31 Dec 2009

20Ten Beckons

It’s that time of the year when people pen down all their achievements, failures for the last 365 days. Check the outcome of the resolutions made last year same day, if not completed make the same again and add some more to it.

For me it’s time to delete the “New Year 2009” folder made in my outlook mailbox; time to create a new folder “New Year 20Ten”.

2009 was just fine; all best stuff happened in plenty, things done this year were equivalent to sum of things done since I was born. Traveling, shopping, attending weddings, oh not to forget getting married as well. Makes sense as it was "Year of the OX" and I am an Arien.

Here is to last 365 days of 2009 and to the next set of 365 days of 20Ten; CHEERS!!!

30 Dec 2009

Vishnu Through Someone's Eyes

Industry suffers one more shock today. Phoenix actor Dr. Vishnuvardhan is no more. Isn’t it an irony that he breathed his last in his hometown? Dad got a call around 2:30am last night asking to rush to Vikram hospital on security grounds. That’s when we knew.

I have known the Decent Star pretty close; not as a fan but through the eyes of a hard core fan. About his upcoming movies, number of well wishers he had, how he married Bharathi, the gun shot accident that occurred during the shoot of Gandhadagudi, his “Snehaloka” project and more such.

His fans most of the time talked about “always-offering-his-helping-hand” stories; be it Manohar or Dwarakish.

At office today while we discussed about the sudden loss someone asked “Are you a big fan?”
I said “Yes, not just of an artist but of a man who spread happiness with his presence”

R.I.P The Legend

24 Dec 2009

Hello and See You!!!

In case you guys wondered where I vanished, this post is to let you know I am ALIVE.

It’s also about the notification on the “vanishing act” again. I am off on a holiday after the 'Kick-a$$' schedule at workplace; for 3 days!!

To capture the serene beauty of “Vellore Lakshmi temple”, silk shopping at “Kanchipuram”, exploring “Chennai”, getting amused at archeological area “Mahabalipuram”, pondering over “Pondicherry” and some impromptu visits on the list.

Till then “Merry Christmas”; do wait for Santa :- )

12 Dec 2009

Rapid Thoughts - Capture

You can cage lovely birds, store running waters, control blazing fire, extract swirling winds but a beautiful moment like this? She kissed him.
‘Click’; Golden Occasion was Captured.

Years later she tosses the snap into fire, waters, winds and fails.
Finally henna filled hands release the bird with photo.
But memories had captured her. Forever!!!

10 Dec 2009

Mind Mysteries: Part 2

Majority of my patients suffer from what I term it as “IT’s Stress”; 90% of people who go through stress are a part of corporate world. Both seem to walk hand in hand, IT and Stress. I usually counsel and suggest them taking off, & may be exploring the “No-man’s Land”.

Certain amount of my cases needs special attention and involves lot of investigation. Such instances go into my daily journal. One such subject today complained of “lack of pleasure” in his routine life. He said these days the chocolate poured on vanilla ice-cream never interests him which was his passion ages back. The page 3 parties do not welcome him anymore due to the isolation he did to himself when attending them. His 3yr old relationship went for a toss after he explained her that the love making part isn’t pleasurable anymore.

My initial diagnosis here was schizoaffective disorder; but this man confided that he did not experience any hallucinations as such. I could make out that he is from a Brahmin family. He wore the thread that refused to stay in, but peep. His lifestyle although was quite contrary; My Analysis said that he sometime back had ‘Wine’ and ‘Woman’ in plenty.

‘Do you do drugs?’ was my prime question. He had replied with a negative nod.
‘I used to do lot of hookah but never tried drugs’ his hands rested on his stomach, joined and facing upwards. A quick sign of increase in comfort zone it displayed.

‘I have lost like a bunch of weight doctor. 12kgs to be precise’.

I could make out with his dull eyes that he had been thinking too much. He looked pale; when you return after a long holiday, touch the plants to tell them how awesome your trip was, & realize that they haven't been watered at all by the maid although she claims that she did every alternate day. Yeah he looked the way plants would look; insipid & dull.

Final year of my studies involved peeking through reports of people who had made it big in the field of psychology. I doubted he showed signs of ‘Anhedonia’. Al though the major cause for it would be drug addicts following withdrawal, this case was completely different. He definitely needed attention. I prescribed him Natra-Bio, Stress Relief 60ct and asked him to come see me two days later.

