Somali Piracy.

In a twist to the saga of the Danish hostages taken by Somali pirates, the Chief Pirate now wants to marry the 13 year old, yes you read me right, 13 year old child. You can read all about that monstrosity here.

Apart from the five Danes there are 20 other hostages imprisoned by these animals. Just a few weeks ago, British couple Chandlers were released after arranging for a ransom of GBP 625,000, after being in captivity for over a year.

The Indian Navy has recently had some significant success in foiling some attempts at piracy and have captured over sixty pirates, many of them mere boys, employed by kinpin bosses safely on shore in Somalia and financed by Middle Eastern financiers. Some of the problems that India will now face is to prosecute the pirates arrested and imprison them at Indian tax payers cost.

The world’s mightiest Navies are hamstrung by values of fair play to captured pirates, at the cost of their respective tax payers funds.

Here is another report on the process and you can see why I find the whole process frustrating.

Should we simply not throw these animals into the sea for shark feed?

Electronic Hickey.

“Having a naked picture of your significant other on your cellphone is an advertisement that you’re sexually active to a degree that gives you status. It’s an electronic hickey.”
RICK PETERS, a prosecuting attorney for Thurston County, Wash., discussing sexual texting by teenagers in his jurisdiction. To get more background, here is the news item from the NYT.

Please also read this additional story in the NYT.

Let us now cut to India and my city of residence Pune. Before I proceed further, please read this story in our local edition of the Times of India.

In the local case, the perverts are all from rural areas surrounding Pune. Most of them would have sold their agricultural lands for the relentless expansion of Pune, or would be from rural landless labour background. They would usually be making a daily wage through some manual labour or be auto-rickshaw drivers. They are under educated, come from traditional backgrounds where women are kept indoors and when they see an urban modern girl with a man, they go berserk. Not that such a background justifies their behaviour, but this is to give a picture of part of our changing society and norms and the kind of problems that the so called progress creates.

In all the three cases that I have posted here, the common thread is the very rapidly changing world around us and the relentless use of modern communication gadgets to create unprecedented behaviour patterns with disastrous results. The hand held small mobile phone with so many other applications now available has now become a potent weapon in the hands of unscrupulous elements of society. I see children forever talking on mobile phones and taking photographs of each other, all over the place. Some of them carry hand sets that are obviously top of the line smart phone models, that I cannot afford to purchase.

There is however an upside to these crimes, if we can call it that. The same technology enables the law to apprehend the perpetrators quickly! BUT, after the event and trauma experienced by children, yes the same children who flaunt their hand sets.

What are we doing to our children?


Physiology Professor Jared Diamond, an evolutionary biologist, was well into a study of birds when he got the idea for his book, “Why Is Sex Fun?: The Evolution of Human Sexuality.”

“We’re used to thinking of birds as having unusual sex lives,” he said. “In fact, birds are normal. We’re the ones with the weird sex lives.”

So Diamond set out to explain why human sexuality developed as oddly as it did. He explains why humans insist on privacy for sex, why men don’t breast-feed their babies, why women undergo menopause and why the human penis is “so unnecessarily large.” The book’s title question turns out to be “the most difficult question in human sexuality,” Diamond said. He argues that the purpose of fun sex changed as humans evolved.

“It started as a means by which women could distribute their favors, so when they became pregnant, each male would think, ‘It might be mine,’ and not kill the child when it was born,” he said. “Then it ends up being the reason the husband had to stay home, because if he wandered off, it might be the day his wife was fertile and in bed with some other man.”

My readers are already familiar with India’s most famous paternity case. Now, other interesting stories are falling out of the proverbial cupboard.

Pune Mirror, a tabloid newspaper of my home town had this sensational news a few days back.

I quite liked the story about the ‘father’ who opted for a paternity test because his seven year old son stammered like his wife’s best friend in college!

If we overlook the comic side of such stories, there is another dimension to the problem of children being put up for adoption as this article highlights.

Problems of urbanisation combined with inadequate education on such matters, is bringing about problems for future generations of my country.

Medical Care In India.

My friend Susan is a warm hearted and gentle person. She has somehow endeared herself to my family. Recently, Ranjan had attended a barbecue party at her residence where her colleagues asked her how she knew Ranjan to which she said that the three generations of Rajgopauls have adopted her into their family as has she adopted them, leaving them no wiser! She teaches in one of our reputed schools offering International Baccalaureate diplomas. She specialises in teaching students with special needs (High IQ). Susan herself is an office-bearer/member of the Boston Mensa, which is enough said about her qualification for the work that she does here.

I had posted about her great neighbourliness earlier and had promised to post a photograph of hers at an appropriate time. I now fulfill the promise with three!

She recently wrote a mail to all her friends about her adventures in India, on receipt of which, I requested her to allow me to post it here as a guest post. Her response was typical of her- “Certainly! I think more should know about the excellent medical care here. While I have insurance (2) in the States. care here is much better.”

Here is her letter without any changes to it.

Thirty years I had a ski accident in Austria, shattering my left ankle. It took months to heal and it was never comfortable. As the years passed, I continued running, dancing, biking, took up downhill ski racing and even did a few triathlons. I tried every treatment recommended, artificial cartilage made from cock’s comb, Synvisc, another cast, two operations to remove cartilage that had broken off and wedged into the joint, removal of bone spurs and bumps, had the bones shaved surgically to make the joint more smooth, and took so many pain meds that I gave myself three bleeding ulcers.

Finally a surgeon here in Pune, India told me it had to be done now. I had hoped for an ankle replacement but they’ve been out only since 2008 and the track record proves the ankle joint replacement is not long lasting. That left only fusion where the bones in my ankle would be screwed together, my leg and ankle in a cast, and I would not be able to put any weight on that foot for three months.

The surgeon used a hospital named Oyster and Pearl and it was a modern, spacious facility, a joy to behold in white and chrome. The nurses dressed me appropriately for the event.

I had a private room, daily massages, and excellent care for my five-day stay for less than $1600 US which my school insurance covered. When it was time to leave the Director of my school and his wife, Michael and May, took me into their home so I wouldn’t be alone at home. The offer was very generous and kind. This photo was taken at a restaurant without stairs and was my first outing. May loaned me her Ethiopian dress so I didn’t have to be seen in a dressing gown.

Nine days later I was well enough to be on my own so returned to my flat and to work two days later. I have a maid at home that cleans, does laundry, and prepares some food. At school my meals are brought to my new space, one without stairs. I hired a car and driver to take me to and from school with my wheelchair. It’s an effective arrangement.
Co-workers come to visit on weekends attracted by the variety of animal hats that I purchased in Nepal.

Mark is wearing an elephant, Robert a beaver, Kiran a monkey, while I doned an owl.
I’ll be able to walk the first week in June but if you have the time, come now to visit. Yes, it’s summer and hot but in June the monsoons begin. I anticipate returning mid July and plan a pool party in Salem. Will I see you then?

Deja Vu. An Update.

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
Macbeth Act 5, scene 5, 19–28

My readers will be as distressed as I am, to know that the lady who jumped out of the fifth floor flat to escape the wrath of the wife of her boy friend succumbed to her injuries last night.

Here is an update in our local newspaper.

What a waste of a young life.