The Book-Keeper

Books mean different things to different people. To some it’s about intellect, to others it means to have bestsellers on their bed-side, more for the sake of being able to talk about it the next day, for some it is even a mean to find ‘inner peace’, boost self confidence et al. It is equally amazing and intriguing that a ‘Book’ could have its own unique meaning for each one of us.

To me it is all and only about comfort that comes from the subject of the book, be it history, chick-lit, mythology, fiction, psychology, classics and of course for the child in me ‘fables, Enid Blyton, R.K Naryanan and Uncle Pai’s Amar Chitra Katha collection J

A mixed bag of books

If in Bangalore do visit Higgin Bothams on MG Road, they have the most impressive children’s book section

.Uncle Pai's collection

 

January 25, 2014 at 10:34 pm 1 comment

Exploring Life :)

If I press the rewind button to go back in the past, one thing that would certainly still be a surprise unravelling with time will be about these opportunities coming my way to explore life…New City, Old Friends, New House yet again to make a Home. 

Each place as its own way to charm you, this one does it with its greenery, with apartments that are bigger than two put together from my previous one. Balconies to add some more colour and vibrancy to the place called home. The Sky is unpredictably moody and cries in happiness, perhaps when it’s sad or just to have some fun!

The little niece sings and says, “If you are happy and you know it clap your hands” and that’s what you will find me doing!

On a sweet note, I tasted the best ladoos and exploring more of the food scene every day.

 Till next post, ‘Chill Maddi’!

December 9, 2013 at 11:12 pm 3 comments

Shopping for Home-Grown Brands

Weekends are for shopping!  Ask any homemaker {single, double, nuclear or joint family}, the needs and wants may differ, but the agenda is common to all; ‘stock-up’ the kitchen, fill-up the shelves, re-fill the refrigerator.

Last Sunday, while the purpose of my escapade to the market remained the same, the way to accomplish it was different and turned out to be an experience I would like to repeat each time. I decided to pick up products that are of an Indian make.

Think to yourself for a minute, how tough can it be to ensure that whatever goes into your shopping basket, be it a pack of detergent, a carton of oats or a bar of chocolate is of an Indian brand? In short, the idea is to ‘Buy Indian’!


Branche_FMCG_Retail_400px

Sounds laughably easy? I thought so too! But it isn’t so.  But it isn’t because before picking-up any product you have to cross check and be sure it’s not just made in India but a Home Grown Brand.  Basically it means leave behind your habit of grabbing and loading products in the cart.

For instance, I am a big Kellogg fan and always purchase a mix of museli, chocos, fruit loops, et al. Now can you think of any Indian brand which offers the same variety? There is one plain, inexpensive brand of cornflakes by Mohan Meakins which many of us grew-up eating until international brands took over the market and this humble packet was pushed to the corner. However, milk, curd and dairy products are easiest on the list to strike off thanks to the White Revolution in India and the fact that we are the largest milk producing (and consuming) nation in the world. For biscuits, sweets, small bites and snacks, home grown brands like Parle-G, Britannia, etc. offer enough options to spoil you silly.

Shopping list is yours, goods in the basket are for your consumption, what you pick is ultimately your choice; do you want to willingly make a compromise? Perhaps, No. Is it worth a try, of course it is!

Why should you attempt an effort like this, which would complicate the whole shopping affair?

  • It will help you focus more on the product, its purpose than the brands you choose
  • You consciously stop paying price incurred by the brand on its marketing expenses
  • Support our economy and small Indian producers
  • Gandhi on our currency so be Gandhian in the way we buy
  • It is FUN! Break away from your heavily influenced shopper’s mindset

Try this the next time you step out with your shopping bag and you will see the picture of the Mahatma on your money notes smile back at you!

PS: Now I have the freedom to choose accompaniments that go in my bowl of cornflakes, a bit of chocolate sauce, nuts, dried/ fresh fruits or a little drizzle of Roohafza, it’s both desi & delicious.

October 21, 2013 at 1:11 pm 3 comments

Arian needs your help!

