Powerful, Poignant, & Physician-like Moments in Cutting for Stone

25 Apr Powerful, Poignant, & Physician-like Moments in Cutting for Stone

One of the things I am enjoying about my Kindle reading experience, is the capability to record notes at specific points in the text. Where as I used to run around with sticky notes and a pen, inevitably finding myself without one or the other as I came across a particularly powerful piece of text I wished to highlight, now I simply scroll to the section and type a note. Recorded notes are then saved in a list. What still feels strange is not knowing what page those notes are on. Instead they are recorded as location #’s, which ultimately means zippo to me.

Ah, the give and take of technology.

As I continue to read this fine novel, I am compelled to share with you now, some of the notes I’ve made.

When Hemlatha is rocking the newborn twins, she is exhausted from the traumatic delivery and grieving the loss of Sister Mary Joseph Praise, but she is also elated at the miracle of the boys’ birth. The mixed emotions of the moment define our lives, full of sky-kissing highs and earth shattering lows and Verghese captures the sentiment beautifully:

The twins were breathing quietly, their fingers fanned over their cheeks. They belonged in her arms. How beautiful and horrible life is, Hema thought; too horrible to simply call tragic. Life is worse than tragic. Sister Mary, bride of Christ, now gone from the world into which she brought two children.”

And again, this very poetic author captures a poignant moment when Hema, still holding the new twins, realizes the inevitable coming and going of life, the giveth and taketh:

Hema felt light-headed, giddy. I won the lottery without buying a ticket, she thought. These two babies plugged a hole in my heart that I didn’t know I had until now.

But there was a danger in the analogy: she’d heard of a railway porter at Madras Central Station who won lakhs and lakhs of rupees, only to have his life fall apart so that he soon returned to the platform. When you win, you often lose, that’s just a fact. There’s no currency to straighten a warped spirit, or open a closed heart, a selfish heart–she was thinking of Stone. Stone had prayed for a miracle. The silly man didn’t see that these newborns were miracles.

And because I’m married to a physician and indeed, because the LOL member who selected this month’s book is a physician (Gail), I must include this section, which I noted for what I call a physician-like moment. There’s humor in the comment, yet there’s something so sensual about the way Verghese compares the act of lovemaking to that of practicing medicine. The language is the same; the intent is entirely different, yet there is an intimacy to both as Dr. Ghosh–mourning what he thinks is unrequited love from Hema–prepares¬† to engage a prostitute.

He had a theory that bedroom Amharic and bedside Amharic were really the same thing: Please lie down. Take off your shirt. Open your mouth. Take a deep breath…The language of love was the same as the language of medicine.

I love that! Clearly author Verghese is the kind of physician who relishes the art inherent in the science.

See you on Free-for-all-Friday.