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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Bonded to Brand

Are you bonded to the branded ...

To many branded consumer goods like clothes watches shoes handbags jewellery are fashion statements .
Its like a declaration of ones tastes to the world and goes beyond utility.
Theres nothing wrong if one could afford to spend on brands .
To many brands arent a compulsion either because they cant afford it or they may have no passion for it .
I think iam in second category
This does not mean I dont buy brands I do if i like them and consider them as better quality but iam not obsessed with flaunting labels
A calvin klien suit with a hugo boss shirt carrying a st laurent office bag of the finest leather pointed milano shoes glimmering on my feet and a Rolex watch to boot with a fine mont blanc peeping from my waistcoat and an air of confidence exuding from my Ralph lauren silk shirt and the Armani sprayed on its cuff .
No I am fine without any of them for one it would pinch the miser in my soul for another I would just be what Iam wearing all these .
But then I do posess one brand of my own
My smile and all it costs is happiness .

Tuesday, December 13, 2016


India is one country where anything goes rather anything that is delivered with drama and panache are believed by the millions of gullible but at same time any advice coming from the trained and professional who knows what he is talking about is doubted .
so we find numerous charlatans acting as swamis to deliver nirvana ,evangelists who cure by touch ,and quacks who treat anything in the world but when qualified doctors ask people to take immunization for their kids they listen to mullahs who tell them not to !!
I had been reading an FB status where the merits of celibacy were discussed thread bare ,
majority of them in the post who posed as experts knew nothing but ramblings of what they heard or read from others who knew nothing ,old texts were quoted and imaginary energy was graphically portrayed travelling up from the locked navels into the head and the body then getting suffused with energy so much so that nirvana was instantaneous .
Good imagination
maybe true too ,but these people tell it as if they had seen it all and experienced it as they have no need to prove anything
they can get away with their creativity and the best part is the number of nodding gullible who take it like it was Buddhas sermon .
As if the answer for their quest for superpower status lie in their testicles and the whole secret is all about blocked semen !
i just cant stand these kind of gumption where in the name of science people just ramble on their pet theories and not only get away with it but also influence some poor sod who will bottle up all his releases and one fine day may burst it like a pregnant pustule !! to the discomfiture of his near and dear
People please enjoy your life with limitations
be it food or sex ,
live a healthy life,
its not by denial but by acceptance we get satisfaction
and for Gods sake dont fall hook line and sinker for every fable by every con man

Wednesday, December 07, 2016


Many of those not having lived in tamilnadu would not have heard of Cho Ramaswamy and most of them who did would not be those who havent heard of him .
The first impression of Cho with his trademark alien completely shaved scalp protruding exopthalmic eyes and wearing trademark kaki always would be one of intelligence .
Cho radiated intelligence 
Be it by being a good lawyer ,screenplaywriter,actor,comedian,satirist,journalist,editor,director,producer,thinker,spiritualist,theatre personality Cho as he was fondly called was a bundle of talents and posessed an intellect as sharp as as a Sheffield knife .
The best part of Cho to me was his satire
This man was the king of satire
Yes ..was because he just passed away at 82 years .
The very flat cool way he cracked his jokes with a benign smile made his victims squirm in discomfort and stunned to silence .
Amongst his targets the quintissental tamil politician with dark glasses flowing shoulder scarfs and starched white dhoties with retinue of cretinous followers were his favourite he delighted on pulling the legs of these vacant zeros who squirmed in helpless anger as the brilliant lawyer covered himself from litigation or repartee by his intellect .
His sarcasm was highly cerebral and was to the point delivered with panache with the timing of an actor .
His plays were political punch machines where his victims were turned into helpless clowns 
Cho had a special intrest in tamil politics he just couldnt keep his cool over the archetypical tamil politico with trademark dark glasses and streaming dhotis and flung shawls and delighted in turning them to imbeciles of the finest order not very far from thier natural selfs but they could hardly retort as his deliveries were so sharp and to the target and being a lawyer so cleverly put to make his victims legally and socially helpless objects of fun for the populace .
He was so cool in delivering those epitephts that the only response would be raucous laughter .
His journal Tuglaq has been a text book of sarcasm for decades which are never understood by those who dont read tamil 
I remember picking up back volumes of the magazine from a neighbour after summer holidays and a kerala trip one couldnt miss weekly Tuglaq named after mohammed bin Tuglaq the maverick sultan who Cho used often to spread his fun .he even created a famous play and film on Tuglaq .
Chos plays in later years were definitely more intresting than his films in his younger days , though even in films his way of presenting it was unique 
one could feel his disdain in his dialogues at his sorry state of living with less intellectually empowered humans though in a very funny sense !
Cho was the father of sarcasm 
Most of his fun making was back handed and never direct and there were blockheads who missed the whole point .
So he was hardly the run of the mill tamil comedian slipping on banana leaves but a highly educated very sharp intellctual ,gifted to profess his ideas with satire and sarcasm
The world will miss him 
I will for sure .

