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Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Love- Hate relationship: The true sense of it

Just the other day, sitting in my consultation room, relatively free, on an odd Ramzan day, a patient walks in for a routine follow up and evaluation. It had been a year since she last came in. My memories raced back 15 months when this petite, fair, 20 year old lass had first dropped in at my chambers with a last hope of getting back to normalcy. I had then subjected her to a battery of tests and checks following which we were able to come to a diagnosis and unravel the mystery behind her suffering. 3 months of regular visits to me and she was up and about. 
Today, she felt so different. The glow was back on her face. The sprightly gait was unmistakable. I spoke to her at length and got her examined. " Fit as a fiddle". 
She thanked me and left. But not before delivering those lingering words : 

I spent the next 10 mins deciphering what she meant. How was it possible that someone who just couldn't thank me enough suddenly turned hostile and has started abhorring me now. I didn't think I overcharged her nor over investigated her. Also, the entire treatment was done with a humane touch. It then dawned on me that this phrase Hate You had deeper connotations. 
The literal meaning apart, hate in the above context seemed to suggest something completely different. She was just highly grateful to me but expressing it that way would sound very superfluous. Thus, the word ' hate ' acts as a savior in such situations and dilutes it. 
It had been a complete revelation. These words told to me quite a few times previously, now started giving me an entirely different perspective to the situations. "Hate you, Sir" or " I just hate you"  were oft repeated to me. But I had been moronic enough not to fathom the exact sense of the words. 
It was time for some googling. The results were shocking to say the least. 

When dealing with females, the term "I hate you", can a lot of the time mean "I Love You". Sounds complicated, but who said love was simple???

This phrase is said to someone when you're too scared to tell them you actually love them! you try to cover up your feelings by pretending you feel the opposite to love...

A child tells her mom " I hate you ". Here, it may not mean the same though.  The expression needs to be respected and a reply as in " I know you love Mommy" could belittle the child's sentiments. 

A student's remarks " I hate you teacher" conveys an entirely different gamut of emotions. 

"I hate you Pak" by an Indian would be an extremist reaction. 

Thus, all in all. This highly objectionable phrase could be hiding several hundreds of implications beneath. It is upto us to unearth them on an individual basis. 

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. 
Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that ..............Martin Luther King

{PS: This post is a work of fiction and any semblance to any characters living or dead is highly coincidental!!}

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Tete-a-tete: Direct Dil Se

Seems really funny as to how I could ever write on such a topic. But certain things in life are generally taken for granted and their importance highly underestimated. 
Thus, it would not be a bad idea to spread a little awareness about this not so important activity which after reading this post, most of us would beg to differ and feel that after all this activity definitely is worth our precious time. 

Hugging or embracing has been immortalized by our very own Mr. Munnabhai.
He called it the jadoo ki jhappi. He did try to explain to us the possible benefits of a hug but we brushed it aside thinking it was filmy and Bollywood ishtyle. 

However, scientifically it has been shown that this seemingly innocuous hug is extremely effective at healing sickness, disease, loneliness, depression, anxiety and stress. Really?? 'How' is the question. 

Hugging a loved one releases the hormone oxytocin that gives you a physical boost and helps to control the blood pressure, reduce stress and improve memory.

But this effect only works if you hug someone you trust. 
Embracing someone you barely know rather increases stress by release of the stress hormone, cortisol

Someone recently asked me the difference between hugging and cuddling. 

A hug is when you put your arms out, move closer to someone, and wrap your arms around them. Usually you squeeze for a second, then release. It is brief, and it is usually reciprocal - give and take. 

A cuddle is something more intimate. To cuddle someone is to wrap them in your arms, but they don't have to do anything but accept the affection. Usually cuddling lasts longer. It may not be reciprocal. 

'You would hug your uncle when you see him at the holidays. But you would not cuddle him.'

Experts have also prescribed the daily dose for this essential vitamin. 
“We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth. "

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Saturday, June 08, 2013

Polygamy vs Adultery: Which is the lesser evil?

Polygamy means a system of marriage whereby one person has more than one spouse. Polygamy can be of two types. One is polygyny where a man marries more than one woman, and the other is polyandry, where a woman marries more than one man. In Islam, limited polygyny is permitted and polyandry is completely prohibited. 

The Quran quotes: 'Marry a woman of your choice in twos' threes' or fours' but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly, (with them), then only one'. 
It also says: 'It is very difficult to be just and fair between women'. 

