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Month: April 2015

When the Earth Shook- Nature at its Fury

When the Earth Shook- Nature at its Fury

A lazy Saturday afternoon it was.  And the earth shook. As I sat cutting fresh green ladies fingers in my kitchen, I suddenly felt the vessel shudder. Was it my hand moving? Probably it was my BP going low. But when the cups hanging on the cabinet started to clatter, I realized it was a quake.

By then, hubby had realized it too. Picking up our two little ones we ran outside our apartment. We took the stairs down the 6 floors. By this time, almost the entire colony had collected below, at a distance from the building. We felt it a second time again. This time it was milder,  a sudden jolt as though the ground below us was moving.

Saturdays Himalayan quake has left the country of Nepal battered. It is the worst natural disaster affecting the country in all of 80 years. Thousands have lost their lives. Many more have lost their homes, the basic need for existence.  Sitting in Delhi, I just felt a tremor. But it did get me thinking!!!

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For a moment a chill shiver went down my spine. The first thought- my life and my family is most important. All other things in life are secondary.I looked up at my building and realised that a disaster of such magnitude could practically wipe out everything I have. My home and my family too. I clutched my two daughters closely… the  secure feeling was blissful.

Life is the most precious thing!!

Scientifically an earthquake is the displacement of the earth’s crust along the lines of weaknesses. An earthquake of medium intensity can cause enough destruction to life and infrastructure, which cannot be rehabilitated properly for a decade to come.

It is surely Mother Nature at her fury.

"As long as there is no physical abuse in the marriage, it could be endured".

"As long as there is no physical abuse in the marriage, it could be endured".

What is it with cousins? We rarely meet, yet when we do; it seems like the bygone days are back again. I met my dear cousin Radhika after almost 8 years, and it felt like we are children again.  

“So Radhika, happily married? How has it been?” My petite 36 year old cousin looked up at me and said,”Married, yes. Happily, I really do not know”.

“Ok tumble it out Radhika”, I said. She knew I wouldn’t let her go otherwise.

“I have been told by many a people, that as long as there is no physical abuse in the marriage, it could be endured. However, no one ever realizes how painful an emotional abuse could be in a marriage. Venkat and my horoscope had a 9 point compatibility. He was well educated and employed. His background was pretty decent, coming from a family of qualified doctors. He neither smoked nor consumed alcohol.  So for my parents, it was the epitome of all marriage alliances. He would be a perfect match for their daughter.

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I however, realized our incompatibility in the initial days of marriage itself. Venkat has a short fuse. The slightest of things would irk him and make his temper flare. I initially tolerated it, hoping things with smoothen over the days. And each one of us have some weakness or the other, right? But over the years things seem to have just got worse. This is partly because of his professional stress, and partly because I have become his punching bag to vent out frustration. His comments have become demeaning. Off late, realizing that I have become a bit aloof due to his temper, he suspects me of infidelity if I got back home late from work. My 10 year old daughter is so affected by these temper flares, that she often skips dinner, locking herself in her room.  There seems to be really no love in our relationship. We just live on, with life moving from weekend to weekend.

On occasions when I have felt like walking out of the marriage and looked up to my mother for support, she just says, “There are husbands worse off. He just has a bad temper. He never hits. He does take care of you. Walking out be a tough thing to do.”

So tell me now, where is the happiness in this marriage? It just seems to be an arrangement of sorts with parents, who want us to live together for their own reasons.” I heard her out completely. I realized the grim situation.

Many parents even today insist on arranged marriage, giving more importance to horoscopes, groom’s education, income and parents’ background. The fail to focus on a very vital aspect of marriage – compatibility. Compatibility is not about having similar interests/family background. Or for that matter belonging to a certain profession. Compatibility is about couples treating each other with equality and respect. It is all about couples spending time with each other, sharing their crazy thoughts and time, and just having a good laugh together. Relationships thrive on these small things. Venkat is a good provider to his family. But what really lacks in their relationship is respect.

Often, when a girl expresses her concern over her husband’s nature/ ways, the first reaction she gets is “just adjust” or “see the positive” or “it happens in all marriages”. Instead we should focus on giving her a nonjudgmental compassionate hearing. We should be offering her suitable tailor made suggestions. And if required sought the help of a professional counselor. This in reality will bring in respect, space and individuality for the Indian woman! This would truly empower her.

