Thursday, April 05, 2012
Thus after reminiscing for the greater part of the day as to my memories in Adelaide, I have realised that there exists a rather long list of people that I need to thank and with very good reason. The Prasanna Kovalam of 2012, is different to the Prasanna Kovalam of 1995 and the metamorphosis is truly due to Adelaide.
So without further ado, I’d first like to thank God Almighty for giving me the opportunity to chase my dream, rather quickly in my short life. As I sit and realise that I am only 25 years, I am eternally thankful that I’ve got some years left in me to do something big and hopefully ISB is start of that. I’d also like to thank Him for the silver spoon he’s given me. At times, we tend to forget about that silver spoon, given our lavish lifestyles, but a quick visit to those who struggle day in and day out to make ends meet, gives us a sobering reality check and we rush back to the safety and comfort of that spoon. I’ve had a comfortable lifestyle and I can only thank God for making that happen.
I’d also like to thank my grandparents, three of whom are watching me from above. They were an amazing bunch of people who were my first role models. I learnt the meaning of the words sacrifice, honesty and perseverance as I heard stories on their struggles to raise their children.
If I’d heard stories from my grandparents, I saw my own parents embody the true spirit of sacrifice, honesty and perseverance. It wasn’t easy raising a rather high-maintenance only child (is there any other kind??) but they’ve done amazingly well. As children, we cannot thank them enough, but for what it’s worth “Thanks”.
It has been an amazing and humbling experience to be in the midst of such great friends in Adelaide. I’ve been given the honorific of being called a friend by some and “bhai (brother)” by others. Both are positions I have tried to be worthy of. I have failed in many situations, but I hope I’ve been a good friend and a good brother at times. I will cherish each and every moment I’ve spent with friends in Adelaide. They have been supportive of me, every step of the way, and if today I stand on the cusp of pursuing my dreams, it is because of their amazing support.
I’ve always enjoyed the journey, wherever it has taken me, literally and metaphorically. And if I’d be asked to give any suggestions, it’d be the same “Enjoy the journey while pursuing your dreams”.
Monday, August 15, 2011
The story however is far from smooth or rosy. Until 1991, India's GDP was not much more than 1-2% per annum, thanks to the bureaucratic Licence-Permit-Quota Raj that Nehru himself put in place, despite of the rhetoric in his Tryst with Destiny speech. Our impressive growth rate can only be attributed to changes in circumstance, wherein India would be declared bankrupt if it were to not accept IMF conditions on a bail-out. Thankfully, better sense prevailed and slowly but surely, the days of waiting for years for a simple telephone connection vanished with the emergence of new providers.
The India now, is different, yet very similar to the India in 1947. Countless slogans of the style of "Garibi Hatao" have come and gone, yet poverty remains. Large chunks of the economy still remain over-regulated and licenced, for example the restaurant industry. Reforms at best have been slow, and at worst have been non-existent. Indeed, the current government led by the man who was Finance Minister in 1991 has been rightly lambasted for its inability to carry out key reforms.
Corruption once again has raised its ugly head and despite attempts to curtail it, has only persisted, or even grown stronger. Notwithstanding India's patchy history of dealing with the corrupt, even by this scale, the current UPA government is heading to the dubious distinction of being the most corrupt on record. Social workers are now clamouring for a "miracle cure" in terms of the Jan Lokpal bill, even going so far as to blackmail the government with hunger-strikes, a method the Founder of the Indian Constitution Dr. BR Ambedkar called "the grammar of anarchy". Having multiple yet toothless Vigilance Commissions hasn't done anything to reduce corruption so what's to say this new level will.
A great post by Nitin Pai shows why this new style of crusading is a bad idea, and another post here talks about the means justifying the ends. However, one way to definitely erase corruption is to give more power to the citizen. How does one do that? Simple. Open the economy up. The less licences or hurdles a citizen faces in doing their work, the less they will pay to get the work done. Reforming the sectors, ensuring that competition drives the workforce, not nepotism or cronyism, is the key to eliminate corruption.
I have a dream. A dream of a corruption free India, where the government restricts itself to economic strategy making, rather than micromanagment of the economy. A dream of a secular India, not one that is "competitively intolerant". I have a dream where I can pursue my freedom of speech, and not have it curtailed by the State, or by pseudo-constitutional bodies deriving their power on the basis of ex-cathedra statements. Funnily enough, this is the same dream that Rabindranath Tagore saw when he exhorted "Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake"
It's been 64 years, I think it's time we made it into a reality.
