Thursday, November 13, 2008


" Look out " shouts Shami , as I step out of the car after parking it at Andheri " behind you -- be careful " she continues . I turned behind to see in the trees and what a sight . For a moment I was scared but then coolly reached for the camera to snap it up. Here it is -- the freaks of nature --a plant Boa Constricter .

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Parents - in - law

Yes !! thats exactly what Shami and I are going to be or rather we are already--- officially -- after 11th October. Shami and I have felt pleasantly promoted , suddenly , unexpectedly , after Rahul got engaged to Jean .

After the visit to Hyderabad , we got down to plan the details and the countdown to the 11th of October .We had planned some date between Dasserra [ 9th October ] and Diwali [ starting 26th October ] . 11th Oct was the best date as it was a Saturday and immediately post Dasserra -- so a good attendance was guaranteed. We had a good experience of organising big functions on our own like Rahul's munj -thread ceremony --way back in 1995 , next our own silver anniversary in 2006 , not to forget the numerous birthday parties , family get togethers and my stag parties .

First was the venue . Oh what a relief when the Poolside Oasis of the grand Satkar Residency was available .

I have attended many conferences and functions here and had fallen for this venue.

We got down to the rest of the items once the venue was fixed -- like the guest list , menu , shopping for Jean and her family , booking hotel for their and their guest's stay , shopping for us all , phoning all the invitees to confirm their presence and give sufficient time for them to adjust their plans , booking the decorators , photographer , orders for Barfi trays and pedhas , roses . The mobile came in handy with all the reminders fed in it .

As the day approached we were very much relaxed as every plan was in place .The only fear was of rains --like every year , it had rained regularly during the Navratri Festival , which ends on Dasserra day . On the day of the function it was hot and humid throughout the day . We had reached the venue at 5.30 and we could see clouds building up in the north and moving towards us . By 7.30 winds started blowing but fortunately it did not rain and the atmosphere became pleasant. The event went off smoothly , we had studied the photographs of a recent engagement ceremony of Sachin , Rahul's second cousin , and so we were thorough with the steps of the function .

We were tired by the time it got over but feeling very happy and contented . Photo in the lobby waiting for the cars to arrive to take all home.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Lachar Dada

Dada Ganguly or Lachar Ganguly .

Just heard in todays afternoon news that Dada is to retire after the Aussie series . I imagined dada on his knees in front of the new chaiman and his old friend K.Srikant , begging him to be part of the series , and Srikant comforting him by saying ' arey beta don't cry ... I will adjust you ...but promise to step down after the series ...'

We all know it is hard for anyone to part with the ' lollies '. News reader was discussing about the other ' Oldies ' in the team and their lachari. Todays paper also carried an item on the average ages of the Aussies ---as if to defend the selection of our Oldies . When will we be seeing the young talent --- and it is childish to compare our Oldies with these Aussies , taking age as the criteria --they have kept up their talent and stamina alive at their respective ages and their selection is always on present performance and not like us --basking in old glory .

What these people do is hide the current poor performance of these ' past retirement Oldies ' under these news items . Why do all have to defend their selection .

Don't mention the R-Word ---read it at ---

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Exciting Menus

Recently we had gone shopping in Mulund and then visited a very old and famous Kirti Mahal hotel for a cup of coffee . On seeing the menu card I could not resist the temptation to click . Here it is------

Friday, September 26, 2008

Being a Comp Techie !!!

Last week , about 10 days ago I switched on the comp and was aghast at reading on the screen that there was a problem in the booting of the comp . Windows failed to load . In desperation I sent an sms to Rahul . Pat came his reply 'Damn , will call sometime later ' . I realised that it must be a major problem .

We had Windows Vista installed . As per his instructions we got hold of a Windows XP cd and was thrilled to be a computer Wizard for sometime as I was ' Operating on the brains of the Computer following instructions from Rahul . First delete the C drive and then install from the new cd . The computer started but we did not get the sound as well as the internet working . Again a call to Rahul . He then explained to me that the drivers were for Windows Vista and we had installed XP . As we all were comfortable with XP we did not want to go back to Vista , Rahul promised to trouble shoot in a few days . As our computer is IBM --branded we did not have separate driver cds for individual hardware .

On the phone he asked us to see on the CPU the model number ----- how did he know it existed and where exactly to locate it ---- I was thrilled at the way things were happening -- like the movie where the Airhostess is guided to land the plane from instructions from the control tower .

