About Me

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The name is Selvamani.R. I was born in Rangoon, Burma now known as Yangoon and Myanmar respectively. I had my schooling in I.E.S. .Khalsa School there in Rangoon and came to Tamilnadu, India, did my Pre-University in Sir Thegaraya College,Chennai and M.B.B.S., in Madurai Medical College. Later did my Diploma and Masters Degree in the Regional Institute of Ophthalmology, Egmore, Madras Medical College, Chennai.

Sunday, December 26, 2010



This happened in the beginning years of my Eye Practice.
One day a village man came with his wife, daughter and mother for consultation.
I prescribed glasses for his wife, treated a minor ailment for his daughter but found that his mother had ‘Mature Cataract” in both eyes which required early surgery,
When I said it the man shook his head and said ‘Just prescribe some drops for her sir, surgery is out of question “.
I was put off by his callous attitude and remarked a bit harshly “Then why are you wasting your and my time!’
The man replied very calmly which is still etched in my brain.
“Why do you say that we are wasting your time ? Charge whatever fees you want.
Just because you said that my mother needs surgery doesn’t mean that we have to do it. We have our own problems.”
I realized that I have said the wrong thing, underestimated him and been promptly and aptly reprimanded.

Thursday, December 9, 2010



One misguided word that’s all it takes to make your friend a foe. Read on.
During hospital ward rounds whenever I saw my colleague Dr.X I used to comment playfully on his recent flair for flamboyant dresses.
He used to give me a scornful look but I always took it by my stride.
One day when he was attired in a very colorful dress I commented that he looked like “Kadhal Elavarasan” [Love Prince]–a title attributed to actor Kamal Hassan.
He became very angry but before he could retort I had gone past him.
After sometime when I was in coffee room one Post Graduate, a good friend of mine came, sat beside me and said he was asked by Dr.X to convey a message. The message was that Dr.X was very angry by my remarks and in future I must keep my mouth shut !
I was perplexed and said to the PG that I have not passed any derogatory remarks.
The PG nodded and said “I know you wouldn’t, sir. But I was asked to convey his message.” and left.

Later Dr.X came to the coffee room.
I greeted him and he came and sat before me and with a stern face and in his broken English [I don’t know why some people chose to speak in English in these circumstances] said “You see. I am fed up with your remarks. You are irritating me beyond limits. I want you to stop it immediately. I mean immediately. Understand?”
Before I could think of a suitable reply he went away.

The next day in the Operation Theatre when I was doing surgery I was lamenting about it to my colleague who was assisting me.
The staff nurse who was administering eye drops heard it all and when the surgery was over called me aside and asked me to repeat what remarks I passed on Dr.X.
Hearing it she chuckled and said “No wonder Dr.X was angry ! Sir, don’t you know what is happening in this hospital?”
Seeing my blank face she continued to say that Dr.X has recently married a staff nurse secretly [second marriage. Dr.X was already married]. So he thought that I knew about his second marriage and was unnecessarily poking him.
No wonder Dr.X was terribly angry.

Sunday, November 21, 2010



When I finished my Diploma in Ophthalmology. and joined Government Head Quarters Hospital we used to do a lot of Cataract operations and had to clear a huge back log.
There was a senior ophthalmologist –Dr.X- and whenever we gathered in IMA meeting or other gatherings he used to remark about the cases I had operated which have developed complications and came to him for treatment.
He always chose the time when I was with 3-4 doctors and used to narrate the complication.
Needless to say this caused considerable embarrassment.
I first thought that the timing was not intentional. But as it occurred again and again I became aware of his cunning motive.
One day I couldn’t contain myself and said “Every operation has its risk. Don’t you get any complication in your operated cases?”
“Never! “he refused adamantly to my surprise “ I take particular care in my cases and achieve 100% result.” {?!]
I have already seen some of his complications but had no proof to confront with him there itself.

I thought at length how to counter his tactics.
If I go to him personally and ask him not to mention my complicated cases in a gathering he would gladly agree.
He will not do that, sure, but he would definitely tell the other doctors about my request gloatingly.

I started collecting a detailed record of his post operative complicated cases which came to me for treatment.
When I had about 7 cases I made my move.
I confronted him about one of his case but unlike him I chose to have my say when he was alone.
“I happened to see one case you operated. She had this complication. “I started.
“It couldn’t be “he tried to avoid.
“Her name is … She is from… village. You have done the surgery on…. She developed this complication on.. ‘” I continued relentlessly.
“Oh! That case “. Now that he is caught he had nowhere to hide except lie out of it.
“You see she injured the eye by banging against a door and didn’t tell me about it “[Couldn’t think out anything!!].
I confronted him again with another case sometimes later.
This time he didn’t try to squirm away but offered another lame excuse.
Anyhow he was sharp enough to understand the message delivered and his confrontations stopped.

About 2 months later one patient came to me for Cataract extraction.
After examination I advised the routine investigations.
He then told me that he had been already investigated by Dr.X.. He had been taken up for surgery and when he was given injection around the eye he developed swelling, pain and redness. Consequently the surgery was postponed to a later date and he had come to me.
I surmised that he had developed RBH [ Retro-bulbar haemorrhage ] which is a common complication of injection and Dr.X has done the correct thing. I told him so, said it can happen in anybody’s hand and I too have encountered some cases.
He thought over it and said “Yes, sir. I think you are right. He did two other cases on that day and they didn’t get any swelling like me.”
He further asked whether it will be alright for him to go to Dr.X again for surgery as he had paid some advance amount.
I said I didn’t mind and advised him it will be better.

Subsequently he went to Dr.X again, but refrained wisely from telling him about the consultation he had with me, underwent surgery which was uneventful and only after he was prescribed glasses after 6 weeks told Dr.X about my consultation..
He told me Dr.X repeatedly asked what I had said.

After that episode whenever Dr.X saw any complicated cases done by me he used to say that it is not the surgeon’s fault and they can very well continue the treatment under me.

This is a fairy tale ending of a foe turning into a friend and I wish every thing can be resolved like this. But that is too tall an order.

Thursday, November 11, 2010



In our town there was a small shop which was always crowded.
The owner was always polite, listened to various people and managed the people worked under him with such efficiency that the customer was usually very satisfied.
One day I asked the worker boy to get a Bournvita bottle which was in the top shelf.
The boy instead of getting it quoted me the price.
I said O.K. and the boy proceeded to get the bottle.
But the owner who was watching the scenario became very angry.
He called the boy and asked why he quoted the price when I only asked to get the bottle.
“Did he ask you the price? Then why did you say it? Know first how to behave with the customers.” etc etc., so much that I had to pacify him.
He then told me that quoting the price when not asked for is an insult as it indirectly implied that the price is high and the customer doesn’t look like he will buy it !!. [ I must have looked very impressive !!]
Footnote- the shop is now in bigger premises and also has a sister concern [or should I say ‘brother concern’ as it is now managed by his two sons !].
Not surprising !!

Sunday, November 7, 2010



One day my wife went to a fruit stall, the one we regularly patronize, bought some mangoes and also bought 3 high breed quality –Malkova, separately. Then she went to a grocery shop, owned by our friend, and returned home.
When I came home from my clinic, late night, she told me that she had left the bag containing the 3 ‘Malkova’ mangoes at the fruit stall itself and asked me to get it.
So the next day when I went and asked the owner he didn’t say anything and gave me 3 fresh Malkova mangoes.
I protested that my wife told me that they were already packed in a bag.
The owner said that the workers would have mixed them with the lot as it was not claimed.
I went home and gave the mangoes to my wife.
Later a worker from the grocery store came to our house and handed over a bag containing the 3 mangoes saying that my wife had left them at their shop.
She had left it at the grocery store and has wrongly assumed that she had left it at the fruit stall.
I went to the fruit stall again and gave money for the second batch of 3 mangoes to the owner apologizing for the inconvenience caused.
I asked him why he gave me another set of mangoes [free].
He said he thought that the mangoes left by my wife must have been picked up by another customer [without paying].
But you would have lost the price of the 3 mangoes, I protested.
What is there sir! Goodwill is important, he replied.
I then knew why his shop is the most patronized in our town.

Monday, November 1, 2010



One day I and my wife went to the market and bought some fish. When my wife asked for its price she was told it was Rs.325/-. My wife retorted that it was too much. She then asked in addition some other variety of fish in a small quantity for making a side dish. As the fish monger was very busy my wife asked me to procure both the items and join her in the vegetable stall.

When the fishmonger handed over the two portions of fishes I asked her for the total price and was surprised when she told me that it was only Rs.300/-.
I said she was mistaken as the first part itself has cost Rs.325/- and I have bought another portion too and that means the price should be still higher.
No sir, the lady replied. The correct price for both is only Rs.300/-. I told a higher price to your wife as she will always bargain and pay a lower price. You on the other hand will pay whatever the price I asked without a question and hence I quoted the correct price !!!

Friday, October 29, 2010



Once when we were returning from Ooty to Coimbatore, in a taxi, it broke down and the driver said it had to be towed and repaired.
As we had to catch our train in Coimbatore he asked us to get another transport.
Though we stood on the wayside trying to flag down the transport buses, none stopped as they were already overcrowded.
As time passed we became tenser at the thought of missing our train.
Then one car slowed and stopped beside us. The owner asked what our trouble was and immediately took us in his car.
He and his wife were returning from Ooty to Coimbatore.
As soon as we entered Coimbatore I told him that we will get a taxi to the railway station but he wouldn’t listen and dropped us in front of the station which was way out from his residence.
As we got down I thanked him profusely.
He smiled and said that he was stranded in an alike situation one day and was helped similarly.
When he thanked the person who gave him the lift he had replied “That is alright. Just remember to help someone like this sometime.’
That he has done now and I hope I will too, for someone, sometime.