Paul Keedwell MD of King's College few years back proposed a theory in which stated anhedonia may result from the breakdown in the brain's reward system, involving dopamine pathways. According to him certain sections of the brain in depressed subjects had to work harder to process happy thoughts. Just like how events in your life are responsible for the emotions you exhibit, Nucleus accumbens in the brain plays an important role in reward, laughter, pleasure, addiction, fear, and the placebo effect. Placebo effect is something where the patient is injected with inert medicines and informed them that such medicines will help them. Nucleus accumbens creates a therapeutic effect in such patients; the confidence instilled in them almost cures the diagnosed ailment. 

Anhedonia is is an inability to experience pleasure from normally pleasurable life events such as eating, exercise, social interaction or sexual activities. Sustained-release bupropion could possibly bring some changes; the journal recorded all the details.

Chilly winters, early mornings, fluffy bed, warm blanket wrapped, hot cup of coffee and that day’s newspaper makes the deadliest combination. ‘The Way Newspapers are read’ is one of the hot topics for the thirsty researchers in our field. Few spend like 2 hours to read the paper; such people give importance to the details. On how the accident happened, how many were killed, how many injured, the actual spot, the aftermath announcement of government aids they will know all. Folks who read the last page first usually are sports enthusiasts or the gossip goers, or have a tendency of objects reversal. These are the bunch of guys who would never buy a book if the back cover page has no thrills.

My time with the paper starts with solving the ‘Su-do-ku’ puzzle. It’s an old notion that if you begin your day with a puzzle you can crack anything as complicated as or more complicated than that. & that is the reason why ‘Sudoku loo rolls’ are rocking these days. But today it wasn’t the same; the headlines had taken my attention.

“Dr.Padmanabhan, Director of MIND asked to resign”

It was big news, shocking as well. You might wonder how on earth this can happen without me even having a clue about it. You see I am considered as ‘detached and emotionless’ at workplace. Losing parents few years back at a road accident might be the cause. Having no one to talk to other than gypsy my dog would also be another indication. But as long as I have no issues with me being secluded, I guess it should be fine.

“Bangalore Nov 1st, according to latest reports Dr.Padmanabhan of MIND, the mental asylum was asked to resign from the post of ‘Director’ by the higher authorities. He has been the director of the hospital for 3 years. He was not available for any questions. Other sources reveal that the ex-director was suffereing from “Neurasthenia”. Dr.Padmanabhan retired from MINHAMS, government hospital for mental illness 3 years back. He later went ahead to join MIND. He is preceded by Dr.Lohith who currently resides in United States of America” read the report.

So exit of the influential Dr.Padmanabhan and coming of Dr.Lohith as the new director of MIND. That’s lots of news to digest.

Should I call him? But what kind of conversation can I have in such situation. & what is this “Neurasthenia” thing the paper is talking about. All I knew was he was on a vacation with his family and hence out of town for a month.
‘You have a call’ uttered my blackberry.

It was the director calling.

A little skeptical but yet I picked the phone “Hello sir, Good Morning”

Will Be Continued

9 Dec 2009


Goodies that hotels/resorts offer at the rooms you stay are plenty these days. But I am sure all the travel baggage would already consist of the necessary stuff one needs.

That doesn’t mean that you don’t make use of the small soaps, shampoos, conditioners, shower caps, pens, and bunch of note-slips, mini water bottles, and tea/coffee making sachets having milk whiteners, coffee powder, sugars, tea bags and few plastic cups. Just pick them up and use them at home. Of course that wouldn’t be stealing because they come as part of the cash you pay for the room that you rent.

This GOTIT GYAAN is brought to you by ‘the usage of soaps near wash basins, shampoos + conditioners for home pedicures & manicures, pens at office, coffee/tea during late night movie watch, note-slips as stick on’, bottles kept at the guest room’ for one whole month.

7 Dec 2009

The South Success

There are movies which make you smile and whistle, there are some which make you laugh and shout; many which will make you cry your heart out but very rarely does a movie make you clap in the theatre.

Paa does that magic. All your thoughts, predictions before entering the hall fail. The movie is not about the illness, or about how the ones have it suffer, doesn’t ask you for any sympathy. It’s all about perception towards life, media and politics.

