“It’s cooler this morning,” I said to Seema, as we left the hospital grounds en route to our home visits.
It was a bright and bustling morning in Trivandrum, the capital of India’s southwesternmost state, Kerala. A third-year resident in family medicine, I had come here to work with the staff of an Indian nonprofit devoted to advancing palliative care services across India. Seema was a young, newly qualified junior doctor who had only recently joined the organization. We were traveling with five others–our driver, two nurses and two nursing trainees–into the mountains east of Trivandrum for the day.
“We don’t really speak about the weather like you do,” Seema gently chided. “In the West you spend lots of time talking about the weather.” As I silently ceded her point, she consoled me: “I think you have more variety to your weather. Here it is only hot, very hot, or cold and rainy. Most people carry an umbrella because it’s useful in any of those cases.”
I counted the passing umbrellas as our van carried us into the foothills on our way to Palode, a village where we would hold a small outpatient clinic before making home visits.
After the …