Friday, December 31, 2010
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
Nonetheless in 2008, Washington Monthly asked Theodore Sorensen to come out of retirement and write the "dream speech" for the Democratic Nominee for the President of the United States. The speech is located here. Less than two years on, the same Democratic party is heading towards landslide defeat in the Mid-Term elections.
The "dream speech" is reproduced below:
My fellow Democrats: With high resolve and deep gratitude, I accept your nomination. It has been a long campaign—too long, too expensive, with too much media attention on matters irrelevant to our nation’s future. I salute each of my worthy opponents for conducting a clean fifty-state campaign focusing on the real issues facing our nation, including health care, the public debt burden, energy independence, and national security, a campaign testing not merely which of us could raise and spend the most money but who among us could best lead our country; a campaign not ignoring controversial issues like taxation, immigration, fuel conservation, and the Middle East, but conducting, in essence, a great debate—because our party, unlike our opposition, believes that a free country is strengthened by debate.
There will be more debates this fall. I hereby notify my Republican opponent that I have purchased ninety minutes of national network television time for each of the six Sunday evenings preceding the presidential election, and here and now invite and challenge him to share that time with me to debate the most serious issues facing the country, under rules to be agreed upon by our respective designees meeting this week with a neutral jointly selected statesman.
Let me assure all those who may disagree with my positions that I shall hear and respect their views, not denounce them as unpatriotic as has so often happened in recent years. I will wage a campaign that relies not on the usual fear, smear, and greed but on the hopes and pride of all our citizens in a nationwide effort to restore comity, common sense, and competence to the White House.
In this campaign, I will make no promises I cannot fulfill, pledge no spending we cannot afford, offer no posts to cronies you cannot trust, and propose no foreign commitment we should not keep. I will not shrink from opposing any party faction, any special interest group, or any major donor whose demands are contrary to the national interest. Nor will I shrink from calling myself a liberal, in the same sense that Franklin and Theodore Roosevelt, John and Robert Kennedy, and Harry Truman were liberals—liberals who proved that government is not a necessary evil, but rather the best means of creating a healthier, more educated, and more prosperous America.
They are the giants on whose shoulders I now stand, giants who made this a better, fairer, safer, stronger, more united America.
By making me your nominee, you have placed your trust in the American people to put aside irrelevant considerations and judge me solely on my qualifications to lead the nation. You have opened the stairway to what Teddy Roosevelt called the "bully pulpit." With the help of dedicated Americans from our party, every party, and no party at all, I intend to mount that stairway to preach peace for our nation and world.
My campaign will be based on my search for the perfect political consensus, not the perfect political consultant. My chief political consultant will be my conscience.
Thank you for your applause, but I need more than your applause and approval. I need your prayers, your votes, your help, your heart, and your hand. The challenge is enormous, the obstacles are many. Our nation is emerging from eight years of misrule, a dark and difficult period in which our national honor and pride have been bruised and battered. But we are neither beaten nor broken. We are not helpless or afraid; because in this country the people rule, and the people want change.
True, some of us have been sleeping for these eight long years, while our nation’s values have been traduced, our liberties reduced, and our moral authority around the world trampled and shattered by a nightmare of ideological incompetence. But now we are awakening and taking our country back. Now people all across America are starting to believe in America again. We are coming back, back to the heights of greatness, back to America’s proud role as a temple of justice and a champion of peace.
The American people are tired of politics as usual, and I intend to offer them, in this campaign, something unusual in recent American politics: the truth. Neither bureaucracies nor nations function well when their actions are hidden from public view and accountability. From now on, whatever mistakes I make, whatever dangers we face, the people shall know the truth—and the truth shall make them free. After eight years of secrecy and mendacity, here are some truths the people deserve to hear:
We remain essentially a nation under siege. The threat of another terrorist attack upon our homeland has not been reduced by all the new layers of porous bureaucracy that proved their ineptitude in New Orleans; nor by all the needless, mindless curbs on our personal liberties and privacy; nor by expensive new weaponry that is utterly useless in stopping a fanatic willing to blow himself up for his cause. Indeed, our vulnerability to another attack has only been worsened in the years since the attacks of September 11th—worsened by our government convincing more than 1 billion Muslims that we are prejudiced against their faith, dismissive of international law, and indifferent to the deaths of their innocent children; worsened by our failure to understand their culture or to provide a safe haven for the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees displaced by a war we started; worsened by our failure to continue our indispensable role in the Middle East peace process.
