Friday, July 16, 2010

Exploratory Laprotomy

Just when I thought it was impossible for this trip to be more enriching and action packed, another incredible opportunity came knocking.

Let me introduce you to Ghandi Hospital. Named after one of the most influential leaders of all time, it is a government owned state of the art hospital where patients need not pay for treatment.

Dr. Srikant (one of Ammama's tenants) so graciously arranged for me to actually view a surgery. Of course, I was thrilled to get another opportunity to see doctors at their prime. We got all suited up for surgery, and entered the operating theatre.

The surgery that I got to witness is called an Exploratory Laprotomy. Basically, this is a surgery in which doctors cut an incision in the patients abdomen, and carefully examine the stomach, and intestines looking for a hole. This hole is caused by eating spicy foods, smoking, and a high alcohol intake. This hole secretes stomach acid and a variety of other fluids that ultimately result in inflammation of the abdomen. Unfortunately, there is no technology that can pinpoint the exact location of the hole so the doctors must search for the hole during the surgery. The doctors carefully searched every surface while cloterizing the blood vessels so that excessive bleeding did not occur. They finally found the hole on the patients stomach and sutchered it. The surgery took approximately one hour, and absolutely every second of it was captivating. I was amazed by the beauty of surgery. The precision, accuracy, and intricacy the team of doctors had while performing the surgery was stunning. I was so impressed by the efficiency and skill of the doctors. I was also impressed by the various factors that must be monitored during the surgery. There is anesthesia (the levels of nitrous oxygen given to the patient must be monitored at all times), the heart rate, blood pressure, and amount of oxygen in the lungs. I had the opportunity to watch the surgery from start to finish, and got to see the doctors wake the patient up from the anesthesia. They asked him his name and to do a variety of actions to see if he was alert. The whole thing was so interesting, and I am so happy that Ammama and Dr. Srikhant coordinated this for me. It is again, one of those experiences that makes me sure that I want to be a doctor. They are so skillful and careful about every aspect of the surgery, and I was so grateful to have been a part of this outstanding surgery that was so well done.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


In typical Ammama (grandmother) fashion, she has gone above and beyond to ensure that I get to dip my feet into a variety of things here. So I was surprised when she asked me that I do a Salsa tutorial for her senior citizens ladies club, but I was also very excited. I took a Salsa class back in the US and really loved it, so getting to teach it was a very exciting, but also daunting process.

I wanted the lesson to be extremely professional and well done, so I spent a long time preparing for it. I made sure that I had the steps I was going to teach down, and I spent hours carefully selecting the music. In fact, I put a little spin on this lesson. Rather than doing the typical Latin American music, I selected popular Hindi Film songs, because I figured they would be more relatable to the people I was going to teach.

The class went off magnificently! I couldn’t have been happier with how things turned out. Everyone seemed to have a great time, and even I had a blast! I was so happy with how everyone participated and at least tried to do some of the steps, and they really seemed to enjoy the music. It was really a gala time, and I am so happy Ammama asked me to do this. The ladies were all so friendly and warm and kept thanking me after the lesson was over. We concluded the meeting with a delicious lunch eaten at the scenic Chiran Fort club. All in all, it was a great way to start the day!

In addition to the pictures, I have also included the outline of the steps I taught at the lesson. I gave each of the ladies a copy of this outline, just in case they wanted to refer back to it, and practice their Salsa in the future!

Photo Shoot!

The glitz and glamour of fashion is something that I have always been fascinated by. But little did I know all the hard work that goes into it. A very resourceful Ammama (grandmother) managed to get me a photo shoot with the best photographer in Hyderabad, Arvind Chenji. I was absolutely thrilled. Getting to feel like a model/princess for a whole day is a rare occurrence for most people, and I was so excited to get all dolled up and take pictures. But of course beauty is pain, and I had my fair share of pain the day before the shoot. Ammama (grandmother) took me to a Beauty Parlour and we got all the essentials done there. We documented the preparation process with lots of pictures. Also, a huge thanks to Ammama for spending the whole day with me at the Beauty Parlour. She so graciously waited without any complaint, and I can’t say this enough but I love her and appreciate her so much for everything she’s done for me this trip.

Finally the day of the photo shoot had arrived. We woke up bright and early to a typical rainy Hyderabad morning. (Again a hearty thanks to Ammama and Thata who happily woke up at an ungodly time of the day to support their granddaughter). We took the long wet drive silently, anticipating what was to come and when we finally arrived at Arvind’s house, my excitement hit a peak. Meghana, the wonderful make-up artist, spent an hour making sure every surface of my face, neck, and arms were absolutely flawless. I looked like a completely different person afterwards, and she did a stunning job. After the make up it was time for the pictures! I was told to give a variety of looks, from saucy to the “I love Brad Pitt” look, I felt like a real model and it was such a great time. Arvind had me do a couple of jumping pictures which I really enjoyed, and then it was all over.