Thursday, October 21, 2010



Long back, before the advent of Intra Ocular Lens, when plain cataract removal surgery was in vogue, I did cataract surgery for a lady. She was above 50, very fragile, arthritic having difficulty in coming to my clinic itself.
Though the surgery and the immediate post-operative period were normal she developed ‘Uveitis’ a form of allergic reaction of issues inside the eye and gradually her vision started deteriorating in spite of vigorous treatment and eventually she lost the vision in that eye completely.
Though I was sad she put up brave face and said it is her bad time that she lost the vision and asked ‘me’ not to worry !

After a few years when the other eye also developed mature cataract and needed surgery I suggested that I will refer her to Chennai for surgery.
Her son and others agreed but she stubbornly refused..
She said “If anything can go wrong in your hands it will doubtless go wrong in other’s hands too.. I trust you implicitly. I will undergo surgery only by you. If fate is that I must lose the vision in that eye also, let it be so”.
Though I, her son and other relatives tried to talk her out of it she wouldn’t listen and finally I did the surgery for her.
The surgery went on well, but I spent sleepless nights.
Fortunately she didn’t develop any complication and gained full vision.
After some years she shifted to Chennai and I lost contact.

After 12 years she came to see me.
Her son said that they had to attend a function nearby and she insisted on seeing me.
I examined her and found that she was wearing the glasses prescribed by me about 12 years back.
Her son said that they bought new glasses with my old prescription as she refused to see any other doctor.
She was still having very good vision in that eye and when I thanked her she smiled and said it is I who ought to be thanked.

The kind of implicit trust patients had in us at that time was unbelievable but it also placed a huge burden on us.

Where has it gone now and who is to blame?!


There was another incident when a lady who had undergone cataract surgery in both eyes came for change of specs.
On examination I found out that though both surgeries were nicely done she had poor vision in one eye as she had optic atrophy [weakness of the nerve for sight]. She said one eye was operated by me and the other by another doctor.
I presumed that the eye which had good vision was the one I had operated. But when I asked her I was surprised to learn that the eye which had poor vision was the one I had done.
This was perplexing as even when the patient is convinced that the fall of vision is not the fault of the surgeon they will not patronize him saying that he is not compatible for them [Raasi].
I asked her why she was still seeing me. She replied that her mother, sister and many relatives have been operated by me and all of them have good vision. It is only her bad time that she didn’t get good vision, she said.
It is unusual as the patients always blame the surgeon for everything.

Sunday, October 10, 2010



The following incidents took place in a public scheduled bank:-

Whenever I strolled into the bank I was always welcomed as many of the staff were known to me. Further the manager had become very friendly with me personally. So after finishing my work I used to chat with him for sometime.
One day in the midst of chatting the manager suddenly stood up and welcomed a person who was just entering the bank.
“ Oh , sir ! Why did you come all the way here, sir? Just a phone call would do.
Yes, sir I will immediately do it sir. You need not come, sir. Please send one of your sub-staff after 2.00 p.m.” and so on completely ignoring me.
As soon as he departed [which was less than a couple of minutes at the most] I asked the manager, who that VIP was.
‘ Oh , He .. he is the head of the X [he named a company].”
“So why is he so important?” I queried.
“He is in charge of his company’s fund and has deposited a large amount of money [in crores] in this bank’ the manager replied.

About 6 months later when I entered the manager’s cubicle I saw the same VIP sitting in a chair meant for people waiting to see the manager. I, as usual, just pushed the door and entered.
The manager welcomed me with a smile.
After exchanging pleasantries I asked the manager whether he has noticed the VIP waiting to see him.
“ What VIP?” He craned his neck to see the man and continued his work ‘Oh.. that man .. let him wait !”
When he saw my perplexed face he chuckled and said ‘You see, he retired a month back..”

Be A Defaulter !


One day I saw the bank manager’s room crowded with many people.
I asked a bank staff the reason and he told me that they were all loan defaulters and have been asked to assemble on that day..
So, what will the manager do?
He will extend the loan repayment period, reduce the installment amount and will cut the interest.

What, I exclaimed. Why are you giving incentive to people who don’t repay the loan? Why don’t you reduce the interest for us, the regular payers?
Good question sir , he agreed. Do ask the manager later.
I did and the manager said there is no provision in their laws to give any benefit to the regular loan payers.
I said it is very unfair.
If you want, he replied, don’t repay your loan and we will extend the same benefit to you also, he said
So beware friends, honesty never pays at least in repaying bank loans.
The only problem the defaulter may face is that he may not get a fresh loan!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010



All the banks give loans to people and almost all give them to people who don’t need it.
This is my personal experience.

When I started my private practice as GP [General Practitioner] one of the bank employee, my neighbor and good friend said I can avail bank loan for my clinic and will introduce me to the manager.
So I dutifully went to the bank and he introduced me to the manager saying that I am a loyal customer with an a/c in their bank and has come for a loan
When the manager asked me how much I wanted I said Rs.2,000/- Yes. You heard [read] me right, it was Two thousand rupees only !!.
The manager immediately engrossed himself with his work, signing some papers and looked at me again only after about 10 minutes seemingly surprised to see me still there.
‘The bank is in a tight situation now and usually doesn’t give loans
[It is a blatant lie, sir , as my good friend here will confirm, I said to myself].
However if you can manage Rs.1,000/- as fixed deposit I will sanction you Rs.2,000/- , he continued.
I stood appalled at his stand. I was a permanent Government employee and whatever might be said of Government job in terms of security it is unparalleled..
If I have Rs.1,000/- with me why should I ask a bank loan I replied and walked out.
My friend trotted along with me saying how sorry he was.
When we were out of manager’s sight he complimented me on my retort.

Fifteen years later- the same bank, the same yours truly- the manager and the staff have changed but many were professionally acquainted with me and were [are] my friends.
I just strolled into the manager’s cubicle at about 10.15 a.m. unmindful of the persons waiting outside [waiting is strictly for the birds !!].
I said to the manager that I have come for a loan of Rs. 3 ½ lakhs for buying an Operating microscope, presented the Quotation and added that I wanted the amount the same day itself at about 1-30 p.m.
The manager said that I had to put up marginal money of about 20 %.
When I agreed he added that he had power to sanction only up to Rs.2 lakhs and have to send the papers to Chennai office.
I said it is a pity as I want the loan immediately and will be going to another bank for loan.
“No, no, please wait. I can split the drafts into two. I hope that will be O.K.”
I said I didn’t mind but I don’t want my Fixed Deposits to be linked to the loan and I won’t ask anyone to sign as surety for me.
If the bank requires a guarantor I will ask my wife, who is also an a/c holder to sign as guarantor, I said.
The manager just nodded.
I went off saying I will be dropping at 1-30 p.m. to collect the drafts.
At about 1.00 p.m. the manager himself came to my clinic with two demand drafts one for Rs.2 lakhs and another for Rs.1.5 lakhs and gave it tome saying that he had to go urgently to a village for some bank business and thought he will hand over the drafts personally to me as I have said that I wanted them the same day.
I have also given ‘one year interest free holiday period’ to you. He explained that I can start repaying the loan after one year. Actually it is a good procedure meant to help the small entrepreneurs to pick up their business and start making profit before they are burdened with loan repayment.
But as usual it doesn’t apply to me.
I thanked him and said I have neither signed the loan agreement nor given the margin money.
“No problem, sir. You can come to the bank tomorrow at your leisure time and do it.”.

So what happened in between and why the VIP status to me.
Elementary my dear Watson…Now I have considerable amount of money stashed in fixed deposits – much more than the loan amount.
Those of you naïve enough to be perplexed as to why I have opted for a bank loan when my money is earning much lower interest in fixed deposits better ask your auditor!
Hence my saying “banks are very keen on giving money to those who don’t require it”.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010



Another incident of much less importance took place when a Rep showed me a chess position declaring ‘check & mate’ to emphasize the drug’s dual mode of action.
I asked him whether he played chess. When he said ‘No’ I said that the particular position is farce as it could never occur in actual chess play.
As he has newly joined he can make himself noted if he pointed that out in their company’s monthly meeting.
When I met him next month he confided that he didn’t put the matter forward.
After my persistence he blurted out “Sir. The advertisement has passed through much scrutiny. There must have been chess players in many departments and no one has raised any objection. How do I know that you are right?”
I said his doubt is perfectly tenable and asked him whether he had any friends who play chess. .When he said yes, I asked him to show the picture to them and ask them whether the particular position can occur during actual chess play.
When he came next month he was all smiles. He said he first showed it to two of his friends who confirmed what I said. Then he raised the issue in the monthly meeting.
The managers first refused to believe him. But due to his persistence they consulted others and agreed.
He said they have stopped printing the advertisement and the reps have also been asked not to flash it!

Sunday, September 26, 2010



When I was working in RIO [Regional Institute of Ophthalmology], a medical rep Mr.K briefed me about an eye drop- a combination of antibiotic and steroid. Being a Multinational company it has come out with lot of very good looking advertisements with nice clinical pictures.
Listing the conditions in which it is indicated, it also showed Corneal Ulcer with a picture.
I just looked into the picture solemnly.
The representative caught my look and said ‘the picture is very good, isn’t it sir?’
I asked him whether they are promoting the drug to General Practioners also.
He said “Yes. Why, sir?”
I said the eye drop is actually contra-indicated in Corneal ulcer and if used may even cause loss of the eye.
The ophthalmologists all know it and will never use it and will not pay any attention to what you said. But the GPs might think it is a new approach and may use it, I said.
K took the message very gravely. “But sir, I have shown this to many eye doctors. Nobody said anything about it.”
“You need not take my word. Ask any ophthalmologist directly. He will confirm what I say.’
Rattled, K left me.

