Monday, January 30, 2012

What happened in those 40 minutes?

Consciousness has long been one of the great mysteries of life. It is something experienced by every one of us, yet we cannot even agree on how to define it. Are they lost moments in sleep or the effects of a drug? We really don’t know. Sure enough they cannot be recovered in rest of the life. Knowingly or unknowingly we do make use of our time wisely. This reminds me of a saying “May you live all the days of your life”.  Life has to move on but even the lost moments sometimes teach a lesson to oneself and an experience to share.
Couple of weeks ago I had to undergo a minor procedure in my neck. The procedure required anesthesia. I was in the day-surgery room for nearly three hours. After my vitals, and preop instructions I was taken into a procedure room in my surgery outfit. The moment I was in the room, it appeared that they were all waiting for me to arrive. Three or four assistants with the Dr.F started their preassigned tasks. I was asked to lie in prone position resting my face on a foam cutout pillow, placing hands in the front pockets. Being in that position, I was unable to see what was going on around me. I could only hear their light conversations. Not paying attention to their casual conversations I was lying down on my stomach, nervously, waiting for the procedure to be done. My train of thoughts took me to my teen days. By and large, our youth is spent unaware of the consequences we go through in the journey of our life. Experience asks us to choose the right direction, by then we get older and our body does not want to cooperate. Dr.F started the procedure preparations on my neck region by administering anesthesia. I was told that the anesthetic would make me feel drowsy, I would go to sleep, and when I woke up it would all be over.
Within seconds I distanced myself from this world, I have no idea of what so ever went on in the room. I awoke with no memories of what had passed between the feeling of mild drowsiness and waking up in a different room. I was woken up by a nurse assistant in the recovery room. I heard him asking me how I was feeling. Only then I realized, the procedure was completed. I answered him by just blinking my eyes and nodding my head. I was drifting in and out of awareness for some undefined period. I sipped a few drops of water placed near bedside and was lying down drowsy. After a while, when I slowly regained complete consciousness, I wondered where I was for the past 40 minutes. What happened to me?   
The elapsed time right after entering the surgery room, I can’t remember and probably never will. Series of thoughts crossed my mind; suddenly my renewed sense reminded me of what anesthetists do it as a routine, without really understanding what exactly consciousness is. It seems consciousness is tough to define, but easy to manage for them. They take people to the brink of nothingness without killing and bring them back home again. Human consciousness is just about the last surviving mystery of the being. Anesthesia is probably the best tool for understanding consciousness in managing health and disease. What a miracle!

"A life lived of choice is a life of conscious action. A life lived of chance is a life of unconscious creation."
-Neale Donald Walsch

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Quiz of the day (29)

I enjoy answering quiz questions. If you are like me, here is a random quiz question of the day in general knowledge for you to answer or else check back tomorrow for the answer. 
Since medieval ages, flags came in use primarily to identify a knight or a state. Modern period each county is represented by an unique flag. Which country do you think has the world's oldest flag?
a) Spain
b) Denmark
c) India
d) Chile
Quiz of the day (28)  Answer: d) rinderpest (known as cattle plague was eradicated in 2011)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Happy Republic Day!

Today, India is celebrating the 63rd Republic Day with grandeur. The Constitution of India was passed by the Constituent Assembly of India on November 26, 1949, but came into effect on January 26, 1950. As a school going child we only remember that this day was a national holiday, Indian flag will be hoisted, and in the evening usually cultural events are arranged in most cities. The day will be celebrated every year with much enthusiasm all over the country to mark the importance of the occasion.
As I grew up and with the entry of television set in my home, on the Republic Day I have enjoyed watching the famous grand parade to the historic Red Fort in New Delhi concluding with the President’s address to the nation.
On the eve of Republic Day, the country's highest civilian awards are conferred in various categories, namely, bravery awards, gallantry awards, Bharat Ratna, and Padma awards. Bravery awards are presented to recognize and honor children below 16 years of age who have performed outstanding deeds of bravery and selfless sacrifice.  Gallantry award are conferred to appreciate brave and gallant. Bharat Ratna is awarded to the great contributors who brought international recognition by excelling in their fields. The Padma awards are given in all disciplines/ fields of activities 'Padma Vibhushan' is awarded for exceptional and distinguished service; 'Padma Bhushan' for distinguished service of high order and 'Padma Shri' for distinguished service in any field. These awards are announced on the occasion of Republic Day every year. This year 109 eminent people were awarded. Of these, Andhra Pradesh received 2 awards one to Syed Mohammed Arif, sports, badminton; and the other to Dr. G. Muniratnam, social work.
Freedom in Mind, Faith in Words,
Pride in our Heart, Memories in our Souls.
Let’s Salute the Nation on REPUBLIC DAY!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Magha maasam-the eleventh month of the Hindu lunar calendar (January 24-February 21)