One of the most important questions that we must first answer is this: Does Islam encourage polygyny? The answer is NO. Islam merely allows it, but does not encourage it. In fact, Islam discourages from polygyny, because it teaches that a man who is married to more than one woman must achieve a perfect balance between his wives financially and in terms of his time. The Quran explicitly instructs Muslim men that if they are afraid they will not be able to be just between their wives, then they are to marry only one woman. This justice is only achieved if the man is able to provide the same amount of time to each of his wives, and the same material lifestyle. 

Whatever message the Quran delivers, is absorbed by the average Muslim without a question asked. But, the more practical ones have always looked for rationality in religious diktats. That's why the question "Why does Islam allow polygyny" becomes very significant. 

Lets go to the basics first. The average life span of a human being has a sexual difference. The female sex is genetically destined to live longer. This variation in longevity differs from countries to continents. For eg. the Western women live 6-7 yrs more than their male counterparts while In India this difference is very minimal. The reasons for this variation are aplenty. The female hormones like estrogen confer a protective effect unlike the male testosterone. 
Females XX as against Males XY have the added advantage of the extra X chromosome which can compensate for the abnormal mutation on one of the X. 
Due to this difference, at any point of time, there would be more living females than males. Many of them would thus find themselves short of partners. This is how Polygyny finds it first rational explanation. 

Recent research has revealed that up to 70% of men cheat on their partners but rates of women cheating on their husbands were lower. The reality of life thus is that there are a lot of men who are not monogamous, regardless of their faith. Monogamy is the practice of having only one partner. But what is very interesting is that men who cheat on their wives usually give the reason as being a craving for more sex and sexual variation. On the other hand, women usually cite a lack of emotional connection to their husband, or that a stronger emotional connection has developed with the man they are cheating with. This adultery is regarded as sin by Islam. Once a person falls into a life of sin, and if they feel that they will not be forgiven and there is no way out, they will continue to commit other sins, thinking that they have nothing to lose. In order to prevent this from happening to anyone, Islam allowed polygyny. It is only allowed, not obligated. So those men who are content with one wife can live happily without committing a sin. Those who are able to control this desire, are discouraged from polygyny because it comes with a heavy burden of having to ensure justice and equality between wives. However, for those men who feel it is necessary for them to marry more than one wife, Islam permits them to do so without feeling guilty about it, so they can live a life of honour and dignity like everyone else. They do not have to hide, and they do not have to have secret relationships. 

The other woman having the affair generally has no rights. The man can have an affair with her and not give her any of his time, emotional or financial attention. He can simply stop seeing her at any time. If he has children from her, he may deny that fact and she may have to go to court to prove he is the father. All these problems do not exist when the Islamic system of polygyny is implemented. Thus, it protects the dignity of the other woman too and prevents her from becoming a " mistress". 

Lets consider an instance where a couple is not able to conceive. Some men may be able to live with this situation. Others may wish to try other solutions such as "test tube" babies or having another woman carry the baby for the couple. Others may pursue adoption of an orphan. However, some men will want to have children by a natural birth. Without polygyny, such a man either has to live the rest of his life having been deprived of this opportunity to be a father, or would have to divorce his wife and marry another woman who is able to have children. Both are very painful options.  In such a case, polygyny may be a good solution whereby the couple can continue their loving marriage. and the man can enjoy the feeling of having natural biological children. In such cases the second wife generally is either a divorcee or widowed or having other issues that would make it difficult for her to get married. So, for her being a second wife is also a great option because she may otherwise have not had the opportunity to get married at all.

Another situation to consider is a man whose wife becomes seriously ill, such that she is not able to have sexual relations with her husband. It is difficult for a man to continue to live for a long period of time without satisfying his sexual needs. In such a case, without polygyny the man will either have to suppress his sexual desire, or will more likely have an affair, or he will simply have to divorce his sick wife and get married to another woman. All of these options are bad. Polygyny provides an option where the wife can continue to get the love, emotional and physical support of her husband. The husband can continue his relationship with his sick wife and provide her all the support he possibly can. At the same time, he is able to fulfill his sexual desire.

