Saturday, December 25, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Keh Aati Nahin Fasl-e-Gul roz roz!
Woh May Jis Say Roshan Hai Zameer-e-Hayat,
Woh May Jis Say Hai Masti-e-Kainaat!"
For the season of the rose do not come everyday
That wine which reveals the essence of life
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Today, we head to Daira Deen Pannah, a town about 20 miles South of Paharpur, to continue our medical relief efforts. Our driver, Shafkat, carefully maneuvers the ambulance that carries the medicines and three of us doctors, one nurse and one dispenser, over the torn roads and bridges; the bumpy ride has made me quite nauseous. I normally don't vomit easily but I'm quite close to it right now. We reach a point in the road from where we cannot move any further—a good chunk of the road is completely missing. A few local villagers respond to our dis
tress call and come rushing over to help. They diligently repair the road by p
lacing bricks and shoveling dirt onto the sidetracks so that wheels of the ambulance can just pass through the crater. Dr Tariq chats up the local villagers and collects important information about the area—thus helpin
g us to figure out where we can go to find the most number of flood-affected people.
We soon arrive in a small community of about ten or so houses. Everything has been obliterated by the floodwater. And yet, the
re are still a few villagers sitting quietly on manjis. They are most definitely happy to see us, and quickly rise to offer us their sitting places. We start unloading the medication and supplies from the ambulance to setup our camp as the local villagers help spread the word about our medical teams presence in their village. It did not take long before hundreds of people gathered around us and many more were on their way towards the camp. It
astounds me that even in the remotest of areas so many people can assemble so quickly when the need arises.
The majority of diseases were skin related today. Mallay is a Sirai
ki word for a rash, and there were plenty of people coming to us with mallay. Suspected cases of malaria, gastro and respiratory diseases were also coming in big numbers. However, what concerned me most was not so much the symptoms already apparent, but the extremely large number of flies that were surrounding us. The biggest carriers for the transmission of water-borne diseases are flies. I imagine that at night there would be an equally astounding number of mosquitoes.
I look around and see stagnant water in all directions, the hot sun is now baking the polluted water, and the flies and the mosquitos must be busy multiplying by the thousands. The water needs to be sprayed, but there is just too much water to be sprayed and not enough money or emphasis on such preventative medicine work. Preventative medicine is a branch of medicine that is very crucial at times like these but unfortunately, it is often neglected in third world countries. Truly, the people here have no choice but to either leave their homes (or whatever is left of their homes) and move to relief camps or become sick by a plethora of possible infectious diseases ravaging the areas. Muhammad Akram, a local villager explains, "People refu
se to leave their homes because they are afraid of dacoits looting whatever is left of their belongings." Once again, I'm overcome with the feeling of helplessness and despair for the people here.
We might handout medicines today to the people who are here, but what about the sick old woman who lives maybe a kilometer away and cannot walk to the camp?
And what if tomorrow more people become sick, will there be a team visiting this area again? What if someone has a reaction to the medicines? These are questions no one has answers to.
We begin our relief work by looking at more patients with malaria, gastroenteritis, and various skin diseases. Children are often afraid of doctors (as is the case everywhere in the world, after all—we might give them an injection, and we all know how much that hurts!). So I usually let them play with my stethoscope. It always helps them become more comfortable and also helps to improve the doctor-patient bond with children and their parents. After treating victims in need of aid in the area, we packed and left to setup camp at the next scheduled site.
We were now en route to the Taunsa Barrage, which is located roughly 12 miles southeast of Taunsa Sharif City, located just west of the Indus River. The barrage provides water for irrigation to two million acres of land in Southern Punjab. 65 gates control the flow of water and the river happens to be uncharacteristically wide for a river. I am also told that a breed of dolphins specific to this river is also found here. I hope i see one! As I walk down the barrage, looking over the ledge at the fast flowing water and wondering if anyones tried swimming here, I suddenly find that I cannot take the rising heat and so I quietly head back to the ambulance—only to find hundreds of people surrounding Dr. Tariq, a medical officer in Dermatology at Jinnah Hospital, Lahore. I quickly join Dr. Tariq and we start diagnosing and prescribing medicines for the patients.
