Saturday, November 22, 2014

One child at a time

  • ·                 Ancient cavemen who lived thousands of years ago had no agriculture techniques. They had no fertilizers or pesticides. No satellites or radios to tell them if it's going to rain the next day. They had to find food on a daily basis. They would have constantly worried about finding food the next day. They moved across the land in search of food. 
    Now we have various agriculture techniques. We can farm round the year. We know when will it rain and when will it snow. We know if a cyclone is coming two weeks before. We have various organic and chemical fertilizers. Pests can be controlled. Then why do we still have people who have to find food on a daily basis? Why do children have to move across the land to work for food? What is the use of having everything yet having so many starving people on Earth?

    India is one the leading countries in the ‘hunger situation’. That itself is a cruel irony as India has 7th largest land mass in the world. Still we lag behind other countries in basic necessity of humankind. Our children face the same problem people faced thousands of years ago. For our present generation the advances in science and technology mean nothing as long as he is hungry. The socio-political changes will not affect him till his hunger is satisfied. He will not sit and study when he is hungry.

    The ancient nomads settled down when they started farming. And so taking a lesson from this ancient history I suggest we start a small farm with every school. Let the students grow and cultivate locally grown fruits and vegetables. This will provide a constant and non-exhaustible source for meals. Since it is meant for immediate consumption preservatives need not be added.  
     Anything that is extra can be given back to the students only to take it home. They can also sell the extra products and make an additional income. In this way a well maintained farm in a school can make a community self sufficient. Local farmers can come forward to guide the students also. Involvement of more experts in the field will lead to better results. 
    This will also provide the student with a firsthand experience in agriculture. In future also he/she can make their own food in their backyards. 
    Self sufficiency in food is one of the most important steps in development.

     I am going to #BlogToFeedAChild with Akshaya Patra and BlogAdda.

    (Many thanks to fellow blogger and author Dr.Roshan Radhakrishnan for the tag. I was in a long hiatus from the blogosphere but this topic got to me.) 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The virtual dance of democracy

It is said to be the Dance of democracy. There are various superlatives given to our elections. The whole process of election makes the people feel powerful. All the so called powerful leaders will come and ask for the common man’s vote. What they do with the vote is an entirely different question. This time the social media is said to play a major role

 The amount of work these parties put into their online campaigning it would look like the election is going to take place in Facebook with Mark Zuckerberg as the electoral officer or that the election commission will consider the number of retweets and favourites also along with the cast vote.
Yes! XYZ Party gets more likes and hence we have a winner!

My favourite social media of the lot is twitter. I am pretty sure that the creators of twitter would have had one of those friends who just won’t keep quiet. They must have come up with this brilliant idea while talking to her/him.  

Anyways you open twitter now and it is elections all over. Full of trivia which no one really cares about. Major news handles trying to outreach other major news handles by bringing exclusive items about candidates' past and present. When they run out of such highly interesting trivia I am half expecting these people will go to some astrologer to get exclusive breaking news about the candidates’ future also. In fact that is a good idea. Instead of having the experts and political commentators they should have a panel of astrologers, psychics, tarot card readers, Paul the octopus (in spirit of course, which I am sure can be arranged) and have a healthy discussion on the future of the Indian democracy.  

Now things like candidate A wore a t shirt last year in a function which proves him to be an agent of the West or candidate B wore a kurtha pyjama last month which made him regressive and against development are getting momentum in twitter! This will ensure a series of tweets making fun of the said candidates and hordes of people supporting candidates A, B and C, more or less making it a trend. They will have childish twitter fights on how childish it is to fight on twitter. They will profess great ideas about how the country should be run in 140 letters. I mean where did all those ignorant geeks go? What happened to all the good old days when Poonam Pandey could start a trend with a single tweet? (Now even she has to resort to the English premier league) Or how Koffee with karan used to trend with its sheer brilliance! 

 Every day at least two of the top trends now are political in nature. This is setting a bad example to the upcoming generation that wants to join twitter. For them it’ll be a choice between the politically aware pseudo intellectuals of Twitter and the self obsessed ignorant teens and aunties of Facebook. That’s worse than choosing between Modi and Rahul Gandhi. 
I find solace in instagram now. Barring the selfie fever it is a wonderful social network to drool over the food you'll never eat and places you'll never visit. 

The following are some of the statistics I found while researching on this. (By research I meant Google. Isn't that kind of obvious?)