He then mailed us the links to drivers from the IBM website with detailed instructions on how to install the drivers . I went to the neighbours house , opened my gmail , downloaded to the desktop his mail and individual .exe files for the sound , video and ethernet . Then copied them on the pendrive and back to my comp . The sound and Video drivers were easy to install --- oh what a great feeling to hear the familiar startup music of windows booting -- as if the computer has recovered from a coma and was singing .

Installing the driver for the ethernet was a different experience . As per his instructions I went succesfully till the drop window showing PRO100 .I tried various ways to get through but failed . Again an sms to Rahul ' Can I call you ? ' ' 2 mins I will come out and call ' he replied . He told me to open the PRO100 box and to read the various items . I could not make head or tail of it . How could he imagine the comp in front of his eyes while walking in the veranda or the garden out there from wherever he was calling . Suddenly he stopped at a point and asked me to read out again and said try that out --- it was the last item in the list -- I forget the name now -- presto the net started --- oh that was a great experience . I also had to download Nero and as I could not open a pdf file I had to download acrobat reader .

When I narrated this to my dad he was happy and said that in each profession one can guide remotely . He told me how I ask the patients to read out reports and by asking a few questions can come to some sort of a conclusion to the diagnosis and treatment . Yes I did agree to that , as when the patient is about to read a report I can imagine the format in front of my eyes and ask him to go to a particular item on the report instead of him going all over it .

A good change from diagnosing and treating a Patient to being a Comp Techie to revive a sick Computer .

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Hyderabad trip

This post should have been before the Ganapati festival .

We had planned to go to Hyderabad sometime , to stay with Rahul . I noticed that 15th August , a public holiday came on a Friday so we all had a long weekend .We left by the Devgiri Express --an overnight journey through Nasik , Aurangabad , Nanded ,entering Andhra Pradesh at about 11 am next day---on the way I noticed the landscape was full of rocks piled up in a unique way ---was it a specialty of Andhra Pradesh ?

Rahul and Jean had come to pick us up .After resting in Rahul's apartment we went to Jean's house for dinner. Next day we had planned a trip to the Salar Jung Museum ,Chaar Minar and then to see the Hussein Sagar lake.

On the way to the museum we went through the sprawling campus of Osmania University .I was pleasantly thrilled when told that each faculty had its own beautiful structure and a lot of surrounding green campus .The roads were wide and clean---conducive atmosphere for studying , thoughts did go back to Mumbai and the few privileged colleges and institutions that have clean green campuses.

Salar Jung Museum is really well done up after the renovations as told to me . We had a lovely time enjoying the collections and especially the marble sculptures of Rebecca. It is a pity that for security reasons we are not allowed cameras inside. The veiled statue of Rebecca is something out of the world , simply unbelievable . How can one possibly carve out a marble stone and give a transparent effect of a veil on a lady , even the facial features were excellent ---no words can describe it , one has to see it.

Next was the visit to Chaar Minar--- oh what congestion on the roads----did not miss Mumbai here -- typical of Girgaum , Kalbadevi and Bhendi Bazaar area.

I had read and heard a lot about this structure and was happy to be on top of it than at the congested ground level.

We could see most of the tall structures of Hyderabad City like some Government buildings , a famous Hospital , a Software company offices--can't recollect the names--- and in the distant the Golconda Fort. From the top was also visible the famous Mecca Masjid , which we visited next and where an explosion had taken place a few years ago.

Next halt was for a sumptuous Hyderabadi Biryani and then onto the pride of the city --- the man made ' The Hussein Sagar Lake ' . This area is wonderfully done up .

It was conceptualized during the time of the popular chief minister Mr.NT Rama Rao and was completed in the time of the next popular CM Mr.Chandrababu Naidu. This lake has a garden ,children play area and eatery stalls to the north, the small boat ride jetty was closed for maintenance.

To the south is the Lumbini Park area---

--another site of the bomb blast a few years ago--- where apart from the gardens there is a jetty for big launch rides . Well it was time to go back home after a tiring but enjoyable day .We also had to leave back for Thane the next day afternoon .We returned to Secunderabad from the southern point of the lake so that we could pass the statue of Buddha in the Lake .As we cruised along I could manage to click a beautifully lit Buddha statue in the backdrop of the lake.

Bye bye to Hyderabad --till the next visit.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Annual Ganapati Decoration

Back to writing a post after a long time .

Ganapati Festivities has just ended on Sunday . Every year I make some decoration for my Ganapati using some important event that has taken place in that year .This year was the Olympics and after seeing the photos of the main stadium The Birds Nest , I had made up my mind to use this theme .

