Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The year that was...

The year 2008 has been an eventful year with few ups and lots of down 'moments' for me, personally and professionally. Last year on 31 st December I and my family ushered in the New year at Kolkata with my mom and brothers and their families. Mom was always very enthusiastic about welcoming the New year by cutting a cake at the stroke of midnight and holding us close to her, would wish us with a hug, followed by lighting diyas and saying a small prayer for a healthy and peaceful New Year. We, her children were her world and everything she did was for our well being. I will miss wishing her in person, but memories of her vibrant and enthusiastic spirit brings to me a smile and a tear at the same time.

The last week of this year was eventful for me, as my 8 year old daughter took off on her first week long vacation alone, to Bangalore. Adithi was very keen to visit her paternal cousin, Chinmayi who is 9 months younger to her. They are very fond of each other. Luckily, our family friends who were travelling to Bangalore were happy to take her along and bring her back, and Adithi was more than delighted to travel with them. She was received at the railway station by Arun mama and had a great time in Bangalore playing non stop with Chinmayi and her friends; visiting Wonder La, Bangalore Zoo, a local exhibition, restaurant and shopping malls. She relished all the tasty snacks prepared by her Latha atte.

We spoke to her everyday and she did say she missed us, but I am not too sure about it. We throughly missed her histrionics, but nonetheless had a good time watching "Rab ne bana di jodi ", in a theater. I seem to have come out of my lethargy and suddenly grown fond of the friendly neighbourhood cinema house. Last month saw "Dostana" and liked both the movies. My sister-in-law Suma, a movie and theater buff is very excited about this latest development in my life. I am sure her nephew Aditya, another movie and theater buff will be pleased. He writes great movie reviews.

On a closing note, just before my daughter was leaving for Hyderabad, I called her to give some last minute instructions which obviously disrupted her playing session. I told her to thank her aunt and uncle, and she promptly asked me WHY ? and I began my sermon about them having taken her to visit so many places and got her gifts etc and the fact that she had enjoyed her vacation with them. Her reply was OH ! and as I am still on the phone she yells, " Latha atte, my mom tells me to thank you" and I can overhear my sister-in-law say, Why ? and my daughter yells back " my mom says because you have taken me to Wonder La ... blah...blah..." . I went, " NOT AGAIN Baby" and rumbled with laughter. She returned yesterday morning with lots of goodies which included 2 packets of crayons and a pencil box. She showed them to me and before I could say anything, she proudly stated "See haven't I chosen useful things for gifts". I am mighty pleased by the fact that she understands the word Useful.

So cheers to the child's innocence and the learning process and hope the New Year 2009 will bring peace and happiness to all of us. Have a great year ahead !

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

India Bleeds

India bleeds, whether terrorists strike in Hyderabad, Jaipur, Bangalore, Delhi, Assam or Mumbai; when a soldier or policeman loses his life for the country; when a woman or child is raped and brutally killed, innocents lynched in the name of honour killings and revenge, and when natural calamities wipe out families.

The recent 26/11 terrorist attacks in Mumbai is an eye opener to all the Indian citizens. Lessons in crisis management is the need of the hour. We seem to have a short term memory, just like the media. When an incident such as this occurs, the media covers it 24x7 and is thrilled with the TRP ratings, as fools like us keep watching it like a TAMASHA . And soon, it fizzles out and the issue is dead; out of sight, out of mind. The 26/11 terrorist attacks has generated momentum amongst us to do something about the situation, because the victims this time were foreigners and people from the upper strata of society, other than the AAM JUNTHA.

But, I want to be positive and give the devil its due. The media is a powerful tool and has done its bit by taking up few issues and facilitating justice to the victims by generating awareness and mobilizing public support . I expect the media to play a vital and responsible role in creating awareness and empower the citizens to manage crisis of any magnitude. We just can't let India bleed.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Reality Sucks

It is over a month since mom's departure and I am back in the ho-hum of my life, but as days go by, the vacuum it has created is more evident. I ponder as to why, it is so difficult coping this loss, having known the outcome from day one of the diagnosis. I had been preparing myself to face the unthinkable , the sole reality of our existence - Death. No doubt, reality sucks !