In certain societies, children provide support for their tribes and their parents, and so maximizing the number of children is essential. Polygyny is used in those societies, regardless of their faith, in order to achieve this. There are also other places in the world where brutal wars have been going on for many years, and the life expectancy of men is many years less than that of women. . This results in large numbers of widows and orphans. In those places, it is sometimes not easy or even possible for a woman to work in order to support herself and her children. The only option they have is to practice polygyny in order for those widows and orphans to be taken care of.

But why does Islam not allow women to marry more than one man???

First, it would be difficult to determine the father of any children that such a woman would have. Recently, DNA testing can be used to determine this. Polygyny does not have this problem. It is easy to determine with full certainty who the two parents of the child are. Additionally, the family structure becomes impossibly complex if both men and women are allowed to marry multiple spouses. For example, if a man marries four women, and each of those women marries four men, there would be 21 people in this family! If those men are also married to four women each, the family gets even bigger! And this marital chain can continue with no end, resulting in a complex situation that would not be manageable. 

The message that is conveyed through this write up is not that polygamy should be encouraged. But it just provides some insight into this highly controversial concept as to why a religion would ever endorse and justify such a practice. The critics would rant and damn this proposition that it has a very heartless attitude towards the first wife. Also, there always is a notion that it would promote debauchery. However, even though it has many disadvantages, Islam would prefer Polygyny over adultery.  

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Brassieres: Do they defy gravity?

I just happened to stumble upon this revelation. The first thought that crossed my mind was that this was just some ordinary titillating stuff. But after a little analysis, I realized that there was some scientific basis for this finding. I was a little hesitant to publish this initially since it could sound lewd, but since this piece of evidence has created a storm in my life, it definitely merits my publication. 

For years, women have been taught of the virtues of a good bra in order to make the most of their assets and defy the pull of gravity. They have been advised that wearing a bra would keep breasts from sagging, prevent back pain and improve posture. 

Wrong, wrong and wrong, according to a study conducted by Jean-Denis Rouillon, a sports medicine specialist from the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire in Besancon, France.

"Medically, physiologically, anatomically — breasts gain no benefit from being denied gravity," Rouillon said. On the contrary, they get saggier with a bra."

Rouillon should know: Since 1997, he has been studying the breasts of 330 volunteers ages 18 to 35 using a slide ruler and a caliper to record the changes in breast position as the women aged. 

His meticulous research revealed that women could experience about a 7 mm lift in the nipples each year if they didn't wear a bra. 

The bras — which Rouillon now calls "a false necessity"— discourage the growth of supporting breast tissue, leaving the breasts to sag more quickly. 

Breast sagging is also affected by age, smoking status and the number of times a woman had become pregnant.

Because Rouillon's study focused on younger women, he cautioned that the results can't be generalized to all women.

"It would be dangerous to advise all women to stop wearing their soutien-gorge [bra]. 
It would be of no benefit to a 45-year-old mother to stop wearing a bra," Rouillon said.

One of the participants in the study extolled the virtues of going bra-free: "There are multiple benefits: I breathe more easily, I carry myself better and I have less back pain". 

Do not judge a breast by its bra.....

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The spirit of Mumbai

Much has been said and discussed about the flagging spirit of Mumbai.
What in effect is the spirit of Mumbai? After any calamity, natural or forced, the headlines next day talk about the spirit of Mumbai and Mumbaikars. Over a period of time, the aam junta or the common man has realised that this is just a ruse used by the bureaucracy and police to hide their inefficiencies. The feel good factor no longer works now. "Enough is enough". " We are resilient by force, not by choice".

The average Mumbaikar has now gotten used to these ups and downs. He has taken these in his stride and moved on. So much so that he has now developed a  I couldn't care less attitude where he generally turns a blind eye towards petty disturbances in his vicinity and carries on forward.

My last night's incident has given me back my pride in calling my city AAMCHI MUMBAI. Riding my 2 wheeler late yesterday night for a medical emergency, I received a sudden jolt when the chain of my bike gave way. I was stranded in the middle of the road with my bike refusing to budge a centimeter. Somehow I managed to get it near the pavement and was frantically trying to get in touch with some mechanics who could bail me out of this situation. When nothing seemed to work, I decided to get the vehicle towed to my place.
Nearby, a cabbie was patiently watching the drama unfold. He then came up to me with some suggestions. He got some instruments and tried to free the jammed chain. A few other bystanders offered to help. Suddenly there were 5-6 amateurs working on my bike with an aim to get the vehicle mobilized. Lo and behold! They managed to do the needful and my bike got moving. The unimaginable had just happened. Few Mumbaikars had selflessly helped an unknown Mumbaikar in times of distress. I thanked them from the bottom of my heart. While returning back, my mind was in a dilemma. Should I have offered them some money as a token of appreciation or were their efforts so magnanimous that my offering would be too menial and demeaning to their efforts?