The very next day I saw him with about five of his colleagues in front of the new building. We were doing ward rounds and I was following the chief. I saw K pointing me to his colleagues.
After finishing the ward rounds I met them.
K introduced me to his senior manager.
The manager said he has confirmed what I said to K. He said it is surprising why it has not been pointed out before.
Any advertisement will have to pass various stages and included approval from the concerned specialist.
I said they must have spent a lot on their advertisements and if they can stop at least printing it again it will do.
“No, sir!” He said firmly. “We are withdrawing all the pamphlets from all over the country at once. I have already spoken to our head office and they have agreed to it.”
I thanked him but he said it is for them to thank me.
“In future I have asked the management to consult a group of Ophthalmologists before it goes for print.”
I am writing this to show the promptness of the company in setting right a wrong thing without considering their ego or loss of their revenue.

Sunday, September 19, 2010



Those of you who don’t know what “teenage books “mean, better skip this narration!.
One day a doctor colleague was in melancholy mood.
After some time he shook off and said sadly that his wife has found an ‘Adult Book’ under their son’s mattress. His son incidentally was studying in 11th standard, at that time –about 16 years old.
So what did you do was the universal question.
“I gave him a severe tongue thrashing” he said. “Now he doesn’t face me, and hardly talks to me.”
“You have done a wrong thing” said one.
“What would you have done?” he asked
“I faced the same problem a year back. My wife found a ‘book’ under my son’s bed and brought it to my notice. At that time my son had gone to school. I saw the book and told her to replace it as it was and also not to give any indication that we have found it.
My wife protested. I replied ‘What’s wrong? Actually it is good to know that our son has normal physiological reactions and his hormones are normal!
We kept up the surveillance and shifted the position of the book slightly just enough to make him suspicious.
The books stopped.
Nobody was embarrassed. Our son, though he suspected we know, didn’t know for sure and we continued our relationship as before.”
Everyone appreciated his deft dealing.
But the first doctor persisted ‘Isn’t it wrong? He may go bad.”
“O.K. At what age did you read that kind of book?”
Completely bowled over he muttered “But I didn’t bring it home.”
“So, the only difference is that he was caught and you weren’t.”
Everyone laughed.
“It is quite common at that age. Just ignore it.”

Thursday, September 9, 2010



One day a doctor bragged about his memory.
He said about 10 years back a cute girl has brought her father for injury in one eye.
He found he had a small tear in the Conjuntiva [a membrane covering the white of the exposed eye] and sutured it.
After that they used to come to his clinic often.
The girl had her eye checkup and he has prescribed glasses for her.
Later she got married and shifted to another place.
When she came to see him after about 5 years, he had addressed her by her name and she was very pleased.
What memory you have got doctor, she had said. The doctors in my place don’t remember my name even if I go often.
Saying it, he looked at us with a beaming smile.
After some time one colleague asked mildly “O.K. Can you tell us the name of the girl’s father?’
The narrator’s face was a sight to behold as he couldn’t remember it and there was loud laughter and jittering.

Sunday, September 5, 2010




One day in our Eye Hospital in the coffee room one doctor entered hastily and said “I don’t know what to make of our people. I just witnessed an accident. I saw a person lying on the road with blood around him. He was moaning. But the passers by just went on.
Nobody, I mean nobody did anything.”

To the quiet audience he continued “I mean someone could have taken him to hospital or at least phoned for an ambulance.”
After a few minutes one person asked. “So, what did you do?’
It was clear he didn’t expect that question and dramatic to watch his face undergo a vast transformation.
“Well, I…. “ he spluttered. “Well,…I….I had to come to the hospital “he said lamely.
“So you continued your work and didn’t do anything..
You are blabbering about it just to ease your conscience. “

There was meaningful silence now.
It is always better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.



In our Head Quarters Hospital there was a veteran doctor who faced any circumstance calmly and often turned it to his advantage.
He was posted in Skin Out patient which is usually overcrowded.
One day we saw him after the O.P. with a bag full of eggs.
When asked he grinned and narrated the following incident.
Two days back in the crowded OP hours one person demanded special attention showing a letter from the Munsif [Village Admn Officer]].
Usually we will brush them off with a scathing remark.
But the doctor took the letter, read it calmly, said he knew the man well, treated the person according to the merits and wrote on the back of the letter asking the Munsif to send a dozen eggs if they are available at cheap rate there, saying he will pay the cost..
After two days the person has brought not one but two dozen eggs and stubbornly refused payment.
Our Munsif said not to receive even a dime from you sir, he has said.

Monday, August 30, 2010



This is about a purchase made from a pavement shop keeper, a boy, also from Burma Bazaar.
I wanted to buy a bag from him and was told that the price was R.40/-. I asked it for Rs.30/- and he refused.
His father came to the scene and after enquiring about the matter in Burmese language told him that the cost price was Rs.32/- and he can sell it for Rs.35/-.
After he left, I again asked for the last price he can give and he again said Rs.40/-.
I then replied why he is continuing to say the same price as he was told that the cost price was Rs.32/- and he can sell it for Rs.35/-.
Hearing this, the boy’s joy knew no bounds and he asked whether I was from Burma, where I lived there, when I came to India etc.
After chatting for some time he gave me the bag. When I gave him Rs.35/- he refused and took only Rs.32/- in spite of my protests.
Sons of soil….…

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Business Tactics


I used to go to the “Burma Bazaar” on Beach line Road in Chennai now and then, to buy some petty items. Some of the shop keepers were known to me.
One day I went to buy ‘Tiger Balm’.
Though I saw lot of them stacked on show case, when I asked for it the shop keeper asked me to wait for some time as he had to get it from a nearby place.
When I pointed out the shelf he said it is not for me implying that they are spurious.
At that time one man came and asked for a tin of Ovaltine.
He surveyed the shelf and wantonly chose one with a noticeable dent.
After he has moved off with the purchase I asked the shopkeeper why the man chose a dented tin.
The shopkeeper said it is the belief of many people that the dented ones are ‘genuine’ as the spurious dealers will not choose them for refilling.
So what will you do when you are exhausted with the dent ones I said surveying the neat cans.
He grinned, took one Ovaltine can, and with a small hammer kept below, made a nice dent, placed it on the shelf, winked and said “We keep on replacing them” .

Thursday, August 12, 2010



Once a Sub-Treasury Officer – a lady- got operated by me for Cataract.[that was before the advent of IOLs] and. I charged her Rs.1,000/- as surgeon fee [that was the fee, then !].

A year later she came to me for operation for the other eye.
I told her that the charge is now Rs.1200/-. She protested against the hike in fees vehemently.
I didn’t say anything as I never liked to barter about it.

After the surgery she handed me an envelope with money.
I opened it the next day and found that there was Rs.1300/-
When she came for follow up I told her about the excess Rs.100/- and returned it.
But she blatantly refused it saying “Sir, I am a Sub-treasury officer. I am sure that I paid you only Rs1200/- You are trying to return me Rs.100/- as I first protested about your fee hike !”.
In vain I tried to convince her but she was adamant about her psychology!!

Sunday, August 8, 2010



The time – when I was making good progress in Private practice-
One day a newly married lady came to me with her husband for refraction as she had headache [No she didn’t mean her husband!].
I thought I have seen her before and asked her what happened to her old glasses.
“What glasses?” she retorted. “This is the first time I am seeing you and I have never worn glasses before. You are confusing me with somebody else.”
I apologized and after refraction prescribed her the necessary glasses.
After two days she came for checking the glasses she had bought and this time she came alone..
“I am very sorry doctor” she apologized.” You were right. I came to you for eye testing about a year back and you did prescribe me glasses. I wore it for some time and because of my marriage I discarded it as we didn’t want the bridegroom or our in-laws to know that.”

A somewhat alike situation much later [You never learn !].
This time a prominent doctor’s wife brought her daughter for some eye ailment and I advised her the necessary treatment.
A few days later I saw her at a social function and enquired about her daughter.
I was surprised to see her squirming and replying like “ Hmmm..she is studying in 3rd standard ..” as if she hasn’t heard me right.
I moved on chatting with other people.
A little later she sought me out and said “ I am very sorry sir. You see Dr.X [another Ophthalmologist] was standing by the side when you asked. He is very helpful to us from the time we came to this town. We came to you for treatment as we heard that you are good.” [That’s right ! Blow the trumpet whenever you can !! ] “I didn’t want him to know that we came to you.”.
Howizzit !!!

Friday, August 6, 2010



One day in my clinic a man aged 43 years accompanied by two ladies 40 and 19 years old respectively came for refraction- eye check up for glasses.
At that time on the first day we used to instill eye drops to dilate the pupils for seeing the interior of the eye and ask them to come next day for Post Mydriatic test – giving time for the pupils to come back to the normal state, examine again and prescribe glasses [now it takes only a few minutes - after the advent of Auto-Refractometer].
After seeing all three of them I said to the man “Please come with your wife and daughter tomorrow for testing again and prescription of glasses.”
As I said it I noticed that all of them appeared shocked.
I was wondering what has happened when the man came out of the trance, paid my fees and walked off without a word.
I was still in stupor when the next patient walked in, a person whom I knew well and said “Well, doctor what did the new bridegroom came for?”
“What bridegroom?’ I asked.
‘The person who just walked out with his two wives.’
“Two wives? ‘ I was still somewhat dazed.
“He didn’t have any child with his first wife and so married a girl recently. They must be on good terms as he had brought both of them.”
Then only it dawned on to my feeble mind the blunder I have caused by calling his second wife as his daughter.
Needless to say they didn’t come the next day.
When I narrated the incident in our coffee room chat session there was good laughter and there was also a lesson to be learnt.
One colleague correctly remarked that I could very well have asked all of them to come the next day without venturing onto their relationship.
I meekly said I thought a personal touch would do well.
Well it didn’t, at least in this case as I poked my nose and got it cut off !!



