Saturday, May 21, 2016

This was some 25 years ago. though there were some die hard golfers, their numbers were small and the golf courses were few. almost all the equipment had to be imported. the conditions of importing any thing was an ordeal with the customs looking at you as a criminal out to get them. We the beginners had to depend on much used rusty second or third hand sets to learn and play.

After graduating to play, we made a foursome and we had a fixed time to start. 10 minutes ahead on that given day, used to be a four ball of senior citizens. one of then was a retired Air Marshal, another was a business executive, and third was retired bureaucrat and the fourth was from an illustrious family and didn't need to work!

They naturally would finish before us and by the time we finished and settled at the next table, they would be into their second glass of beer. Their infectious pleasure in what they did, some times would rub off and would involve us at the next table!

Their conversation too would often involve pulling each other's leg.Three of them were accomplished, widely traveled and had many experiences to share and naturally they hogged the conversation. The jobless land owner, though witty, often was reduced to be an interested listener.He was also the most generous of the lot and quite often he would pay not only his bills but the neighboring table's which was usually occupied by us.

One such day primed by beer, Air marshal was describing where he got his set of clubs and how he got it. he said, 'I was air attache in our high commission in the UK and had lots of time which I spent golfing and made more money in winning the bets than my paltry salary. this set was given to me by one looser who had no money to pay, he said, Marshal, you take this set instead, I only end of loosing every time I play with this. I took it, it was fairly new, and also because I was not sure he would pay when we met next. But we did meet and he kept loosing despite playing with a new set. This set which I have is that'

The bureaucrat tried pulling a fast one by saying his nephew presented the set to him when he visited him, in one of his government sponsored trips abroad. The jobless land owner, I will call him G, said,' nephew my foot, didn't Mr S gave this to you when you helped him to get his file cleared? I know this because he is a friend of mine'. The bashful bureaucrat saved his face by saying that the nephew also gave him a set which is lying at home

 The Business man followed with his own story of how he got it from the US and the harassment he went through in the customs to clear it.

Now came the turn of G, He said, 'you know, I like old cars, I have one 1930 model Morris car. I needed a carburetor part for the car. I usually go to city market gujri [ urdu word for used spare parts]. I went there looking for this part and found this set lying in one corner covered with accumulated dust.I asked the gugriwala, what is that?, he said, 'Saab, I don't know, it came with lot of other iron, bekar[useless] sticks' I had a look, the clubs[sticks] appeared in good condition, I asked him what he wanted for them? he said Saab, please take it, you don't have to pay, it is occupying much needed space'. I didn't feel like taking it for free, Paid him 100Rs and brought it home, cleaned and polished it and that is the set with which I regularly beat you guys'

we at the next table joined him in the cheers

G was a golf fanatic and wanted to die on the golf course was his wish. He did die while playing at the Mysore golf course