India has
114.8 Million Facebook users  ( )

A total of 147.8 million users

Around 18 % of the voters are in the social media but a staggering 49 % do not have access to electricity.
 This 18% is widely spread all over the country with probably a high density in the urban areas.

Do we have to politicize the social media also for this? Social networks are probably among the few places left where your religion, location, cast, political leanings don’t really matter. Why not keep it that way?
Do dance along for the democracy.

(Do share this with the pseudo intellectuals, ignorant teens and Google employees) 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Of Half baked dreams - 55 words fiction

The old man placed the dough in the oven. He set the temperature. The girl looked on. After a while she asked if it was ready. He took it out and showed the half baked cake. Dreams are like this only he said. She thought of her half baked dreams with tears in her eyes.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

"One more patient"

Beethoven's fifth symphony. One of the most powerful music ever composed. The distinct rise at the beginning; followed by the fall, then the gradual growth again. I fell in love with it many years back. As they say once you are enticed by that beautiful piece of music you will find it hard to go back.

Nurse asked if she should get the phone. She is new. The regulars know that this ringtone is assigned to my other love. She’ll be calling to tell me she reached. She can wait. While this patient cannot. Road traffic accident it seems. What do we know but what the patient party tells us. Even in the casualty they tell stories to keep their side safe.
I told her I’ll be done in 10 minutes. Well that was around 40 minutes ago. I don’t think anybody would understand my duties so well.
Patient is conscious but numerous bruises on the face. Only after the blood and dirt is removed you get to know the full extent of his injuries. Sometimes it is not as bad as it appears. From the looks of it all the major arteries are intact. It won’t take much time hopefully.
The fifth symphony. Again. She will be waiting outside. She has been with me long enough to know my 10 minutes might go up to an hour or sometimes more. She will be probably calling to see whether I am stuck with the paper works. She sometimes helps with those stuff.
 If only the patient knew what and all thoughts that go through our heads while cleaning up the wounds. Sometimes the training and your instincts take over and let you do certain procedures with ease.
“Doctor one more patient. They are trying to stabilize her”
Almost one hour since my duty got over technically but I am still here. I looked at the clock, making it obvious for the nurse that I am looking at the clock.
“Last patient sir; promise” nurse said with a smile. I was amazed at the ability of the nurse to smile at that moment.  Her cheerfulness was contagious. Last patient it is.
“Take my phone, call Sarah and ask her where she is.” I said as I walked to that patient on the other side of the casualty.
Her ringtone becomes louder and louder. She is already here? I thought of looking around but she shouldn’t be inside the casualty. I first saw that lady holding her phone, one look at the patient told me what I feared.
Everything went black. I think I fell down.

(I got the idea for this story from a real life incident where I couldn't meet an old friend due to my professional responsibilities. I was feeling bad about it but then I realized that is how it is gonna be. I accepted the fact that sometimes or most of the times professional commitments might stand in the way of personal ones. Beethoven's 5th symphony is indeed a masterpiece, it is worth listening to.. )

Monday, September 2, 2013

Memories. .

It has been a long hiatus from the blogosphere. A series of personal and professional commitments came during the last three months and I am still not settled.
Above all my grandfather, who was an inspiration for me to start writing passed away one month back. He has published one novel and 3 short story collections. His stories were simple and gave out a message to the readers. He put across his ideals and principles of life through his stories. The stories are simple enough to emotionally connect with the reader. As he himself tells in the foreword, the stories had come to him while he visited various places across India. Stories of people.
He has read only my first story and he pointed out certain flaws in it but was happy about it. I was apprehensive of showing him my later stories and I did not show him anymore. Simply because he was an authority in English grammar and I was not very good at it. Also I thought my content and language might be offensive but what did I know.
 I was with him for quite sometime in the hospital and that had given me a new perspective of life. The days were basically spent talking to him as he was fully oriented and had an excellent memory till his end.
I also got the single copy of his first book which was published around 40 years back. Till then I had read only his recent books. Reading those stories I realized the violence streak I sometimes have in my stories might be hereditary because unlike his later stories those stories were violent and brutally emotional. Now I regret not showing him my stories and missed his valuable observations.
The most important lesson I learned from him is not to be in a hurry, fate will twist you, throw you and take its own sweet time. We just have to be prepared.
He left us all with a great deal of memories.

