Day 16 (Sunday, May 18): Blast from the Past

Woke up with my stomach still not feeling well, so I ate a light breakfast: omelet, one wheat toast and a handful of noodles. After breakfast, we began our journey back to Manipal.

We drove by the University of Mysore where Dr. Raj attended college. Based on appearance, the campus looked desolate, but Dr. Raj informed us that the students are on a break right now. During the drive, I noticed that seat belts are not mandatory. Our driver, Chand took off his, but quickly buckled up near a police blockade. Then, took it off again as we passed. We made a pit stop in the middle of nowhere, so the drivers can grab a bite to eat. I felt like I needed to go to the restroom despite seeing that the one nearby looked decrepit and dirty. It wasn’t too bad as I breathed through my mouth and ran out as soon as I was finished. From our vans, we observed several little girls peeing right outside the restroom alongside the road. They squatted for more than five minutes. We were trying to figure out why they didn’t use the facility.

At the first temple, we didn’t go in because everyone felt exhausted, so we just walked around the premise.

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The 2nd temple, we gathered enough energy to go in.

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I found my twin while in Mysore! Haha. Adam and I kept having the same vocal reactions to things we observed. For example, saying “oooh” to something at the same time. Taniqua caught it one time and said she wished she recorded it. I joked I needed to spend less time with him.

For lunch, the first restaurant we tried was too crowded so we went to a hut-style restaurant instead.

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It was a unique and picturesque set-up, but the outdoor environment and bugs made it hard to fully enjoy the food. Dr. Raj shared his two truths and one lie. From this, he shared his wisdom to explore the US. He told us he took a greyhound bus in his youth to travel the west. Dr. Raj talked about the MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) degree that’s equivalent to the US’s MD degree. In India, people become doctors after 5 years (4 years medical school, 1 year internship). After lunch, we were going to visit Dr. Raj’s friend from college. They met in language class, which they had 2x a week for a year. He’s now an ayurvedic doctor.

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Let me take a brief excursion to delve more into what ayurvedic medicine is. It is a system of Hindu traditional medicine native to the Indian subcontinent and a form of alternative medicine. Buddhism has also had an influence in the development of Ayurveda. It is well integrated into the Indian National health care system. Ayurveda believes that a balance of the three elemental substances (doshas) equals health and an imbalance equals disease. To achieve balance, one should modulate their behavior and environment.

– “Suppressing natural urges is considered unhealthy and claimed to lead to illness;[15] to suppress sneezing, for example, may give rise to shoulder pain.[16] However, people are also cautioned to stay within the limits of reasonable balance and measure when following nature’s urges.[15] For example, emphasis is placed on moderation of food intake,[17] sleep, and sexual intercourse.[15]

– They take a holistic approach during diagnosis and therapy – paying attention to personality as well as physical and mental health.

– They focus on the prevention of disease, promotion of optimal health and management of chronic disorders through natural approaches (ex. exercise, yoga, meditation, metabolism, digestion, excretion, hygiene).

– Plant-based medicine and treatment.

– Practiced in Nepal and Sri Lanka. Ethical and legal issues elsewhere.

– “No significant scientific evidence has shown effectiveness of Ayurvedic medicine for the treatment of any disease, although massage and relaxation are often beneficial and there are indications of health effects from some herbal products used.[64]

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayurveda

Interestingly, OSU Wexner Medical Center offers Ayurveda Services. I was extremely surprised. Dr. Hari Sharma is on staff in OSU’s Integrative Medicine Clinic. They acknowledge that it is rare to find a doctor in the West who practices Ayurveda alongside medical doctors in a multi-practice setting and uses this detail to further the excellence of OSU’s medical center.

If you’re interested in reading more: http://medicalcenter.osu.edu/patientcare/healthcare_services/integrative_medicine/Pages/Ayurveda-Services.aspx

The food took longer than expected and attracted many flies as we were eating. Kelsey F. tried building a fly trap with a water bottle and pepsi. I ordered 7up and vegetable noodles.

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It took another 1.5 hours to reach Dr. Raj’s friend’s house = nap time. Most of the people in our van slept. I caught myself drifting off, but never completely went into deep slumber.

Dr. Raj’s friend was extremely hospitable towards all 20 of us. His family graciously invited us into their home and provided us snacks and refreshments.

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Dr. Raj had a chance to catch up with his old friend and family, while we sat in a room mingling amongst ourselves and reveling at the baby bananas (a safe fruit to eat!).

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Dr. Raj’s friend’s daughter recently had a baby, and we got to spend some time with her also. Before departing, we took a group picture together.

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The night drive was quiet in the van – probably from road trip exhaustion. At one point, we all were engaged in conversation though. We talked about old AIM screen names and singers.

We arrived at Manipal around 9:30pm.

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