Spreading happiness amongst the underprivileged

Tungarli dam

The underprivileged are not necessarily extremely poor, they are definitely not rich. They yearn for many things in life, but sadly never get it. It’s the reason why sharing what the privileged have with them will help spread joy and happiness amongst them. It’s not your money they need, it’s your sharing of small things that will make them happy. Keep sharing.

Ashish is a motor freak, his love for vehicles especially off roaders lead him to buy the THAR. A unique and fantastic vehicle from the Mahindra stable. Purely Indian, but of world standards. He joined  a THAR group which would go around villages and mountainous roads on weekends. All of them THAR crazy people and adventurous. They would traverse into remote areas and villages. Enjoy the drive and the enjoy the glory of god’s wonderful creation , the earth, the world.

It was routine that some vehicle would get stuck in the muck and the others would try to get them out. In these remote villages, the simple citizens would always come forward to help in these situations. Normally the good Samaritans in their vehicles would hand over some cash to these villagers in exchange for the help rendered . Of course this was a means to augment their meagre earnings and all felt that they had been kind to them. Little did any of them realise that the simple folk expected something more.

The THAR

It was on in of these trips that on a Sunday they were driving through a small hamlet in Tungarli . Tungarli Dam, one of the oldest dam in India, was built during the British rule back in 1930-1935 and is located in village Tungarli near Lonavala. There were hardly 12 to 14 houses here . The menfolk worked as tourist guides at Lonavala which is a tourist destination in Pune, Maharashtra. The children went to school 4 km away. Their earnings were sufficient to live with two square meals and basic amenities. They led simple lives with small farm holdings. Vehicle failures and help of villagers in solving them was common. That day a villager approached Ashish with a strange request. He said you guys pay us handsomely for any help we render you, but we would be very happy if you concede to one of our demands. Ashish asked him as what his demand or request was. He was not forthcoming, he said if you deny , it could hurt them. Ashish said go ahead, he would comply with their request if it was feasible, not having any idea of what it could be.

The man said that the children in the village were enthralled with the THARS going through their village, but they always wished they could have a drive in them. They could not afford to buy such vehicles, but they wished their children could get a ride in one. None would ask for it as they weren’t sure the visitors would agree. The children and parents perhaps would be happier if some one could take the children in their THAR for a ride. The money given to them for help would never replace the happiness that they would get from being in the vehicles. They never had the opportunity to be in one.

Happy kids on the THAR

Ashish was happy, he had always been taught that sharing was important, his grandmother and his parents too had always impressed upon him the necessity to share, especially with the underprivileged. He blurted out, why not, ask all the kids to get into my Thar. The kids didnt need a second call, the kids jumped into the THAR. The smiles on their faces was wide. They giggled ,screamed with joy as Ashish got the vehicle going. The ride was the happiest one that Ashish had in his last so many weeks . The THAR kept going over the land, no roads only fields and barren land, they drove around the village , along the dam, until dusk came upon them. Then as they drove back to the village and stopped, each one getting off the THAR, it was a wonderful happy group of contented children. Ashish took them for a photosession , promising them that any time he came back to the village, he would take them all in a drive .

Kids in a remote village

Money is not everything . Small acts of care and love spread much ore happiness. The underprivileged need to get a share of things that they normally do not have. A drive in a vehicle is much more than a few rupees you may give them for help rendered. Any thing that can be shared, your toys, sports equipment, cycles should be shared with those who are not able to have them. It brings joy to them and much more joy to the one who shares it too. The joy of sharing and giving is the stepping stone to the art of living . So let’s start and keep sharing.

Next ride soon

Note… Ashish is my elder son. For all his shortcomings and negative points the one good thing that counters all of that is his willingness to share and give. May this be a permanent nature and bring happiness to many.

ZELENSKY … LISTEN TO THE GOOD LORD

Do not anger the gods

The good lord made you to be a comedian

You were good at it

You revelled in your art

You made millions laugh

You made them forget sorrow

At least for a few fleeting moments

You did vulgar acts to make them laugh

The good lord forgave you this misdemeanor

You used your popularity well

You became the leader of Ukraine

So far so good

The lord too was happy

Then you began meddling in affairs of the world

In which you were not well versed

You tried to makes friends out of inherent foes

You turned former friends into foes

You dabbled in matters that weren’t your domain

You are sorely responsible for the consequences of this war

You let the Russian army invade you

Thinking that your new found friends would back you

They ditched you

Today your people are suffering

For no fault of theirs

They suffer for the incompetence of a comedian

Who could not a politician make

You weren’t meant for this

You were made to make people laugh

Not make them cry

Today you are the reason

For the  misery of your countrymen.

Millions have left Ukraine, thousands dead or maimed

The good lord is not pleased

Why when I make man a comedian

Does he to look the other way

Why did he yearn to be a leader

To bring the whole world on the brink of another war?

Like the Turkish saying. If a clown enters the palace, he does not become a king. The palace becomes a circus.

Zelensky!!!!

There’s still time

Sit across the negotiation tables

Stop this war

Stop the wounds being inflicted upon the Ukrainians’

Do not anger the good lord anymore

Let the lord’s will be done

May good sense prevail upon you.

As to Putin, the rascal

The good lord has decided his punishment

Which you need not worry about.