The period- is just when I had switched to Eye Practice from General Practice.
The practice was just picking up – a polite term for “ee-otting “.
One day a lady patient- wife of a bank employee- one of my regular and loyal patients -came to me for treatment of severe ‘Conjunctivitis’ in both eyes and I prescribed the necessary treatment.
She said she was waiting for her husband, implying that she didn’t have money to pay me.
I told her it is alright.
When the time came for closing the clinic I found her still waiting.
I told her she can pay me later.
As she was on the point of leaving I wondered how she can buy the medicine and asked her whether she had an account with the medical shop. When she denied, I got back my prescription, paid money to my clinic boy and asked him to buy the medicine from the shop in spite of her protests.
I verified the medicines bought, detailed her how to instill the eye drops and went home.
At about 11 p.m. her husband came to our house, thanked me profusely and paid Rs.100/- note to me.
When I asked him why he came at the odd hour to pay me instead of waiting for the next day he said his wife had bombarded him like anything and asked him to pay the entire money tome immediately. She didn’t even allow me to freshen up, he said, grinning.
I told him he had paid a lot of money [in those days Rs.100/- went a long way] and I have to pay him back the change.
He will hear none of it. “We will talk about it later, sir” he said.” Thanks for everything”.
Thereafter I became their patron doctor for everything.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010



I have a soft heart for the Lending Libraries.
One way of showing it is I never claim the deposit amount collected on joining.

When I was doing Diploma in Ophthalmology in Chennai in Egmore Eye Hospital [it is Regional Institute now] I joined a local library nearby.
It was run by a lady and was well stocked with English fiction books.
The deposit amount was Rs.40/- and two books were allowed for borrowing.
Being a voracious reader I was returning the books quickly.
I asked the lady whether I can borrow two more and she readily agreed.
Hence I was borrowing 4 books at a time.

After I finished the Diploma course and settled in Kancheepuram I still used to go the library now and then.
One day I returned the 4 books through a messenger and stopped going to the library.
After 3 years I joined M.S. course in the same institution.
I went to the same library, met the owner lady, said I was an old member and wanted to borrow the books.
She pursued the books and found out that I last visited about 3 years back.
“The deposit is now Rs.100/-“she said.
“That is O.K. I will pay the difference of Rs.60/-“I said.
“No! I can’t allow you that. You have to pay the full amount.”
“Honesty never pays, nowadays!” I said.
“Explain yourself” she said.
“Your records will show that I was borrowing 4 books at a time’
She nodded..
“If I had sold the books in any second hand book shop I would have easily got more than Rs.100/-.
Still I returned the books honestly. But now I am asked to forego my initial deposit amount of Rs.40/-.
Do you think it is fair?” I asked.
She pondered over my statement for sometime, wrote something in the register and said “O.K.! You can borrow 4 books.”
When I proceeded to pay the difference of Rs.60/- she refused it with a smile.
“I just wrote on the register to allow you to take books with your old deposit amount itself so that when you surrender your membership you will be given Rs.40/- only.”
I thanked her and continued to use the library.
Needless to say when I finished the 2 years course and returned to Kancheepuram I didn’t claim the deposit money!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010



When I was doing General Practice one of my patients, a Bank employee [ the reason why I am mentioning his employment will be apparent later] used to ask prescription for his wife or mother, saying that they are unable to come to the clinic.
I will usually oblige saying that if they did not improve they should come to the clinic without fail.
He always paid the full consultation fees for each prescription..
Whenever I asked about the follow up he usually said “Oh! She became alright sir, thanks!”.

Well, one day, a week after a similar prescription he came and said that his wife had not recovered. . When I asked him whether she took the medicine as advised he hesitated and said “No”.
He saw my perplexed face and said that he never bought any medicine which I have prescribed all the time ‘in absentia’.
“I will place your prescription behind “God’s portrait”, pray and do nothing and within 2-3 days my wife would be all right.
This is the first time she didn’t!”
I couldn’t hide my astonishment. “You could very well have done the same without my prescription and could have avoided paying my fees!’ I exclaimed.
“No, sir! That won’t work. Nor will an old prescription” adding the astonishment..
He then brought his wife and I treated her and she became all right.

The practice of issuing prescriptions continued.
The funny thing was when he got transferred to a faraway place he used to come to my clinic once in 6 months or so and get a bunch of prescriptions for his wife and mother for different ailments paying me the consultation fees for every prescription.

James Bond Suitcase


At that time James Bond Movies were making waves and the James Bond type slim suit case was a craze. Though it held onlyminimum contents almost everyone carried one as a prestige.
One doctor- we will call him ‘D’- had one such prize possession.
One day when he traveled in a long distance bus he laid it at his feet and had a foot on it to prevent it sliding off.
Well it created a large dent and he took it to the shop in Chennai for exchange.
The man there enquired how it happened and when D explained it, said as he could not replace the suitcase as it couldn’t withstand the pressure..
D said “Why, I have seen in your advertisement where the suitcase withstands bullets, knife, being thrown from tall buildings and what not and here you are telling me it could not withstand the pressure of my foot.” This he said in Madurai tamil slang in his typical style.
Hearing, the man laughed and agreed to exchange it.
D opened the suitcase to remove the contents before handing it over and on top was his stethoscope.
Seeing it the salesman asked “Are you a doctor?”.
“Yes” D replied..
“But…. you spoke like a native !”
“Because that is the only way you people will understand” he said and walked out with a new suitcase calmly.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010



Those who have worked in Govt. Head Quarters Hospital will know how strenuous the Casualty duty there is.
In our hospital 3 doctors were posted every month in rotation and these 3 will do morning, evening and night duties in shifts. There was no week off at that time.
Taking leave during this posting was unusual and those who did take in unavoidable circumstances had to compensate in doing the duty next month.
One doctor “D” who was on Casualty duty had to go urgently to his native place as his father was serious. He sent the leave letter through a friend and left.
A few days later we learnt that D’s father has expired.
D returned after a week and we offered our condolences.

When he went to the Assistant District Medical Officer’s [ADMO} room to sign the attendance register the ADMO, who was not aware of the cause of his leave, started to bombard him.
I tried to in vain to warn him off by waving my hands behind D but he didn’t notice.
“Are you aware how much trouble you have caused by taking such a long leave during your Casualty posting ?“the ADMO said angrily.
D replied calmly “My father didn’t know, sir!”
“What has your father to do with it?”
“He didn’t know that he should not die when I am doing Casualty, sir” D said and walked out leaving the ADMO speechless.
“Oh! I didn’t know” he blurted. But by that time D had already gone out.
The ADMO sent a messenger after D. But D didn’t pay any heed.



Dr.P joined Govt. Head Quarters Hospital after doing M.D. [O&G]. He was one year senior to me.
In one clinical meeting he spoke about Caesarean Section.
Before the meeting I asked him whether I can ask any questions. He replied he wanted me to do just that as he was sure no one will..
He gave a good presentation speaking about his experience in the hospital.
When he finished his talk as no one raised any question I asked him about the tests for post-maturity and the timing of surgery.
I think he anticipated the question. He mentioned a lot of investigations and always ended up each by saying ‘Of course it is not available in our hospital”

When he was about to finish he said ‘The best diagnostic tool is a good obstetrician’s right index finger”.
It was too good a chance to let off and I immediately said “Of course it is not available in this hospital.’
This brought loud laughter from all. P himself received it graciously with a grin.
Later he told me that the possible riposte struck him also and actually complimented me.

Sunday, July 25, 2010



As soon as I finished house surgeoncy I was posted in a Primary Health Center, as per routine.
It was in Tiruchi district near Karur.
There was already a Medical Officer and I was posted as Family planning officer.
He was senior to me by about 3 years. We will call him “V” hereafter.
We got along well together and as I was a novice I looked forwards to his guidance in administration.

One day a Deputy Director visited our PHC.
Though it was supposed to be a surprise visit, the District Health Officer who was on very good terms with the doctors, leaked the news and we were prepared for it.
The rooms were thoroughly cleaned, family planning and other health posters were prominently displayed and we were in PHC quite early and seeing the out patients.
The DD arrived at bout 10 a.m.
As soon as he entered we saw he was in an agitated mood.
He told us why.
Just a few miles before our village the car has hit a calf-buffalo, which sustained some minor injury and the villagers have surrounded the vehicle angrily. Only after the driver has paid Rs.70/- [quite a large amount in those days] they were allowed to proceed.
I couldn’t help observing that the DD hasn’t offered to pay the money!

The DD said that we must be quite influential and well known in the area and asked us to find the person, get the money and return it to the driver.
I was perplexed as to how to find the concerned person.
But Dr V said calmly. “Oh! Don’t worry sir! We can do it easily. Please carry on with your inspection.”
“I will carry on with this doctor” he replied pointing to me. “You do the needful immediately.”
V left the room.
I stayed with the DD for sometime. As I was interested to know what V was doing, I went outside.
One PHC employee told me that V was standing behind the Quarters.
I went and saw that V was calmly smoking.
I asked him what he had done to find the person concerned.
He stared at me.
“How can we? “he asked. “Even if we did find out do you think he will repay the money?”
I was also thinking on the same line and asked “So what are we going to do?”
“We have to pay the money. There is no other way.
You go in and keep the DD company. I will come after some time.”