We have adopted some of the most indefensible tactics of our enemies, including torture and indefinite detention.
We have degraded our military.
We have treated our most serious adversaries, such as Iran and North Korea, in the most juvenile manner—by giving them the silent treatment. In so doing, we have weakened, not strengthened, our bargaining position and our leadership.
At home, as health care costs have grown and coverage disappeared, we have done nothing but coddle the insurance, pharmaceutical, and health care industries that feed the problem.
As global warming worsens, we have done nothing but deny the obvious and give regulatory favors to polluters.
As growing economic inequality tarnishes our democracy, we have done nothing but carve out more tax breaks for the rich.
During these last several years, our nation has been bitterly divided and deceived by illicit actions in high places, by violations of federal, constitutional, and international law. I do not favor further widening the nation’s wounds, now or next year, through continuous investigations, indictments, and impeachments. I am confident that history will hold these malefactors accountable for their deeds, and the country will move on.
Instead, I shall seek a renewal of unity among all Americans, an unprecedented unity we will need for years to come in order to face unprecedented danger.
We will be safer from terrorist attack only when we have earned the respect of all other nations instead of their fear, respect for our values and not merely our weapons.
If I am elected president, my vow for this country can be summarized in one short, simple word: change. This November 2008 election—the first since 1952 in which neither the incumbent president’s nor the incumbent vice president’s name will appear on the national ballot, indeed the first since 1976 in which the name of neither Bill Clinton nor George Bush will appear on the national ballot—is destined to bring about the most profound change in the direction of this country since the election of 1932.
To meet the threats we face and restore our place of leadership in the free world, I pledge to do the following:
First, working with a representative Iraqi parliament, I shall set a timetable for an orderly, systematic redeployment and withdrawal of all our troops in Iraq, including the recall of all members of the National Guard to their primary responsibility of guarding our nation and its individual states.
Second, this redeployment shall be only the first step in a comprehensive regional economic and diplomatic stabilization plan for the entire Middle East, building a just and enduring peace between Israel and Palestine, halting the killing and maiming of innocent civilians on both sides, and establishing two independent sovereign states, each behind peacefully negotiated and mutually recognized borders.
Third, I shall as soon as possible transfer all inmates out of the Guantanamo Bay prison and close down that hideous symbol of injustice.
Fourth, I shall fly to New York City to pledge in person to the United Nations, in the September 2009 General Assembly, that the United States is returning to its role as a leader in international law, as a supporter of international tribunals, and as a full-fledged member of the United Nations which will pay its dues in full, on time, and without conditions, renouncing any American empire; that we shall work more intensively with other countries to eliminate global scourges, including AIDS, malaria, and other contagious diseases, massive refugee flows, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; and that we will support the early dispatch of United Nations peacekeepers to halt the atrocities in Darfur. I shall make it clear that we do not covet the land of other countries for our military bases or the control of their natural resources for our factories. I shall make it clear that our country is not bound by any policies or pronouncements of my predecessor that violate international law or threaten international peace.
Fifth, I shall personally sign the Kyoto Protocol, and seek its ratification by the United States Senate, in order to stop global warming before it endangers all species on earth, including our own; and I shall call upon the Congress to take action dramatically reducing our nation’s reliance on the carbon fuels that are steadily contributing to the degradation of our environment.
Sixth, I shall demonstrate sufficient confidence in the strength of our values and the wisdom and skill of our diplomats to favor communications, negotiations, and full relations with every country on earth, including Cuba, North Korea, Palestine, and Iran.
Finally, I shall restore the constitutional right of habeas corpus, abolish the unconstitutional tapping of private phones, and once again show the world the traditional American values that distinguish us from those who attacked us on 9/11.
We need not renounce the use of conventional force. We will be ready to repel any clear and present danger that poses a genuine threat to our national security and survival. But it will be as a last resort, never a first; in cooperation with our allies, never alone; out of necessity, never by choice; proportionate, never heedless of civilian lives or international law; as the best alternative considered, never the only. We will always apply the same principles of collective security, prudent caution, and superior weaponry that enabled us to peacefully prevail in the long cold war against the Soviet Union. Above all, we shall wage no more unilateral, ill-planned, ill-considered, and ill-prepared invasions of foreign countries that pose no actual threat to our security. No more wars in which the American Congress is not told in advance and throughout their duration the true cost, consequences, and terms of commitment. No more wars waged by leaders blinded by ideology who have no legal basis to start them and no plan to end them. We shall oppose no peaceful religion or culture, insult or demonize no peace-minded foreign leader, and spare no effort in meeting those obligations of leadership and assistance that our comparative economic strength has thrust upon us. We shall listen, not lecture; learn, not threaten. We will enhance our safety by earning the respect of others and showing respect for them. In short, our foreign policy will rest on the traditional American values of restraint and empathy, not on military might.