The Lord shall decide

The best hope today to end the war is, Zelensky steps down, hands over charge to an interim government, the world leaders get together to broker peace . Russia will accept, their basic fear that Zelensky was inching towards NATO and cosying up with them shall no more stand. There shall be instant peace, an atleast a temporary solution. The world is not in a situation where it shall be dragged into a WW3. So Zelensky return to your role as the comedian, your lack of political, military knowledge and experience has brought misery to Ukraine. Stop it now, for god’s sake. Save your country , save the world.

What if India invades Pakistan….Do we face same fate and world opinion as Russia has.

How long will India keep mum

EU  and NATO supported Ukraine…Right or wrong is for time to tell…..Russia examined all the possibilities of a danger to their country….They invaded Ukraine…..The world today admonishes Russia. That would exactly be the the situation if India invades Pakistan. The social media , the whites, the EU, the USA and their powerful run social media for sure will screw our happiness. The truth that Pakistan has been causing fatalities on Indians through state supported and sponsored terrorism in India will never be talked about , that we shall be taking a thoughtful decision to keep our country safe will never be understood deliberately. The FB , the twitter handles, telegram, Instagram, youtube and every social media controlled and propelled by the west will be out for our blood, they will spell disinformation, call us devil’s and side with Pakistan.  We then would be in the same position as Russia is in today Inspite of us being right. Hence take the love for Ukraine in the social media with a pinch if salt.

For decades Pakistan has been conducting covert attacks on India, they have send their terrorist teams multiple times into Indian soil causing untold misery to India, civilians and military personnel have been maimed and killed, for no fault of ours. Yet we maintained a decent gentleman approach, we have not yet attacked them militarily, which in fact we should have done long ago.

At war

Ukraine has a Russian speaking Jew , leading them. A former mass appeal comedian, good gab of the tongue, guts impersonified, love for his country, support from all anti Russian countries. He has made the blunder of trusting NATO and double crossing the Russians . The present situation was inevitable, if not Putin any other Russian leader would have taken a similar stand. Today as his country faces the consequences of his actions, the world is out in Zelenskys support. Countries world over are with him, of course that they will do nothing sincerely is another matter . The social  media is full of support for Zelensky and Ukraine . They are painting Putin as a madman, a despot, another Hitler. They will never tell the truth , they will get the world opinion against Russia , they are controlled by a few despot businessmen who are mostly Americans. That’s why India will face the same wrath of world opinion if we were to invade Pakistan, which in fact is highly overdue .

Pakistan has a charismatic cricket player and captain, sportsman as it’s prime minister. Imran khan is an iconic figure , former cricket captain, winner of a world cup, fast bowler par excellence. Married to a British white and I hear later divorced. What moral values??     He hasn’t been kind to India either, daily skirmishes on our borders , they train terrorist on their soil to cause mayhem in India.               They have given a safe haven to Dawood the main accused on the Mumbai terrorist attacks , they prop up terrorist attacks daily in Kashmir . They terrorise  minority hindus in Pakistan. Yet all along India has been silent. How long.

Except for the Bangladesh war when the iron lady of India, Indira Gandhi got them to their knees , we have not attacked them again. We have always only defended our territory . That time too in1971 when we liberated east Pakistan or Bangladesh, the same countries who support Ukraine today were against us. Right from the USA to Britain, covertly and openly sided with Pakistan  except Russia, no one even tried to help India. Yet we won, hands down. Nearly a lakh Pakistani troops surrendered. We had the large heart to let them go Scot free. The world against us , they never expected a lady , Indira Gandhi to be as stubborn and strong. Today Putin is in a similar situation. He needs to safeguard his countries security.

Iron lady..Indira Gandhi

That’s the moot question, one day or the other there will be a war, we can’t take this lying down forever. Pakistan needs to be taught a lesson , we can’t afford to let’s our civilian population to die in their sponsored terrorist attacks, neither ca we let are armed forces personnel die in their covert attacks. The west, NTO ans EU need Pakistan, to install their positions to have an upper hand and control over India. They will side with Pakistan and offer them warships, planes and tanks as freebies . Why should India permit this   one day or the other Indian government will have to take the decision of attacking and invading Pakistan to keep our soveirgnity safe.

Indira once showed the world….What India is….The world against us except USSR…YET WE WON

They will disseminate misinformation against us, they will garner world opinion against us, we will despised , accused of manslaughter, they will impose similar sanctions on us, they will will look out for an opportunity to dismember India . All for military supremacy and financial gains . Pakistan will be projected as an innocent underdog and scape goat. We will be the Russia of today

Social media..Today’s mighty pen

So my dear countrymen , before commenting on the present war or taking sides, posting your unwanted posts on social media, please have a rethink. We know about our regions and present condition with Pakistan. The government of today might be forced to declare war on them .    Do not oppose it, the government needs your support . Russia will fight it’s war, Ukraine will defend itself. You or I, or our posts will not decide the outcome . But if we go to war with Pakistan, screw the world, we shall only support our government.

Put ourselves in the place of the Russians , we shall bein for similar criticism and no world support. Let’s not try to play god in this wars. Let the war take it’s own course. Of course if Ukraine is devasted by war lend them a helping  hand, financially, medical help and help them rebuilt their nation, let us use our good offices to defuse the situation not inflame it.

