Friday, December 16, 2011

Two Fates - a book review

I read about Blog Adda's book reviewing program on Binary's blog. Immediately, lots of bulbs went off in my head. Wheeeeeeeeeee - I can get free books to read! Signing up was the work of a moment. Within a week, I had received my first book: Two Fates by Judy Balan. Keeping my end of the deal, here is the review:

Two Fates follows the lives of Deepika Sundar, a Tamilian, and Rishab Khanna, a Punjabi, who, after a long courtship and two years marriage are now fed up with each other and want to get a divorce. However, their respective families, who were at hammer and tongs before their wedding have now become one happy family and Deepika and Rishab dread telling them about their separation plans. How they try to do it is what Two Fates is about.

In the first few chapters of the book, Deepika and Rishab are portrayed as two annoying individuals with few likeable qualities. Thus, it seemed like it made sense that they annoyed each other as well and wanted to divorce. But a few chapters on, I was not sure (like most of the other characters in the book), as to why exactly these two people wanted to get a divorce. They had been courting for five years prior to marriage and all of their current divorce-contributing factors would have been present back then too, in which case they probably would not have even agreed to get married in the first place. Or perhaps familiarity breeded contempt and all. Anyway, I decided the story needed some premise and this was it and I should leave it at that.

The story is generously populated with caricatures of Punjabi (and to some extent, Tamil) families. I have Punjabi friends and they do have other aspects to their characters than being a ultra-happy bunch of boisterous and loud people fond of eating. I guess this was for comedic relief but beyond a point, it got repetitive and I skipped a few pages with descriptions of how these Punjabis on Prozac manage to irritate Deepika and Rishab.

About a third of the way in, I began to think that perhaps this reviewing for free books was not such a great deal after all if I was going to be forced to complete reading books I rather would not have. However, the book picked up from then on. The characters had grown on me a bit  Though I could see the end from chapter 1 itself, I had become mildly interested in knowing how it got there.

In spite of the flimsy story line, the writing is pretty decent. Though I thought the prose was a little too wordy in the beginning, it sorted itself out in subsequent chapters. The language flowed smoothly making it an easy and quick (the book is only 200 pages long) read.

When I finally closed the book, it was with the feeling of contentment that comes from having done decent timepass. That would be my verdict for the book as well: decent timepass when you do not have anything better on hand to read.
This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Going under

When I was told that I would need to undergo a minor medical procedure under the influence of general anesthesia, I almost started hyperventilating. As much as I hate doctor/hospital visits, I usually follow the resultant treatments without much fuss. But, this time round, I started panicking with a capital P.

I was not worried too much about the actual procedure. Instead, the alarm bells in my head had started clanging loudly the moment the words "general anesthesia" were mentioned. Years and years ago, I had heard a story of a neighbor who was administered general anasthesia for a very minor and common place operation and wound up never coming out of it. Since then, the words general anesthesia have always conjured horrific images in my head.

Yeah, so, I was less than enthused to hear I had to go under general anesthesia (GA). I tried wangling out of it by suggesting other options but finally had to recoincile myself to GA. On the bright side, if anything happened to me I would be too gone to be aware of it. On the other hand, I felt profoundly sorry for my family if anything did happen to me  (I can be morbid like that).

Two nights before the procedure saw me wide awake. For some reason I kept envisioning a scenario where I would be unable to move my body or open my eyes on the operating table but where I could hear all the people around me and had to fight the panic that image brought in. That lack of control over myself had me scared out of my wits.

It did not help that S casually mentioned that he was one of those people who did not take easily to GA. In fact, once he had counted all the way up to 35 before the anesthetist decided that the dosage was probably too less for him and decided to increase it (usually anesthetists ask you to start counting while they wait for the drug to take effect and people are usually out before they reach 10). What if something similar happened to me?

Anyhow, the day of the surgery arrived. After prep and waiting, I was wheeled into the operation theatre (OT). Darn, the OT was frigging cold! I wished I had several more layers of blankets on me. But before I could mentally start whining about that, the moment of anesthesia arrived.

I guess I had a frightened deer caught in the OT lights look on my face for the anesthetist kindly look at me through her mask and asked "Is this your first time with anesthesia?" When I dumbly nodded, she said, "Don't worry ma. You will simply start sleeping in a bit." Then, some drug was injected and she asked, "Are your teeth loose?". What a weird question, I thought, mentally bookmarking that I should later google the relationship between general anesthesia and teeth (my inner geek shalt never be quelled).

Then she again said, "You will sleep in a bit". I lay staring at the bright overhead lights. I did not appear to be any closer to sleeping at all. Did they really inject anything into me? Oh, wait a minute, I feel lightly dizzy, maybe I would feel a bit more dizzy in a bit. But wait, I can still see the lights.

Someone was prodding me, "The procedure is over, are you fine?" I had been in the middle of some pleasant dream (I have no clue about what) and was mildly annoyed at being so unceremoniously woken up. But then, realization dawned: Wait a minute, I had gone under and come out of GA successfully. With absolutely no recollection of what had happened in between.Yaay!

Then I looked around and thought I was still in the OT. It took me several minutes before I processed that the overhead lights were missing and a bunch of cupboards had sprung up next to me, thus making it highly unlikely that I was still in the OT. Oh, I was probably in the recovery room then.

I was quite lucid post-GA and was even able to walk around on my own in a short while. Contrary to expectations of nausea,a common GA side-effect, I was ravenously hungry in a couple of hours and was demanding food (ha, who can separate Archana and her food!), having been foodless for close to 14 hours.

The next 24 hours saw my head spin lightly whenever I changed positions between sitting/standing and lying down. But otherwise, I was not very much worse for the wear and was completely back to normal the next day.

So yeah, as a in case of emergency nugget of info, I now know that I do not have adverse effects to GA. Yaay.