Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Messy Clinic

Yesterday Mr. Thakur ,a very senior Medical Representative from Solvay Pharma , with his Manager , visited my clinic on their usual round. After detailing about their products , they presented me with a table calendar for the New Year saying " With best compliments for the New Year ! Please put this on your desk as it also has a daily planner on the reverse ". Every year at this time I look forward to these representatives who lovingly give wall calendars , diaries and table calendars.

I looked at them in an embarrassed way and said " Thank you very much but I am truly ashamed at the sight of my desk and surroundings " . It is so messy that even if I plan to come and clear it up it is impossible in the time that I spend in the clinic and have to plan to come on a Sunday to clear things up . No such Sunday has arrived to this day and it is disorganised as usual.

They both looked at each other , smiled and asked for my permission to say a few words . I never realised at that time that listening to them made me 'proud ' of myself . Mr.Thakur said
" In our company we always have meetings to update on the sales and gear up to promote some new things to the doctors .This has been going on for a long time and as the top marketing people have realised that there is nothing new that the company has to offer , they have taken up various other programmes . In one of such events they showed us how to judge a person's nature , particularly doctors , by observing their clinics and surroundings ".

I was listening to them intently and awaiting in anticipation what they had to say about me . He continued " Your clinic is clean but disorganised with papers and books lying around . You are not meticulous but shows your warm nature. You are a peoples doctor as compared to those doctors who have a spic and span clinics . They are good administrators but not warm doctors".

He further gave an example of a patient who would complain to the doctor that the medicine he gave was very bitter . A meticulous doctor would say " Take the same medicine as it is bound to be bitter , it is good for you ". You being a peoples doctor will say " Is it so ? Wait a sec ! I will prescribe something that you will like and then you will not have any problem .Try this one --- "

Well I was quite thrilled with this analysis coming from the other side of the table and then when I reflected on what I had heard I realised that it is indeed what happens when interacting with my patients . I am always with them and do feel for them .

I think that planning to visit my clinic on a Sunday or finding time in my work time to clear up the trash lying on my table and surroundings is going to be a distant dream !!

Cheers then !!! Long live my clean but messy clinic !!!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Chhatri !!!!!!

Literally Chhatri in Hindi would mean an umbrella . Well this blog is dedicated to our Anatomy teacher Dr. Chhatriwala , whom we lovingly , as well as out of fear and spite , used to address as just ' Chhatri ' . Last evening we felicitated him in our Grant Medical Alumni Club , Thane . The function was held at Yeoor hills on the beautifully maintained farm house of Dr. Pravin Gupte , a leading Pathologist and past student of our college

I reached the venue at 7.00 pm . A few doctors from the Managing Committee , the host Dr Gupte and the guest Dr Chhatriwala and his wife with their 2 grandchildren were relaxing in the bungalow of Dr. Gupte . I went up to introduce myself and was pleased when he got up to shake hands with me . Being from the 1971 batch , I asked him since when was he in our college Faculty to which he replied ' since 1963 to 1986 ' .
He was a demonstrator and an examiner for us in the Anatomy Dissection Hall and a professor of Surgery for post graduate students later on . His speciality was that of being a strict disciplinarian. He would expect all students to be clean shaven and in well polished shoes . He used to order students out of the hall if not shaven , at times paying 25 paise from his pocket to embarrass the student. Word used to spread like wildfire as soon as he was sighted climbing up the stairs. All used to say ' Chhatri aa raha hai ' or ' Ghengiz Khan is coming ' ---- he used to refer to himself as Ghengiz Khan . At times he used to move around with a toothed forceps , walking around the hall, his eyes inspecting the students faces and if found with a stubble held the skin at the elbow from behind and whisper in the ears ' Go shave and come '. Even with all this , he was respected and loved and as put by some speakers that day ' Sir has not only disciplined us but also taught us to be always presentable '.

I was told that when our committee members visited his house in Colaba to invite him for this felicitation , he was extremely happy and readily agreed to come. Anatomy is a subject which no undergraduate really likes --- it is dry and tedious , with all Latin terminology to mug up and recall----and so I presume that these teachers remain in the background memory of most of us. I was really pleased when I saw the invitation for this function and read that Dr Chhatriwala was to be felicitated . As clinicians we always remember teachers, who were part of our later years in college and dealing with patient oriented subjects .

' Sir , seeing you and interacting with you yesterday , was a very pleasing experience .We saw you after more than three decades . You have become so mild at this age of 75 years , you are totally different from those terror days . We will always remember you and we pray to God to give you a long and healthy life !!! '

Thursday, November 29, 2007

5 th November !!!!

