Sunday, December 09, 2007

Well-Doll Clinic

No! I am not getting trained to treat stuffed toys, like the giraffe you see in the picture! This is from an unique event held 2 weeks ago at my hospital, when children came in with their favorite toys that had imaginary illnesses, broken bones, cold, chest pain, etc. We had to 'treat' these patients in a comfortable and amiable environment, allaying any fears they might have about the visit to the doctor. This exercise involved the kid to assume responsibility of the toy's health and to help them understand that the 'doctor' is indeed a helpful and genuine person. We were given colorful band-aids, alcohol swabs, syringes, tongue depressors to introduce the children to the gadgets used commonly at a doctor's clinic.
The half-hour we spent there had its share of interesting moments. Whereas most kids came with complaints of 'boo-boo' in a limb or cough and cold, some had symptoms of heart pain (!) and bleeding from the nose, etc. They were most excited about receiving the splints (made from tape wrapped around tongue depressors) for broken bones, or getting an injection for decreasing the pain. Personally, I enjoyed the interactions with kids, some of whom were imaginative and wild in their explanations of problems, and others who were visibly anxious and tentative about the doctor visit. Most children had sex-specific occupational identities about a man being a doctor and a woman being a nurse ingrained in their minds. During this visit, they were encouraged to think that even girls could be doctors, and men nurses.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Prodigal Artist

Did you ever understand M.F. Hussain's depiction of Madhuri Dixit as a Goddess? No? Neither did I. I thought it created more controversy than spread the message of beauty and art. But I might be wrong. Well, I am no student or sharp connoisseur of the art of painting, so I gladly give Hussainsaab the benefit of doubt.
On the other hand, have you ever, when at an art museum, looked at what might be called abstract art and thought: 'Well, even I could do something like that'? Yes? Well, there is definitely something in there that you probably cannot re-create. I was just reading an article in a London daily (Daily Mail) that put a smile on my face. Its about a 2-year old Freddie Linsky, who started his career in painting at 8 months of age with ketchup (yes!) and has since graduated to using acrylics. He gets tremendous appreciation and encouragement from his mom. He is allowed to mess up his place when he is working on a project. How you wish your mom had allowed you to do that when you were a toddler and not curbed your talents! And guess what, his prodigal work has been selected by a gallery at Berlin for display. I am sure you will enjoy the entire article. Some interesting excerpts of his interview are below.
Freddie is said to favour the "spot and blotch" technique pioneered by the American abstract expressionism movement in the 1950s.
The young artist is said on Saatchi Online to have "dedicated his whole life to art".
His mother wrote: "Freddie W R Linsky paints over and over, making us curious to know what is going on.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Alien Species

My idle mind wandered to figure out why many American advertisements featuring animals were portrayed to be 'Unamerican', and mostly British! The lizard of Geico (more correctly the Madagascar Day Gecko) speaks flawless British accent, as does the elephant housewife in a commercial for one of the renowned room freshener brands. Then, there is an irritating bee in the Nasonex ad that speaks a totally confusing accent, probably originating from the Middle-east. Are the ad agencies stereotyping the animal species as being alien? I really don't see a reason, except to add a tinge of fascination to the whole animal concept.
Talking about animal ads, I hate the cheek of the 'Happy Cows' California Milk commercial that depict the Wisconsin cows to be shivering in the snow, looking to migrate to California. My 'Dairy State' of Wisconsin lost its No. 1 position in milk production to California in 1993, though it narrowly continues to be the No. 1 producer of cheese in the country. The New York Times report mentions about Wisconsin: 'Cheese is the state’s history, its pride, its self-deprecating, sometimes goofy, cheesehead approach to life.' Wisconsin boasts the nation’s only “Master Cheesemaker” certification, for its most accomplished veteran makers (there were 47 as of April 2006) and one of the earliest cheese-making education programs, at the University of Wisconsin.