Monday, May 20, 2013

MODERN MEDICAL MIRACLEs





Post the LPG (no, not the gas! Liberalisation Privatisation Globalisation reforms of the 1990s) phenomenon in India, the first couple of decades of the 21st Century promise to become a watershed period for not just India but at a larger worldwide level. Though the cross culture traditions have been formed since Homo sapiens began exploring newer lands and peoples; interacting, conflicting, displacing and assimilating became loquacious verbs to mankind. Over thousands of years, like the Darwin’s theory suggests, we’ve evolved, we’ve fought to survive and who we are and what we do, the way we live and the way we source our living from Nature has helped us make it to this day. And so shall we survive, as long as we strive to be the fittest.

Twelfth century and on we saw an array of kingdoms setting on an endeavor to what is called the Voyages of Discoveries. Through to the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, colossal campaigns, some state-commissioned others privately sourced, were arranged for to discover new lands, peoples and cultures. Such interactions led to the pivotal exchange of knowledge, which made these voyages also ‘intellectual’ voyages of discovery. Imperialism and Colonization in the consequent centuries became significant repertoires of this very exchange. But by now matters of exchanges weren’t restricted to goods, lands and peoples. It also included finer details such as food tastes, religion, etiquettes, diseases and hygiene and sanitation.

In the twentieth century, many nation states came up as territories were carved out in a much stronger manner with laws, rights and constitutions coming in place which meant more consciousness about the culture and heritage of both what constituted within as well as outside a nation. Such sense of awareness was complimented by the need for improvement of facilities and resources for poverty, illiteracy, health and hygiene, especially in the developing countries, which constituted of two countries which had the largest population in the world namely, China and India.
India has been considered to have the oldest civilization in the world, which also adds to its credit a long trajectory of civilisational history of surviving through the ages. 

Though India has been in a respectable position as a country with a rich heritage of medicine, science and mathematics, it has been subjected to much discrimination having being a colony till very late until the 1940s. India even now cannot boast of having excellent facilities in the realm of medical and hygiene services, though we are proud to announce ourselves to be a favorite tourist destination in the world. We lack proper resource management and infrastructure which are absolutely essential for tackling medical challenges and adversities that come. However, Indian doctors are respected worldwide for the innovations and breakthroughs they come up with despite the problems of finance or complicated illnesses.



I have been part of the Make Poverty History campaign in India which is a project under the Millennium Development Goals signed by nations with the United Nations. Did you know that the resource allocation of the GDP(Gross Domestic Product) for health and hygiene is Less than 1%? The plans under MDG is to increase that to 3%, however the only significant increase seems to be going to Defence! Basically, the policy-makers want a strong defence for a population that’d die of medical illnesses rather than bombs! 

Intelligent planning, eh?

The problem is also with the drug manufacturers who do not seem to be interested in intensive research in medicines and sciences, considering we have had one of the oldest forms of medicinal sciences in the form of Ayurveda and Unani. The capitalistic motives of the economists of the nation have given a setback to the welfare motive of the society, the nationalist leaders had once envisaged for India.
Nonetheless, there have been significant advancements and breakthroughs which earns credit for the Indian medical practitioners and researchers. Below are some significant areas where I believe, India has managed an impressive standing in the world and there, that is what our hope is.



CARDIAC SURGERY- ROLE OF ROBOTICS AND TRANSPLANTS

Dr.Naresh Trehan, a well known cardiac surgeon had worked on several complicated surgeries such as repairing of heart valve as well as holes, coronary artery bypass, artery grafting. Under him, cardiac surgeries got a path-breaking lead as Dr.Trehan pioneered the technique of robotic cardiac surgery in 2002 which promised not just efficient and easier surgeries but also effective and quicker healing for the patients.
Such robotic treatments have now been revolutionized and used in surgeries such as organ transplants such as kidney and liver transplants, the first of which was performed in 2011 by Dr.A.Soin. In fact, such transplants have seen a high success rate in the last couple of years under specialists who have done years of research to bring about significant changes in medical implementation of such complex techniques.
While the mechanization is an innovative foot forward, what holds back is the specific training it requires for a doctor to undertake. In a nation which suffers from lack of hospitals and doctors, having such expensive machines, robots as well as trained doctors seems blurry.