Who runs the Ukraine war…..The pen is mightier than the sword

Ultimately looks like the saying is true.

We are into the first week of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Putin is unremorseful, NATO is not upright on their support, all arms manufacturers are working overtime to sell their ammo to Ukraine, such chances do not come daily. Hundreds of thousands are walking into neighbouring countries who have been kind to accept them and take care of them. Another group of students are stranded in their university campuses waiting to go back to their homes in their own countries . Air space not available, they are traveling by road and foot to neighbouring countries from where they seek to get support to fly back to their homes.The unlucky ones who have been maimed or killed for no fault of theirs are being pitied by world organizations and fearful nations. Will Putin really win, some want him to,others don’t. The odds are unpredictable so the betting faculty is working overtime.

Putin , a former intelligence officer, well trained, leading Russia for over two decades, vast experience of the results of invasions and wars, author of various books, especially the book …The world order..New rules or a game without rules. He has probably envisaged the possible outcomes, possible reaction by other countries before finally taking the call . Militarily he has given his armed forces ample time to study the intricacies of an invasion and military might of Ukraine, he has planned every move from arms supplies to loss of lives , to possible sanctions by the world and it’s effects on the Russian economy. He is appearing for his exams with total preparedness.

Will his sword overcome

On the other hand  Volodymyr Zelensky President of Ukraine is a new entrant into politics . A former comedian who played in Ukrainian television series, also played the role of Ukrainian President, had defeated the then incumbent president Petro Poroshenko in a landslide win four years ago . He is Russian speaking and a Jew. Surely he has to be smart and clever to even be elected , that too with nearly 74 percent if the vote.

The Jew is a smart & brave guy

NATO was inching closer to Zelensky , they need Ukraine more than Ukraine ever needed them, of course they let them down like a hot potato once Putin rushed his troops into Ukraine . The war is on, nations, many of them on Ukraine’s side , few stand by the Russians. Then who will win. Who or what will decide victory. Will it be the military might, arms and weapons, the strategy of each of the nation’s of attack and defence. On paper the Russians are mighty, the Ukrainians cannot match them in terms of ground or air power , Putin’s experience will over power that of Zelenysky , yet will Ukraine push the Russians back, will they be able to defend them selves , who will help them?

It’s a war

The pen is mightier than the sword…. Heard it since child hood…Have written essays on it in school days….Never actually came across mass instances of its applicability, yes there have been instances where I have seen the might of the pen, but on too less occasions. Today will this saying become a reality. Will the pen of today’s world break the sword of Putin?? That looks to be really mighty.

It now looks true unless Putin thinks otherwise

Today’s pen is the social media. Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, google, whatsapp, you tube and many more. The pen of today is really strong and mighty tool. The messages today all over these social media is heavily in favour of Ukraine . A lot of true information and misinformation is being fed to the world population. They make it look like Russian troops are losing men and planes by the score every hour. They are trying to convince the world that Putin is a madman, a dictator and NATO is the god send saviour. They have been able to push world opinion in favour of Ukraine and NATO.

The pen seems to have the upper edge at present

You tube has banned Russian state channels , twitter has blocked many Russian accounts, google has banned accounts of Russian press and stopped their advertisement accounts. Face book has done the same, ban Russian accounts, press notes, videos etc. The whats app factory is busy preparing dictionary stories if rhe war accounts , it’s a terrible campaign of deliberate misinformation. The swords from NATO have not reached Ukraine , the mighty pen has. They are in full control of the situation. The truth shall be hidden, facts will be suppressed , world opinion will be built against Russia . Well perhaps Putin didn’t anticipate this, or did he, does he have any back plan to break out of this ,only god knows. For the moment my school day saying…. the pen is mightier than the sword seems to be true and dominating the war and perhaps the end results.

Ukraine……Crisis or Invasion.

Putin doesn’t bark…He bites

When the Soviet Union disintegrated, thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev, I was saddened. I had always been an admirer of the Soviet Union and the communists. They were the only nation that could stand up against the Americans. The inevitable had happened, the Soviet union disintegrated, Russia saw reforms, the communists were now a hated lot, yet Russia remained strong. All over the Soviet Union there were lovers of India, our films and music. They were our best friends. Their warplanes the invincible MIGs were highly admired here. The Soviets were always on the Indian side, no wonder when they broke up it pained many others too like me.

Crisis or invasion

Three decades have passed since, yet the love for Russia never diminished. A decade ago made a visit to Uzbekistan, once a constituent of the Soviet Union where I was astonished to find Late Lal Bahadur Shastri statue at Tashkent. How the people there respected and loved the former Indian prime minister. The hotels I went to had orchestras that sang hindi songs , all hits of a bygone era. How well the Uzbeks sang and danced to indian music. They were all of respect towards Indian visitors . My visit to Russia has not materialised to date but some day I will go there .

