I have a few things to say and I am gonna say them here ...
This book has been specifically created to enter thoughts, opinions and at times, the mad ramblings of my insane mind. Musings of a more serious nature may also find their place here, as also angst, temper-tantrums, spiritual mentions and so on and so forth. As a rule, I am going to keep intensely personal items and thoughts outside the realm of this journal, but you never know ...|
WELCOME TO THE INNER DOMAIN OF MY CRAZY MIND!
|I am glad to say that my overall experience with a premium membership has been positive. I am still figuring out the new privileges that come with the new membership, but all in all, the right-side bar, the quick-scrolling and the discounts at the store have all been excellent to use. I do not know how to compose HTML web-pages ... so that is one thing that is unlikely to be used soon. However, I have put up my first Photo-album, featuring my two daughters. Readers, please do take a look at "Invalid Item" and tell me what you think of these pictures. Also, please rate and review the album, thank you.
I have found that within forums and my email folders, the smooth scrolling helps save a lot of time. In email, the quick reply at the bottom is also a nifty thing!
I continue to explore the site ...
|The recent mail in which The StoryMaster invited me to upgrade to "premium" membership was so tempting, that I clicked on the store button and went ahead and took a premium membership.
I just want to say this: sometime last year, I had resolved to leave WDC as I had got disenchanted with the fact that even after five years of membership and over a 1000 helpful reviews, I have yet to be recognised. What made me stay on and spend some more money is the fact that WDC has got to be the best writing site on the web.
My friends on WDC are my life -line and it is only due to them that I am staying on. Also, I enjoy interacting in PWW and some other fora. Next month, I have resolved to write 50000 words in the NoWriMo.
Need your good luck and best wishes.
|I am a member of an internet mailing list called nukkad. This list is archived at http://www.mumbai-central.com/nukkad. One can join the list by entering one's email address in the box provided on the page and after a confirming link into one's inbox, one can participate in the discussions. I advise readers to certainly look at the archives before joining. To begin with, one can join in with a "digest" subscription, and upgrade it to "individual" posts later on. One thing I can assure you all: it makes for interesting reading. We nukkadites or nukkies discuss everything under the sun, and the sun itself from time to time!
I have begun to write again after a hiatus of nearly two months, and will add more entries as time goes by. Enough for this entry, I think.
|Today is the birthday of Bapu, or Mahatma Gandhi as he is called. I still wonder about his relevance in today's violent and tempestuous world. Perhaps, he is even more relevant than before. In times when humanity is caught in a whirlwind of terrorism, natural calamities, corruption, greed for power, neo-colonisation (of the Asian countries by America), financial bankruptcy and moral degeneration, Gandhi's teachings of Ahimsa (non-violence) and satyagraha (non-violent struggle) must be understood and imbibed by all those who hunger for blood, gore and power.
To all of you who want to read more about him, I refer you to my biography of the Mahatma. It can be found in my portfolio under "My Awarded Items". Or you can go to this link directly: "Gandhi : The Naked Fakir (1st Prize)" .
Thanks for reading this blog.
|Hello all. I am returning to this blog after a long gap of nearly two months. Things have been hectic as my daughter has joined Junior College and is pursuing science as her subject of choice. In between, she was involved in a romantic liaison with a boy whom we did not approve of. She got punished for that; in fact, we nearly removed her from college on account of this, as we feel that she is too young to behave amorously. Please remember that we live in India and we live by standards which are far different from those in the west.
Ultimately, she denounced the "affair" and has promised never to see him again. You might want to know why we rejected that boy: for the simple reason that Inas is too young to run after boys. She has to study hard and make a career for herself. She wants to be a doctor, after all, and that requires her to remain focused and work tirelessly for at least another seven or eight years.
I am at a loss as to what to do to control this maverick daughter of mine. I would appreciate any comments or guidance.
Coming to other things ... my younger daughter Hannah remains attached to us, and is sincere and devoted to her studies. Nishrin, my better half, is contemplating early retirement from her work at the beauty salon. This may happen within a few months. Let us see.
My own practice is going fine too. I had my best month in September 2006 - in fact, my best month since I began private consulting practice in 1986! This kept me away from the computer too and has enabled me to save a few thousand rupees for a rainy day.