Saturday, December 03, 2016

The Rose Milk

Thanks to the Hindu for the picture 

Madras today's Chennai was always known for its sultry humidity ,imagine if one could get a glass of cool milk flavored by rose syrup there it would be ambrosia itself .
So was the rose milk sold by the famous Kalathi and sons which was a small newspaper mart in East mada street corner near Kapaleeswarar temple the downtown of Mylapore itself .
Even after five decades I find kalathi continues with the same popularity of course the original owners have handed it over to their sons and nephews ,
The rose milk of kalathi was made of pure milk with no additives and rose syrup and powdered ice and churned well ,those days I remember the ice used to be in saw dust laden sacks as Refrigerators were yet to make an appearance and the owner himself would take a big rock like piece of ice and put it in a sack and hit it with a hammer like handle and then put the crushed pieces into the glass and give it a quick whisk with his spoon and hand over the glass of rose milk ,it used to cost 25 paise and today too it isnt very costly it is fifteen rupees for a glass of paradise .
As the cool milk flavored in rose touched out tongue myriad sensations would well up and the icy coldness would spread a pleasant chill into our souls and all the stress and heat would seep off ,it would taste till the last drop the same .
which is why the rose milk was so popular ,actors like Sivaji Ganesan were regular visitors and fans ,the nearby R R Sabha was a well known theater for live dramas and most drama personalities were also aficionados ,
once when I was in eight standard I think I  had gone to a drama with a friend and found Nagesh the well known comedian who came as a guest for the day walking out with AP Nagarajan the very famous director ,
we watched them sending their car off telling the driver 
we want a walk and we will reach home ,
there was literally no one in the streets and we followed them to the shop ,they were very surprised at Nagesh who was very popular then ,they did not have a rose milk but bought a cigarette which Nagesh lighten with cinematic elegance looking at us children following him later he whistled for  an auto and they both went off .
I found an article in the Hindu on this shop 
It had a phone number and I called up the owner and told him of my nostalgia for his rose milk he was thrilled to hear it though he wasn't born when I had taken  rose milk from his shop .
So when you go to Chennai dont forget to take a rose milk from Kalathi stores in East mada street Mylapore 
For details, contact Pushparaj at 9840919797.

So in honor of Kalathi and sons I made a rose milk which wasnt bad at all 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