It was a bit difficult as I had 2 photos from the India Today weeklies. One photo was in the night, beautifully lit , as seen in the picture below ,

and the other was a daylight one probably a rear view of the stadium .

I had to take measurements from the magazines and convert it to a scale to fit into my space in the drawing room unit .

In the end it did come of well but it could have been better . I had to abandon some items to the right of the stadium as seen in the night photo . I was happy to get the effect in the lake --the reflection of the structure of the stadium ---using a picture of a lake from a calender and covering it with a transparent gelatin paper .

Saturday, August 09, 2008

India and the Olympics !!

What a lovely sight to see the Olympic opening ceremony last evening . We were simply glued to the TV and made me go late to my clinic. In the afternoon I was on the link of Olympics on the Yahoo taskbar and had gone through the teams participating . The photos are from that link.I browsed through a few , out of curiosity ,and was ' impressed ', as usual , to see only 52 from India --as against over 600 from USA and China --and the figures go on .
The events had not yet started , the account of the medal tally of all countries was yet to open and what do you find in the 'Breaking News of a News Channel ??? Can India host an Olympic !!!!

If I am not mistaken , at all Olympics and after that there are debates going on only about this topic and no one is serious about what should be done in future to improve the sports in India . India is good at organizing , as lot of money is at stake and to be made by a few ---how successful were we at corrupting the world of cricket.
Everyone knows where we lack but we are so much steeped in murky politics based on caste wars , religion , regionalism , saving governments by the 'number games ' , corruption , sting operations , ' secularisms ' a term used by parties for themselves and not the people , burning trains and buses , bandhs , and many more --lost out on the count--- that we are not allowing the country to move forward .

If our team is analyzed , we find most of them qualify on their own efforts and not due to some long term Government policy as is prevalent in many countries . I am reminded of the schools taking credit for meritorious results --- it is the private tuition classes and sheer effort of the students that take the students to the top and not the insignificant contribution of most schools and their mediocre teachers .

See the efforts of R Rathod to win the silver medal last time --was it because of some long term investment of the Government ? The sports bodies have to be reorganised and made answerable .Politicians should move out and professional business house should run the show using Government funds .They should be made answerable to the people of India of their plans and selection criteria .

Today afternoon the Olympic telecast was interrupted to show an interview with Mr. Kalmadi .I switched off the channel , just on seeing the disgusting ' pan stained ' face of Mr.S Kalmadi who ,I presume , runs the Olympic and other sport show in India. It is the sincere wish of any proud Indian to see a larger contingent from here and a few medals in the kitty instead of the news of ' failure to qualify for further rounds ' on day one of the event.

Does someone have suggestions that will drive a political will to formulate a long term plan for at least the 2016 Olympics . My suggestion is to let the Chinese come here and run the show on a Build--Operate--Transfer terms . God save us !!!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Bullet proof Poo--see

A photo from the Indian Express dated 31st July . A Hindi translation of our North East Frontier Railway . Must be meaning in Hindi 'Poorva [ Poo ] Seema [ See ]

The Chef

Do you smell the heavenly aroma of Besan being roasted for Besan ladoos ? It is there right now in my house and the chef is Shami's mother . She is seen here perched on the kitchen platform roasting the besan --a long and tedious process . She doesn't know that I have clicked her -- I used my mobile and not my camera as it would have given me away . Who would believe that she is 83 years old , just out from a cataract operation and undergoing dental treatment . She has undergone hip replacement twice in the last 10 years and a few years back an angioplasty . She does gives us a lot of inspiration . We have decided to show her the photo later on when it is published .

Please Retire Gracefully

Oh !! What a cricket match at Sri Lanka .After the pathetic display in the first test I had hoped for some great display by the oldie goldies who are still holding on to better someones record and in that process destroy some young talent . Just checked on the live score on rediff and what a misery to read the scorecard 201 not out by Sehwag from a score of 329 all out . Thank goodness the most unpredictable man clicked today !!

Oh !! come on now !! Rahul , Sachin , Saurav ,Laxman , Anil do consider quitting seriously . We have enjoyed your games and basked in your glorious successes over the past decade or more . I am lost for words now .

