested later in lives. We never detested it nor did we regret later. It was probably because of the values that were instilled upon us very subtly.  

We have grown up seeing the grandeur of family tradition while celebrating Janmashtami. At the wake of dawn, my grandma would immerse the idols of lord Krishna and Radha (his muse) a lavish milk and ghee bath, deck them with new clothes and ornaments and start the puja (religious rituals). The food offerings included assortments of seasonal fruits, our own home made sweets made for this occasion alone, Bhog – a special rice and pulses mixed food, rice polao, luchis (puris), kheer (condensed milk with rice), 8 different types of fries made from 8 different vegetables, other special vegetables side dishes, sweet and sour chutnis/ pickles and whole savory of sweets. Having said that, Janmashtami is never complete without Taler Bora and Malpua for these are supposedly lord Krishna's favorite sweets.

Our role was not more than just hopping around eating all the goodies. I particularly liked the occasion since I was not told to study that day, something that happened very very seldom. Things have changed since. We have grown up, my sisters have relocated to different countries, and my grandma is no more. But some things never change, I still live in the same old house and we still have the more than a century old Krishna and Radha idols along with the legacy that my grandma has left behind. Today i see my mother doing everything that she has grown up seeing her mother do, and I on my part still enjoy the Bhog, Malpua, Sweets etc. 


Coming to the special Janmashtami Bengali sweet savory, Malpua needs special mention. It is one savory that every other household celebrating the festival will prepare and needless to say every household has its own Malpua recipe. My mother has hers and I have mine. I have streamlined on the ingredients and made the recipe much easier and faster to cater to my taste and time.


What is Malpua

Malpua is an Indian delectable dessert much similar to sweet round pancake dipped in sugar syrup. It’s a gourmet’s delight. To prepare them you will need easily available kitchen ingredients. The ingredients will be available in almost every store round the corner.

Ingredients

Milk (8 cups)
Condensed milk (2 cups)
Water (2 cups)
Sugar (3 cups)
Fennel seeds (1 tablespoon)
Refined flour (3 cups)
Rose essence (1 teaspoon) - my addition
Clarified butter/ Ghee/ white oil (1 cups)
½ teaspoon of cardamom powder (optional)
Few strands of saffron strands (optional)
Silvered almonds and pistachios to garnish (optional)


Preparing the sugar syrup

Prepare a sugar syrup of single thread consistency. Add 1 tsp of rose essence and a few strand of saffron. Set aside to cool.


Preparing the batter for the Malpua

Bring the milk to boil and keep boiling till it reduces to half. Set aside and wait till it cools down.
Sieve the refined flour and add it slowly to the reduced milk. Keep stirring to avoid the lump formation. Stir well and stir continuously.

Add sweetened condensed milk. Stir to attain a smooth consistency of pancake.
Add fennel seeds and cardamom powder to the batter.


Process

Heat the ghee (clarified butter) on thick bottomed frying pan and pour the batter in a blob in the center to form small pancakes. Wait till the sides turn golden brown. Turn over and wait for the side to cook till it gets golden brown.

Dip the Malpuas in the rose sugar syrup and let it sip the juice.

Serving

Remove the Malpuas before serving and drain on a wire rack to drip the excess syrup. Dish them out delicately on a flat platter, garnish with chopped dry fruits.

And that's Malpua for you!

Note to yourself

With all those goodies, Malpua is, no doubt, a guilt food. Nonetheless you can indulge in it once in a while since it's irresistible. 

Image copyright: Mimpi

Monday, September 14, 2015

Natoker Moto (Like A Play) - More than a biopic a soulful tribute to the group theatres of the 60s

Natoker Moto (Like a play) is a film that certainly will make you think. The film is essentially the journey of Kheya - the maverick, beyond the time, theatre artist, whose untimely death raises questions on the various issues of the 1960s. The socio-cultural scenario, the emancipation of the womanhood, the hypocrisy of the male dominance, the changing face of bengali theatre and of course the indomitable passion for group theatre that had driven the likes of Ajitesh Bandopadhyay, Rudraprasad Sendupta, Keya Chakraborty, Shambhu Mitra to compromise the world against their unfaltering adherence to the cause of drama - a cause they believed in, they lived for.

