Wednesday, March 18, 2009

‘’Why me, Ma’am?’’ - A question on World Kidney Day

‘’Why me, Ma’am?’’ Those words still ring in my ears. I didn’t have a reply though I just managed to fumble out a few words of reassurance.

These words belong to a staff and colleague from Delhi (we interact with other branches through phone as we’re centralised for a number of locations at Mumbai), He’d moved to another Bank in Delhi itself on a good payscale . He was hard-working and kind and good in his work. We were happy for him. He always turned to me for advice on issues and learning things about Trade Finance. When things go right, many envious eyes spoil it. I was not superstituous. But recent experiences have led me to believe that envy does destruct. Immediately, on quitting and before joining the new job, he was afflicted with a stomach infection for which he was admitted to a hospital for a month. He was on heavy antibiotics and requested the new Bank to consider his late joining through a reference. This was a year back.

He finally joined the new job and won accolades for his good work. Again he happily announced it to the world and even scanned across his ‘certificates of appreciation’ to all. I’d warned him earlier and re-warned him again stating that everyone is not a well-wisher and good things should be shared with close family and well-wishing friends and relatives only. This was around 6-8 months back.

Three months back, he called again. ‘Ma’am, I’ve a kidney problem. Doc says both my kidneys have failed. I just have 3 months time. I don’t know what to do. I am scared to start dialysis as docs suggest. Or I need to look for a donor.’ I was shocked as the fellow is just 29 years old. I advised him to go for dialysis soon and not waste time further. He’d started some herbal/ ayurvedic medicine, which had helped him reduce his Creatinine level by 1. I didn’t know much about kidney failure then, so told him to follow his docs advise and not delay anything. Meanwhile I tried to find help in whichever way possible. Knowledge about kidney failure, any medicines available and the likes and informed him. But I was obviously disturbed. After a month, he called back half-upset. He’d done his Creatinine test, and the drop by 1 increased by another 1 and stood at 11. His family members were crying and he’d lost all hopes of survival. Their only hope was a donor, which they were unable to find. That’s when he asked me, ‘Why me, Ma’am? I never smoked, I never drank. I didn’t do any bad things in life. Then why this happened to me?’ I had no words. I wanted to tell him about how life and the thereafter works. About God’s tests and trials for good people. But that was not the right time and would suggest something negative to him. So I just advised him to start dialysis. And keep other options on, side by side. Also advised him to quit job if that was acting as a deterrent and concentrate on his health.

Presently (since a month) he’s doing dialysis twice a week (Sun and Thu) and thankfully his company allows him a weekly off on Thursdays and allows him to leave in decent hours on other days. He’s looking for a donor and some advice on kidney related matters. If anyone can help, please leave a comment . Your prayers will also help.

12th March was World Kidney Day. I want to ask everyone – Why are people falling prey to such diseases so often now? And that too at such young ages? Once upon a time, kidney failure was a rare disease. And scared us all. It’s still scary, but we hear of it more often now. What is going wrong? Are our lifestyles to blame? Are we failing in our diets? Are the junk we eat are to be blamed? Are too many antibiotics the cause? Or are these effects of allopathy medicines? Take the above case for example. The person was under hospitalisation for a month. And a few months later, he was diagonised with kidney failure. Or are we indulging in too much self medication ‘coz we don’t have the time nor inclination to go to the doctor.

Let’s take this case of a girl, who had a severe dental cavity resulting in acute pain in the tooth. The girl was shy to go to the dentist as all the dentists in the locality were males. So she resorted to self medication. Whenever the pain occurred, she took Combiflam tablets to subside the pain. Overdose of the tablets over a period of time had a negative impact on her kidneys. Both her kidneys failed. But by the time her treatment started, it was too late. She expired at a very young age. May God grant her peace.
Vaguely, it can be said that today’s stressful lifestyle, dietery habits (including content of food and time of eating) and self medications contribute to kidney failures. It can also result as side effects of some medicines/ antibiotics. Hope to highlight details through a thorough research soon (working on it), inshallah.