Thankfully, I feel my mom's presence but miss talking and listening to her. We will miss her even more on her birthday on December 5th. She would have been "Sixty" that day. Time is said to be a great healer and I know for sure it will take hell of a time to heal. My daughter cheers me up and doesn't want to see tears in my eyes. She is convinced that her grandma is living the life of a queen in heaven, riding a chariot with a magic wand in hand. And basically having a great time with new friends. And well, I want to believe her ! Kudos to such imagination.

A small incident that happened a week after mom passed away added momentum to her conviction. My husband wanted to cheer us up, so he suggested we visit the famous Durga Puja Pandal at Secunderabad that evening. We had the darshan of Ma Kali, bumped into many acquaintances and my daughter had a good time. It was past 9 pm and we were unable to get an auto, cab or a bus to get back home. The wait of over 30 minutes started getting on to my nerves and I told her, please pray to God or ask Grandma who is in heaven to send us an auto. My daughter promptly prayed aloud " Grandma please send us an auto", and no sooner she said that, a cab approached us and the driver asked us if we needed a lift to the area where we live. The cab was on its way to pick the BPO employees for night shift. We hopped into the cab and were chauffeur driven home .

I am overwhelmed by the affection and regard people had for my mother and extend my appreciation and gratitude for all their kind thoughts and words. I can't resist myself from sharing a condolence message conveyed to my brother, Ravi by a distant relative, who is a well known "specimen". After lunch on the " Vaikunta Samaradhana cermony" day, as everybody were meeting us and taking leave, this 'specimen" who is about sixty years of age with his father of eighty years alive, walked up to my brother, shook his hand and told him " I am in a better position than you, my father is still alive. You are an orphan now, with both your parents dead". I am not exaggerating, these were the exact words conveyed by this person. My husband and Sister-in-law who overheard it and did not know the person were shocked . Wow, can any condolence message match up to it !

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Tribute to Mom

Our beloved mother Smt. Geetha Ramamoorthy, w/o Late Shri. H. Ramamoorthy, passed away peacefully at 6.00 am on Oct 2, 2008, Thursday at Army Command Hospital, Kolkata. A lady of tremendous courage, positive attitude, very spiritual and immensely beautiful and talented. She finally gave up her two years of fight against breast cancer on Gandhi Jayanthi day. She was a wonderful human being who has touched many lives in her own little way. She led her life with great dignity having lost her husband at an young age and raised three children, a daughter and two sons. We, her children are fortunate to have her as our mother and are very proud of her.

Though she is no longer with us in body, her soul and spirit continues to exist with us. She always told us that her childhood aspiration was to become a soldier or a doctor and serve humanity. And interestingly her youngest son, is a pediatrician in the Indian Armed Forces - A doctor and a soldier. She received the best treatment at the Army Command Hospitals, Pune and Kolkata respectively. She lived a dignified life and received a
farewell befitting the proud mother of a Soldier.

I thank my family members, relatives, friends and my brother's colleagues at the Army Command Hospital, Kolkata, who have been very supportive and helpful.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Information Galore - 8

Hyderabad & Cyberabad City Police

Hyderabad City Police Our City Our Life Our Safety ( is the official Website of Hyderabad Police which was launched yesterday i.e September 29, 2008. It is indeed a very informative and educative website which provides vast information on law and order, crime, traffic, emergency services, Cyber frauds, etc.

The Find Your Police Station, Women's Corner, How Do I and Check Yourself, Permissions & Licences sections on the website are people friendly, as they provide information on "How to report Crime, How to get a Voter's ID, How to get Birth Certificate or Death Certificate, How to obtain permission for public meetings , rallies, dharnas, Arms license etc" ; Helplines to report Domestic Violence, Dowry Harassment, Eve Teasing; and the facility to check the status of Passport verification is fantastic.

A similar website was launched earlier by the Cyberabad Metropolitan Police Partnering for a Safe Community ( which has all the above mentioned information and is useful for the citizens who come under the Cyberabad Police Jurisdiction, covering Ranga Reddy District.