War follows invasions

Putin took Russia by storm, elected by huge margins in the elections. He has been either prime minister or president of Russia since 1999 , that means for over two decades . He has managed to bring back Russia on the world’s centre stage . The past glory is back, economically and militarily they are strong again . Naturally Putin must be yearning to get back the territories that the Soviets then gave up. He needed reasons for this. The Americans and the Europeans in their quest to have the upper hand in deciding the policies and strategies of the world, were preparing to get all those new nations into the NATO fold in which they did succeed to a large extent. This would help them tackle the Russian might. They would always have the upper hand. Their dirty minds were always eyeing Ukraine. They cared two hoots for Ukraine, but they wanted to set base in Ukraine, hence kept dangling the proverbial carrot, but the Ukrainian leadership would not bite the bait. Luck favoured them when the comedy star Zelensky got elected. Putin’s two decades of experience, his sharp mind and intellect was enough for him to realise that the NATO powers would be trying to please and get Ukraine and Zelensky on their side, that would be of a great advantage to them in controlling world policies and decisions. Putin could foresee the repercussions of such a situation. He studied the circumstances, planned his strategy well, got the support of his countrymen and first managed to take over Crimea. He realised the NATO didn’t have the balls to oppose or object. Thus he planned his next step….. Take over Ukraine.

Putin’s invasion…A planned strategy

Putin’s armed forces with full support of the parliament took the plunge , the world leaders made feeble voices, the press called it the Ukraine crisis, what a foolish way of labelling the invasion. They didn’t have the guts to call it an invasion. Putin has now stormed into Ukraine, his army has taken over major military installations. He might annexe Ukraine as well. The Bidens and the Macarons , the EU and NATOwill cry foul for sure, but they will do nothing, they don’t have the guts to stop it, well they will keep howling, Putin won’t bark….He bites.

Will Putin annexe Ukraine ???

Whether his bite will will force NATO to bite back, only time will tell, whether the invasion turns into a full fledged war cannot be foretold today. Only hope Putin knows where and when to stop. One thing is for sure, NATO has let down Ukraine, no visible support is seen, yes they will provide arms to help their own manufacturers of arms make hay while the sun shines , how sad!!

Zelensky is a nice man, excellent comedian, faithful to his country, Russian speaking and a minority Jew. He has the guts to stay put in his country rather than flee away. What he does not realise is that with his love for NATO , being hypnotised by them he has unknowingly and unwillingly brought this horrible situation upon his countrymen. Heis lack of political experience is costing his countrymen dearly

हे वुहान च्या विषाणू…… Translated into Marathi by Dr Hemant Chikalikar

My special thanks to Dr Hemant Chikalikar for translating my poem ‘Oh! Wuhan virus’ into Marathi

हे वुहान च्या विषाणू
ईश्वर निर्मित नव्हे,मानवाची देणगी आहेस तू
राजकारणी आणि शास्त्रज्ञ काहीही म्हणोत,
आमचा अंतरात्मा सांगतो,तू मानवाच्या पापाचं फळ आहेस.
उघडपणे बोलण्याची आमची हिंमत नाही.
राजकारण्यांच्या आणि शास्त्रज्ञांच्या विरोधात तर नाहीच नाही
त्यांनीच तर तुला आजचं अक्राळविक्राळ दिलं रूप
बेसावध जगावरचा तुझा हल्ला त्यांनीच तर केला प्रायोजित
तरीही डॉक्टर्स,मेडिकल स्टाफ,शास्त्रज्ञ, सद्सदविवेक बुद्धी जागी असलेले सर्व..
आम्ही सगळे लढलो.
बिथरलेल्या तुझ्या कर्ताकरवित्या नी तुझी बदलली अणुरेणू रचनाच
अधिक त्वेषाने तुटून पडले मानवजातीवर.
कधी डेल्टा तर कधी ओमायक्रोन चे मुखवटे चढवून
माणसं बळी पडत राहिली
वणवण भटकायला लावलस आम्हाला
कधी बेड,कधी ऑक्सीजन तर कधी व्हेंटिलेटर साठी
त्यातून उभा राहिला नवा धंदा.. लसीकरण
त्याला निमूट शरण जाण्याशिवाय नव्हता तरणोपाय.
आमच्या भयगंडा चा घेऊन फायदा
अनेक जण झाले अब्जाधीश


हे विषाणू वुहान च्या
तुझी जमात निघाली होती आम्हाला नष्ट करायला
पण झाली नाही यशस्वी
या जगावर अजुन ही ईश्वराची मायेची पाखर आहे
त्याच्या रुपात होते कोरोना योध्ये
त्यांच्या रुपात ईश्वर लढला आमच्यासाठी
तू रूपं बदललीस मायावी राक्षसा सारखी
कधी डेल्टा तर कधी ओमिक्रोन.

हे विषाणू वुहान च्या
सगळं जग तुला आठवत राहील एखाद्या भयावह स्वप्नासारखं
आमचे आप्त स्वकीय तू ओढून नेलेस डोळ्यादेखत. आता येतील लाटा मागून लाटा
तुझ्याही आणि लसींच्या ही
एक ना एक दिवस तुझी ताकद क्षीण होईल
पण हे विषाणू वुहान च्या
सगळं जग तुला आठवत राहील एखाद्या भयावह स्वप्नासारखं
आमचे आप्त स्वकीय तू  ओढून नेलेस डोळ्यादेखत
तळतळाट लागतील तुला आणि तुझ्या निर्मात्या ना

हे विषाणू वुहान च्या.

Oh! Wuhan virus.