The movie starts with the Calcutta Port investigation officer investigating the death of a famous theatre personality Kheya who died untimely while shooting for a bengali cinema. She was apparently sank. Suicide or murder - that was the talk of the town and the officer while going through the pages of her diary and while interrogating discovers the changing equation of the various relationships in the life of the actress. As the truth unfolds the officer confronts the changing roles of various people whose lives are tangled with that of Kheya's. The mentor and the group leader finds himself a minority while the chauvinistic husband captures the leadership with a majority. The changing roles bring about a change that may be considered as a game changer of bengali theatre. The changing face of idealism makes the mentor walks off and the husband takes over the group theatre. He takes immense pride in acquiring a falsehood while the idealist mentor finds emancipation in walking out.

The other pivotal characters whose lives were tied with Kheya's appear as the officer unfolds some beautiful relationships with that of the professor, writer-poet, childhood friend. But the most important of all was certainly with that of her mother. A mother with all cliques fights, yields and stands with Kheya in all her  nonconformist decisions, right from her decision to marry the college beau to joining the group theatre, to leaving her job as a professor to walking out of the marriage to deciding to giving off her gold jewellery or to act in movies in an endeavor to raise fund to the dying theatre group.

Debesh Chattopadhyay, the director, takes us through the interludes of reality and stage stretching over two decades (1950 - 1970). Subtle yet precise the delineation of the character of Kheya from a next door household girl to a strong free spirit whose indomitable courage to fight for her cause was beautifully portrayed. Paoli Dam as Kheya is a delight to watch. It's mind boggling to watch the Hate Story girl transform into Kheya with so much conviction. 

Paoli Dam immortalizes Kheya. She leaves a mark in all the scenes. In the stage scenes, while enacting Antigone, Noti Binodini, Proposal, she was brilliant. She even gives her voice o the song Ami jokhon meye thaki, a fresh composition by Debajyoti Mishra, very naturally. It would be unfair not to mention the rest of the actors who effortlessly did their role playing with equal finesse. Having said that the ensemble cast with the likes of Rajatava Dutta as the Calcutta Port investigator, Sujan Mukhopadhyay as the professor, Ushashi Banerjee as the poet, Rupa Ganguly as the mother, Saswata Chatterjee as the husband and Bratya Basu as the mentor, can never go wrong. 

The last scene is epic. The camera pans on Kheya's face which after much pain and sorrow is now poised on the river. This is followed by a long shot of Kheya's mortal remains wrapped in a 'Murshidabadi silk' floating downstream as Mousumi Bhowmik's Ami shunechhi sedin tumi plays in the backdrop. Amid this the pertinent questions like, "Dol-er jonyo theatre na, theatre-er jonyo dol" or every suicide is a murder put us to serious thinking.

Natoker Moto even though not really a biopic has strange resemblances with the artistic journey of the theatre artist Keya Chakraborty who had met a similar untimely death shrouded in mystery in March 1977 at the age of 34. She was shooting for Swadesh Sarkar's Jeevan Jey Rokom.

I came to know about this much later when everyone was talking about the biopic thing. The film was believable even without any preconceived notion. That for me was the success of the debutante director. The last scene, the portrayal of the theatre personalities along with the uncanny similarity in their names leave us wondering if Kheya and keya are actually the same person. Having said this, more than a biopic, Natoker Moto is a soulful tribute to the group theatres of the 60s by a passionate theatre artist of the current era, Debesh Chattopadhyay.

Natoker Moto is a must watch and you would want to watch it second time round. The last scene is a poignant rendition by Mousumi Bhomick's of Ami shunechhi sedin tumi. This for me was an insatiable climax that sipped into my being leaving me choked. I came out of the hall with a promise to relive the multi dimensional journey of the free willed artist who continues to live on embracing the living art form yet another time.


Photo credit and source: Natoker Moto, Timesofindia, Wikipedia

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

And my pimple saga continues


You are not going to be Monroe anyway - so happy living with pimples.
 Just when I started to think that I am over the pimple saga that I am assailed with yet another bout of eruption. As my friends you must have known by now that pimple have never really abandoned me. They have been there since forever.

It started all in my pre teen days and as every other girl in the block I got the first spell amidst much ado. I was started on homemade remedies on weekends for that was the only time I could afford to apply the fruit mashes, besan and egg mixes, yogurt, chandan (sandalwood) paste - you just name it! Every other day I uncovered new breakouts and by the time I went to college I got over the oh-no-not-again thing. I was used to the vicious circle and was used to living with the deadly aftermath.