Mucopolysaccharidoses II… don’t know the meaning of this word and finding it hard to pronounce? Imagine the plight of 11 year old Arian Chowdhury who is suffering from this extremely rare genetic disorder also called the Hunter’s Syndrome. Fortunately, treatment is unavailable; unfortunately it’s beyond his parents to afford it.

Hunter’s Syndrome is caused by mutation that leads to deposition of biomolecules in cells and as cells get progressively clogged, organs begin to fail, causing death. There around 2000 people reportedly afflicted with Hunter Syndrome in different part of the world of these approximately 500 are in the United States, 30 in Canada, 2 in New Zealand, few in various countries and  Arian here in India. It is an awfully painful and life threatening condition for which the only available treatment is Enzyme Replacement Therapy.

While this therapy can prove to be highly beneficial for Hunter Syndrome patients it is extremely expensive and one of the costliest drugs ever developed. This medicine is the only hope for Arian now. Developed by Shire Human Genetic Therapies Ltd, the drug is not yet available in India however with prior permission from Drug Controller General of India it can be imported as it is a life-saving drug.

The cost of the drug is the only factor that has not yet made it possible for Arian to receive the treatment as a weekly dose costs over 2 lakhs. Considering that the therapy is to be administered on a regular and on a long term basis, the expense is estimated to run into several lakhs, probably close to a Crore annually.

 Arian is not seeking financial aid, only a minute of your time to sign-up & support his plea addressed to the Union Health Minster of India.

To join  his fight for survival and right to quality life and treatment, click & register http://change.org/arian

Arian

Want to take this beyond signing-up the plea?  Please contact his father Sib Sankar Chowdhury @ +91 9831361116. You can also drop in a line to me in case you need more details about his medical history and case details

September 13, 2013 at 11:47 am 1 comment

Basking in the Blog’s Glory!

Some of you may have read it already, and for others here is a copy of the article that was recently published in Hindustan Times, HT City about the blog! Basically this once upon a time anonymous blog now has a face which happens to be mine.

Fishing for ideas in Kerala. Trip courtesy Vasundhra Sarovar Premiere

Fishing for ideas in Kerala. Trip courtesy Vasundhra Sarovar Premiere

My love for Delhi is no secret and there’s more than one reason that keeps it alive {despite the badly behaved men, rich- spoilt brats and beggars} . Colleagues here in Bombay fondly talk about the city’s food, greenery, chilly winters and warm afternoons. How about telling me what makes the city tick-click & happening for you.

PS: Going to be in Delhi again this weekend and looking forward to another fun-filled trip and some interesting experiences that I could perhaps share with you all.

September 3, 2013 at 12:41 pm 4 comments

Chalo Dilli

One year is a long time to not visit a city where you have family and home but to give it a feel of emotion and drama I admit it wouldn’t have been easy to leave the city again. Oh yes, I was excited to be in the city that describes my blog and its raison d’etre. So what if it didn’t have Bombay’s pleasant, refreshingly cool breeze. {Note to self; the post is about Delhi so no reference to Bombay}

I believe and tell me if you don’t agree that train journeys may be long but never boring and is a perfect way to see the beautiful countryside.

A click from the train window

Enroute to Delhi

Enroute to Delhi

 

After a long 21 hour journey in the slowest train between Mumbai-Delhi, Sampark Kranti Express, (efforts count), Delhi welcomed me with its muggy weather, no complaint because my first halt was discovering a ‘Green Mine’ in the heart of the city… It is a nursery adjacent to the Humayun’s tomb. What’s the big deal about a nursery? It’s so huge that you have to drive through it! Breathtakingly beautiful with lush green plants, blooming flowers, a historical architecture in the backdrop and peacocks walking past you….  It can happen only in Delhi.  Maintained by the the Municipal Corporation of Delhi the land is a part of the Aga Khan Foundation. If you haven’t made a trip already and plan to add some Hariyali to the house or just wish to breathe in pure air, do go.

