Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Remembering 'ma'

Today morning, in a mental state when you are awake but not out of bed, i suddenly remembered my mother. She died some 15 yrs ago-May her soul rest in Peace-.What i was trying to remember was our life in 70s.

My parents were both Doctors, GPs in Mumbai. They had pretty busy but comfortable life. My father died of Heart Attack.At that time my mother must be 53 or so. I had just passed my MBBS and was doing MD. i was staying in Hostel. My sister had moved to USA. At home only my younger brother was staying.

For the next 5-6 years I was pretty busy as resident Doctor. i hardly had any time. Even when off duty i had to stay in Hospital,at most could get 3-4 hrs off to go out,or visit home. It was difficult to spend any quality time with mother. she used to go for movies, outings, long vacations with my father but after his death suddenly she was isoleted and alone. Ofcourse she had her practice where she met people( It was a time when your Family Doctor was part of your family). But for her Social needs there was no one.She was young widow and Social norms of the time did not allow her to go out alone for movie. I dont remember any movie that i might have seen with her. We did go out for vacation together, but mostly it was short vacation to nearby hill stations or to Nashik-Shirdi. She had my other relatives for company but they would go out together for social functions in the family and she was not very comfertable as she was from different community- she was Saraswat from coastal Maharastra married to Guju Brahmin. Those 10-15 yrs must be really hard for her.

Looking back I feel guilty. In those days we were brought up in joint family and we did not have much communication or interaction with parents. Her being busy doctor didnt help as she would be busy in the evening upto 9 pm. We spent most of the time with friends.At home other relatives were there to take care of day to day issues. We had our vacations,outings etc with friends. I dont remember even thinking about how her social life must have changed after my father's death.she loved touring and she did visit Europe and USA for very long 10 weeks. I used to coax her to go for vacation, but it was with other relatives. I didn't have time or inclination to go out on long vacation or tours.It didnt make sense as well for just 3 of us ,with different interests and outlook of life to go for Family Vacation. Besides at that time going out with parents for movie or outings was not very common. Things did change after I got married. We had family vacations,outings etc. but by then she had got used to her life i guess and was very reluctant to join us. --- PK

Monday, November 02, 2009

Punished For Pre.Natal Sex Test

A lower court in Mumbai gave maximum punishment to two Doctors under PNDT Act of 2003. They did not carry out any test to know the Sex of the unborn child. Dr. Tated a Homeopath,advertised in a magazine offering treatment to get Male Child. Other Doctor Dr.Adkar was owner of Hospital where Dr. Tated practiced. This was in 2004 and in their defence one can say that in 2004,most Doctors believed that Diagnosing and revealing Sex of the Foetus was punishable under PNDT Act. Lots of people-Doctors and other Lay people- advised various things to select sex of the child before 'conception'. Pre Conception Sex Selection was also covered under the Act and was punishable was not known to many. Most of these method were con and didn't work is different story. Of those who took treatment, more people got Male child than credit should be given to Nature which selects Male child over female Child in the Ratio of 105:100 at birth. Recent studies have shown that in population where Hepatitis-B is prevalent the ratio shifts in favour of Male Child, and some Environmental Conditions change the ratio in favour of Female child. India's skewed Sex ratio is probably combination of this Natural selection and Social causes where Girl child is neglected after Birth or is killed.

But even in Countries which have no record of Female Foeticide-Sex Selection and Abortion of female Foetuses- the Sex ratio is slowly moving in favour of Male. In China with 1 Child norm ratio is almost 120:100. In U.S.A. also the ratio in many states is more than 110:100.If do Google or Wiki search you will find this is true of most of the states in the World.

So here is my problem. Are we overstating case of Female Foeticide ( Million Girls Lost) ? Are so many Sex selection /Detection procedures are carried out in India today? and Girl Child aborted? Is skewed ratio of 140:107 ( ratio at Birth 131) of Mumbai is due to female Foeticide? I dont think so. It will be almost impossible to find Sonologist doing Sex Detection in Mumbai. mind you cases registered under PNDT Act does not offer any guidance as many cases pertain to not following Administrative aspect of the act like not Prominently Displaying the Certificate and such. There are very few cases of Doctors actually doing Sex detection and Abortions as most of us genuinely believe in the cause of the Girl Child and our Associations are in forefront of this effort.

I think one has also to take into consideration falling Birth Rate. All our data of 105: 100 at birth indicates that at the time of Birth More Males are born than Females. If number of children couple has falls from Median of 5 abt 100 yrs ago to just 2 now, we have to factor this into our statistics. I am not expert at statistics but this may explain why ratio is climbing in countries where preference for Male child and female Foeticide is not carried out ( As in USA). Also important is the total births that takes place. But these are all statistical problems. My concern is that we may be paying more attention to a problem which may not have the magnitude it is projected to be. This money and effort if spent on 1-15 age group female child, we may get better result.--- PK

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Film Critics

When his film 'Kambakht Ishq' bombed at Box office, Akshay blamed film critics in mainstream media for the failure of his film. Since then I have been reading reviews in Newspapers and Magazines and watching film reviews on TV. There are quite few blogs which review newly released film. I have to agree that there is some truth in what Akshay says. Many of the critics have no qualification except that they are movie buffs ( Who isn't?). Since a movies fate is decided in 1st week, it is important to have some qualification to be accepted as Film Critic in mainstream media. As such we know that in media 'space is for sale'. So far most of the critics are true to their creed. But it is essential that there should be some criteria to be applied to call some one as Film critic. Right now it is open field but its time this is done more professionally.---PK

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Was it a H-Bomb or Firecracker?