Meanwhile, I saw skin specialists and used several tubes of ointments, several face packs and virtually tried every other suggestions that people came up with. People, however, agreed on one thing that I have an extreme oily skin and that I am bound to have it until a certain age.  They talked over length on the hormonal imbalance, excessive oil secretion, ineffective and inadequate cleansing, diet imbalances, physiological changes, commercial dupes - blah blah blah. All said and done the pimples never deserted me.


That 'age' when I was supposed NOT to get pimples never came. My face today has similar kind of scars from newer pimples which are verging on acne. Now, I have advanced and medicinal cosmetic tubes on my vanity. I have almost all the new launches that promise acne free flawless skin. I have sadly looked on the gorgeous packs of night creams, anti aging treatment, sun screens while shopping, have even bought many of them but could never really apply them like people do. They do not work for me. I am aware of the fact that the hyped commercial aspect on  the acne issue never going to go away except that I can get wiser and choose my product wisely. Right now I am just on aloe vera gel that should be able to do the daily moisturizing, not promising the repairing work though.

The years of unfaltering association with the pimples have taught me that the you can only control the outbursts if not totally get rid of them and that hot towel therapy or face spa help in opening up the clogged pores but flawless skin is a myth for people with oily skin. So, no matter how hard you try you can't stop them from coming.

I know its pointless trying to look beautiful with that big burst on your face but then you are not going to be Monroe anyway. So after several sunrises and coffee cups later my pimple saga continues.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The beauty of conviction in yourself

So, I completed MBA, had some flamboyant celebrations, greeted with lovely gifts, have had visits - surprise and predictable, went shopping and did some real extravagance while doing so etc. Overwhelmed with the kind of friendship I am blessed with, with the food galore, gifts, deluge of fun and all that matters in life, it is time I redefined life.

Now that the party time is over, it's time I looked forward, it's time to get real. The post exam and the pre result phase was accentuated with both happy and not so happy moments. I wanted let go and let go like mad but something was holding me back. It was like you do in dreams where you try to climb a mountain but can't, sliding down the slimy height and falling each time you try even though you were doing it with the right kind of technique and with all heart. I was continually hit by the idea of being asked about MBA, studies, results, etc., that I did not want to answer and I was trying to escape every scenario that might have a prospect of creating that kind of plot of me being asked.

The post result period was marked by persistent phone calls to Amity for the lapses in the results that I thought I should resolve before July. That was the time when my US trip was planned. Back at home, I also had to wrap up the bank jobs, bills, payments. I was doing all of that and I did do them finally.

As I speak today, I still have three more impending visits that I have been postponing for two long years. I plan to do them next week and hope to enjoy them too. MBA, of all things, have taught me one life lesson - the lesson that I have learned to live by with a happy face and all my heart. MBA has taught me to be able to pass through the hardest and the saddest of times, the I-suck times and of course the do-not-wana-survive kind of times with grace and poise. The brilliance of conviction in yourself is beautiful and the moment you get near that you are a winner. Winning is not just doing a MBA, or getting a A grader or even doing a Bill Gates, winning is taking things in your stride, most convincingly, even if you are going through hell. Life is generic, and how you live it makes it beautiful or not so. That's how I look at life now.



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Image (C) ~ reachinggoals

Thursday, May 14, 2015

8 Tips to stay productive in workplace


Jane reaches office just about. The traffic was miserable and it was a long pitiful drive to workplace. Having parked the car, she punches the card and rushes to the desk. Then she gets herself a cup of black coffee like always, sits herself comfortably and gets down checking her inbox. Then one after the other she switches to the personal web pages in several tabs. This has been a routine practice since forever. She is in every possible socializing site - twitter, facebook, Instagram - you just name it, and she has to have logged into each one of them before she gets herself to work.

Even before Jane could sit down to download her work emails, she is occupied. Her brain is scattered and loaded with all things but work. Her productivity at work is indescribably dwarfed by her sloth brain. Besides, her optimum cognitive skills are not explored to the full. No wonder, Jane struggles to catch up and sits on the never ending backlogs slogging in the supposedly productive hours in office. Not surprising that her appraisal showed a down curve and the increment was not at par early this year. She is on a look out elsewhere since. Amidst this Jane found herself very upset little realizing that it is not her supervisors but her erratic work pattern that has been getting on her productivity. Thriving on the alluring toxicity of the junk boxes in work hours, in the work place is making her slog, unproductive and a unsatisfied.

Jane is not alone - this is our story as well. 


So, what is coming between us and our productivity?