The plan was simple ‘when visiting a city for a holiday do everything touristy’, catch-up with friends at Khan Market, shopping for artifacts at the state emporiums, visit to Delhi-6,  khana at Karims and Raj Kachori at Haldirams, Pineapple shake at Keventer, and metro yatra. While I don’t intend to write about the wrongs in Delhi in this post but the roads are in a deplorable state and most parts have been dug up. Back to the nice things; let me tell you about the two new finds. ‘Claridges ka paan’, drive to the lane behind the hotel and you will see a paan ki dukaan. 25 rupees for a nice tasty rich with katha and scents meetha paan is a must have. Happen to be in Daryaganj, don’t count this as an open invite to my place instead walk to the market, just a little ahead of the HDFC bank on the corner is a thela which has the one of the most delicious chaat you can get.

A trip to the national capital is not complete without a discussion on the state of affairs and politics and the conversations are not about BJP, UPA or RahulG but NaMo. My take, well that calls for another post.

August 21, 2013 at 10:53 pm Leave a comment

Love & Lessons from Dad

He doesn’t know how to be strict but his silence is the language of discipline
Clasps the hand not to hold me back but to give the leap of faith
He is about an unspoken understanding, unconditional love and support!

Being selfless, sensitive, helpful, punctual are not choices but principles for life.

Put forth a point of view, if you believe strongly then stand- by it but avoid an argument
If others are in a race to push &  move ahead, step by to ensure they don’t stumble on you.

With him tempo of the voice can’t be faked
He can read the mind and saves me from expressing in words
I need an excuse to call him and he requires no reason to check on me!

DATo dads, mine and yours because they are special!

June 19, 2013 at 9:19 pm 1 comment

A Hospital Stay is No Holiday

Open Magazine recently did a story on the emergence of luxury hospitals in India,  having worked in the healthcare sector long enough I know the story is not new and nor are the players in the private healthcare space who have created this niche. Think about it; when you sick or a family member is sick and I mean really unwell that need of the hour is beyond a family physician, how you prioritize your treatment options:

  • Figure out which specialist to consult

Or

  • Which hospital has the most comfortable mattress

 

  •  A hospital that offers high quality services, clean hygienic room and surroundings with round the clock attending doctors and medical staff

Or

  •  A hospital with cozy Coffee Shop and a plush lounge area with a Spa

 

  • Ask family and friends how they would rate a X hospital in terms of medical facilities based on past experience

Or

Ask family and friends how they would rate X hospital based on the grand repertoire of F&B menu they have for the “clients”

When I was a teenager and visited Indraparastha Apollo Hospital for the first time that was it! I declared if anything was to happen to me, it should only be this hospital where I should be admitted. Alas! I am not a teenager anymore; hospital is a place where one is out of need not choice! Even if I have a family member admitted last thought on my mind would be to avail spa services over pacing up and down in the waiting area or sitting by the beside of the patient.

Of course it’s a feel good factor, the ambience, services everything adds to cheer. Analjeet Singh, Founder Max Healthcare introduced an innovative idea of setting-up coffee shops in the lobbies so that anyone who steps in smells Coffee beans and not phenol. Simple logic of ‘First Impression’ but does it last?

Oddly, it doesn’t because, you still have to wait for your turn to meet the doc despite an appointment and paying a steep consultation fee. You do end-up spending extra 500 (on an average) on Coffee or food and no matter how nice, beautiful and pretty a hospital maybe, you want to exist it as soon as you can. After all a hospital is not a social hangout zone and never will be.

The business of healthcare is exciting and interests me to check out a new one. It makes me happy to work in one but I so wish we de-clutter the science of curing and the touch of care. Remember the logic, keep it simple silly! It works each time.

I would rather have polite staff (read my post on Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi), speedy processes, an attentive nurse checking on my patient, counseling family on the diagnosis and condition of the patient, explaining the nature of tests, et al than worrying about what to serve for lunch (if he can eat at all).