I don't know how to end this post !! Misery !!!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

3 Generations at Grant Medical

Congratulations to Ketki , my cousin Dr Dilip's daughter to have got admission in my college ,Grant Medical College [ GMC ], or rather I should put is as ' our ' college as my dad's father Dr Bhaskar Gaitonde or ' Anna ' , as we would affectionately call him , was also a student of this college in the mid 1920s --- thats it -- 3 generations.I remember at the time of my admission there was an interview with the deans of all 4 colleges . When I accepted the offer of GMC as per merit list , our dean at that time , Dr. Karandikar , got up , shook hands with me and said 'Congrats and welcome to this college , but may I ask you what made you think of accepting this college '. I had proudly replied ' My grandfather was a graduate from this great GMC and so I am pleased to take admission here '. It was late past 9 at night as the interviews had started late in the afternoon .I had rushed to the college office near the Dean's chamber as my friend called out that the cashier window was still open to accept fees . Oh ! what a relief to have that piece of paper -the receipt - in my hand . Yes I have got my admission !!In my internship we had a rural posting for 6 months at Kasara PHC . We always used to see the rather lonely life of the medical officers posted there , cut off from the cities and the modern world . Later on I had a Government job in the Health services , but fortunately stationed at the headquarters in Thane city . I had a touring job of the whole district and had to visit far off PHCenters . I always used to thank my stars for not being posted there as there was just no social life for the hapless Medical Officers --at least we now have better communication and also computers and the net to get occupied .

My grand father , Anna ,though a graduate from Mumbai and from a prestigious college like GMC in those times , chose to practice in the rural setup of southern Ratnagiri --now Sindhudurg district --in a town called Kankavli . I had often wondered why he had taken that decision and had asked my aunt -- dad's eldest sister as to why did he prefer a rural place to a big city like Mumbai . She had replied that his mother could not tolerate the polluted climate of Mumbai as well as the city life and would rather go back to the village area from where she hailed , and it is for his mother that he went back to the village to practice --Oh ! what a compromise --made me feel proud . Also recollected the novel ' Citadel '.

I was too young ---10 or 11 years old -- when he died in Mumbai after an attempted cardiac surgery , during which time he was staying with us at Worli . I wish I could have asked him this nagging question of his choosing a rural setup . I have heard stories , from my relatives and also from some of my patients , whose relatives he had treated , praising his work ----attending patients coming from far away villages , going for home visits on cycle as well as on horseback in all sorts of weather , conducting difficult deliveries and was a God to the people in a true sense. People worshiped him and his goodwill has made people treat the next generations respectfully whenever anyone visits those villages , which have become cities now .

Had he gone to practice there out of CHOICE or out of COMPULSION ???, this troublesome question will always remain unanswered for me and so I have built up my own analysis which may be right or wrong . Given a choice he would have remained in Mumbai and become renowned on a larger scale -- just imagine an MBBS graduate of those times !!!! He would have been more affluent and the next generations may have had a totally different outlook and upbringing . Though everyone in the family is talented , being on the top in a rural area on one side and grow amongst equals and in a severe competition ,on the other , is a totally unimaginable proposition . His adulations and stories about his achievements are narrated at all times and we do feel proud but my question is , in his heart of hearts did he savor those hard times or was he made to be a hero though within himself he had regretted leaving the city .

Here I am reminded of the Hindi movie 'Guide ' ,where Dev Anand in the end sacrificed his life being made to be a God man by the people . He was a simple tourist guide and he took the fast to death obviously against his inner wishes . The stress of Anna 's practice may have been the cause of his cardiac problems at an early age . He had to shift to Kolhapur to be in a place where better medical facilities were available .

I remember and miss Kolhapur very much, as we used to spend the whole summer vacation as kids , I don't have any idea of Kankavli as they had moved out before I was born in Mumbai . Thats my Dad on the left , the view of the backyard and veranda of the Kolhapur bungalow , my grandmother with her ' rungolee ' , myself in a villager's attire , my cousin sister Nandutai with me in the tonga and Anna ready to leave to the clinic .

Many students nowadays do not want Medicine as a career . One has to clear the CET and getting admission to good colleges is difficult due to reservation policies . Many private colleges have come up and charge huge development fees way beyond reach of a commoner . Compulsory rural posting after this for a period and hefty penalties for waivers . For post graduation there is another CET and the seat may be alloted in a place ,not of one's choice . After PG another dose of rural posting , if not accepted , a dose of penalties .

Congrats again for Ketki for having done so well and welcome to being a ' GMCite '

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Trek Continues

This is in continuation of the earlier post of 17th July .

In the evening we went towards the northwest direction to the very familiar sajja kothi area . This time we went by car as we had trekked enough in the morning. First we went to see the Dutondi Buruz area , the name suggests that it has 2 ways to go up and down .

