Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Pass or perish

Sometime back an iron rod fell on my toe. It was quite painful but there was no visible injuries. I have this penchant since childhood of ignoring injuries leading to various complications and last minute rush to hospitals. This time too I ignored the toe and the pain lessened in a few days. But my toe looked greenish blue and yesterday when I trimmed my toe nails, a gush of pus and blood came out from underneath the nail. It wouldn’t stop and every time I walked the nail would spurt some more liquidy stuff from the nail bed. The nail drained out and the then the needle like pain began. I finally showed it to my brother and he rushed me to hospital. I was taken into the Outpatient Ward and made to lie down.

There were other beds too in the ward cordoned off by curtains. In the next bed a lot of activity was going on. Nurses were rushing around. Since there was no one to attend to me, I lay there listening to the noise and sounds of the ward. Hospitals have always intimidated me and the reassuring sight of a doctor was always a welcome relief. But the doctors on duty were also busy attending to the patient in the next bed. From the conversation of the nurses I could make out that the patient had tried to commit suicide. The nurses worked very efficiently joking amongst themselves. There was no anxiety or tension in the room like they show in those American Medical Serials. The patient’s stomach was cleaned and she was stabilized. Her mom in Burqa hovered close by in shock. A young man with tears in his eyes kept coming in to check on the patient only to be shooed away.

By this time my brother panicked and came to see what the delay was all about. He was told to buy syringes and bandages and medicines and thought that it was something serious. Besides there was no one inside to advice him about me. He walked in to check on me and was relived to see me chatting with the nurse who was bandaging me. He was a little annoyed at the lack of information. That is when I told him of the suicide attemptee in the next bed. He parted the curtains and peeped in a saw a young girl. I saw her later and she looked like an angel sleeping on the hospital bed. She was frail and looked so cute and vulnerable. I couldn’t imagine why someone so young would want to end here life. Later my brother stuck up conversation with the men in the girl’s family and learnt that she had failed in her 12th standard exams.

As they wheeled me out I heard the doctor telling the family that they needed to find out what it was that the girl had ingested, which meant tests. I don’t know what happened after that.

A doctor who is a family friend tells us that for every reported suicide attempts there are several that go unreported. This year during school results time the cops were patrolling areas where students generally try to commit suicides. But they could not prevent the record number of suicides. Instead of patrolling lakes and railway lines and high rise buildings, wouldn’t it be more prudent to revise the education system that has long outlived it’s utility and is now putting a tremendous amount of pressure on the students?


Jagan said...

you definitely have a gud point here ....and also parents need to know tht they sudnt pressurize their kids too much .

Dr. Pissed said...

haha isint it just called the big toe?
Big finger of my toe was brilliant man!! hahahaha

Dr. Pissed said...

Crap, forgive me. I didnt read the whole post before commenting.
Hope your toe heals real quick and I am also hoping for more counsellors in schools. If I am not mistaken, not many even have one!

silverine said...

@jagan: True!
@dr pissed: Have corrected it Sir!! :)
@Dr Pissed; Counsellors won't help. Lets face it the Education System needs a thorough overhaul!

Immigrant in Canada said...

As a doctor when I worked in India, i couldn't cope with the enormous suicide statistics that increased each year. My youngest patient was a 9 yr old boy, who killed himself because he didn't score the highest mark in Maths. I was so angry with that kid for being so stupid and silly. Later one of nurses told me the story behind that suicide.. that kid tried to escape from torture by committing suicide..because his parents would have thrashed the life out of him, when they found out that he didn't score the highest marks for maths.Especially after knowing that neighbour's son scored the highest mark. Why do we put so much pressure on our kids?

Also.. Please take care of yourself..

Alexis Leon said...

How is the toe now? ICUs are always a place where you see a lot of weird stuff. I had been in the ICY for 8 days after my accident and I don't know how many deaths I saw in those 8 days. I saw a young girl dying (she was a rape victim admitted a suicide case). It was terrible. I made a lot of friends—doctors and nurses—and from them I got a lot of insider information. I nearly died three times. Will write a post about my near death experiences one of these days.

silverine said...

@Sarah: Heartbreaking :( Poor kid. Parents are the worst culprits. Once my teacher called my Dad to tell him that I had slipped in the rankings and if he was not careful then I would be just an average student. My Dad told her that he didnt mind if I was doing just "ok", he had no intention of goading me to top the class.She was speechless :)) time I go in time to the doc as per your advice doc :))
@Alexis:My toe is fine now thank you. I am so shocked to read about that young girl who was in the ICU with you :( My secure world got a beating in the outpatient ward. I would really like to read your near death experiences.

calvin said...

