I'm Dr.Mani, a pediatric heart surgeon and author. I raise funds to sponsor heart surgery for under-privileged children in India. On this blog, I'll share my thoughts, travel photos, fitness tips and book reviews.
A Padma Shri or Padma Bhushan award is given for high accomplishment. It was desirable to win it, because it symbolized the achievement. But then, people wanted to get one – just so they could boast about winning it… and started looking for a way.
A medical college holds periodic assessment tests. That’s because they want students to study a topic. But then, undergrads began viewing tests only from the point of scoring more marks on it… and prepared accordingly.
A billionaire entrepreneur accumulates a fortune through innovation, hard work and astutely grasping a market opportunity. But then, others focused on the money alone… and tried to exploit the system to make a lot of it.
Entry into a postgraduate medical program is based on performance on an exam that assesses how well a candidate has learned the lessons of patient care at a basic level. But then, getting a high enough rank to qualify for a seat became the sole purpose of taking it.
An award is a symbol. A test is a symbol. So is money. Or a seat in graduate college.
A symbol stands for something else.
It’s a kind of surrogate – that represents a deeper, more important, more meaningful thing.
By viewing a symbol in isolation, disconnected from whatever it represents, we trivialize it. Take away most of its value.
Symbols stop being symbolic.
They become hollow.
Lately, I’ve had lengthy conversations with many friends I’ve known for twenty years or longer.
One thing that strikes me is how confident some are about having definitive answers to so many questions.
And they are convinced that they are right.
I am very fortunate.
For several years, I have been able to make a life by doing what I enjoy most – writing.
Winston Churchill said: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
My writing lets me give to a cause I support and have worked for – over 30 years…
Helping kids born with congenital heart disease (CHD).
Recently, I signed a check which will fund heart operations for 3 more little children with heart birth defects.