These days a fierce debate is going on among Nuclear Scientists whether Pokharan II was success or dud. Dr.Santhnam,who was in charge of Pokhran II in 1998 has said that yield was just 25Kt and not 45 Kt as claimed. He believes that Thermo Nuclear Device( H Bomb) was dud. He has presented his case in Press Conference and has put it in Public domain. Trust us Indians to discuss such sensitive issue in public fora and on TV talk show. Damage this mess has done to our credibility as Nuclear weapon state and to our Security Vi's a Vi's Pakistan and China is enormous. Pakistan did a Test immediately after Pokhran II but has not discussed anything in Public and inscrutable China would claim great capabilities. Dr. Santhnam has claimed that he wanted to discuss the test result but kakodkar and Chindambaram never allowed it.
So Dr. Santhnam kept quite for 11 yrs, must have murmured his dissent here and there but never to get charged under Official Secrecy Act. Collected his Pension,Gratuity and now singing like a bird. He wants us to believe that he is Whistle Blower. Of course he did not do so while he was at helm. So what should we do with people like Dr. Santhnam. May be what he is saying today is Right and H-Bomb was dud but He is a Lier. He lied to P.M., N.S.A. Mishra, Indian Public. He put his interest above that of this Nation and to protect his interest he lied and maintained silence for 11 long years. he is highly educated Nuclear Scientist but he chose his self interest.If Jawan in Army were to choose his safety in face of enemy or Terrorist, he would be Court Martiled and severely punished and Dishonorably discharged from Army. This scientist is going to enjoy all the perks of his job even when he committed greater crime.
Do you really believe that Education brings out best in a person?---PK

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Diplomas from CPS.

Last week a PIL was filed by Dr.Arun Date against College Of Physicians and Surgeons in Parel. Lawyer representing the Petitioner claimed that CPS established in 1913 has been handing out Fellowship like FCPS and Diplomas like DGO,DFP,DOMS,DORL,DVD etc. It is alleged that CPS doesn't have Hospital,faculty or Infrastucture. petitioner have asked Court to direct Govt. to withdraw recognition to CPS.

I have failed to understand the purpose of this Petition. All the Universities for MD/MS and Diplomas,,National Board of Examination Delhi for DNB also have no Hospital of their own. they have Faculty and Infrastuctue. same is the case with CPS. For Post Graduate Degrees and Diplomas all the state Universities, National Board have CET, then Students have to apply for Post Graduate course and according to Merit List they are assigned Degree or Diploma in a Subject as per their preference ,a Teacher and Hospital where they have to do Resident Doctors post for 3 years for Diploma and 4 years for Degree. They have to write Theses under the Guidence of the Teacher and finally take the Exam. pass it to get either Diploma or Degree.

As far as I know CPS follows the same pattern. With One Teacher one Student policy adopted about decade ago, number of Post Graduate Teachers/students for Degree course of state universities and national Board has gone down. One has to have 'Teaching Expirience' to be teacher for Degree and Univ.Diploma. That is the Teacher has done Post Graduate Training(resident Posts) in Teaching Hospital like KEM,Nair etc. If one has done Registrars Post of 2 years in Cooper or Bhabha,Nanavaty,Lilavaty Hospital in Mumbai then one do not have 'Teaching Expirience' and he/she can not become post Graduate Teacher.!!.No teaching is involved as such.

CPS recognises these Doctors as their Teacher for Diploma Course and assign students to these Teachers and are posted in Hospital like Cooper Hospital,Bhabha Hospital in Bandra,Rajawadi in Ghatkopar,Bhagwati in Borivali etc etc.

Normally there are no takers for these Hoseman/Registrar posts in Peripheral Hospitals if they are not recognised for any Degree or Diploma. Resident posts of these hospitals go vacant and few that are filled are by those who are in transit or by Doctors who want a place to live in Mumbai. (All Resident posts are 24x7 with Resident qarters.) More often than not in all these peripheral hospitals patients are looked after by AMO's. and Patients care suffers. But if these posts are Recognised for Diploma by even CPS then Resident doctors doing Post Gradute courses are available,Honarary Doctors take Classes, arrange for Seminars on one Sunday in a month, and teaching for student is provided. Hospitals like Nanavaty, Lilavati,Somaiya, etc get resident Doctors because their posts are recognised for DNB and Diplomas of CPS.

If the undisclosed reason for this PIL is well known secret that all these posts are sold than this is wrong approach. unfortunatelly all the Post Graduate Degree and Diploma courses in Medicine,dental are allegedly for Sale and at present, price varies from 30 Laks to astonishing 90 Lakhs for Opthalmology and Radiology degree course. There is even 2 year Advance Booking of the Seat !!

If the Court,acting on this PIL withdraws recognition of CPS,many hospitals in Maharastra will loose resident Doctors and finally patients will suffer. Its ironic that there is News item in newspaper that panel has recommended recognition to Coaching Classes on par with College for undergraduate degree.---PK

Friday, July 24, 2009

population Myth?