Truly, I salute the spirit of Mumbai.

Friday, April 26, 2013

A Healthy Postal Zip

Why is a healthy postal zip code so important?

People staying in overcrowded areas in cities are exposed to air and noise pollutions.

Air Pollution:

Soot and nitrogen oxide from car and truck exhaust are most concentrated few meters off a major road.
Respiratory ailments like asthma and bronchitis commonly afflict inhabitants of these localities.

Noise Pollution:

Horns, booming stereos, dog barks act as stressors and elicit the bodys fight- or- flight response thereby leading to increase heart rate and blood pressure.

And now, recent research has revealed the ill effects on the cardiac system as well.

Living near a busy road causes long-term exposure to air particles from traffic pollution leading to clogging of the arteries, known as atherosclerosis. This predisposes to heart disease.

Thus, the emphasis on a clean and green environment while selecting our dream homes is truly warranted.

"We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors. We borrow it from our children."

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Nautanki Saala - A superb Nautanki

Nautanki Saala reminds us of that very famous Big B dialogue from Sholay - "Nautanki Saala. Ghadi Ghadi drama karta hain". Directed by Rohan Sippy, son of Ramesh Sippy of Sholay fame.
AB junior does have a cameo here too. That's about it as regards the similarity between the two movies.
This film is all about real life dramatization of the stage characters of the legendary Ram Leela plays.
Ayushmann Khurana, a Drama artist and director, acts a Good Samaritan and saves the life of a good for nothing, Kunal Roy Kapur. Both their lives get entwined hereafter.
The humor is not crass and forced unlike the slapstick comedies these days. The plot and dialogues leave you in splits. The music is terrific with an excellent background score. What else would you expect from a Bhushan Kumar production!
The female leads are new faces. Passable. Performances from the male stars as well as the script are the scene stealers. Khurana seems a very versatile talent and should be hot property very soon.

Charity is injurious unless it helps the recipient to become independent of it.
- John D. Rockefeller

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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Jolly LLB - Could have been jolly better

One would expect a comic caper when you see a cast comprising of Boman Irani, Arshad Warsi, Saurabh Shukla et al. Not to be. It's a satire on the judiciary with non filmy court room scenes. The triumph of the downtrodden over the elite - Justice prevails.
The plot doesn't boast of a 'different' story line. It's the run of the mill stuff. The music is practically non existent. The film, however, scores due to its lead performances. Boman and Warsi are first rate. The show stopper is undoubtedly Saurabh Shukla. The finale desperately lacks a punch.
A decent watch if you are in need of a feel good factor.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Ford: Lies, lies and more lies.

Possessing a Ford vehicle is a luxury. I always knew it and have experienced it many times before, but this recent incident has jolted me to the extent that I have to forewarn all prospective buyers of Ford.
The after sales service of Ford has nosedived. The service centre in town, Shaman has stopped servicing Ford probably because Volkswagen is more lucrative. The next best option seemed Wasan Ford. Though it is quite far for town residents, I had no option but to bank on it. Thus starts my journey passing me through lies, lies and more lies.
On phonic enquiry, I was told that I would be provided a pick up and drop of my car. However, since I had to get some check ups done, it would be preferable if I visit the centre, I was told.

Met Mr Imtiyaz Ali, the advisor. Still haven't figured out whether the advice given to me by him was true or not. He very politely declined the possibility of drop of my car after servicing. 1st lie. Reason cited was that I was first time customer. But the actual reason seemed that the cost incurred to me including the service and repairs was not good enough to merit a drop. After much requesting, the drop was agreed upon.