Man-made or godsend
Oh! Wuhan virus.                                 Man-made not godsend.                               Scientists and politicians will have us believe otherwise.                                          We know within, you are man made, but speak out we will not.                                 We dare not,lest we offend our scientists and politicians.                                                    They made you strong, dangerous and virulent.                                              They leaked you out on  an unsuspecting world.                                   Yet we overcame your onslaught.                                                          The good doctors , paramedics and the god-fearing scientists helped us overcome.                                     Your perpetrators were wild, angry and unforgiving.                                           They changed your sequencing, they made you more dangerous.                   They called it mutations, they lied to the world.                        They called you delta.                                                   Oh! Wuhan virus.                                                 You struck again, with even more vengeance.                                                                You got more of us infected.                 You ensured many of us died.                                 You made us scramble for hospital beds.                                                          You made us wander for oxygen and ventilators.                                             The doctors and paramedics served us well, they fought you with all their might they saved us.                                                                                Your perpetrators called you delta, but we know you are the same Wuhan virus.                                        They now presented to us the vaccines.                                                                       They had it ready and sanctioned for use in too short a time.                                                                Yes they had made it even as they were making you.                                Now the world was at their mercy, it was their vaccines that could save us from you.                              It sold like hot cakes, we had no choice but to take.                                You made them rich on the fear you instilled into  us.                                                                Oh! Wuhan virus.                                                Your perpetrators had failed to wipe the human race out.                    Yes,they could not.      The goodness of God had prevailed.                                             They had to compromise, they realised that the good scientists, doctors and paramedics wouldn't let you survive.                                                                 So they again changed your sequence.                                                                              They made you a rapid spreading milder virus.                                          They couldn't  let you die, they now called their new mutation, Omicron.                                                                They now convince us the vaccines have helped avoid serious illness and deaths.            We know though, that's untrue.                    They had to let you survive so they made you mild to adapt to our retaliation.                                      The vaccines will now keep selling, booster after booster, precaution after precaution doses.                                                       Oh! Wuhan Virus.                                     You have brought misery upon mankind.                                                  You have taken many of our dear ones away.                                            That day is not far when we shall have our say.                                   Your perpetrators, your masters will have to pay .                                                             Oh! Wuhan virus.  

,

Sandeep my friend just passed away…RIP

This blog is in memory of my dearest friend, Sandeep Singal who passed away a day ago, may his soul rest in eternal peace.

Rest in peace, Sandeep

It was the year of 1974. I was promoted to class 6 at school . It reopened on a rainy day in June. First day at school was always busy and delightful. New books, new teachers, a new classroom, new syllabus and a few new friends. It was on this day that Sandeep joined our school at St. Ursula’s . Slim , tall, handsome , fair and well dressed in long half pants and shirt. He was seated at the table next to mine. We exchanged smiles , introduced ourselves and a relationship was soon established which lasted as one full of love, mutual respect, help and fun for the rest of our lives until yesterday when he passed away. Brain haemorhage had consumed the life of a perfect human and a wonderful friend. I have no words to describe the loss which has been devastating.

As school progressed I remember distinctly my drawing classes. We all had the Camlin paint boxes of water colors. Sandeep had a set of small tins of Camlin poster colors. He invariably kept passing them to me as I painted. I never asked for them, but he always did that, the kind soul that he was. He was good at studies too . His father worked at Telco and they were a well off family . He had no airs about his well to do status. He was a simpleton. As we kept moving from one class to the other our friendship kept on growing . We would be together at classes doing projects at the end of the year. I remember he had a ready to assemble jetking transistor set for his project, which on final assembly actually worked. He shared everything he had with all of us. He was good at cricket and hockey, I can’t forget the style with which he played . A good all rounder at the game. As we grew up we got closer. We reached the 10th standard and that’s when he first came to my home.

Not many of my friends had then been to my place except for those who lived near me like Paul . Only Jaydev and later on John were the few exceptions. I too never wanted any one to come home as we lived single room chawls. It was embarrassing to get the rich and affluent from visiting our places. But with Sandeep I was only too happy. He had no issues,no airs, always accommodating nature, he was happy to be be in my company and home.

We finished our 10th or matriculation and it was time to part ways. Some of my friends and myself joined Jai Hind junior college at Pimpri. Others went to Wadia college, Fergussen college etc. A few of them along with Sandeep jad joined St. Vincent’s. After 11th standard he along with Dharmendra left Vincent’s to join Ferguson college.

All this time he kept coming home on and off. The chair at the corner of our room near the door would be his seat. Else he dit on the washing stone slab outside our room and spent ling hours chitchatting.

He interacted with my parents and after some time both of us would go for a ride. He had this vijay super scooter and we would go to Chinchwad gaon ,where there was a hotel by the name of Vrushali. Snacks, tea followed by a cigarette was the routine. I don’t remember having ever footed the bills, well I never had the money. It was Sandeep all the time. All this time we were talking, discussing matters political, educational etc. Cracking a few jokes and what not. As dusk fell he would again drop me home. The Vijay super later was replaced by the Yamaha 350, nice powerful bike, the best money could buy back then. It was fun riding pillion on that bike. Wonderful memories.

Sandeep’s Yamaha 350

We got through our junior college and I joined the medical school at BJ . Before I joined B J Medical I had joined Ferguson collage for BSc and spent a couple of months there . Again here Sandeep was by my side introducing me to new friends at Ferguson. The camaraderie continued until I joined the medical college. Later Sandeep would come to my hostel on and off. We still found time for each other.