As promised he came to the room later, looking busy, with Rs.70/- in his hands and with a broad smile.
He said the person has come and paid the money to him immediately.
The DD was very pleased.
“I know that you doctors will be famous and influential here.
By the way where is the person?” he queried.
“I told him that you are an important officer from Madras and he ran away thinking that we might hand over him to the police.”
Needless to add the DD was very happy, the inspection went on smoothly and we got good remarks !!
Full marks to V for his presence of mind.

Friday, July 23, 2010



During our house surgeoncy we went on a 3 days trip to Bangalore, Mysore and Ooty.
It was a novelty as nobody has tried it before.
We were apprehensive of getting leave as in many units they allowed only 2 house surgeons to go on leave as they feared that work will be affected.
Dr.J.K. was an excellent clinician and teacher but also known for his strictness and harsh words..
Somehow I was selected to plea for the leave [scapegoat!].
During admission day just after OP hours we approached our chief.
I said “Sir. The house surgeons have all planned to go on a 3 day trip to Bangalore, Mysore and Ooty. Our senior assistant said he can spare only 2 of us."
Dr.J.K. stared at us first. We were just bracing for a scathing remark when he surprised us all by his reply.
He turned to his assistants and said “It is a good opportunity, you know. This is once in a lifetime chance they are having. They should all go. Convert all medications to oral. Post PGs for duties. Free them all for the trip."
Our joy knew no bounds. All of us except one lady who was newly married, went for the trip.
MS first said that he was not willing to make the trip. But seeing that all of us are going he feared that he would be burdened with all the work and he also came.
The trip was also very memorable but not as much as the fourth year trip.
Perhaps the future was mystifying us.



One day in the dressing room in Operation Theatre I heard our Asst. discussing with the PG something about treatment of Tetanus. When I asked them they said they were wondering whether Penicillin is active against Tetanus bacilli.
I said it is very much active and that is why we are giving it to Tetanus patients in ID ward..
"Otherwise, why should we give it?" I asked.
The PG said that it might be given for secondary infections. I refused to accept it and said if Penicillin is not active then we should have been giving some antibiotic which is active.
They remained silent for sometime and the PG said to the Asst. that he will verify the text book and tell him the next day.
I intervened and said "What is there to refer? I am sure that Penicillin is active against Tetanus." and walked out.
Later one senior house surgeon who was present told me that their faces were a sight to behold after my vehement statement.
I quietly referred the text book and was relieved to find what I said was true.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010



For surgery we were posted in Prof.P.V.G unit. We all did good work, enjoyed it and were appreciated.
One admission day a case was transferred from medical unit as 'acute funiculitis'.
All of us examined the case and agreed with the diagnosis except RS.
He said it looked like 'Strangulated Inguinal hernia”. The senior assistant examined the case again but remained firm in his original opinion.
When the chief came for night rounds he showed the case and described it as 'funiculitis' referred from medical unit.
When the chief was about to cross over to the next bed [without examining] the assistant added in a joking manner "Our house surgeon here thinks it is strangulated inguinal hernia".
The chief examined the case by moving the cord slightly with his thumb and forefinger and immediately said "Take him up for surgery !".
Our assistant was lamenting why he said about RS's opinion and it is all a waste of time and we will find only inflamed cord.
But on opening he found to his surprise that it was indeed strangulated inguinal hernia.
To his credit he immediately said that all honor should go to RS.
All of us congratulated RS.

Sunday, July 18, 2010



On one admission day in the late night hours I saw a lady patient with breathlessness in Casualty.. I diagnosed it as pleural effusion, admitted in female medical ward [in which I was working] and showed it to the assistant Dr.V.
He agreed with the diagnosis with reservation and asked me to take an emergency X-ray.

I was very confident about the diagnosis and protested vainly saying that the patient is dypnoeic and ought to be aspirated right away.
We took emergency X-ray which confirmed the pleural effusion, went to the DAP quarters and showed it to him.
He asked me whether I can do the aspiration. When I said I was eagerly waiting for it he checked whether I knew the procedure and permitted me.
I and R went to the ward and got the 3 -way adapter [it was a luxury at that time].

When I hit the intercostal space clear straw colored fluid gushed through and the patient felt comfortable immediately.
"Makes you feel proud, eh?” said R who was present with me from the beginning.
I nodded happily.
"Yes" came the voice from the assistant who had come quietly and had been watching the procedure.“I wish I had your confidence!” [Nothing like blowing your own trumpet whenever possible !!]

Thursday, July 15, 2010



Once B got a memo to attend a diabetic coma patient in his ward.
When he came back I wanted to pull his leg by asking whether he had tested for Ketone bodies in urine as I was sure he wouldn't have remembered the procedure. B didn't reply to my question and just glared.
When I repeated the question he shouted "Are you mad? I am telling you he was in coma. How could I test his urine?'
This surprised all of us and I said he has committed a blunder. He should have catheterized and tested the urine as we never knew whether the patient was in hypo or hyperglycaemia.
I asked him what treatment he had given. He said he has injected 40 units of Plain and Lente Insulin..
I said “Don’t bother! If he had hypoglycaemia he would have been dead by now!"
B muttered something and lied down.
But he couldn't sleep and soon dressed up and went to the ward again.
About an hour later he came back, said “Brick red" and lied down again.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010



During ward rounds in medical ward, our chief on going through a case sheet, called the concerned house surgeon and remarked -
‘You see! The patient might have had severe vomiting. But regardless of how many times he vomits you must put only one‘t’ in the vomiting.”
The way he taught us remains fresh to this day and I am never in doubt as to whether to put one or two‘t’ in vomiting.
Well, some people have a way of saying that keeps.

Saturday, July 10, 2010




In the House surgeon's quarters I shared the room with four others.
Once, C was sleeping peacefully at 8 a.m. as usual, his big brother came to see him from his native town and when he saw him still sleeping he asked whether he was on night duty.
C immediately grabbed at the excuse offered and nodded to our amusement.

C was in the habit of smoking when going to toilet [like many].
He was smoking a cigarette and when his brother also came to the bath room.
C immediately hid the cigarette behind his back. But his brother persisted “What? Is that smoke? " to which C replied calmly " Yes. It is smoke, and brought the cigarette in front and started smoking.
Later C said to us “I paid him due respect. But he didn’t heed it.”

Tuesday, July 6, 2010



In the final year in OG [Obstetrics and Gynaecology] posting Dr.S usually took clinics for us.
MS was in our batch and he used to ponder over her questions and answer as if he thought it over .I learnt later that he and some ladies used to wait for sometime after we have left and ask her what subject she will take the next day.
One day she was talking about surgical management of “Prolapse uterus”. I was not able to volunteer any answer for the questions she asked. At one time she was mentioning about Colporraphy and the Lefort's operation.
The raphy is square shaped she said. “Or inverted triangle" I said, glad at last that I was able to contribute something.
"Inverted triangle?" she queried.” Where did you read that?”
Actually I saw the illustration when I was browsing through some college magazine in the library.
As I couldn't say it so, I said I read in some book which I didn't remember.
“Don't gas!” she retorted.
I said I will let her know the name of the book next day.
That night I went to the library but I couldn't find the magazine.
I went to the librarian and asked for advanced books on Gynaec surgery.
He told me to see Operative Gynaecology by Te Linde which is available in Reference section only.
I went there, took the book and saw to my relief that the ‘Inverted triangle’ method was indeed described in detail.
I wrote the name of the book, the author and the page number.
Dr.S didn't ask me about the matter in the next clinic.
Even in the next clinic she forgot to ask.
I thought of volunteering the information but refrained thinking it will take away the drama..
So I waited.
At last she remembered the matter and asked “On that day you mentioned about some procedure you read in some book and said you will refer and tell me. Did you refer?"
I said “Yes. Madam. It is given in Operative Gynaecology by Te Linde in page no. 232! ".
She was astonished. 'You read Te Linde ?" she asked.
“Only for reference, to clear some doubts." I said non-chalantly.
She couldn't come out of the amaze. "You read Te Linde !" she said again and again.
My classmates regarded me curiously as they have never heard of the book [nor myself till then!].
Her perception about me changed dramatically.
From then onwards when I said anything she used to accept it even though it was a remote possibility.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010



This poem was composed by me in final year.
I showed it to one or two of my friends who passed such lurid comments that I shelved it. It was retrieved only a few years back.


I felt wonderful, having passed Pathology
Forensic Medicine and of course Ophthalmology
Wielding my steth I walked into the ward
Thinking to pass Pathology is not so hard.

But when I saw the cases I was baffled
Here are to me mysteries unraveled
What is this case with a tumor in the arm
Can it be inflammatory as it is so warm ?

Diagnosing it as an abscess I drifted to the back
As the chief wade his way into the student pack
A junior started to present the case
Though young in years he did it with ease

"Stop" said the chief " I will hear"
"From a student in final year"
I stayed mum my thoughts in yester year
Till my friends pointed me out in the rear.

Smiling outwards I stepped forward in vain
Every nerve in me under strain
Unfolding the history I mentioned about pain
Among the symptoms I stressed it is the main

Hearing with patience the chief at last asked
What will you do if on you the case is tasked?
"Incision and drainage, by the method Hilton"
Said I without a thought, like a simpleton.