I was taken for a test drive and after a close inspection of my vehicle, given an estimate which I agreed upon. Next day I get a call and am told about further problems and the urgency to get them corrected as well. I had no option but to agree to the repairs. The initial estimate of 6711 straight jumped to 25641.
2 nd lie. My question is: why weren't the other problems pointed out earlier? Also, if I had to be told about them on phone, what was the big advantage of my going there personally to the centre?
Very soon, I got another setback. The part I was told had to be got from Chennai and would take 4 days to procure. I had again no choice. After 2 days when I called to confirm the delivery date, I was told that the car was already ready. In just 2 days. 3 rd lie.
I was promised delivery immediately since the car was ready. But suddenly it seemed the driver was occupied and busy. So it was scheduled for the next day. 4th lie.
Finally the car was delivered. And now comes the icing on the cake. Inspite of my specific instructions, I was not issued a cash receipt. 5th lie.
And last but not the least. When I asked for the receipt, I was promised that it would be scanned to me the same day. It's 11 pm now and the day almost over. I'm still waiting for it. I guess I would have to accept it as the 6 th lie.
Thanks Imtiyaz for all your cooperation.

I haven't said anywhere that I have been cheated but after so many lies and broken promises, have I left anything to the imagination???

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Medical Camps - a futile exercise?

A medical camp generally is organized by a charitable institute. Yours truly, was very recently a part of one such camp. 250 patients were registered. A blood sugar, pressure, bone densitometry and body fat analysis examination was done by reputed doctors of the respective faculties. Patients were examined and counselled as regards their complaints.

Rural camp
Broadly, a medical camp may be either rural or urban.

A rural free camp makes plenty of sense since the locals have to travel far and wide to get their ailments diagnosed. So, if we could go to their place, it would be a tremendous boon for them. Poverty adds on to their woes and thus medical care is a luxury for them.
An urban camp on the other hand, seems a little irrational.

Why then is a free camp in the downtown of a city organized at all? Our answer lies in the participants. There are 3 sets of people who form the backbone of any camp.
First, the organizers which could either be the Pharma company or any Charitable institute.
Second. The Doctors attending the camp.
Third and most important. The Patients who are enrolled for the camp.
Everyone has their own vested interests in the camp. The organizers of charitable institute want to show the society that they have done some philanthropic exercise.
The pharma wants to push their products in the markets. Samples of medicines are given free to the patients. However, these drugs are sufficient enough for a week or two most of the time. The patient has to purchase the product after these samples are over especially since most of these are to be continued for prolonged periods.
The doctors don't mind the publicity.
And, the patients are hungry for the free samples and free medical advice that they get.

At the face of it, a medical camp basically consists of the patients and for the patients. But they forget one important fact. NOTHING IS FREE IN THIS WORLD. During the camp, their regular prescription is changed which is ethically incorrect unless there is strong indication for the same. The sugars checked generally are random values which makes it all the more difficult to titrate their drug doses.
Examination of their Blood Pressure, Biochemistry reports and XRays is done hurriedly since there are many patients to cater to. The margin of error thus increases.
Most of these patients fail to follow up predisposing them to side effects of the new drugs.
So, who is the loser in this whole enterprise? The patient obviously and to a certain extent the doctors as well since majority of these patients at the camp won't consult these doctors again.
The pharma is the only one to benefit.

The only way a free medical camp would be successful is if there are new cases of high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoarthritis, cancer or cataract detected. These however would need a regular follow up for their management.

To say the truth, this last one did change my opinion a little as regards medical camps. We detected at least 5-6 new diabetic patients and a few more than that were newly hypertensive. Probably the incidence of these silent killer diseases is way on the rise in the metro cities. But what I haven't yet figured out is how could people be ignorant about their ailments and not recognize its symptoms. I guess that's the reason why they are called SILENT in the first place.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Kai Po Che - A CUT Above The Rest

Kai Po Che: A Gujarati term meaning "I have cut", the movie is based on Chetan Bhagat's novel 'The mistakes of my  life'.

It revolves around 3 friends and their complex relationships with each other. Each of us has a specific goal in life and we keep moving towards it. But we never realize when circumstances get us entwined amongst the complexities that we forget what our goals were. The Bhuj earthquake followed by the Godhra carnage wreak havoc in their lives.
The entire depiction of their bonding and their differences makes it worth going miles for. The climax will surely get you to shed a tear.
The movie does tend to lose grip intermittently but it covers lost ground in the finale. The background score is decent. The lesser known lead actors however steal the show. Sushant Singh is a notch above the rest.
The entire movie experience was enhanced by the truly majestic seating comfort at the Ebony lounge at Metro Big Cinemas. You would want to watch every film in this 180• zone henceforth.

If you have missed Kai Po Che in its first week, make sure you catch up with it this weekend.
Kudos, Abhishek Kapoor.

“Together we shared a bond not even death would violate".