In fact, even the coronary artery graft has been a new development, with the first grafting been done by Dr.K.Cherian in the 1980s. Early detection procedures have been enhanced well over the years with the eco-cardiogram and Doppler tests revolutionized along with FFR or the Fractional Flow Reserve, which help in assessing signs of blockages and blood pressure levels accurately and efficiently. Furthermore,  though surgeries help in clearing the blockages, there is no guarantee that an angioplasty or stents would be accepted by the heart and body and thus, doctors can now with the help of advanced machines like the FFR can analyse the levels of blood flow and whether a surgery is required or not. Sometimes, up till a certain amount of blockage, doctors nowadays suggest alternate medical treatments and therapies instead of a surgery.

This is a considerably major breakthrough considering reports from the WHO, suggest that more 16 million people die of heart strokes and attacks every year and strikingly, almost 75% of these patients are from developing countries!
Of course, like mentioned above, the finance is a major cause of concern considering that the FFR and other tests altogether cost more than 50,ooo INR, and this is only for the tests. The surgery if required has additional costs to bear. Thus, one needs to consider the availability and reach of these advanced medical practices in the rurale of India.


CERVICAL CANCER

Did you know that more than 70, 000 people die of cervical cancer every year, if statistics presented by the AIIMS, Delhi are to be believed! However, there’s a reason why Indian doctors are respected worldwide. The Apollo Speciality Cancer Hospital in Chennai was the first to device what is known as the Cyberknife Technology, which is a radio surgical procedure under which the cancer-infected cells are targeted while the healthy cells remain unharmed from all the radio-active elements minimizing the damage to the healthy tissues. According to Dr.Reddy of the Apollo Speciality Cancer Hospital,  the Cyberknife radio-surgical procedure has helped in the removal of tumors and treatment of the neck, liver, lungs and various organs of the body, thereby becoming a successful anti-cancer agent.


DIABETES

Not just treatment, but early detection of cancer can really help the patient to get the correct and proper treatment. Thus medical devices such as the BreastLight, Injection of hydroxyl-progesterone have been brought forth as the future of preventive measures for cancer as they are not just efficient but cost-effective as well. Mobility of such small devices are easier and their cost-effectiveness both, ensure their availability for the poor and needy. Innovative medicines  such as the Polypill has been invented in India itself, which is a combination of four most commonly taken pills taken for Hypertension, Diabetes, etc. Considering that a patient who has diabetes suffers from other diseases such as hyper tension and statins, this tablet is cheap and easily available. Of course there are recent researches going on for controlling diabetes, and Diabetes-Type2 can be now controlled with the help of what is called the Key-hole Surgery, pioneered yet again by the medical practitioners in India.

IMPOTENCY

Even with the huge population, it has been noticed in the young generation that while girls have early puberty and earlier menopauses, boys suffer from low sperm count. It is Dr. Krishnamoorthy that deserves a mention here, who performed the first microsurgical varicocelectomy in India and who developed a lot in the study of urological and sexual diseases.








No doubt, medical tourism in India has increased in the past few decades, with people from the more advanced developed countries coming in here to get their treatments done. Nonetheless, like every other sector, what is clearly missing is the Trickle-down Effect. According to a survey, getting medical treatments and surgeries in India are near-about 70-80% cheaper than it would be in the UK or USA. Dr.Debina, a doctor in Delhi agrees to the above-stated fact and concurs that medical tourism has increased in India and this would be the time when the Indian government should re-direct its focus in improving the health and hygiene in India, not just in the urban areas but the rural areas as well. Such standards cannot be compromised upon, warns Dr.Mukherjee, a specialist at the Lady Hardinge Hospital in Delhi for after all, falling sick due to uncouth living conditions would be the last thing on a patient’s mind traveling in a foreign land. Thus, if they fall sick, it would have direct consequences on medical tourism in India which then of course would have greater consequences in store for us as a nation, both in terms of goodwill as well as economy.

The other dire problem is the lack of advanced training, research and opportunities that leads to the ‘brain drain’ of our nation. The best of the lot of doctors, engineers leave the country to work in developed nations in search of better prospects and thus we lose out on a significant powerhouse of talent.
Modern medical services are nothing short of a miracle and the chances of our very existence seems bright with the fact that the life expectancy rate has increased from 42 years in 1960 to 65 years in 2011. (WorldDevelopment Data Indicator)


And like Einstein once said,



Miracle it is, but without the perseverance and goodwill, even miracles do not happen.While Medical Sciences has clearly been a boon to mankind, it is now for mankind to share it amongst itself, trickle it down to those in need. We may blame the government, the authorities, and rightly so...but it also is important for us to help each other in any way we can. Like I tried getting a little kid who lives in the slum in front of my home, admitted to a hospital in the capital of India, Delhi and after running from post to pillar, and due to a very kind doctor, I finally admitted her to a government hospital. And it was one exhausting journey that only made me reflect on the veracity of the so-called "availability" of services that our government offers us; but like an illusion, is something we never actually get. Sometimes because we do not have money and other times because we have no reference. Until these things change, how far can we as a civilisation thrive, even with all the medical facilities in the world? 

