Friday, November 24, 2017

Learning Dispatch - November 25th, 2017 - Books, Films and Medical Memoirs

Notes on Sessions at the Tata Literature Live 2017

The Tata Literature Live 2017 festival was organized in Mumbai from 16th November 2017 to 19th November 2017. On Day 1, I attended a panel discussion titled Reading like a Writer and a debate on whether we were living in a nanny state. On Day 3, I attended four talks titled, 'The mystery of JD Saligner', 'Berlin, London and Mumbai: How Cities inspire new narratives', 'Poets translating Poets' and 'Judging the Judges'. You can read the description of each of these sessions in some of the links provided above or on the Tata Lit Live website. We ended the day with a two hour play on an Irish Freedom Fighter in the Tata Theatre at NCPA.

Notes on Books

This was a month of medical memoirs. 'Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery' (2014) is the memoir a British neurosurgeon, Henry Marsh. The book was eye opening for me personally for two main reasons: vivid account of the daily life of a neurosurgeon and the many ways the fragile human brain can break down. Another memoir I got to read was Alexander Luria's, 'The Man with a Shattered World: History of a Brain Wound' (1987) that was a neuropsychological account of a man that tries to make sense of his life after he is shot in a major area of the brain during a war zone military exercise that he was part of. He was a healthy man before the incident, but now has lost his ability to speak and his ability to retain long term memories. The final memoir was Atul Gawande's, 'Complications: A Surgeon's Note on an Imperfect Science' (2003) about the power and limits of medicine from the perspective of a resident medical student and aspiring surgeon. Here is a memorable quote from the book,

“We look for medicine to be an orderly field of knowledge and procedure. But it is not. It is an imperfect science, an enterprise of constantly changing knowledge, uncertain information, fallible individuals, and at the same time lives on the line. There is science in what we do, yes, but also habit, intuition, and sometimes plain old guessing. The gap between what we know and what we aim for persists. And this gap complicates everything we do.”

Notes on Films

Murder on the Orient Express (2017) is based on a book by Agatha Christie. The story revolves around a mysterious murder that takes place on a train with 8 possible murderers still on the loose in the cabin. Concussions (2015) is the story of a pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu who uncovers the truth about brain damage in football players who suffer repeated concussions in the course of normal play. 

November 25th, 2017

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