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Strike of the strike

Bandh, strike or hartal - the word dreaded by the common man especially if he is a Mumbaikar or rather an Indian. Come to think of it, only an Indian is a common man because he is the one who is always taken for a ride by the Government, Mafia and the Judiciary. 

The Opposition recently called for a nation wide bandh to protest against the upward spiraling prices. I guess that was the only issue. Or rather we have been made to believe that this was the only issue. The bandh has caused a loss of 20,000 crores to the nation. Probably, this is the best way to get the prices downwards.

Incidentally, the Hindi word ‘hartal’ comes from two Sanskrit words, namely, hatta and talaka. Hatta means shop or market and talaka means a lock. Thus ‘hartal’ literally and etymologically both means closure of shops or market. Protests in the form of closure of shops or halt of public transport are forced on to the people.  Therefore, the success of such a bandh cannot be attributed to public opinion as it may not have been observed voluntarily and may have been done out of fear. 

I would like to focus on two aspects:
First, though strikes have been declared illegal and unconstitutional by the courts, forcing someone to join the bandh is yet to be made an offense.
Second, state governments and administration have genuine practical problems in enforcing the orders of the courts to ensure that complete normalcy is maintained during a strike.

The legal catch is that even if they have hundreds of thousands of people with them, it does not mean that every single member of the society is with them. Even if there is a single individual who does not agree with a man or party registering its protest, his rights are as sacred as the rights of millions. He has as much right not to take part in a strike or ‘bandh’ as the other person has to take part in them. Hence the ‘bandh’ supporter does not have the right to encroach upon the rights of others in the exercise of his right to protest. The moment he does so, he commits a crime. Forcing someone to join the bandh is akin to forcing a female to having sexual intercourse against her wishes. 
The bandh supporter has the right not to go to work or keep his shop closed. He does not however have the right to force others to do so. That’s why forcing others to join strikes or bandhs is illegal and unconstitutional. By the same logic it must be made into a substantive offense.
Why would a group or political party want to enforce a bandh? The answer is very simple. If normal life were to continue as usual, they might have as well not bothered to give the bandh call in the first place! The reality of life is that the call for a strike, bandh or ‘hartal’ is essentially a show of strength and the parties would fail in their purpose if normal life were not to be affected.

Whenever a ‘hartal’ or a general strike is called, the government must take adequate measures to see that normal life of the citizens is not paralyzed. That is to be done not by declaring holidays or postponing examinations; but, by giving effective protection to those who are not participating in such ‘hartals’ or strikes. 
What are the measures to be taken by the state governments to ensure normalcy? If the strikers do not heed to police advice, the latter have three means of using lethal and non lethal force. Tear gas is the mildest form followed by ‘lathi charge’ and the stun grenades and stinger grenades. The lethal form is firing. The tear gas option is generally ineffective if used in large areas. The police during a lathi charge may be outnumbered easily and this decision may then backfire. So, the only effective way to disperse unruly mobs is by firing. Every police firing results in a judicial inquiry. They are then criticized for using disproportionate quantam of force.
The underlying fear of a judicial inquiry and all the trauma that accompanies it, is actually responsible for the reticence of the police officers in using lethal force to good effect.

The state government finds itself in a fix. If they fail in maintaining complete normalcy, they may be accused of disobeying the court and failing in their constitutional duty; and if they start shooting people down and shed blood on a large scale, they will still be accused of using excessive force and being inhuman. The only solution therefore, seems if the courts press for making the forced imposition of a strike or bandh into an offense and also assure the state governments that their use of force in maintaining normalcy would be viewed with due concessions in mind.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Murder 3: A Murder of the Murder franchisee.

Murder 3, coming from the Bhatt camp, is a directorial debut by Vishesh, son of Mukesh Bhatt. An official adaptation of the Spanish thriller, The Hidden Face, this film however falls flat on its face.

Randeep Hooda is an ace photographer who relocates to India with his girlfriend, Aditi Rao. Very soon she goes missing, and another chic, Sara Loren moves in with him. It is now upto these two with the help of the cops to unearth the mysterious disappearance of Aditi.

The cinematography is just average. The narrative is very hackneyed. The acting skills of the lead stars leave a lot to be desired. Music just hummable. Surprisingly, Vishesh has toned down the eroticism which has always been an integral part of the Bhatt tradition. It always is a better option to stick to your USP than opting for the middle path.
The movie is devoid of action but that was partly compensated by the off screen melee that took place during the intermission at our multiplex.

