Monday, April 25, 2011

Fast, but not too fast

(Before I begin, if you're out there, Russian reader, das vidanya from India!)

The other day I went to CMC (Christian Medical College) Hospital to inquire about getting some "medical tourism" work done (don't worry, I will not come back with a new nose or fewer chins). The medical tourism industry is supposedly huge in India. Max Hospital group in Delhi even has a separate check-in counter for international visitors. According to one source, medical tourism in India will be a $3 billion industry by 2015. 

But that's not really the purpose of this story.  The point is to illustrate the importance of family life in India. 

While being led around the many buildings that make up CMC, my friend was able to whisk me past the numerous guards stationed at hospital entrances very easily with her employee pass. She explained that the hospital often requires visitors to have a pass for entry. When someone is ill, so many family members try to visit them that the hospital becomes overcrowded with well-wishers. If someone's entire clan (Imagine if Bin Land had made it to the hospital. He could have filled a whole wing with his upmteen wives and kids.) tries to show up at once, then they have to share passes so only a small number will be allowed in the room at the same time. 

With the newspapers filled with the growth of India's economy and the IT sector and working women, it is good to know that family is still a strong part of the culture here. Generally speaking, we have more freedom in the U.S. and fewer familial duties. But, as I've mentioned before on this blog, too much freedom sometimes translates into not being able to count on others.

And speaking of freedom, I'd like to talk about Freedom, Jonathan Franzen's latest book. Instead of reading it, I took advantage of a free 14-day trial subscription to available to This American Life podcast listeners. After getting over a few grating qualities of the characters, namely Patty, and the reader's voice, I found it to be a totally engrossing and spectacular book. Whatever small little fantasies I held about possibly writing a book someday (I have had the first line of a book in my head for over ten years now, but that is as far as I've gotten), I have put to a deep sleep.  Let me leaving the novel-writing to those with something to say. 

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