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


  • 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


  •  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


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

Mad Man’s History Lessons: Timeline 2 by Sudhir Pai

We’ll begin the second post on historical timelines with 1 BC, when our ancestors solved the 6000 year old mystery of what BC really stood for. To understand life before this monumental year in history.
126 AD – Emperor Hardian builds the Pantheon for all the Roman Gods, who are actually Greek Gods with Italian passports that were not issued in Sicily

301 AD – Magnetic compass invented in China. Cheaper Magnetic compass made in Taiwan. Men still go wrong with directions.

364 AD – The Japanese begin to spread their influence on Korea. The exercise continues till very recently, when LG pipped Sony to become the world’s best selling LED TV.

433 AD – A year after St Patrick arrives in Ireland, the first Irish drinking song is written. The famous lyrics “aye di aye di aye di aye di aye di aye” was a contribution of one suitably drunk Di O’Bolic, who was busy introducing himself to everyone at the bar.

458 AD – The use of Zero is documented for the first time in an Indian Mathematical Treatise. The rest of the world responds with a terse “Thanks for Nothing!”

6th Century AD, King Arthur is born sometime in this century. Nobody however, remember his birthday ( or even birth year). He was perhaps the first man in history to have his cake and eat it too.

681 AD – Bulgars arrive in the Balkans. In the absence of any kind of security systems, like the Bulgar Alarms, the visitors set up an empire.

732 AD – Annual travelers around Europe are in a dilemma as to which is a better holiday spot – South France or Andalusia, Spain. This leads to a battle among the promoting countries, that’s famously referred to as the Battle of the Tours.

756 AD – The Mayans declare year 2012 as the end of the world. The entire civilization gets consumed by a Drink-until-you-die promotion launched by enterprising bar owners.

807 AD – The Beowulf turns 100. It was still considered too early to be celebrating with a Google Doodle.

917 AD – The Last of the Three Lions escape from England. They try and negotiate a payment deal with the circus owners at Madrid, Milan or even Munich during the January transfer season.

982 AD –  Leif Ericsson discovers America, but he couldn’t find it on the map. Decides to go back home to Norway, and give his shrink a visit.

We’ll begin the next post with another monumental year, 1000 AD – when people were poor with dates, and History still had very few takers.

March 2, 2013 at 12:17 am 1 comment

Mad Man’s History Lessons: Timeline 1 by Sudhir Pai

6732 BC – Man discovers fire. He later uses it to destroy all other documents that provide evidence for his worthless existence up until then. For the first time in history, history is rewritten.

3724 BC – After nearly 3000 years of destroying his surroundings with fire, man discovers the wheel. One enterprising chap puts together three more wheels to use it as a vehicle so as to spread the effects of fire. Once every few years, he gets lost. So he invents a map, and gives it to his wife.

2918 BC – A geometry teacher loses his patience with an Egyptian king, who simply could not visualise the Pyramid. Decides to build a very large pyramid and then bury the king in it. A lesson to students who just refuse to understand.

1876 BC – After being beaten embarrassingly in a game of Jenga, one rich merchant in England swears revenge. After years of training, he beats his nemesis convincingly. And just to make his landmark victory known to the world, he recreates his opponent’s moment of failure with 100 tonne stones. Thousands of years later, historians would still wonder what the Stone Henge was all about.

778 BC – Money first appears in Persia

776 BC – China makes its first move to kill world commerce by setting up an industry to manufacture counterfeit money

525 BC – First Naked Olympics organised. Much to the disappointment of male audiences, women refuse to participate!

431 BC – Pepolonnesian war begins. The lawyers on two sides agree on a peace treaty, but fail to agree on the spelling of Polenepposian. The impasse continues for 27 years, as does the war, before they finally zero in on Peloponnesian as a suitably long name to describe a highly confusing war.

