Wednesday, September 23, 2015

India Shining!

Having returned from KSA since over three weeks, my career path is in a limbo, thanks to a technical hitch with my licensing process with the UK's General Medical Council (the GMC). I am also pursuing other tracks in case the UK licensing process does not go through. And that, friends, is the first time I have disclosed my plans for the coming months. I am sitting here before my old laptop (an Acer Aspire) that I had purchased in November 2011, a week before I went to KSA for the first time. Two and a half years later, I had purchased a newer, Windows 8 touch-screen laptop - a Dell Inspiron - but in the last week, its monitor has died off and I have had to give it to a service center to repair it. So, as I said, here I am, with my Acer on a stable, Windows 7 OS, working again without a touch interface, doing my thing.

I am also just through with the following tasks:

1. I renewed my passport. 

Strictly speaking, my passport wasn't due for a renewal until the spring of next year, but I went to an agent who booked my appointment online with the PSK (Passport Seva Kendra) at  Lower Parel inside the Kamala Mills compound. On the appointed day, I was expecting a raggedy office with long tireless queues, absent workers from sweaty desks, and the typical busy milieu we have come to expect in governmental offices. Imagine my pleasant surprise when the PSK turned out to be a well-appointed air-conditioned suite of offices on the ground floor of the rear-most building. The queues were orderly. Although there was a rigmarole of forming one queue, submitting your documents there, then going on to another queue for biometrics, then a third queue for submission of your original documents for instant verification and then, a final one where they bid farewell to you and hand you a paper which you exchange for a receipt at the exit counter (the fifth queue - albeit a very small one). There was a snack counter, clean toilets, plenty of metal seats, and a generally friendly atmosphere that I thought was pretty nifty. As soon as I left the office, I received my first SMS that my passport printing had begun! 

Six days later and after a regular receipt of SMSs, I received my new passport at my doorstep. 

2. I travelled by the Metro rail from Andheri station to the Airport road station and back. 

I had gone to my relative's residence to condole the death of my aunty Zehrafaiji, who passed away on the 1st of September (just a few days before I came back from KSA). It was a Sunday morning when I went. The local train that took me from Dockyard road to Bandra (harbour line) and from Bandra to Andheri (Western line) was the usual crowded mess that Mumbai's local railways are known for. The Metro railways were something else entirely! Clean, largely airy platforms, automated kiosks for entering and leaving the concourse, food courts, and superbly air-conditioned trains made the small trip really memorable! The tickets are pricey, but the price is well worth it, as you are in a world-class railway with passengers not unlike you, and not a nameless, sweaty, smelly crowd that you are yourself a part of in the local network. 

All in all, a great experience.

3. I visited the Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital.

 Of course, I knew that this is a hi-tech, state of the art hospital in the western suburb of Andheri. However, I was not prepared for the level of security there. In my life of over 55 years, this was the first time I saw a queue for visitors! They were aligned perfectly, moving peacefully as they approached the metal detector gate and the frisking security-men. Water bottles and food were meticulously looked for and removed from the possession of unsuspecting visitors. As I had no bags, I was allowed to go in easily. The ICU where my friend was admitted for a post-op observation is on the third floor of the huge monolithic building. Entry to this floor is blocked for visitors. You can bypass this by getting off on the second floor and using the stairs to reach the third floor. My friend's wife received me there, and guided me to the ICU door, where a security man gave me a tag for the bed my friend was on and allowed me to go in and meet my friend. The ICU was spacious, and there was a quietly efficient staff performing their duties as I approached my friend's cubicle, which was at the far end on the opposite side. All the equipment was working fine. A nurse came in a few minutes into my visit, checked all the inputs and outputs, sat on a custom chair-table and jotted down her findings. After some time, I left, and went down to the lobby. They have a complete food court with all the major brands of food chains (like McD, CCD, Subway, etc.), a book shop (Crossword), a chaat shop (with sev-puri, etc.), a beauty salon, a pharmacy and a provisionist/ The admissions area, the discharge area, and the information and reception area were all clearly demarcated and segregated. There was a busy hum in the entire lobby, with over a 100 people there. There were clean wash-rooms (a bit out of the center, though), and two banks of elevators - one for visitors to the various diagnostic and day-care service areas, and the other, for inpatient floors. 

I must say the hospital ended up impressing me thoroughly. 

4. I visited my newest adoptee at Guru Tegh Bahadur Nagar (GTBN).

Today afternoon, I went to GTBN to the office of World Vision India to meet with Yogesh Kadu, my newest adoptee. This boy, all of 14, is a slight, shy and intelligent boy of Maharashtrian parents, and the youngest of three siblings. Both his older siblings are daughters. His father was with him. I had gone and purchased a set of clothes and some chocolates for him yesterday and got the items gift-wrapped, so handing them over to Yogesh in front of the World Vision staff was a great experience. I am adding this experience to this enty in my blog to encourage every reader to do an act of charity - each according to their budget. My aim is to sponsor ten children, and after Yogesh, who is my third adoptee (the others are Sabia from Kolkata and Sakshi from Mumbai), I have just today added funds to adopt Shruti from Gujarat. There is immense sense of fulfillment when you see your adoptees going out into the world and making something of themselves. 

Check out the pics in my post here.

Adopt a child today!

That's it for now. Thank you, as always, for reading.

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