Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Beaches of Konkan--Hirnai

During last long weekend. I went to Hirnai near Dapoli.It is small village with 3 seaside Resorts/Hotels. It's off the Mumbai-Goa highway,some 300 km. from Mumbai. You travel to Khed on Goa highway and get off towards sea passing through the Khed town.It's hilly region and one passes along winding road through Dapoli. Now the air is clean and fresh. The foliage of Goa is missing but there is sufficient greenery to soothe the eyes.There are Coconut groves and Supari and Cashew plantations.But most famous export of the region is Ratnagiri Mangoes and there are many Mango farms. This year Mango trees were blooming and one can expect good crop. Suddenly road takes a turn and you are facing sea--shining in afternoon sun with Fishermen's boats giving it a perfect picture.
Beach was beautiful,nice ,soft sand and absolutely flat for almost a km or so. Very safe for swimming. Even at full tide,children can go in 100 mts and water would be just waist deep.No undercurrents or shifting sand.Most amazing thing was, waves would not break till end and if you know how to float or have Life jacket than you can just float on water bobbing up and down,no breakers to hit you and throw you off balance.There is hardly any drift. Swimming was more fun than what I have experienced in Goa.
But downside was that there were no other facilities.No sundecks Sunbathe,no shacks for Beer and Fish/Prawns. You have to keep your clothes on sand and a stray Dog may go through them for food or pee on them. It wont get stolen because except for the tourists staying in resorts there is no one on the beach. 3 hrs. of Load shedding in the afternoon is the worst. .Hotel Sea Face where we stayed provides 2* facility and Sea food is really good,the service is really poor and housekeeping is non-existent.The place is good for a short vacation if one is tired of going to same old places like Matheran or Mahabaleshwar.

Swiss Rail-Not so perfect.

Lalu Yadav presented dream Railway Budget. Rs.20000 Cr. earning from Railways is way beyond any ones expectation. But this success story doesn't mean that Rail travel is comfortable or Trains are punctual ,clean and safe to travel. Far from it. when traveling experience of Train in India will match that of European or other developed nations than trains will be 1st choice . There is tremendous mismatch between the two. At present train travel is preferred by those who can't afford air travel or to places where air link is not available.
Swiss Travel service-especially the Rail Line is famous for its comfort,punctuality and works like clockwork.Trains are impeccably clean,very comfortable seats,Map of the route is everywhere,it is punctual to the minute,regular announcement on PA system in train,Timetable which is easy to understand and best of all-not crowded at all.One wonders at the Economics of running almost empty train.Unfortunately during my stay train travel in Switzerland was marred by glitches in Rail service. On the first day traveling from Geneva to Interlaken via Bern,train was terminated at Thun as there was accident between Thun and Spiez. We had to travel by bus with all the suitcases,and Bus was more crowded than BEST bus in Mumbai !!.On 3rd. day,while visiting Luzern,train was terminated at Hergiswill and we had to complete onward travel by Bus. As we had Swiss Pass this was possible otherwise one has to buy costly ticket. On final day returning from Interlaken to Geneva Airport,train arrived on time at Lausanne,but halted there for more than 15 mts and was late.It was terminated at Geneva City and started it's return journey to Bern on time but I had get off at Geneva with all the luggage, change the platform-had to pay for the luggage trolley- take next train to Geneva Airport.
Swiss Rail Line usually runs perfectly but it's single line system at most of the places and hence even a small problem can potentially throw the system in disarray. They can put the system back on rails in short time besides number of people traveling by train in Switzerland is far less and easily manageable.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Transfer of Power

Kanchanben first visited me 15 yrs ago. She was a Gujrati lady from Saurastra region,wore bright colored Sari in Guju style and a big round Red bindi adorned her forehead.Kanchanben had an air of authority which was palpable. Her writ run in the family matters.She accompanied her Daughter in Law Manjula,who was Pregnant. Kanchanben's husband was Cloth Merchant and had shop in Mumbai. Her eldest son helped in family business. Manjula was fair and beutiful. She had to cover her face with Ghungat and talked very softly. It was difficult to hear her and take proper history. Kanchanben would prompt her and admonish Manjula to tell me about all her complaints.
Investigation and Medicine that I had prescribed had to pass muster with Kanchanben.I had the feeling that Manjula was not allowed to follow all the instructions,especially about rest and exercise and food she should eat. Manjula had no say in the matter, everything was decided by Kanchanben. Manjula had normal delivery and Kanchanben was present in the delivery room.She was first to cradle her Grandson.Post delivery, Manjula had to follow all the traditional things thats carried out post delivery.Me and Neonatologist were completely ignored and hospital routine was tossed out of window.Same routine was followed when Manjula delivered again after few years. Kanchanben was in charge of all the social and family matters and had last word.
Last year Kanchanben lost her husband.
Last week Manjula came for consultation.Kanchanben was with her. I just couldn't recognise her. she had changed completely. She was wearing very plain,pastel colored saree.Big Red Chandlo had disappeared.Her hair were disheveled and face was haggard. Manjula was in charge,and did not allow Kanchanben to say a word. She readily agreed to get investigations done and took appointment for follow up visit to show the report.
Manjula kept her appointment but she had come alone.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Doctor's Dilemma

