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Dr Shyam K Bhat MD is a
Psychiatrist and Integrative
Medicine specialist.

He is board certified in
Psychiatry, Internal
Medicine, and
Psychosomatic Medicine,
with additional certification
in clinical hypnosis


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Read a Random Post


This post is for serious election nerds only. (You know you’re obsessed with the elections, when you not only read an obscure news story but also feel compelled to write about it)

I just read this story by the AP. An anonymous source close to the Obama camp leaked a story to the AP reporters: Apparently, Obama might offer the chief of staff job to Rahm Emanuel, the Democratic congressman from Chicago.

The discipline of the Obama campaign is legendary, so when there’s a media leak from the Obama camp, it means the campaign wants the story to go out. Why would they want Emanuel’s name even more closely associated with Obama?

Because Rahm Emanuel’s no ordinary congressman. He’s the son of Benjamin M. Emanuel, an Israeli born, prior member of a Zionist paramilitary organization.

How’s that for some Florida conservative-jewish-voter street cred?

Of course, the McCain campaign bought right into Obama’s ploy by releasing this statement: “Reports that Obama wants Emanuel to be White House chief of staff undercut any claims to unity and bipartisanship, and should alarm every voter.”

The McCain campaign should’ve ignored the bait. The older jewish retirees in Florida will be delighted, not alarmed, by these reports. And if McCain attacks Emanuel too strongly, these voters will turn away from McCain, skittish as they already are because of Palin’s inclusion.

And so Florida falls.

Johnny Mac’s been outmaneuvered again.

The Sour Grapes of Home

“So, I hear you are going back to India?” asked Dr A, a physician who’s been in the US for more than 3 decades.

“April next year,” I said. “You ever think of going back to India?”

He shook his head, smiled, and shrugged. Why would I ever want to go back? it seemed to suggest.

“You know, the outsourcing will stop, and the Indian economy will suffer,” he said. “The infrastructure is bad, more than 70% of the people still not educated, going to schools that don’t even have a roof, so much poverty still.”

I didn’t argue the point, didn’t correct his statistics. It’s easier to leave home behind, if you think of it as a terrible place.

Mojo Fallin’

Just saw this video of a McCain rally.

Check it out. A funny senior moment, but there’s more to this video.

Notice how McCain says, “Senator Obama’s supporters have been saying some pretty nasty things about Western Pennsylvania recently.”

He says it with feigned anger, then pauses and smiles. Not to to get all Freudian on you, but it’s a little boy’s smile, like he’s just been caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

Meanwhile, Cindy McCain reacts with a nod and a wry half smile, looking like an indulgent school teacher who is listening to another complaint about a naughty but somewhat adorable child.

The girl on McCain’s right has the grace to look solemn initially, but when the crowd reacts with polite good natured booing, she breaks into a smile.

All this even before McCain says he agrees with the Obama supporter.

No wonder he forgot his lines. Now consider this: If McCain had appeared genuinely angry about “those nasty comments”. If his posture, his demeanor, his face, his eyes, and his voice, resonated with genuine anger on behalf of these much maligned Western Pennsylvania populace, no one would have been smiling.

If he radiated authentic anger, the crowds would have felt angry.

But as it was, the whole thing had the air of a circus sideshow.

McCain’s negative attacks on Obama, with few exceptions, have rarely seemed genuine. McCain does not seem to emotionally connect with his own words. The psychic conflict is obvious – McCain grimacing, or smiling inappropriately, betraying a deep discomfort about the words that he is uttering.

I guess what I’m saying is that McCain’s authenticity mojo is way down. If I were his campaign manager, here’s what I would say to McCain.

“John,” I would tell him after watching him struggle through another debate or speech.

“Say it if you feel it. Feel it if you say it.”

Not That Kind of Indian

It’s the oldest oak tree in the neighbourhood, or so the previous owner told me and I have no reason to doubt him. It stands 50 feet high, and like the iron pillar of New Delhi, so wide that you cannot put your arms around it.

But it wasn’t looking too healthy, and so i called an arborist ( Apparently, that is what the tree removal guys are officially called) to see about getting the tree taken out.
He introduced himself. “Jack.”
“Shyam,” I said, shaking his hand.
“How do you spell that?”
I spelled it for him, knowing that the spelling wouldn’t really help him with the pronunciation.
He gamely tried again,”Sham,” and then asked me, a bit irritably I thought, “Where are you from?”
I was tempted to say, “From Peoria,” just for the heck of it. Instead I replied, “From India.”
I nodded, and we stood there for a moment, nodding and smiling.
That was the conclusion of that part of the conversation and we turned to look at the tree in the front yard.
“What do you think?” I asked, hoping that he would inform me that all my neighbors were wrong, that the tree was, in fact, on the threshold of a major revival.

He looked at the tree, his right hand shielding him from the sun. I saw a squirrel fluttering on a high branch. Squirrels in America are huge, I thought, not for the first time. The other day, I’d surprised a squirrel that had found its way to the garage. It looked me in the eyes and made a barking sound. I was, I have to tell you, a bit intimidated.

The expression on the tree man’s face was not very reassuring. “It’s dying,” he said, flatly.

I pointed to the green leaves, a bit like a patient’s relative, pointing to the heart monitor hoping that the blips are a harbinger of the patient’s recovery. But the arborist shook his head, “Those are just suckers, they happen when the tree is dying.”

How much? I asked. To remove the tree.

He looked at it. Stood back and looked at it some more.

“About $2400,” he said.

“$2400,” I repeated. I had long ago stopped converting dollars to rupees in my head, but still did it occasionally when I wanted to experience a sense of mild shock. Imagine that, I thought. 100,000 rupees to get this tree out. Unbelievable!

When I first left India, and moved to England, to take their licensing exam so I could work there, I happened to run into B one of my classmates from bangalore medical college. He was beaming broadly, looking on the verge of some ecstatic experience. Guy must’ve passed his exam, I thought to myself.

“Hey, watsup?”

“Man,” he said gesturing with his chin to his hands. He was carrying some heavy looking shopping bags. “Got 2 pints of milk for 40 p,” he said.

Soon I was finding similar joys in the supermarket. What? Fish fingers for 10p today? Baked beans for 15 p? And could that be just 5p? It was canned tomatoes, but I could put it to use.

Most of us had a budget of 40 pounds a week. Every penny (50 paisa in Indian currency) counted.

So it was a measure of progress, I suppose, that 10 years later I stood here outside my house in America, wondering whether I should get rid of the tree at 100,000 rupees a pop.

“You could leave the stump in,” Arborist Jack was saying. “There are guys who will come here, carve something out of it. You know animals, bears and stuff like that.

Or,” he suggested, “they could make you a totem pole.”

“I am not that kind of Indian,” I replied.