I really wonder how ready we are for this…

Quit it- Before He Gets You

Quit it- Before He Gets You

“All names have been changed to protect the identity of the individuals”

I saw Krishna and his bandaged mouth, at the medical ward of the Ram Manohar Lohia hospital in Delhi. Thin intravenous tubes were connected to his hand and another pipe was at his mouth. His dutiful wife, Sangeetha sat by his side. She had been my domestic help for the past 4 years. And, the bond between us had grown beyond a mere employer- employee relationship, sharing daily tidbit of each others lives. With three little kids to feed and educate, Krishna worked as a rickshaw puller on Ajmal Khan Road, and Sangeetha worked in two more residences in our colony.

Whether it was the staunch smell of the tincture, or the sight of Krishna’s disfigured face, I simply do not know. Five minutes in the ward and a dizzy feeling crept through me. I quickly gripped a chair and sat down. Sangeetha was inconsolable. The cancer was malignant, prompting the doctors to cut off the lesion stricken portion of Krishna’s tongue. As the oncologist walked in, Sangeetha looked up, searching for some hope in the doctor’s face. “He is fine now, and could be discharged soon,” the doctor said. As he walked out, I followed him to understand Krishna’s state. “The disease is progressive he said. We would use the traditional ways of chemotherapy and maybe radiation if required… but….” I understood from his trailing voice… there wasn’t much hope after all.

Quote: “Oral cancer remains one of the most devastating and disfiguring of all malignancies. It has a higher ratio of deaths-per-cases than that of breast and cervical cancer.”

In the United States alone, tobacco use accounts for at least 30% of all cancer deaths, causing 87% of lung cancer deaths in men, and 70% of lung cancer deaths in women. (Source: Cancer Facts & Figures 2014). Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States.

So you are at risk if you regularly chew gutka, paan, zarda, paan masala and any other form of chewable tobacco. A cigarette, cigar or a beedi is no better. Here are some hard hitting facts.

The risk of oral cancer is about 5 to 10 times greater among smokers compared to people who never smoked. This risk is further multiplied among smokers who also drink alcohol. Smokers are at higher risk of dying from oral cancer than those who have never smoked. The risk of dying from oral cancer increases with the amount smoked per day.

In Delhi state alone more than a lakh of people consume some form of tobacco. Tiny packets are available in most “chai” shops around the street. For people like Krishna, consumption of chewable tobacco gives them the much needed vigor to endure a day’s hard labor. Despite the warning on the packet, little did Krishna realize its consequences. The malignancy caused by chewing tobacco eventually took Krishna’s life away.

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The Delhi government has called for a ban of the sale of chewable tobacco products in the state. This is yet to be formally enforced as the Delhi High Court on April 8,2015 had restrained it from taking any coercive action against a manufacturer who had appealed against the ban following which the ban notification was revised.

I personally feel such a ban is a much needed thing for the well being of the people, if it is coupled with large scale campaigns to educate the masses on the harmful effects of chewable tobacco. It would save many more lives. It would save many more families from losing their loved one.

Neurologists in Jaipur

Neurologists in Jaipur

Neurology – the medical branch, is involved in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disorders of the brain and the nervous system. A doctor or specialist practicing neurology is called a neurologist, and a surgeon who operates on the brain is called a neurosurgeon. Jaipur city has some of the country finest neurologists. The neurologists in Jaipur are highly qualified and experienced to attend to many neurological conditions.  Hospitals here boast of state of the art equipment and modern intensive care units. Common cases of neurological conditions treated in hospitals are stroke, epilepsy, headache, coma, neuropathies, myopathies, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, etc.

Neurological disorders have the following symptoms.

§  Headache

§  Weakness

§  Paralysis

§  Speech Surliness

§  swallowing disorders

§  Fits

§  Difficulty in walking

§  Vertigo /giddiness

§  Visual disturbances

§  Loss of consciousness

§  Tingling or numbness

§  Loss of bladder control

§  Sleep disorders

Neurology clinic in Jaipur conduct medical procedures done to treat conditions such as:

  • Thrombolytic- intravenous intra-arterial and mechanical for acute stroke
  • Botulinum toxin injection for neurological disorders
  • Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) for Parkinson’s disease
  • Epilepsy surgery

Treatments are based on individual patient cases. Depending on the nature of ailment, patient may be referred additionally, to a physiotherapist, speech therapist, psychotherapist or, a neurosurgeon in Jaipur if a surgery is needed.