Post operation , she was busy with the physiotherapist , who would faithfully make her walk. He put in his best efforts but my mother was too weak and with the anaemia and total anorexia it was going to be a very tough and slow recovery . After 2 units of packed cell infusion and stabilisation of electrolytes and S Creatinine we took her home on the 1st October in the hope that she may recover faster , out of the hospital environment . Orthopaedically she was fine ,walking with and without the walker, of course with someone's support . She never really recovered medically and psychologically .

Her best day was on the 28th Sunday when my cousin brother Devang visited to invite for his wedding . She liked the sari which he gave and asked for the 'fall - beading ' to be done . She also had instructed to put her name on the cover so that it did not get mixed up with Shami's or Nisha's sarees. She also promised to attend the wedding on 25th Nov. But it was not to be.

On the 31st October , she developed sudden hypotension and urinary output started declining . It was indeed end stage renal failure . She was shifted to an ICU nearby their house on Ghodbunder Road .and was under care of Dr.Modi an intensivist and Dr.Gunjotikar a nephrologist . They tried their best to revive the dropping BP and renal function but there was no significant urinary output and she went into stupor and coma later on after 3rd November . We mutually decided not to go in for the ventilator as it becomes traumatic on the relatives to wean away from the life support later on. She also was not in the fitness for dialysis. Taking into account her overall condition we all gave the permission to the doctors to let her be in peace with minimal life support like oxygen , drips of Dobutamine and Dopamine to maintain the BP. and suction for the inevitable pulmonary oedema developing . She started sinking on the night of 4th Nov. and on 5th Nov. at 2.15 pm her tracings were flat . She was gasping but in coma , it was traumatic to see her in that condition and not do a thing . I broke down a couple of days later with her gasping face haunting me and I said ' How did I not do anything and stood there helpless being a doctor ' .My daughter comforted me by saying ' You have done the best you could in the circumstances '.

She had waited till the 5th to bless me on my birthday and also bless my brother Satish and his wife Nisha on their wedding anniversary which also is on 5th Nov. Dear Mom !! We will never forget you on a 5th of November !!!!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Mom , I do miss you a lot !!!

My mom is no more .She passed away on the 5th November after a brief illness, at the age of 77 and 6 months --- acute on chronic renal failure .

My last post on 12th Jan 2007 , I had written about analysis on my mother's noticeable gradual decline in health . Actually it was indeed what was in the back of my mind --- chronic renal failure [ CRF ] and not what our early impression was. She had improved in health a bit and fit enough to go back to Goa to her house in the midst of the various trees she had nurtured over the past 12 years. She got her happiness being all by herself alone throughout the day till evening when my Dad returned from his work. He has kept himself busy even at this age of 78 , and they found comfort in each others company . They used to feel happy when we or other relatives used to visit them and also on their visits here about 3 times in a year.

A fall early morning on the 8th Sept near the toilet woke up my dad with a thud sound .He rushed to where she was lying in a pool of blood from a gash above her left eye. He could not move her alone so he dragged her on a bed sheet to her bed and made her comfortable. He noticed the painful movement of the left hip and asked her to lie in bed till he could get a doctor. A local doctor attended to her wound by suturing and dressing and asked for an Orthopaedic to visit .He drove to town to get a bed pan and all other necessary items for a bed ridden patient . It was at this time that he phoned me ---about 11 am--- to tell the news . Oh my God I said and enquired if she could flex her hip .Dad said NO and so I knew that what I was fearing till now---a fall at this age ---was there right in front of my imagination. Uppermost in my mind was how to transport her here. My brother Satish and Nisha his wife left by the night Volvo bus and reached next day afternoon. What a relief for my Dad.

On the 11th Sept they brought her by road in an AC Qualis. I had already arranged for her admission with Dr. Milind Patil , FRCS and specialised in joint replacement . They had left Goa at 7.30 in the morning and reached here at 10 in the night . After initial investigations and stabilisation the operation was fixed for 14th Sept.

That morning she developed a rigor due to the IV fluids and BP shot up to 210 / 120 . The operation was 2nd on the list but was rescheduled to 3rd. The situation was still dicey as the BP came to 180 / 110 which was not comfortable for the anaesthetist. We gave full authority to the doctors and they took up the risk. After the spinal anaesthesia the BP drops and so they were afraid of loss of coronary perfusion if it fell too low. After the operation Dr. Anjali ,the anaesthetist and Milind's wife said that the BP dropped to 150 / 70 and did not shift at all. This had no explanation medically except Providence .

