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The other night, my brother received the Award of Hope for Leadership and Patient Care at the 19th Annual Award of Hope Ceremony at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey.

It was a wonderful night. My dad and an old friend discussed math problems, I caught up with family, and in a quiet corner, my niece worked on her biology homework.

Anyone who knows me knows how proud I am of my brother.  He is a bit of a genius, who graduated, I continually point out graduated from Princeton, Yale, and Harvard. My geeky funny brother who wore flannel shirts over T- shirts, played D & D endlessly,and to this day still keeps up with computer games.

His teachers told my mother very early he was a distracted student, and despite his good grades later on, discouraged him from applying to the Ivies. This was when being South Asian was still an unknown quality. He is now an oncologist, an MD/PhD,married to a brilliant specialist in infectious disease ( who even as I write is most likely fielding a question about Ebola).

Shridar specializes in breast cancer, and I am going to reproduce part of the speech he gave, after thanking his clinical care team, as well as his students, post-docs, and family:

“Most importantly I want to thank the people who inspire me the most and from whom I ultimately learn the most: my patients and their families. Many people say being an oncologist must be a depressing occupation. I respond that No, on the contrary, it is a greatly inspiring field. Each day, I meet people who have to deal with outrageous fortune and circumstance: a cancer diagnosis that makes them suddenly confront their mortality, and leads them down paths, physical and emotional, never anticipated and that often feels beyond their control. And yet they and their family mostly deal with this with a grace that is hard to imagine, and is both humbling and inspiring. Though it is gratifying and comforting to see the results of successful treatments and outcomes, it is my failures that drive me. When someone has their cancer progress and they die despite our best treatments and the loving care of their family, I grieve; but then I feel it is our duty to understand why this happened, why this cancer did not respond and how can we do better in the next case. These questions are not easy to answer; though the goal is clear, the way is long and very difficult and we have much learn. These challenges are vast and can seem paralyzing. But it is our duty to not stand still, but to move forward, to learn more about these diseases, to learn from every failure and craft better treatments. I thank you all for your help in supporting our efforts to move forward.”



Dr. Shridar Ganesan at The Award of Hope Gala, 2014


Rosie and Indira

Rosie and Indira

Rosemary Marangoly George

Rosemary Marangoly George

Rosie, Rosie & Badri, Rosie & Jaishree

Rosie, Rosie & Badri, Rosie & Jaishree




The day turned pink


The day turned pink as the autumn colors gleamed in approaching sunrise. A fat bee slept on the screen, waiting to breakfast, I imagine, on the late season pollen.  Marigolds and nasturtium still pop up, along with petunias.  I went to a circus on Sunday, and this is what I saw:



No safety nets.  Sheer drops that could end in disaster in a play premise that disaster has already happened.  Traces depicted seven performers who took enormous risk as the audience watched with either breaths held, afraid to stir the air to cause a slip, or shrieking in response to the tension.  The shrieker sat somewhere behind me.

Here is another situation, but as a viewer, there is less immediacy of danger:

A woodpecker drills into a tree.  The day will tease with warmth, and later, the temperature in the week will plunge back down.  I sit still here, except for my typing fingers, as the sound of breezes and trucks begin.

Autumn, Again


Sometimes driving in to work can be heartbreakingly breathtaking this time of year. A tree has shed its red leaves onto the highway, another is just starting to turn. Autumn, and its accompanying adjective, autumnal, carry weight, invoking age, splendor, a finality before the hush of winter snowfall. I have said this already, in another post.

This was one of the songs I listened to, “Morning Celebration” by Karunesh:

As always, here is Keats  “To Autumn” read by Ben Wishaw.

And the text:

For me, Autumn means I let go of my manuscript, write words, not paragraphs, let email overtake my mornings.  The practice of the summer has fled.  My students start workshop in one class, and in another, we discuss Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper.”

There is an abundance of readings and performances as the season gears up, and these days, the bus is packed.

I subsist some days on granola bars and coffee, before coming home an hour, now two, before bedtime.  The cats are hungry, as am I, for dinner.

My dinner is leftovers, if I planned ahead, or grilled cheese.  Soon
will come my ambition to roast squash, make soup. Autumn dreams of a kind.

Seasonal Change



The leaves are changing.  More and more

I see red patches over-taking the green, even as the Google Doodle

has let us know, for two days now,

that autumn is here.

How fresh the green was

back in the spring, how voluptuous

the reds and purples of summer.

Autumn  delivers fire to burn away growth.

Winter will cleanse out the palate,

give us a blank slate

to rest our eyes.


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