in the company of juvenile diabetics

During my internship days in Kilpauk medical college in Madras in 1982..83 i was posted in internal medicine in the unit of Kisaar Ahmed a pioneer in Diabetology. In those dark days endocrinology as a superspeciality was yet to be born. Kisaar sir had then itself started the Diabetic Research cell in KMCH. His focus was on Juvenile Diabetes the rare ill fated children and adolescents and young men fated to depend on external insulin as thier bodies never produced them or if they did it didnt work.
Before discovery of insulin juvnile diabetics just died.
it was for Banting a young doctor and Best a medical student of Toronto university to discover the magic of insulin from the extracts of the pancreas of a dog later a cow. Though the Nobel price of medicine went to Banting he had to share it with Mclelod a physiologist in Toronto university who gave space to Banting and Best to conduct the research. Banting was furious and felt it was Best and not Mcleold who deserved a share of the prize and donated half his prize money to Best later the Nobel Committee agreed that it should have gone to Best too.
Lets not divert
Coming back to Kisaar sir he loved those juvenile diabetics like his own.
Many had been abandoned some were from very poor families who could ill afford daily insulin
so many stayed in the hospital itself
The younger ones even went to school the olders went for work.
Back in the evening they would go to thier spots in the corridor the older men would help us with collection of samples
I still remember one lanky young man who was my perpetual assistant trailing me with a litany of syringes test tubes as I went about the ardous task of collecting blood samples from the hundred or more patients in the ward some on beds some between beds on the floor for Government hospitals which were crowded beyond belief.
The nurses actually were supposed to do the job but Government nurses were dictators and poor interns just listened to them.
This guy i remember would spell urine as unir
saar unir samples collect paniten saar ...he would say
Kisaar saar knew each juvenile duabetic by name and would often enquire as some just disappeared for few days most were brought back in hyperglycemic keto acedotic states to be nurtured back by a considerate sir who would later give them a piece of his mind too.
another problem was hypoglycemia .when you had insulin you need to have food some youngsters did not on and off or insulin dose was bit high so they landed up in hypoglycemic attacks which are emergenciies body cannot last long without glucose
Most in the ward knew the drill as soon as they see slightly woozy strange behaviour of thier friends they would give jaggery water or sweets or sugar but if less conscious would yell for nurse.
.nursamma rashid hypo...
.then we would rush load our fifty ml .glass syringes with glucose trying to get a vein out of a thrashjng foaming super powerful hypoglycemic patient.
As the glucose flowed in the throes would subside calm would settle and he would sleep with a beatific smile like a baby would.
Next day in rounds an angry Kisaar. Sir would tick him off.
Can never forget those guys

Castro dead Communism long dead

Castro dead ...... Communism long dead 

In history of mankind there would be very few men who were pied pipers in their ideology .

for thousands of others the likes of Fidel Castro and the Argentinean doctor and Castros friend Che Guevra represented daring, equality, romanticism, and the fable of utopia
Yes like Castro breathed his last at ninety years on 25 th of November 2016 his ideology of communism had long before gasped out of its existence in a world which realized all the great theories of equality existed only in thick tomes or in the dry dreary speeches of comrades.
Marks and Engels truly created a revolutionary thought of equality among st universal humanity firing the hopes of many ,but unfortunately man isnt wired to be equal.
We are as different as we come ,a very politically uncomplimentary statement but a truth ,a fact that has been proved in history !
The crumbling of the edifices of the leftist bastions like paper maiche castles starting with the splintering of USSR and its satellites ,the crass conversion of communist China into a diametrically opposite capitalistic mode happened
All because man would never be eqaul.
In all these countries and in those patches of communism that are still existing intubated and in their last throes like in kerala in India , the caucus of power , the leaders always reaped the benefit ,their family got the best ,their power alliances ruled ,
Remember the eastern European countries of the seventies the long lines of starved people in front of non existent supermarkets fighting over a portion of black bread while their bosses holidayed in Crimean resorts on rare caviar
Remember the Gulags of Stalin as he transported half his population to freezing Siberia
What equality are they talking of ?
Communism was nothing more than feudalism trying to look good with a coat of respectability in talking of equality all the time.
It existed by coercion ,violence , threats and its minions were automatons and zombies to their leaders.
Its USB was dictatorship by the party
So instead of an envisaged Utopian reality of Marx Engels the philosophy had turned into a depraved existentialist of crass selfishness and exploitation that even capitalism and feudalism appeared fairer.