Among the patients was a police officer, Mohammad Zaman, he tells me about the lack of medical attention that this area has received, and that most of the villagers have had no medical attention. Zaman’s symptoms are in line of malaria as well. Back up police staff is needed while those in the front lines recover from illness—but no such help will come for Zaman. Another patient, Majeed, is 45 years old and after examining him I have come to the conclusion that he has ascites, most likely from ch
ronic liver disease. After initially denying, he admits that he does indeed have liver disease and wants for me to provide him with medication. The treatment for chronic liver disease requires further investigations and often a hospital admission for treatment. Our ambulance carries medications for the most basic treatment for the major diseases that are encountered in flood crisis. I repeatedly explain to him that he needs to go to a tertiary hospital; the nearest being in Multan. But my advice falls on deaf ears, he is disappointed that I do not have any medication for him. Majeed eventually leaves in a bitter mood. There is no time to run after him as there are many more people waiting anxiously and often impatiently for their turn. I move on to checking other patients but I hope for Majeed's sake, that he does go to a hospital soon.I move from one place to another, with a mob of people following on my heel. It is another scorcher of a day and since I'm fasting - I am now very...very thirsty!
Late in the evening, I often wonder about the patients I have provided treatment to in the day. I think about whether they will recover or not? Did I overlook someones symptoms? Did I neglect someone? Did I listen? Is someone having an adverse reactions to medication I prescribed? It is a much different atmosphere and work conditions out here than in a hospital where you have time and resources to do all the things that you want to before prescribing a medicine. A local doctor had earlier advised us to not give antibiotic course for more than 3 days because "if the patients recover, they will stop taking it within three days anyways and if they don't they will stop taking the medicine around the third day". Majority of the people affected by the floods are of poor socioeconomic status and for it's often difficult to make them understand the importance of completing the course of an antibiotic. In the end, we can only do the best we can.
I am extremely tired from working endlessly in this heat & humidity. Once again, we end c
amp just before sunset and head back to our temporary lodging. Dr Tariq repeatedly says "jhulo jhulo" which means "hurry hurry" in Siraiki. I've learned a bit of Siraiki too. Tomorrow, there will be more work but it will also the fifth and last day of our rotation as we head back to Lahore tomorrow night.
"During conscioussness and intoxication, mysterious forces within myself and outside, have danced to the tunes of my will, and the symphony of my determination to make them dance has never faltered or fallen weak"
---- I got too lazy to write Day 5 and 6 but I think one day I will...
Day 3 (Saturday, 28 August 2010)
Day three of my journey consisted of distributing ration to a small town on the outskirts of Layyah city.
I get onboard the truck that I had organized earlier in the week to be sent from Lahore with the help of my uncle Arshad, CEO of Rahat Bakers in Lahore. We had two volunteers who would drive the rations, and two further volunteers (employees from Rahat Bakers, Sidiq and Nadeem) to help with the distribution of the goods when we reach our destination—Karore, a town 30 miles from our lodge. I jump on board the truck. The ride is slow, as the truck can't speed past 50km/h and there is ofcourse no a.c. I'm already sweating profusedly and looking ahead to whats going to be a long day. I distract my mind from thinking about conditions Im facing, and look out at the countryside. Nadeem happens to be a local of the area and his knowledge proves to be indispensible. He gives me startling insights into the supreme feudalism
that reigns in these remote areas, the types of people that live here, and the customs that are followed. It is apparent from his anecdotes that racism is very much still at large; and on more than one occasion, explains Nadeem, he has been turned down work despite having a certified diploma as an electrician simply based on the fact that he is not an original native but a Muhajir. A prolonged meaningful silence is all I could offer Nadeem as I try to understand his struggle.
It seemed that on our way to Karore several men sensed the presence of ration in the back of our truck. They proceeded to intercept us and it became quite difficult to get away from them, and given the circumstances, we were lucky to have we managed to get away from these people without being mauled roadside. When we reached Karore, the locals ushered us to a mosque not but 10 minutes away. Large, overpowering walls on all sides and two iron-wrought gates welcomed us into the refuge. Several men had volunteered to help with the distribution and the bigger problem of controlling the crowds. The mosque had been given to the people as a place of refuge, as the area surrounding the town of Karore was heavily flooded. I felt safe at the mosque, the volunteers had called upon people who were affected by the floods and very quickly, long lines of people waiting to get food were formed.
The problem that truly bars aid from reaching the victims of the flood consists of two things: First, all of the food that comes in is now being looted by local gangs and even average people who have been struck hard by the inflated prices of food and basic necessities in the country.