More in next post

Monday, August 13, 2007

Weekend at Palase Water falls

Oh !!! What a lovely place !!!! Last weeks trip to Pune was a bit more enjoyable than the previous ones . Normally I do not venture out in this monsoon season to avoid inconvenience to my patients as these are the ' sickly ' months . We planned this trip for Supriya as she starts her new college on 16th. We decided to visit Mulshi Dam a new place to go as we had heard of it but not visited . From Kothrud , where we were staying with Roopa , we took the road across the bypass road heading towards Mulshi. I saw a board showing Mulshi 30 kms.

The roads and the scenery around was simply marvelous . Below a view of the Mulshi lake, on the road going to Palase water falls. Actually we had missed the dam site and were travelling further asking people on the way . All the villagers were helpful and guiding us towards this water falls presuming that we wanted this place than the actual Dam. It turned out to be a great surprise . From a distance I spotted many cars parked along the road, a few stalls and a few carts with fresh corn being roasted on charcoals. This must be the spot I thought. We got down to see breath taking view of water falls in the distant mountains . I read a board showing the directions to go to this Palase water falls. We went walking through the gushing water to reach the water falls. Very very picturesque . We were not prepared for this type of an outing as we were ignorant of such a place's existence ,and had not carried spare clothes . We were envious of the groups enjoying under the falls and in the water. We have kept it reserved for next monsoon . A wonderful day indeed .We never realised that it was almost 2 pm and had to go back home for food which Roopa had kept ready before leaving. We collected a few home made Jawari Bhakri , from one of the stalls , to eat with a deliciously prepared chicken curry.

The crowd till we left the place was quite decent but we started noticing rowdy groups arriving probably fully high on alcohol as it was the day before the month of Shravan,wherein people abstain from drinking and eating non-vegetarian items for this month. This day is known as ' Gattari Amavasya ' a new moon day where people drink to their limits and literally fall into 'Gutters' as they have to abstain from the next day . Luckily for them it was a Sunday .Today I read in the papers about arrests made in Pune by Police in many places , one of which was Mulshi.

We saw the Mulshi Dam on our return journey as we drove towards it while in the morning on the turning roads our backs were towards it and had missed it .

Friday, August 10, 2007

At last , Admission done !!!

At last the long wait is over . Supriya got admission to the 4 year degree course in Pharmaceutical Sciences [ B. Pharm ] in Saraswathi Vidya Bhavan's College of Pharma at Dombivli in the second round of Centralised Admission Process [ CAP ] . This CAP is of 3 rounds. The application is online and after applying , they display the full merit list. Next is applying for the 1st round of CAP, wherein you have to give choice of colleges and if alloted you have to report to the college and you are out of the next rounds even if you don't take the alloted college. [ Photo of college entrance from their website ]

So we applied for the best 5 in round 1 knowing fully well that wewont get in , but gamble for a better choice in the next round . That is exactly what happened as her few friends placed above her in the merit list had given all choices in the 1st round and got allotted in some college in Ulhasnagar which was not among her preferences .

We were a bit anxious till the allotments for 2nd round was displayed and were very happy to get this college as it is 5th ranked among 14 , affiliated to Mumbai University. It is convenient to approach as she will have to travel in the opposite direction to the morning local rush.The timings are from 9.30 to 5.00 and they have college bus service from Dombivli station to college which takes about 15 min by rickshaw--share a rick available @Rs 6 each. The college was inaugurated 1993 and is beautifully built .

Supriya is very happy as she got the field she wanted and also because she can interact with me in subject matters . The curriculum is quite interesting and is an amalgamation of Medicine , Engineering , Organic Chem and Bio tech. Seems very interesting .

I still feel she could have got into UDCT or Bombay College of Pharma if this reservation policy as well as the breakup of seats into home and out of home university areas was not existing. Out of acapacity of 60 seats in each colleges only about 8 to 9 seats remain for Home and Open category. That is frustrating. This topic requires another post .

Looking forward to some new interaction as none amongst our family members are in this field .

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Renewal of Driving License

I had made it a point to remember the validity date of my driving license , which was on 21st July this year. Till now I had got the renewal done through a few RTO Inspectors who happened to be my patients and had not visited this Government office for many years. This year, I had come to know that they were to issue the license in a smart card format and so going there in person was a must.

Last month one of my patients had come to the clinic to get the Fitness Certificate which is a part of the renewal process. I just interacted with him to familiarize myself with the formalities . He told me the details of going to this window and then that window and so on as is expected in a govt office , but he assured me that it was very smooth function and that I would have no problem . He also offered to give me a set of renewal forms which he could spare. I readily took the offer as it saved one trip to the office.