This was another one of those wonderful experiences I’ve had in India. Sure, it’s quite different from all the other medical experiences, in fact it might even be the polar opposite, but I had a blast and would never get to do something like this back home. A huge thanks to Arvind, Meghana, Ammama, and Thata for arranging this for me, and making sure I had a wonderful time. I haven’t seen the final product yet, but Arvind is coming over tomorrow to show us the pictures, and considering his exceptional photography skills, I know I will be impressed. We took a couple of “before” and “after” shots on our own camera so here they are!

After picture. We had breakfast at the Secunderabad club after the shoot!


I was always a bit skeptical when everyone told me that “you cannot put a price on knowledge.” Considering the fact that most well educated people spend practically the first 30 years of their lives in school, dishing out pockets full of money, I was hesitant to believe this. But in the famous words of Smashmouth, “Now I’m a Believer.” True knowledge is something that remains a part of you forever, and it can only be obtained by means of an exceptional teacher.

I’ve had some pretty incredible teachers in the US, who have taught me so much. So I was a little worried when I found out that my parents wanted me to get physics tuition here in India. I have absolutely no Physics background and am taking Advanced Placement Physics next year. So basically I’m being thrown into the deep end of a pool filled with vicious bloodthirsty sharks. But here in India, I was hoping to get the opportunity to slowly practice in the “kiddy pool” before I had to enter the daunting deep end. But I’ll admit, I was not particularly excited about the idea of attending Physics class during my precious summer, especially in India. For those of you who’ve seen Three Idiots, the Indian education system isn’t exactly appealing to most students. The constant competition and brainless memorization is not my cup of tea. I was worried that I would have a physics tutor like the tyrannical “Virus” from Three Idiots, but my previous assumptions about Indian teaching styles were erroneous. I managed to find a wonderful person to teach me Physics.

It all began when one of Ammama (grandmother) inquired to her own students about someone who could provide physics tuition. One of her very resourceful students said he did, and he immediately whipped out his cell phone and called Dr. Bahugana Saradhi (Head of the Physics department at Wesley College) and set it up right then and there. That’s what I’d call some awesome networking skills: on my Ammama’s and this students part. So we had a meeting with Dr. Bahuguna , and I actually had my first class at this meeting. I was absolutely thrilled with how great the first class went. He made me realize that a lot of the concepts in Physics I already know. For example gravity, all things are pulled down. He managed to build on this simple concept and actually showed me how to derive all the formulas in a way that made sense to me. After this first class, I was a total Physics nerd. It was so interesting the way he taught it, and I found myself feeling like it wasn’t a class, but rather a riveting conversation about Physics. I went to him every day for a few hours. In fact, he even joked that I was becoming a part of his family because I spent so much time at his house. Although at times I had to drag myself out of Ammama’s house to finally get there, I am so grateful for all that he did. He truly went out of his way to make sure I learned all of the material and that I had a good time while doing so. He was also sensitive to my different moods during the class. If I appeared bored or tired, he would crack a few jokes or change the subject to something that was not physics related. It was these small things that he did that made me really enjoy the class, and I am so fortunate to have found such a great teacher. Indian heritage stresses the importance of a Guru or teacher. “A guru is equivalent to god” and the validity of this statement was confirmed by my fantastic experience with this physics teacher, who refused to take a penny from us. His passion for teaching was so impressive, and his quirky sense of humor and extreme intelligence made him an all around outstanding teacher and person.

Me with Dr. Bahuguna's family!

Me with Ammama and Dr. Bahuguna's family!


Last weekend, I was able to complete all the required work for Sweekar and the various other medical things I participated in, and was finally able to kick back and spend some much needed quality time with Ravi Pednana, Nalin, and Chitra Auntie. Nalin promptly picked me up and we began the long drive to Sinipuri. I asked him if we could visit the house that KL Thata (my Grandfather) lived in and he agreed. We visited the house, and it was so great to hear about all the fun times and stories that had occurred here. Whether it was playing cricket on the driveway, or having all of the cousins over for lunch, it was so fascinating to hear about my Dad’s childhood. I’m sure he would be nostalgic if he visited this house, and so I was so happy to visit a place that was so important to him. We took several pictures of the house and here they are:

After we visited the house, we went to Ravi Pednana’s house and chatted for an hour or so. In true Reddi family fashion, we mostly blabbed about music (particularly the Beatles) and history. It was so much fun to spend time with them. Chitra Auntie arrived, and they insisted that I sing for them. I’m a sucker for a sing along, and could not refuse. So we jammed to the Beatles, Abba, and Sheryl Crow for about an hour, and I had such a great time singing for them, and they were great sports about it. I must’ve sang for an hour or so and they were attentive and a wonderful audience the whole time.

Like my Dad always says, you have to sing before you are rewarded with food, and so after singing we had a wonderful lunch. It was so delicious, and although Chitra Auntie and Ravi Pednana insist that I hardly ate anything, I really enjoyed it. The cherry on top, was the delicious chocolate cake that I devoured after lunch (Yes, I did kiss my diet good bye this day:)!

After the lunch, I got to see their home theatre, which I was so impressed by. It was such a cool room, with the wall projecting movies, and a couple of cozy couches placed in the perfect viewing spot. We watched an old concert video of John Lennon playing his famous “Imagine” on guitar, and I really enjoyed it. It was such a great version of this song, and as usual Lennon did not fail to impress.