1) Obsession with the virtual world

Checking the inboxes and texting every minute, several times a day do little to keep us up to date. On the contrary, we lose our productivity and creativity at work. Switching off personal phones or put them on voice calls helps maneuvering more efficiently.


2) Streamlining the to do list and understanding the priorities

At the end of the day we have only 24 hours of which about 6-7 productive hours. So, we need to prioritize. What should come first and what should be done first, understanding the need of the time and doing things at the right time will make us both productive and happy.


3) Declutter: The 5S of total quality management

Workplaces in Japan are well‐known for their cleanliness and orderliness. The logic behind the 5‐S practice is that organization, neatness, cleanliness, standardization and discipline at the workplace are basic requirements for producing high quality products and services, with little or no waste, while maintaining high levels of productivity. There are five 5S phases are "sort", "straighten", "shine", "standardise", and "sustain". Following these simple 5S we can actually improve our productivity greatly. Also, meeting up small targets, one by one, instead to multitasking helps in completing a task fast and well.


4) Saying no to procrastination

Many of us sideline the major task and hang on to the peripherals. Saving the crux for the last doesn’t always help, especially, when you are multitasking. We should do the main tasks first when our mind is still refreshed. The tertiary would be done no matter what. Procrastination is one deadly sin that keeps us off from being productive.


5) Eating lunch at office

You are so bogged down with job that you even want to work in lunch time. So much so that you are snacking all the time while working and do not quite getting up, stretching back, walking straight , looking up, breathing the fresh air. This doesn’t do any good to the quality of work you are doing. As much as we think that eating lunch at office would extend the working time, it actually eats up the quality time. We slouch, snack often and slog at work stretching one hour to four hours job.


6) Working late at night

Whoever coined the adage, ‘early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise’, was certainly a wise man. Staying up late at night, working late hours does little to increase our productivity. We need a good sleep after the day’s work. Our biological clock doesn’t understand deadlines.


7) Drinking too much coffee


Caffeine does not give us lasting energy; caffeine that’s loaded with sugar is toxic. The sugar in the coffee is likely to make you hyper, spike your insulin levels, crash, and then get stored as fat. In other words, it’s not really the best thing for boosting productivity. Eat a good fat low carb full breakfast instead to keep your energy up.


8) Stay away from petty office politics

The best way to keep you off from petty politics is to ignore the people who donot matter in workplace. Ignore what others have to say about you. Do not hold grudge and stay congenial. Researches show that happy employees who rise above office politics are more productive and more creative too.



Photo (C) ~ Fastcompany

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Easiest ever Bengali machher jhol (fish curry) recipe - fantastically simple and delicious

Another day of blogging and I was tempted just about to write something relating to health again when I was reminded of my critic friend who has just begun to feel that My Numberless Dreams is but a health blog. Even with all the critiques that this blog has acquired over the years, I would just not accept this. So, categorically and deliberately, I digressed and so this food blog happened. Besides, this is the easiest thing to do when you have time constraints, an early next day work to catch and more.   

Today's recipe is yet another of fantastic Bengali fish curry recipes that you will be able to prepare very easily with ordinary kitchen ingredients. Bengali fish curry is all about lot of red and fresh green chilies, garam masala, onion-ginger-garlic paste, oriental spices and of course lots of love.

What you will need

Fish thoroughly cleaned, cut and marinated in turmeric power and salt
For the spicy curry - red chili paste/ powder, turmeric powder, garam masala dust, ginger-garlic-onion paste
For seasoning - oil preferable mustard oil, whole garam masala, whole jeera (cumin), green chili whole

That is just about everything you will require. Remember to clean the fish nicely and cut it into moderately sized pieces and put it aside after marination with salt and turmeric powder (haldi). In a skillet heat mustard oil till smoke comes off and then very carefully release the fish cubes. Turn sides when it gets golden on one side and strain them from the skillet. Now, for the gravy, in the left over oil sprinkle whole garam masala, cumin seeds (optional), sprigs of bay leaves, red chili whole and add the ginger-garlic-onion paste. Add little turmeric, red chili paste and salt and little bit of sugar to caramelize. Keep stirring in slow heat till the skillet starts to leave oil. Pour a cup full of water, add the fish and cook in slow fire. Turn off the oven till a thick consistency is formed and the gravy turns fantastically liquid orange.

Serve with steamed rice, green chili and freshly cut lemon (pati lebu or gondhhoraj lebu).

