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A time to be good

>> Tuesday, November 30, 2010













I was  watching a press conference of JSS leader, Smt. K. R. Gouriamma  the other day.She couldn't get up from the chair without help,neither could she talk clearly because of her tremor.She was all against her party members in that  her party would join neither the left wing or the right in the upcoming elections. Her supporters tried to make her reach a compromise,but she refused to yield,and insisted the right wing had personally insulted her.


Like a musical chair,they have all changed parties and alliances.Now that the elections are on the way, be prepared for more shows.




He says jayalalitha is corrupt!



For Karunanidhi, the Tamil interest comes only after the clan interest.One is negotiable, the other is not. The tantrums of DMK’s Karunanidhi over his ‘kids’ Azhagiri, Stalin and others was witnessed silently by the rest of the nation. He is stuck to the wheel chair and wears his dark glasses all the time,so it is hard to know if he can see a thing.








In Kerala, Karunakaran, the doddering father-fighter, has already ceased to be even comical; he has become incomprehensible as power-lust is accompanied by senescence. In the north we have all the types, ranging from the most accomplished performer of social justice to the avenging diva of dalit salvation.









Lalu Prasad Yadav, currently one of the most trusted loyalists in the Sonia durbar, may play the subaltern jester for electoral effect.  Mayawati has all the paranoia of the supreme leader who detests questions and invents enemies, and she too, like Lalu of the Bihar days, has turned the romance of social justice into a reign of terror and fear in the name of the dispossessed.
Dewe Gouda,the Ex PM, sleeps most of the time.When he is awake,he still tries to keep the interests of his clan.He was our only PM who could eat and talk at the same time.Even Gods cannot wake him up.!




Gods cannot wake him up!
No,not from circus!


I remember having heard ,a pack of lions if led by a mule will be as ineffective and sterile as the leader itself. Compounding the conundrum, this mule is destined to steer a bunch of hyenas instead of lions. That makes things worse, doesn't it?


"The leader  can now remeber only two things about the 2G scam. Rahul 'G' and Sonia 'G' ".At least, it shows he has some memory left. The list could go on and on. 










India is the only democracy where there is a stark contrast between the average age of the citizens and that of politicians at the helm. While 70 per cent of India’s population is below 40 years of age, 80 per cent of India’s politicians are over 70 years.There is, a case for fixing the retirement age for occupying party posts and constitutional positions. First, a person’s ability to judge and respond quickly degenerates with age. There is also the the overall lack of fitness, higher prevalence of serious diseases relating to heart, kidney, lungs, brain, and so on. In the Indian context, older leaders carry two serious disadvantages. Leaders, over the years, become more and more greedy and second, they carry a lot of baggage and most cannot move around. Greed among Indians is in their genes.A time has come to change the rules of the game in Indian politics for an emerging India, aspiring to become part of the developed world. Indian politicians need to be generous and they should look at role models elsewhere.


In the US, the 13th Constitutional amendment set term limits for the offices of the President and governors. This ensures that the leaders are not for life and the same leaders are not hanging around, whenever the party comes back to power. In the UK and other parts of Europe (except Italy), well established conventions have ensured that the defeated leaders do not come back in the next elections. Same for Australia, New Zealand and Canada, where sometimes leaders in the leading parties have come and gone at such speed that it is difficult to even remember their names.


Hindu philosophy divides human life span into four time periods. A 75-year-old, in his Vanprastha period (last stage) belongs to no one and is expected to leave family matters and devote himself entirely to serving God . But that rarely happens in Indian politics.





Isn't it time for a change?








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Shooting Stars

>> Friday, November 26, 2010

Preeja at the finish









That evening as I settled down to watch the first day of athletics events on television, two young Indian girls stepped on to the tracks. The 60,000 strong crowd of mostly Chinese roared for the local favorites as the women set off in quest of the 10,000 m gold.

The tiny looking Indian girls gamely held on to the leading bunch lap after lap giving  a glimmer of hope. The two athletes - Preeja Sreedharan and Kavita Raut - were not the favorites to win. Kavita had won a bronze at the Commonwealth Games in the same event while Preeja disappointed. As the track official sounded the bell for the last lap, the Indian girls took off, as if from a sling shot, leaving others in their wake. Never before had I seen anything like this.

The girls made it look so easy from distance. Preeja and Kavita, who finished first and second, even jogged a victory lap.