In the final analysis, our nation cannot be secure around the world unless our citizens are secure at home—secure not only from external attack, but secure as well from the rising tide of national debt, secure from the financial and physical ravages of uninsured disease, secure from discrimination in our schools and neighborhoods, secure from the bitter unrest generated by a widening gap between our richest and poorest citizens. They are not secure in a country lacking reasonable limitations on the sale of handguns to criminals, the mentally disturbed, and prospective terrorists. And our citizens are not secure when some of their fellow citizens, loyal Islamic Americans, are made to feel they are the targets of hysteria or bigotry.
I believe in an America in which the fruits of productivity and prosperity are shared by all, by workers as well as owners, by those at the bottom as well as those at the top; an America in which the sacrifices required by national security are shared by all, by profiteers in the back offices as well as volunteers on the front lines.
In my administration, I shall restore balance and fairness to the national tax system. I shall level the playing field for organized labor. I shall end the unseemly favors to corporations that allow them to profit without competing, for it is through competition that we innovate, and it is through innovation that we raise the wages of our workers. It shames our nation that profits for corporations have soared even as wages for average Americans have fallen. It shames us still more that so many African American men must struggle to find jobs.
We will make sure that no American citizen, from the youngest child to the oldest retiree, and especially no returning serviceman or military veteran, will be denied fully funded medical care of the highest quality.
To pay for these domestic programs, my administration will make sure that subsidies and tax breaks go only to those who need them most, not those who need them least, and that we fund only those weapons systems we need to meet the threats of today and tomorrow, not those of yesterday.
The purpose of public office is to do good, not harm; to change lives, help lives, and save lives, not destroy them. I look upon the presidency not as an opportunity to rule, but as an opportunity to serve. I intend to serve all the people, regardless of party, race, region, or religion.
Let us all, here assembled in this hall, or watching at home, constitute ourselves, rededicate ourselves, as soldiers in a new army. Not an army of death and destruction, but a new army of voters and volunteers, in a new wave of workers for peace and justice at home and abroad, new missionaries for the moral rebirth of our country. I ask for every citizen’s help, not merely those who live in the red states or those who live in the blue states, but every citizen in every state. Although we may be called fools and dreamers, although we will find the going uphill, in the words of the poet: “Say not the struggle naught availeth.” We will change our country’s direction, and hand to the generation that follows a nation that is safer, cleaner, less divided, and less fearful than the nation we will inherit next January.
I’m told that John F. Kennedy was fond of quoting Archimedes, who explained the principle of the lever by declaring: "Give me a place to stand, and I can move the world." My fellow Americans—here I stand. Come join me, and together we will move the world to a new era of a just and lasting peace.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Prime Minister of India
7 Race Course Road,
New Delhi - 110021
Dear Mr Prime Minister,
I write you as a former citizen of India; a person who still holds India in the highest regard; a person who appreciates and treasures the culture India has given to him. Most importantly, I speak as a member of the generation of the youth of Indian origin, a generation filled with optimism and hope. It was with the same optimism and hope that I rejoiced on November 23rd, 2003 when New Delhi was announced as the winning bid for the 2010 Commonwealth Games. It was India’s chance to take centre stage, I said to myself. It was India’s chance not only to touch the sky, but to soar above it.
As the curtains came down on the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games, I watched with pride as famous artists presented the customary segment extolling the virtues of the next host nation. I still recall telling my friends with a beaming smile and a sense of belongingness that the countdown to the best Commonwealth Games had begun.
Now, ten days away from the opening ceremony, my only hope is that the nation escapes from the farce that the Organising Committee has imposed on it. India has had six years to build the games infrastructure. I will not say that India has embarrassed me. It never has and never will, for I take great pride in my Indian origin. Yet I am definitely embarrassed by the way the officials, including you Sir, have handled this. On the occasion of the 63rd anniversary of Indian Independence, you announced to the nation and the world that you had taken responsibility of fixing the games. Yet, nothing has been done. You sir, are a role model to the youth of the nation. It was your landmark budget speech that set the pace of economic reform, which allowed youth such as me to dream, and then turn those dreams into reality. Yet as you stand silently on this issue, we cannot help but feel betrayed. We feel betrayed that despite having a strong cabinet and the will of the people, you have stood by and allowed corruption and cronyism to strike again at these games.