This could probably be the last of the Murders. I guess the Bhatts would be very skeptical to think about Murder 4.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Chocolate Story

For many years, chocs have been an expression of love and affection, spreading smiles and happiness everywhere.

Chocolate comes from cocoa beans -- the seeds of the Theobroma cacao tree -- which, along with other plants like tea, are high in flavanols. These compounds have marked antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and are thought to be responsible for much of the health benefit ascribed to chocolate consumption. Keep in mind that overly processed chocolate -- most of the candy aisle -- often contains added sugar and saturated fatty acids, which offset cocoa's health benefits. So stick with dark, flavanol-rich varieties.

Winning a Nobel Prize may have just gotten easier. Findings published in The New England Journal of Medicine in October 2012 show that countries with more chocolate consumers produce significantly more Nobel laureates, possibly through enhanced cognition.

European Heart Journal found that daily dark chocolate consumption over a 4-week period improves endothelial and platelet function in patients with congestive heart failure.
Chocolate consumption has also been associated with a lower incidence of myocardial infarction and mortality from coronary heart disease.

The vascular benefits of cocoa are reflected in the growing body of evidence linking chocolate consumption with reduced blood pressure.

Increasing chocolate consumption by 50 g per week reduced cerebral infarction risk by 12%, hemorrhagic stroke risk by 27%, and total stroke risk by 14%.

Despite its lipidic reputation, chocolate appears to have a positive influence on cholesterol levels. Most milk and heavily processed chocolate contains added saturated fatty acids, which, along with added sugar, may negate cocoa's health benefits and are likely to raise cholesterol. But dark and unprocessed chocolate, with at least 60%-70% cocoa, is associated with decreased low-density lipoprotein levels and increased high-density lipoprotein levels. Cocoa does contain saturated fat, but it is primarily stearic acid, which is thought to be cholesterol neutral.

There are mixed results in Mood Disorders.

Frequent chocolate consumption is associated with a lower body mass index (BMI).


With apologies to the milk chocolate inclined, consumption of dark chocolate appears to provide significant and varied health benefits. However, all chocolate is caloric -- 2 oz of dark chocolate can contain over 440 calories -- so before you get carried away, moderate, calorie-conscious consumption should be emphasized.

Cavities: The refined sugar in processed chocolate can be detrimental to your teeth when eaten often without regular and proper teeth brushing. Sugar plays a harmful role in tooth decay by providing the bacteria in your mouth with energy. The bacteria begin to multiply faster, and plaque begins to grow in size and thickness on your teeth. Bacteria can also use sugar as a type of glue to cling to your teeth, making it difficult to get rid of with just a toothbrush.

Sugar can cause and aggravate gum disease.

Fruits provide the same health advantages of dark chocolate without the calories and saturated fats. They also contain natural sugar for those who crave sweets.

If you must have chocolate, buy it in the smallest serving size possible. This prevents you from eating up all of your calories for the day but satisfies your cravings too. 

The Illusions of Diabetic Branded Produce:

"Diabetic foods tend to be 'treat' foods such as chocolates and biscuits. These foods do not contain sugar so some people may think that they're fine to eat in large quantities. However, diabetic foods offer no benefit to people with diabetes. They are expensive, contain just as much fat and calories as the ordinary versions, can have a laxative effect and will still affect blood glucose levels."

Diabetes UK joined forces with the Food Standards Agency in an attempt to stop this false advertising - "People with diabetes should eat a normal healthy balanced diet, the same as everybody else."

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Special 26: Something special about it

As always, the tried and tested does work. Neeraj Pandey as expected, does what he does best. A suspense thriller based on real life incidents which took place in the 80s.
Akki, Anupam Kher and their associates are con men who specialise in posing as CBI officers and rob politicians and businessmen of their hard earned black money. But this time they have their task cut out. They have to get past the real cops in Jimmy Shergill and Manoj Bajpai.
Performances of the male leads are decent. However, It is the story and screenplay that take the cake. The mandatory songs could have been done away with. They slacken the pace of the movie in the first half. The climax however makes up for the minor glitches.
And as Kher correctly says. "Listen to your heart".
Go for this film.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Mac Halal

The Muslim Judicial Council Halaal Trust (MJCHT) has reiterated that there is no truth to emails currently circulated stating that McDonalds South Africa was not halaal. According to the latest hoax email doing the rounds, a study into the McDonalds ingredients in the Kitchen Office in Florida, United States has shown positive evidence of pork materials called "LM10", used in the McDonalds mayo. The warning stated that South African McDonalds officials have confirmed that all sauce based ingredients are imported from the US.