"Any suggestions" asked the chief looking about
And my good old friend instantly blurted out
"Investigations, sir" he said looking stout
"Must be done as the case is in doubt"

"Excellent" remarked the chief, which made me mad
As I turned my eyes on the young lad
He was well clad and no doubt was glad
I deserved it, I thought as I had done bad.

They finally arrived at the diagnosis sarcoma
And decided to treat by the rays gamma
At last came an end to the melancholy drama
When it was all over I was half in coma.

Many cases doth one see in a year
Some at least to all were queer
How one manages to pass exam is not clear
Thinking of the burden the student has to bear
Relentlessly draws the exam near and near
And the student waits in dread and fear.

Sunday, June 13, 2010



During our fourth year we went on a trip to Courtallum,Trivandrum and Kanyakumari.
The trip was very memorable. It was the first time the gents and ladies mixed together and talked more or less freely.
As usual we got two Assistant Professors, a gent and a lady to sign up for the trip but warned them not to come and stay at home.

The boys boarded the bus first and then we went to the ladies hostel.
When they started boarding one boy asked ‘AR’ whether the lady warden has allowed the girls to go on the trip.
AR sang ' Poi va Magale, poi vaa !' and was loudly received.
But there was a huge uproar when the retort came aptly with a song " Avalaa sonnal !Irukkathu! Nambamudyavillai !!"
We were surprised by the ingenuity.
Later AR confided that it was preplanned. Anyway it was very good.

During the trip we sang many cine songs. Sometimes the ladies also sang.
We always sang as a group. My voice isn't worth mentioning but I remembered the lyrics better..
Once we heard a lady's voice singing in a low tone.
The boys - JP and others stood up to have a look to know who the singer was and the singing stopped suddenly.
JP immediately said ' En paatai nirthivittai ?. Un isaiyai ketka ododi vantha ennai ematrathey Santha ?" as in Konchum Silanagai film song "Singaravelane Deva".
There was a huge uproar and the incident was told again and again.

During our Trivandrum trip we visited the zoo.
It was quite large and we were strolling by passing comments. J was accompanying our batch. When we came to a cage with bears we found them restless, rattling the iron railings.
J wanted to impress the ladies who were coming alongside and commented in a loud voice “ S, see, your friends are there!”
A suitable retort came to my mind [usually it will come to me only after 24 hrs!] and I said facing the bears “Hi, J !! Don’t worry. They will feed you soon!”
In Trivandrum we were staying in a lodge.
When we went for lunch outside, we noted that R has left his transistor in the room and being a novelty at that time we took it along. As such it was the center of attraction also in the hotel we dined.
When we returned to the lodge R was waiting anxiously and when he saw us he came running happily.
We first thought that he was happy to see us and were thrilled. Actually he was worried when he didn’t find his transistor and was relieved when he saw it in our hands!!!

It was also in Trivandrum that M was caught for his 'proficiency' of Malayalam language.
He was always boasting that he knew the language well.
In the morning we wanted to buy some coconut oil and took M to a nearby store and told him to ask for 200 ml of oil in Malayalam.
He did so and we saw the shopkeeper looking very perplexed.
Then we came to know that M has actually asked for 200 Liters of oil.
We had a good laugh and narrated the incident to all making M the laughing stock of the day in spite of his vociferous protests that it was just a slip of his tongue!!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010



Dr.R one of our demonstrator in second year is well known for his English knowledge.
His howlers are very famous !!
Here are a few -

Met me after the class
If you don’t get out I will ask the Principal to get out !
You took too much latent period !
Why are you rotating the verandah?
I talk, he talk why you talk middle, middle?
Yesterday I saw you in the cinema theatre with my own wife.

Monday, May 31, 2010


Our college hosted a Flood-lit Volley Ball tournament – open to all colleges in the state.
This was mainly due to the fact that we had a very good team with star players which usually won in the tournaments.
There was good participation and the various team members were put up in the common halls in the hostel.
Many teams were from suburban and Madurai seemed to be a big city for them.
One night some players wanted to go to an English movie and were directed to me for guidance.
When they asked me I advised them to see “The Sound of Music” which was running to packed house.
They thanked me and left for the 9-30 p.m. show.
A few minutes later one of them returned as he forgot to take his wallet.
Taking it he turned to me and asked ‘There will be lot of fighting scenes, eh?”
Before I could come out of astonishment he had left.
I gaped at my room mate.
He chuckled and said “Better go to sleep before they return back from the movie and show their wrath.”
I did.
The next morning their faces were a sight to behold and I spuriously avoided them.


Anatomy Dissection- the nightmare of all the students -where even bright students sometimes fail - the next ordeal being only the final year clinical.
I got 'Exposure of dorsum of foot' and was quite happy about it.
My friend X got 'Adductor Canal' [later he confided that he got 'Dorsum of foot’ but he put the slip back and picked another!]. X is a good student but on that day he was very nervous and was unsure of any and everything.
We were given the same body and the same lower limb.
I started dissecting right away but X was asking me repeatedly about the procedure and other things..
The dissection was progressing nicely and when the external examiners went out for coffee the tutors immediately came for help.
X called the tutor for help..
After some time I overheard X muttering something under his breath.
When I asked him he told me that if I didn't know something I ought to keep my mouth shut and not misguide him making him fail. On persuasion I found out that the tutor has wrongly named a nerve in Adductor canal.
I said to X that I am sure about what I said [I think it was "Nerve to Sartorius" ] and asked him to call the tutor again and check.
He called the tutor again and the tutor named the nerve wrong again..
I immediately intervened and said that he was wrong.
The tutor got confused and said that he will go and verify and come again..
That he did and returned shortly.. He said that I was right and asked X to get help from me thereafter.
X passed the exam and to his credit he was always ready to acknowledge my part for his success in that exam.

Thursday, May 27, 2010



In our MBBS course at that time [Integrated- 5 ½ years] second year exam comprising Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry was very tough to clear being superseded only by the final year exam.
Five of us after remitting the exam fees for second year were met by our senior friend on our way back..
He exclaimed why we have done so in Rahukalam – a period where no one does anything new as they are prone for disaster...
Our faces fell and we were dismayed. Then we consoled ourselves that as we were all good students {?} it was very unlikely that all five would fail.
It so happened that all five of us passed the exam without any difficulty.
Then the funny sequel followed.
We made a habit of tendering the exam fees, all five together and only at Rahukalam for the ensuing exams!
Our success continued unabated through out.

Monday, May 10, 2010



When I was in my Under Graduate period in Madurai Medical College on one vacation I went to Chennai to see my close school friend who has joined in a city college. Having decided to go to a movie we went to the Electric Train Station and stood in the queue with him in front.
But when we approached the ticket counter I was in for a shock as I saw him purchase only one ticket.
With a heavy heart lamenting that times have changed him, I proceeded to buy a ticket.
But he caught my hand and pulled me put of the queue.
“What are you doing?” he hissed.
“Buying a ticket” I said a bit harshly.” I saw you purchase only one ticket!”.
“Yes “he replied. “That ticket is for you. I already have a season ticket.”
Then only the truth dawned on me. Though I pleaded and asked for his forgiveness he was relentless.
“How can you even think of me buying a ticket only for myself? “he fumed. “Is that how you rate our friendship?”
Needless to say the evening was ruined.
But that incident taught me one thing. Never to take anything on face value and to find a possible explanation.

A second incident proved how right it is..
One of my close relative did not attend my son’s wedding [such a long gap!]. Nor there was any news about his absence.
After a few months I saw him in a relative’s marriage.
My initial intention was to turn away and avoid him.
But remembering the train incident I approached him and after exchanging pleasantries said how much we missed him in our son’s wedding.
He nodded and said he lost his daughter-in-law in a traffic accident just two days before my son’s marriage and that is why he didn’t attend.
I was shocked and said that I never knew.
He said he asked the relatives not to convey the news to me as it would spoil my happiness in my son’s wedding.
Let him hear it in due course he had said.
Such magnanimity even in such dire circumstance.
At least I didn’t make a fool of myself, being saved by remembering the train incident.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010



I had a friend in 2nd year who was also from Chennai.. We will call him “N’.
My father and I went and saw him. As I was late for admission in hostel there was no vacancy in any room and I was allotted common hall in A Block.
When we entered the hostel there were many first year students and a lot of seniors were enquiring about them, with some restraint as they, like me, were accompanied by their fathers.
I said that I had come only to see N and they left me with a curious look.
But at last I was trapped by one senior..
We were horrified to look at the senior hostellers. Their dress - if you can call that -with raised lungies, with an inevitable cigarette perked in the corner of the mouth, the language they used -were a revolt.
Father left for Chennai on the same day.

Regarding ragging everybody was cautioning me that it is the worst part and all that.
But at that time I was more worried about the fact that I have to be parted from my parents for the first time in my life. I felt so homesick that ragging was of secondary importance.
N gave me very good advice on how to face the ragging. ‘Be polite. Don't try to avoid them by going outside and returning late to the hostel. They will wait for you and catch you and will only make it worse. The sooner you know them the better. Most of them will become good friends and some will even protect you’.

In a way I looked forward to ragging because I was sure that I would meet some of my schoolmates from Rangoon, Burma .
Almost all my school mates there had ambition to become doctors or engineers and were from southern part of Tamilnadu.
So I dutifully narrated my schooling in Rangoon and this I think took off the sting as they immediately became interested and asked for details about Burma.
Some used to call me “Hi, Burma" when they saw me again.

N took me to the then local stalwarts, who terrified the hostel but were his good friends- One of them immediately took to me saying that I resembled his sister's son and ordered me to call him "Mama' [ uncle] all the time. He also said that if I faced any difficulty in ragging I should tell the persons that he is my Mama and I have to be in his room shortly.
Well it escaped me from some tight situations. I called him Mama all through and he always responded by saying "Marumagane" [son-in-law as per term but here means nephew]. Both of them were [are] actually very good persons and became my best friends.