Like the Beatles sang, Money can't buy me Love! Only Love can!



 This post has been written under the topic-How Does Modern Healthcare touch lives by Apollo, in association with Indiblogger


Friday, May 17, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: TANTRA BY ADI



BOOK DETAILS

TITLE: TANTRA
AUTHOR: ADI
PUBLISHER:  APEEJAY STYA PUBLISHING
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH
FORMAT: PAPERBACK
ISBN: 9788190863629
PAGES: 344


 



Anu is a leather wearing, no-nonsense professional guardian with a reputation for killing the most dangerous vampires in New York City. But when her enemies murder the one person she truly cared about, all she wants is vengeance. The only clue points to New Delhi, so Anu puts in for a job transfer.


What you read above is part of the synopsis of the book. And it makes me utterly happy when once in a reading span of months, you come across a book that is not a chick lit and yet has a Woman as the main protagonist. The little feminist in me applauds the theme. A lot of people consider writing from a woman’s perspective to be easy, but it isn’t so.

A woman’s mind is complex and imagining a female vampire slayer with a wicked sense of humor and a wisdom tooth for quick givebacks for attempted flirtations. I loved the naughtiness of Amit, the guy whom she meets in New Delhi who is supposed to help her get acquainted with the new city, and how things twist and turn into a different confluence altogether…
That’s the book for you, in a jist. Of course, you need to read the book for any more details. The USP of this book has to be the manner in which the protagonists have been blended into the plot, they are distinctly laid down before the reader as the reader delves deeper into the circumference of events. So there are vampires, dark and bright streets of Delhi, some situational characters… An easily one-time read, especially if you are the fantasy kinds!

It definitely is the kind of book you’d love to read before you go to sleep. And it is the kind of book that’ll edge you that little extra bit to delay your sleep and just read the next line..the next page…the next event….and before you realize you’ll be done with the book. The language is simple and flows readily with the adventures of Anu in the streets of New York to New Delhi.

Baba Senaka turns out to be a master in his arts, a tantric who is suspected to be the one killing children and Anu and Amit are in search of him with the help of Dr.Sharma.



However, there are attempts by the author to change his writing style as few parts of the book reflected, which I felt, broke the flow of the events in the narration. The author should have maintained the same pace, or perhaps been a little fast-paced considering it is a book which fantasy thriller.
There is a conscious effort to ‘Indianise’ a plot that is usually international in other books. The use of tantra makes it a wonderful attempt but sadly, not much has been incorporated to make it worth it. 

Instead, the book becomes an attempt at Indian Fantasy writing, I wish the storyline did not have such intentional spurts of mere acknowledgements of being situated in India..in Delhi.. I, despite of being a Delhiite could not imagine the roads and scenes as mentioned in the book. I also did not like the cover picture of the book and I think one can really work towards that!

Anyhow, I think in terms of a storyline and definition of characters, it was a good attempt considering this was the author's first attempt.


Buy a copy at discounted rates here: 




This review is a part of the biggest <a href="http://blog.blogadda.com/2011/05/04/indian-bloggers-book-reviews" target="_blank"> Book Review Program </a> for <a href="http://www.blogadda.com" target="_blank">Indian Bloggers.</a> Participate now to get free books!


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Hair-Wire!



Remember the times when we were little girls and we loved looking at these cartoon characters and imagining ourselves to be them.. I particularly loved Rapunzel for her hair while Barbie's curls left me amazed every time she'd dance and her hair would unfurl like a blossom!




Even as I grew up and my mother never allowed me to keep long hair, my dreams never ceased to end. I dreamt of being a princess with those wonderful locks of hair as I tugged at my mushroom-cut hair ruefully.





 Dreams don't die easily, do they? They were as strong as my hair were to be.

Finally my mum allowed me to keep my hair long when I passed 10th std.





And then started my journey with my hair as I oiled it, shampooed it, being very careful about the products. Maybe it is a teenage thing, but for me, my hair was like a gift I had to prepare for my own self.

And this is how I look today...


             





Well yes, like I said...My hair is really very important and thus maintaining it while experimenting it is top priority, which also means I sort of become obsessive about it.






Colored hair and highlights have recently become the hot trend and how could I leave myself behind? Thus, got brunette-red highlights done, with an ultra-cool layered haircut.









What length, which color, what products- these are fundamental questions one must constantly be aware of, in the quest of hair-care. 







