Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Moved By Madurai

Last week me, MAM, Jay, and others spent a memorable 10 days in South India. First stop was Madurai, where we held a retreat hosted by the Aravind family. Sixteen people participated in two days of learning, sharing, and connecting. Detailed writeup and photos are here. Below I will only add a few personal highlights from the time spent at Aravind:
  • It was a thrill to get a tour of the hospital, a place I had heard and read about and have admired ever since I watched Pavi's film. One remarkable thing we saw was a poster in the reception area that had the title "Anticipated Outpatients for the Year 2012". Based on data analysis past years' hospital traffic, the Aravind administration had determined how many patients they expected to walk through that hospital's doors each *day* of the year. The idea was to ensure they had enough staff and support on hand to handle the inflow. The day we visited the estimate was about 1% off of the actual count, which is typical. That in a nutshell captures Aravind and what makes it special. A type of scrupulous compassion.
  • Every part of the hospital had a meditation room. We later took a tour of Aurloab, which also had a meditation room. What other state-of-the-art medical products manufacturing facility has a meditation room in the midst of its sterile corridors? Only one that also sports pictures of villagers as the sole decorations on whitewashed walls.
  • On the first day of the retreat, it was personally a huge honor to present some of the projects connected with Manav Sadhna to the likes of Mr.Srinivasan, Mr.Thulsi, Dr. Aravind, and Dr. Haripriya. After reading Pavi's book, these people are celebrities in my eyes, so I was a bit starstruck as we interacted with them.

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