I hope, the kind of friendly assistance provided by our Police Force on the Website is rigorously implemented in real life situations, thus eliminating fear about the Police, from the law abiding citizen's mind. And let's generate fear in the minds of the culprits and terrorists, by showing then the combined strength of the Police and Public.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Reflective Thoughts

I receive some thought provoking maxims in my mail, which I want to share with my readers. Here are a few of them that fuel my mind and instigate me to introspect. . .

Some people make the world happen;

More watch the world happen;

Most wonder what happened.

Its your choice, which group you want to belong to.

It isn't what you have,

or who you are,

or where you are,

or what you are doing,

or what you are going to do,

that makes you happy or unhappy.

Its what you think about.

No one is beat till he quits,

No one is through till he stops,

No matter how hard Failure hits,

No matter how often he drops,

A fellow's not down till he lies

In the dust and refuses to rise.

Fate can slam him and bang him around,

And batter his frame till he's sore,

But she never can say that he's downed

While he bobs up serenely for more.

A fellow's not dead till he dies, nor beat till no longer he tries.
- Edgar Guest

Whatever you give to life, it gives you back.

Do not hate anybody.

The hatred which comes out from you, will someday come back to you.

Love others. And love will come back to you.

Don't say that you should have not existed.

Without you, there will be a hole in creation.

A missing life to those in your family.

A missing friend to those around you.

A missing role in this World.

Treasure your uniqueness. It is a gift given only to you.
Play your role in life.

Take the whole responsibility on your own shoulders.

Know that you are the creator of your own destiny.

All the strength and succor you want is within yourselves.

Stand up. be Bold. be Strong.
Make your own future.

Life is divided into three terms.

The one which was, which is and which will be.

Learn from the past to profit the present;

And from the present to live better for future.

Its the best way to lead yourself through life.

Realize things before it is too late.

Have lots of friends before you are alone.

Accept things rather than deny them.

Love people before you loose them.

Life comes just once.
Love it while you live it.

If you do not seem to advance, do not be discouraged.

If things don't see right, do not be downhearted.

It does not matter how fast you move ahead in life,

But what matters is the road on which you move ahead.

On the road of life, be true to others.
More importantly be true to yourself.

The World is dangerous not because of those who do harm,

but because of those who look at it without doing anything.

It is up to us to build the world.
To spread light around us.
To make it a better place.

Courtesy: Mails received from Pravsworld...inspiring you for a better tomorrow.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Importance of Human Birth

I have been reading the English adaptation of the original Marathi book, Shri Sai Satcharita - The Wonderful Life and Teachings of Shri Shirdi Sai Baba , by Govind Raghuanath Dabholkar alias 'Hemadpant'.

I found answers to the "Importance of Human Birth" in Chapter VIII of the book and wish to highlight some of the extracts and share related aspects of the wonderful teachings.

"In this wonderful universe, God has created billions of creatures or beings inhabiting heaven, hell, earth, ocean, sky and other intermediate regions. Of these, those creatures or souls whose merits preponderate, go to heaven and live there till they enjoy the fruits of their actions and when this is done, they are cast down; while those souls, whose sins or demerits preponderate, go down to hell and suffer the consequences of their misdeeds for as log as they deserve it. When the merits and demerits of these creatures or beings balance each other, they are born on earth as human beings and are given a chance to work out their salvation. Ultimately, when their merits and demerits both are worked out completely, they get their deliverance and become free. To put the matter in a nutshell, souls get their birth or transmigration according to their deeds and evolvement.

Special Value of the Human Body

As we all know, four things are common to all the creatures, viz., food, sleep, fear and sexual union. In the case of man, he is endowed with a special faculty,viz, knowledge, with the help of which he can attain God-vision, which is impossible in any other birth...

Some say that there is nothing worse than the human body, which is full of filth, mucus, phlegm and dirt and which is subject to decay, disease and death. This is true to a certain extent, but in spite of these drawbacks and defects, the special value of the human body is - that man has got capacity to acquire knowledge. It is only due to the human body or on account of it , that one can think of the perishable and transitory nature of the body itself and of the world, and have an aversion for the sense-enjoyments, and can discriminate between the unreal and real, and thus attain God-vision... The proper course therefore, for us to pursue, is the following; that the body should neither be neglected nor fondled, but should be properly cared for... The body should ever be used or engaged to attain God-vision or self-realization, which is the supreme end of life.