While Indian fans ( I don’t even know if there are many) lap up the achievements of the Indian women, what many may not know is that both these athletes had won a bigger battle to get to the Asian Games arena. Both of them had to beat poverty and its associated hurdles to win laurels for our country.

Preeja's father died when she was very young and her older brother dropped out of school to become a carpenter's apprentice. Her mother worked in neighbors’ homes to feed the family. Preeja caught the eye of her athletics coach while in school in Kerala's Idukki district. Due to her athletic prowess, she got help to finish her degree and a job with the Railways followed.
With the Rs10 lakhs won by Preeja at the Chennai marathon in 2008, the family has bought a small plot of land in Palghat where they are building a house.

Kavita's story is no different.

She belongs to a poor family in the adivasi belt of Trimapkeswar near Nasik. She has four brothers and says she chose running as it could be done barefooted and without spending any money. Kavita is now employed with Oil and Natural Gas Corporation.

I was waiting anxiously for their return to the tracks for the 5000 m race today. Preeja looked confident. She was the smallest of the lot and the least assuming. It was charm to see her in sprint. There was a rare grace in her movements. She appeared an angel on  wings.

The close-up shots showed a very different and distressing part of the competition. It is not an easy game. The amount of stress, effort,fear and anxiety on their faces brought tears to my eyes. They put every iota of energy left in them in to their feet. I was relieved when I saw Preeja winning the race. Kavita won the bronze.
And just a short while after this, our girls won the 400 m relay race as well.

When time permits try to have a look at the finishing moments of an athletics sprint . You will find all emotions possible on those faces. It is simply not easy at all. I wouldn’t dare to compare it with any other event.
It is a reward less field with not much of accolades or glory. And for that matter, not even money or stardom. They don’t get invited to the parties of film stars or politicians, and are soon forgotten.

Cricket is the national obsession in India. Its stars dominate the headlines and devour almost all the sponsorship deals. All other games and sports are submerged under this game, if you can call it so. Historically, the government offered little help to the athletes, and corporations were reluctant to sponsor those who competed in obscure sports. This reality lead many athletes to a common destination: jobs with the Indian railway or police. Most of the women athletes finally settle down with any ordinary job to make their livelihood. It is not surprising that we do not produce as many men athletes as women.

India, which ranks behind only China in population with more than 1.1 billion people, could never get a gold medal in Olympics, till Bindra won it at the air rifle shooting competition at the Beijing Olympics.

Preeja Sreedharan with the gold medal



This prompts an ever-persistent question. Why do we continually fail to produce elite athletes on the international stage? We are getting recognition as a growing economy. But is that just enough?

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Mostly Martha

>> Friday, November 19, 2010





"Some people still kill a lobster
by throwing it in boiling water.
But by now everyone should know
that for the animal
it is the most agonizing death,
because it takes so long for it to die.
The best way to kill a lobster
is with a well placed stab in the neck.
It's the quickest".




Isn't it true about human relationships too?
I saw this movie last week and loved it.It is a German movie, but has English sub titles.There is something compelling about the movie.It's about a workaholic chef who has to force herself out of her fixation and get a life.

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The Art of Giving

>> Tuesday, November 16, 2010




Tata’s donation of US $ 50 million to Harvard has become a matter of heated discussion.

Even by the standards of American philanthropy, the Tata donation is significant. And he isn’t the only Indian to be pouring money into Harvard. In May this year, the family of Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy decided to give US$5.2 million for creating the Murthy Classical Library of India(which will, among other things, have 100 books from Indian languages translated into English). The Mahindra Group has donated $10 million to the Harvard Humanities Centre.

The Tatas, the Murthys and the Mahindras have favoured Harvard in different ways and for different reasons, but this raises a question: why are they more favourably inclined to a Harvard than, say, an IIM or any other Indian Institution. One answer is that they have been associated with these institutions in some way. But, equally, it seems that they are less sure about how useful their contributions to Indian institutions would be. The Harvards of the world emphasise excellence over every other ideal. The same cannot be said for our politician -controlled institutions.

Tata is the most generous overseas donor to Harvard Business School to date.

According to both American and Indian intellectuals, humility and integrity are the two distinctive traits of a man considered nearly as powerful as the greatest political leaders in India. For instance, the Tata Group billionaire refuses to let others carry his bag for him.

“Tata’s gift not only reflects the businessman’s relationship with the program as an alum, but also his role as a global leader and citizen. He cares about his country, his company, and his employees,” Nitin Nohria , Dean, Harvard Business School says. “And no organization in the world has a greater commitment to integrity and doing things ‘right.’”