Today I came across Amit Verma's column in Mint written in 2007. He contended that Population Explosion's predicted harmful effect on our future is myth. He based his contention on Eberstadt study,which postulates that Monaco's population density is more than that of Bangladesh but Monaco is rich country. Sure but what is the size of Monaco ? .What is it's total population? It is 1.95 country with population of 32,000. its population is mainly migratory rich french and other International rich.
Well, problem here is that of timeline. Harmful effect of too many people will not be evident in year or two. It may take one or Two Centuries to get there and eventually wont happen because people understand the problem and limit their family size.With spread of education and better living condition only Religious beliefs prevent people from having fewer children. In less than 100 yrs. this change is seen in India. From average 4-6 children two generation ago, now average number of children most couple have is 2-3. Just look around in any major city in India.
The problem is easy to understand as we feel the effect of increase in population of our Metros-Mumbai,Delhi. All the services are deficient. Yes not efficient but even efficient administration will find providing Water,Electricity,Roads,Hospitals,School ad Higher education to its rapidly increasing population a difficult,almost impossible task. In the process of providing the basic necessity we pollute our environment,wipe out species after species,Rain forests,Savannas and cause global warming which in turn exacerbates the problem.
What is true for a Metro City is true for State,Nation and World. Only it will take much longer to affect Nation and World. Fortunately we have already taken corrective steps. If you want to give an example than I would suggest that China would not be Economic powerhouse had She not implemented one Child norm. But then this is hypothetical.
I would venture to say that large population as a Great Human resource is bigger myth. there is nothing to support this hypothesis. it was postulated during this economic bubble period. China officially agrees but quietly implements One Child norm by force.
BTW, Whats wrong with having less(1 or 2) Children? They don't ask you not to have Sex.!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Since 2006, i come to US in summer for 4-6 months. In 06 it was LA but from 07 to date i have been visiting Bay Area. i have stayed in Mountain View, Sunnyvale, N Mathilda and now in River Oaks. All these places have large desi population. in summer parents come for visit.

I go for walk everyday and like to take different routes so that i can visit different areas. I come across many daily walkers,Desi,SE Asians, Latinos and Whites. What has surprised me is the different behavior of these walkers when we cross each other.

SE Asians never ever make Eye contact or attempt to greet or talk. Now this is easy to understand. May be elderly SEA wont know English well and would hesitate to initiate anything. Younger ones may greet or mumble something.

Latinos and Whites would almost always make eye contact and would Greet,smile and ask 'How you doing?' or some variation of it. If he is walking his/her dog then they may even enter into small talk.

Its desi who surprises me. They would not make eye contact in the first place. Eyes staring straight ahead or down like Lakshman facing Sita. No greeting, No conversation. If you cant make eye contact then its difficult to greet them as well. Its difficult to understand this.Same people if we meet in Mumbai Nana Nani Park will take out their entire family history and would rattle out names of mutual friends, relatives, neighbours relatives,children's friends,Schoolmates etc etc. May find out in few days enough to bring marriage proposal. But in US. nothing. Even Gujus and Punjabis-normally very outgoing,gregarious people. Only exception is when they are with their Grandchildren.Then it's easy to greet,smile, talk, the works.

More surprising is the behaviour of Desi younger generation. I have crossed them on N Mathilda on Bus stop where they are waiting for Bus to take them to Lockheed Martin. Or they are walking to their parked car or to Sunnyvale station. They would avoid making any eye contact or any greeting. Are we so ill mannered that we wont smile and greet another human being? Why we cant do something which comes naturally to White Americans? In india we are taught to greet ,Say Namaste. Ram Ram,Jai mata di, jai shree Krishna, Hare Krishna, Sat Shri Akal,jai Jinendra, and Salam Alaekum are normal greeting when we meet even stranger in India. Is it poor upbringing or Inferiority Complex ? Are we so scared in this foreign land that we would like to avoid all contact with strangers even if he is Desi.? May be we will say something which will harm us in future?. These Mexicans-many have no papers - are so friendly.

May be this is the cause for targeting Indians in almost all parts of world. Others may perceive us as snobs or weak. If you are not friendly with people how are you going to assimilate? Assimilation doesnt mean we have to give up our culture or food habits.No minority in US has done that. But by assimilating others could introduce their culture,cuisine to Americans. we are after 40 yrs, and lots of progress,are still outsiders. Its time to change this. Otherwise we will be known by few individuals personal achievement but not for work done by Desi community.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Nature's gem-Trio Farm

Every monsoon we go to hills on one weekend of July.western ghat hills are most beautiful 2-3 weeks after first rains,especially when there is drizzling. This year on a friends suggestion we went to Trio Farm. it's private property near Panshet,some 30kms from Pune Belgaum Road. One has to take road to mandvi,pass NDA and after travelling some 25 kms on road which can test your suspensions,one reaches this farm.

It is situated at confluence of Mutha and Panshet Rivers which are dammed by Panshet Dam. At present both the rivers have little water but continuous rains for last few days will feed them. The farm has 5 cottages and a dorm.There is kitchen where excellent Maharashtrian food is served. Their puran Poli,Kothimbir Wadi,sabudana wada are very popular.Best part is that there is no TV and no connectivity -unless you have BSNL cellphone. so you have all the time to relax and chill,enjoy mist and rain,watch clouds passing over the surrounding hills.( on clear day one can see majestic Sinhgadh). take a walk and enjoy nature. There one gets feeling of vastness and nature as it should be. It's a great relaxing getaway.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

It was amusing to watch Akshay Kumar's rant against Film Critics. He accused them-especially young just out of college critics who have not directed a film- of sabotaging success of his film 'Kambakth Isq'. As if Critic had given his film 4* then film would have been major super duper hit!!. I can understand his feelings and Business acumen.In this era of 50 Multiplexes having 10 shows a day, first weekend is not spoiled by adverse review then at least film would recover the cost. So he would wish that critics would give good review. But what about the audience? It costs about Rs. 1000 to watch movie in Multiplex. Why should our money wasted on stupid,vulgar film?.