Magha maasam is the 11th month of Hindu lunar calendar. Makha nakshtram (star) falls on the pournami day of this month. This month is considered auspicious to perform all the major occasions like marriage, upanayanam (thread ceremony), house warming etc. One year on the earth is considered as one day in the higher abode and this month starts the dawn of the day to the Gods. Deepa daanam (lighting a lamp) is auspicious in Karthika maasam and magha snanam (holy dips in holy rivers) is the major ritual of magha maasam.There are many auspicious and religious events during the month. Some of them are given here.
Vasanta Panchami (January 27) falls on the fifth day of the magha maasam. Goddess Saraswathi is worshiped on this day. Children are initiated into the world of learning on this day.
Ratha Sapthami (January 30) is observed on the seventh day after amavasya and is dedicated to Sun God. An important ritual is taking bath using jilledu aku (erukku leaves), a kind of giant milkweed. Lord Surya is believed to ride a chariot driven by seven horses and this form is worshipped during the festival. To show the significance of the festival a chariot muggu (rangoli) is made on the ground and worshipped. Usually milk is boiled and pudding is made of rice and jaggery and offered to Sun God.
Bhishma Ashtami (January 31) falls on the eighth day during the shukla paksha (first half of the fortnight of the month). Bhishma is known as the grandfather of the Kauravas. In the Great War of Mahabharata, Bhishma laid himself on the bed of arrows on this day. Before his last breath, Bhishma revealed the Vishnu Sahasranamam (1000 names of Lord Vishnu) to Pandavas in the presence of Lord Krishna (incarnation of Lord Vishnu). Significantly called Bhishma Pitamah, chose this day to leave his body and unite with the Lord. Hence Bhishma Ekadasi (11th day in the fortnight, February 3, 2012) is auspicious to devotees, who chant or listen to Vishnu Sahasranama stotram and be on fast for the day.
Magha pournami (full moon day, February 7)is the most important and sacred pournimis in the Hindu religion. It is believed that taking early morning baths in holy rivers on this day relieves a person from all sorts of problems. The Magha Mela at Prayag near Allahabad held on this day is very famous in India. More than a million devotees assemble at the confluence of the Ganges and the Yamuna.
Maha Shivarathri (February 20) is the night of worship of Lord Shiva on the 14th day after pournami. Lord Shiva is worshiped in the form of lingam will be pleased  if we perform libations (abhishekam).  “Panchamrutham”, the five foods of immortality namely milk, clarified butter, curd, honey and sugar is offered as abhishekam. If you cannot offer panchamrutham he enjoys if one offers water on "sivalingam". Devotees observe a day of strict fast having only fruits and milk. There is also a saying that “janmaniki oka sivarathri” which means that at least in one life time we should fast on sivarathri day. After fasting for the day, devotees spend the whole night by performing abhishekams, kalyanam of Lord Shiva and Parvathi devi along with chanting of “Om Namah Shivaya”. It is believed that, we are required to keep vigil during the night in order to receive Lord Shiva’s grace and assistance. 
May the Lord shower HIS blessings on the living beings!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Quiz of the day (28)

I enjoy answering quiz questions. If you are like me, here is a random quiz question of the day in general knowledge for you to answer or else check back tomorrow for the answer.
In 1980, according to United Nations, small pox was eradicated. Recently UN formally declared that second disease has been eliminated worldwide. Can you name the disease?
a) Polio
b) guinea worm disease
c) malaria
d) rinderpest
Quiz of the day (27) Answer: a) cricket (The idea was first studied by A. E. Dolbear in 1898, later known as Dolbear's Law.)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Quiz of the day (27)

I enjoy answering quiz questions. If you are like me, here is a random quiz question of the day in general knowledge for you to answer or else check back tomorrow for the answer.
Do you know this; temperature can be measured with the help of the noises made by an animal. Which insect/animal can help you give the temperature in Fahrenheit by adding the number of noises it makes in 14 seconds and adding 40? 
a) cricket
b) grasshopper
c) bees 
d) moth 
Quiz of the day (26) Answer: d) Sun and Saturn (Capricorn is a sign of Saturn. On this day of Makara Sankranti, Sun enters into Capricorn the sign of Saturn; Sun God is the father of Saturn) 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Happy Makara Sankranti!