Diagnosis and treatment

Specialists use EMG or Electromyography to evaluate muscle and nerve function. During the test electrical impulses are employed to stimulate various nerves to determine how well they are working. A small pin may also be inserted into various muscles to study in detail individual muscle fibers.

Another common procedure is the EEG or electroencephalogram. This is safe and painless way to record the electrical activity of the brain. Patterns of the brain’s electrical activity provide information about specific brain functions. Apart from this Neurologists also remove brain tumors, treat neurovascular diseases, functional disorders, pain and trauma. These complex conditions are almost always the purview of neurosurgeons.

Recovery from neurological conditions varies from individual to individual. The first step is formal rehabilitation to restore or improve physical, mental and emotional functions.

Cardiac Care in Jaipur

Cardiac Care in Jaipur

India is one of the fastest developing nations in the world. In the last few decades we have made tremendous progress in the field of technology, education, science and even agriculture. However there’s something of concern lurking behind- the high incidence of heart diseases in the country. According to a report published recently by the “Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM)”, there has been a considerable increase in the number of heart disease cases over the past couple of decades. The statistics are pretty alarming.

Cardio Care in the Cultural Centre of India-Jaipur

Jaipur, the state capital of Rajasthan, is culturally rich and one of India’s finest cities. With a great heritage, the city attracts millions of tourists every year. Apart from its infrastructure, Jaipur boasts of state of the art medical facilities. Heart hospitals in Jaipur are renowned not only in the country but also scores of patients from across the globe visit the cardio centre for treating heart diseases.  The city has innumerable hospitals dedicated to cardio care. Cardiologists in Jaipur are available in government run as well as multi-specialty hospitals.

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 Heart specialists in Jaipur are available for treatment of:

·         Coronary heart disease- This is the most common type of heart disease where plaque deposits block the blood vessels leading to a reduced supply of blood and oxygen to the heart.

·         Angina pectoris –The medical term for chest pain the first signal for heart attack.

·         Congestive heart failure – When the heart cannot pump enough blood to the rest of the body.

·         Cardiomyopathy – When the heart muscles weaken.

·         Congenital heart disease – abnormal heart due to a defect in its structure.

·         Myocarditis – Inflammation of the heart muscle.

You could expect a whole lot of wellness in treatment of heart diseases. Surgeons are available for cardiac and vascular surgery for both adults as well as pediatrics.

What causes heart diseases?

Lifestyle Causes- In the present day scenario, one of the major causes of heart diseases lies in our lifestyle. To highlight a few causes:

  • Smoking- a very large risk factor
  • High Cholesterol levels- Leads to thinning of your arteries
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension- Caused by stress and a sedentary lifestyle
  • Obesity: Excessive consumption of junk food and low intake of nutrition.
  • Physical inactivity

Genetic Causes:  If you have a history of heart ailments in your family, there is a high incidence of you developing it.

The heart is the most important part of the body. So take care to ensure you are always there.

 

On her banks stands the abode of education

On her banks stands the abode of education

Varanasi- The nucleus of India’s religion and culture.  Every year, hundreds of people throng the banks of the Ganga at Varanasi to cleanse themselves spiritually and physically. It is here that I met ten year old Ravi.

Ravi did odd jobs around Assi Ghat through the day, serving as a guide to tourists and piligrims. With a razor sharp mind, he had learnt the tricks of the business and managed to add a few rupees to his father’s meager income. I asked him why he wasn’t in a school, for which he answered,”Bibi ji, my father cannot afford my education. Plus, there is no government school close by here for poor children like me.” I was appalled to hear this. Varanasi is the most sacred banks of the Ganges and the seat of cultural learning. Yet, for children like Ravi, schooling was a distant dream.

Literacy for socio-economic development

For a nation to progress both socially and economically, literacy is a key factor. Illiteracy, impacts health, living and working conditions of people, and their general welfare. It has a direct link to crime rate too. As a nation, India has to deal with almost all of this. Our literacy rate as per the 2011 census is at 74.4%, way below the international average literacy levels. So what hampers our literacy levels? One, we lack basic schooling facilities. We are short of proper classrooms, teaching staff, supplies, books and basic sanitation in schools. Apart from this, the question of affordability deters quite a many from pursuing any sort of formal education.