He did not have same opinion when his 'Sing is King' and 'Namaste London' were reviewed by same critics.Many read reviews in Papers,Blogs and on TV channel and decide. All cant afford to waste 1000 Rs. every week. They have to pick and choose. Akshay should pay more attention to script and direction. His buffoonery is now grating on nerves. There is difference between Action film and comedy. Action films can work with stupid storyline but good action sequence. All these Hongkong chinese action movies have similar storyline but one can watch them.Comedies require good comic story,script and most important, timing. Akshay's films fall short on all the counts. he should pull up his act and stop blaming critics for flop films.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Thumbs Down for 90:10

Yesterday Mumbai High Court ruled against Maharashtra Govt. 90:10 quota for admission in FYJC. The ruling was hailed as victory for merit against reservation by state. I feel sorry for SSC students. For long time they are denied admission in top colleges because the Examination system, subjective form of quation paper and more subjects-which includes 3 languages- resulted in their percentage being less than percentage of students from ICSC/CBSC /IB boards. State Govt. wants to play politics,hence does nothing for 10 months. Come May,State wakes up and pulls out different schemes to favour SSC students, who form majority. State wants to show that it is really concerned about injustice done to SSC students and wants to correct it. Of course the schemes like Percentile system last year and 90:10 quota this year were doomed right from inception and everyone knew that it would not stand legal scrutiny by High Court. But Congress politician can claim that they tried but this rich,urban kid's parents managed to get Court's order to stop it.

How can one insist on Merit when examinations are different. One can compare Apple to Apple. Many argue that SSC board should improve and modernise SSC curriculum. They forget that large majority of 3-4 Lacs student are from underprivileged,rural,dalit and BPL families. To keep them in school is major task.For them passing SSC is ticket to better paying jobs. Many find difficult to clear this exam. If it is modernised and made same as ICSC/CBSC then there will be more failures. As such we have huge number of SSC fail students in state. They have very few job opportunities. They can't join Technical Courses as well. Their plight is really miserable.

High Court has asked State to have Entrance Exam. to level Field for students from different Boards.This means one more CET!!. But there is a way out of this mess. Mr.Kapil Sibal has proposed that SSC exams should be done away with. All the students should get SSC/ICSC/CBSC Cert. if they have certain grade. The curriculum should be one which can prepare them for job at lower level. Those who desire to join FYJC should give CET and take admission. majority will opt out-esp.from SSC stream- and will enter job market or join tech.course. In US situation is same. Majority opt out after High School and take jobs.few join College. This is something worth trying. There are so many jobs that doesn't require College degree and this will be real employment generating scheme.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

judgement on Sec.377

Delhi high Court's judgement has sent joy wave in Gay community. There is a feeling of 'War being Won". Though the judgement is good as it decriminalises consensual gay Sex, it can do nothing as far as Society's attitude towards Gay. Maybe after few decades it will be more acceptable. But basically Indian society(especially Hindu) is more tolerant than western societies. As a matter of fact Trans-sexual( Hijras) are believed to bring Good Luck and are must at Wedding and Birth of a Child. People fear them ( Why?). Hijra gangs are organised gangs and their leaders are wealthy and powerful.Some of them have got elected to Public Posts. But like everything Indian,we are OK if someone is Gay but if your child is gay or trans-sexual then all hell break loose. So the problem is with ones own family,friends,neighbors and relatives.
Gays are mocked,sometimes harassed but they are accepted. There are many Gays who are prominent and leaders in their fields and they are accepted by public. They may have problem with the people with whom they come in contact on daily basis. Can a known Homosexual person will be able to be become Minister? That will be the Litmus test for public acceptability.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Pathetic Condition of Lokmany Tilak Terminus

Yesterday night i had gone to L.T.Terminus(Kurla) to see off a relative. All the thoughts of great improvement in Railways under Laluji were dashed. The terminus is in pathetic condition. Rlys. have expanded the terminus, so now it has 5 platforms,of which only 2 are in active use. since they did not complete the work in time, so approach road is paved with rocks. taxis and Riks take up most of the available parking so there is no parking place. If you want to drop passengers near entrance then you have to go round the Tilak Rd. station and come back for parking. porters have to carry luggage on their head as carts cant be used as there is no road.

Terminus is smelly,overcrowded place with Dogs moving around freely. You have to pinch to be sure that you are in Mumbai (future Shanghai). There is a Tea stall but it is next to Restroom ( Toilets) and stench from there is puky. We had gone for LTT-Luknow Holiday special. there was no announcement and indicator was just Welcoming all passengers. For Holiday special, the train arrived from Lucknow and in an hour or so left for Lucknow- a 24 hrs journey. You can imagine the cleanliness of compartments and toilets. Only consolation was that it was complete AC train.