The company is itself controlled by a collection of non-profit, charitable trusts, to which two-thirds of the profit of these companies contributes. This collection of trusts sponsors free cancer hospitals and education through grants and scholarships.

This is a company that has a very solid reputation for doing good” So, this single donation, is it a matter for discussion?

“There are millions of Indians living under poverty line and can afford only one meal a day. There are hundreds of thousands of school children in Indian villages who do not have access to basic education. There are no school buildings to conduct classes. Infrastructure in towns and villages is nonexistent. So many Indians do not have access to basic healthcare. Farmers are committing suicide because of poverty. The list of these disasters goes on in India. That somebody with wealth gives the money to somebody who really does not need it is a shameful act. It is just to have a name among elitist, rich and powerful”. Arguments go on and on. I had given the answer to all these. Two thirds of the Tata profits are handed over to charitable trusts for humanitarian causes.

India is economically doing well. I don't think Indians have been so rich and have their wealth recognized internationally before. They have never been known globally for philanthropy like some western billionaires. So yes, may be, this is going to be their rat race to be recognized in that manner.

They earned the money fair and square and have full freedom to spend it exactly how they want. A business is ethically obligated to conduct business fairly without unfair practices, illegal activities or fraud. They are not ethically obliged to give back at all. Social ethics? Yes we can examine the role of business from a social ethics perspective. But then, he is doing more than anyone else, isn’t he?

It is his money, his right of spending.

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A Dangerous Business

>> Tuesday, November 9, 2010





There was this disturbing news in yesterday’s daily which prompted me to write this.

A couple was undergoing treatment for infertility for the last few years, and finally conceived. Everyone was happy,  the patient,her husband, the doctor, and the whole family. The doctor then prescribed a medication for the safe continuation of the pregnancy. She was asked to take one tablet daily for a month. About a week after taking the medicines, the patient started feeling unwell. At the end of the course of medications, she attended the doctor for review, and he gave another  prescription to continue the same medication for a further two weeks. She couldn’t continue the medications because of severe side effects and was admitted to the hospital. It was then they found that the woman was taking a wrong medication all along. She was supposed to take a hormone to sustain the pregnancy, but received a medication to induce abortion!!And the strangest thing is that the wrong medicine, which should have induced an abortion in few days, was ineffective, even in its proposed function. The drug was also capable of inducing malformations and birth defects in the baby, and so the pregnancy had to be terminated.

This was really disturbing news to me. Further reading into the matter revealed that the prescription was grossly illegible and the pharmacist mistook it for another medicine.

At the hospital where I work, we have faced similar problems many times,and still do. Some doctors appear to be decided they will write only illegible notesand prescriptions. Even when relaxed and comfortable, some of them appear to become frantically busy when they write prescriptions. The result is an illegible tangle of lines. The pharmacists sit scratching their heads and ultimately call the doctor himself for help. Many times we had patients who were brought unconscious after taking Diamicron ( a tablet for diabetes) instead of Diovan ( medicine for BP),and also life threatening bleeding problems after taking wrong dose of warfarin ( a blood thinner used in heart disease).I have often wondered why some doctors write this way. Even those who have reasonably good handwriting, fails to make legible prescriptions. This, I would say is a fatal negligence. The time of secrecy in prescriptions is a long forgotten story. Doctors should be aware that they are answerable for such  negligence and could be held responsible.

A Texas cardiologist was probably the first doctor held liable for a fatal medication mix-up caused by this long time problem of bad handwriting. A jury in Odessa, Texas, ordered Ramachandra Kolluru to pay $450,000 to the family of Ramon Vasquez, who died after a pharmacist misread Kolluru's writing. The 42-year-old heart patient was given the wrong medication at eight times the recommended dosage. Two weeks later, he was dead from an apparent heart attack.

The victim's widow, Teresa Vasquez, says she sued to prompt doctors and pharmacists to be more careful. If the doctors don't change their writing, then it could happen to me again with my kids or even me,'' she says. Now, ''doctors might change, and it might not ever happen again to anybody. We had no complaint about his (Kolluru's) care. In fact, he is a good doctor”

The case points to a growing danger as medications become more numerous and their names more similar. Such cases go unanswered in India, probably because patients do not know they have the rights to complain about this. In the case I had mentioned, the family opted not to complain, and prayed doctors to be more careful.

