Posted by: adithoughts | June 11, 2012

Why I’m afraid of being a doctor

Why I’m afraid of being a doctor

The first time I was afraid,
of being a doctor,
was in high school,
because I didn’t want to,
have deaths on my conscience,
so I decided to study journalism instead,
to tell other people’s stories.

As I grew older,
I realised that,
even though there would be times
when my conscience would weigh on me,
it would be no more than the other person’s,
wearing the white coat,
so I took the plunge into medicine.

I’ve become afraid again,
this time of fighting death,
since I’m just a traveller through life,
who shares the same weaknesses and vulnerabilities,
as my patients,
my studies,
make me keenly aware,
of all the questions,
for which I don’t have an answer.

I’m afraid of telling my patients,
that I can’t help them,
just when they need me most,
with death looming over.

I don’t even know what I’ll do,
when it’ll be my time,
to stare death in the face?

I do know I will be scared and in pain,
beaten and broken,
losing the fight,
to stay alive.

What I’ll need most,
are my companions in life,
people I trust and love,
holding my hand,
taking the pain away,
coaxing me to go on fighting,
to not be afraid,
because I’m not alone in this,
as I lie there weak and vulnerable,
and if I lose,
which I will one day,
to give me dignity in death.

Maybe doctors are not meant to be gods,
and have all the answers,
but instead be that companion,
patients trust and love,
to hold their hand,
stop the pain,
help them fight,
by their side,
especially when there are no sure answers,
and death is looming over,
because that’s when they’re needed the most,
and if death finally wins,
to give patients dignity in the end.

Posted by: adithoughts | April 20, 2011

Open Sails

The poem is about what empathy means to me, and is dedicated to the CPD department.

I burnt out last term, and the poem is about the loss of empathy I experienced during that period. 20% of medical students in their first-year, 40% of students by their third year, 68% of residents, and 50-60% of doctors in some specialities are burnt out.

OPEN SAILS.. by Aditya Chhikara

When I was young,
the currents changed,
every 2 years
as I moved to different waters.

The changing currents
were made up of people
of different colours, brown, black and white,
but also blue, red, green and purple
different in their tongues and food
different in whether they saw the world from a street corner or castle.

Amid these changing currents,
I found that all of these people
had one thing in common
they felt the same as I did.
I used these feelings
as the wind in my sails
to navigate the changing currents.

Sometime ago, I was caught in a storm
the currents were rough
I was tired and far from harbour
and the only winds I felt
were the despair a son feels seeing his Mom slowly waste away,
the helplessness of a family seeing one of their own slowly drift away,
the panic of drowning friends sinking each other to save themselves
mirages when what I needed was a lighthouse to a harbour.

Unable to navigate,
angry and scared,
I closed my sails,
shut myself off,
I hit back at the winds,
an eye for an eye,
I tossed and turned,
drifting aimlessly.

But this is not a story of despair,
one day, sensing a favourable wind,
I got the courage
to open up my sails,
and caught winds
both harsh and kind,
as I learned slowly,
how to navigate them again,
now amid currents and winds,
and love I recognized again.

As I get older,
find myself farther from harbour,
see more violent winds,
I find it harder,
harder to trust,
the winds enough,
to open my sails.

So I wrote this poem,
to remind myself,
that there is only one way to navigate,
to new harbours,
and that is with open sails.

Posted by: adithoughts | March 7, 2011

Human friendship

Picking best friends

You’re my best friend

A best friend is likely somebody who ranks you above all of their other friends

It has long been thought that the human cognitive processes with regards to friendship have evolved to reap benefits in trade. One’s closest friends, therefore, should leave an individual with the greatest trade surplus. However, substantial evidence exists that friends cooperate without closely monitoring their trade balance, suggesting that profit or loss balances in interactions are not the fundamental basis for friendships.

An alternative is the alliance theory of friendship. Alliances are common between nations as was the case in both World War I and World War II, and the Cold War saw the majority of the world allied to either the US or Soviet camps. The alliance theory suggests that humans, like countries, have evolved to pick friends in anticipation of future disputes, when one needs help to fight against potential rivals. This means that the value of a friendship is no longer dependent on the size of the trade surpluses, but rather on the friend’s loyalty. Loyalty can be thought of as the strength of an individual’s relationship with a friend vis-à-vis the strength of the friend’s other relationships. In particular, you are more likely to pick somebody as your best friend if the person ranks you as their number one friend over all others.

A recent paper by Peter DeScioli from Chapman University and Robert Kurtzmann from University of Pennsylvania provides evidence in support. Individuals were asked to rank and compare properties of a person’s 10 closest friends, and participant’s perception of their own standing was the strongest predictor of their ranking of friends, suggesting loyalty to be the most important criterion.

DeScioli and Kurtzmann have now teamed up with computer scientists to analyse data from 11 million MySpace profiles and found a similar result. MySpace allows the ranking of friends and this data was collected along with other demographic data . Of the 11 million MySpace profiles, 3.5 million people had their best friends in the sample. The ranking given by the this friend was compared with other demographic and popularity variables of the friend in their predictive powers on picking the person’s best friend. This allowed the testing of the alliance theory using decisions publicly made with real life consequences.