So all the hoary praises I hear from the sound bytes in TV of how the flames of castros legacy of nine decades are safely protected to spread and inflame in places like kerala , appears as a feeble yelp of an extinct dinosaur...of old wives tales to convince idiots ....communism
And dear comrade even Castro anointed his own brother as the successor
So much for equality
Get awake

Friday, October 21, 2016

Camera control

Whenever I travel taking photographs has been my passion..somehow there a compulsion to record what i saw with awe for posterity.
My family used to say why dont you see things with your eyes instead of through a lens. Very true but my nature would take over.
So most trips i go laden with my Nikon SLR 3000 and also its 740 mm lens with sun shield. My faithful samsung note 4 which had given me excellent shots and lovely videos .
Technically not perfect i had the eye for a good frame and mostly wouldnt miss oppurtune moments 
Photography is freezing moments i feel.
These days a remote selfie stick with blue tooth made me take selfies which do not look like one but its preparation adjustments opening application and shooting all this in crowded tourist areas was a bit cumbersome. .once in a cathedral in Sydney in a sepulchral hall durig a solemn mass i was happily clicking on my nikon in professional agility. I had changed to my huge lens but forgotten to lock it. The disaster happened as my lens fell n a loud thud to floor making the entire congregration look back at me as i guiltily picked it up. Luckily God was with me as my lens was not broken only my ego was ! 
This time premila joined me with a vengeance as she bought a latest canon digital camera small but powerful and clicked away with it and her i phone beating me in the game 
A real camera trip

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Beyond Borders

Talking of Bone marrow transplants Allogenic transplants require usually HLA matched blood relations rarely does an unmatched donor become useful .
When in Tawam Hospital in Al Ain two Bangladeshi patients were referred by me to CMC vellore for allogenic transplants .

India is the most economic for bone marrow transplants at least 20 to 30 % cheaper than anywhere else in the wrold with equally good results ,( to all those who blame Indian medical sector ) in US and UK it is obnoxiously expensive the poor Bangladeshi patients would have ill afforded
Even in CMCH Vellore it would come to approximately 2000000 INR at that time .
One of the patients whom I sent first told me he knew a Pakistani business man in Dubai who could help him ,so I got his number and called him and asked him if it was true ,

yes Doctor you go ahead and arrange i shall sponsor the expenses he said but do you know how much it really costs ,no worries i shall pay ,
but I said i would just do the medical referral the financial part he needs to deal directly with the Hospital ,
everything was done
our young patient got a visa took his HLA matched donor along with and went to CMCH Vellore ,
Dr Mammen Chandy the renowned hematologist was the HOD and I had communicated with him directly .
Patient went through the procedure which by itself was simple but the stormy post transplant period accounted for the cost and the troubles
luckily he came out of it cured .
And after some time when another Bangladeshi patient also needed a BMT and had a matched recipient i could contact CMCH again and they were wiling to take up the case but this time we had no sponsor ,
so hesitatingly i contacted the same Pakistani gentleman and told him the situation
i told him I dont expect you to sponsor again i know it is unfair but do you know any one who can ,
he said Dr no worries
God has given me profits maybe it is for this purpose
I will sponsor again ,
i was stunned by his generosity so the same thing was repeated he too went and had a successful transplant and returned though he developed lot of post transplant difficulties the last I saw him hopefully he is ok now
this is a real life story of An Indian doctor ,a Pakistani business man ,An Indian hospital a great Indian specialist coming together to help a Bangladeshi patient
no two of them
what are borders

Madras ....Chennais nostalgia

..I was born brought up and had my studies there and moved to Kerala my native place for the working phase of my life ..
strangely both my children who were born and raised in Cochin. Kerala had a stint in Chennai my daughter studying in the 175 year old venerable Madras medical college where I also did my post graduation in its legendary Bernard institute of radiology and cancer..
To walk in its hallowed portals for both me and my daughter were our destinies ..

incidentally it was the famed medical exhibition in this college which I visited as a ninth class student of Santhome high school just opposite the Santhome beach and its peach white cathedral which gave me the ache to be part of the medical profession .

I just couldnt resist the uphill task of a general category applicant to get into a Government medical college by merit.
Those days too there were a couple of capitation fee medical colleges mostly in Karnataka but not like the tons of medical colleges which appeared like a measles rash in the present day kerala where one could become a cardiologist in ten years with the right amount of greenbucks !

