Our secret affair started during my teen years…
A constant companion by my side, my pen, was my first love.
The culmination of this journey is this book,

Random Musings of a Physician Poet,
an autobiographical anthology of verses, a story of my experiments
with life and with words.
As I traverse the fifth decade of my life, the 50 poems in this book depict
my life’s journey, from my teenage years to the present time.

– Dr. Seema Rao

‘Random Musings of a Physician Poet’ by Dr. Seema R Rao, Senior Consultant of Department of Palliative Medicine and Supportive Care, Kasturba Medical College & Hospital, Manipal has been published in August 2020. Here, Dr Seema Rao writes about her secret journey with pen and words.

Our secret affair started during my teen years.  Starry-eyed and naïve, we would escape into our secret hideaway for our moment of quiet togetherness, to explore the world of words. As is popularly said, ‘Ishq aur musk chhupaye nahin chupta.’ Inevitable as it was, an astute teacher sniffed out this affair, yet unlike many others, he nurtured this dalliance.  A constant companion by my side, my pen, was my first love. In young adulthood, in the race between the pen and the stethoscope, the latter reigned, albeit for a short while.  It is often said that first love is special and hard to forget. The random musings that adorned the pages of Gray’s Anatomy, Harrison, and later Kaplan & Saddock bear testimony to my clandestine affair with my pen. While married to the stethoscope, my first love, my pen, remained by my side, like an unwanted memory, often neglected, never important. 

Psychiatry and Palliative Medicine, the two specialties that deal with inherent suffering provide enough fodder for the soul. I am fortunate to have traversed both these worlds, reveling in the natural paradox of these fields. While suffering and death is often viewed as detrimental, in reality they also foster hope, providing opportunities for redemption. And as I traverse this journey of suffering, death, hope, and redemption along with my patients I experience transcendence. And in those moments of transcendence I find myself. The culmination of this journey is this book, ‘Random Musings of a Physician Poet’, an autobiographical anthology of verses, a story of my experiments with life and with words. As I traverse the fifth decade of my life, the 50 poems in this book depict my life’s journey, from my teenage years to the present time. Each verse is a reflection of an emotion within me and that of my patients; joy, pain, hope, disillusionment, love, heartbreak, anger, and gratitude. Today, my pen and my stethoscope are no longer at war, but walk beside me in this arduous journey. While my stethoscope provides me with the opportunity to heal others, my pen helps me heal myself.


A poem from the book

Looking Back

Buried deep a treasure trove
Beneath the sands of time
Nestled in the dark alcove
Of human mind sublime
Moments of pain and pleasure –
Of harmony and strife
Make memories, a cherished treasure
In the bivouac of life

My footsteps to retrace
Down the memory lane
My yesterdays to embrace
The joys and the pain

I thought I would find
A soul in a bind…
Along the forged dirt track-
Of blood, sweat and tears
Of hopes, dreams and fears
That I had lost long back

What I found instead
Was love within and God overhead,
As the dirt road lay paved
With bonds of trust and love
The raw wounds lay healed
By the divine healer above

In the myriad of emotions
Of life’s rich tapestry
All is an illusion
Life, an unending mystery
Treasures untouched
By the ravages of passing time
Memories unsullied
By the vagaries of human mind


Dr. Seema R Rao, Senior Consultant
Department of Palliative Medicine and Supportive Care
Kasturba Medical College & Hospital, Manipal Academy of Higher Education
Manipal 576104, Karnataka, India.
Email: seema.rao@manipal.edu

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