Probably it was a watch tower to sight the enemy approaching and signal to the Baji Prabhu Buruz in the north and also signal to the south in the direction of Teen Darwaza and Ambar Khana . The area further to the south is called the Rajdindi and has many bungalows of the ' Rich and Famous ' , and due to vacation time were full of guests , with kids playing on the lawns. The famous Valley View Hotel belonging to Kiran Shantaram , as we were informed , is seen from here in the north direction .

From here we visited the routine of Sajja Kothi and further to see if our 'TREE' was waiting for us to visit and click its photo with the kids . Here is also the Baji Prabhu Buruz from where we can see the Vishalgad Fort in the far off northwest distance .

After spending some time there getting the strong , fresh and cool breeze into the system , we proceeded back to the Rajdindi area to see the sunset as this area gives an unobstructed view of the sunset . The sun was setting behind a plateau in the western direction and were informed that there are 3 such plateaus in a row , Panhala being in the centre . That was the last item of our trek . We returned back after a light dinner as we had planned to checkout early next day for the long drive back home .

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Trekking on Panhala Fort

Our visits to Kolhapur were never complete without a flying visit to Panhala. We used to leave for Panhala at about 5.00 pm , reach there in 45 min and drive directly to Sajja Kothi . Below at the entrance to Panhala , is seen the memorial for Shiva Kashid , who had sacrificed his life to help Shivaji escape when Panhalgad was under siege . After parking the car we used to walk towards the end of the cliff , see the picturesque terrain below , recharge the lungs with deep breaths of the fresh breeze and take snaps near a tree which has stood there strong over all these years and has witnessed Rahul and Supriya grow . As we near this place our eyes are always on a look out for this tree. This time we could not ask Rahul and Supriya to climb on top though they did make an attempt .Then we would walk back towards the sajja kothi , go up the stairs take snaps and come down and to the parked car. On the way back we used to wait at the stalls to snack on onion bhajjiyas , roasted corn and cups of ginger flavored tea . We used to reach back at Kolhapur by 8 pm . This was the routine followed almost every May end. We always used to plan to stay at Panhala and explore the fort on foot , but never materialized.

This year we planned it that way .We got the bookings for MTDC resort for the 16th and 17th May. As the check in time was 9.00 am I decided to reach and stay a day earlier at Kolhapur in 'our Opal Hotel '.We checked in at Panhala at 9.45 .After refreshing we decided to start our ' exploration ' On our way and near Tarabai Rajwada we saw the map of Panhala .Rahul and me clicked it and this became our reference map to route our way . When in doubt we used to zoom in ,study the map and proceed . We followed the road going towards the bus stand . On the way we saw a large lake where people were washing clothes and bathing . This scene is quite common anywhere in India -the hell with pollution and preserving beauty and history . As it was hot and dry in the afternoon sun we decided to return to the room and continue exploring in the evening. We decided to cover the south west part first . We walked to the Baji Prabhu Deshpande Circle first as that seemed to be the center reference point for us. From here we went towards the Hotel Hill Top area that covers places like Andhaar Bav ,Teen Darvaza and Ambarkhana . This place was crowded with tourists and had a lot of eating outlets as well as stalls . After snacking on 'onion bhajias 'and ginger flavoured tea we strolled on to a lovely garden dedicated to the memory of Shri Bhalchandra Pendharkar a renowned Marathi and screen personality of yesteryears,Teen Darvaza and walked back to the room .We then drove for dinner at Hotel Hill Top .

Next day we decided to explore the south east part. On the way we saw Dharma Kothi where history says that the poor were taken care of , then onto Kalavantin sajja ,below a view of sajja kothi as seen from the Kalavantin sajja area .It is said that Sambhaji , when imprisoned in the sajja kothi , could see the 'Kalavantins 'perform in the Kalavantin Sajja ,the ruins of which are seen below. We went down the road to the Shiva Kashid memorial and onto the plateau in the southeast . On the way we passed Parashar Guha ,a cave from the show but leading to a secret tunnel for a getaway to a nearby fort for soldiers in trouble . Next was Lata Mangeshkar's bungalow--originally belonging to Bhalchandra Pendharkar. Next onto the plateau from where we could see the ruins of the kalavantin sajja and sajja kothadi beyond . The view on the southern side was beautiful , a wide expanse of fields interspersed with villages. There was also some activities of construction -- like some star hotel coming up ---to destroy the natural beauty seen below from top . In the evening we decided to go to the north west part to see the sunset ,Sajja kothadi and 'Our tree ' . This will be in the next post