Now onwards things would go from bad to worse. Didi is busy with WB politics and Lalgarh. her hands are full with this enormous task of dislodging well entrenched CPM govt. Rlys can wait.and Loksabha elections are after 5 yrs and manmohan cant ask her to perform. So there.--PK

Saturday, June 20, 2009

La affair " Shieney"

These days Newspapers are full of Actor Shiney Ahuja's rape case. He is accused of Raping his maid in his house. Most of us now know the entire incident through 'selective Leaks' from Police in media. His wife -being Loyal and Loving Indian wife- has mounted a very spirited defence in the Press conference. At present he is in Arther Road jail,sharing cell with (?) Abu Salem. yesterday Mahila Ayog got into the act and has demanded Fast Tract Court to try this case and CM has reportedly agreed to it.

Now normally i would accept that if someone is accused of Rape than it's more likely to be true. Very few women have stomach for the publicity associated with the case and subsequent trial. Movies which has depicted rape case trial ( Damini- starring Minaxi,Chintu,sunny Deol and Amrish ) have shown what accuser will face in court. So false allegations are rare ( but not imppossible). Also thats why few cases of Rape are reported and insignificant number of accused are convicted. Main difficulties are 1. Whether the Sex was Consensual or Rape ? 2. Victim chooses to drop the case due to Hostile witnesses, Adverse publicity and victimisation by family,friends and Society.So much so that many victims have dropped charges and preferred to get married to the Rapist!!.

But in the case of Shiney, i am not so sure. Why? Because Actors have this Divine Power conferred on them during their Acting Career. Their Fans simply love them and are willing to do anything for them. Absolutely Sane successful person would behave irrationally when he/she comes face to face with an actor. Last week my nephew who will be dentist in a year, got all excited when we passed a person in my hsg Society. I asked him who was the person ? He was incredulous ! " You don't know him? He is " so n so", Anchor in Roadies.( Motorcycle show on MTV). He is very famous in Pune. "Sab Ladkiyan Marti hai us par". Most of us who stay in Versova,lokhandwala,Andheri ,Juhu come across actors almost everywhere.We haave seen how people and we behave when we see them. Its much worse when person visiting Mumbai from outside sees them.

Newspapers and films like 'page 3' and 'Luck by ..' have depicted the 'sexcaped' of actors and stars. On reported flings of star, his wife would accuse Girls of 'Throwing at Him'( being available for sex). So having sex with female co-worker, junior artiste, aspirant of movie career and female fans is part of job profile or perk of Acting career of Male actor. BTW this is not Indian thing.Its true all over world. i remember a Vidio clip of Micheal Jackson tour to S.E.Asia where a Female fan was shouting 'HE TOUCHED ME!! HE TOUCHED ME' !!! A mere touch of a singing star was enough to make her day. WTF eh?.But thats the POWER ! Ambanis,wadias,Tatas and Mittals cant compete with these Khans and Kapoors. Even Bill and Buffet would take a back seat. They cant compete with Udyan Mukherjee and Sarin Bhan !!.

So it's perfectly logical that Maid might have chosen to work in Ahuja household and would have bragged about it to friends. She might have secret crush on him. She might have agreed to have sex with him and worst Shiney would have agreed to have sex as favour to his maid because this is part of his life persona or myth created by media which he has to uphold. Thats why he was not surprised when Police turned up at his place. It was not bravado as Police has alleged but It might not have crossed his mind that maid has cried 'Rape' and complained. Thats why he allegedly confessed that sex was consensual. Why did maid complain ? well its anybody's guess but even if it was consensual, most would have sense of Guilt & fear when they have sex out of wedlock. besides being first time it must have been painful and not a pleasant experience which must have left her bleeding and with pain in and Abdomen. that might have scared her.

Or Shiney had really raped her.

Lets hope that truth will come out in court as hoped by Mrs.Anupam.

But first we have to learn and understand that Actors are human like us with no special power.They are not super Human Beings. they are like us with Acting as Proffession. There should be limit to adulation. we have to be rational in our reaction to them and their life.---PK

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Public Transport?

In the evening a friend called.He wanted me to join him for dinner. On Sunday evening Drinks,Dinner and chit chat with close friend ! what more can one ask? I readily agreed. we went to 'On Toes" in JVPD,Juhu. Good food, noisy but nice ambiance and catching up with latest after 3 months in US. We left the restaurant at about 10 pm. My friend R, doesnt have a car and uses Ricks and Maru cabs for commuting. usually there are 3-4 Ricks waiting for passengers. But today there were none.Only desperate ,exasperated couples and families trying to hail a Rick. I knew that this is a bad situation. we waited for almost 30 mnts or so with no luck.There were no Ricks to hire,thats all. finally I told R to hop in my car and I drove him upto Nanavaty Hosp.where we could find Rick willing to go to Santacruze station.

it's nice and politically correct to say that we should avoid using personal vehicle for transport and should use Public transport to save fuel and reduce pollution. Our air will be better if this is done. Today I read dire warning about danger to Environment when Nano and other small cars will replace Two Wheelers in India. But I have been in situation described above. Buses are full and they dont even stop at Bus stops, Ricks are full or refuse to come in the direction my home is. I have waited for 30-45 mnts without success and then walked some 2-3 miles before I could get transport. What can one do in this situation?.If you are with Wife and Children or aged parents, and you cant get transport, what is one suppose to do? You feel utterly helpless,frustrated,angry and impotent.