Man's Endeavour

Realizing how precious the human life is and knowing that death is certain and may snatch us at any time, we should be ever alert to achieve the object of our life, we should not make the least delay, but make every possible haste to gain our object... So with all earnestness, we should strive to attain our end, i.e, self-realization. Casting aside laziness, warding off drowsiness, we should day and night meditate on the self. If we fail to do this, we reduce ourselves to the level of beasts.

How to Proceed?

The most effective and speedy way to gain our object is to approach a worthy saint or sage - Sadguru, who has himself attained God-Vision. What cannot be achieved by hearing religious discourses and study of religious texts is easily obtained in the company of such worthy souls. Just as the sun gives light, which all the stars out together cannot do, so the Sadguru alone imparts spiritual wisdom, which all the sacred books and sermons cannot do. His movements and simple talks give us 'silent' advice. The virtues of forgiveness, calmness, disinterstedness, charity, benevolence, control of mind and body, egolessness etc, are observed by the disciples, as they are being practised in such pure and holy company. The enlightens their minds and lifts them up spiritually. Sai Baba was such a Sage or Sadguru.

Allah Maalik - Peace be to all

Friday, August 29, 2008

My Child's Concern

A couple of days back, I suffered a bout of tummy upset and ended up spending a night moaning and groaning in pain. My daughter came to bed after viewing "Ramayan" on the NDTV Imagine Channel. She laid down silently beside me for some time and suddenly I found her tender hands on my brows stroking gently. I was like "wow" my baby feels for me, and then she whispered in my ears , " Mom, will you be OK for my Birthday" . And I burst into laughter, forgetting the pain for a moment, as her birthday is another 12 days away. I said, of course Sweetie, I'll be fine tomorrow. Don't worry!

Well, each one of us have our priorities , isn't it? For a child, Birthday is the ultimate, important day ( for some adults too). The idea of wearing a new colour dress, distributing chocolates in school, party at home, cake and gifts make them excited. It is something that will remain etched in their memories. We as parents, try as much as possible to meet their expectations and make them happy. But sometimes their excitement does get on to the nerves, when every waking moment, a month in advance starts with , "will you do this and that...?"

A few months back, my daughter wanted a quite birthday this year, with the family dining out in a hotel of her choice and of course, cake cutting in the hotel with the Happy Birthday song playing in the background. I was very pleased with her idea, because every year, we had a grand get together for her friends, family friends and family, with cake and clothes of her choice. Though fun, it also meant a back and nerve wrecking week for me and my husband.

But her idea has now taken a twist. She tells me, we should have a grand party like we did on her previous birthdays. And her list of do s is going on and on ... Well, I am listening and what we will ultimately do to celebrate her birthday is left to guessing, including me.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Disturbing Scribbles

This morning I came to my office as usual and was waiting for the elevator. The lobby still has the India independence day decorations with small paper flags pasted around. There were two such flags pasted just above the entrance to one of the two elevators. And I saw some scribblings on them. And this is what was written on one of the Flags - " Mera Bharat Mahaan ...Sau mein se 99 Bemaan" and on the other Flag it said - " We should be proud of our poverty, our un employment, our corruption, our il tracy" (as spelled on the scribblings) . Below the scribblings was the signature of the scribbler.

I do not know why, but I was terribly disturbed. And I keep thinking, who jotted them. Was the Scribbler - a male or a female? old or young person? literate or a semi literate? Hindu, Muslim or Christian, employed or unemployed? intelligent? sadist? pessimist ? sarcastic? dejected? - WHO could it be ?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Information Galore - 7

Hyderabad Transport Information System (HTIS)

I found information on this live traffic portal, launched by the traffic police to provide information on live traffic, directions, auto fares, distance between two places in the city and the route, etc from a relevant post, on the blog Rambling with Bellur. The Transport Information System portals are available for Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi and Pune cities.

