HT PICKS: THE MOST INTERESTING BOOKS OF THE WEEK
A book of poems, one about organizing your working life from the guru of tidying up, and a doctor’s experience of working in rural Bihar – all that on the reading list this weekUpdated: Mar 13, 2020 20:53 IST
HOW TO COLLECT A FOLK TALE; POEMS BY TASHI CHOPHEL
Tashi Chophel is a poet, writer and a bureaucrat based in Sikkim. He is an avid history buff and loves taking jaunts in the mountains. This is his first book of poems.
“I love the upward movement of Tashi’s poems where mountainscape merges into skyscape so smoothly, where mortals and immortals meet and merge with ease – stories that are told with a non-threatening masculinity that brings Sikkim home for me.” – Easterine Kire*
JOY AT WORK BY MARIE KONDO AND SCOTT SONENSHEIN
Is your desk always buried under piles of documents? Yikes! Where’s the report I have to submit tomorrow?
Do you have a never-ending backlog of emails no matter how often you check them? “About the email I sent you yesterday…” What email!?
Is your schedule packed with appointments with people you don’t even want to see?
Are you carrying on like this every day because you’ve forgotten what you really wanted to do?
Do you find it hard to make decisions?
Are you asking yourself, “Is this all life’s about? Just checking things off a to-do list? Isn’t there some way to restore order to my job, my career, my life?”
If any of these apply to you, there’s one solution: tidy up.*
A DOCTOR’S EXPERIMENTS IN BIHAR BY DR TARU JINDAL
Public health in India, especially maternal and child healthcare, has suffered from a long history of neglect and mismanagement. Among the most tragic consequences of this are to be seen in Bihar, the state with one of the highest rates of infant and maternal mortality in the country. In 2014, Dr Taru Jindal, a young gynaecologist from Mumbai, went to work in Bihar’s Motihar District Hospital, hoping to use her medical knowledge to make a difference in the lives of people who had limited access to trained doctors. Instead, she found herself battling apathy, callousness and appalling inefficiency. Doctors rarely attended to the pregnant women, forcing maintenance and cleaning staff to deliver babies; medical equipment like Ambu bags, the most essential resuscitation device for babies, was unavailable; rules of hygiene were routinely disregarded as relatives crowded the operation theatres; biomedical waste lay in the open, right next to the labour room. The same cruel pattern played out in the isolated village of Masarhi in Patna district, where Taru later managed a charitable health facility. In addition, most people here were wary of this doctor who prescribed blood tests and managed a delivery using forceps. And ‘upper-caste’ villagers shunned her because she walked into the segregated ‘low-caste’ Musahar tolis.
The challenges all but defeated Taru, but she found the strength to carry on. During her two-year stint in Bihar, she worked closely with the rural communities, counseling mothers and adolescent girls about reproductive health and tackling diseases and malnutrition. She also collaborated with various hospital and district officials to train local women and nurses in basic healthcare. She learned as much about the failure so many of India’s policies and institutions in the health sector as about the resilience of some of the country’s most disenfranchised people. Gripping, eye-opening and inspiring, A Doctor’s Experiments in Bihar is a testament to how a few committed individuals can bring about significant change through sheer perseverance and compassion.*
*All copy from book flap.