These are people who have not really been affected by the floods, but are still finding it easier to grab a bag full of ration rather than going out and looking for work. So, in the end, it becomes difficult to get aid into the right hands. The second thing that truly bars ration from getting into the right hands actually lies within the system of distribution. While at the mosque, it soon became evident that the administration of the mosque was staking a claim of the ration being distributed. I found this to be quite pathetic but I did not let it bother me, for I had not come to Karore to make a name for myself amongst the locals. I came, today, to make sure the flood victims get the ration they deserve, regardless of who hands it to them. The men in charge of the distribution at the mosque were actually, intermittently placing some of their own people in the lines to collect ration. It was apparent that a few bags instead of being taken out the gates were instead dragged into the back rooms of the compound. So much for the honest mullahs.
I stopped the distribution for a while and had Nadeem check the ID cards of every person who came to collect ration. This checking slowed the process of distribution but it made sure the ration went in the right hands. 600 packages were brought from Lahore, and each contained 10 kg of wheat-flour, 1 kg of rice, lentil, sugar, rice and 250 gm of pickles. The cost of the entire truck was roughly $4,000. The process of handing over so many bags was slow and tedious. And I was disappointed with the blatant corruption that occurs even in times of need. Where government does not steps up to help, ordinary citizens must, and when ordinary citizens come to the aid of
people without the support of government backed bodies like the Police, we must make do with what we have.
I went to pray Zuhr, and prayed to Allah (SWT) that with whatever happens, the majority of the ration goes into the hands of the people who truly need it. And as luck would have it, soon after Salat, the ex mayor-elect of the town, Mr. Malik Umar Olik, (who also happens to be the brother of the Minister of Agriculture), arrived on the request of my friend and offered to take us into the more deeply affected areas. We still had about 450 bags ration in the truck. And I took this as a sign from God, answering my prayer, and we were off to the affected areas in absolutely no time.
It was an hour into driving South when we were greeted by sights of destroyed villages, and sights of men, women and children working on trying to rebuild their houses with the limited supplied they had. Mr. Malik invited me to sit with him in his SUV, I was much relieved to be seated in an air conditioned car again. The truck and Mr. Maliks gunmen followed us as we drove deep towards the heavily affected areas. We stopped intermittently to hand out ration to the destroyed small villages that were on our way. Mr Malik briefed me
on the situation in the area, "the water was just coming from all directions, we raised a levee on one side, but the water would just find a way from elsewhere. We were really helpless". More than once our entourage had to stop because the road was not fit for the truck to pass. On one occasion, we had to wait about half an hour for the local villagers to bring shovels to fix the road enough so that the truck
can pass. More than once, I wondered how on earth would a truck pass over a certain point but to my surprise it never failed to do so. I was convinced that God is pulling strings and the old quote that God helps those who set out to help others is actually proving itself. At one point, a man named Allah-Baksh came rushing towards us and said that he had desperately needed a tent, but unfortunately we had none. All we had was ration for him. With the constant raining, it becomes even more difficult for people like Allah-Baksh to sleep without a roof. There is no place to cook and no place to use the washroom.
In our next destination, we were greeted by hundreds of awaiting flood victims. It did not take long at all for the distribution centre to become chaotic—people were climbing on top of each other to get to the front of the ‘line’. Furthermore, sweltering heat and the humidity and fasting made it difficult for me to even stand. With stagnant water on both sides of the road, the humidity was really becoming unbearable. The other volunteers handled the process of distribution as I stood aside and observed, hoping that I wouldn’t collapse. I was one of the few people fasting as it seemed like most people were not. It was around 3 PM, and it was the most humid moment that I had ever experienced in my life. These central parts of Pakistan experienced some of the worst heat and in late August, being out in such weather is a recipe for disaster. It wasn’t long after that my legs began feeling weak, I kept telling myself that it'll be over
soon and I'll be drinking cold water as soon as the sunsets. I received a text message from a friend asking how things are going, "where do I begin explaining?" I thought to myself. I didn't bother replying back at that time.