HTIS is a useful portal, though with some limitations like not identifying some well known areas while checking out the directions and also an update is required on the auto fares. The minimum auto fare in Hyderabad is Rs. 12/- (For 1.6 km) and Rs.7/- per km . The autos still run with the old meters indicating Rs.10/- as the minimum fare and refer to a revised fare chart which gives the revised fare with reference to the old fare. Do look out for the Auto Rickshaw Driver's & Trolley Union (AITUC) seal on the chart, as fake charts with enhanced auto fare are being used by many auto drivers.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Hotels in Hyderabad

My work involves a lot of interaction with the admissions' officials from US Universities. I facilitate their visits to Hyderabad to meet prospective students interested in studying at their respective Universities. They are keen to stay in a good Hotel in Hyderabad, which is safe and located at closer proximity to their meeting place. I get requests from these guests for suggestion and booking of the accommodation, keeping in view their budget and other requirements.

I have earlier recommended Hotel Green Park, Ameerpet; Taj Krishna, Banjara Hills; Hotel Marriott, Tank Bund (earlier Hotel Viceroy) and Hotel Amrutha Castle, Saifabad. Some of the guests have got hooked to these hotels and prefer to stay in them during their yearly visits. Earlier the airport was centrally located to Hyderabad and Secunderabad and all these hotels were at closer proximity to the airport. But now with the new Rajiv Gandhi International Airport located at Shamshabad, which is about 25 kms from the city of Hyderabad and with more number of visitors coming on business to this IT hub; the hotel industry is experiencing a boom time in Hyderabad. I flew into Hyderabad a couple of days ago from Kolkata and was impressed with the facilities and sleek look of the Hyderabad airport. Though the distance is bugging, the transportation facilities like Aero Express bus, Radio cabs and Taxis are a relief.

Most of the IT companies are located at Hi Tech City and Gachi Bowli, therefore many new hotels like Hotel Novotel, Hi-Tech City ; Ista Hotel & Spa, Gachi Bowli ; Hampshire Plaza Hotel and Hotel Peppermint Lakdi-ka-pul have come up in recent times. There are many web sites which provide information on Hotels in Hyderabad, but I found TravelMasti to be informative and another site which provides comprehensive information on Hotels in different parts of the world and searches multiple hotel reservation websites simultaneously, to help one find the lowest rate instantly is HotelsCombined.

Come enjoy your stay in Hyderabad - the City of Pearls and now famous as Cyberabad, for being the IT hub in India.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Information Galore - 6

Do you want to earn a degree from an educational institution in India?

If yes, always check the institutes' credentials before enrolling, with regard to the Accreditation (official recognition) which includes the validity of the courses offered by the institution, status of degree and other facilities.

For more information, log on to :

Courtesy: Advertisement "Jago Grahak Jago" issued in public interest by
Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution in The Telegraph, Calcutta, Aug 7, 2008

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My visit to Huvina Hadagali

I and my daughter, had the opportunity to visit Huvina Hadagali, a Taluk in Bellary District, which is about two hours drive from Hospet in Karnataka State. The occasion was the engagement ceremony of my cousin on July 20, 2008. The place has some significance to me as it is located very close to my father's hometown Harpanahalli, from where I get my family name. And my father's cousins live in Huvina Hadagali. I vaguely remember to have met them in my childhood and vice versa. I vividly remember their mother, my paternal grandmother's younger sister who was a lively, affectionate and wonderful human being. She had stayed with us for a month during our childhood and entertained us with her innumerable stories. We kids were very fond of her.

Huvina Hadagli is famous for Jasmine flowers. It is said that the flowers (Huvu in Kannada) from this place were sent in a boat (Hadaga in Kannada) on the River Tungabhadra to Lord Virupaksheshwara, the presiding deity at the famous Virupaksha temple at Hampi, the Capital of Vijayanagara empire in the 12th century. And this is how the place derives its name, Huvina Hadagali.

The engagement ceremony was held in the premises of an old temple dedicated to Lord Chennakeshava. The sculptures in the temple appeared special, but is in a bad state of affairs, due to poor maintenance.

