Non-fiction books come in various colours and you cannot ignore all of those altogether. This or that, here or there, now or then, there will be a colour code to impress you and involve you in appreciating it. I have read non-fiction titles by Indian and foreign authors. Primarily spiritual or self-help genre has impressed me until now. Recently, I ventured outside my comfort zone and picked up a book written by Dr Thanumalaya Arumugam – Science of Uncertainty: A Doctor’s Experience. In its first apprentice, the book appeared more like a philosophical take on the science of medicine. However, as in most cases, the cover was more or less deceptive and the book is more about the author’s journey of life rather than a take only on medical practice. It is a gripping and rather straightforward tale of the rise of a middle-class teenager from rural India in the world of medicine – and today, Dr Thanumalaya Arumugam has established himself as a successful doctor practising in the US, after spending many years in different countries. In short, if you are going to make your buy or ignore decision right now, it’s a buy and you will enjoy reading it in parts, and also get a few important lessons in life. If you want a detailed review, keep reading.
The book is full of events, incidents, and anecdotes from the long practising experience of the author, Dr Thanumalaya Arumugam. And in most cases, these anecdotes will be very helpful for readers from different walks of life, especially those who are to be doctors or are already doctors in their early years. A simple experience that Dr Arumugam had when he moved to the US from Saudi Arabia is shared in chapter six. The author writes, after sharing how he tried to treat the patient in the US the same way he used to do it in Saudi (for elderly patients of Pneumonia):
“Although he understood the basis for the treatment I administered, it was a sudden and harsh wakeup call to how I did indeed have to retrain myself.”
And it is required everywhere, in every field of occupation or even in general life scenarios. We need to keep ourselves updated and ready to face challenges that come into our lives in different forms. Dr Arumugam was told by his director how to deal with patients in the US (and how it was an entirely different approach from that in Saudi Arabia). And one important, very important rather, fact that comes to readers from the same incident and is shared by the doctor himself, is that ‘even at a terminal stage of life, American medicine still focuses on maintaining life’.
Being in different countries, practising as a doctor, roles of a father and a husband, managing things back in India with family and community, and yet being oneself – this is a task that Dr Arumugam has been complying with for many years now. And all these experiences are there in the book for readers to read and enjoy, review and learn. The book has been rendered in a certain order which does not go by the strict sense of order. There are incidents and events inside the hospital and outside. Family, children, adjusting to the different social milieus and so on… the book is a documentation of the years gone by, lessons learnt, and experiences earned. And in that form, it offers far too many things than one might expect an autobiography to offer.
Though the book has fragments of intrigue to offer, with drama inside the doctor’s chambers, conversations with patients on the deathbed and those who can come back afresh, the book might be too technical at times. Well, that boredom or medical depth can be countered by the family details and social adjustment scenarios shared by Dr Arumugam in a way that involves readers at various levels. It has interesting stories to tell (and with a doctor and his practice at the centre).
If you read this book in instalments, you may feel the freshness of looking at the world from a doctor’s eyes. Dr Arumugam, being someone from the field on might expect the least creativity, has done surprisingly well with the writing job. And I am impressed with sentence structures and the organisation of thoughts in words. I am sure many other readers will find the book useful, enjoyable and relatable. After all, everyone has a story to tell… and there are many in this book. So, if you want to have a go, you can get a copy of Science of Uncertainty by Dr Arumugam from Amazon India right now. Click the link below:
Review by Anand S J for ReadByCritics Book Blog
Science of Uncertainty by Dr. Thanumalaya Arumugam – Book Review
Science of Uncertainty by Dr Thanumalaya Arumugam is a non-fiction book, a memoir with medical practice at the centre of it.