I am given to understand that the parents on this photograph kept trying till they got their heart’s desire of two sons. That reminded me of my parents’ desire to keep trying till they got a daughter.


The next photograph is circa 1967 when all the siblings were still single.  From left to right Arvind the son my parents got immediately after me, our father, Padmini the daughter that they kept trying for, our mother, yours truly and Barath the number three of the family.  Three brothers and a sister finally and you can imagine what a privileged position that is to be!  I have always told Arvind that life for the two of us would have been very different had he been born a girl!

Between the four siblings we produced five boys and three girls! I shall save a post for those eight for another day.


Fast forward circa end 2012 when the four of us siblings got together again at Chennai where Arvind and Padmini have settled down. From left to right, Arvind, Barath, yours truly and Padmini. Not a great photograph but enough to show that the fourth generation, ie the grand children of the siblings have come into the scene. Six grand children are missing, being in the UK, Bangalore and in Delhi. Four boys and two girls away, leaving two boys and two girls with us at the reunion. Totally six boys and four girls. Two children, my son Ranjan and Padmini’s daughter Nitila have no children. The ratio has improved but still not the ideal fifty-fifty, but I don’t think that there is any scope for that in the future.

When the whole family including all the sons and daughters in law and all the grandchildren get together again, I hope soon, I shall write again with photographs.

Profit Based Healthcare.

'You're right, we did make a profit.'
‘You’re right, we did make a profit.’

What a topic to write on! One of my pet grouses is the modern medical profession’s obsession with profits rather than patient welfare and very obligingly, Shackman has suggested this week’s Friday LBC topic to enable me to let off some steam! You may find another blogger Pravin also writing on this subject.

To start with, for those who may be interested about the medical profession in India, there is a remarkable book written by a group of doctors exposing some of the malpractices prevalent, reading which is a hair raising experience. I have read this a few times to stress points in discussions with some friends and am quite shocked at this knowledge being quite well prevalent but more astonishingly accepted as a fact of life. This drives me to believe that one has to be very lucky to find ethical medical practitioners.

I will share with my readers two personal stories to give my take on the subject.

A very long time ago, both my replaced hip joints needed to be revised and the surgeon I had been recommended to perform the revisions recommended that I get them done at a famous hospital in our town. The first one went without incident and I was quite happy with the outcome. The second one done after just two months went off well but the recovery process from the surgery took a very peculiar route at the hospital. Doctors who had nothing to do with my case would visit me and make some general enquiries and disappear. It was at the time of settling the bill that I found that those visits were being billed to me and I simply refused to pay. When the administrator came to find out what had happened, I pointed out this to him asked him to check from my surgeon if these were called in for consultation by him. I told the administrator that I will not pay and he could do what he wanted and that I was perfectly willing to stay on in the hospital till the bill was brought for settlement without the additional charges. My surgeon who has since then become a personal friend also supported me and after much toing and froing, the bill was reduced. I paid and got discharged albeit later than I should have been.

Another revision became necessary after ten years and on my refusing to go the same hospital again, the same surgeon suggested that we arrange for it in another newer hospital where too he had accreditation and I readily agreed and it was a delightful experience.

I have written about the other incident with my frozen shoulder when I wrote about My Health.

If I had such unpleasant experiences, I have also had some very good experiences which too are brought out clearly in the two stories that I have shared above. There are many more concerning the experiences that I have had with my GP as well my late wife’s Cardiologist. I also had some very good experiences with specialists and another hospital where I had to take my late father. Moreover, I recently had a serious problem for which I had to consult a specialist who not only made home visits as an exception, but also was very fair in the charging of his fees and most importantly, he gave me a lot of confidence and in a very short time cured me too.

So, we do have the two ends of the spectrum operating here in India as is confirmed by others. While I have had experiences of both things like this report contents also happen here.

I am sure that Shackman has similar tales to tell having undergone some serious issues with medicine in the recent past. I also keep reading about some serious issues with the Pharma industry like this article in The Washington Post. There are a number of other horror stories about which my readers know and I look forward to comments on whether the both good and bad exists in their patches of green too.

I also look forward to seeing some appropriate music links from Shackman for this most unlikely topic for music!



