Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Weather Journey

Ok, one more blog on weather, after a long time!

I am from Bangalore, India. Weather-wise it stays pretty constant: whether it is summer or winter or whatever month the Year churns up. So other than feeling a little sweaty in summer and little chilly in winter, ‘weather’ is a no-brainer. When the ‘weather’ section comes up in the news channel, it was time to change the channel!

I (bachelor) came to Marlborough, USA in March 2005. [Gosh, that was 8 years ago?!!] A huge communication mix-up and lack of patience on my part led me to make my own transportation from airport to home. As I drove in the cab, I saw white snow everywhere. It was a strange sight.

Gradually, I understood ‘weather’ in US. Which regions were colder, how colder, which regions were hot and how hot – and it wasn’t just about temperature. There were hurricanes, snowstorms, tornadoes and so much more that it just cannot be a ‘last section in the news channel’! It perfectly made sense to have a channel and website dedicated to US weather! A news channel that indicated how the weather would be for the following week gave an insight to the apparel that needed to be chosen. Trip plans were dependent on weather. Going for a stroll outside necessitated a temperature-check. Suddenly the whole life revolved around weather!

Cold was not just a thing to be annoyed about. There were many positives too. Such as snow. Fresh snow strewn over electric wires, over trees, over houses made the world look surreal. It made the world look pretty; it gave the eyes something different to see although it was the same neighborhood. Then there were the climate changes. October suddenly become a month to travel around seeing trees change colors. Whoever heard of trees changing colors?!! At least not me until the age 23!

These are not things which one gets to experience in Bangalore, nor does one even hear about. Here ‘weather’ was a real and “alive” thing, not just a theory mugged up to pass exams! Here there was a true meaning and definition to ‘seasons’ – it changed, and with it the wardrobe changed, stocks in retail stores changed, trees changed. Gosh, so many things changed! And it keeps changing quarterly in a year! It is suddenly fun, like being on a carousel where the view of things kept changing and repeating with a pre-defined frequency!

I was on and off US from 2007 through 2011 but whenever I was in US, I was within 100 miles of Marlborough. And then, we (family now) moved from the East Coast to West Coast in 2012. That celebrated state called ‘California’. I guess in some ways it was like a dream come true. I had heard so much about the state, had even visited SFO and LA during couple of long weekends. I guess one of the reasons I was so keen on moving to California was due to its weather too. Especially SoCal weather. It almost likened the weather in Bangalore. It removed the annoyance of wearing multiple layers of clothing from head to toe just to throw the trash out. Throwing the trash would take less than a minute, wearing the dress to venture out would take several minutes – including the time to dress up the little toddler who sees an opportunity to play with the snow outside and wants to accompany.

But, although the weather is great here, constantly in 60s and 70s, we almost miss snow and the changes that each of the seasons bring. Good thing though is that within a short 2-3 hour drive, we could experience pretty much all the things that each season boasts - especially due to the high mountains all around. There is snow, there are fall colors and there is even a desert nearby.

Here again there is no need to be so much dependent on weather. Most days, you will be fine even if you venture out in your shorts and sandals. Then it made me and my wife wonder. Folks from India who start off their US life in California will not find much of a difference in terms of weather. And then when they move out of California to the colder regions of US, they might miss California because of all that California offers. It offers cold when you want it & heat when you want it within a few hours’ drive, and ambient temperature at home town. In the other regions, if it is cold, it is cold all around unless you fly out far and if it is hot, it is hot all around unless you fly out far. There is not much of a choice.

Those like us, on the other hand, who happened to experience the East Coast before moving to California, can appreciate the ‘weather’ value of this state. It is like a pinnacle, an ultimatum that is attained after traversing through the harsh wilderness.

Of course, with comfort of the climate comes the discomfiture of the cost of living. And tax! And fuel prices!! It might or might not be related to weather, but it sure is jaw-dropping! I guess, in US it finally boils down to weather versus cost of living because both do not go hand-in-hand.

Anyways, this has been our weather journey so far. It might be the pinnacle but it might not end up being the destination. What cometh next is interesting to know…!

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Medical Specialists

Often I wonder what makes a doctor specialize in one specific part of the body. What triggers anyone to want to look at people’s teeth all their lives? Or ears, or eyes, or skin? What makes anyone want to specialize on human body’s grossest part and become a proctologist? I doubt if it is because of the money or if it is because of the demand and lack of supply. Think about the dreams these doctors would have!
The thing that I don’t understand is this: was it a dream that they wanted to specialize in such parts of body or it just happened so? I can understand if it is the latter. What I call as “going through the flow of the river of life.” I can understand it because I relate to it better. Let’s say you are studying medical because that was your dream and you are as yet undecided what to specialize in – I can relate to this. You get average grades and the only specialized medical profession that accepts such grades is something that you cannot tell openly to your family and friends unless they talk about it to you because they are having a problem – I can relate to this too.
What I cannot understand though is that my experience with all these specialized doctors [either because I myself had a problem or I had to meet such doctors because of my family] is amazing. Their analysis and surgery is spot-on. Their humility is unsurpassed. Their confidence doesn't demand a ‘second-opinion’.
They cannot be doing what they are doing because they got into the profession by the ‘flow of river of life’ or because they got average grades. They are clearly doing what they are doing because they want to do what they like doing. This is what boggles my mind. This fact that the Supreme Being programmed a certain percentage of the population to aim for specialization in a unique part of the body to cater to Man’s natural “body” problems is what boggles me.
But for these ‘specialists’, it numbs the mind what would have happened to the rest of us.
But for these ‘mini-Gods’, ours could not have been a great world.
Other than just bowing inwardly and thanking the Heaven for these God-sends, there is nothing else to do when each time I sit helplessly in the hospital or in the waiting room of such doctors. Again, Saint Tyagaraja’s immortal words come to my mind:
Endaro Mahanubhavulu Andariki Vandamulu.