“Consumers are advised to abstain from McDonalds. The MJC and IQSA has also withdrawn certification countrywide,” the email read. In a statement issued to VOC on Friday, MJCHT spokesperson Sheikh Moosa Titus said the sauces for the South African outlets are imported from the UK and are fully halaal compliant. He reconfirmed that McDonalds South Africa was certified by the MJCHT and are fully halaal. “The latest email is bogus information and bereft from any truth. The public should dismiss it with disdain,” he said.

All the suppliers and ingredients used in the products listed on the McDonald’s menu are halaal. The McDonalds’ stores are on a continuous basis supervised both internally and externally. “No McDonald’s store is allowed to purchase raw materials or products elsewhere as all the stores are supplied from halaal certified central distribution centres that are certified by the MJC’s Halaal Trust. Should any McDonald’s store require any additional stock, they are required to place an emergency order and a special delivery will be done from the distribution centre,” Titus explained.

He emphasized that Muslims should not be circulating these types of emails unless they had confirmation from the body. The ulema body’s protocol on public announcements is to write the notice on its official MJC Halaal Trust letter head and would be endorsed with the signature of a senior MJC halaal trustee. If the message is to be conveyed via email, the original copy will be scanned and it will be sent in a PDF form.

“Official announcements are in most cases delivered via the mosque boards, printed media or community radio stations. No such message was ever disseminated by the MJC Halaal Trust.” VOC (Tasneem Adams)!msg/kozhichena/OOWj-UuY4T0/tHbciBdCxH8J

The Muslim Judicial Council Halaal Trust hereby informs the community that the McDonald brand and all outlets are under the jurisdiction of the MJCHT and certified halaal.

The recent concern raised by the community is based on an email which was circulated 2 years ago and does not apply.

We therefore request the community to refrain from circulating any such outdated emails as this creates unnecessary confusion and doubt. We would appreciate it if prior to the dissemination of emails to groups, information contained be verified and confirmed as factual.


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Race 2: Expecting the unexpected

Venturing out on a Eid-e- Milad day in Mumbai requires lots of courage especially towards the late evening. Being a movie buff, I had to take up the task and prove myself.

Race 2, sequel to an Abbas Mustan movie, released after a wait  of 5 long years. Expectations were high right from the word go. So, couldnt afford to miss a single sequence. Paying high gratitude to the Milad processions, it built up a perfect prequel to the movie. It was finally a "race" to the theatre. And you could expect yours truly to never miss the beginning of any movie. Today was no exception.

The movie starts with a bang in typical Abbas-Mustan style and carries on from there. The chase sequence is breathtaking. It gives us heavy relief from the absurd South Indian fight sequences. The locales are amazing. Music is foot tapping especially the Be Intehaan and Party on my mind numbers.
We start expecting the unexpected now. The plot now deepens. The entire cast is very much up to it. Saif, John Abraham and Anil Kapoor all play their parts with √©lan. Their female counterparts however, do not have meaty roles to boast of. The ending could have been better with some little more editing.

All in all, seems a good entertainer though. The director duo does not let you down once again.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Life after death: Myth or Reality

For years Dr. Eben Alexander III  had dismissed near-death revelations of God and heaven as explainable by the hard wiring of the human brain. He was, after all, a neurosurgeon with sophisticated medical training.

But then in 2008, Dr. Alexander contracted bacterial meningitis. The deadly infection soaked his brain and sent him into a deep coma.

During that week, as life slipped away, he now says, he was living intensely in his mind. He was reborn into a primitive mucky Jell-o-like substance and then guided by “a beautiful girl with high cheekbones and deep blue eyes” on the wings of a butterfly to an “immense void” that is both “pitch black” and “brimming with light” coming from an “orb” that interprets for an all-loving God.

Dr. Alexander, 58, was so changed by the experience that he felt compelled to write a book, “Proof of Heaven,” that recounts his experience. He knew full well that he was gambling his professional reputation by writing it, but his hope is that his expertise will be enough to persuade skeptics, particularly medical skeptics, as he used to be, to open their minds to an afterworld.