The world since 2000 has heaped praises of India. It waited with bated breath as to the success of these games. Not it waits with nervousness in the hope that the Games will not be canceled, or have the image of these games tarnished. In the eyes of the world, this debacle would put us back at least 30 years, when India was associated with exotic and esoteric beauty or reviled as a third-world nation. The real sadness of this whole saga is that while India has made progress is making progress, it is straddling that thin line between renaissance and destruction.
What is done is done. The question is, Mr. Prime Minister, what you are going to bring those responsible for this tragedy to justice.
A former Indian citizen.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
“Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance. It is fitting that at this solemn moment we take the pledge of dedication to the service of India and her people and to the still larger cause of humanity.
At the dawn of history India started on her unending quest, and trackless centuries are filled with her striving and the grandeur of her success and her failures. Through good and ill fortune alike she has never lost sight of that quest or forgotten the ideals which gave her strength. We end today a period of ill fortune and India discovers herself again. The achievement we celebrate today is but a step, an opening of opportunity, to the greater triumphs and achievements that await us. Are we brave enough and wise enough to grasp this opportunity and accept the challenge of the future?”
Thus spoke Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India on the midnight of the 15th of August 1947, 64 years to the day that this blog post appears. The joy of India’s independence was mixed with the tragedy of the largest mass migration in human history, the Partition of India. Normally on this day, I write about what it means to be Indian and last year I had written about the speech I would have given to the people of India, from atop the Red Fort. However, this year, I am no longer an Indian citizen, but an Australian. Thus I do not wish to project myself in the role of the legislature, executive or the judiciary, but as a common man; a common person of Indian Origin.
It is common knowledge of the immense sacrifices people undergo, when charged with the task of nation building. As Thomas Jefferson said “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants”. The quest for Indian independence saw that tree overflowing with the blood of patriots. To this day, the tree is being continually refreshed, by not only patriots wearing military uniform, but ordinary people, doing extra-ordinary things. These people all summoned the courage in preparing for a common goal. They went for walks, they went without food, they marched during “shoot at sight” orders, and they threw leaflets in Parliament only to see an independent India. If these great men and women came back to India on August 2010, what would they do? Head for another walk? The correct answer may not be too far from this statement. India 2010 is different to India pre-1947 in many ways very similar in others.
A loose body of princely states, one which many wagered could never integrate to form a Union of States, is now a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and a multi-religious vibrant democracy. Yet from time to time, the fires of parochialism, secession and communalism burn and are stoked by leaders with vested interests.
A country, which had famines with alarming regularity before 1947, has not had a single famine for the past 64 years. Yet in 2006, almost 18000 farmers committed suicide due to various reasons.
A nation, which in 1911 only had 12% of its population literate in 1947, now has 66% of its population literate. Yet, this is much below the 84% World benchmark. A state having a growth rate of approximately 3% during Independence, now boasts of a growth rate of 7.4%, with the fourth largest PPP in the world. At the same time, the per capita income of the country is ranked well below leading economies, and even below nations like Sudan and Moldova.
Yet, despite of all this, India races forward even as many cynics argue "despite the system and not because of it". However, it is hard not to share an optimism about India. Role models like Narayana Murthy, Azim Premji and Subroto Bagchi only reinforce this optimism. Politicians like Rahul Gandhi, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Shivraj Chauhan give hope that the young will lead a nation of youth in the years to come.
Yes, there are problems. Yes, there are scandals. Yes, there are deep issues which cannot be solved at the drop of a hat. These require time, these require patience of more than 64 years. These problems were made by humans, so therefore the solutions will come with humans. Two of my favourite quotes come from the US President John F Kennedy, when he said
"Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country"and
"...we choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills..."
In closing, I leave with Tagore's vision of India:
Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where the words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action,
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Once again, I must apologise to my readers (if there are any left), for the long break in posting. The reasons for that will be explained in a subsequent post. However, this does mark a return to my blogging and I will once again strive to keep regularly updating it.
You may ask why I picked today for all reasons for a return to blogging. Today, I participated in something that I hold close to my heart thus proving to be a catalyst for me to announce my presence on the blogosphere once again. Today, I voluntarily gave Bone Marrow for medical purposes. Why did I do it? Was it painful? What is the procedure? Will I do it again? Did I gain any benefit out of it, monetary or otherwise? All of these questions will be answered to some depth in this piece J, so do bear with me!!