My curiosity to get some historical inputs about the temple led me to understand that it was a 900 year old temple built by Amarashilpi Jakanachari , a legendary sculptor credited with building many fine temples, including the famous sculptures at Belur and Halebidu in Karnataka. Adjacent to this temple was another creation by Jakanachari, a Shiva temple, equally wonderful and in a slightly better condition than its neighbouring temple.

My daughter took the initiative of taking a photograph of Lord Chennakeshava from the entrance of the temple.

We also visited an Anjaneya Swami Temple (called Madalgatti Hanumappa in the local Kannada dialect) situated on the banks of River Tungabhadra at a place called Madalgatti which is about 15 kms from Huvina Hadagali. The ancient temple has been renovated with granite and marble and is well maintained. The three day annual fair is very popular and well attended by localites and people from the neighbouring villages and districts. Here Lord Hanuman is believed to fulfill the prayers and wishes of his devotees.

For me, it was definitely a memorable trip!

Monday, July 21, 2008

My Opinion in the Deccan Chronicle

Just sharing my opinion on the topic " Will the UPA Government survive the no-confidence motion? ", which appeared in the Hyderabad Chronicle, Deccan Chronicle, July 20, 2008, Sunday edition.

"I feel the Government will gain enough support to survive. Even though the Left has withdrawan their support, many other parties like the Samajwadi Party are coming forward to lend support to the Congress. Also, I feel that the nuclear deal will benefit the country and the Congress should go ahead with it."

Tomorrow is the trust vote. Do share your views on this national issue.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Dark and Dry Hyderabad

We Hyderabadis, are facing an extended summer this year. The weather is hot and humid and is getting on to my nerves; a fresh bout of heat prickles are on. Adding to our already existing woes are the power cuts and acute shortage of drinking water. There is a four hours' scheduled power cut and many hours of unscheduled power cuts. We are provided drinking water by the municipality, once a week, for one hour ( at least in the residential area where I live) .

Everyday, I religiously carry my umbrella, hoping it will rain. So the other day, I decided not to carry it, with the anticipation that it will rain at least that day. Some superstition ! And believe me it drizzled for 5 minutes that evening, in the locality where my office is situated. Well ! it only added to the already existing humidity. Whenever it gets cloudy, my optimism rises and fizzles out when I don't see a drop of water falling from the sky. Anyway I am back to carrying my umbrella - rain or no rain.

I am praying hard for the rain God to have mercy on us. Every drop of water is precious. Please do not waste water.

Friday, July 4, 2008

With Love...To Adithi

Jaane Tu...Ya Jaane Na which released today is slated to be the coolest- romantic- musical Hindi movie, directed by Abbas Tyrewala produced by Aamir Khan and Mansoor Khan and music by the inimitable A.R .Rahman. The hero is debutant , Imran Khan (Aamir Khan's nephew) and the heroine is Genelia ( Actress from the Telugu hit film "Bommarillu").

The songs are really cool and peppy. I especially loved "kabhi kabhi Aditi " , because my daughter is "Adithi". So this special A.R. Rahman's musical creation, sung by Rashid Ali, exclusively being played on my blog.

I love you Sweetie Pie !

Send Musical scraps to your friends

Get this and more amazing Songs at musicalscraps

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Book Review - 3 MISTAKES OF MY LIFE by Chetan Bhagat

I read Chetan Bhagat's first book " Five Point Someone"**** and found it interesting because the story had a flow ; the language, friendly for any average Indian reader in English, to follow; and the cost of the book, very affordable. Then came "One night @ call center"***** which was again priced at the same affordable cost and had a good, entertaining, contemporary storyline. I enjoyed reading this second book, which is being made into a Hindi Movie "Hello" starring Salman Khan.

I was awaiting his third novel " 3 mistakes of my life" which was released this May . And on my trip to Kolkata this May, I bought it from a book vendor on Park Street and was surprised to see the same affordable price tag of Rs. 95/-. Kudos to the publishers, Rupa & Co and the author, Chetan Bhagat.

