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A Piece of My Mind
June 4, 2019

Going Home

Author Affiliations
  • 1Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA. 2019;321(21):2075-2076. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.6924

What I enjoy most about international flights is the minute just before landing. On flights from the United States to India, the final minute features daughters who trade tank tops for saris, apply sindoor (the vermilion mark of marriage) to the parting of their hair, and trace kajol around jetlagged eyes. Businesspeople shut laptops bloated with tasks, where all will be forgotten during jampacked weeks with family. Tourists make frenzied circles in guidebooks, unprepared for the colorful chaos awaiting them. As the plane makes its touchdown, the cabin fills with the smell of damp soil after the rain. Every summer, I breathe it in hungrily. “I’m here. I’m home.”

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    3 Comments for this article
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    Thank You
    Raj Lal, MD, MS, MBA, MPA, CPE | Thoracic Surgeon ( Emeritus), Oak Brook IL
    This is an excellent piece, touching and poignant. Even in the current environment of healthcare delivery we should use empathy and compassion and provide personal care as much as possible. I thank the author.

    CONFLICT OF INTEREST: None Reported
    A Very Touching Story
    Atul Laddu, MD, PhD | Atul Laddu, MD, PhD
    This is a very touching story of Dadu, described in a very nice manner by Dr. Maitra. Several of us have left our very dear parents in our Motherland, and are working far away in countries, helping patients and the community. All of us have a common problem: while working for patients and helping communities, are we forgetting our dear parents or relatives in our home country? Who is going to take care of them when they need us the most? Just visiting our loved ones at their last minute is nice, but is it enough? I am writing about a real problem, but do not think anyone has any solution for this. By putting my thoughts in writing I invite all of us who are far away from our Motherland to propose a good solution.
    CONFLICT OF INTEREST: None Reported
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    My Hope
    Michael Cane, MD, FACOG | Family Healthcare Associates, Arlington, Tx
    My hope is to live and die with dignity and love, as did your Dadu. This was a beautiful and well-written story. Please keep writing! The non-medical world needs to hear your voice.
    CONFLICT OF INTEREST: None Reported
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