On one hand you have Fortis Memorial Research Institute (Gurgaon); the newest medicity equipped with Theatre, Spa, Shopping Arcade and an Art Gallery and on other hand the same group has a hospital in Mumbai which has slum right across and kids defecating in open. So much for a view from the window or hygiene in the vicinity, it would be an appreciative initiative if the hospital built a few public loos for the slum dwellers to use. Why should they do it? It makes a good story which means lots of positive PR, the hospital earns Goodwill, will be seen as a healthcare provider offering access to basic amenities to the poor and helping in improving the area too.

Insurance pays then what reason I have to complain if luxury comes as part of the package with the hospital visit? Well I’d rather choose to spend and unwind with a holiday where one can enjoy stress-free indulgence.

Perhaps for the benefit of all, I should write a post on understanding the dynamics of your hospital visit or how to be a smart patient and caregiver. Your thoughts?

April 3, 2013 at 3:47 pm 1 comment

Oi! Delhi…

Since my move to Bombay precisely 8 months and 5 days ago time and again the same question pops-up, Why Bombay, to which I enthusiastically replied each time ‘besides an opportunity for the career, it has what Delhi doesn’t ‘Sea & Safety’.  The next obvious question is Delhi really that unsafe? Honestly, I played it safe, never took the risk of staying out late, taking a walk in the park or boarding a private bus.  Call it my Delhi attitude I haven’t done it in Bombay either but I do have a sense of freedom and security to do if I wish!

On that note, today I am going to do something I wouldn’t ever do in Delhi, wear a dress, hail a cab, raise a toast with my girlfriends and forget my wrist watch at home!

 

PS: Dear Delhi, in my next post I will certainly be more nice before my ‘Delhi-zenship’ is questioned.

March 8, 2013 at 1:49 pm 11 comments

Mad Man’s History Lessons: Timeline 3 by Sudhir Pai

History is fun when you don’t have to remember the details. However, the best parts of History never seem to make it to the textbooks. Here is another sample of History that you never heard from your history teacher.
1008 AD: Japanese writer Murasaki Shikibu writes The Tale of Genji, the world’s first ever novel. The writer was so far ahead of her time, that there were no NY Times or Oprah Winfrey to help her sell. As a result, it was never slod, and thrust upon the people by her boyfriend, who was one influential princely types. It was only after the world’s second novel came, a good century or so later that people acknowledged the superiority of Genji.
1043 AD: Lady Godiva protested against the high taxes, and went on to become every young boy’s pin up girl till Playboy introduced centerfolds some 923 years later.
1125 AD: Romans introduced the Roman numerals, just to please their salaried employees from Spain, Greece and the rest of Italy. How else could they be earning a meager amount of LXXXVIII a year, and still fell like they take home a respectable 8-figure salary?

1185 AD: The first windmills appear in Netherlands. Its popularity is credited to a bunch of Marketing execs, who could sell this idea on the strength of some wind.
1215 AD: King John signs Magna Carta Libertatum at Runnymede. Six years later, when he finally read the colloquial translation, he uttered what was perhaps his greatest contribution to the Queen’s language – “Bollocks!”
1291 AD: The Swiss Confederation of Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwalden forms. Together, they decide to go cuckoo!
1297 AD: The world’s first stock exchange set up, but nobody seems to be interested in the Facebook shares.
1337 AD: The Hundred Years’ War begins when the English lay claim to the French Throne.

1338 AD: A good number of soldiers put in their papers when their employers tell them that it would be another 99 years before they would get an increment.

1492 AD: After a drunken night, Christopher Columbus decides to sail to India, but ends up taking a wrong turn.

1497 AD: Without anyone noticing him, Amerigo Vespucci tiptoes his way to take Christopher Columbus’ sea route, names the lands after himself, and returns. The only flaw in his plan was his handwriting, which was so illegible that “Go” was mistaken to be “Ca”.

With the discovery of a new world, historians of the time were suddenly burdened with the task of documenting a whole new set of events. What say we take a break here and resume with another new chapter? Tomorrow perhaps. What’s that you say? Next week? Because one week cannot change the course of a 500-year history? Agreed! Next week then.

 

March 2, 2013 at 12:18 am Leave a comment

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