Indian Journal of Pathology and Microbiology

: 2016  |  Volume : 59  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 247-

Through the looking glass: A day in the life of a histopathologist

Chandralekha Tampi 
 Lilavati Hospital and Research Centre, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Chandralekha Tampi
Lilavati Hospital and Research Centre, Bandra West, Mumbai, Maharashtra

How to cite this article:
Tampi C. Through the looking glass: A day in the life of a histopathologist.Indian J Pathol Microbiol 2016;59:247-247

How to cite this URL:
Tampi C. Through the looking glass: A day in the life of a histopathologist. Indian J Pathol Microbiol [serial online] 2016 [cited 2022 May 20 ];59:247-247
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Full Text

Each morning, I sit down, attach myself to my microscope,

and drop down into my world of pink and purple,

my breath slows down, nice and easy,

and I become an appendage to my eyes

skimming through sheaves and weaves of thick and thin collagen and stroma,

interwoven with cells of all types and shapes,

and I gently start scoping for clues.

I sift thru an acreage of cells,

acknowledge winking nucleoli,

changing colors of cytoplasmic content.,

and stored patterns in my mind, niggle forward, and offer their suggestions.

I am often told you are lucky, calm, and cool,

away from the sweat and panic of wards and patients,

but being at the end of the diagnostic rope, they do not know how often

my breath has stopped in my chest,

my heart thudded into my ears,

when my roving lenses confront calamity,

and how each time,

slowly and methodically,

I have used the small tools and skills, so painstakingly acquired,

and have methodically broken the beast down to manageable proportions,

and then told myself “breathe lekha breathe, we are off this precipice,

“How many times, I have woken with a jolt, remembering undiagnosed cases

lying like quicksand on my table,

only to recall that particular conundrum is solved and signed out.”

But yes, there are times of pleasure, when rhythmically,

slide after slide falls into place,

conjuring up pictures as perfect as they are clear.

When baby cases offer themselves up for identification,

uncomplicatedly yielding their secrets

cases that sneak past, camouflaged, caught by their tails as they whisk away,

and yet those that sit, quiet, and small and shy,

till my seeking eyes draw them out of their shells

and so at the end of my day, I sit exhausted

having run a marathon, without moving from my chair

having delivered judgments, without speaking a word.

So when people say, it is a cool job, I say Yes,

I have been in the forest all day, and I have come out unscathed.

I offer no bulwarks of support, I cannot soft pedal, or shield a single fact, I just peel layer after layer off till the central pearl is laid bare,

and that is when my job is done.

I am the hunter of the Snark.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.