Saturday, February 21, 2009

Life in a test tube


I am a killing machine at work, the one who rips an embryo without a hiccup.

Not that I justify the pain I inflict on my lab animals, but my EQ is zero when I sacrifice them.

No, I don’t house any emotion-management strategies. Just that, at the beginning of my scientific career I convinced myself that I would be pursuing an empirically valid curriculum and sensitivity of any kind, whatsoever; should seldom follow it.

Until now, I held the view that I could keep my personal self discrete from the professional arena. But an absolute elimination of this professional-personal overlap sometimes becomes non-negotiable. Alas, my existence is more than a university address, a PC and an e-mail ID, a fact I invariably fail to acknowledge.

Yes, I do feel, sometimes; even if I’m at work.(I’m sure my bum-chums across the globe would be already belching over this! You megalomaniacs! Without me resorting to extreme physical violence, you better believe me!)

These days I’m working with clinical biopsies of terminally ill cancer patients, who are probably dead by now.

Big deal..right?

Wrong. It’s far bigger.

I’m chopping, grinding, and mincing what was once a walking-talking-smiling human being. They would have never imagined that their brain that got confused when first love happened or their heart that followed it would be mummified in a tube. It would be passed on to the hands of a stranger, who would be foisting an unimaginable insult to their remains, a final blow to an already hard enough life.

I may not feel, but I know what a cancer patient goes through. The worst thing about cancer is not only the pre/post-treatment aesthetics of it. The thought that “Cancer is killing ME” is what directs the genesis from a serious illness to death.

Radiations, potent carcinogens, cancer inducing viruses, so on and so forth, you name it and either I have worked or I am working with it . No doubt, I have taken an under-calculated risk with own my life and in principle I face a thousand times higher risk of developing cancer as compared to a natural predisposition. Just that the weighty argument, “Who knows what happens to you in this medley of life?” keeps me happy.

The path to near immortality is and will remain elusive. I know I would succumb to death too, sooner or later. Dying doesn’t bother me much. But I would not like to see it coming, growing on me every single day when I wake up!

If one fine day I realize my life is a countdown and my clock is ticking away, how will I read all the books that I want to? Learn dance (with my two left feet? I guess yes...yeah laugh!), churn out all those amazing goodies I’m learning from the oven? Make love in a place I’m not supposed to? Tell people how much I love them or for that matter express detest for my boss even if he was to sack me!

Only if one could live a lifetime soon enough!

And to think of my life ending up in a tube is dismal enough to give me biiiiiiiiig-biiiiiiiig knots in my stomach.

In one of my previous posts, I made a juvenile comment that I don’t want to live long. I would like to make an amendment to that, right here, right now.

I don’t know how long I will live, but I definitely know I will live only once.
And until I die, I want to LIVE and not just exist. Nothing less, nothing more...



P.S. This post is sincerely dedicated to all the cancer patients in my clinical records who fought the disease. You have left a legacy of inspiration.
And I honour the undaunted others who are confronting the challenge with their boundless zest for life.

4 comments:

Rhett said...

Omg. Quite a task at hand you have. The first thought that came to mind was: how can you write poetry?! hehehe.

Arpita said...

Hahahahahaha

Well...people believe that we scientists have ravaged the world of poetry by dissecting out the miracle of life to a series of hard-rigid facts!

I mean, the moon does build up a vivid imagery for a Poet but is skimmed down to Earth’s satellite for a Scientist!!

So, I agree that unlike a poet, we do slam precise information…But not one and all..some “cold-but-creative scientist” still enjoy imaginative freedom!

tanuj solanki said...

For this paragraph

I’m chopping, grinding, and mincing what was once a walking-talking-smiling human being. They would have never imagined that their brain that got confused when first love happened or their heart that followed it would be mummified in a tube. It would be passed on to the hands of a stranger, who would be foisting an unimaginable insult to their remains, a final blow to an already hard enough life.

I can salute you!

Arpita said...

@Tanuj
Thank You:)