Almost all students, even his classmates believed that I was his true relation.
I also began to take advantage of it when the ragging became unruly.
I always said that my Mama wanted me to come to his room and I was already late. True, some seniors resented but they were not bold enough to call the bluff.

Sometimes very good questions were asked.
One of them was whether the dog in “His Master’s Voice” Record was male or female.
When I was first asked the Q, I was taken back.
As they repeated the Q and asked me to use my brain- which was on the blink- it dawned on to me that the dog was male.
When I replied so I was asked to explain and I said that as it is His Master’s Voice it was a male dog.
The other common Q was whether “The Illustrated Weekly” was a monthly or fortnightly or weekly magazine?
Silly as it may sound due to the tension many missed the answer.

When the ragging was in full flow in a room somehow it was made out that I was good in English and studied in a foreign English school.Soon a gent entered the room and asked "Where is that convent boy?".
On seeing me he immediately blurted out “I don't believe you studied in a convent"[I must have looked very impressive!!].
Then after asking some Questions [in English of course] he was convinced a bit and said that he will ask a difficult Q and if I answered it correctly he will leave me.
Then he said the following very fast-
“The first of the first is the first of you!
The first of the last is the last of you!
And in between or two OOs !
That is you! Am I right?”
Then he glared at me.
Even in that circumstance I tried to suppress my smile as it was kinder garden stuff in our school. The usual retort is “No. It is you." But I was afraid to say it as he might get angry. He misunderstood my silence thinking that I didn't know the answer and started to ask it again. But I stopped him saying that I know the answer.
So tell me he said.
I said it will be impolite to say it is you, sir!
He became very subdued, shook hands with me and left.
Others were perplexed.
They have seen him talking tip of tongue English before and the same prank being played on the freshers and to their knowledge nobody has answered it.
So they asked me and I explained it patiently.
After hearing it they said “Is that all? Was he making such show for this little thing?”

It seems others were not happy with his toppity English talk and thereafter whenever he started the prank with a fresher they will say in chorus “Tell him it is you!”

Ragging as they usually say is bad. May be it is. But for some, especially me, it was good.
Good in the sense that many seniors were actually very nice people.
Once the ragging was over they became good friends. Whenever they saw me they called me by name and enquired about my welfare, my studies and about my parents.
When my uncle visited me, about 6 months later, he was surprised to be guided by almost everyone he asked.
“Oh! That boy from Madras, who did his schooling in Burma-he is in room number 99!”
My uncle was very surprised and exclaimed that I was very famous, as everybody seems to know me very well.

I stayed in the common hall for only 2 days as I was allotted room 99. B, two years senior to me who was in room 99 came and saw me.
The custom in the hostel was that you couldn’t stay in the room without the senior’s permission.
After the usual questions he said that I could come and occupy the room the next day itself..
There I met “I” who was also in first year but in A batch.
There were only 2 cots and I had to sleep on the table at night.
“I” and I became thick friends sharing all and keeping no secret.
He knew about my economic state, my friends and was a gem of a friend.
The ‘was’ is because he is no more now.

I met him after a gap of 30 years when he came to Chennai from UK for his brother’s son’s marriage at Tambaram..
He visited my home with his brother.
When he introduced him to me I forestalled him saying his brother’s full name [first, last and middle !]..
He was very pleased and tapped his head saying ‘memory-memory’ as I used to astonish him a few times with my memory power in the hostel repeating word for word what I read in the textbooks.
My wife lamented saying that I was always talking about my hostel friends and even went and saw room 99 in the hostel recently.
Hearing this he laughed, cast a knowing look on me and said that he also went and saw the room the year before.
His sons who accompanied him said to him that they could understand him visiting the room but couldn’t understand why he wanted to see the toilets also!!
I said I missed that part!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


In Burma there is a festival called "Yerappo" which is a water festival celebrated praying God for rains.
It is somewhat akin to the Holi festival the main difference being that only plain water is used.
The festival lasts for 4 days, the first three days being celebrated in increasing crescendo of water spraying on all the people who walk in the streets irrespective of age, religion nationality or sex.
The emergency taps meant for fire will be opened in all the streets and people mainly boys but lots of adults also will flock there armed with buckets, cans, water pipes of different sizes and other items.
Some will have water pistols loaded with scented water meant for the fairer sex. .
All the offices, schools, colleges will be closed. We, the boys will be longing for the festival and will partake in it with full vigor from morning to evening becoming completely drenched.
All the vehicles will be stopped, including buses and all the people will be sprayed with water. Some people will dodge and run and will be relentlessly chased. Usually nobody objects or gets angry.

Some people hire Lorries and vans and carry the people armed with the water pipes, and drums full of water often iced.
It will be stopped in all the streets and there will be a battle of water spraying.
The people in the Lorries or jeeps will be of a mixed lot with many ladies. They will jeer and ridicule the ground people. Many times they will sing Kana songs!

In its midst there will be a separate kind of celebration.
Lorries will come decorated of the kind we see here in Independent day parade.
There will be only a small hole for the driver to see and drive but then they are driven only slowly.
Nobody sprays water on them. The men and women will be clad in fancy dresses. Each street will have a stage decorated as in the political meeting here. As the decorated vehicles arrive one by one, each will stop in front of the stage and they will perform dances to the tune of their local orchestra. After that, the stage people will perform their dances, usually by the local teenage girls and boys! This will go on for all three days and nights...
The water spraying completely stops at 6 p.m. after which only the dances continue sometimes going on till midnight.
In the fourth day the water spraying also stops. Only the dances are performed and this time the vehicles will come and see whether they have won prizes assessed by the local judges.
The winners [there will be many] will again dance, this time with renewed vigor. . The stages will also be assessed by a touring group of judges and will be given prizes..
The vehicles [they would have won prize in one place or other] will pass through shouting and singing showing off their cups and shields. It is truly a wonderful spectacle!!

Water Festival-Rangoon

Water festival-Rangoon

Monday, April 12, 2010



Cycling is an integral part of every boy's life. Mine wasn't any exception. There was nothing unusual about it.
I started to learn cycling when I was in 4 th standard in 50th street in Rangoon. Being a precious child I was strictly admonished from cycling. I used to gape at my friends who used to ride on hired cycles and watch their feats in awe.
One day I could restrain no longer. There was a play ground two streets away and as luck would have it the hire cycle shop was just opposite. So one fine day I took the cycle for hire for the customary half-an-hour. My friends were around me, the teachers, the learners, the watchers, the ridiculers etc. I was hoisted on the cycle. As any hire cycle that cycle was typical; without brake, bell, and proper pedal. Anyway it had two wheels and it ran and that is what mattered. My friends were on either side holding the cycle and running alongside offering me last minute advice, look straight, keep your back straight, don't look down, don't lean etc.

The ground was very vast, often used to play football.
It had an iron pole on a side being one of the two used for tying the volley ball net. I stared at it and thought- “Oh God! Let it not come in my way!”
It was too far away and on one side and quite unlikely that it would come in the way, I said to myself. But as one must have guessed, to my and my friends' horror I made a beeline for the pole. In trying to avoid falling I was cycling faster and faster leaving my assistants well behind though they were trying their level best running to catch up with me.

I and my cycle collided with a bang right on target on the pole. I escaped with minor injuries. But the cycle had grievous injuries.
The front wheel was bent and the handle bar was also slightly bent. We were afraid to meet the cycle shop owner as he might [and rightly] demand damage charges. So a spy was dispatched to observe the shop, to report when the owner will take a break. When we learnt that the owner has gone inside his house we rushed to the shop with the cycle and handed it over coyly to his wife who remarked that we had returned the cycle a good five minutes earlier! That should have made her suspicious!!
Well we cautiously returned after a week to the cycle shop and to our relief found that the owner didn't remember the damage.
Emboldened we resorted back to our adventure.
But I couldn't keep my cycling feats secret any longer. Having guilt conscious, I explained to my parents that I have started to learn cycling. I assured them that I am cycling only in the ground and never on the road which was quite true. My father listened and passed the judgment. “It is all right so long as you stick to the grounds for your cycling". Then one day when I was cycling I saw him on the side watching me. He went to the cycle shop owner and asked him to let me have the cycle whenever I wanted to but see to it that I cycle only in the grounds and to confiscate the cycle if I venture outside.

A rejoinder. After we returned to India my brother had to go for work in a cycle. But he didn't know cycling. Hence my father and I had to teach him -running along the cycle and so forth and in his age and my father’s it was quite exasperating!
Running out of breath my father fumed and said “Whatever was he doing in his school
days without learning cycling?"
I replied chuckling “Paying heed to your words! Remember you were against us learning cycling."
My father glared at me." But you learnt!"
“Yes". I said. "That was because I went against your word. It seems at times it is better not to follow elder's words to the core!”
He glared at me again and seemed to retort something. Then he suddenly smiled and said “Well, you might be right, at that!!”

Sunday, April 11, 2010



I think everybody will have an urge to act [on the stage, I mean] at one time or other in his life.
When I was in 8th standard, I wanted to be on stage very much. So I contacted my classmate G who is a great Tamil scholar, orator and actor
He used to stage dramas every year in the Pongal festival and had already started preparations for his drama called "Ruzo" a Greek hero. .
Since I pestered him he agreed to give me a small part as a soldier who has to appear in only two scenes and had only scant dialogues. But I was thrilled and went dutifully for rehearsals which took place near his house.
Though it interfered with my reading hours my parents actually encouraged me.
Unfortunately I had fever and could not attend school or the rehearsal for a week.
When I attended the school again and contacted G he told me that he had removed me from the part and had given it to some other person.
Though I explained that it was not my fault he refused to accept it.