DeScioli and his team report in the Association of Psychological Sciences that a friend’s ranking as number one was a strong predictor of whether the friend would be picked as best friend. On extending the analysis from the best friend to the top 8 friends, the predictive power of rankings increased. When compared to other demographic data such as age, sex, physical proximity, number one ranking by a friend was found to be the best predictor. Two measures of popularity, number one spots in the friends ranking and number of appearances in a Top Friends list were also examined but were found to be weaker than ranking in predicting a best friend.

Predictive rank does not equal causation, and does not rule out other underlying human cognitive processes besides forming alliances. However, it does seem like a more probable explanation for human friendships in light of the present study.

Posted by: adithoughts | February 3, 2011

getting old

Getting old,

I find it hard to trust,

having had my trust broken

I find it hard to learn,

having lost my sense of wonder

to cynicism and depression.

I find it easier to read and manipulate people,

hating myself for it,

harder to keep an open mind,

having lost my ability to appreciate possibilites,

while I search desperately,

for the ability to appreciate

what’s staring me in the face,

myself in other people

Too old and tired to make a new place home,

too wise to know it’s the only way to go.

Posted by: adithoughts | January 25, 2011

My favourite t-shirts

Here are my favourite t-shirts:

#5: Night of mayhem at the carnival in Grenada when Sachin and I got drunk and ran back from St George’s to campus at 2AM and then talked to a couple of brits about party spots in front of SD1.

#4: My favourite pink floyd song:

#3 The T-shirt I bought after the 650th Grenada Hash. This wasn’t particularly crazy, but is at number 3 because of all the good times I’ve had on hashes.

#2: I bought this vest on the first leg of my around the island run. The run from campus to Grenville (22 miles) is the longest I’ve ever done at a stretch. The bus driver (his name was Fat Man) refused to give me a ride in my sweaty t-shirt and I bought this vest at a department store in Grenville.

#1: I jumped out of a plane for this T-shirt, and I am terrified of heights. That is why this is at number 1.

Posted by: adithoughts | January 22, 2011

Why I write

I’m alone,

one person walking around,

different, questioning why that is the case,

living far from

where I’m the same as everybody

As I try and create

with people I don’t understand.

I write to explain

why I am, who I am

who these different people are

to try and create a bridge

and I try to infuse life into the words

so that the they become my companion,

something familiar I understand.

Posted by: adithoughts | January 9, 2011

My run around the island-Baby steps-Part 1 of 5

I rediscovered running after coming to Grenada. I started off small, going for 20 minute runs to Lighthouse road. Then I thought of running to Spiceland Mall, which at 5 miles was about double the distance of my previous runs. This seemed very far away, both in my head since it was a very different atmosphere from campus, and in terms of physical distace. The first day I ran to Spiceland Mall was challenging, but after a few more runs, I got used to the distance and it became an everyday affair last Spring.

My next big jump was to run to St George’s, which is a 13 mile run from campus. Again, the thought of running to St George’s seemed incredulous and I pondered on it for a bit. Then one morning when I was particularly flustered with life, I decided to run to St George’s. Initially I ran one way and took a bus back. The next time around, I ran both ways.

Having just done the run to St George’s, I started thinking of how each new  goal seems daunting and difficult at first, but with proper preparation, very doable. I wondered to myself, half-jokingly, if it would be possible to run around the island? I was convinced that it is a crazy thought, but I decided to prepare myself for it during the Spring of 2010 and try and run the distance at the end of the semester.

Next: Practice run to Grenville with Roy, Ti, Alice, Paget, and Ben.

Posted by: adithoughts | January 5, 2011

Planes vs trains

I went on a train after 13 years yesterday, and I spent the 13 years prior to that taking at least 1 trip every year on trains. Some of these journeys could last as long as 2 days.

Here’s a list of pros and cons I came up with.

What do you prefer, planes, trains or a plane-train (shown below)?


Posted by: adithoughts | January 2, 2011

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is doing awesome!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 10,000 times in 2010. That’s about 24 full 747s.


In 2010, there were 5 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 33 posts. There were 12 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 884kb. That’s about a picture per month.

The busiest day of the year was April 26th with 110 views. The most popular post that day was my article on the situation in Gaza.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for listen, arab israeli conflict, arab-israeli conflict, peace, and listening.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


my article on the situation in Gaza January 2009


listening July 2009


Article for Sept 15 2008 September 2008


getting high January 2009


My trip to the International Museum of Toilets November 2009

Posted by: adithoughts | December 8, 2010

What do you think of 4th term?

As we come to an end of  one of the most grueling semesters in our lives so far, I want to know how 4th term has affected you.

Why should you do it? You should do it because the words you write now will remain with you for the rest of your life and you can look back on them 30 years down the line. You should also do it because it’ll help you come to terms with what you just experienced. It’ll help you and others realize you are not alone. Last but not least, it’ll give you a reason to procrastinate before the CPD exam.

Post your replies in the comment boxes or email them to me at If you want, I will post your comments under your name, anonymously, or not at all.

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