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Thursday, July 5, 2007


At a conference hall, in the dark, an Indian surgeon is listening to Europe's top laparoscopic surgeons pontificate on their topics.
While they do their job, this surgeon, like his compatriots, does his. Sleepless in normal life, he is overcome by waves of endorphins and other intoxicants that the body releases when it gets tired of the absurdities of taking life too seriously.
Speakers are agents of the Sleep God. The Greek one used to be called Thanatos. No, not really, for he was the God of Death. Hypnos was. And hypnotic are these European speakers. With their 'ems' and 'aaahs', they could do what wine could not. Give the peace that comes in the mother's womb, and that every man (in futility) seeks in a woman's arms.
After a nice breakfast, in a darkened room, a God-gifted baritone disperses all the tensions of life, and the surgeon starts dozing, only to be rudely (he thought) awakened by a huge Croatian who did not particularly fancy the Indian slobbering on his jacket sleeve. To no avail. He drifts again like a gondola in Venice. Suddenly the mind gets a Google alert. The speaker points to some graphs and lines that look very Greek to him, but he hears the words that woke him up. "Cox regression analysis", he says. Now, this is a topic that is of great interest to him. His Spam folder in his mail account is witness to the world clamoring for his measured attention on this crucial issue.Gives a spin to the term 'Hindu rate of growth', he thought.
Other than this anomaly, he participates enthusiastically in this act of mass mind-grazing, roused intermittently by an intrusive cell phone ring.
As the French are talking of "ze interesting zings in ze world of surgery", the collective "zzz´s" of the hapless audience is audible. At ze end of ze lecture, everyone claps enthusiastically, as if to celebrate a magician's act of mass levitation.
The Indian surgeon, unimpressed, reflects on a truism of life: Clap, and the world claps with you. Sleep, and you snore alone!

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