My getting an admission in the kilpauk medical college in the ancient 1977 was almost a near impossible task for a fatherless rudderless boy who had a brave mother resisting pressures to bring her children to the native village in Kerala and making them study there instead of staying alone with two children in the big bad city..she was adamant we would study only in madras and if iam something today iam indebted to her fortitude and realization that Madras was a city of education from those days.
My sister too graduated in economics from SIET college in the city
Compared to this my daughter Sruthi sailed through the All India list of medical entrance and sat and choose at her will her preferred Madras medical college and studied her MBBS and did internship before flying to the rarer environs of a Cleavland university to become a pediatric resident

 and my son Shyam too did his plus two again in Chennai in order to attempt the coveted IIT entrance exams which he too cleared to become a part of the venerable IIT circle by joining IIT BHU in Varanasi.
Again it was Madras which bridged him into it.
Madras also got me the partner in my life for which Kilpauk medical college and its romantic aura was responsible
As a star struck final year student thats me proposed to a pretty third year student my wife and we became man and wife after a couple of years of running around its trees was again Madras for

Premila my wife even though she too was from Kerala be it her convent schooling in Doveton coree or stint in Ethiraj college and finally her MBBS in Kilpauk medical college where destiny had placed me two years before to wait for my beu
Madras was always a center of education for the past two hundred years. Legends have walked taught and spoken from its hallowed university its sprawling colleges its heritage learning places.
I also had an opportunity to study in Vivekananda college in Madras near Luz known for its studious students with a craze for cricket The likes of srikanth being its alumini but even a vivekananda college didnt turn me to sports. 
The one year there went away quickly with my almost fanatic zeal to get a medical admission by merit.
The three month stint in the red gabled baroque British buildinged Presidency college where i joined for BSC Zoology as a safety insurance in event of my not getting medical admission was mostly spent in the beachy Buhari hotel opposite it gulping huge cups of tea crunching crisp mutton samosas with other medical hopefuls cutting classes so much that once the professor told us with clenched teeth just remember fellows i will devour you if you dont get medical admission and get stuck with me for three years so the relief and happiness I got when i came to know i got admission for MBBS was to a small part happiness in not facing his revenge .
So to my family madras had always been synonymous with education.

Sunday, October 16, 2016


We left Bratislava with a smile ,it was one of the good trips we have had .
The luxury bus to Vienna was very comfortable with free WIFI entertainment console ,and mineral water .the seat was soft push back and roomy the windows were wide and the scenes were awesome ,with all this the one and half hour ride was over before we realized and we got down the Vienna bus stand .
Like in most developed cities the Bus station was part of a huge complex with metro at one level so we descended down to the Metro and managed to make an online call to our hotel in a place called PilgrimGasse .The reception gave us very clear instructions ,we were advised to get on to the red line ( Vienna Metro has five lines marked in different colors ,106 stations and covered around 75 kms .)
We needed to get down at Karlsplatz  station and change to green line and then travel a couple of stations to reach PilgimGasse  and the hotel was just right across the station .

We bought a ticket from the vending machine ,later we realized we could have bought the one day ticket and saved money which we did after some time ,
the one day or two days tickets are very convenient one can travel in bus or metro or tram unlimited with that .it cost 7.60 Euro per ticket approximately 600 INR




In   a short time we reached PilgrimGasse  a very quaint station with a canal of the Danube flowing near it
 there was a Mc Donald outlet nearby and some shops,
we checked in to Austria Trendz Ananas hotel ,
After freshening up we took the metro again this time with a one day ticket and went to karlzplatz changed trains to Musuems quartier  station by now we got the hang of it ,the metro map was very clear ,one had to be careful to look into the end stations in order not to travel in opposite directions and choose the correct colored line but it was very user friendly and needed no help from anyone .