Is it just the educational system ? Isnt it us too ? The parents who expect nothing less than the best of the best from their children ? The parents who want the children to be in reputed companies and be the pride of the family and neighbourhood ?

PS: My friend had a bit of home modification - extension going on. He was looking for a carpenter..He tells me that most are so old , they cant lift their hammers..the rest got educated and went to do carpentry there . The few who are left here rake in money by cartloads since they are in great demand.

And yeah , i better see my doctor about my crushed toe too.

Harjee Kapur said...

Examinations are a test of performance, not intelligence.

But sadly in our country education is so hyped that a kid is under tremendous pressure to perform. Peers, parents, parents friends, their kids… the list goes on.
A kid is outcast if he does not perform. By the same lot.

For a nation obsessed with its compulsion of classification, merit is used to practice mental untouchability.

We are a nation obsessed with numbers. In any spectrum.
When a kid tells his parents about school friends, they ask what position that kid gets in class. And they want their kid to be hanging out with the kid who comes first in class.
Have they ever asked kid what his friend likes to eat? Read? Play? Whats his fav colour? Fav story? Fav poet? How does he sound? Can he sing? Can he paint? Toys, cartoons…?
No.. the things that make the foundations of a Childs’ character are treated as a leisure activity.
Mark sheet is the benchmark for judgment.
Sad but true.

I flunked my 12th std twice.
And would have made it a hatrick had I not overheard how people in the family started keeping their kids away from me.
I passed my 12th. Great score.
Zapped through a graduation in IT. Ranked in the university.
Proved my point to the family.
And abandoned everything.

Am in advertising since then. And happy.

Kids need to be told that it is ok to fail or fall. The idea is to get up. They need to be told that their parents and family might be disappointed but have not lost their love. They need to be brought into that comfort zone where they value their life, their character, their basic talents and their family that is going to be left behind.
They need to be told that while keeping their competitive spirits alive, they need to harness the most basic of the human instinct.

Very nice post.. cheers.

silverine said...

@Aashik: Parents too are to blame I agree, but if the education system was more like in the West then there would be no pressure to perform as kids as evaluated on their understanding of the subject and not on how much they can by heart. It is not only carpenters, but plumbers, electricians etc. who are doing well these days :)
@Harjee:That was awesome!! You said it...parents have to become parents and not task masters. Most parents are focused only on their children's studies and the kids have no life except studies and spend their childhood like automatons. Thanks!

Mind Curry said...

oh boy..hope your toe is ok now..i dont know why you kept it so long before showing it to someone. anyway..

did you get injections? :) that is one very sad india we dont give much weightage to peoples feelings i guess. we are quite crude still in many ways. and then there is the stigma attached to counselling and help. these wont change unless the attitude changes. i think.

Jiby said...

its real sad the pressure to perform well...not from just parents...but having some ultra-brilliant classmates to study took a toll on a few of my classmates.

then, u wudnt believe wht happened in our plus-two years...our whole batch rebelled against the pressure from teachers, tuitions, 1000 page textbooks, entrance exams and all that crap by deciding to just enjoy our last 2 years in school in sports, dramas, going on trips, conducting youth festivals and just having fun in class...

as a result nobody made it into iit from our batch and we came out as the most notorious class in the history of our school and noone forgave us for a long time...until they looked at all the other good things we did there, and which no other batch cud replicate!!!

silverine said...

@Mind Curry: did you get injections? :)

Yes I did, two in fact :(

@Jiby: Hats off Jiby, to you and your pals. You did the right thing...our education system is robbing kids of their childhood.It is such a regimented life from the time they start school. School, Home work, Sleep, repeat the same process again.

venus said...

I don't know why in our society, they judge you by what %age you get and what profession you are in. The admission policy should change too, this way they will be able to avoid many issues including the hot zone reservation.

venus said...

hope, you toe is healed by now, and also hope, you don't have to limp now..

silverine said...

@Venus: It is all about the money/job you will get if you top in certain subjects and do certain courses. I think it is the pre liberalization generation of parents who still are hung up about the intense competition for jobs they faced in govt. organsiations. In fact getting a job is not that hard now, as companies complain of lack of people.
I have been to many campus recruitment sprees for my co (basically to understand the scene and write communication material for HR dept) and I know how unsuitable our school/college syllabus is for the present job market. My company spends millions to train new joinees to "unlearn" what they have learnt in college and make them aligned to our job requirements.
My toe is perfectly ok now after a course of antibiotics, thank you dear Venus :)

neihal said...

you write really well. and that was a good point you made. I am preparing for my Lectureship eligibility exam.Hopefully I ll be able to make some difference .

Anonymous said...


You are all grown up. Loved this blog.

Susan Aunty

silverine said...

Neihal: More power to you and future educationists like you :)

Susan Aunty: :)