Hair-  a thing of beauty and a matter of pride
That determines how much you love yourself
Whether a groom or a bride.

The twists in turns personified in the locks and curls
One straight strand running softly through your fingers, my love
And I know you are mine.






When I am serious, and I mean every word
Know my mood through my locks,
They’d be neat and prettily tied up.
But when I have the music pumped up high
And a naughty smile tucked between my cheeks
It is time to let my hair down.

A beautiful braid down my waist
For that perfect bridesmaid
Some occasions demand a sazzy style
With a neatly tucked bun or a pretty knot
At the back of my head
If I choose to wear a saree instead!






We don’t give our hair much credit
How incomplete our lives are
without them, being our perfect partners
In every beautiful crime. Hence,
A bad hair day and our days go haywire
And luscious hair is like a dash of self-confidence.


While some of us pretend
That our hair don’t matter,
We accidentally curl a strand between our fingers
And our secrets are revealed.
Every strand of hair has a story to tell


























However dramatically, that’s for us to spell.

With the likes of Monroe and Madhubala
Who added spice to their expressions
When their khol-struck eyes and pouty lips
Added beats to their bouncy hair and hips.
How Megan Fox steals the show
With her luscious glow.
And when talking of highlights and colored hair,
How can one not mention J-Lo!





But one must find their beauty
in themselves and how
they make life so beautiful.
Be it with flowers, or the hint of smile
the freshly carved curls or the wild hair let free
Ah Hair! What a thing of beauty and a matter of pride!









With friends who have beautiful hair and great sense of hair-styling. Above is a picture with Akanksha Dureja, a dear blogger friend who regularly nourishes her hair with mehendi that gives the texture, bounce and color in her hair.



      


In red is Preeti Singh, an author friend whom I fondly call Phoolwati, because of her individualistic and awesome sense of hair styling. She loves accessorizing her hair with flowers and add ons. 
We even did a ramp-walk together with another author friend, Rachit Bhushan, during his book release.


Below is a picture with Rohit Sharma, an author friend with whom I have clicked in the famous Srk-Kajol pose. Who can forget the evergreen pair and the luscious black hair that webbed in the character, Raj in the movie Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge!









Where else but Indiblogger meets can you flaunt your smile and let your hair down! I love the meets and look at my gorgeous girlfriends and Vineet Ranjan, of course like the bhawra in the garden of flowers!
Interestingly, in here all of us girls are wearing different ensembles, and the hairstyles are different too. NOTHIING EXOTIC, but utterly complimenting their personalities and their beauty of course!



Whoever said that Indians cannot stylise never met us! I was wearing a suit while Jyotsna Gandhi (in the Golden-colored saree) and Preeti Singh (in lemon & green colored saree) 








 Another person I'd like to mention is a poet-author friend, Sujata Parashar who keeps changing her hairstyles and color often and I am in awe every time she does that!
Here, she's shortened her hair and colored it into a dark auburn which wonderfully gives shape to her face cut and looks lovely on her!






Here me and my friend Krupa Devadiga are wearing different ensembles; I am wearing a kurti and she a tee and yet we are flaunting the same hair cut. The dimples do add to the good looks though, no doubts! :)




Farewells mean Sarees, Photoshoots and most importantly, Looking Good!

A set of light curls at the ends and a bouncy bout of hair is enough to make heads turn, don't you agree? ;)










We're more than 7 billion people on this earth and each one of us is supposedly a 'Unique'. And I believe that our hair greatly emphasises upon the person that we are- everything about it, the color, the length, the way we tie them or let them loose, the way we accessorize them, everything matters and makes us a little different, and a little special in our own ways.

So,what hair are you?

WHaT's YouR HaiR-wIRe?







This post has been written as an entry under Get Your Hair Ramp-Ready, on Indiblogger in association with TRESemme .

NOT BROKEN, JUST BENT...





“Aunty, are you sure you can come on your own? I can still come to the Rajiv Chowk metro station and pick you up. We can come together.” I bit my lip as I waited for her to answer though I knew what she would say. She replied, “Nahi beta, I’ll come. Now I am learning to walk alone and I know I don’t have my son walking beside me to hold me if I fall. Don’t worry, I’ll manage” and before I could insist, she disconnected.