I had heard the azan for Asr and had found someone on a motorcycle that gave me a ride to the nearby mosque so that I could pray. When I returned, the size of the mob had grown exponentially—word had spread quickly to the adjacent villages and people poured in from all over the area. Again, the distributors collected all the ID cards they could at first, and then began calling out names and hanging out bags to people one by one. ID cards were returned at the end, this process made sure that the same person does not receive more than one bag. Just before sunset, we had given away the entire ration; we drove away quickly in order to open our fasts. Mr Malik's gunmen were in the back of the truck and rigorously monitored and maintained order. I am thankful to them. Just before sunset, we had given away the entire ration. I felt sorry for the many people who had waited and not received. We sped away towards Karore again where we opened our fast – local fish was on the menu and it did not disappoint at all. I returned to the rest house at around 9 PM. Tired—but content, I shared my experiences with the doctors at the lodge.
Our tea session after dinner were always intellectually motivated, we discussed how difficult of a job it is to help the right people. We would also discuss the problems plaguing Pakistan. What I enjoyed the most was that the other fellows were not inclined to discuss the rising number of problems, but more interested in discussing solutions for the problems that Pakistan is facing. I was never bored in their company. Tomorrow is back to setting up medical relief camp somewhere near Taunsa Barrage. Already dreading the long drive but looking forward to helping people. Good night.
I'm. up early for sehri, contemplating if I should fast or not. I ask for advice, Dr Tariq seems like a cool guy, he's quite funny and intelligent as well. He tells me I should fast and if absolutely necessary, I can open it and take my antibiotic. I follow his advice, pop a Tylenol with an Augmentin, some food for sehri and I'm back in bed. I wake up around 8am again and I feel like the fever and my sore throat is subsiding. I'm ecstatic and looking forward to getting down to do some real work today
After wasting the better part of the morning trying to find directions as to where we should set up our medical relief camp, we are well on our way to Paharpur, a remote town about 40 miles south of Layyah. There is foliage again. In the middle of the sodden desert, fauna and flora dared to grow. The stubborn nature of the surroundings surprises me and I was very sure as of yesterday that we will see nothing but dessert—but as I’ve come to realize with this country time and time again—I was wrong. Deception runs deep. Endless cotton fields, hanging gardens, the exquisite Sheesham tree, and fruit-dangling mango and orange trees adorned the countryside. This was the beauty that has, for the most part, been awash by the destruction of Mother Nature.
The past couple of years, I have seen a lot of natural disasters affecting the world on TV. The Haiti earthquake, the Indian-Ocean tsunami, and the Chile earthquake have all provided gripping photo and video evidence of the destruction and chaos. But for what I'm about to get into for the next few days, no one can prepare anyone for it. It will surely be a trip that I will never forget & I already know this.
We begin our drive towards the flooded area in our ambulance. With us, we have a very limited medical supplies and rations. Three medical doctors, including myself, a nurse and a dispenser, were on duty to help those in need.
We offer Friday prayers in a random mosque and decide to survey the area nearby where the flood has hit. We are directed by a couple of locals and as we head in the direction of the flood hit area, I could see a levee, a pretty big one at that. "That levee is the reason why our area was saved from the flood waters" exclaims Rehmat, one of the locals who has jumped in the back of our ambulance to give us a guided tour. As soon as we pass over the levee, the devastation is visible in every and all directions. Crops are destroyed, houses collapsed, domesticated animals roaming freely. Water is everywhere (except the narrow
and badly damaged road we travel on. Every odd kilometer or so, I see a person walking alongside the road, and I am not sure where they were going, as there was nothing in either direction for miles. And yet, that fact seems not to faze them as they continue on their way with their heads held high. Male children wore shalwar kameez, with
surma lining their eyes and a rumaal placed carefully on their right shoulder. This must be the traditional southern Punjabi attire. They walk somewhat aimlessly on what is left of the damaged road, but they all have a very similar characteristic about them—a fierce resolute of surviving one of the worst catastrophes to have hit their nation, and perhaps the world. It is visible in their eyes—the determination and courage with which they faced their predicament. The constant ingenuity of the human soul to overcome the slings and arrows of life and find purpose to continue living proved to be an animate part of life in these regions. These people did not lose hope easily. And I found myself wondering whether they even knew the extent of devastation the flooding had caused. But then again, we were only at the tip of the iceberg—a small region in a very large-scale disaster zone.
My mom gave me two boxes of granola and Nutri-Grain bars. I'm supposed to eat these for Iftari and Sehri during the relief efforts to avoid having to eat any foods that might put me at risk of gastroenteritis. But of course, I couldn't help but notice the hungry children who walk about, and as we drove by, I quickly started opening up boxes to begin distributing the bars. Most of these children have probably never seen a granola bar in their lives.