May God keep us away from chronic and life-taking diseases!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I want to be happy

I want to be happy
I want to be alive.
Once upon a time when I lived
I loved music, painting and writing.
Now it’s only banking.
And working day and night
And craving to see daylight.
Else its only tubelights and huge monitors,
And a few minutes to grab a bite!
Today my little moments of joy
Are just seeing daylight on Sundays,
Having a meal on time,
Sitting with family on weekends;
My weekends only mean a Sunday.
My idea of an outing
Means going to office by road instead of train
So that I catch a glimpse of the city;
And once in a while, a movie with siblings!
I use ‘kajal’ not as a cosmetic,
But to keep my eyes cool.
I’ve not seen the South, Central of Mumbai for months
‘Coz I do not have time.
I am just a zombie now.
Just work, office and me!
I want to be alive again.
Just me, love, and things I like.
I used to smile a lot earlier
But want life to smile at me now
Pic courtesy :

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Women - Truly Emancipated ?

This International Women's Day, I was wondering - Why do we celebrate Women's Day? If it means 'being independent and career oriented', who has the time to celebrate it anyways!

On a serious note, I've started wondering - What makes a woman of today liberated?

(1) Does it mean 'being a complete woman' by being a good daughter, dutiful and caring wife, wonderful homemaker, loving mother and excelling at it?

(2) Does it mean 'competing with men and struggling as much as, or even more, than men and at the end of it even coming back home to meet expectations at home as stated in Point (1)?'

(3) Does it mean 'to get so involved in making a career and competing with and equating with men that there is no time in being a woman'?

These days I am working 13-14 hours a day in a tough, competitive job with 3 hours of travelling. That means 6-7 hours for myself, including breakfast, dinner and rest! Then prepare for another hectic and tiring day.

When it gets late after a day at work (filled with great responsibilities), as a woman, I still have to worry whether I'll reach home safely! I have to wonder what people around me think when I get late in office. Because, we Indians, taking pleasure in guesswork! On weekends, there are expectations from Mom, who struggles full week in the kitchen and house!

Are women truly emanicipated?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Begger at Andheri (W) Ticket Counter

There was a huge line on a Saturday evening at the ticket counter at Andheri (W) station. A handicapped begger was dragging himself near the queues for alms. From one queue to the other, vying for attention by tugging at trousers or folding hands.
After a while I saw the begger a few meters away, a little restless and still. I wondered what was the cause of his distraction. A few feet away, a girl in a short skirt was racing up and down, talking on her mobile. Her skirt was tight till her knees. But the frill at the edge was flying away in the breeze. Though nothing was showing, the begger sitting on the floor was plain amuzed ! :)

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Expert comments/ Views!

We Indians are always good in giving our expert comments on anything whether we qualify to comment on it or not. It also doesn’t matter whether we know the facts behind a subject or not. We sit at home and pass sarcastic comments about players on the field. Whether its cricket or Sania’s skirt. We forgot her game and brought her down with our comments, once going to the extent of blaming Sania Mirza for disrespecting our National Flag. Later we learnt that it was due to photography positioning. Then we forgot to apologize. We are the self appointed commentators on any topic under the sun. Our comments are mostly directed at bringing people down. When we cannot do good things ourselves then we start commenting on people who even attempt or achieve something great. Our strategy instead should be to do something better and letting our actions speak. ‘Coz ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS.

I recently had a argument with a friend on the same topic. The only difference was that I had my friend’s best interest in mind and was kinda joking. But a person who’s been criticized for doing something new by own friends’ obviously didn’t take my jokes / puns too kindly. He said that Indians loved to criticize others and take joy in bringing people down. I was angry at being misunderstood. I was too bogged down with my own problems too that time and didn’t quite understand the depth of that comment. I thought deeply about it later. And slowly in the coming days also I saw so many things around me which made me realize that we like to comment / criticize others till it hurts.

This also came forth in the subsequent SCREEN Awards, where Sajid did his overact at making fun of people to the extent of irritating stars who came to collect their Awards as well. This angered even the generally cool Ashutosh Gowalikar too and they both had a spat on stage and sister Farah had to come to save her brother. Then Ashutosh commented indirectly on ROCK ON after getting Best Film Award for JODHA AKBAR angering Farhan. It started as fun but later got personal and dirty leaving a bad taste. Our problem is that we overdo our ‘fun’ bit at times and sometimes comment on things which do not appeal to us.

We joke about people, giggle on their faces, pass comments without even being discreet. We even try to guess about people's backgrounds and even what some girl or boy are upto. We imagine, we jump to conclusions and finally have the cheek to pass on fake information, which has not been verified. And finally when found untrue, we don't even bother to say sorry. Even the media hangs around police stations and tries to sneak out information on FIRs lodged by individuals and then goes about hunting the people concerned with video cameras. There seems to be no privacy. We have everyone trying to nose into other's matters. People are not aware of their rights nor are defamation cases filed. And everything continues........