As much as this sounds simple, for the first timers the recipe can get messed up by inappropriate mix of spices or by overcooking. Bengali fish curry preparation is impeccably simple yet has an undefined check and balance that can be learned only through practice. That probably is the reason why the grand-mom's are the best cooks ever and the moms become one when they turn grand-moms.    


Photo credit ~ 3.bpblogspot

Monday, May 11, 2015

Why you need to confide in your doctor?


The power of good relationship between a doctor and patient is immense and the impact of this on treatment of diseases is extraordinary. The relationship can fantastically improve the mental health of a patient. A noncongenial relationship may lead to situations where the important health facts are missed making the diagnosis incomplete and misleading. As a patient you have to confide in your doctor, you have to ask him questions, share your problems and also sometimes take call of changing your doctor. It's simple, doable and a two way process. The compatibility factor is very important.

If your doctor shows you the door or cuts you short or is not keen on listening to you it's time you saw another doctor. No one in the clinic will ever going to tell you that your doctor is incompetent so you have to take the call. Researches have proved that the best doctors are not always the best relation makers. They have a signature tuning issue with the patients which could be attributed mostly to the lack of time.

On the flip side, this is true for the doctors as well. There are many instances where the patients visit a doctor just because the doctor is available, stays near his place or because his doctor in on leave. To top it, the trust factor is virtually zero. This is impeccably demoralizing for the doctor and may be considered as one of the many reasons why a doctor refuses a patient.

We cannot deny the fact that inspite of all the bad names that the profession has acquired over the years, the doctors are no better than a trapeze artist, trying to keep himself on the balance all the time.This probably is the reason why the doctors have to conduct series of diagnostics on patients who are supposed to undergo just a cataract operation! The evidence based on the clinical examination is not enough to keep a doctor off a suing. This is appalling but true.

Given such scenario, the relationship between the doctors/ medicos and the patients is of immense significance. It's not just about the doctor and patient but also about a whole league of medicos that constantly strive to strike a humane chord. An agreeable doctor-patient relationship enhances a lot of aspect that is not only medical but societal, economic, political etc.

Confiding in your doctor helps you immensely in getting the best medical help. Your doctor will tell you everything about the line of treatment that he is planning for you. You will be updated about your health issues very precisely. The transparency will help in eradicating many uncalled for hassles.

Once the trust factor is established your doctor will not go overboard with the tests and diagnostics. He will keep you in the frame always before conducting any test. If and when your doctor is convinced that you are not going to sue him he will be able to treat you more freely. Also, less and only justifiable tests will be performed on you resulting in less expense for your pockets.

Nothing like being able to confide in your doctor because he is the one who is supposed to know all about your personal stuffs. Once you know that your doctor is not going to divulge your profile you will find a friend in him. That should be the objective that every doctor and patient must strive for.

Photo credit ~ irishhospital

 

The Big Fat Surprise: The myth of High Carb Low Fat diet explained


NinaTeicholz's "The Big Fat Surprise" is all about everything we thought we knew about dietary fat is wrong. The book, impeccably researched, is a fascinating read and is full of wow moments. Through years of scientific researches and dietary experiments. the nutritionist and journalist, Nina comes out with the amazing fact of how more and not less fat – including the saturated animal fats (dairy, eggs, meat) actually leads to better health. She actually insists that low fat and high carb diet introduced in early 50 years ago in the US is actually a commercial connivance led by a top nutritionist and the federal government.


Years of rigorous diet (low fat high carb) did not quite lessen the obesity and other health issues (cardio vascular disease, obesity, diabetes etc.) in the country. In no time the good fat is being replaced by high carb food resulting in atrocious toxicity in our health meters. The good fats are nutrient dense food as opposed to the empty and bad calories of high carb diet. Carbohydrate is nothing but sugar and we all know by now that toxicity associated with it. The factual evidence that the book is accentuated with is remarkable and believable. Even though the book has severe critiques in the medical practitioners, nutritionists and health gurus, it unrolls some serious evidence based health facts.  


Nina is critical of one man who she thinks is deeply flawed. In her own words: 


“Our distrust of saturated fat dates more than 50 years, and can be traced to just one man: a bullying, charismatic but revered pathologist named Ancel Keys, whose quest for fame caused him to run roughshod over basic scientific standards. His deeply flawed “Seven Countries” study was the “Big Bang” of all our nutrition recommendations today. In an effort to quickly address the terrifying heart-disease epidemic, Keys persuaded the American Heart Association and ultimately the U.S. government to subscribe to the notion that saturated fat was our chief dietary culprit. Fat generally — and saturated fat specifically — came to be blamed for causing heart disease, obesity and cancer. Eventually this unfounded belief became ingrained as our national dogma, and many of our most esteemed nutrition scientists today endorse this idea based on the same kind of soft science that originated with Keys.

