Category: Blog posts

Winter #Sale – InVerse Medicine – #poetry ebook is available at 35% off until 31st Dec on Google Play Books

InVerse Medicine:
These are poems about conversations that we’d like to have with ourselves and with others when our bodies and minds are fraying…

There’s struggle and triumph, loss and humanity within the pages of this eclectic collection of verse.

Here are some reviews of the book:

Our reading can thus attune us to how poetry listens, speaks and heals with empathy, and Dhaliwal crafts each poem with this explicit tenor.

Dr Gayathri Prabhu, Poet, Novelist, & Associate Professor,
Manipal Centre for Humanities, Manipal

The author wields her words like a scalpel in this cleverly titled collection of ‘medical poetry’. They cut to the chase, they spill the lifeblood of an existence dedicated to saving others in various ways while also saving oneself.

Devika Fernando, Poet & Romance Writer,
Srilanka

We often forget that doctors are human beings. We forget that there are emotions, passions, fears, and so many feelings behind their surgical masks. Doctors are not robots. They feel everything just like you and me. 

Sudesna Ghosh, Romance Writer,
Kolkata

This collection should be a required starting point for any medical student or their seniors to explore together this multifaceted intersection of patient and professional lives. The way the ‘I’ changes in each poem is beautifully handled and makes the collection genuinely moving and thought provoking.

Ruth Chalkley, Neurology patient,
Sheffield, UK

These poems have a direct and easy style that lends itself to reading, capturing the silences between the lines and drawing in the reader early in the narration. The settings are familiar to any practitioner: the ward, the ICU and clinic. The gaze moves from doctor to patient, from mother to child, the dying to the living.

Dr Olinda Timms, Division of Health and Humanities,
St John’s Research Institute, Koramangala, Bengaluru
in: Indian Journal of Medical Ethics

@upreetdhaliwal’s experiments with Mandala making #lefthand #rightbrain #dementia

Members of our family have lived to over a hundred years, which is great news, right? I mean, longevity is a boon that healthful practices and evidence-based medicine have made possible; however, the flip side of it is that we now also have more loved ones living with dementia.

Dementia is NOT kind – not to the person whose memory is failing (among other things), and absolutely not to the caregiver who is witness to the devastating transformation. The pandemic and the many lockdowns resulting from it have prompted a lot of discussion around mental health – it pushed me to look at ways of staying physically and mentally fit in the face of all of the awful news of struggles and loss.

I am trying many things – am learning how to play guitar (a teen dream of mine); tried my hips at hula-hooping (broke my knees – figuratively, but ouch! failed); skipping rope (ouch, ouch, ouch, failed); water color painting (am making progress); and, more recently, Mandala making, which this post is about.

Mandala art has become quite the thing in pandemic season, in case you haven’t noticed. And rightly so, since the art form – a geometric configuration of shapes and symbols arranged symmetrically in ever-widening circles – is akin to a spiritual journey, with the inner truths meeting – at some point – and interacting with the outside world.

I did not train for it – I realised only later that it helps if you first draw concentric circles and segments and then layer the symbols etc inside them. My Mandalas are therefore lopsided. But that didn’t faze me in the slightest because my purpose was different…

Here’s an example of the first one I drew:

Mandala One

Before you say anything about its beauty or its shape, read on…

My purpose in creating Mandalas was to use my non-dominant hand (the left one) so that hitherto unused areas in my right brain would be stimulated to develop new neural connections. I’d read that having spare connections available – a neuronal reserve – is always good and could help counter some of the neurodegenerative effects of aging. Sounded plausible to me and hence this foray into left-handed Mandala making.

Here are Mandalas two, three and four:

The first thing I noticed was how closely my artwork resembled the Corona virus – the very creature I was trying to avoid by staying socially isolated and doing spiritual things! Erk!!

The second thing was that while drawing I often couldn’t see the emerging shape because my fist or my fingers would be obscuring it. Clearly, I need to shadow my niece – who is left-handed and a talented artist – and learn exactly how she holds the pen/pencil and how she positions her hand. Poor girl – she’s going to be peeved – she doesn’t like people peering over her shoulder as she creates.

So, that’s my Mandala story, folks. I plan to join a short online coaching class to get another perspective on Mandala making, so stay tuned. Mandala amateurs and artists are welcome to share their tips and tricks in the comments section.