This is where I met Amjad, a strikingly confident 10 year old, who told me he has not eaten a full meal in two days. I watched as he quickly ate the one peanut butter granola bar I gave him, but then I just had to give him another one. I try explaining to him what peanut butter is, but there is an obvious language barrier. Oh well. Within the twenty odd minutes since I had started handing out the bars, I started to feel a sense of complete utter contentment. More content than I had been for months. And I started wishing that I had packed away more so that I had had more to give.
After our initial survey of the flooded areas, we head towards the relief camp in Paharpur. There is a camp set up at a girls’ school, which was on break for the summer holidays. Flood victims who had their homes destroyed have occupied the classrooms and are provided
ration and most importantly a roof over their head. Upon our arrival, we distribute clothes and shoes my parents and siblings had packed for the flood victims. I receive my first glimpse of the difficult task of distributing goods to victims. Many people would take one thing and hide it, only to return again for more. It was difficult to remember so many faces. After doing our best with distribution of clothes and shoes, we moved to the make-shift medical clinic. We are overwhelmed by people who need immediate and urgent medical assistance. Impetigo, scabies, malaria, conjunctivitis, boils, allergies and other waterborne and infectious diseases were some of the more common cases. And since our team and I were fasting, we became very tired, hungry, and thirsty very quickly. There is no electricity in the area, no fan or air conditioner to help with the brutal heat and humidity. Hundreds of people huddle around us and it's becoming difficult to find even air to breathe. It was our simple principle to help anyone who had come for medical aid. And in less than 2 hours, we had provided treatment to roughly 400 patients. Among the patients was Muhammad Sher Ali, who walked 5 kilometers through the flood waters and over the levee to find medical aid in the relief camp. Ali's wife and three children had all fallen ill without any treatment for a week, their symptoms resembling those of advancing malaria. I am cautious in giving him medications because I'm afraid he won't be able to understand the therapeutic doses for the treatment. There is also a language barrier between majority of the patients and myself. Although I can understand and speak Punjabi, the native language here is Siraiki. We try our best and give Ali the medicines after explaining to him the dose regimen for children and adults in his household. For him there is no choice but to take medicines back to his house and pray that his family gets better. Roads to his house are covered with 3 feet of water. The condition of his family members is as such that they can not walk so far. I remind him that its imperative that he tries to get his family to a local hospital asap. Feeling of helplessness and despair are all around us. As Ali Sher left the room, he looked destitute and dejected and I felt as helpless and grief-stricken as I was happy and cheerful a few hours earlier while handing out granola bars to kids. We left the camp before sunset and returned to our lodging for Iftari and much needed rest. Tomorrow will be a longer day.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Here's my experience from the medical relief camp in the flood affected areas in district Layyah, Southern Punjab, Pakistan.
Special thanks to Gulzab Nawaz for helping with editing.
Day 1 (Thursday, 26 August, 10)
THE LAND OF THE PURE
There is always some comfort in seeing the slow and peaceful progression of life in the countryside. The lush and green fields of this land, Pakistan (literally: land of the pure), remind me of the simple hopes and aspirations held by the people who inhabit it. The different shades of green sooth my eyes as I continue my journey to Layyah, a district in the province of Punjab. Layyah, of course, has been hard hit by the recent Monsoon flooding. The Government of Pakistan’s Provincial and National Disaster Management Authorities have estimated that nearly 17.2 million people have been affected by the flooding, and approximately 10 million are in dire need of immediate humanitarian assistance.
It was a lazy Monday afternoon last week, I sat comfortably on the recliner at my house. Frustrated by my inability to study for the medical licensing exams. I turned on the t.v. Naturally, the default channel was a well renowned Pakistani news channel, watched avidly by my parents. Watching the devastation on tv repeatedly for days, made me think that I might use this time during the holy month of Ramadan to do something productive. "I cant study anyways" has always been a good excuse to do other things. I called up the airline and booked my seat for the following Friday. I was in Lahore in no time, after flying for more than 16 hours, I went straight to Allama Iqbal Medical College (the college I graduated from last year), and met with principal Dr Javed Akram, a notable philanthropist and one of the nicest teachers. The teaching staff of Allama Iqbal Medical College and its affiliate teaching hospital Jinnah Hospital were the first to respond to the flood crisis, sending in teams of medical doctors to flood affected areas such as Layyah, Jhang and Muzafargarh before any other organization. 25 teams had already rotated through different areas on five day rotations. They provided much needed medical relief to flood victims. Inspired by my colleagues and teachers work and most importantly by the words of my ideal, Dr Salman Ahmad (guitarist for Junoon, UN HIV/AIDS ambassador and the author of "Rock n Roll Jihad"), I knew what I had to do. And so here I am, sitting in the back of the Allama Iqbal Medical College minivan, speeding away with other doctors and support staff to the flooded areas. I am, where I want to be.