We’re too intolerant at times, to the extent of trying to force our thinking on others! We think that individuals cannot even have different opinions under the same roof. If Dads supports a thought/ act / idea about anything, generally they doctor their children/ family to think in the same way. Whenever children try to have an idea/ thought of their own, the parents try to curb / criticize it till child begins to think that it’s not right and gives it up totally. If not, then we resort to beating or punishing them. All those people who’ve tried to be different from their roots / family backgrounds have done it at a huge cost. Thankfully, my Dad had taught us at a young age that when two people do not agree, they should agree to disagree. He gave us freedom to think individually, whether it was his daughters or sons, and supported us always. That’s why we have many parallel schools of thought at home. Sometimes we even have debates over the weekends on many current topics, often confusing my simple Mom. For her we should all think in the same way, for the betterment of the house! But that’s her way of thinking

To the friend who misunderstood me – Peace! Your project on Entrepreneurship rocks! Good luck !

Slumdog Millionaire / Crorepati

It’s become kinda ‘cool’ to comment on anything related to ‘Slumdog Millionaire’. Most of us appreciated and applauded the movie. Then Amitabh made a comment. Then many jumped the bandwagon and said negative things. Most negative comments came from India. Some said – ‘It shows India as a poor country’; ‘It give a negative image of India’. Some said ‘Life in Dharavi Slums is not like that.’ Some said when Indian Films went to the Oscars, they didn’t get awards. Some dumb ones even said ‘If some Indian would’ve made it, it wouldn’t have won the Oscar, leave aside getting nominated’. But of course, yaar! OSCARS is recognition of films made in Hollywood. And Slumdog Millionaire is very much a Hollywood film, made by a Hollywood director about a poor Indian kid with Indian actors. It’s their award and they can give it to whom they deem fit. Maybe it was a good and different film for them. It takes guts to make a movie about a different country with local actors. Take our ‘Chandni Chowk to China’ for example. When some Indian films went to the Oscars earlier, they went in the ‘Best Foreign Film’ category. Only our Shekhar Kapoor actually made a Hollywood Film – ‘Elizabeth’ followed by another sequel to it, with an all Hollywood starcast.

I’ve seen ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ and nowhere found it offensive to India. Nor does it talk about life in Dharavi. It is the story of a street kid, Jamal, who gets orphaned in communal riots and comes up in life the hard way. It is about how Jamal, with his personal experiences in life, is able to win the Millionaire contest and becomes rich overnight. We all have our own stories and no two people’s stories are the same. The same applies for people living in Dharavi or any locality, for that matter. Jamal and his brother move from Mumbai as kids and spend their kid-till-teenage years selling stuff in trains. Then Jamal even spends a few years in Agra as a tourist guide, before coming back to Mumbai to search for his childhood sweetheart, Latika. So its not even totally about Mumbai or Dharavi all the time. They had to show slums, they chose Dharavi. Its symbolic. They could’ve shot in some other slum area too. There are plenty of them. Some line the railway tracks too. If the communal riots shown in the movie as well as the ‘begging racket’ hurts us so much and worries us about our image on the globe, we should work towards making India better. Why project our hurt through criticism? We shit alongside railway tracks ‘coz there aren’t enough ‘Public Loos’. And most poor people cannot afford the few Rupees that these loos charge. We fight over trains at rush hours and do not show humanity in our anger. These are hard facts we face daily yet act as if they do not exist. This is the real face of Mumbai life.

If the Oscars’ nomination for Slumdog Millionaire didn’t appeal to some Indians, why don’t we work at making our own film awards better? In recent times, our Awards are mostly directed at appeasing the ‘film industry’. We try to make everyone happy by giving everyone some award in the name of popularity, sidelining the Real Awards to ‘Critic’s Section’. Categories have been added so that more people are accommodated/ made happy. Even some so called ‘popular’ awards nominations are shockers. No wonder then that Amir Khan keeps himself away from such functions. ‘Ghajini’ (an excellent movie) didn’t bag much awards apart from getting it’s actress the ‘Best Debutante’ award. Our Awards are mostly run by Film Magazines and who would want the Best Actor missing from the front page !?