Today after the clinic hours -- had a light day today --- I went to the RTO office which happens to be just across the express way, near my clinic. I parked my scooter in the shade and had a look around. Didn't know where to begin. Surprisingly things looked clean and organised . I walked across to a structure with a few windows and enquired at a window no.3. He pointed out to a structure right across and opposite this office and said ' go and get this signature ' , showing me a bunch of papers. I walked across over well laid out test driving tracks for two wheelers , and a few groups of people eagerly awaiting their turn to give the driving test on a few heavy vehicles .

On reaching the windows --all cashier windows --I enquired about this renewal procedure. He pointed across to the same building from where I had walked and said that office but was kind enough to tell me the window no. 1. I was really surprised by the polite talk and an obvious helpful and smiling faces that for a moment I forgot I was in a govt. place. Again the walk across to a grumpy looking person on window no 1. He had an unbuttoned shirt , a gold rimmed specs, an open pen in the right hand and a look on his face which said ' now it is nearing 1.30 the eagerly awaited lunch time and enough is enough -- had a hard morning session- and so come after lunch or tomorrow'. To my utter disbelief he looked up , smiled for a second , looked at my documents , signed and said 'to the cashier across '. Now the walk back again.

There was no one in line, so paid my charges and the clerk keeping the papers with him said ' come after 3 /4 days and collect the license from window no 1' As I was walking to my scooter I caught sight of a familiar person in uniform who was sitting under the shade behind a desk full of papers and many people around. Oh I said it is Mr.Patil [ one of my patients ] on duty . On seeing me he left his work and came up to enquire. He then took me to the cashier , collected my papers , took me to the office with window no.1 and instructed the clerk to issue the renewed license right away. I got a respectful look from the staff on seeing him with me . I got the renewed license in 5 mins. He then walked back with me asking me to spare 30 mins on any day for the smart card. I thanked him for paying personal attention and declined the offer of tea which he made.

Well a big work done license renewed up to July 2012 .

Monday, July 23, 2007

Hello Everyone

Back after a self imposed hibernation . Well I have no reasons to give except that the Mind behaves irrationally and you just feel like being left alone .

On second thoughts , I feel the blog is a right getaway in these times. Though you dont know who is going to read it and respond , at least the thoughts are out of your system and you feel relaxed.

Many things to catch up with and share . I will surely brush up my mind and hit the keyboard regularly.

Monday, March 19, 2007

The Rickshaw

11.10 am Just getting out of the Ratnagiri station with thoughts of ' now how to proceed further' From far, saw the rick stand, just as viewed on Google earth . A line of ricks and a group of drivers near the first one , all eyes towards the passengers--- their potential customers-- coming out. On nearing them, one well fed rotund person with a look of a pack leader asked ' Where to ? '. I replied ' to the bus stand '. He asked again guessing rightly ' No no where exactly do you want to go' I said ' to Ganapatipule ' . 'It is better you take this Rick directly ' he suggested ' it will be Rs. 350/= '

As I knew the distance to be about 50 kms , I thought it reasonable as they usually expect a half return fare, the unwritten rule being that they cannot pick a passenger from the other village , and vice versa for those ricks when they arrive in Ratnagiri. As we were getting in the rick , Shyamala noticed that our rick driver handing Rs.50/= to the pack leader .

We started the journey , the rick was quite new and so did the driver . I am more used to the rough driving , the zooming in and out of lanes and bursts of speed interrupted by sudden braking of rick drivers in general . Our driver , Nishad , as we came to know him ,was very steady and alert . My apprehension of traveling by rick on the Mumbai Goa Highway was put to rest on seeing his driving. On the road nearing Ganapatipule he suddenly took a wrong turn , when I realized that either he is new to the area or conning us.

12.20 noon We reached ,exactly in an hour as told by the pack leader. Paid him the amount and complimented his driving a 3- wheeler. He said it was his first visit as a driver and we , his first clients to Ganapatipule. It was his first time to get in the Ratnagiri rick stand and had to endure the bossing that goes on there. He did not know that he had to part with a ' Fee ' out of his earnings . That was the Rs.50/= he handed over .He then chatted for some time . It was his new experience as well as one for me, after a long time ,to travel by public transport .

We went in the reception area and came across a typical Government approach by the staff . The person behind the counter ........ that's another post ............

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Vacation experiences

3.45 am
Alarm on the mobile rings. Time to get up and get ready, though sleep was light and short.

5.15 am Shami , Supriya and me left home and were prepared to walk it up to the station about 1.5 kms--20 minutes walk-- as we were not sure of availability of rickshaw so early.For this we had planned to take a bag each and wear sport shoes. Fortunately got a rick about 200 meters down the road.