Do people in US and West face such situation?. They can just get in the car and go wherever they want to in comfort.would i like to tell them to shun their personal transport and use Public one? No way !! When we do not have easy alternatives then what right have we got to tell people to use non existent Public transport? Last week High Court in Mumbai directed the State Govt. to restrict entry of personal vehicles in Fort( Downtown) area. So what that person is suppose to do after getting down from Train at Charni Road station ? Walk all the way to Malabar Hill if he has work there? There is no Public Transport from Charni road to Malabar Hill. Unless you make sufficient arrangements ,its futile to restrict use of Personal Vehicle. You will only increase problems faced by already harried "Aam Adami". Ministers,Bureaucrats, Police,Judiciary will use their vehicle 24x7. it will be common men who will face the besura music.--PK

U.S. home Mortgage rates

Recently US Home Mortgage rates have started their 'up' movement.This week it reached 5.95%. Till about 2 weeks ago the rate was below 5% with 1 point. Now it is almost 6% with 1 point. Sometimes it is better for consumer that Govt. intervenes and regulates. It's myth that Markets will take care and will correct itself. Between speculators and Greedy players markets and rates will go up and down without any sound fundamental reasons. makets do not behave rationally and for serious matter like Home Mortgage Rates,Regulation by must as it affects consumer for a long time. In U.S. loan application processing takes 2-3 weeks,if rates are going to change by a Point than its very unfair to Borrower as he will get stuck with this high rate for 30 Yrs.

This is biggest dilemma in Free market situation. If there are no regulation and absolute freedom is granted than there will be repetition of what happened last year. Its prudent to set baseline regulations and fixed interest rates for certain period as is done in India. then both Lender and Borrower know what to expect and there will be more stability. With fluctuating Interest rates Lenders and borrowers are dissatisfied when rates fluctuate widely. Besides it creates negative effect in markets as has happened in US in last 2 weeks. For last 2 weeks Lenders were not enthusiastic to lend in expectation of higher rates.Now borrowers have stopped borrowing cause rates have gone up. They will wait for rates to come down and the momentum achieved by Obama's plan will be lost

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Ashok Jadeja,Self proclaimed Goddess was arrested by Gujrat police. he has allegedly promised his followers that he would double or triple the money deposited with him. Initially he paid the amount as promised,But knew that sucker would again invest the entire amount and Jadeja was not going to loose anything. Now his followers are agitating in front of his Ashram(!). Police has arrested his relatives and an aunt ,who is supposed to be Brain behind this scheme.

A T.V. channel has reported similar event in Delhi. Every year hundreds of people from all strata of Society fall prey to such con.(Nigerian, Rhodesian inheritance is other common con). Though such cases take place regularly and get widespread publicity in media,still there are enough fools in this land to make these Natwarlals rich. We have a proverb in Guju " Lobhiya hoy tyan Dhootara buhkya na rahe"( Where greedy people live, Con men will never starve).

Thursday, June 11, 2009

There is big hue and cry about huge sum being charged for admission in Medical College.Times Now did a sting operation on M.P.from southern state and exposed(!) the scam. Now almost all the aspirant to medical college know the asking price for seat in MBBS/BDS and Post Graduate courses. Its an open secret and these days students dont even appear for CET conducted by Pvt.Med.colleges. All the seats are booked in advance,sometimes 2-3 yrs ago. Every one knows but no action is taken because the Management belongs to Ruling party-Congress/NCP.

Both Congress and NCP have fine tuned this Business in medical Education and today its a Multi Crore business. All these Patils,Kadams and Nimbalkars have built up Educational Empires almost from nothing. it's very simple.

It started in 70s at District Level in Maharashtra. Local Politician( Mostly Congress) with the Blessings of the state level leader,would set up ****** Sahakari Sakhar Karkhana ( Cooperative Sugar factory) and would purchase 5 shares. He is the Promotor. Farmars would be persuaded to join in by purchasing 5 shares each. It's easy to get permission from Govt. ( Congress Govt.). Now from this seed( 5 Shares) a big banyan Tree will grow!. Sugar factory is the source to have seed capital. Coop banks would give huge loans against almost no surety and NO sugar factory has ever repaid the loan. if there is shortage than the farmers are there to contribute towards various causes like natural disasters and Wars.Ofcourse this is not paid to charities but is gobbled by the Chairman of SSK. There is limit to how much one can borrow from banks and poor impoverished farmers can be coerced to contribute. Fortunately for them, big hunger in India's huge middle class to be Doctor or Engineer showed them the perennial source of making money.

Next to Sugar factory they started School and Junior College. Land was available. Initial capital was diverted from sugar factory.People applauded.He has brought Education to their doorsteps.
But what the children would do after passing 10th in Marathi? Ah! He got the's Technical Institute, with courses in refrigeration,Automobile repair,electrician,Wireman & Diploma in computer,Electronics.

In few years upgrade this to Engg. College with permission from State Govt. This doesn't require lot of Infrastructure. (what's Infrastructure and Labs?). 50% of the seats are paying seats where one can take Donation money under the table. So now the Role is reversed. Instead of asking for contributions He can demand and also can grant favour by reducing or even agreeing to give admission. This is Political windfall as well. Now its easy to get elected as MLA . if luck is good may be MoS or berth in State Cabinet.

But his own family is also growing. His children are rearing to go and he has very little time to manage all these institutions. So he has to expand College,tech. Institute in new Mumbai.Pune.Nashik... so many cities in state. There is surfeit of Eng.Seats. But real shortage of Dentists and Doctors,especially in Rural area. now he is MLA/Minister, so its easy to get permission to start Medical/dental College.