Politics has always been a boring topic to talk about. But Abhishek changes the acuity. He makes it possible to imagine someone really good in politics without giving the character an out of the natural superhero image. I saw a different Vidya Balan in the movie, without any hichkis. She depicts an independent career focused single mother who is proud to have a son like Auro. Her part is also covered in the best way showing the strength of a woman with the right emotions never making it melodramatic. The way she explains genetic disorder telling in such a simple way without fuss or over concern but standing very strong for her son to give him a normal life.

Iliyaraja does wonders to background scores. The Direction, the screenplay, the script all have hit the right levels.

& Auro steals the show. With the sarcastic one liner, the correct emotions even after having the prosthetics, the voice, the hand signs, the running away from the girl!!!!

Take your Maa, Paa, friends, uncles, aunties, and neighbors to the nearest theater playing this charming little movie, even though you expect the tragedy...

P.S: The title means that the crew has 90% efforts from the people down south.

3 Dec 2009

Mind Mysteries: Part 1

Everyone around these days want to tell their stories; the milkman about how his cow milks him less, the Dhobi about how his donkey refuses to carry an extra baggage, the Kaamwaali about how she spends all on her drunkard husband. They believe narration would instill some sense of comfort, like what puking does for a “Hangover” after a terrific cocktail party.

But certain stories are not told. They are best when you witness them. That’s the real fun; for who are not part of that story. But for we the characters, trust me it’s no fun at all.

Hey, I am Manasa, 28, single, and not ready to mingle. Softness of Earthworm, Jingles of Police Boots, Colors of Chameleon and Complexities of Dreams all fascinate me. I was always the weird kid in the block. Things that I was interested in were the least priority, rather a big no for my gang of 8.

They went on to become doctors, engineers, fashion designers, architects, home makers according to what the parents wanted. But what I am now is completely my pick. My choice of profession has a story to be told. In my early childhood I loved to dream. I also loved listening to various dreams people had. Some dreamt about their better halves, some about their childhood sweethearts, some about money but for many the dreams were weird. Their dreams were a mix-up, had strangers, risky tantrums, more like nightmares. That’s when I started to analyze dreams; of it's colors, objects that appear in them, situations occurred and stuff like that.

My passion to dreams was appreciated by dad. On my first teen birthday I received “The Interpretation Of Dreams”, a book by Sigmund Freud. Every page I read, every word I understood arouse the intention of becoming a psychoanalyst. Yes that’s what I am. A doctor, a psychoanalyst at MIND.

MIND is a hospital for the care and treatment of patients affected with acute or chronic mental illness. It provides health care facility for inpatient and outpatient therapeutic services to clients with behavioral or emotional illnesses.

My day at MIND starts with a warm salute by the watchman at the gate around 8ish. The big brown painted gate opens to a huge parking space. There is a dedicated lot just for us the doctors in the parking arena. I have my own space; not that I own it but generally no one chooses to park their car just next to the wall. Whoever said Bangalore is not hot hasn’t really been here. It’s hot like hell when you are not surrounded by boxes that blow cold air into the buildings. Around 11am when the sun starts to shift positions, the wall lets out its shadow into our hospital campus. From then till 4pm, the shade of the wall falls on my car keeping it warm if not cold.

One has to walk to the reception for a small distance amidst small plants which refuse to grow further due to the bad gardening the hospital does. The reception has 2 glass doors with a brain image imprinted on them. As you approach the doors, they open up, magically, that’s what my 6yr old patient ‘Nilima’ tells me. It gives you a feel of entering a brain, yours or may be other’s. Entering one’s mind, I think is very different and difficult from entering one’s heart.
I am greeted by Marylyn. She appears very sophisticated, society friendly lady. I sometime back tried analyzing her; & the end results were shocking. It appeared that she suffered from ‘Agoraphobia’ few years back. The sufferers of agoraphobia avoid public and/or unfamiliar places, especially large, open, spaces where there are few 'places to hide'. In severe cases, the sufferer may become confined to his or her home, experiencing difficulty traveling from this "safe place."

She also confided to me that after multiple sessions with the doctor she was able to get over with it. Her doctor asked her to choose a career that would never allow the illness back. There she was, Receptionist of MIND. She is equipped with a system and 2 phones, one of which is used as intercom. She takes appointments, attends the guests and transfers calls to respective cabins.