5.55 am The Superfast Janashatabdi thunders into the station ,the mighty diesel engine displaying a look of dominance over the other trains.We boarded and found the seats easily as they were more towards the door from where we entered. Before we could put the bags on the rack, it started to move--stops for just over a minute.

7.00am Just had left Panvel , we had opened the newspapers ,had a look around the other passengers and waiting for the bearer to come to take breakfast orders. He comes shortly , taking orders of the various yummy items . In the meantime we sip coffee bought from one of the many bearers moving up and down the train from the pantry car.

8.30 am At last our breakfast arrives to stop the rumblings in the stomach . Were wondering how one could feel so hungry so early than the usual breakfast time . I think it must be due to getting up early and the relaxed mind . We finished , very fast , the upama , sheera , omellete bread , medu wada ordered separately and shared amongst us three to give a variety. After another round of coffee we looked around to comment and entertain ourselves at the expense of fellow travellers.
Got one immediately. A person sitting in the next row in front. He had his bag on the laps and with the upper zip opened slightly. Left hand holding the flap and looked as though hiding something in the bag . We noticed food particles , white in color smeared all over his right hand and all around the lips and chin .We presumed that correctly to be idlis . He had a look on his face as though he had opened someone else's bag and was stuffing his mouth before getting caught. As he chewed he looked around showing off the grinding process going on in the oral cavity.

10.00 am After a small snooze ,I happened to spot some activity going on near the end of the coach just near the bridge joining two bogies . Two bearers were cleaning something that looked like an immersion heater. I decided to observe keenly . They took water from a small tank in the kettle and topped it up by using empty tetrapacks of Amul milk. They then added a measured pack sugar , emptied a few Amul milk tetrapacks and immersed the heater in the kettle.As the water was heated the bearers had their fill of tobacco , chatted and joked with each other.They seemed to enjoy these moments in their dull and drab routine. After the water had heated they took a pack of thermocol glasses , tea bags ,coffee pwder container in their pockets and started their walk from boggie to boggie chanting in their nasal voice '' Chai garam chai coffee ' saab chahiye kya chai coffee ''

10.30 am Noticed people excitedly geting up and retreiving their bags from the racks above .Presumed that Ratnagiri was nearing and took down our bags . Told Shami ' don't get up now , there is the longest tunnel just before Ratnagiri to come after which get up .' A tunnel came ,thought this is the one, as it seemed never ending , but after coming out of it immediately went in another one and this took a really long time . At a fairly good speed it took almost more than 5 to 7 mins to traverse. After that the train slowed down and I realized that we were about 20 mins late .Got out of the station and to the rickshaw stand The Rick ................that is another post ...

Monday, March 12, 2007

Ganapatipule Beach Resort

The Ganesh Temple at Ganapatipule

It is a great feeling to come back home from a refreshing holiday and that too when it was much awaited.We had been to Ganapatipule Beach Resort,about 370 kms from Mumbai on the coast of Maharashtra. [ View of the temple from the beach ] [ View of the beach from the room Balcony.]
We had to do a lot of planning as this was the only weekend convenient for all.In late January we booked the sea side cottage and also train tickets to and fro. The few times I had been here was by road and so I had to do a lot of home work to get oriented to the approach by train.
[ The tents area of the resort complex ]
I visited the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation [ MTDC ] site on the internet.I got a lot of information about the resort and the ways to approach it.It is mentioned that by train the nearest station is Ratnagiri and that it is 50 kms to the resort .That's all no further details. I then went to various Google links about this resort but nowhere did I get the exact way to arrive. [ View of the resort from the beach ]

Ultimately I took the help of Google Earth.Oh !! what wonders !! you cant imagine what fine details I got from this lovely site.I got the exact layout of the railway track as it approaches Ratnagiri from Mumbai. The east west direction of the station,the position of the Airport which I had heard of but did not know its position.The city to the west and the direction of the seaside. The exact layout of the station and that I had to get out to the south to come out of the station.The rickshaw stand and the driveway out to the main road connecting Ratnagiri city to the Mumbai Goa Highway at Hatkhamba.Then the direction northwards on the highway to Nivali,the place to take a turn left that is westwards to the Resort.

With all this knowledge and my past visit by road more than 18 years ago,I was ready to start my vacation at this wonderful beach resort. We had left home at about 5.30 in the morning and reached the resort at 12.30 noon,thanks to the superfast Janshatabdi Express train and the rickshaw journey from Ratnagiri station to Ganapatipule.