Ramadan is upon us and I am fasting everyday since the last ten days. I hope to do all thirty fasts this year, and if I am able to do so, it will be another first for me, because I have never done all the fasts in any year.
Pray for my daughter Inas and also for me.
Thanks for reading this ramble.
|I was invited by the principal of "St. Xavier's Boys Academy", an ICSC school located near Churchgate, to address first, a body of parents, and next, a group of children on "Basic Health Issues". This invitation was coordinated by Dr. Mustufa Bapai, a friend and well-wisher of mine whose son studies in Std. II of the same school and who happens to be the Vice President of the SXBA PTA.
Such talks carry for doctors a chance to meet (and impress) new parents ... a form of propaganda that is permissible under the Code of Medical Ethics. (Advertising is not.) I went eagerly, carrying with me a copy of my Parenting book and also a CD with some slides in .PPS format on the subject matter of my proposed talk.
Parents who had gathered there were those of children in Stds III and IV. About a hundred-odd parents were there, and I must say that they were very interactive and eager to learn. A talk that was planned for 45 minutes stretched to almost a hour and a half.
Ultimately, the Prinicipal, Mrs. Shirley D'Silva, had to intervene and tell the parents to wind up the discussion as the next session would be for some of the children.
Some mothers did conglomerate around me with their specific queries and it took me another ten minutes to disengage myself from them and go to the Principal's office for snacks and a drink.
Another ten minutes and I was back in the Ground Floor assembly hall to join about 150-odd children of Std. VII and VIII of the school. The talk would now be directed at children - and although it would cover almost the same topics, it would have to be "fun" for them to join in, and not an exercise that would "switch-off" their learning cycle. I plowed on and successfully managed to convey about eight or ten messages based on the themes of Hygiene, Safety and Nutrition. The children enjoyed it as much as the attending teachers and myself.
At the end, I was feted with a few mementos and was escorted to the destination of my choice by Dr. Bapai, who thanked me for participating in this mini-seminar.
|I am writing this entry to inform all my readers and well-wishers about a few things. First out, sorry to all those who feel that they are missing out on a slice of my story due to my infrequent entries. Believe me, I have grown a bit sick of WDC because of the complete disdain with which I have been treated out here. And this is despite all the good work I have done here. It is so depressing.
Even so, I write to fulfill a few obligations and to continue to remain active on this site. My daughter Inas is yet to secure admission to the science stream at college as she has a slightly lower percentage than what is required for what she wants to do. We are worried sick because of this, and my wife Nishrin has problems falling asleep at nights because of the same.
Hannah, my younger daughter, is just fine and has started regular schools. She is in Grade VII and has almost four years to go before she reaches her elder sister's class.
It rained very heavily from last Monday evening to last Thursday morning in MUmbai city. Children were given off days from Tuesday to Thursday in all schools. Hannah therefore had a great time all those days.
Unlike last year, flooding in Mumbai did not reach the same levels as on 26th July last year.
That's all for now.
|Ya, so I got a family. There's me, of course, and my significant other, my wife, Nishrin, to whom I am married for the last 16 years, 5 months and 9 days (LOL, did you say?). I am a Pediatrician, while my wife is a beauty salon owner and runs a flourishing business in Mumbai city where we live.
See the picture? We recently took a holiday to Kashmir and visited a unique "rock garden" in the city of Chandigarh (literally, the house of the Moon). This garden is created by a dreamer-cum-creative man called Nek Chand. He has sculpted thousands of animal, human and other shapes using pebbles, rocks, broken bangles (made of glass), broken floor or bathroom tiles, old electrical insulators and what not. You see my wife and me, along with our two darling daughters Inas (15) and Hannah (12).
Inas has just cleared her end-of-school SSC examinations with a very satisfying 80% marks (yes, we do have the marks system even now in India). The results came on Monday and the last two days have been hectic, with running to different colleges to get their "admission" forms, photocopies of mark-sheets, photos of Inas and so on. She has chosen the "Science" stream and is open to be either a doctor or whatever else she fancies to be.
|As I wrote earlier in one of my weblog entries, Inas' school certificate examinations got under way last week, and she has already completed six of the ten papers that she has to give. She claims to have done very well in five of those six papers, but is not so sure about Geography.
