Q: Dr. Krishna, I am a surgeon. I have to spend a lot of time in the hospital. Sometimes I don't get time even to sleep and eat. I cannot spend much time with my family.
My wife always complains. I have a one year old daughter who misses me a lot.
I am feeling guilty. What should I do?
Krishna: You are asking me this Q? :)
People here tell a story to describe this situation: It is like a mortar going and complaining to the drum that it is getting beaten by a pestle. Then the drum sadly saying, 'Don't tell me, I am too traveling in the same boat. The sticks are beating me non-stop'.
Hmmm! Welcome to the world of specialists and intellectuals who belong to the world, not to any single family.
No complaints will be entertained here.
Prince William and Kate's story: It seems before getting married Kate got some counseling. She was told the royal family members' first duty is towards their Nation ( so don't expect your husband to be with you all the time!)
I think the spouses, children, other family members, relatives and friends of all special people like geniuses, scientists, doctors etc. should also get this counseling.
My supervisor told me this when I joined my PhD: "The quantitative production, and the need, in particular [for scientists] to [publish] papers in relatively high-status journals and help the world … most PhDs and particularly postdocs have to internalise the need to spend virtually all their working hours – all their waking hours – on science."
"You have no other choice!"
Then where do you get time for other things? Who understands this?
So this is my counseling to the general public:
If I say, "It is more important to me to save a few lives than wishing you on your birthday or wedding anniversary? Or attend the events and parties you organise? "
How you understand my words tells me what you are because most of the time people see the world as they are and not as it is!
You might get angry.
Some might think I am arrogant.
Some might ask me, 'Am I not important to you'?
'Others are more important to you than your own family members/friends/relatives' : Some might make these accusations.
'You wished X on her birthday but you did not wish me. You are biased': some think in this way.
Some might get angry and say, 'That is an insult to me.'
If I say these are just your perceptions, not truth? And that your perceptions depend on what you are analysing my words with?
What you are analysing my words with need not always be the best or the right stuff.
But do you have the capacity to realize that?
If you say the same words to me, do you know what I would say?
" Yes , it is more important to save lives than to wish me on my birthday. Please go ahead with your work. I appreciate that and you have my full support".
Yes, I literally told this to some of my colleagues' delight.
Because that is what the truth is.
Wishing somebody, if you have time or can make time is good. They feel happy. Just one person or a few persons.
But if you can help it and make the whole world happy? Or most of it? Isn't that a better selection?
If you can't wish for me, and have more Nobel reasons to work for, that is not insulting me or biased against me or making me any less important. You have made the best choice and I appreciate you for that.
Don't send me your good wishes!
Don't greet me on my birthday
I will be happy everyday
Whether you send me good wishes or not
I have my overflowing satisfaction pot!
Sending good vibes don't change anything
They don't make the luck swing
My way or anybody's way
They don't bring the positive sway
Mere words won't do
You don't have a clue
Of how a change is brought about
What changes a disastrous clout
When I can meet my best chance with my hard work
I will get my greatest perk
The able ones don't need
Your sweet ego-feed
Instead, if you can really assist
The needy, the old and resist
The inconsistencies in the statuses
That is the gesture a good heart always cherishes.
( I wrote this poem a few days back)
If I say saving lives is more important, I am only making the best choice.
There are some people in this world who belong to this universe. They don't belong to any single unit, person, group or family.
So people from all corners of the world come to them for help.
People I don't even know exist in this world come to me from all corners of the globe. Out of hundreds of messages I get at least a few will be medical emergencies!
Some are life and death situations where people with suicidal and maniacal tendencies send me SOS messages.
I must attend to them, talk to the people who desperately need help, and these are people I can't ignore even on my deathbed. I have to help them at any cost.
Then there are some important Qs only I can answer and nobody else can.
There are some very important science stories only I can tell.
There are some very important tasks only I can do and nobody else can do!
Yes I am one of those people the universe chose to be its.
I cannot go against its commands.
There were days when I totally forgot about dates and days and didn't even wish my sister on her birthdays (sorry sis and thanks for understanding). Does that mean I don't love her? No! I do love her. Sometimes I forget about my own birthdays! Only when somebody sends me a 'happy birthday' message do I remember it!
It only means I am making all the right choices!
Those who understand this are the people whose thought process is going the right way.
If you want to punish me or alienate me or abandon me or think I am bad and arrogant, well it is your choice. And it doesn't make any difference to me because I am not emotionally dependent on anybody and their views.
And can understand it is another form of me acting weirdly. That brings a smile to my face.
So sir, when you have chosen your field, you have given your word to the world. Everything is forgivable 'In the Line of Special Duty'.
Yes, we are on a 'special mission'. Don't forget that, ever.