I will be writing shorter posts on varied experiences in the train, the rickshaw , the resort itself, the return journey in the scary and rickety ST [ State Transport ] bus and lastly the final train journey by Mandovi Express though late by 50 min to start with reached Thane in time. Very enjoyable trip indeed ...

Monday, March 05, 2007

Reuters photos

Just came across these photos from ' Reuter's Editors Choice from photos in the past 24 hours '. Hats off to these photographers.

Saturday, March 03, 2007


The night of the demones [ From Rediff ]

Holi celebrates the demise of demoness Holika.

Holika is probably the most well-known legend involving demonesses. How well do you know the legends behind Holi and about other Indian demonesses?


Blessed with a boon of invincibility at the hands of god as well as mortal, King Hiranyakashyap thought he was mightier than god and ordered his people to worship him. All his subjects obeyed except his son Prahlad, who was an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu.

Unable to persuade his son otherwise, Hiranyakashyap then tried to have Prahlad killed. All his attempts failed, so he turned to his sister Holika who had a special gift: fire could not harm her.

Holika sat on a bonfire with Prahlad in her lap, hoping to burn him to death. But Prahlad chanted Vishnu's name and the fire didn't harm him, although Holika perished in it.

To this day, Holi commemorates Holika's death in the fire, which symbolises the triumph of good over evil.

That is the information I got from Rediff regarding Holi and the other Indian Demonesses

Never knew at all about these legends . I am very poor at these mythological stories that abound in India. For us Holi is just lighting the fire like a bonfire and a chance to interact with the neighbors in the apartment on that day and then playing color the next day
.I look forward to the ' next day ' as that is when we get colored and wet and interact with the people under the influence of alcohol or cool drink of Thandai or Bhang that gives a ' high '.

The preparations start a week earlier.Contributions are collected from the members for arranging the bonfire on the day of Holi , the religious ceremony 'puja' , snacks in the afternoon the next day and dinner . There are a few very enthusiastic members in our Society,who are good at organizing , and because of whom we others can be relaxed and concentrate on our work schedule.

In the afternoon we see some laborers clearing the compound and then digging a small pit . Then they arrange a few logs vertically about 6 to 7 feet high ,tied by wire .They then stuff it with dry grass . The area around the pit is decorated with colors and all set to be lit at night.By the time I return from my clinic at night, people are gathered around ,chatting in small groups. A traditional religious ceremony ' Puja ' is held after which the fire is lit . I had forgotten to take my camera , but on seeing this special log separated from the rest and emitting smoke from one end like a cigar, I rushed up to get the camera and click.People offer coconuts by throwing them in the fire,They are then removed and the roasted kernel distributed as 'prasad '. I really look forward to eat the roasted coconut kernel with the distinct smoky flavour, coconut has always been my weak point. Ladies then go round the fire pouring water around in small containers that they bring. This is the time for all to interact and plan for the next day. There is a ' special ' group who plan for the booze session the next day as that is their main attraction.

Next day by 9 am we can hear screams of youngest members of the society running around with colored water filled balloons and water jets.They are the ones who really enjoy. Next the adults enter the arena , applying color and greeting each other. The ladies join later and by this time the youngsters are tired of playing in their groups so they target the adults . In a few moments all are wet, colored and not recognizable . Then there is a game of cricket arranged on the spot with teams formed amongst the members .We can now see some members quietly quiting the game and going for their fill of booze.

A common lunch is next on the agenda . usually light snacks and sweets . People then retire to their homes for a clean up and rest . By evening all are sober, cleaned of color, well dressed and presentable for the dinner get together.Here is Supriya with her friends , probably telling about her exam papers , which are uppermost on her mind. A simple menu is on the card and gossip of the day, recent national and local news , usual shop talk or bitching about about goes on. The ladies then go for a stroll on the Kachrali Lake nearby . We all then retire for the night and the routine next day ..

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Surprise call

A call from a long lost friend.Today I was browsing on the computer when Shyamala,my wife, entered talking to someone on the phone and whispered a name to me as she was talking.The name did sound familiar but could not believe my ears and continued with my work.She then said 'Here talk to Ajit 'and told me 'It is Gabale on the phone,Yes Dr. Gabale 'she repeated.

I just couldn't believe it and on saying 'hello ',the other accented voice talked in a bit hesitant Marathi.It was indeed Dr.Deven Gabale with whom I lost touch in the early eighties , when he went to UK to study further after completing his MS in General Surgery from our Grant Medical College.Below the view of the college library and the main JJ Hospital Building in the background from the JJ Flyover.I used to be updated on his progress from other friends.He did his FRCS in Urology in UK and then went to USA .Thats it . No further news for the past almost 25 years till today's phone call.