From prescriptions to physician signatures, and from progress notes to referral letters, bad handwriting is a concern in every aspect of patient care. Pharmacists must be able to read medication orders, nurses must be able to determine whom to ask if they have a question about an order, and other physicians must be able to extract information efficiently from patient charts. In a 1986 study from the New England Journal of Medicine, out of 50 outpatient progress notes, 16% of all words were illegible. Only14% of the 50 outpatient progress notes had legible signature. Poor handwriting by physicians is riskier than poor handwriting by other professionals.

There are simple solutions to a dangerous problem. Many of the doctors can write legible prescriptions, if they take care. An assistant with good handwriting in the physician’s clinic could write the prescription as directed by the physician, then have the physician sign it. The drawback to this being that someone must pay the salary of the prescription writer.

The capability of pharmacists to decipher illegible calligraphy is known as to be almost proverbial. But then, we have another problem. Most of our pharmacies do not have qualified pharmacists. They get the pharmacy licence on someone’s name, but employ salesgirls or boys on low salary who probably have only school education. And on top of all this, more than 30% of all medicines sold are supposed to be fake medicines. Frightening combination, isn’t it?


can you read?
a good example





Bad writing is more like bad manners than
bad features: it is unpleasant to the
beholder, like an ugly face, but, unlike it, is
easily corrigible.
- E.W. Playfair

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Today’s news

>> Saturday, November 6, 2010





Malayala Manorama 3, Nov 2010.




Trivandrum:

“Raped by Policemen after arrest”

“A girl, who was arrested at Ernakulam on charges of theft, was raped by four policemen, before producing her before the Magistrate. The human rights commission has ordered an enquiry. The young woman, who is pregnant, opened her grievance to  Mr Natarajan of the Human rights commission, who had made a surprise visit to the jail.

Doctors confirmed that the girl was 17 weeks pregnant. The girl alleged that the police men were responsible for her pregnancy. She was working as a home nurse at a house in Ernakulam, and was arrested on charges of theft on the 10th of June. The police then took her to a house at Vellore where she was kept for five days before being taken to the sub jail. Four police men raped her repeatedly there.”

Trivandrum:


“Blind man arrested for molesting blind woman”.

Thampanoor police today arrested David (29) of Merckinston Estate, on charges of rape.

He had brought the blind woman to a lodge in Trivandrum, doped her and then raped her. He had offered to marry her and then disappeared on the wedding day. The man was subsequently arrested on the complaint of the girl.

It was said, there are many cases pending on the criminal at various police stations.

Attingal


“The main culprit of the molestation case of the housewife arrested”

The man had taken  nude pictures of the housewife through an air hole in her toilet. Manikantan 32, of Girija Bhavan, Adoor was arrested yesterday. There was a series of molestations after the video recording. Manikantan gave the video to his friend who threatened the woman and raped her. When he repeatedly approached her, the woman had gone to the police for help. Her husband is away, employed abroad. The police offered to help her to get the memory card back and took a bribe of 5000 rupees from her and then molested her. By this time, another friend of Manikantan approached the woman saying that he has the memory card and  raped her as well. The police is on the lookout for the four criminals including the policeman.



Kazhakkoottom

“Criminals on motor bike escaped after snatching the gold chains from three women on the road. One of the criminals was later caught by the local residents and handed over to the police”.

Trivandrum


“Theft from the premises of the District Court”( What a wonderful location! )

The theft occurred in the high security building of the District Court here, where very important documents and evidences related to various cases including murder cases are kept safe. The thieves removed all the batteries of the computers in the court .Around 60 batteries of the UPS were also stolen. Police has started an enquiry.

Edappal


“Arrested for taking Nude Pictures”

Two persons were arrested on charges of taking nude pictures of tourists. They targeted the tourists who were apparently threatened and took their nude photos and later blackmailed them. They also took nude pictures of the men with some women accomplices, for use for blackmail later.

Trivandrum


“Good news for Musli Power users”

The manufacturers of Musli Power is organising a family meeting of all those who got conceived after using Musli Power extra!! All those who got “power” after using Musli Power should apply with their photograph and their proof of purchase, Dr K C George ( supplier, turned doctor cum inventor) announced today. The company will sponsor the education of the Musli power children including “professional courses”, he said.

The company has grown in to a multimillion business in last few years.



This is a sample of a day’s news from God’s own country.

Kerala is the only 100% literate state in India. And full of self acclaimed moralists.
(The statements in brackets are my own).

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The Daily Puppy

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