Today is her birthday. I gifted her a holiday for four nights and five days to Goa; she would be going with her school friends and the teachers on 30th March, 2006.
Hannah's exams are also on simultaneously. She, too, is faring well!
Soon after I write this, I must prepare for the birthday party which is at 16:30 hours local time ...
Please join me in wishing her Happy Birthday and Many Happy Returns OF THE DAY!
|I love to write long blogs. I enjoy writing blogs. I spend hours writing blogs.
I know what ye be thinking. This doctor has lost his marbles. This Indian has become a lunatic.
Nothing of the sort. I am just trying to psyche myself so that I take a lesson from all this and write a good blog!
Well, last Saturday while riding a two-wheeler, a scooter actually, I went over an oil slick and skid badly and was down on the road with the scooter lying on its side about 5 feet away, and my legs akimbo, back planted firmly on the tarmac and everything that I had in my pockets lying here and there.
Immediately , some seven or eight men who knew me in and around that area stepped forward with outstretched arms and rendered help and asistance as soon as I fell. Neither I nor the scooter has any damage!
|Yes, there are so many things to say, but I have been just delaying saying them.
About ten days ago, our school organised a re-union of all past and present students at a local entertainment hall. The organisation was wanting and done quite haphazardly. Not even 5% of old boys were contacted. I received a phone call to purchase one of the high denomination tickets just seven days before the D-day. There was no time to meet friends or associates to canvass for advertisements.
There was a musical extravaganza that was totally out of place as it was mostly in the dark, with friends sitting apart in their allocated chairs and not at a common table as they should have been. No food and no buffet either. Forget that, not even a small memento of the school for those who attended. This was the tragedy. They just wanted our money, but were unwilling to make us connect with our past in any way.
The second re-union I went to was the start of the 80th year of my medical school and hospital. What a contrast! We paid half of what we did for the school re-union, and got nearly ten times as much in return!
There was an orchestra, but we all got to move around in a huge hall, there was food, there was a bag that had an old college magazine, a souvenir and some other goodies as well. And it was the most enjoyable camaraderie that made it value for money. I met so many of my teachers, seniors, peers, juniors, and so on, that regardless of anything else, just that alone was worth the entry ticket cost.
On WDC, I started the second round of the India Quiz. It was very easy, and yet, to date, there has been just the one participant.
My daughter has purchased entry into a mock examination that will show her just how the final examinations are going to be like. On the first day, she has already come back with a lost hall ticket, her photograph embossed ticket that will actually allow her to join and give the exam!
That's all for now.
|Intuey has started a really great discussion forum and I am proud to be a part of it! She has featured my port this week and I am looking forward to reading reviews! In the meantime, I have also put up an India Crossword in my port. Let's see how *that* turns out ...
|It seems like just yesterday that I was wondering what I could do to reactivate my writing on WDC. Then, suddenly, two ideas came to me simultaneously: I started a Reviewing item where I shall be charging a small amount of GP's to review poems and stories and what have you.
I have also announced an India Quiz which will open on Monday at 06:00 a.m. with ten questions. This will be an ongoing quiz and I hope to muster a lot of friends through it, besides encouraging Americans and other Westerners to read more about India.
My daughter's pre-final exams (the Preliminaries or Prelims for short) are going on. Tomorrow, she appears for the English exam. After this, she will have Algebra, Hindi, Marathi and French. I think all you readers should pray for her!
|It appears that my previous two blogs have hardly had any views. Is this because of the season?
In any case, Christmas has come and gone, and we now wait to usher in the New Year. How good or bad will it be? My feeling is that Global-Warming-induced changes that the world saw in 2005 will be even more acute in the coming year, with more floods, droughts, inundations, more cyclones and hurricanes, earthquakes, hotter summers and colder winters and so on.
How do my readers see the new year? Do leave your comments.
|Attention: After ten days of keeping the baby on the ventilator, we allowed him to die by turning off the life-support system. It happened like this: a Pediatric neurologist was consulted on day 8, and his opinion tilted the thinking in favour of discontinuation of the life-support. He felt that the scan actually had been mis-reported and that the scan did, in fact, show massive damage to the gray matter of the brain. Even the EEG pattern was indicative of substantial damage. He guaranteed to the relatives that there was no chance of this child being normal in later life.