The  museums Quartier  had  many art gallery's and museums mostly of them of the contempory  kind we went into the Leopold Museum it was very Avant garde with lot of fashionable people walking in the lobby
we found the admission charges were exorbitant as both us us were not particular fans of modern art and preferred more realistic ones we gave it a wide berth ,
most of the other museums and galleries there were of the similar kind but the square was big and one could get rest by sitting and people watching ,there was an interactive place for children and a pop music group was setting up for an evening of fun ,
we moved out of the place and then got into a road full of huge buildings palaces and statues the traffic was busy ,
we saw a huge complex with picturesque fountains and a huge square where only walking was allowed .
we came to know this was the famous Hofburg  Palace This was the traditional winter residence of the aristocracy who ruled Austria while the Schonbrunn palace was the summer residency 
it faced the Helden platz .
the sprawling Hofburg sqaure had many statues,manicured gardens and sitting places 

it has several parts to it
the Imperial Apartments, Sisi Museum, the Imperial Silver Collection, the Ancient Music Institute, Spanish Riding School, Museum of Fine Arts, Collection of arms and Armour, the National Library in the Grand Hall, the Imperial Chapel, the Treasury, a Papyrus Museum and the Butterfly and Palm House.
We took a ticket to enter the place it had two parts one the SISI museum where photographs were allowed ,the second part was the imperial collections where no photographs were allowed  .
SISI or queen Elsabeth the empress of Austria definitely requires a seperate museum for her tale is so poingnant and magnificient .

SISI is so famous that books have been written and movies taken 

The Habsburg dynasty ruled Austria for around two hundred years and during this time Austria became famous as a center of artistic living , fashion ,architecture ,music  and science too .
it was the hub of culture music and art in Europe in those bohemian days
Vienna had the likes of Sigmund Freud , Mozart ,Beethoven later Lenin Stalin Tito Trotsky and Hitler rubbing shoulders literally ,they may have been were  in its coffee bars probably espousing their beliefs
it was a fountain head of culture itself .
This can be seen in the medieval buildings in the historical area of the city .
Huge crowds of tourists throng the roads of this area ,and the towering Gothic cathedrals ,fairy tale castles with tall spires ,up market branded shops vying for space in midst of sculpted art and fountains .

We went into the SISI museum ,we were given ear plugs which gave recorded audio information by designated numbers of exhibits .

We learnt that Elisabeth a young playful adventurous girl related to the royal family living with her family n Bavaria who later  become sthe Empress of Austria itself by marrying the king Franz Joseph who was smitten by her charms .
SISI s tastes were exquisite and her passion for horse riding acrobatics and sports made her make lot of changes to the palace ,her dresses were the talk of the town and considered as the height of fashion ,she was a social butterfly at center of things with her charisma but she also felt she was in  ,a gilded cage in the palace she longed for her more carefree childhood .

She bore children grew into middle age her husband the king was mostly busy though he loved his wife ,she would go to other places dressed as a countess to hide her identity and it was once during one  such a trip an anarchist who was anti royals murdered her .
Sisi was written on and more than three films have been taken on her life .

Then we moved in to the imperial palace and its kitchen vessels ,decorated table and sanitary ware ,weapons jewelry furniture al these were grand and splendid 
after coming out of the Hoffsburg palace  





St Stephens Cathedral

the Stephens church stood tall in its Gothic brilliance 


Schonbrunn palace

The Opera hall in Schonbrunn palace

musicians get ready

Red Bus     hop on hop off

The well known Godess Athena 

inside the magnificent church

UNO  building  from the Danube towers 

Add caption

AT restaurant on top of Danube towers

Vienna is still called as the city of music ,city of dreams after freauds famous psychoanalytic theories ,there was a sigmund freud museum which we missed it needed a good week to touch al places .
we bought a ticket to enter the Hapsburg palace
It was in  two parts the first part was called SISSI Museum and second one was the imperial palace itself

The Sissi museum was wholly dedicated to Elisabeht sissy the wife of Franz Joseph emperor of Austria in short sissi was the famous Empress of Austria
she was a legendary beauty and was known for impeccable tastes her life was followed by many and she was an yesteryear princess Diana
her unfortunate death too was discussed for long and two movies had been taken on her so far ,
Iam writing a seperate post only dedicated to Sisi after this as she requires nothing less .

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