We exchanged a lot of news just like any long lost friends.Our kids are almost similar age groups and we both wished the next generation do get to know each other well as the world is much ,much smaller compared to our times.

He is leaving on the 27th night flight back to his home and work as a practicing urologist in Philadelphia, USA and how I wish we had more time to spend. Sincerely await his promised visit this December.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Board Exams

At last the much awaited XII Board exams have started.Today was the first day of practicals for my daughter Supriya. Though most of yesterday was spent in tension , I was happy when she told me in the evening " Papa lets go for a ride,but no going to anyones home or getting out of the car". My wife Shyamala and we planned to take her to Brahmala Lake, which we all had seen except her. On reaching there ,she reluctantly got down but then thoroughly enjoyed the walk around the lake. She was very pleased to actually see the place ,which we used to describe.

From there we went to the Pokhran lake, where we did not get down from the car but just sat watching the people around and entertaining ourselves by commenting on them. We saw a group of oversized girls standing near a bhel- puriwala ,and saw them enjoying every morsel of it ,when a brisk walk round the lake was really necessary instead. We wanted to gorge on peanuts . After a long patient wait for the chanawala, who did not turn up as otherwise they are seen in plenty, pestering us to buy in their typical nasal way of saying "chanaaa --khara singh chanawalaaaa ", we returned home.

Today morning Supriya went in a relaxed way and was more reassured when she met her friend who had already given the practicals a few days earlier. How fortunate these students are to give their practicals in the familiar surroundings of their own laboratories .

I remember, in our times the centers were far away from home and in absolute new surroundings with unknown examiners. I was very lucky to have had Mr.CPN Menon my professor from SIES college as the head examiner for Physics . He was a very good teacher but a terror in the minds of students . He had a reputation of being strict , very precise and also known to ask eccentric questions like ' have you weighed the prism" or "Have you washed the prism " etc, which I personally doubt as I think he was not at all wicked . In these days of power shedding , we really do not know how they are going to conduct the exams as the timings for load shedding are either from 7.30 am to 11.00 am,or 9.00 am to 12.30 noon or 11.30 am to 3.00 pm. Tomorrow is Chemistry and next day Biology practicals . Next week the theory starts and ends on 5th March after which we all will be free.

Best Wishes for all those appearing for exams this year !!!!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

MIN for Mutual Funds

MIN is Mutual Fund Identification Number. This is the latest to hit us all . A person living in India has to have multiple identifications . I just fail to understand why life has to be made complicated . We already have a Voters card , a PAN card,a UIN card , and probably so many more . There should be only one card which suffices to vote , to invest, to operate accounts , etc.

When I went through the instructions given for MIN, I realized that a lot of work lies ahead . From the website I printed out the required forms. I was fortunate to read the instructions carefully again as the instructions page has to be printed back to back to the main form . Good that I read it or else when xeroxing , I would have made a mistake.

Though the instructions are clear , it is going to be very tedious affair. All joint holders have to have their individual MINs . So copies of each ones identity and proof of residence is required. Next in the application form I have to be careful when writing the order of names,middle name and surname. It should match the order in the Folios .

All copies if self attested will have to be verified taking the originals. If not they have to be attested by appropriate authorities. I was wondering if I had to go all the way to Mumbai to submit all the documents , but on reading the web page ,I found that Thane was also a Point of Service.What luck. I have to get on this work now sparing some scarce time for it.

In the participating Funds I did not read about ICICI Mutual Funds.I only pray they wont require a separate MIN, and also spare us from further identities.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

India Shining !! Agencies at Work !!

India shining , so nice to hear those words . As we get known around the world , a look within makes us realize that it is still a long way off till we show our real face than one behind a mask.

A few weeks ago we had a big digging program undertaken by the MGL for piped domestic gas.Their work got over and we are waiting excitedly for the gas to be lit in our kitchens.

Today morning at 3 o'clock the lights went off . The weather being very cool and pleasant , it really did not matter . At 6.00 when I looked out , I saw lights in the buildings around us . I had that restless thought that something is the matter with my house only and I would have to go hunting for an electrician . I then heard the watchman telling someone that the power had gone at 3 am and was restored at 6 am except to our wing . So I was not alone to sort out the problem . At 7.30 a few workers from the Maharashtra State Electricity Board [MSEB ] came and had a look around declaring that there was a cable fault and it would take some time . I then went to my clinic . At 12 noon my wife Shyamala called up , I presumed it must be that the power was restored and it was . On reaching home I had a talk with the workers who said that the MGL people had damaged the cable and they were setting it right . Again the power was shut on purpose and was finally restored at 3.00 pm. I must complement the MSEB for the reasonably ' quick work '

Now the title . Why can't India shine in these small things , we are as inefficient as always were . When the MGL came to dig they should have coordinated with the MSEB , to protect the underlying cables . This was on a small scale , the same happens when work goes on on the main trunks . We were left wondering that after power is restored it will be the turn of MGL to plug leaking pipes for which they will dig and the cycle repeats.