I know Mrs. Arora for last 25 yrs. Her youngest son was born in my Nursing Home. Since then she and her daughters have consulted me often for their Gynaec. Problems. I have attended her Daughters weddings. Her elder daughter delivered a baby boy 9 yrs ago. We had very good Patient-Doctor rapport.

Last year, I was in my consulting Room one evening and a young man rushed in. He was Mrs. Arora’s neighbor. Mr. Arora had severe Chest Pain with Sweating and apparently he had Heart Attack. He wanted me to visit and examine Mr. Arora. I explained to him that I am a Consultant Gynecologist and I don’t have Doctor’s bag, Injections etc. I would be of little help to Mr. Arora. At the most I can give Pain relieving injection. He should contact G.P. who can be of more help to Mr. Arora. I promised to contact G.P. of the area and ask one of them to visit Mr. Arora. Young men hurried off. I phoned Dr. A. and requested him to visit Mr. Arora urgently.

Dr. A. visited Mr. Arora, who had a Heart Attack. Already a Doctor was there. GP. gave him necessary injections, and even Oxygen from Portable Oxy. Cylinder he had in his bag. He called up Cardiac Ambulance and in 30 mts. Mr. Arora was in ICCU receiving treatment. He had massive Heart Attack and couldn’t make it. Mr. Arora died on 3rd. day. I attended the chautha.

After 2-3 months, Mrs. Arora met me in Shopping mall. She was little miffed and didn’t return the greetings. She told me that she felt very bad that I did not visit when Mr. Arora had Heart Attack. Had I visited him and given treatment,Mr. Arora would be alive today. I tried to explain to her that in these emergencies GP.s are better than consultants as we don’t have Injections and other tools necessary to tackle these emergencies. GPs deal with these on day to day basis and they exactly know what to do and how to transfer such cases to nearby Hospital. But no explanation was good enough for her. Till this day she holds me responsible for her husband’s death.

With rapid advance in Medical Science, it is very difficult to keep in touch with other branches of Medicine. As a matter of fact it is very difficult to keep abreast with new theories and treatment modalities in our specialized branch. It is a loosing battle. We don’t have sufficient time to read all the new treatments being offered today. I find it difficult to read completely ‘Year Book’ which gives synopsis of Papers published 3 yrs ago in various Journals!! If I have to appear for MBBS exam. for renewal of Registration-as suggested by our Heath Minister Dr. Ramdoss- I don’t think I can clear it at First attempt!! A frightening thought. But I am sure I will be in good

Kingfisher Airlines Credit Card Fraud

Last month Kingfisher Airlines was hit by Credit Card fraud to the tune of Rs.1.5 Crore. Modus Operendi was very simple. When the credit card was given for Bill Payment in ‘Time & Again’ Restaurant-an upmarket Restaurant in Andheri Mumbai, person preparing the Charge slip would memorize 3 digit ‘CCV’ printed on Signature panel of the Credit Card. 16 digit Credit Card No. is already available on copy of the charge slip. He would then pass on this info to his colleagues, who started a Travel Agency and would book Tickets online on Kingfisher Airline Website. These tickets were then sold at discount. Almost everyone on Blogosphere must be using Credit Card extensively and can be victim of this type of fraud.


Please scratch out the last 3 digit printed on signature panel of your Credit/Debit Card, after noting it down at safe place as you would do for Online Log In username and Password for your bank account.

When Credit/Debit Card is used for any transaction in Shop or Restaurant, it is swiped and Machine reads data from Magnetic Strip. ‘CCV’ is needed only when online transaction is done.

A year ago, I had scratched out ‘CCV’ nos. from my Citibank and Standard chartered Cards and I have been using these cards for transactions of Rs. 250.00 to Rs. 21000.00.

Incidentally I have sent repeated e mails to VISA Security and Citicard-India, suggesting that ‘CCV’ should not be printed on Credit Card but sent to Customer by Courier as is done with Passwords. VISA promised to consider the suggestion. There was no response from Citicard or SCB Card.