I can’t recollect exactly but if my memory serves me right , Sandeep later joined some Regional Engineering college at Nagpur or some other place. Our meets stopped and the flurry of letters began. He would regularly keep writing, the only letters I ever received at the hostel were from him. He was not happy in the college , didn’t want to complete it and so on. My replies were occasional but he was regular. He left the college later on, and one fine day again landed up at my hostel. Times flew , soon I passed out got married and our meets became lesser, main reason being his parents had shifted from Chinchwad to Pune. He too got married flew to the States and for a period of time no contacts. It was only whenever he came to India he made it a point to call and meet up .

With the advent of the mobile, what’s app and social media , again we were in touch regularly. We had our class whatsapp group . Well Sandeep , Rajan, Shreeram and myself had a separate core group . We called it the backroom group . It still exists but now Sandeep is no more.

The meet at Poona Club November 2021

His visits to india brought classmates together. Can never forget those meets, especially the ones at golf club, Balewadi high street or the last one in the winter of November 2021 at Poona club. We spent a lot of time all 9 of us classmates, remembering school dates our mischievous adventures, our teachers and our past life experiences. We had promised to meet soon but fate would have it other wise.

It was 5 to 6 days ago his brother Jaideep called me to inform that Sandeep had a brain haemorhage and was in a hospital ICU at Seattle. It both shocked and saddened me, being a doctor I was apprehensive, bleeds are bad, on life support in an ICU wasn’t a good sign. I prayed that Sandeep recover, God couldn’t be so cruel. In fact I was scared to even follow up daily with Jaideep, fearing any bad news. Today as I inquired with Jaideep and learnt that Sandeep had passed away, I couldn’t hold back my tears, I haven’t cried in a long time, but losing Sandeep has pained me a lot. That lovable, handsome, caring friend of mine is no more. There is nothing I can do but to grieve.May God give his soul eternal peace. May his wife and children have the strength to bear the pain.

Life is unpredictable. Sandeep’s sudden death has retirated this. Make it a point to keep meeting old friends whenever the opportunity arises. Who knows what tomorrow has in store for us . Good bye my friend….it’s been a huge loss for all of us

To Mask OR To Umask

Primitive man wore no clothes, but as man progressed he felt the need to cover himself , to keep him safe from the scourge of variant weathers. He further progressed to footwear, headgears etc. Then came designer wear to look smart and beautiful. The latest addition to clothing since the wake of the covid pandemic has been the face mask to cover his mouth and nose. In our world only clowns wore masks and we laughed at them, now we all are clowns**

Primitive man..No clothes..Forget masks!!

Truly speaking every human is masked. What you see in another’s face is never the true face, a face may look cool even when angry and provoked. There may be a smiling face with deep sadness within. There may be neutral face even though actually disgusted .An innocent face may be actually a crooked one. Reading a face is next to impossible, as every face is masked. Now with the advent of the mandatory use of face masks due the covid there is now a double mask . Humans are now totally masked , the true face which was never revealed now has a companion ….the covid pandemic face mask.

All faces are naturally masked

At the start of the epidemic, masks were not mandated by the WHO. In fact it was not advisable to wear on. Later the WHO changed track making countries around the world to make the use of masks mandatory. There have been heated debates as to whether it was actually of any use. Those who advocated the mandatory use of masks prevailed and face masks since have become the norm. Cloth masks, surgical masks, three layer masks, N95 masks and many more came to be worn by citizens all around the world . Initially all types of masks were in short supply, there was a mad rush for them, rates skyrocketed , the manufactures and traders made a killing. The first wave waned and by this time there were many more mask made millionaires . Which mask should one wear , another point of debate. The N95 was the pick of the lot , it could definitely keep the virus away for sure was what was said. The other masks were poor cousins of the N95. Yet other swore by the three layer masks, some still said that the cloth masks washable and reusable were as good and effective as any other. Medical personnel prefered and wore the N95. Office going people wore the three layer masks, the students , housewives, younger generation wore designer cloth masks

The basic logic is that a mask would prevent the entry of the virus and also prevent it from going out from a masked person. This is truly logical, but considering the size of the virus in microns would a mask actually keep away the virus. Neither is it an airborne virus as per the scientific community, then are the mask really useful or does it give all of us a false sense of security. May be the N95 to a large extent is useful, but what about the other loose fitting masks which are unable to keep away the virus. One thing is for sure the use of masks has added to the garbage problem. There is no scientific disposal as yet , used masks can be seen in every garbage or strewn along streets while actually it should be treated and disposed off as biomedical waste. Has the advantages of the use of masks been converted into a larger disadvantage, only time will tell.

Irrespective of the pros and cons or the debate on whether the masks will help stop the spread of the covid virus, the fact that wearing one shall do no harm has to be thought of seriously. Just as the wire mesh screens in our kitchen do not keep away all the kitchen washing wastes from going into the drain pipe or steel meshes across rain drains wont keep back all the floating garbage from entering the river, similarly even though the mask might not prevent all the viruses from crossing the barrier it will to a certain extent definitely help be the barrier . So the argument is what’s the harm in using the mask as long as this virus poses a risk to human lives , atleast it will help an infected person from spreading the virus to a great extent. Whether it’s true or not is still open to debate.