214 BC – Tired of pesky neighbours, one Chinese king decides to build a wall. On seeing the noble king lay the first stone, millions of Chinese decide to become a part of history and lay one brick each. Some began to compete with their neighbours, by laying more bricks than the other. This competition goes on till a 1500-mile wall is built, and thoudands are rendered homeless because their families are left on the other side of the wall.

50 BC – Julius Caesar decides to go to France on a holiday, and ends up giving Goscinny and Uderzo enough material for over 30 comic books.

4 BC – Calender Manufacturers are given a four year deadline to standardise the measurement of years. Many try and attribute some significance to the year, so as to rename it.

( The next installment of the timeline will begin from the time when man discovers the latest form of entertainment – blasphemy!)

March 2, 2013 at 12:05 am 1 comment

A Mad Man’s History Lesson (Guest Post)

Mr. Pai and I have a few things in common to start with we both are bloggers working in creative fields related to media and Lefties, proving the theory that we are born geniues. The similarities end here because he is a brilliant writer and a quizz buff. Whenever I want a dose of creativity and humor all I have to do is read his blog.  ‘Pai-isms’ as we call them and one liners as you would make the most serious man crack-up… 

Sample these
“Life is too short to start your day with a newspaper” or “They say genius is rarely recognised in its lifetime. Sadly, that doesn’t seem to be the case with gross incompetence. “
He is now writing a book ‘ Mad Man’s History Lessons’ ( working title) and happily agreed to share some bits of it. I don’t hope but know that you all will enjoy reading it as much as I did… do leave your comments for Mr. Pai and expect the witestest, wackiestest responses.
Its going be a series of posts starting with an Introduction to- A Mad Man’s History Lesson 

History never really repeats itself. Only a bunch of historians do. And they do so for their own convenience. Just think about it. Try reading a history book prescribed by schools and universities in a country that shares its history with your own country. You’ll see that the so called “history” has been painted in a colour pallete that’s very different from what you’ve come to accept as the truth. It’s almost as if History differs from one country to another, just the same way different colours are used to distinguish countries in a political map. So what purpose does history serve apart creating a “mine is bigger than yours” argument on a global scale?  That’s not education. That’s indoctrination with a university certification.

So what can we do about it? Well, assuming all sources of history to be biased in favour of one party over the other, there is absolutely no way of figuring out what really happened. And since we can’t fight them, let’s just join them and share a few laughs. No seriously. There’s no better way to settle an argument than laughing it off. Which is what we’ll do every couple of weeks.  Every time we come across some significant chapters in world history that changed the course of mankind (Yea, right!).
Welcome to the History Class that come with no morals. No heroes. No villains. And absolutely nothing that will fetch you an A+ in your school report. What it will contain however, is a new look at History. So class, the next time we meet, let’s just not revisit history. Let’s rewrite it.

March 1, 2013 at 11:58 pm Leave a comment

Innocent or Guilty… who knows what the truth is?

Afzal Guru’s hanging has been in the news for the last few days now. The tv channels in their usual way reported the breaking the news as ‘JaisheMohammad terrorist hanged death’, supported by emotional bytes from the families of police officers who died during the Parliament attack. Within a day this changed to an emotional conversation about his family not receiving the Govt. intimation in time. While the slip gave BJP a chance to accuse the Central Government, let’s analyze media’s take on the subject, is there even an ounce of logic in the media reports?

Afzal’s mercy pleas has been a topic of debate time and again then why pretend now to be sad for his family? Does the family even care?  The Police framed an innocent Muslim Prof. from Delhi University in this case who was later acquitted by the Supreme Court and if you read Afzal’s interview published in Caravan magazine, a realization hits that maybe he was just a scapegoat?

My argument is, chances of him being innocent are as much as of him being guilty but with his death the case is closed. Another interesting case in the same light is the Arushi murder case; if you have read the book ‘India’ by Patrick French, it has an entire chapter supporting the Talwar’s while there is evidence against them but perhaps not enough.

February 13, 2013 at 1:15 pm 2 comments

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