Makara Sankranti is the biggest festival for Hindus. This is the only festival celebrated based upon solar calendar, on the day of transition of Sun from Sagittarius (Danus raasi) zodiac sign to Capricorn (Makara raasi).
Each state in India celebrates with different names, Makara Sankranti in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, Pongal in Tamilnadu, Lohri in Punjab, Bihu in Assam. Sankranti is one of the big festival in Andhra Pradesh, where in it is colloquially called “pedda pandaga”.  This is a four day festival of Bhogi, Makara Sankranti, Kanuma and Mukkanuma.
Not only as a child, but as an adult I have sweet memories attached to this festival. The whole month of Dhanur maasam early in the morning, I happened to attend Nagara Sankeerthanams. This means all the elders in the neighborhood gather and go around the streets singing the Lords names, praising the Lord with bhajans and reach the temple by dawn and attend the puja and take the aarathi and prasadam. In spite of cold weather covering my head, I used to attend some days of that month. Later in the night all the ladies and girls used to arrive in the front yard, prepare the ground by sprinkling water and make rangoli (muggu) with dots, lines and colors. We used to visit our friend’s house to view and appreciate their rangoli work. While making rangoli with dots was easy, I had to learn line drawing forms from my mom. She is expert in that and does without any difficulty. Rangoli powder is to be taken in the palm, close the fist and release rangoli powder slowly creating a small gaps between point finger and middle finger and ring finger and small finger. You can create millions of designs on the ground. I truly appreciate how swiftly my mom and grandma used to make designs. Gobbemalu, is a form of deity where in all the girls used to gather around the gobbemalu centered in the rangoli. We used to sing and dance around the rangoli. It was fun dancing and enjoyed the meaning of the lyrics.  Bommala koluvu was not common in our house, but I used to gather all the dolls I had and used to arrange in a place myself and invited my friends to see the display.
As I grew up rangoli and other activities vanished due the city where we were in and our daily routine did not accommodate with higher studies. Also I moved out of the house for a job. As an adult, this festival has affiliation to my job and marriage. I received my job offer letter around this festival season. Couple of years later, I came home for the festival which happened to be an extended long weekend. That is when my mom brought in the conversation of a marriage alliance which my parents were looking for me. My parents like the family, the groom (now my husband for the last two and half decades), his job etc. So my mom asked me that the groom’s family was ready to come for “pelli chupulu” (girl and boy meet with relatives on both sides). As Pushya maasam is not a good month for auspicious function, it was arranged for a later day. All went well, happily married with my husband. Now it is history. After marriage, Sankranti is the big festival or “peddda pandaga” to invite the in-laws and their family members to the bride’s house. My husband and I from went home from a remote city where we used to work, and my husband’s family members came to our house that was in a different city. Our house was in festive mood, my mother with the help of my grandmother and aunt made all the arrangements by preparing variety of sweets, to name a few, thokkudu laddu, bobbatlu, karappusa, aresalu were among them. My parents brought new dress, sarees to each one of us and relatives. Kanuma, the third day of the festival we all had/have to take head bath. There is a saying that even a crow takes bath on this day. Normally it is not a good a day to start a journey, so all of us slowly came out of the festive mood and traveled back to our destination with all the memories on Mukkanuma. I wish to have much more great memories for my future. We all hope that Sankranti will usher good fortunes in our lives.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Quiz of the day (26)

I enjoy answering quiz questions. If you are like me, here is a random quiz question of the day in general knowledge for you to answer or else check back tomorrow for the answer. 
According to Hindu puranas which father son duo meet on Makara Sankranti?
a) Varun and Hanuman
b) Brahma and Narada
c) Ravana and Meghnadha  
d) Sun and Saturn
Quiz of the day (25) Answer: c) vision in dim light (skotos means darkness, opic-condition of the eye, vision-seeing)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Quiz of the day (25)

I enjoy answering quiz questions. If you are like me, here is a random quiz question of the day in general knowledge for you to answer or else check back tomorrow for the answer. 
20/20 vision, means that when a person stands 20 feet away from the Snellen eye chart that person can see what a "normal" human being can see. This is normal vision. What does it mean if a person has scotopic vision?
a) crossed eye
b) blurred vision
c) vision in dim light
d) double vision
Quiz of the day (24) Answer: b) Venus (1 Venus day = 243 Earth days, 1 Venus year=224.65 Earth days)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Quiz of the day (24)

I enjoy answering quiz questions. If you are like me, here is a random quiz question of the day in general knowledge for you to answer or else check back tomorrow for the answer. 
I know you have not traveled to this planet, me neither. If you had a chance to visit this particular planet, duration of one day in that planet is longer than its year. Other words, it has a rotation longer than a revolution. Any guess which planet would that be?
a) Mercury
b) Venus 
c) Jupiter
d) Mars
Quiz of the day (23) Answer: a) clowns (Ancient Greek word coulro meaning "stilt-walker")

Monday, January 2, 2012

January flower

Since time immemorial flowers are gifts to humans, especially women. It is believed that first flowers have appeared on the planet some millions of years ago. Celebrations with flowers originated in honoring Roman Gods and decorating the altars. In Hinduism, flowers constitute an important offering made to the deities. Flowers are used while performing puja at home or temples.Today no important event is complete without flowers in any form of decoration. The classification of flowers, as an offering, is based on color, fragrance, shape and origin. To commemorate a particular occasion floral gifts have become widely popular.
Every month I would like be bring some facts about the birth-month flower.
January birth-month flower is red carnation or snowdrop.
Carnations - delicate, durable, and delightful
Represents - fascination, distinction, and love
Scientific name - Dianthus caryophyllus
Scientific name meaning - divine flower
Other names - gillyflower,clove pink
History dates - Greek and Roman times
Official flower - January Birth flower, Mother’s Day
City - Carnation, King County, Washington State
National flower - Spain, Portugal, Slovenia

"You like buttercups, dewy sweet, 
and crocuses, framed in snow;
I like roses, born of the heat, 
and the red carnation's glow."

-Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

As we make our resolutions for the year ahead, let us go forward with great hope that all things can be possible.
May everyday of the year glow with full of cheer and good spirits. Have a prosperous year!
"Drop the last year into the silent limbo of the past. Let it go, for it was imperfect, and thank God that it can go."
-Brooks Atkinson