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    Poems from a surgeon on cancer, cake and crossing continents

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      You think you know
      Exactly what you are doing.
      It’s going to be a fling,
      A brief affair.
      She’s pretty enough,
      But there’s so much about her
      That you don’t like.
      And then suddenly…
      You’re hooked.
      Came here for five years.
      This year
      Will be twenty-five.
      Satya Bhattacharya
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      Good morning Mrs Giraffe

      Every day I drive past the giraffe’s house
      At the zoo.
      Most mornings she is standing at the window
      Looking out.
      I wave at her as I go by.
      And she nods at me,
      I think.
      I like the sign she has put out recently
      Saying she loves the NHS
      Satya Bhattacharya
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      The gentle, winter sun will be
      Shining now in Fez
      On the flat rooftops.
      The bowls will be full
      Of oranges.
      Why are you and I not there?
      Satya Bhattacharya
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      Up and down

      There was a young, adventurous adder
      Who, being curious, went up a ladder
      But no sooner than he had ascended
      He very rapidly descended
      As he had to urgently empty his bladder
      Satya Bhattacharya

    About the author

    In the autumn of 1989, Satya Bhattacharya, then a young surgeon, took a flight from Mumbai to London. His intention was to come to the UK, train, and then return to practise in India. Life had other plans, and he ended up staying and working in London for the rest of his career, apart from a brief interlude in India. He has now worked as a consultant surgeon for over twenty years.

    Satya has written steadily through his life. But the creative writing of his youth, which got published in college magazines, gave way to medical papers, and he has authored over 75 publications including two theses, many research articles and several book chapters. He did continue to write poetry, but kept his poems filed away. In the summer of 2020, at the height of the first surge of the Coronavirus pandemic, charities in Britain supported the 2.6 Challenge, urging people to raise funds. Satya penned 26 poems, called them “Lockdown Limericks”, and distributed them to friends and colleagues, hoping they would contribute. Their kindness led to nearly £10,000 being raised. That stimulated Satya to put his other poems together, into his first book “Have Knife, Will Travel”.

    As Satya says in his preface, growing up in one country and moving to another, building a career there, and defining yourself in the process, is a complicated journey. That is reflected in what he writes. Also, he has spent much of his working life in east London, in the city’s poorer boroughs, operating on people’s bellies. That work has got into his poems too.

    Satya lives in north London, with his wife, who is a physician. They met in medical school - on day one, in the dissection room, with a dead person between them! Their careers have run in parallel and she has been the sounding board for many of his ideas. They have a daughter, who also takes a grown-up interest in what her father writes. In addition to his day job, Satya is the medical director of a hospital and serves as the Serjeant Surgeon. In his spare time, he bakes, does yoga, goes walking on Hampstead Heath, and follows the fortunes of Arsenal’s footballers and India’s cricketers.

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    Have knife will travel

    Have Knife, Will Travel is available to purchase in the UK on Amazon.co.uk as an e-book and as a paperback.

    It can also be purchased in the US on Amazon.com as an e-book and as a paperback.

    In India it can be bought on Amazon.in but only as an e-book.

    All proceeds from this book will go to medical charities. Any profits made in the UK will go to the charitable funds of the hospital Satya works in, The London Clinic, and be earmarked for surgical research and training. Any funds raised in India or elsewhere will go to a small charity run in Mumbai by the alumni of his medical school.

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    Lockdown Limericks

    Here are Satya’s Lockdown Limericks, available to read online, in three languages.

    Lockdown Limericks cover