Thus it was that on the tenth day of life, we allowed the relatives to take the child off the life support and to die in peace.
| Inas will soon appear for her last school exam of her life. This will be so as she is in her last school year and will move on to college if she passes in her board exams of the Secondary School Certification Board (the SSC board). These exams would be held in March 2006. Depending on the percentage of marks that she secures for herself, she will gain admittance to the best Junior Colleges in the city of Mumbai.
This is because in our country, we haven't moved on from the Marks system to the Grades system. Cut-throat competition between rivals leads to great problems in the society, including depression, suicides and so on. In the week preceding the board exams (where over 500000 children will simultaneously appear), there will be at least a dozen children who will crack under pressure and be unable to withstand it. They may go into depression or even try and end their lives. The grim tales of lives snuffed out will continue as the exams come upon the students. The insecure child may, on learning in the evening that he/she made a mistake that may cost her precious marks, hang himself/herself from the ceiling or try and slash his/her wrists. After the exams, children have to wait for nearly three agonising months before they learn their results - almost in mid-June. Hence, there are even more casualties.
Inas, my elder daughter, is stoic, and I have always trained her not to miss the wood for the trees. So what if she misses College X by three marks? So what if she cannot garner enough marks to be a doctor? So what if she misses a ranking by ten marks? I have taught her that although it is desirable to get those marks, they are NOT the ONLY thing that one should desire.
I hope that she remembers this message and remains cool through the next three and a half months.
|Hello friends! As is by now my trademark, here I am to write the sporadic blog on a Sunday, the only day when I am able to sit and write in Peace.
My week has been more or less ordinary, but there were a few extraordinary events, and it is these that I will share with you.
Unlike the American system of Medicine where the State can order the treatment of someone who does not wish it to be given, most probably because the "patient" is invalid, mentally unable or spiteful about the treatment, in India, so far there is no rule for the system to retrieve a patient from the community and to give him/her the treatment that is necessary.
One such misunderstanding/error took place last week when I was called to attend a just-delivered baby who had NOT cried at birth. The tragedy is that the child's mother and grandmother had refused permission for a Ceserean section although this was her first delivery and the baby was lying inverted in her womb!
After the ob doctor removed her rump and torso, the head got stuck inside the birth canal for well over thirty minutes. Upon emergence, she failed to breathe or cry at all. Eventually, we gave her oxygen etc and transfered her to the Neonatal ICU for further care. Five days later, the baby is still in deep coma, with no response to painful stimulations and no movement of any limbs etc.
We did a head scan and an EEG, and both show that brain is still alive. So we cannot take her off the breather.
What a sad state of affairs ...
|It's been a long time since I have visited or entered in my Blog book, but it was vjanczuk's e-mail to us cancelling the Mini Port Raid of departed writer VerySara that prompted me to write this.
I have been an admirer of Veronica for several reasons, and not the least because she is, like my elder daughter, full of what we describe as joie-de-vivre. She is, at the same time, innocent, wise, candid, very perceptive, vivacious and inventive. Her Mini Port Raid has been a very well-run contest and I, for one, have enjoyed participating in the same.
When she had first made the announcement to raid Sara's port, the "victim" (if I may call her so with no disrespect (May her soul R.I.P., Amen)) was very much alive and I had decided to join that round. In the interim, Sara died, leaving behind a very despondent, dejected and depressed Veronica (and all the rest of us too), and Veronica, naturally, did not know what to do. Her first decision, if I remember correctly, had been to cancel the Raid and decide on a new "victim". Within a few days, acting purportedly on advice from well-meaning friends and colleagues, she sent us a mail that we would, in fact, be raiding Sara as a tribute to her writing and as a final good-bye.
I was not a little worried about this, as, aside from the issue that our reviews would be totally wasted and so would our GP's, the main thing on my mind was if this reviewing threw up grammatical errors and mistakes in Sara's writing, what would happen to those? Since she wasn't around, and all reviews had to be made public, would it not amount to insulting a dear, departed member on Public Pages? Alternatively, we would all end up giving top ratings and ignore the mistakes, something that my conscience would not have allowed.
Now, I get this new mail from her announcing that she has received many mails from senior writers and friends, in response to which she has cancelled the raid on Sara's port.
I think that is the right thing to do, even if we end up keeping the month blank, since disrespect to a dead person is worse than plaudits galore.