May his soul rest in peace.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Touching Lives

X ray was discovered by William Roentgen in 1875 but the first recorded medical use was by John Hall Edwards in 1896 when he recorded a needle stuck in the hand of one his associates.  
The first X ray
(Picture courtesy: Wikipedia)
21 years it took for the scientists to realize the actual potential of the x ray. X ray can be said to be the first modern medical technology where the field of medicine broke the traditional concepts of surgery and medicines. X ray offered an unhindered vision into the human body which was not even dreamed of before.  Ever since then modern healthcare acquired a whole new meaning. The use of machines gave a definite diagnosis where only guesswork and assumptions were available previously.
In the present state, modern healthcare makes treatments easily available for the masses. Many instances can be given on how the lives of people have been touched by the new healthcare system.
‘Prevention is better than cure’
We all have said and heard this a thousand times at least. Vaccinations are probably the perfect examples for this. Vaccines may not be considered ‘modern’ but the advent of vaccines is one of the major reasons for the reduced infant mortality rates all over the world. The disease small pox was eliminated from the face of the earth only by vaccination. Dreadful disease polio is also on its way of extinction. Our country is already said to have eliminated polio. This was also done by the systematic vaccination schemes.
Awareness is an important aspect of the modern healthcare. With rising number of hospitals and clinics people have become aware of the diseases and various treatments. Earlier camps and all have to be conducted for the people. It was like going to the people with the medicine but now the population knows when to go to a doctor. I know this personally because I am a practising dentist. Earlier people come to a dentist when they have an unbearable toothache and they just want to extract the tooth but now they visit a dentist as soon as they suspect caries. Awareness of this level among the population has vastly helped to control many diseases. They have succeeded in assuring the constant rise of life expectancy of people in the country.
More and more people now come to a hospital and make use of the modern healthcare facilities because of the faith in the system. Many years back the majority of the people were sceptical of going to a hospital. They did not trust the medicines that were put into the veins. Now they embrace it. Modern facilities have the faith of the people which itself is a great deal while treating a disease.
This faith is mainly because they know there are only a few other fields where so much research takes place. Researches on all aspects of the medical field are taking place all over the world at an astonishing pace. With absolute surety I can tell you the researches taking place in the medical field touch the lives of each and every single person. Years back a block in the heart was a death sentence, now it is just another disease which can be treated surgically. Diabetes was a life shattering disease, now it is a life style changing condition.  Recently a hormone called betatrophin was discovered which could generate beta cells and the daily insulin shots can be stopped.  Dialysis was a rare and risky procedure done on terminal patients, these days many people get it down twice or thrice a week and lead a good life. Cancer was indeed the Emperor of Maladies. With wide spread availability of radiation, chemotherapy and surgical procedures cancer to some extent can be controlled. The results of such meticulous research are that diseases which were considered incurable in the yesteryears are being cured now. AIDS which was deemed as incurable is getting cures from different researches. It was only two months back that an infant was cured of AIDS. The actual drug might take some time to reach the market but it is a start.
 More than the actual procedures it is the latest in diagnostic techniques which can lead to an early detection and hence early treatment.  The different diagnostic techniques are being popularized nowadays for an early detection of the diseases. Oral cancer can be detected from the scrapings from the cheek. The advancements in the chemistry and physics have contributed a lot to the development of various diagnostic techniques.  Diagnostic scans based on nuclear medicine like bone scan and PET scan give a whole new perspective to diagnosis and treatment as they point out problems pertaining to specific locations of our body. These techniques show diseases and conditions of our body like never before. More and more people are opting for a routine health check-up twice a year because they know earlier you start treating better are the results.  
An aspect of modern healthcare which is said to be a downfall is the cost. Some may find the hospital costs exorbitant but in the same page something has to be added. It is that the cost is for the services offered; no other facilities have as much recurring expenses or overheads as healthcare field. The big machines used for diagnosis comes with a price. If a person takes a normal health insurance he or she will find the hospitals very much affordable, with more competitions in the insurance field patient is benefiting  Hospitals only are giving out special schemes for the needy, they just have to utilized.
Modern healthcare as many have perceived is not just the new medicines and big machines.  It is a holistic approach aiming to alleviate the sufferings of the patient and ensure a good standard of living. Modern healthcare uses the best of all proven modalities to treat a patient. It may include music therapy, yoga, meditation etc..  Meditation and yoga has been proven to reduce mental stress and fatigue thereby easing many of the physical problems.  Modern healthcare deviates from the strictly traditional setting and seek new methods to help the patient.  A healthy mind is the key to a healthy body.
Finally the most important of all is that modern healthcare gives hope. It gives hope to the patient and to their loved ones.  It gives hope to the most terminal of all patients that the modern healthcare system is advanced enough to cure them, that there will be some sort of experimental treatment somewhere in the world to cure them. It is all about the faith people have in the healthcare system. So how does modern healthcare touch lives? By giving them hope.