Varanasi boat school – An innovative step

For children like Ravi, around the banks of the Ganges, school may really not be a distant dream. Ajeet Singh a true Do Righter has started the “boat school” on the banks of the Ganges in Varanasi. Functioning out of a boat, this innovative school provides basic education to scores of children who do odd jobs around the banks. Ajeet Singh teaches these children subjects such as Maths, English, drawing, computers and Hindi for two hours after their regular school day. The school serves as a stimulating environment for children, keeping them off the streets of Varanasi. The young minds learn and enjoy school without any pressures or tension.

Inside the School- View of what it is

Helping the school spread its wings

The purpose of this boat school is to ensure the basic right to education for all children. Today the school is ready to spread its wings and transform many more lives. It needs an ideal learning environment. From new interiors, to supplies such as books, teaching aid and music facility. The school aims to be an inspiration for the young minds and help them soar high.

 

The children of the boat- Lets help them get across

Let’s help bring about a magical transformation in the lives of these children. Share this message across your network with #india4india and #ScholarShip. Spread the word. Your efforts to empower these children, in whichever way you want, by donating or sharing the word, would mean a lot. So come on India, join the Journey of Doing Right.

The True Meaning of Empowerment

The True Meaning of Empowerment

I met Krishnaveni at a construction site in Sulur, a sleepy yet vibrant town in Coimbatore. It was a hot afternoon, with a warm breeze swaying through the trees. In a small place such as this, I learnt the true meaning of women empowerment.

Krishnaveni was married off at a tender age of 16 to James Raj. Her alcoholic father couldn’t afford to tend to her, so marriage seemed to be the best solution. Two months into marriage and Krishnaveni was pregnant. The problems had just begun. James was a severe alcoholic, a fact that was kept hidden. Almost every night, he would come home drunk, and what followed thereafter is anybody’s guess. “He had no remorse on my condition”, she said. He would hit her with rods, fling things at her and even sexually abuse her, ignoring her pregnancy. His drinking habit had cost him his job. Krishnaveni hoped for support from her in-laws, but she soon realized it was futile. Her father-in-law was another alcoholic, who had been abusing his wife for the past 30 years.

A smiling Krishnaveni beside her Mother-in-law. She had not been clicked in ages.
A smiling Krishnaveni beside her Mother-in-law. She had not been clicked in ages.

Krishnaveni delivered a premature baby girl in the seventh month of pregnancy. She lay in the hospital bed; weak and exhausted, hoping her husband would come at least once to see the face of his baby girl. James never turned up. Krishnaveni walked out of the hospital and her marriage,  baby in hand. She moved in with a relative in the same town and worked on a construction site earning a meager Rs. 300 a day. Life was tough. Questions were raised on her morality, of having walked out on her husband and home. For Krishnaveni such loose talk seldom mattered. She was on her own and the feeling was sheer bliss.

As the next few years rolled by, one day she received news of her husband’s death due to liver cirrhosis. Krishnaveni broke all odds and refused to be considered his widow. “What’s a husband, when he seldom treated me like his wife?” Her mother-in-law, Parvathamma joined her soon, having lost her husband too. Thirty years of domestic violence had reduced her to a mere frame. Krishnaveni whole heartedly accepted her into her life. She got her a job at the construction site and even opened a bank account in her name. They now live  with a single aim, of educating their daughter. I asked if she would encourage her daughter to marry later in life. She said,”Of course, but she will make her own choice. Whatever be the outcome of her marriage, she should be prepared to face the consequences.”

The sweltering heat didnt deter parvathamma from working
The sweltering heat didnt deter parvathamma from working

That afternoon, she left me with these words,” My daughter will study. My daughter will make her choices in life. My daughter will help other women come out of a bad marriage and start life on their own.”

The term “empowerment” is quite complex in its meaning, with multiple interpretations. I recently came across a discussion on women’s empowerment in a journal.“Women’s empowerment is all about being able to think take action and control one’s life in an autonomous way. One should gain control over one’s destiny and the circumstances of one’s life.”

For Krishnaveni, life may have given her a sour taste. But she chose to get out of it and not succumb to it, unlike her mother-in-law. She moved on and took control of her life. She was ready to face its consequences. She empowered herself, her mother-in-law and was raring to empower her daughter’s life too.