Well fitting N95

The government of countries across the world should be be more rational and sensible while imposing such rules though. What’s the point in making it mandatory for a husband and wife travelling in their own car to wear masks. Why should a single person on a morning walk alone along a empty stretch of road wear one. You are at the barber having a shave , you can’t wear one. You can’t ask people in a swimming pool to wear one. So let’s make it mandatory only for people at places where there are crowds , offices where people work together for hours, let’s keep the rules sensible. Even as I write this blog I hear that Britain is going mask free….Maybe other countries will follow suit soon… Right or wrong only time will tell ……Yes the mask manufacturers party will soon be ending…They wouldn’t be crying any way , their money has been made. The present mandate for masks will end some time or the other but what about the masks we wear today, masking our true selves , will we be able to discard them. The man with a handsome face masking the killer in him, the beautiful face of a woman masking her cruel behaviour, the murderous face of an actually kind person, the sober and kind face of a revengeful person. These need to be unmasked . It’s only the clown who wears a mask that’s visible, all others wear a mask and it’s invisible. Unmask yourself , let the world see the true person you are. The world will be a happier place to live in with unmasked people.

Unmask yourself

Barking dogs seldom bite…..The omicron wave.

Barking dogs seldom bite

Ever since omicron came to dominate the covid scenario there have been discussions ,heated debates and arguments amongst the medical, scientific, bureaucratic and political community as to how it should be handled, whether it will cause increase in hospitalisation and deaths, will it spread rapidly. Views have been varied, each section claiming that they are right.

The vaccination against COVID has bee accepted by citizens at large, not necessarily because they believe in it but with the fear of death at the back of their minds they did take it, perhaps grudgingly. The scientific community, the pharmaceutical giants, manufacturers of vaccines, the bureaucrats and political people were the main peddlers for the vaccine. Never in the history of mankind has any vaccine with only permission for emergency use been given to so many people. It has been unprecedented . The political class and bureaucrats take pride in having vaccinated their populations without even knowing that the vaccine has only permission as an emergency use vaccine. The vaccine manufacturers are thrilled at the quantity sold and used, their profits have skyrocketed, the scientific community happy that thier line has been towed. The doctors community is divided on the issue, anyways they are neither the direct or major beneficiary in the whole vaccine game.

Vaccine…

Whether the vaccine has actually provided immunity to fully vaccinated is still a matter of study, concern and debate. Now they are propogating booster doses. Decisions are being taken by non medical personnel and the political establishment. The medical fraternity are divided in opinion but prefer to tow the official line,though there are a few scattered subdued voices of dissent.

Omicron has spread across the globe

Cases have been increasing worldwide at an alarming speed. Majority of the population is now infected. Hospitalisation rates are low and deaths are few. The fear of uncertainty is there. It is being advocated that this wave with its higher rate of infectivity and mild symptoms will ultimately lead to herd immunity and a vaccine itself might not be needed. At the same time vaccines are being pumped in for the younger age groups ,booster doses are also being advocated for all who have completed their second dose of vaccine. How much has vaccination helped, will this game of further boosters be kept going on perpetually. No one knows. Will people with complete second doses and booster remain immune………who knows!

Just going through the cases in a urban local body area in India, I found some statistics that perhaps will be unable to justify the fact that vaccination will help a person avoid from getting infected. The data is limited for a couple of weeks, it’s not a complete study, that data too could be imperfect and faulty. The data consists of infections in persons who were vaccinated. The data indicates that over 45 percent of the people who have had two doses of the vaccine are testing postive over the last two weeks. @ 0.70 percent of previous cases were reinfected and @ 2.8 percent infected had taken a single dose of the vaccine.Does it mean that the vaccine was ineffective in stopping the virus or is it that it can’t stop the latest mutated version. This does not augur well for the argument for vaccination. If this is so how will a booster help?? What about the claimed efficacy of the vaccine. With new cases multiplying by the day it could be possible that the percentage of those having been vaccinated and still getting infected would still increase further. What should we do, take the two doses and stay shut or go further and take booster doses. No complete answers are available, atleast at present.

This wave has seen the virus spreading rapidly at breakneck speed. Admission or need for oxygen beds are not very high, but the sheer numbers of infected could see us in a situation where beds could be unavailable soon. Deaths are hardly any but one can’t predict the future. Omicron has perhaps replaced delta version of the virus. But will omicron bite or just remain a barking dog. Only time will tell.

Will it bite

Fighting the plastic menace

Plastic, once upon a time boon to mankind has come haunt us today and might spell doom of the environment for future generations. A look at garbage depots or even garbage strewn along streets or water bodies including oceans will give us an insight as to the enormity of the plastic menace. Everywhere it’s plastic. Right from clogging our drainage systems to filling up the oceans it’s everywhere. Stray cattle, animals, fish and birds already have their stomachs full of plastic leading to their untimely and early deaths. Plastic does not degenerate for centuries and this needs to be in the back of our minds .

The ease of production, light weight, durability , malleability and cheap costs have made the use of plastic popular to a very large extent. Right from bags to plates, spoons, bottles, straws everything is plastic. The single use plastics are of even a bigger concern. This has to be curtailed in time else it will lead to doomsday. Plastic of course can’t be wished away, medical use intravenous bottles, syringes, three ways , catheters are a blessing which at present seems to have no other better alternative . Yet other single use plastics needs to be banned for the better of this universe.

