Tuesday, July 31, 2007


I had to undergo a surgery. When I conveyed this, almost all the folks told me, somewhat wistfully, think of this as a forced break. It clearly showed me a) All my friends are overworked if that was their first reaction b) Modern medicine is so marvelous that people don't have any doubts about certain surgeries. If this were say 50 years ago, I am sure there would have been more longer faces around me

I actually packed 4-5 books and checked myself in cheerfully. I had this vision of myself, convalescing gently reading books, walking slowly, listening to music, feeling that melancholy feeling. How naive!

One week later I am just back home, barely able to sit and type this. It was like my brain went into some sort of hibernation for a while. I knew in the back of mind there was the ability to read a book or have coherent conversation, but my brain just wouldn't get past the physical discomforts. With all kinds of tubes attached for body and IV fluids, poked and pricked a hundred times, loaded up in antibiotics for the next couple of centuries, for a while I lost sense of time. It was just me and my senses. Especially the sense of smell. I feel in retrospect that was the sense that kind of overworked, keeping me nauseous all the time.

How much I wanted the ability to eat something, anything, to be able to walk to the bathroom myself, to have a shower and feel clean. KJ told me after an illness, he said grace before eating for the first time in his life. I could identify with that.

I thought I'd never ever take for granted my ability to climb up the stairs, my ability to enjoy a nice dish, my ability to read a book late into the night...Of course this too shall pass and I would probably go check my mail and do other trivial things but I wish it didn't, I didn't.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

The extremes

New author for this week was Christopher Priest. To be completely factual though, it was not a random choice like the other authors I had decided to read before. A few weeks ago I saw the movie 'Prestige' and was intrigued enough to pick his book 'The Extremes'.

It is one of those book that can't be pegged and leaves you feeling extremely uneasy. There is the grief and sadness that permeates throughout the book. But, what struck me most as I stared into the rain after reading the final pages was how plausible the premise was. The concept of virtual reality and reconstruction of events in a VR environment or to borrow a trekkie word - a 'holodeck' seems shockingly reachable. A few connections to the appropriate neurons and clever programs and voila - 'extreme experiences'.

Would I want to 'use' the holodeck. I probably would. But would I know enough to realize later what was real and what was virtual. The ending was - not predictable - more inevitable and reminded of 'Vanilla skies'