At the same time, I was keen to know if WDC has discontinued the system of colouring the dead members's Ports white. In that way, one can know that a certain port belongs to a member no longer alive. At the same time, the WDC system must NOT allow rating AND reviewing of ALL THE ITEMS in a white port. They should stay on the system as free pages. In fact, contests and forums run by a deceased member may ALSO be converted by the moderators to static items and kept as single or at the most two or three pages in the Port concerned.
Responses to the above thoughts are welcome.
|I must say, rather penitently that the writing muse is still eluding me. What with a hectic off-line schedule, I barely get the time to sit in front of my comp, let alone stare at the screen for inspiration of any sort. Ennui, you may call it but I call it lack of adequate stimuli. Yes, I agree that real life throws up hundreds of small situations which can all act as prompts for creative writing, but taking the thought process from real observation, to recording it, to recalling it and creating something new from it is quite a colossal task for me at present.
In the meantime, Eid and Diwali came and went and the city of Mumbai is slowly getting cooler as winter is setting in. Very soon, temperatures will reach the late twenties (degree Celsius for the uninitiated) and then, by mid to late December, they will be in the early twenties during the day and in single digits around Christmas time.
My elder daughter continues to show poor drive for studying. This is worrying since she faces a trial exam in January and finals of school Certificate in Feb-March 2006. To get into the good colleges, she needs to score above 80% marks in the aggregate totals.
Hannah, the younger one, remains relaxed but is quite fretful with Inas, the elder one. Nishrin, my better half continues to do well in her chosen profession as beautician, hair-stylist and skin-care specialist.
I am looking forward to a laid-back Sunday ...
|As readers can see for themselves, this blogger is a rare visitor to his own blog. However, today, I am gonna share some random thoughts with you all.
A couple of months ago, I had the pleasure of working on the health check-ups of street children. It came about like this: an Indian doctor, who has qualified from the US has initiated a program for Indian doctors like him to visit their home country and learn about tropical illnesses and so on in tandem with a local doctor selected by his team. I was looking for an opportunity like this where I could volunteer to help impoverished children and simultaneously get a chance to teach young medical graduates. I joined his team pro bono and was called to examine 10-20 children once a week at different locations in Mumbai, my home city in West India.
Why this ramble here? Because I want to share with you something precious about these children: they were almost always poor (which is why they were being educated free by a NGO). They were from all religions and all classes. What was different about them was that even though they were disadvantaged by being on the fringes of society, not one of them showed the slightest bit of nervousness, insecurity or fear of a doctor in modern clothes. The girls were chirpy and the boys, confident, mischievous and out and out flamboyant. They would all ask me my name, submit themselves to a physical with all the modesty of a previleged class child, understand the medical instructions perfectly and always remembered to thank the two of us before leaving the bedside.
I was impressed by such smart and confident behaviour. What I appreciated most was that most of these children took great care to stay clean and wear clean and presentable, if old, clothes. They were almost all averagely nourished and none suffered from the common ailments of malnutrition, vitamin or nutrient deficiencies, or the common illnesses of street kids like scabies, lice, worms, skin diseases, tuberculosis or ear infections.
Remarkable is the only word I can use to describe their health and their savvy, world-wise attitude.
Changing now to another random thought, I would like to tell you, dear reader, about how my elder daughter is coping with her final, end of school examinations preparation. The board exams will be in March, but the pressure of studying is already at a peak in my house. Inas, the daughter in question, is rather blaise about it all, but you should see what her mother experiences when she sees her not studying, but playing a game on this computer!
There is a general tendency for people to get all nervous when their sons or daughters reach the final school year (which is level ten in India). Most students continue to attend school and join private teaching classes at considerable extra cost so that they get the required high marks (we still have marks and percentages in India) at the final board exams. A fantastic result assures you entry into the stream of your choice in junior college (level XI), mostly, Science. The laggards go for Commerce, and finally, Arts. Or they leave formal college and join vocational courses run by government recognised private institutions and become what they want to become, say craftsman, electrician, turner-fitter or what have you. However, most desired vocational courses require you to complete at least Level XII in the appropriate stream.
Hence, after Inas completes Level X, she has to put in two more years in Junior College so as to be able to select her area of vocation/specialisation.
That's all for now.