I had called Mrs. Shreyash almost after a year and had finally called her up to ask her if she could come alone to commemorate her deceased son on his second death anniversary; who was my classmate and happened to be my best friend too. In fact, I had called her last year on the same day, the 5th of September, 2011. I felt miserable for not having kept in touch with her, but I myself was nothing more than a wallflower; a creeper who’d grow upon her pain and loss too thereby increasing both our agonies multiple folds.
The guilt was over-bearing but I guess we need to fight our own battles and let the skeletons rest in our own closets. Certain losses cannot be expressed shared or halved. After a point, we tend to fall back upon those who support us and then we end up hurting ourselves as they move away; which does happen gradually, intentionally or otherwise. I did too, much before I could hurt her and told her that I’d be there whenever she truly needed me, but for the rest, she’d have to be her own best friend. Of course it sounds utterly rude and insensitive, and many of my friends hated me for this change in attitude in me. However, they never knew the person Kinshuk Shreyash was, and they had no idea of what I shared with him or with his mother.


Of the 5 odd meetings with Ms. Shreyash, two hold distinct places in my memory. One was when I met her for the first time on the 30th of August, 2010, in the hospital where her son Kinshuk was admitted. I cannot forget how we had held hands in prayer, affirming that Kinshuk would get cured. And the second was on 5th September,2010 when she clung on to me, tugging at my kurta asking me, “Why, why did he have to die? What will I do of this life when he isn’t by my side anymore?”


Some co-incidences are funny, in a sad way. 5th September is a special day for a teacher, it being Teacher’s Day. Ms. Shreyash had retired that year from her schooling career in Dhanbad, their hometown and had decided to move to Delhi with Kinshuk, who was planning to give the Public Services Examination next year after he’d be done with his graduation that year. Who would have known that 2010 had so much in store that a future wasn’t plausible for Kinshuk. On a metaphorical note, it seemed like a retirement from her career as a mother as well for Ms. Shreyash. My ‘why’s seemed minuscule in front of her grief.

I distanced myself from her, when problems incurred in her family especially with her elder son not liking my interference in their household matters, in which Ms. Shreyash increasingly involved me. She had been a strong woman all her life; Kinshuk had told me about her everyday struggles in her married life and her ambitions to open a school for the poor someday. Time played a great role; I went into my Masters and she shifted back to Dhanbad. Calls came lesser and soon conversations were about updates from each other’s lives.



And there she stood in front of me looking graceful in an off white saree, smiling at me. I sprinted up to her and hugged her tight. I do not give that hug to many; it was a special kind of a hug that Kinshuk often gave me. The bear hug that pushes every atom of air out of you and the arms cover you in entirety. The hug that fills you with so much love that the strain of the lungs seems nothing and the eyes sting of the warmth that you feel. To find someone to love and to be loved in return are the greatest achievements in life. Kinshuk had a way to make me feel loved. And so did Ms.Shreyash. When she hugged me, I felt that love. Even after months of not communicating, of the conscious self-distancing, here we were bonded by an unnamed relation that no one could define.

Sambhavna, a junior came up to me, “Priyanka Di, Let’s start the program?” I broke away from her embrace and Ms. Shreyash was taken to the area where a huge crowd had gathered in front of Kinshuk’s pictures, lighting candles there. As the program went on, I stood at a corner tight-lipped. I had told myself over and over to not cry. It would look so stupid to cry, it had been two years after all. Not that pain had anything to do with days but people still hope that time heals the pain and I did not wish to break that hope.

Ms. Shreyash was asked to speak. She thanked people for coming and then broke a news that stunned me. She had constructed a new floor in her house and has started a private tuition centre where she teaches poor women and children. Many other teachers come to help her too. Ms. Shreyash had tears in her eyes and the loss was crystal clear; no one and nothing can heal the loss of a child. But she made her dream turn into a reality; she had opened the school she wanted to. In fact, it was running successfully. Furthermore, she requested the Principal of our college to organize a scholarship scheme in Kinshuk’s name for worthy students.




I broke down, perhaps the first time in the two years. Being strong is not good for your public image; people expect you to keep smiling through the odds which is a delirious situation. You want to shriek and cry out your agony but something in you corks the bottle from overflowing. I cried not for losing my best friend, I cried not because reality had stung me. I cried because the mother showed me a strength that I thought neither of us possessed. She was so utterly vulnerable, so alone, Kinshuk was not just a son; he was her lifeline. And yet, today she stood in front of so many people, making all that she had dreamt and discussed with her son come true, all alone. The tensile strength of being a human hit me hard in the guts. How many bridges does a person have to cross and burn, cross and burn before she manages to utter, “I am not broken, just bent!”?
As the program ended, she came to me and gave me that familiar hug. I howled, “Aunty! Thank you! I am so proud of you.”
“I am proud of you too, Priya” she whispered back.


I wish to get my story published in Chicken Soup for the Indian Entrepreneurs Soul in association with BlogAdda.com