3 Mistakes of my life, revolves around the ambitions and events in the life of the protagonist, Govind, a young lad who dreams of becoming a businessman. The backdrop of the novel is Gujarat, with Business, Religion, Cricket and Friends forming the focal points for the story to gain momentum. References of the earthquake, cricket match and riots gives the needed twists and turns to the tale and makes it realistic. However much I dislike to use the word "Bollywood" , this book definitely has all the mirch and masala to make a Hindi flick.

The protagonist's journey till he realizes his first mistake takes a wee bit long and the story moves at a slow phase, whereas the second and third mistakes come in quick successions pepped with romance and action.

My rating of 3 Mistakes of my life***. Personally my expectations of the book was very high after reading his One night @ call center. And that could be one of the reasons to find this one, average reading. Anyway I still look forward to Chetan Bhagat's new literary offerings. I really like the way he writes.

My Ratings:

***** Excellent

**** Good
*** Average
** OK
* Yuck

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Information Galore - 5

Travelling by train...

For a safe travel in the train
, be careful with your luggage and other belongings. Lock and chain the luggage to your seats. Do not reveal personal information to strangers. Be careful while conversing with your family members, especially with regard to personal matters and information. Do not accept eatables and drinks from strangers. In the recent months, there have been many cases of theft, especially in the AC coaches of the A.P Express which runs from Hyderabad to New Delhi. The thefts are taking place between Itarsi and Bhopal railway stations. Some new passengers alight the AC Coach and on finding an empty berth, occupy the same. As they are well dressed, it is difficult to differentiate the thugs from real commuters. So keep a watch on these strangers.

South Central Railway alerts the public to be watchful at railway stations and on trains to save a disaster like bomb blasts. Terrorists and anti national elements are out to cause damage and destruction to lives and property by means of planting explosives in the form of innocent looking objects. Foil these attempts by remaining alert to such acts of terror during rail journeys.
  • Do not touch un-claimed, unidentified, unattended objects like briefcase, mobile phone, transistor, doll, purse, packets etc, lying at railway stations and in trains.
  • Do not accept to take care of any luggage from strangers at railway stations and in trains.
  • Look out for suspicious looking persons, luggage or activity around you at railway stations and in trains.
Please report to Railway Protection Force (RPF) , Govt. Raiway Police (GRP), Railway Personnel on any suspicion or doubt you come across.

Courtesy : Advt by the South Central Railways in The New Indian Express, Hyderabad Ed, June 22, 2008

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Summer 2008

At times, getting back to the ho-hum of everyday life seems good. I had an exceptionally busy summer on the home front, with getting carpentry work done at my house in the first week of April, followed by guests visiting us for summer vacation. My daughter was delighted to have her aunts and cousins visiting us and enjoyed the outings to NTR Park, Chilkur Balaji Temple, Pragati Resorts ( an ideal family and friends getaway), Snow World and Havmor for the pizzas and the Titanic Ice Cream.

During this busy phase, I couldn't speak on a daily basis to my mom who lives in Kolkata. We practically spoke everyday, as either of us would call each other. When my daughter had her exams, my mom unfailingly called me everyday in the evening to find out how did the exam go; the call was actually to ensure that I was not harsh with her grand daughter. Even if I did not call her, she would call and find out about my well being. But this time she didn't and I presumed it was probably because I was busy.

I managed to find time from my crazy schedule and called her around April 25th. Mom's voice sounded very feeble and weak, she also seemed disinterested in a conversation, and was giving some irrelevant replies which was very unlike her. When I inquired, She reminded me how the summers were always a tough time for her and therefore her weakness was due to the heat. And trust Kolkata's heat and humidity for torture! I told her to take care and drink a lot of fluids, etc and she reciprocated my sermon with a "OK".

The same week, my sister-in-law Suma called me from Dubai to find out if everything was fine with mom as she and my brother felt something was amiss in her conversation. The call disturbed me and I spoke to my doctor brother, Ravi with whom she lives in Kolkata. He told me that he had in fact noticed some memory loss and severe physical weakness within a weeks time and expressed some serious concerns. He assured me that he had an appointment scheduled with the specialists on May 12 at the Military Command Hospital, Kolkata. Ravi is a Paediatrician in the same hospital.