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work... I want to achieve it through not dying
Woody Allen 

This post is written as an entry to the Indiblogger contest 'How does modern healthcare touch lives?' in association with Apolo Hospitals .

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

God 2.0 : the Facebook avatar!

 I confess I was a facebook addict. I used to keep going to Facebook every 5 minutes. Update my status, likes, comments, birthday wishes and all that jazz. Then people/organizations start using facebook to spread their propaganda.
If it is on facebook then the youth are supporting it ideology has been there for some time now.  X puts something in facebook.  In a few hours there'll be 11234 likes and X is the hero of Facebook and the new face of the youth of the nation.
For illustrative purpose only. The number of likes is not edited.  
Indeed facebook was an instrument in many movements across the globe but you got to agree something is not so right when so many people something like this.
One day I realized there are more ads than funny updates, more share it if you agree philosophy crap than actual funny stuff, utter stupidities supposedly from Nobel prize winning scientists, requests for i-don't-know-what and-all  and finally the posts from God.  (No I did not mean the pony tailed, blue suit wearing smiling guru; Also not Sachin Tendulkar)

What I was talking about is the supreme, the most humorous, the one and only God himself. Well you gotta admit he is funny.  He let Ajay Devgan make Himmatwala, nobody bombed RGV even though his movies bombed and after proclaiming the autonomy of CBI for such a long time the CBI director only told it was not autonomous. You see what I am getting at right?
Ok I have gone way too much from the topic at hand. The topic is the umpteen number of posts/images/miracles shared over facebook.
They are indeed made by God in his leisure time and posted into the thousands of groups he owns under various fake profiles he created. (Think twice before adding that girl from Sweden who asked you about your sins)
So once he posts his followers (true followers) are meant to share/like and comment it is awesome. God keeps a tab on all those who see the post and not share/like. They will suffer for eternity in hell with a laptop and high speed internet with only facebook and no porn sites. (Please, I am not talking about future India; Devils court of law is much faster than the Honorable Supreme Court)
And so the numerous religious posts appear in my timeline.  I consider all the religious fanatics same because usually they are the ones who knows the least about their religion.
These posts usually start with a miracle that happened last week or last century, followed by its implication in the present age, the humble request to share it your friends and family to spread the word and finally the ignore it if you are heartless, ignore this if you don't care for the baby or don't share and you'll be watching Korean serials for eternity without the subtitles warnings.

Then there are these directions to live posts. They usually contain 3 to 3000 points on how to live according to the holy books of the concerned. They usually contain numerous references to the ghastly modern way of life like wearing jeans, watching tv, reading books, driving cars, drinking coffee, wishing others on their festivals etc. Some of these posts rather blatantly put across that not following those rules (some of them so archaic that deleting would require permission from the archaeology dept.) will ensure you in the eternal fire of hell for eternity.  These people (or God?) making those posts or images are really creative, they put realistic images to go with the matter. What surprises me more is the sheer number of people who share such posts.   If one through their timeline I am sure at place or the other one specific community is being targeted and tortured. There will be accompanying photos to prove their point and the innocent facebookers who see this will share it because they/we speak up against injustice and violence (in facebook, obviously).  High chances are those photos are photoshoped or would be of something totally different. Nobody might not even care what the photo shows, but still we share and like. Probably because deep down we are afraid if God is gonna see the posts we shared and liked on judgment day.  Fear is indeed a strong motivator. The way these propaganda people are posting stuff it is like God has asked them specifically to do a PR stunt on facebook to get to the new generation.
If God wanted us to blindly obey some self appointed preachers or godmen or to literally follow the holy texts he simply wouldn't have given us the free will, consciousness and the important ability to think for ourselves. He would have probably made some drones whose sole purpose of their existence is to worship the creator. It is like making a robot solely to promote the creator; doesn't really make any sense.
We shouldn't let anyone else bully us into feeling guilty for not doing something someone told hundreds or thousands of years back. Scriptures of every religion (except for Scientology perhaps) have been written in another era and it should never be literally interpreted in the present time.
Guilt is what we feel when we know we did something wrong and we all have a well developed mind to know the right from wrong, at least most of us. Use your own consciousness to know right from wrong rather than depending on what someone else told somewhere else sometime back.
It is rather an oxymoron that I'll be promoting this post  on Facebook only and request you my reader to share this or a komado dragon is going to snatch away your your lunch!

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