But I do not see any evidence of flooding just yet; instead I am greeted with sights of children flying kites, and men hard at work on canal-side wheat plantations. Cattle and livestock roam the streets at a cumbersome pace—eating whatever sort of vegetation they can set their eyes on. They still remain the most important asset to the villagers and losing them would be great loss for the fragile local economy. Ponds filled with water prompt up from time to time and date trees stand handsomely every few meters on the island that separates the motorway. The bright city lights have made me weary and systematic, and so I let myself go in the vast richness of this land.
Every now and then I let my eyes wander to land upon a lonely man sitting along the roadside, taking a break from his often long and hard labor. And I wonder to myself, what his life must be like? Does he find happiness? And if so, is he better off in his small village than those of us who have the freedom to roam the world?
The sunlight is diminishing and the clouds are becoming heavily constricted within the sky, and so of course, we must be nearing Faisalabad. I have never been there—but it is well known as the hub of materials manufacturing and as one of the most affluent cities in Pakistan. There’s not much to see, textile mills litter the street corners and then there’s the odd man in a Ferrari honking down a street filled with rickshaws and horse-drawn-carriages.
It is a few hours later when the effect of tylanol wears off and I wake up to a dreaded feeling of cold, I've been sick since yesterday.. I simply cannot take the bitter air of the A.C. anymore but I have to keep calm, as there are others who are also traveling alongside myself in the cramped minivan who are basking in the ambiance of cold AC air. I look outside, the greenery of central Punjab has been replaced with the endless dessert. We are very much nearing our destination. There are no birds in the sky; seldom, there are patches of subdued greens—which are inhabited by the people living alongside the motor way.
Our minivan’s driver, Nawaz, recklessly overtakes cars on the narrow road, which seems even too tight for a single car, and for the life of me, I am not sure at all how cars are managing to drive forth from the opposite direction. Cows and goats are replaced with desert animals (and at one point I spot a gang of school kids merrily playing cricket and being watched very intently by a lone spectator—a camel). It is hard to believe that even the dessert has been hit with the floods. And according to some of the locals that we had met on the way, it has been raining every day in these southern parts, a real testament to the unrelenting and changing weather pattern of the world.
We finally arrive at our rest house, which was once indeed, a rest house; around when the British used to rule over these parts. Now it looks more like an abandoned house which may collapse on itself any minute. A scary looking house erected in the middle of nowhere, paint worn off, water leaking from one side, stray dogs running about, a lonesome cow tied to a tree a few feet away, lush green fields on two sides, farms on one side, and a canal on the other. "Bhoot-bangla lug raha hay" [Looks haunted] , was Dr Tariq's first impression. That raised my eye brows momentarily. My mind travels back in time to the same time last year, the crisp bedsheets of the beautiful Hyat Regency in downtown Montréal for three days, or the Hilton Garden Inn in Times Square last month. I'm a long way from the comforts of the material world - but I am not dazed, this is what I chose for myself. We walk into the resthouse and the first room I see has a single bed, and is as dirty a room as I've ever seen in my life. The driver made no complaints putting his bags down and claiming it. Avoiding the other rooms, we go straight to the master-bedroom, which has one king-bed and an A.C. Doctor's, being of higher social stature, claim the room without even uttering a single word. It was just understood by all as to who will reside in this room for the next few days. Arrangements are made for comforters to be placed on the floors so all the doctors can relish in the cool air conditioned room, the dispensers and the nurses show little reluctance to this seggregation of classes according to job qualification. Such is life here. People are genetically predisposed to mental slavery for which they show no protest. Iqbal tried relentlessly to make us come out of this mental slavery and fight for our rights. I'm too tired and too sick for anything more, all I can do is collapse on the comforter laid down for me and other junior doctors on the floor. I pray that I recover from the flu bug so I can do my share of work to the best of my ability.