When I was lamenting about this in the USIS library to my classmate M he asked why not stage a drama ourselves. I replied we don't know anything about acting or anything connected with it.
At that time it was the custom to select a maximum of two dramas from one class. Already there was a drama about farmers, which was on full flow and which was a surer for selection. If we put forward a drama then it has to be better than the Ruzo to be selected.
We thought all about it and carefully and cunningly formulated a fool-proof plan.
First we selected a small English drama called "Romulus and Remus" from a book in the library itself.
It was about friendship between two heroes.
We made sure that there were only a few characters, few scenes, and small dialogues and most important the drama must be in English.
Then the master stroke of it all.
We went to our class teacher [who we knew will be one of the selectors!] and asked her to be the director for our play. She accepted it gladly.
The rehearsals took place in her home and she directed us while the other students, who have come for tuition, gazed helplessly.
The costumes were our teacher's sarees !!
Needless to say our drama was selected over Ruzo and we earned the full wrath of G.

The D-Day came.
We entered the stage with our hearts in our mouths, full of stage fear. Like well oiled machines we just rattled off the dialogues with stiff motions.
It was doubtful whether people could follow the dialogues but we were past caring.
The drama was at last over and there was thunderous applause mainly from our well wishing friends.
The climax came at the end with the Pongal drama securing the first prize and ours second mainly because it was the only English Drama and as the teacher said -"it had to be encouraged”!!

Our thirst for acting was forever quenched.
My parents were very proud of it and used to narrate it to the disconsolate audience whenever they could, much to my discomfort.

Ruzo was staged next year.

Hole In The Pocket

One day in Rangoon, Burma [I was about 13 years old then ] I went alone to a wayside pavement stall and took some Burmese dish.
It was a bit far from home and not our usual loitering place but I just wanted to try the shop.
After finishing the food the owner asked for money.
When I put my hand inside my pants pocket I was in for a jolt as it had a huge hole. I had lost my money and my immediate concern was how to get out of the predicament.

I tried to lie out of it saying that I have already paid the money. But he didn’t believe me and asked to whom I paid to.
I saw his wife a bit further off handling the food and replied that I paid the money to her thinking that he would let me go off with that.
But he called her and asked for confirmation.
She looked hard at me and said yes, much to my relief.

However my consciousness was bothering me and the next day I decided to go and pay the money.
I waited awhile till the woman was alone and approached her.
I gave her the money and told her the story.
She said that she knew that I haven’t paid the money.
She further said that I didn’t look like a cheater and has lied for some reason and had backed me up.
At that time the man has returned and wanted to know what was going on.
When she told the whole story he was very pleased. Both of them insisted on giving a free dish.
I ate in their food stall a few more times more as a thanks giving gesture though it was a bit far and every time they used to serve me with a large helping!!


In Rangoon during the week ends the boys lead by me, used to go to English films.
One day one of my friends J came to the film with us for the 12-30 p.m.[AN} show.
While returning he said that he had not obtained permission from his parents and asked us not to go via his house. We didn’t pay any heed to his plea and proceeded to march ahead. So he asked us not to tell them that he came for the film and went off in a different route.
We agreed to that.

When our gang was passing by his house his mother hailed us. We told her that we are returning from seeing a film.
She asked where his son was. When I said he didn’t come for the film she didn’t say anything.
The next day when J came for playing I told him about his mother’s query and asked him whether she enquired him about going to the film.
He grinned and said. “Since you said I haven’t been to the film she didn’t ask me about it. You see, everyone in our house says that you always speak the truth.”
On hearing it instead of being elated I was very much dismayed that I had lied to a person who has such high opinion about me.


An incident occurred in 7th standard.
In 7th standard in history period [ugh!] the teacher was teaching something
I was busy doing something by folding the paper [called Origami]. The teacher caught me and asked me to stand up [no, not on the bench- we were too old for that]. Then he proceeded to give me a thorough pasting.
He ended up by saying “I don't know what you are going to become?”
I have been listening sheepishly and was in half trance and blurted out instantly " Doctor, sir!”
This brought laughter from all of my classmates. But the teacher looked at me intently, waited till the laughter subsided and said." You have to understand the zeal in this boy" amidst the silence that suddenly transcended.
"He must be fiercely determined to say such thing like that spontaneously even under duress" He looked hard at me and said “Study well and I think you will attain your goal!".
I used to ponder over his statement often, as it was made under adverse circumstances.
I now look back seeing how farsighted he was and how accurate his forecast was.


I remember the first Tamil debate I attended ‘ Whether Hindi is required or not?”
One student , who spoke against Hindi imposition stole the show when he thundered
“ Kondavalai vittuvittu, kandavaludan thirivadha?” amidst loud cheering and thumping [translated it means why go after another woman when you have your wife].

The other debate was titled ‘Whether higher studies are possible in Tamil?”
A spoke for the team as ‘not possible’- saying that many words in English could not be translated properly in Tamil and gave ‘culture’ as an example.
He was severely back lashed by G, who said that ‘ Tamil astrologers had found out a connection between the stars and the people long ago which the westerners have started learning only now. He confided to me later that he gave that example as the Tamil teacher, who was presiding over the debate, was interested in Astrology.
He added that ‘Tamil is a vast ocean and it is not correct to say that there is no correct word to translate the word culture. People like A, who struggle to get pass mark in Tamil, should not pass judgment just like that.’
This brought loud cheers and a smile in Tamil teacher’s face. Though A tried to amend it in his windup speech, G won the first prize hands down.


I never scored a full 100 though my L.K.G. teacher encouraged me a lot. She was the one who encouraged me to draw and bring the artist inside me. I used to make some mistake in one sum or other.
In seventh standard in the Half Yearly exam we were given 16 sums to solve out of 20. The general complaint was that the time was not sufficient.
Few days later during the class I was surprised when the teacher called out my number. When I stood up he said "Why don't you read what is written in the Question paper first instead of straightaway barging and answering. You must spend at least ten minutes to read and reread the Q -paper. It's always worth it."

Then he turned to the class. “You all said that time was not sufficient for you to do 16 sums. Here is one student who has solved all the 20 sums.”
To the astonished class he continued “He has also put me in a sort of predicament. You see he has got one sum wrong and I don't know how to value the paper. Whether to take the correct 16 sums, or take the first 16 sums."
There were loud shouts from my friends who vociferously appealed that I must be given 100 or even more. The master was un-swayed and said he will think of something.
When the papers were given I was dismayed to see the marks calculated on a % basis and given 95. My friends objected but the master said that he has not calculated as for 16 but for 20 so the reduction was only 5. Further, he said it will teach me to read the Q-paper always well before answering.
It did. Thereafter I never misunderstood any Q in the Q- paper in my life!!
In the D.O. Exam some candidates mistook the question on Ptosis as Proptosis as the latter was expected.


In the10th standard- in Commercial Geography period we were suddenly asked to write the monthly test. I was caught unprepared. There were 2 Questions and I knew the answer for only one. It was about drawing the world map and marking some places. I drew the map and marked what all I knew and submitted the paper. After the test was over, my friends remarked that the teacher was standing just behind me all the time watching intently my drawing.
By this time everyone knew that I was her pet student mainly because of my drawing.

When the papers were returned after valuation I found that I got 9 out of 25 and I have failed, the pass mark being 10 [40%]. The usual custom was the concerned student who got the border mark will approach the teacher and she will invariably add the grace mark for pass. Sometimes even the students who got 8 marks will approach for grace marks and it will be dealt with according to the mood of the teacher.
A pass is important, as it will decide the ranking. At that time nobody else got 9 marks though there were 2 who got 8.
Everyone urged me to approach the teacher for the grace mark. As I was her favorite student there was never any doubt that she will add up the mark.
But I refused.
My contention was that I have not done well in the test and that is why I got 9 marks. The teacher knew me only too well and if she had wanted to she could very well have given 10.So it was her intention to convey that she was not pleased with my performance.
Since I did not approach for the grace nark the two students who got 8 and were waiting for me, lost hope and returned to their seats.
After the class was over the teacher called me and asked me to prepare the mark list for her to sign and give it to the Head Master the next day.
Good opportunity said one of my friends. Enter your mark as 10 and when you are getting her signature tell her, he said.
I still refused.
About half-hour later she came and called me from the class.
"I have to go on leave for 3 days urgently" she said." Have you prepared the mark list?".
I said "No."
“OK!" she said "I will sign a blank paper and give it to you. Fill the mark list and give it to the Head Master without fail."
She then gave me a blank signed paper. When I told this to my friend he was elated! Enter your mark as 10 and give it to HM, he said.
I, of course, refused, entered the mark list correctly and gave it to HM.
Three days later I saw the teacher.
I went to her and said I have handed over the mark list to the HM.
"Ok" she said.
Just when I was leaving she said "Oh. I forgot. You got 9 marks, isn't it?"
I concurred.
“I wanted to add 1 mark and make it 10. But I forgot. Did you make it as 10?" she queried.
”How could I, teacher! You never told me!” I said.
“But you will lose your ranking" she said. She knew the fierce struggle that goes on among the top 3 ranks.
“Shall I go to the HM and change your mark?”
“No, teacher. It doesn't matter. I will do well in the next exam."
She looked at me intently and said “ Mani, I am proud of you!"
The loss of one mark and fail cost me the rank and I went down in ranking.
But that hardly mattered considering the honor I had been bestowed!!