Now the MSEB work itself.I was horrified to see so many people gather to repair that I decided to click and also note down individual work assignment . There were about 3 wearing brown trousers--must be electricians and another 3 who probably were on contract to only dig. One person , not in brown trousers , was just standing watching the proceedings and waiting to contribute his skill . A pick up van made a few rounds to deliver some equipment and articles. When it stopped outside the gates a few people and the driver would come in to chat with their colleagues,have a hearty laugh and go away.

The actual work now. The diggers would start their work, 2 would dig in turns and the third would shovel the mud.The 3 brown trousered ones would sit in the shade talking , chewing betel leaf [ paan ] spit around , attend calls on the cell stretch their limbs and occasionally get up to inspect the digging . At one point the person standing on the sidelines got down in the trench and started twisting and pulling something.As I could not spot the details I presumed he had found the fault.The other 2 got up lazily from the shade,third brown pant was nowhere to be seen.They approached the trench and got in , the previous one made way for him.This one took some pieces of wire , shaved the edges and sat down . I could see just some pulling and twisting actions.The other brown pantwala probably was the overall boss.He did not participate in any activities , but was busy on his cellphone and spitting. Finally all were out of the trench and suddenly the lights were on in the house. The diggers then reversed the work and filled up the trench. Our watchman noticed me clicking photos from the balcony, and made me worry that if he told the workers they may feel offended and abandon the work.

I was wondering , that if this MGL and MSEB were private organisations , how would the work be done. 1 electrician,his assistant and 2 diggers would have sufficed and work would have taken less than 1/4 the time as MGL and MSEB would have coordinated the work. It is here that India should shine , work efficiently with bare essential staff, so no one is left lazying and spitting , in the shade of trees.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Wedding at a Water Park

Thane city has some lovely water resorts nearby , the Suraj Water Park being the nearest . Snap above of the decorated main gate . This is a favorite spot for picnickers especially for schools in Thane . My daughter, Supriya , has visited it many times and had also got lost with her friends when the park was new and not yet fully functional . fortunately they had met a worker who guided them properly.

Last week on 23rd , 'Vasant Panchami day ', snap of the moon on this auspicious day , I had been there to attend a wedding reception. I had taken my camera to click photos at night when it would be lit up. We have passed by it many times during daytime and so I was eager to see it at night.

Here are some snaps. The cool green lawns and the stage,decorated and lovely to see.

The weather was cold and cooler still on the lawns in the open air . It was a good get together and met many families known to me . I had to rush back to work as I had kept the clinic open to avoid inconvenience to my was indeed a very good outing and for a while we tend to forget the hustle and bustle of the city. On coming out of the park it was back to driving in the heavy traffic of Ghodbunder Road .

Monday, January 15, 2007

Kachrali Lake

This lake is very near our house and is visible from our bedroom windows.The name gives the impression of something like dirt or dirty [ Kachra in Marathi is dirt ] but in reality it is the best lake in town.It's walkway around the lake is within it's compound and so safe from the traffic.It is well maintained probably being close to the main Municipal offices. It has a play area for kids.A small Ganesh temple where there is a rush on Tuesdays and Chaturthi days . On Sankashti Chaturthi , one can here melodious devotional songs [ Bhajans ] with the unique rhythm of the drums [mrudang and cymbals] accompanied by the sweet voice of the lead singer going on late in the quiet of the night . The lake has facility for boat rides but fortunately no motor boats,only rowing and pedal ones. It's walkway is surrounded by greenery and tall trees which give a feeling as though we are on some hill resort away from the city. I would love to mention here that these tall trees are actually transplanted ones from other roads which were widened 10 years ago.They were thus spared being chopped thanks to the then Mun. Commissioner Mr Chandrashekhar now in charge of MMRDA the development authority for Mumbai. On my walk today morning I decided to take a round of the lake and click from all angles possible from my new found friend , ignoring the curious and at times irritated looks of the walkers.I entered from the main gate situated on the north west and first clicked the play area.Then further was the Ganesh temple and the docking area of the boats.Going round in the clockwise direction,I managed to click the lake from north east,then southeast and last the southwest points,where the smaller gate is located. It feels great to click photos at will,upload on the computor , sort them subjectwise and put them on the blog.