Simple actions that will help us achieve this goal are many but it will require citizens whole hearted support, political will and our intent to save this planet for our future generations.

1. Lets begin with banning liquor of any quantity sold in plastic bottles. Liquor is not a necessity, hence this small action will help eliminating hundreds of thousands of plastic bottles reaching garbage yards or water bodies. Just pass the law. Just Do it.

2.Medicines dispensed in plastic bottles . Millions of plastic bottles can immediately be stopped. Alternatives are easily available and have been there for ages.

3. Water bottles, packaged drinking water is perhaps the highest contributor to this menace. Atleast for a beginning ban anything below one litre. That itself will help reduce plastic waste to a great extent. Raise the taxes on bottled water so that it’s use will come down to atleast some extent.

4. Cold drinks or soft drinks all of which from times immemorial came in glass bottles. Ban the use of plastic bottles in this industry with immediate effect. Consumption of soft drinks is perpetually increasing hence the ban on plastic bottling here is definitely going to be of a great help.

5. Single use plastic plates , stirrers, spoons, glasses, straws have already been banned in India, now it needs to be implemented strictly.

6. Single use plastic carry bags , the biggest menace, ban them all, irrespective of microns thickness. They are sold , used and disposed by million every hour. They can been seen in all road side garbage of varying colors and sizes. They are the cause of blockages in the drainage and storm water systems which have lead to flooding in monsoons. Ingested by all fauna causing illness and death .

7. Milk in olden day came in glass bottles . Today it’s only in plastic pouches. Considering the amount of milk pouches sold daily all over the country, this perhaps is the biggest regular reason for the menace. Ban them , go back to glass bottles . Only political will is needed. DO IT….Save the world

The alternative to single use plastics are many, you need not reinvent the wheel. Just pass the laws and implement them strictly . Of course political will is important. Politicians will be pressurized and paid by the plastic manufacturing lobby not to bring about these laws. Governments need to be firm, it’s a universe we inherited from our father’s and forefathers, it’s our responsibility to pass it on to our future generations in a state where they too can enjoy it. Let’s hope good sense prevails over men and governments and we implement necessary actions immediately.

The unwanted girl child….Nakoshi (नकोशी)

I was working as a medical officer at a remote village, Pasali in taluka Velhe, at a primary health centre in the late eighties or from 1987 to be precise. It was a remote village in Pune district, Maharashtra, India, nestled at the back of the famous Torna fort. We lacked in staff, hence many a time I myself would have to issue case papers as there was no clerk. It was then that I came across names of people which I had never heard before. Fasabai, Nakoshi….They were names that sounded unusual, especially the name Nakoshi. It sounded like an east european name. I was surprised such a name was there in this remote place little knowing what it actually meant.

Indian mentality was and still is to a certain extent biased against the girl child. The birth of a girl child is unwelcome especially if it is a second or third girl child. The girl child is looked upon as a disadvantage, a future financial crisis in terms of marriage and dowry . Hence they are usually discriminated lot. Right from child hood they are discriminated oppressed denied good education, at times forced into child labour,begging etc. Once married the thinking is they shall be of no help to the parents in terms of money or work, hence parents think the girl is not an asset but a liability.

Fasabai…..Was the name usually given if it was the third girl child in a row. In marathi it meant being fooled. The expectation was a boy child but this girl came out into this world , that means expectations belied, she fooled us , we were expecting a boy, hence she is named Fasabai…..(फासाबाई) the one who fooled us. What is this but not discrimination. How can we name a beautiful girl child so.? Who gave us the right to name someone so. The girl will grow up with this name, discriminated, shamed perpetually. What was her fault, it was gods will that she be born. The Indian mentality has definitely changed for the better today but not yet completely.

Nakoshi….The name which in fact at first look I liked, it sounded so european to me. I never tried to find out what it meant. As a couple of years of my service here passed by and at a general get together with the villagers and politicians I happened to state that it is great that the villagers had such a nice name for children. The sarpanch’s answer and explanation shocked me. How could I have not deciphered the meaning of this name in my two years of service?? The good sounding name to me was in fact an insult to mankind, a shame to society. Nakoshi (नकोशी) …….means unwanted…in marathi. This is the name that parents gave to the fourth female child born in a row to them. A fourth girl child is unwanted to them, they wanted a son, a boy. So they directly reject the girl child by naming her Nakoshi. This is an injustice to gods creation, the girl child. Unwanted……How can parents even take such a decision, how can we name her as the unwanted one.

This is a reflection of our bias towards the girl child which later resulted into sex determination tests followed by medical termination of pregnancy if it is a girl fetus. This slowly led to a skewed sex ratio all over India. This forced the government to ban sex determination. The sad thing is the government had to intervene. We the citizens have to change our mind sets, we have to accept and celebrate the birth of a child , girl or boy with equal amount of joy and happiness without discrimination, only then will the Fasabais and Nakoshis get justice.

The silver lining was the movement in Satara district where over 200 girls with the Nakoshi were renamed at a function. Kudos to those social groups and organisation that have managed this change in the names of these girl. May common sense prevail over us and let no other new born girl child ever be named as NAKOSHI.

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