Saturday, November 8, 2008

My Debut At The Wards

Today was my first day at "the office", I mean at the hospital. Have to admit, I was a bit apprehensive about my debut duty at the Medicine ward. I had really king-sized doubts about my abilities as a budding doctor in the wards. And that still hasn't evaporated completely, I have to admit.

I was asked to arrive at the ward at 8am. Having been a med student for the past one year had taught me enough about the sense of timing or rather the absence of it in a government medical college. However, that stupid curious mind of mine coaxed me into arriving at 8am sharp. As expected I found that I was the only one from 3rd semester to have been foolish enough to have ruined a good night's sleep.

Fortunately though, the department had been kind enough to have already divided our batch under specific units, or mini-departments. It took me almost another hour (a very frustrating and tiresome one, though) to figure out which senior was to be my guru for the next three weeks, which I have to say I hope would turn out to be the most productive days of my student life.

The senior, who happened to be a house staff was almost a look alike of one of my classmates! Fortunately he turned out to be an awesome guy, always ready to help us, and always engaging us in ward duties most of which was really cool (although filling up forms and tags turned out to be really boring)!

Half an hour into my ward duties, a realisation struck me. I was dealing with "real" patients now, and I couldn't afford to mess anything up! That was a scary feeling, have to say. Hopefully, the seniors would be there to save our asses when we screwed it up, that is what I kept telling myself. In almost no time, I found myself holding a syringe in front of a patient, ready to fill the entire vacuum of it with her blood! (Oh, even the syringe and the needle was bought by the patient party, so me messing up meant wasting the already depleting financial resources of the patient, for most people who come to the hospital aren't exactly the relatives of Bill Gates.) I felt like the gladiators, baying for the enemy's blood!

It'll be quite difficult for me to say who looked more nervous, the patient or me! Both of us were sweating, and I knew almost for sure, that the patient had realised that her life was in the hands of an amateur, which hardly helped ease her anxiety! The needle pierced her skin, and apart from a slightly artificial and well-rehearsed cry of anguish, no bloody incident occurred. When I had finally collected the blood, I breathed a huge sigh of relief, gave a reassuring look to her (something which I had rehearsed, by watching some really classy doc movies!) and fled!

The rest of the day turned out to be quite uneventful, and I followed the doctors who were doing their daily rounds.

It might seem to be a small step to others, but my first day at the wards surely turned out to be a titanic leap for me, both as a medical student and as a budding doctor.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Isn't It Time For Microsoft To Make Windows Free?

Image representing Windows as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase
Let's face it, Microsoft Windows was, still is and maybe will be for the next decade or so, the most popular operating system. However, the steep prices of most of the softwares published by Microsoft, often makes it impossible for people in various spheres of life to go and buy those original packaged stuff. As a result, many people prefer to take the easier way out, i.e. resort to piracy. Personally, I don't blame people who are forced into the realms of piracy by the sometimes so obnoxious attitude of the company. What if someone wants to do something useful to the society and needs a PC with a decent operating system on it?

I know what the stereotyped arguments against what I just said would be. What about the respect a programmer deserves? What about the royalty a company and the programmer deserves? What about the copyright?

Yes, you're absolutely right in asking these questions. The programmers lend every bit of their brilliant minds into making some of the best softwares and operating systems for us and we deserve to pay them their dues. Also, the company which has worked so hard to put together these wonderful minds deserve their share of profits too to survive in this competitive economy.

But are all profit making "free-software" companies bankrupt? Are the employees working in those companies broke? I don't think so.

Let me place an example. Many of you might have guessed which company I'm thinking of. Yes, one of the biggest producers of free softwares and icon when it comes to marketing and making softwares available to the common man...Google.

Can any of us deny the fact that inspite of being a company making some of the intriguing but free softwares, Google has transformed the field of free stuff? I don't think anyone can.

And to be frank, I don't agree with people who say Google makes programs which are not essential for us.Some of the best softwares on offer these days are from Google, and its latest venture, Google Chrome, has already captured the imagination of users with its amazingly futuristic sleek design. Of course, Google is not the only company dealing with free softwares. Mozilla producing arguably the best browser available today, Firefox, offers all its softwares for free. And I'm sure its doing quite well...

So, how does then one pay the programmers if everything is up for free downloads? Well, its simple. Squeeze in some adverts and relevent additional info and if the program become popular, it'll be enough to cater to most of the expenses of the company. It may also provide some premium services as well, to garner some extra bucks.

Coming back to Microsoft, it could sell its older OS for a cheap amount, or if I may dare say so, even for free...

Maybe it could make two versions of its newer operating systems, one with ads priced lower than another version without ads. That way, the company would be able to earn a decent profit and also be of substantial help to the society and it could drastically reduce piracy as well.

The choice lies with us. We only have to recognise it...

(Image source :

Sunday, October 12, 2008

James Rollins ... The New Dan Brown?

Sometimes one finds an exceptional piece of work even from the most unexpected people.

Well, to be very specific, I would like to talk about a book which I read recently and was stunned by it. I hadn't heard of James Rollins much and since he isn't really the most popular author around, I never really expected to hear about any of his books. While searching for some "readable stuff" on, I bumped into "Amazonia" which had a really cool cover. Let's face it, the cover of a book does make a difference.

Read the reviews of the book and thought it might have something interesting, so maybe I could give Rollins a try. James Rollins is a pseudonym of Jim Czajkowski. (He has one more pen name. Its James Clemens)

To be frank, after reading novels by Sheldon, Ludlum, Dan Brown and others, I never really expected a certified scuba diver and an ex vet to impress me with his work. After all, Robin Cook (who is incidentally a doctor by profession) had been a big disappointment, according to me. Coma, his most famous work till date was truly a blockbuster plot going haywire! How could a best-seller be, ill-crafted! After reading Coma, I firmy believe that authors are born, they aren't really made.

Anyway, coming back to Rollins, he turned out to be quite a big surprise! Given the really impressive cover of the book and some rave reviews about it, I wanted to give Amazonia a try. So I got down to the business of reading it closely from cover to cover.

I was pleasantly surprised.

Not only is his writing style free of technical jargon and look-up-the-dictionary words, but he has this amazing knack of having complete control over the reader's attention. Not even once did I feel like putting the novel aside and doing something else. It was a 12 hour non-stop read for me, and when I had finished reading it, I realised, that this man really is an awesome writer. Mr. Dan Brown has some competition.

After that I checked out the authors website

Just wanted to see what's up there. It was a really well built site for author who is just 10 novels old. I read about the other novels by him Subterranean (1999), Excavation (2000), Deep Fathom (2001), Ice Hunt (2003), Sandstorm (2004), Map of Bones (2005), Black Order (2006), The Judas Strain (2007), and The Last Oracle (2008). Most of his novels had one thing in common though. The setting... Most of his novels were written about places which are less travelled, less known and has loads mysteries associated with it. That was what had initially got me hooked to his novels. The cover of Amazonia, the Amazon rain forests and all...typical of a real action packed thriller.

I just hope Mr. Jim Czajkowski (aka James Rollins) gets the recognition he deserves. I don't think many people have read his work, because his books are not really the best selling novels of the year or something.

I can't wait to read his latest novel, The Last Oracle. Hope it won't disappoint!