Firstly, I must stress that I have not donated bone marrow as part of a transplant process. Unfortunately, I still have not been amongst the lucky ones asked to save someone's life in that manner and I sincerely hope that one day, I too will be able to wear that badge of honour. My donation, known as a Bone Marrow Aspiration, was part of a trial that is being conducted by the Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) in conjunction with the Hanson Institute of the Institute of Medical and Veterinary Sciences (IMVS). The process itself took 15 minutes, with the total time being just over 2 hours. The process has been documented quite extensively on the web and although I lack the medical knowledge/expertise to explain it fully, I will give my personal account of what occurred. The first few steps of this action occurred in late April, wherein I volunteered to be part of this study, through a friend. The first visit to the RAH involved a standard blood test, to ensure that the blood was not infected with Hepatitis etc. Once this test was done, I was given a slot and asked to report to Day Surgery at that time.
Today, as I arrived, I filled in the regular paperwork and was asked to wait until a nurse came and asked questions related to my general health over the past 10 days, after which I was then escorted into Day Surgery and was "prepped". This involved changing into a surgical gown, and having 3-4 vials of my blood taken for further testing as part of the trial. After waiting for what seemed like an eternity, I was taken into the Operating Theatre, introduced to the surgeon who once again explained the procedures to me and asked me to sign paperwork saying that I had fully understood the procedures, accept the risks involved and consent to the operation as well as the results being used for the trial. After signing the paperwork, I was asked to lie on my side, marking the start of the procedure. It is after this that my experience wholly depended on what the hospital staff told me as the biopsy took place. First, the surgeon inserted a needle, causing slight pain, and applied local anaesthesia. From my understanding 2-3 vials of anaesthesia were used. After a few minutes, when it became apparent to me and the surgeon that the anaesthesia was working, a larger needle, known as the aspirate needle was then inserted into the same area. This is the needle which is used to "suck out" the bone marrow. The needle goes right into the bone, stopping at the marrow cavity. At this stage, a syringe is attached and the marrow is sucked out. This process of marrow extraction caused a sensation in the legs, accompanied by some pain. This pain however, reduced as repeated samples were taken. Once all samples were taken, the needles were removed, dressing applied and the operation was complete. I was then taken out of the theatre, allowed permission to get changed, and then asked to sit down, to allow my body recognise what happened. After 5-10 minutes of sitting down, the entire process was completed and I was then told that I could continue with my duties for the day.
In terms of pain, the answer is that the procedure IS painful. However, the pain is greatly reduced once the local anaesthetic is applied and the pain during aspiration is also reduced as further samples are taken. Once the local anaesthetic wears off, there is a pain in the hip, akin to the pain felt as part of a bruise in that area. I have been told that this pain shall reduce in 2-3 days. This pain did not preclude me from carrying out my work today and I see it just as a minor inconvenience.
The question then arises on why I would subject myself to this. I have been donating blood for quite some time now and have also been registered on the Australian Bone Marrow Registry, operated by the Red Cross. I have constantly wanted to be a part of the Bone Marrow donation process, as the chances of finding a match are extremely rare (some put it at one in a million). As I have yet to receive a call, the next logical process, in my view was to donate my marrow, so that it would help research into the science of haematology, which is
"the branch of internal medicine, physiology, pathology, clinical laboratory work, and paediatrics that is concerned with the study of blood, the blood-forming organs, and blood diseases."
Furthermore, the asian sub-continent population is very much under-represented in the bone marrow transplant process. India, for example, does not even have a Bone Marrow Registry. This article talks about the difficulties faced in finding an Indian donor (the website which is supposedly the Indian Bone Marrow Registry does not load). The numbers of both the donors and recipients are rising, but the rates are disproportionately stacked against the donors. Thus, even if any of my readers are able to register with their local hospital to be a bone marrow donor, I feel it would be an amazing step towards building a registry and helping our fellow human beings. Indeed, my main objective in doing the donation today was to give back to humanity for being extremely kind to me. I hope to be called for this once again and if the need arises for donating bone marrow for transplant purposes, I shall not bat an eyelid.
Finally, there was monetary compensation paid. However, that money shall go to charity. I have not earned one penny of that money, for I have not done anything but my human duty. I do not believe in being compensated for doing my duty and thus, that amount shall wholly go to a charitable organisation.
PS: A hat tip to my friend Reanu Gopal, who spoke to me about this and first planted the idea in my head! Thank you Reanu!