My cabin is on the first floor. Exit from the lift, take a left, a 100m from there you can see “Dr.Manasa” written on the door. I chose it because it far of all the hustle bustles of the visitors and the Director’s cabin. This cabin of the director, you can’t actually call it a cabin coz it’s not just a 4 walled room. It stretches into a visitors lounge initially, where his P.A. has his own desk. Preetham handles appointments, schedules meetings, and reminds of functions to be attended by the director. The door adjacent to his desk gives an entry to the director’s private space. A huge table has about 2-3 landlines, a flat screen monitor which is never turned on coz he doesn’t know to operate it. A picture of his family, some files of the complicated patients which need his observations and some books related to his interests, all lie on scattered. He is not an organized man. The LCD TV is mounted to the wall. He is Mr.Padmanabhan or rather Dr.Padmanabhan, director of MIND.

My cabin is plain, with white color on the walls. The diagnosis area has a comfortable sofa where the patients lie down to convey the problems they are facing. My cabin is strictly no for visitors or the people along with the patients. I feel it kind of loses the rapport with the patients as they feel secure with the accompanied company and not of mine. Next to the sofa is a chair, for me. My table is not that big. There is no much work on the table; all of my work happens near the sofa/chair area. I always have a notepad along with a pen hung to the chair. To take down the notes while the patients address their complexities with me.

I call up Marylyn to get check on today's appointments.

‘There is a new guy who wants to talk to you. He says he won’t even tell his name’ said Marylyn.

‘Send him in’ I said.

The day has started.

Will be continued

2 Dec 2009


Getting a long leave is difficult in an IT industry; being tough it also raises many eyebrows and gets maximum attention on how you are not work oriented stuff.

Here is how you should tackle it. Apply leave just for 3 days, say Mon, Tue and Wed. Call up PM/TL on Thursday morning and explain him how you missed the bus, or how its been raining in the place where you are currently in, or how buses facility are so limited, or how the communal riots have broken, or how ill you are after having food at some random place yada yada.

This GOTIT GYAAN is brought to you by ‘the 5 day long vacation taken although the number of leaves PM sanctioned was just 2'

1 Dec 2009

Two Positives!!!

The mehendi on her hands had turned maroonish red. The ceremony was held 24hrs ago. “You and your fiancĂ© share a deep love” giggled the naughty girlfriends.

How is the color’ the bridegroom was on the phone. Ajay was the guy destiny had chosen for Amanita. They met at a blood camp; both representing different companies as part of the corporate social responsibility activities. It was ‘crush’ at first sight. Exchanging looks, then the numbers, sipping cappuccino together, ring in the champagne glass, the proposal, the yes I will, everything had happened in a very short duration.

“The color is so murky & on the verge of changing into Black” Amanita rubbed the brown henna still persistent around the edges of her nails.

Let’s meet; just for few minutes. Just a last time before we kick our bachelorhood; say yes’ he insisted & she said a yes.

He waved at her while she stood on the other side of the road. There was an eagerness to watch the shade of henna implanted on her hand. She asked him to cross over. He locked his car and turned towards her.


“O –ve blood needed and we are out of stock” said the doctor.

The Fervor resulted in a speeding truck hitting him while crossing the road. He lay in the ICU and closed-ones without any patience waited outside.

“I am an O –ve too” said Amanita. She proceeded to the blood donation arena of the hospital.


The wedding was called off. By his parents; Amanita was tested positive for HIV. How on earth was this possible, she thought? Shattered she sat on her bed cherishing the memories of Ajay.

The blood camp, the first time she saw him give his blood for the sample test, the way she stumbled upon the slab of glass piece having his blood, the wound it caused her, the way he did her a first aid, the way he bandaged her all fresh in her thoughts.


Few days later she received a letter from him.

Dear Amanita,

I am writing from home. My due apologies for cancellation of the matrimony; if it would comfort you in any way, it was done without seeking my permission. You must also be wondering how you were tested positive. The reason being me; the day we met, you injured yourself with the sample blood slab. It had my samples; and you will be shocked to hear that I am a positive too.

I realized yesterday when the doctor showed me, my reports. It probably is due to the unsafe usage of the syringes back in college when I tried drugs. Forgiveness won’t undo the situation you are in currently. If you agree, two positives can make the final number bigger.



These days both Ajay and Amanita work for Health Resources and Services Administration under ADAP.


Creating optimism depends on our own efforts. Viewing the glass as half-full does more than increasing happiness. A salute to all the unknowingly infected people and a special tinge of optism to sustain in the dreadfull world this World AIDS day.