The book, through austere diet trials, shows how high-fat, low-carb diet is better for fighting obesity, diabetes and heart disease etc. An amazing read and the book has been successful in addressing the basic dietary myths. This book documents how 'misunderstanding, misconduct and bad science' caused generations to be misled about nutrition.

"The Big Fat Surprise" is a pageturner and is available in Kindle, Paperback and Hardcopy versions. Buy your choice but do buy it. To begin with, you may get intimidated by the factual data and the citations (more than 100 pages) but trust me the intriguing story telling of Nina Teicholz will never fail you. 


Monday, May 4, 2015

How to prepare yourself before doctor's visit and make most out of it


I have been meeting patients everyday for several years and have noticed that there has been a striking shift in the delineation of the patients. Patients are more involved, interactive and informed than the pre-internet days. Also, as much as we revere the profession of a medical practitioner, the role of a doctor has been most discussed and often criticized.  What a doctor should do and what he should not, how he should and how he should not etc. have put their lives on perpetual edge. We are quick in passing judgments about their societal and tangible roles as in rendering proper, timely and cost effective medical treatment.

However, how many of us are aware about our roles as patients? Are we doing our bits as patients? What are our duties towards a healthy doctor-patient relationship?

This article is research based and I would hope that reading through this will help you understand your role as a patient. Aside this, you will also find this article helpful in organizing your medical data and coping with your medical condition. So, how to make most out of your doctor's visit?

What  you must do

Take the usual dose of medication before seeing your doctor

If the appointment is in the morning time you should not miss any of the morning doses. This, especially, is relevant for the hypertensive patients who are on regular anti hypertensive medication. If he the morning dose of medicine it gets difficult for the doctor to alter and correct the dose of medicines. 

Carry all the medical documents along

You, as a patient should carry his medical file, even the ones that he feels irrelevant. Let the doctors decide on that. This would make the visit so much smooth. The doctor gets to know the history, the medical conditions, the past hospitalizations in less time. Besides, the risk of missing an important information is averted.

Carry the medicines you are currently on

The doctor would most definitely want to know about the medicines his patient is currently on. This also may help him detect the probable side effects that the patient might be having from a medicine. You, as a patient, should keep records of the previous treatment. inform your doctor about drug allergies, supplements you are on, sensitivity issues, past hospitalizations, other illnesses that you are being treated for etc. 

Nothing wrong in being internet savvy but choose your source smartly

With the advent of internet life has been so much easier. From battery to books to medical conditions to their treatment - most of us are now self educated medicos. This may run us into grave things that we may not be able to reverse. Internet is great but we must not feed ourselves on the unauthenticated sources of information. At the end of the day, only a doctor, you heard it right, only a doctor will be able to treat you right - not the internet.

Bring along mags, books, ipods etc.

You should not equate visit to a doctor with visit to a friend's or with visit to the super market. You should come prepared with the probable waiting times. Let's face it - doctors are supposed to run into emergency anytime. 

Consider involving your friend/ spouse/ parent

Come along with someone with whom you are comfortable and may disclose your personal stuffs. Sometimes, patients are unwilling to share medical history with the doctor that may have played an important role in the diagnosis.

Speak up and ask

Feel free to ask questions to your doctor. You should know about your health conditions and what your doctor is planning for you. Ask about the medicines, plan of treatment, diagnosis etc. Also, make sure you can read your doctor's hand writing. Else you can ask for a typed/ legible prescription. 


What you must not do

Know your conditions and health issues. Respecting the value of time you should come prepared with all the questions you want to ask your doctor.  Also, keep in mind that not all doctors want to be asked. So:

D not interrupt your doctor. Value his expertise.
Do not take calls in between. Do not get distracted by your gadgets. Switch off your phone and gadgets before entering doctor's office
Do not digress too much. Come prepared with the questions that you want to ask your doctor. So, be very precise and crisp and choose your questions wisely.
Do not be repetitive. Some doctors do not indulge in too many questions. Keep it short and specific.
Do not pad your queries. Be open and matter of fact.

Do not record the session with prior permission. Do ask for permission. Else, most doctors going to shoo you off.



PS: I work in healthcare facility for more than ten years now. 

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Photo credit ~ AMD