He has the permission but MCI has this stupid rule.There should be a Hospital attached to Med.College. This is really nasty as setting up 200 bed Hospital requires good kitty and lot of hard work. But there is Khajana at the end of the tunnel! so there will be well meaning friends and well wishers, who would contribute towards cost of starting hospital and and they can request him to admit their candidates.Ofcourse after paying the Donation or Capitation Fee.

Now he has become "Sikshan Samrat".His trust has number of Engg./dental/medical colleges. His children are managing them staying near these Institutes in houses provided and maintained by the Institute. Car,telephones,vacations,Forign Tours are paid for by Institute. He has now applied for "Deemed University" status for his Trust colleges. Congress Govt. in state and Centre,and that hard working HRD Minister will give permission.

As "Deemed University" one is finally free from all supervision.Can conduct own Exams.can confer Degrees which may not be better than one given by Pvt. Management Schools. demand and take money for admission.A blank answer paper can get marks sufficient to get admission in Dental/med college as fixed. yes, Times Now has carried out sting operation but its a minor irritation.Congress friends in Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha will make noises. It should look politically Correct. But admissions will continue as it used to. Elections are round the corner and party needs funds. So the Charade goes on. Are Bhai, if this Ukrainian,Russians and even Chinese are making so much money from med.Edu. why should you grudge Patils/Kadams/Nimbalkars making money?

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Today after 3 months i entered Operation Theatre. I had to assist in Tubal Ligation operation by Laparotomy. Both for surgeon and for me it was doing an operation after a long hiatus. For almost more than decade Laparoscopic T.L. is preferred method. But once in while we get a patient who prefers this open method with almost nil chances of failure. For surgeon this operation is more difficult than Lap.TL, takes longer to perform.

when i joined as Resident in OB/GYN yrs ago.T.L. after Delivery was the First operation a Resident would get to do.After 2-3 operations, he was expected to do it on his own with only a Nurse to assist. Every operation day would have at least 4-5 T.L.s. Today the scenario has changed completely. TL is not preferred method. Among my friends and colleagues, i dont think anyone has undergone TL op. In our practice also number of TL op. have gone down drastically and after delivery ( once a preferred time) no one advises TL. If TL is to be done than Interval Lap TL is preferred method. This must be real spanner in achieving targets for Family Planning staff. Lap TL requires costly equipments and trained Doctors. ---PK

Monday, June 08, 2009

After longish 3 months stay with my son in Bay Area, it was back to Mumbai. Its really HOT here! After bracing 20 C in Sunnyvale,Mumbai's sweltering 30 C was really painful,life sapping ordeal. Today friends had planned to meet in Club. After 3 months of respectful 'Uncle" treatment,it was real pleasure to be with friends. Beer never tasted so refreshing and good. It was time to catch up.Though we were in constant touch thro phone,emails and chats, nothing surpasses get together and chat with friends. In months nothing changes as such but one expects that things would have changed for better during your absence. No such luck!!. Same Crazy,unregulated traffic,Eunuchs and Fruit sellers at Traffic lights,same chaos and Bheed everywhere. Ill have to start getting back to routine. Drive as one has to in Mumbai.

Amit Varma's first book has been published.Though we dont know each other, his blog on Tsunami got me hooked to this wonderful world of Blogs. i will remain indebted to him for this.I have missed his visit to Crossroad in Juhu to promote his Book which has received good reviews and i think i will buy it on my next visit to Crossroad.

Talk with friends these days is dominated by latest affliction suffered by Mumbai suburbs. "Redevelopment". Though the buildings are not even 30 yrs old,their prime location between Bandra and Andheri has made them prime target for redevelopment. So the talk with Builder is "on",then 'Off'. Started again as market in Real Estate has on and on. Funnily the cost of construction is suppose to be Rs.1000/- PSF. and Market rate for flat is Rs.15000/- psf, so the builder cant pay out even 2-3 residents if they are unwilling to join. It exceeds the entire project cost!! Everyone wants to join in and wants new,bigger house,no maintenance charges with nice corpus. But no one is sure when they will get the possession and how long they may have to stay in rented apartment. If builder runs away then what? For every completed project there are 4 incomplete projects with building demolished and owners staying in rented houses for years. Legal remedy is costly one in these cases. New problems on daily basis for Aam Aadmi.--PK

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Medical Facility in West-Is it really great?

Last Saturday, my son got injured while Skiing. He had injured his Knee.He was given Primary treatment at the Ski Resort in Lake Tahoe. On Monday on his return to Bay Area, he consulted Orthopedist, who examined him and told him Dos and Donts and asked him to wait for 2-3 days for MRI Scan appointment and take his appointment next week with MRI report. Then he will decide on line of treatment and Surgery-Arthroscopy- will be scheduled after obtaining consent from TPA/HMO. So its wait for about 3 weeks before any treatment can be started. If he were to be in Mumbai, his MRI scan with report would be available by Sunday or Monday evening and Surgery if needed could have been done by Wed/Thursday. Why there is so much delay in initiating definate treatment in USA?. When one is paying so much for treatment and when Medical Insurance Premiums are so high, why there should so much delay? Besides it is so costly so no one can afford to pay it without Medical Insurance. There HMO/TPA decide everything and would like to pay the least amount. Prescription drugs are costly and may not be part of your insurance cover. So one is denied effective medicine and given cheap medicine,which is less effective. At the base of this problem is very high cost of Medical treatment. We in India are slowly moving in that direction. With all these Corporate, state of the Art hospitals, treatment will be world class, but at a cost which only few and those covered by Mediclaim can afford. There is Trickle down effect and Private small Hospitals and Nursing Homes increase their charges. After few years Insurance companies already running in loss on Mediclaim Insurance will start cutting cost and will start Deductions and co-payments. Then we will be in the same situation as USA.-PK