Pink is high among the most powerful courtroom drama movies that I have seen including British and Hollywood films. I have written about other Indian films that are changing how Indian movie makers are changing and this is another instance of such a change. I am delighted that Indian movie producers are now willing to address serious social issues while keeping the commercial aspects in view as well. The issues raised are not only India specific as the gender issues are universal.  It is so pleasing to see no song and dance routines and idiotic and irrelevant foreign locales.

Pink’s  story is powerful because it projects reality without holding anything back and the direction is faultless. The background information is not shown till the titles start to roll at the end, but for all that, the presentation is excellent.  The viewers are kept glued to their seats without losing interest even for a moment.

While Amitabh Bachchan‘s performance can be justified due to his seniority in the trade, the three female leads, all new to me, and the young male characters, produce amazing performances. There is hope yet for the future of Indian films if such talent can be found and nurtured. The deliberate bringing together of girls from Delhi, Meghalaya and a Muslim is a very thoughtful idea to showcase reality and the producer must be complimented for that.

I was particularly impressed with one of the accused asking the cross examining lawyer “do you know who you are talking to?”, such a typically Delhi bravado, and in a different scene, his powerful politician uncle asking him to grow up and leave the trash behind.

I give it a five out of five rating and highly recommend viewing it to my readers.

PS. The residential colony that features prominently in the film is Sarva Priya Vihar where, we had lived between 1980 and 1983 when it was relatively new. I had gone there for old time’s sake two years ago and saw the house where we lived from the outside.

Irresistible Attraction.

Man kissing mature man's bald head
Man kissing mature man’s bald head

As I was going through my mail on my computer this morning, my son Ranjan who had come downstairs on some errand, came along behind me and planted a few kisses on top of my head, with a semi hug and disappeared as eerily as he had appeared.

This is not the first time that it has happened. He does this quite often, particularly when I am sitting on a sofa solving crossword puzzles in the mornings.

My daughter in love Manjiree is no less attracted to my head and will sneak up behind me when I am sitting on my recliner and reading to plant a few kisses and coo a bit before disappearing.

There must be something irresistible about a bald head with a friar’s fringe that attracts them to perform these rites on a regular basis.

Not to be left alone, Chutki will inevitably catch me when I am fast asleep by nosing around my fingers that may be at the edge of the bed. Having made her presence felt and heard me acknowledge that, she too will disappear to her place of rest.

I am not complaining. Just making an observation and feeling grateful about such nice things happening in my life on a regular basis!

Bombay / Mumbai.

I was born in what was then known as Bombay. “Bombay” is an Anglicization of the Portuguese name “Bombaim,” which is believed to derive from the phrase “Bom Bahia,” or “Good Bay.” (Portugal held territories in western India until 1961). It was what the city was called, internationally and by the local residents alike. It is now Mumbai. That is Marathi named after the famous local deity, Mumbadevi.

I have been living just 180 kms away from Mumbai for the past 26 years. I used to visit Mumbai often till the traffic in Mumbai became too much for me to cope with. I now go near it but do not cross the creek to enter the island. Mumbai is the city where I have spent maximum number of years of my working life after Pune where I currently live.

It is said that you can take a Mumbaikar out of Mumbai but you cannot take Mumbai away from a Mumbaikar. I am nostalgic for the city. I still have a great many friends there with whom I am in regular touch and in fact will be participating in a reunion on the 28th.

Please spend three minutes watching this youtube clip on the city that never sleeps to understand why I still have affectionate memories about it.

The Sialkot Saga.


It was during May of this glorious summer here that we had Vandana and Bala, visit us at home. The former is Manjiree’s elder sister and the latter her devoted husband.

Bala and I share a passion for Indian authors and we exchanged some notes about recent books that we had read.  Bala was planning to buy a new book by Ashwin Sanghi and was all praise for it.  I was not very well at that point of time and was less than enthusiastic about the conversation and soon forgot all about it.

Thursday last week, I received a parcel containing this book. Bala, all the way from Kolkata sent this to me to keep a promise he had made to let me have the book after he had finished reading it.

I was reading another very interesting book when this was received but I decided to promote this ahead of the other books in the queue for reasons that I am unable to explain even to myself.  Be that as it may, I started to read it on Saturday and as I write this on Monday at 9.30 pm, I have just finished reading it.  Not reading it while other chores called was extremely difficult.  It was that good and gripping.

I have made up my mind to read all his other books though I was not particularly impressed with his The Krishna Key.

Thank you Bala. I wish that I could get such surprises every day!