EVM

My badge...

I remember the day I got my badge for work. The picture is fine- I don’t really care about a 1x1 square of my face- what I adored that day was the extra piece of plastic behind it. This piece hangs down lower and in white letters on a dark background, it has the letters “RN.” Back then, getting to call myself an RN was a new, fresh, joy, but lately that is different. Lately that extra piece of plastic, clipped along with my badge to the neck of my scrubs, has felt more like a burden than a prize.

Because of that RN badge, I cannot say what I want. I have to be nice to the utterly ignorant husband of bed 22. I have to be nice even when he says things like “I’m a mechanic and such and such works like this, so her EVM? - what’s it called?- Oh her EVD should work like this, and you nurses just don’t know what you’re doing- so I’m gonna sit up here and watch you- and even when you don’t see me and you think I’m gone- I might be right behind you.” I have to be nice when the wife of bed 4 insists I bring her two blankets and three pillowcases and “can you put gloves on before you touch those?” I have to be nice when bed 10 keeps on and keeps on and keeps on trying to yank out his own foley, despite the 800 times I’m reoriented him and explained the foley. It means I have to get up and check on my patient when she beckons me by TAP TAP TAPPING away on the side rail with her remote, despite my telling her that I am not a dog and she can speak to me like a person.

The RN on my badge also means I have to act. I have advocate for my patient,  when he needs pressors and the doctors see it, but don’t care enough to place the central line. It means I have to call and call and call the doctor when my patient’s pain won’t go away and he won’t change the orders. It means even when my back aches, it is still my job to lift and turn. It means that there’s no such thing as “not my problem,” when it comes to these patients.

Some days, I do not know if the RN on my badge is worth the weight it puts on me mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Being a nurse is one of the hardest jobs, and often there’s no “thank you,” at the end of the day. But some days, the RN on my badge  lets me be a part of the truly miraculous. When a patient goes from horrible subarachnoid hemorrhage to awake, alert and oriented. When a patient tells you you’ve given the first relief of their pain in days. When you become a part of their family and they become a part of your heart. When you hold your confused patients hand, and she has no idea who you are, but her eyes say she’s glad you’re there. When you can make your patient laugh and forget where they are just for minute. When you know you cared for that patient the way you would want your own mom to be cared for. When you love your patient and they love you and trust you with their life. The RN on my badge is one million things at once, it is wonderful, humbling, stressful, encouraging, oppressive, and empowering.

DAY 2200

Jalsa, Mumbai               Apr 24/25,  2014              Thu/Fri  12 : 33 am

Once every 5 years in India and in its democracy, every citizen and legitimate voter gets the privilege of casting the value of his power, into the ballot box or as they say now the EVM - the electronic voting machine ! What transpires during these days of electioneering and voting was so subtly visualised in the film ‘BR’. So many pertinent points were woven into the story, in a most 'secretive’ yet satirical manner. It propagated the power of your vote, the power to bring change, the power and the voice of the people. For almost 67 years the practice has prevailed in Independent India - the largest democracy in the world leading by example.

The family went to cast our vote at a nearby polling station, clouded and enveloped by a battalion of media and paparazzi. It looks daunting when we encounter them, and for many this to them seems like an untoward intrusion. But they have to do their job, their earning and their need to provide to the seniors the moment of the day for bigger news outlets, is prime. With the number of outlets around the country, the content provided is valued in gold … and those that provide them to the masters look to it as a their daily wager. A good product if selected shall bring them their earnings for the day. It is a chance that they take, a desperate attempt to get the best so as to get selected and make their earning.

Yes , at times their enthusiasm does get most oppressive, but viewed in the context of their job, it also demonstrates their guile and effort in providing that one image that shall be sold, and for that to become the earning for their families ! So you do get pushed around or blocked in front of your vehicle to a stop, or sustain damaged vehicle of travel. Celebrity is not as easy a title to live with - this all comes with it, in large doses, and most of the moments can be most disturbing and frightening.

What does one do in such situations … one moves along with it. I have observed that succumbing momentarily in their midst, does provide a temporary relief .. but nothing more ..

For me, and I cannot say for the others, it is, quite ironically, a gauge of your public standing when an incident like this takes place. It needs to be taken in the spirit of such and digested well. That is the cure and the symptom to earn. Remember it is not going to be there forever. When the market of your value goes down, when the interest in another is greater, so shall the interest in the media towards you go down …

Having been through such phases, perhaps prepares me to face the moment bravely. It may not be so for others … I cannot say, I am not them and they are not me. My own code of conduct shall be dictated by what I believe is right and correct. It may be entirely wrong and unacceptable, no issue, but for me what is right is what I must decide internally is right for me and right for a particular situation …

For a public figure, a celebrity of fame, a loved individual among many, it naturally grows within you to be enamoured by the trappings of being famous. Getting noticed is one among them. The endeavour to be noticed is played out each minute. That it shall be short lived is an eventuality that all must be prepared for …

There shall be the time when in the company of the next biggy, the biggy shall get greater notice and attention than what may have been what you had been getting. It requires an immense amount of understanding to reckon with this. Many do, many do not. Those that do not, either shy away from the lights so to say, or worse, continue to believe that nothing has changed. That is asking for unmitigated psychological disorder ! It really is quite a sad occurrence. The ability to have so many in your attention, is no mean feat. The eventuality of it all going away to another, and being in a state of its acceptability, is nothing short of godliness.

When the cameras and the wild shouting and screaming crowds surround you, it is a definitive moment of elation somewhere. And when at that very moment the other more accomplished in the eyes of the masses enters, it requires a skin as thick as a rhinoceros to see the cameras turn away from you … the screaming crowds, shifting their gaze and their exultation in the direction away to the other fresher and newer entrant … 

In that one instant, you can either be destroyed, or build yourself into a person of some magnitude ..

It is one of the most difficult events that occur in celebrity. May it never ever invade the lives of those that pride in public presence. But if it does, may those that become a part of it, be gifted with the prudence and better prevalent sense, that such moments demand …

Good night dears …

Amitabh Bachchan