SKINTILLATING May31

SKINTILLATING

SKINTILLATING : A review of  SKIN-a biography Don’t judge a book by its cover- in this case I would ask you to disregard the advice, the textured jacket evoking the sense of touch is just an apt covering for a full bodied book on the largest organ of the human body. For us, coming from a country which puts undue emphasis on the colour of skin or to be more scientifically accurate, lack of the same, this book is a reality check of the first rate. The author, Cutaneous Oncologist and Surgeon, Sharad Paul is also a novelist. In Skin, he skilfully weaves evolutionary biology, anthropology, history, folk mythology and contemporary experiences into a rich tapestry. Bear with the sometimes long winded scientific sections, there are rich rewards at the end. Watch out for the quotes and anecdotes liberally used in the book; from the classics, archaeology, literature, spirituality and even contemporary fashion practices. There are some incredible human stories which Paul brings us-  the one about Zeng Bailiang’s art classes  is one such that has stayed with me. The illustrations by the author himself, lends a personal ‘one on one’ feel to some of the didactic explanations. Linked to this is also a minor quibble with the book- some of the analogies used to illustrate scientific facts seem a tad forced. On the other hand, the writing fairly sparkles when describing events and experiences- a gift of observation that obviously enriches the writer’s twin passions of research and writing. The test of a true ‘scientific bestseller’ is that it informs, provokes thought and entertains. Skin ticks all these boxes. From a healthcare professional’s perspective, Skin brings much more than a good informative read- it makes us look at our own ‘niche’ spaces with...

Doctors Beyond Orders...

In the nascent stages of TREAT, when the team debated on the kind of stories we needed to bring to light for our readers, social impact and change always came to the forefront. Taking a leaf from those early days, we decided that we  should bring to light the experience of healthcare teams and specifically doctors who volunteer for medical relief in disaster torn places. Driven by a sense of altruism and adventure, their perspective is unique, sometimes cautionary and always inspiring. There are many stories of individual heroism and group initiatives when responding to such calls of distress. Close to home, we found our story for the issue- from the St John’s Medical College and Hospital, Bengaluru. Over the last 40 years, starting with the Bangladesh floods and refugee crisis of 1971( ref.  from the archives)  , this institution has sent groups of doctors in response to natural calamities  across India. Over the past two decades, this has become the Disaster Relief Unit which liaises with governmental agencies and NGOs, sending out teams and setting up task forces. No story is relevant without the voices of the people- we bring you this story from the perspective of two young doctors who were among the first to volunteer for relief work in Uttarakhand. We use this story to bring to light the needs of the marginalized and while the story highlights a particular group, it is a tribute to all the healthcare professionals who step out of their comfort zones and bring relief to those who otherwise have none. Our title itself is, in a sense a tribute to that guiding light of such organizations, the Medecins sans Frontieres. IMPRESSIONS The editorial team at TREAT caught up with two young doctors Murtuza Ghiya and...

A Rural Practitioner’s Happiness

  Dr. Lalit Narayan wrote this poem while doing his stint as a young Medical graduate at the Tribal Health Initiative, Sittilingi, Tamil Nadu. You might be tempted to ask why this has been the best year of my life. Here’s why. Tiny hands. Big eyes. The cutest damn expression in the world. That’s my reward. That’s happiness. Then I walk out of the labour ward. I can see hills all around. Green. That’s my reward. That’s happiness. My cottage sits on the edge of the forest. Full of books, art films and insects. That’s my reward. That’s happiness. The local women who work at our hospital Call me ‘Anna‘. That’s my reward. That’s happiness. An old therakoote vadiyar Is grateful I was with him during his second MI. That’s my reward. That’s happiness. When death comes. Despair. Loneliness and gastritis. I think of my rewards. I try happiness.        ...