Saturday, March 5, 2016

40 years ago when I put up my board, this area was much undeveloped to say the least. Full of swamps, with agricultural fields in between, with no pukka roads laid, connectivity with the city was two busses, which plied twice a day. Mosquitoes were ubiquitous with an invasion at night fall. And there I was with an open door leading to the road sitting and waiting for the patients. Occasionally, however, I used to get busy and when BR visited me all in a panic that forenoon it was one such occasion.
He pushed his way through, and said, ‘doctor, my wife is unable to breathe, please hurry and come with me’. How long she has been ill’ I asked. Since three days she is worse, she has asthma, and her medicines are not working’ he answered.
Asthma and Bangalore city have been great friends and continue to be so. In those days it was even worse, the whole area of nearly two to three square KMs, slated for development of an extension was full of parthenium weed. The abundant spore producing parthenium was one most important cause of allergic rhinitis and asthma. Over the years buildings came up all over and this noxious weed disappeared and the incidence of asthma came down. It is very much present on the outskirts of the city and doctors practicing in the periphery of the city must be seeing quite a bit of  asthma cases even now.
Coming back to BR, I said,’ if she has been having this for three days, it can’t be an emergency, I will come with you after seeing these patients’ He did not take kindly to this, he said, ‘no, no, it is serious, she will die if you don’t come, my home is just across the street’
Seeing his panic and my reluctance to leave the waiting patients and go with him, one of the patients told, doctor you go with him. We will wait’
I had no option but to go with him. I took my black foldable bag which had all the emergency aids and went out with him, He had no vehicle with him and as it was a short distance we walked, he carrying my bag and virtually running, and I following him. Across the street we went but he would not stop, his across the street was not just across but across many streets! When asked where the house is, he pointed in the general direction and said there. No point in asking this man. Better go and face the problem when we get there I thought, after walking nearly a km we reached that single storied small bungalow. Both the gate and the front door were open, we went in heading straight to where the patient was, half sitting and half reclined.
Mrs J was then a young woman of 25, recently married, new to the city, was in real trouble. One look at her, I realized that BR was not exaggerating when he said it was an emergency. She could hardly breathe, with a cyanotic tinge, perspiring all over. There was no need or time for any detailed check. Subcutaneous adrenaline was the drug of choice and I gave her this and followed it up with IV deriphylline and decadron. Her breathing eased, but she became nauseous and even before BR getting a basin to hold the vomit she brought out all her breakfast on to my shirt front. This happened as I was keenly watching her recovery and did not with draw quickly enough to escape the spray.
It was not an uncommon side show of using adrenaline. I took off the soaked shirt and vest and sat watching her recovery. Within the next ten minutes, like miracle she was normal, and wanted to make tea for me!
Where was BR? He had disappeared with my clothes. He returned after a few minutes with a new shirt of his. Different color, different make and size. I had no options but to put it on and return to my waiting patients. BR came with me carrying the bag despite my telling him not to.
On reaching the clinic, one patient asked me,’ doc do your patients give you a shirt also when you make a house call? I had no patience to explain or appreciate his humor. I must have given him a dirty look, to make him keep quiet.
That night after the evening clinic, I dropped in to see her. She was perfectly normal, and gave me a paper bag which had my clothes neatly washed and ironed

The friend ship that began that day has lasted even to this day.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Bone marrow registry

Bone marrow is the fluidy substance present in side the bones.This is an important organ which produces blood cells and is home for stem cells. Stem cells are the progenitor cells of all the cells that are present in our body and have the capacity to transform into any cell. Though present in small numbers in the normal marrow they can proliferate as the need arises. For many sufferers from life threatening conditions like leukemia [blood cancer] the only hope is to get these cells from a compatible donor. The compatibility is determined by a process called tissue matching or HLA matching. Unlike blood group testing, HLA typing involves lot of sophistication and is therefore expensive.

So,how will the sufferer find a donor whose HLA type matches with his HLA? Here in lies the major problem of enlisting the donor and this enlistment is called bone marrow registry. It is estimated that to get one match one needs to have 20,000 donors registered. An intending donor who wants to donate his bone marrow need not apprehend that his bone marrow will be taken out. Neither at the time of registration nor at the time of transplant will one will put a needle into his bone. What is done is that at the time of registration a sample of his blood[5ml] or his saliva/buccal swab] is taken and his HLA is typed. When it is found that his HLA type matches with that of one who is in need, he will be called to donate. Even at this time, which may come once in his life time or not at all,he will be given some injections to mobilize the stem cells from his bone to his blood and these cells are harvested by a specialized machine by a process called pheresis. He will have spend a day in the institution and there by saving a life or giving the recipient a prolonged disease free life.
In countries like China, Germany and the US,there are established registries with large number of donors and getting a match is not very difficult. But in our country there are very few registries with very small numbers of donors

Keeping this dire need in mind, and the knowledge of many young lives being lost[an estimated 50,000 deaths every year], Bangalore medical college alumni association has launched a massive donor registration programme. The cost of HLA typing which normally costs more that 10,000 Rs is being offset by the funds raised by the alumni and the details as to how and what of the whole process can be got from visiting the dedicated website bonemarrow

I request all of you who read my blog to spread the word around and involve in this noble cause

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Many years ago, I was a trustee of Bangalore Hospice Trust which runs a hospice for the terminally ill cancer patients. Fund raising is an important and needed activity of the trust. Even now it is so. There used to be an yearly exhibition of art and hospice would get material from donors for sale which included many paintings, some known and  some unknown. One such painting, on 4by4 canvass depicting the two Rajasthani men was on display. The trustees decided to sell it for Rs 20,000. During the three days of show it went unsold and went back to its place in one of the rooms.Next year too the same story repeated. In the third year the chief trustee decided to bring the price down to Rs  15000 and expected it to be sold. Two days went by and no sale. That is when I made the offer of Rs 10,000 which is all I could afford. The last day and the last minute went by and no one bid for it and the painting became mine! Since then it has occupied a pride of place in my sitting room and many a uncomfortable guest has asked me the origins of this painting. But who is the painter? There is the name of the painter called Arohi Singh in the corner? Who is she?