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Indias Neighbour---USA

In a very interesting article in TOI, M J Akbar points out that India's closest neighbor is not from the SAARC countries and definitely not Pakistan. Its U.S. of A. How true !!.Though we are on other side of the Globe, we know more about USA than about any of our neighbours. We know about American Politics, are avid followers of Presidential race, heard candidates debating,supported Obama since Jan 2007, Inaugaration watched on TV-though it was almost 1 am. American movies are regularly realeased simultaneously in India.Anjelina and Brad Pitts are household names here. Friends,Baywatch,Sienfeld, Jay Leno and so many TV programmes are watched daily by thousands.They must be having good TRP as can be judged by number of commercials shown during their telecast. Most urban and many rural homes must be having some relative in Amerika. Our shops are full of US brands -made in S E Asia,China. Today our children have moved to US -either for studies or Job- so we keep watch on recession & job loss in US and stimulus package. Slowly Politically and ideologically we are moving closer to US.

Compare to this, we hardly know anything about Pakistan. I get many Pakistani TV chennels,but hardly watch any.Dont know Names of Pakistani Film/TV stars.Singers are known in India as they regularly sing for Bollywood movies and their songs are routinely lifted. Except for the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan,other politicians are not well known in India. Cricketers and Hocky Players are known as Pakistan is our bitter rival in these games. Pakistani authors, Bloggers,Books,Magazines are not known. I remember meeting Pakistani couple in Sylvan Park,Mountain View. We were visiting our respective sons. Unfortunatelly we could hardly converse as we had no common topics. We talked about old Hindi movies and Music. To imagine that just 60 yrs ago we were one country , one family,having common past,culture, life style,Language, sharing everything! Today we are neighbours but almost half a World apart.---PK

Slumdog Millionaire

I was not surprised by the Box Office failure of S.M. Fox released it with 300 prints( more prints in Hindi dubbed version.) Its a Multiplex movie and more effective in original English version. This once again proves that dubbed versions normally dont do well. Besides its storyline was neither new nor interesting for Bollywood viewer, though its a novelty for foreign viewer. Traditionally movies on slums of Mumbai have not done well in India. Usually they were from Parallel low Budget cinema and had tough time finding a distributor. SM was no exception. True to life movies on Mumbai slums or realities of life in Mumbai doesnt attract upcountry audience and Mumbaikar refuses to pay for what he sees everyday free. All the incidents in SM are part of everyday life for us in Mumbai and doesnt merit even a second glance.

I liked SM for its storyline and format. Life-rather underbelly- in Mumbai was depicted as life expiriences Jamal had. Storyline is taut and is based on true incidents in Vakola-Dharavi slums-playing Cricket on Mumbai airport Airstrip was routine affair. It reminded me of Classic Tom Hank movie "Forrest Gump". FG depicted life and times in US between 1950 and 1990. For my generation it was like that period passing by and we, together with Forrest watching from the sideline. My children(born in 80s) couldnt understand why its a classic movie. This format is very effective as Docudrama, provided the storyline is good.SM has this advantage. Its going to be Oscar deluge for SM. But Rehmans music score in SM does not merit award. He has given much better music in Indian movies-especially in 90s.--PK

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Today while shopping,my daughter's Cell phone was stolen/lost. Between my wife and daughter, this was 3rd phone stolen within a year. Ladies have this real problem. Men can keep his cell phone in Shirt/Trouser pocket or can use Cell phone pouch fixed to the belt. But for ladies ,its either carry it in the purse with all the difficulties of retreiving it when phone rings or carry it dangling from the neck- real Eyesore ! All the Fashion designers have not given thought to this problem and provide good solution.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

American President

In a weeks time Mr.George W will be ex President of USA. This is last week of him being " Most Powerful Politician" in the world. His 8 yrs as US President has almost destroyed US Power, Prestige and Republican Party. But for Stand up comics this is a Great Loss, they could depend on President to provide material for their act almost every week.Like Churchill's quotes, President Bush's quotes will be remembered for decades.

But there is real scary thought. He is Son of Ex President of US. Had privileged life. Good Education. He was Governor of Texas and got " Elected" as President of USA. He campaigned and took part in debates for Nomination as Republican candidate. He debated with Al Gore and John Kerry on National Television and convinced his party and people to elect him as President. How come we never got whiff of his ignorance and incompetence in all these debates, speeches, acceptance speech etc? Can one hide his/her personality, shortfall so successfully and easily in this Television era ?. Today President Elect Obama is darling of the Press/Television and people. But is this real Obama? Are we going to see some other personality in White House ? Its like Movie. We believe that Actor is the person, he/ she is portraying in the film.

Is it that "Average American Voter" feels that President is like a person next door. When you watch " Jaywalkin" you feel that average American (Like any average person) is like President Bush. Limited knowledge, not bothered except for his immediete surroundings, has skewed World view. Unfortunatelly for World, person he elects as President has impact on the lives of Millions, all over the world.