About the Blog

This is my diary....what I make sense of, around me. You'll find short prose on contemporary topics that interest me. What can you expect - Best adjectives? …. hmm occasionally, tossed around flowery verbs ?…. Nope, haiku-like super-brevity? … I try to. Thanks for dropping by & hope to see you again

June 26, 2010

What’s with this yellow metal I say?

Its in the air, on the airwaves,buried in print, making News, across Hoardings ....its practically everywhere and its lucre seems inescapable. And like MacKenna & Co’s rush to gold in the Hollywood classic, Bangaloreans made a dash to the Gold shops in town on Akshaya Tritiya day recently. Adding to the hysteria was a sustained advertisement campaign by a local prominent jewelery export house that had just forayed into gold retailing. This guy went hammer & tongs in the media about his ‘no making charges’ scheme with elaborate explanations that appeared like one of those advertorials carried out by ministry of information & broadcasting . Before I could find some sensible echoes in the grey hills to this phenomenon, Wifi had coolly exchanged her pair of gold earrings to a new pair at a local gold shop in Udipi. Her mom in tow and the obvious enamor created by the local jewelery shop led her to an irresistible offer to exchange gold ‘just’ at the cost of making charges and the extra wee bits of ounces that went into the new one.

Meanwhile as I commute to work every day all the marketing blitzkrieg about this madness seems to be misdirected at this hapless soul. But i do soak in the proverbial gold dust that is thrown by the hoardings along the way, almost 1/3rd of which I believe relate to Gold & Jewelery. As I pass through atleast 1-2 traffic junctions everyday, I am greeted by luscious looking damsels on hoardings extolling one or the other brand of very fine ornate gold n jewellery. One recent hoarding reminded me of Rajiv Gandhi’s message to the Pakis in the mid 80s (Unko unki Naani yaad dila deenge types). This hoarding by Canara Robeco reminded me about my naani and urged me to invest like her perhaps, the ad is about a new fund by Canara Robeco that encourages investors to invest like one's grandmother would. It shows a grandmotherly lady resplendently decked up with gold necklaces. While on another recent day ‘Madhavan’ (the film actor) passed by me with a benign smile & folded hands inviting me to the house of Alukkas (a gold retailer from kerala who set shop in Blr recently), he was of course plastered across a large Van which served as a mobile bill board . This Van incidentally overtook me on the busy Sampige road (Malleswaram) , which as you enter is lined with many Gold shops (popularly called gold palaces) reminding one what it would like entering Kubera’s den.

All this and like many in US (which goes from one bust and bailout to the next), I have now come to think, that only ‘Gold , God & Guns’ can save us from imminent economic recession, depression or collapse.

June 20, 2010

Second Rx your doctor’s opinion

Richard Branson is known as a pugnacious ‘ Live life King Size’ type of character, he also writes like one. A recent article by Richard Branson in Mint was interesting as well enlightening, though he wrote on a management topic, he used his personal experience to relate to a theme in the article.

Here branson narrates how he came out of a ligament tear condition while ‘playfully swinging a young girl around’ (now one can make his own deduction of this statement given Branson’s colourful life). However following the right exercise regimen (given to him by the physiotherapist of the English soccer team) he claims to being fit as ‘fiddle’ in 3 weeks flat. In the process he says he discounted two opinions given by two different ‘surgeons’ (definitely of repute & costly by Branson’s standard) suggesting a elaborate treatment including a painful operation.

This brings me to the point of this article. How many times have you been to a doctor and came back with a feeling of being fleeced? How many had an occasion to feel unduly alarmed by the prescription and the course of treatment recommended for an ailment? Branson may be obliquely referring to the fact that Allopathic Medical profession world over is suffering from a kind of blinkered approach to treating ailments. But is there a case of larger commercial interest hidden behind the elaborate rituals of diagnosis & treatment?

Take my case, I went to consult a gastro specialist at the Manipal Hospital to find a cure for a stomach pain that had been nagging me for a while, earlier this year. I narrated the symptoms ; slight burning sensation accompanied by occasional spasms on the upper portion of my stomach to a specialist there. The guy made a cursory check & asked me to come the next day for a Gastric endoscopy and wrote an elaborate ritual consisting of various pathological tests that preceded this exercise. He said that the endoscopy was necessary as he suspected of ‘Ulcers’ and that samples of the stomach lining would be needed for analysis.

Alarmed I decided to take a second opinion & went to ayurvedic doctor suggested by my friend Athavale. This doctor (Dr.Purander) dismissed all the alarmist prescription I was given earlier and said it was nothing more than a normal stomach upset. He gave me a kind of powder that cured my problem in 3 days flat! And that too at a fraction of a cost that I would have spent at the so called leading Hospital in Bangalore.

What was the difference? simply the absence of medical paraphernalia coupled with correct diagnosis and simple effective treatment. This goes to universally prove what the Rand Health Insurance project found in the US- that going to specialist doctors or fancy hospitals makes no more or less difference in health than non- fee- for- service Health maintenance Organizations (HMO). The only difference however was in the costs (& in a large measure).

June 9, 2010

Art Buch’wall’d

The other day I ran into a friend at a shopping mall. An ex-colleague we had not met each other in a long while. We recollected the good old days when we used to hangout for a beer at an old heritage building near Richmond circle that now stand demolished to make way for some large complex.

During the conversation he said that he followed me on my blog and maybe to give credence to that thought said how much he liked by son’s drawing that I had posted in one of the blogposts. “ I cant post any more of his artwork “ I apologized ....“ Its all on our walls at home” I sighed. He laughed and said it was a good time he visited home to catch more works of this art Buchwalld.

June 2, 2010

Can spurious parts beat the Original?

Scientists of the world might have gone utterly starry eyed about conquering biological life process last week. Its as if some one just found out a way or the elusive ‘key’ to start a machine called Biological life form. Scientists at J Craig Venter institute manipulated a primordial living cell to act in a normal way by inserting a synthesized DNA and what they did seems a natural progression from the time humans mapped the entire genome sequence across various life forms. Echoes of the Grey Hills begs to ask; Have they captured the holy grail of life science? And what are the ramifications?

Cut the scene to Steven Spielberg and his Sci-fi movies Jurrasic Park & its sequel lost world. In these films spielberg very creatively explained the horrible consequences when man plays God & tries to manage His creations. I particularly like the scene in the movie Jurrasic Park where Hammond , the CEO of InGen (Company that creates the biological reserve) proudly showcases InGen's advances in genetic engineering and shows his guests through the island's vast array of automated systems. In this scene he narrates the Chaos theory which frighteningly comes true as the film plot unfolds. Cant that happen in real life too?

At the scale of this achievement, it may yet look ameoba’isque i.e., manipulations at the level of simple bacterial cells. But can the experiment be repeated across larger forms like Tissues and Organs that are larger clusters forms of cells and particularly so in higher life forms? If the answer is YES , it will not be far when a synthetically manufactured organ would be implanted in a living form by manipulating other factors like biological acceptance without loss of form, feature and performance. Or is it?

Maybe a recent advt by Maruti on spurious spare parts probably drives home this point

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