These two men have entertained my friends, relatives and I,all these years and the money spent on this has really been worth it

Friday, May 8, 2015

Appreciation of music

You should have an ear for music or he has an ear for music. What these phrases mean? do they mean that you have a special aptitude to appreciate music. Yes, that is what they mean. What is this special aptitude? Does it need training or is it instinctive?

In bygone days [I believe even now in some], south Indian bramhin families would get their children, girls in particular, trained in classical karnatic music.This had two purposes.One is that the parents genuinely believed that these girls achieve proficiency in music that it adds value to their future lives and the other more practical belief that it is a value addition in the marriage market!

Be that as may, let us get back to the assumption that training makes one appreciate music much better than one when is not trained.It is true that some training helps in recognition of the nuances such as the voice,rhythm, cadence, construction etc.If one such listener concentrates too much on these aspects there is fear of his losing the essence of the music. Take for example the singing of late Gangubai, Her voice is shrill and manly and a person who determines the singing by the melody would think her music below par. But she succeeded in touching the very depths of your heart by the sheer quality and exuberance and that is the secret of many great singers. They went to ones heart and brain has little to say.

In conclusion, I feel of knowledge of music when complimented by instinct will make one appreciate music much better than knowledge alone. In this a person who has no knowledge but has instinct is better off!

Salman and after

I don't go to movies especially the Hindi movies which are mostly song and dance gibberish. Most are far removed from reality and are huge commercial successes. This success is like the success of the ongoing IPL matches.The success in terms of gate attendance,TV viewership,money made by the advertisement for mostly useless products, reflect the taste and trends of modern India.So is with cinema. The status of the bollywood actors and actresses too reflect this taste, The huge popularity of Salman Khan is one such example.

This man, some thirteen years ago, while drunk, ran over the footpath and killed one and injured many.Adding insult to injury, he ran away from the scene.He has money and clout and he used this and kept the case going on all these years in the lower court. The lower court 3 days ago, announced him guilty and awarded him 5 years in jail.

You might have thought that justice is done at last.Wait, he got bail from the higher court in super quick time and one of the best legal brains, who commands lot of respect in the legal spheres, Mr Harish Salve represented him!

A horde of admirers, both from the cinema and politics, made a dutiful pilgrimage to this actor's home.Watching the scene on television, I had the surrealistic feeling of watching people paying homage to a great war hero!

What do you call this? Mass sycophancy,hysteria,misplaced loyalty?

All this drama goes to show that this country there are two laws.One for the wealthy and another for the poor

I am very disappointed with Mr Salve.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Appreciation of art

How does one do it?  When one views a painting , picture, fresco or a photograph what appeals to him? Does this appeal makes him feel happy, sad,
excited or leaves him with no feelings?

If it is sadness then is it worth having it always? If it elation, happiness then one may be inclined to have it. Then what in that painting or picture which evokes these feelings?
Is it the intricacy and the effort, the colours, the object chosen that is the cause? Or is it something else? In abstract painting there is no apparent design or method but they succeed in eliciting these emotions.
In abstracts one probably sees the painter trying to convey athought or meaning to the person who is viewing. This thought is the one that evokes the feeling which makes one to appreciate it
I have a print of a painting by Mario Miranda of Hobo in tattered  dress with a drooping cigarette in the mouth standing forlorn in abusy street corner. It's infinitely sad and the painter has succeeded in his purpose
 I have another, this one real, of abstract colours arranged in squares with meameaningless lines and circles giving the impression of attemped script.The colours used dark  red to yellow and brown. What is the emotio n?
Freedom? Peace or may be both. It occupies a place where I can have an easy and frequent look

I have another of two Rajasthani men sitting on a pavement. One has a disapproving look and another has a questioning one. This painting is on a wall in my sitting room and often draws attention of my visitors. What emotions that come up on viewing this painting? Curiosity, feelings of insecurity, peace, fun. most of these have been experienced on looking at this. My own feeling is that one of peace at what I am as they must be!

How I acquired this painting I will tell you in my next post