On every Mother's Day, ever since I became a mother, my mom used to be the first one to call me and wish me. On May 11, 2008, I called her and wished " Happy Mother's Day Ma" and she replied " Happy Birthday". I felt dizzy and couldn't hold back my tears. I knew all was not well.

On May 12, she underwent a MRI of the brain and it showed three tumors with the largest one measuring 7 Cm's, located in the frontal lobe of the brain which is the seat of reasoning, planning, parts of speech, movement, emotions, and problem solving. Cancer had reached the brain and an intelligent and active woman had turned into a small girl. Her behaviour and speech was that of a sweet, well behaved 4-5 year old. She was more or less in a semi comatose state. The oncologists advised twenty sessions of radiation therapy which she had to undergo everyday with immediate effect. She has already undergone a radiation therapy and two chemotherapy sessions since the advanced stage breast cancer was diagnosed 18 months back. Since then, she has been very positive ,strong and active all through the treatment. Mom was immediately admitted to the Command hospital which is next door to where Ravi and his wife, Ashwini stay.

My other brother Nagaraj, flew in from Dubai on May 16th and I reached Kolkata along with my husband and daughter on May 17th to see our mom . She appeared frail, but normal. Only when she began to speak, the problem was noticeable. Amazingly she was very "time" conscious and had command over all the languages she knows. She was very polite to all with Hello, Thank you, Very nice of you , Don't worry - Be happy and Bye, dominating her conversation. We had to feed her for nearly 15 days as she would not know what to eat from her plate. For a lady who loves to cook and eat tasty food, it was tough to eat the bland food, She never complained. She kept talking to herself saying 'the food is very nice and tasty... no salt... no sugar'. She wouldn't allow us to sit with her beyond two hours in the afternoon and night. She would get restless and insist on sleeping only after we left. She was aware that we would be late for our lunch and dinner respectively.
Mom was unable to recall anything from the past. She only remembered us as very small kids and my youngest brother Ravi as a baby. She did not remember my father's name, but promptly recalled her mother-in-law's name. So we bestowed her the "Best Daughter-in-law" award for this feat. She was not able to remember names and any significant events; it appeared like all the stuff must be there in the head but she was unable to co-ordinate and it was all getting jumbled up. Surprisingly she addressed my husband, her son-in-law correctly by his name during their conversations. She also read the name plates pinned on the uniforms of the doctors and nurses to address them. Of course, she would immediately forget the names. Mom had this peaceful and divine look on her face and on our request, recited the " Hanuman Chalisa" and " Sri Raghavendra Stotram" without any flaw. She is an ardent devotee of Sri Guru Raghavendra Swami.

She had to undergo the ordeal of travelling to and fro to Medical College, Kolkata for radiation therapy everyday at 11. 00 am, braving the Kolkata heat and humidity which was hell for normal healthy people like us.

A few of my cousins, aunts and uncles travelled all the way to Kolkata from different cities in India to see her. She was apologetic to all of them stating that she couldn't remember their names and her memory was bad. It has been a shock for our family and friends to see such a beautiful, charming, active and intelligent lady transformed like this. In fact I and my brothers have derived profound strength to face this adversity, from my mom herself. Her toughness to face any hardships, immense will power and positive attitude towards life is unmatched. She has touched many lives with her helpful, spiritual and affectionate persona.

Mom remembered Ravi's and my birthday dates which is May 31st and June 1st respectively. She told Ashwini to buy me a gift and we had a cozy birthday party at home (thanks to Ashwini and Adithi for the arrangements) with mom joining us for a couple of hours from the hospital on both the days. My two aunts (mom's sisters) came to Kolkata from Hyderabad to see her on June 1st. So she was happy to have them join the party.

In the past two weeks there has been significant improvement in her memory. She is unable to recall events from the initial two weeks, such as how she came to the hospital, my brother and husband's visit, etc as they stayed for a week and then left. She kept asking me, what had happened to her and how she reached the hospital, etc. And as I described the events, she vaguely remembered some of it. She has again lost all her hair and appears disappointed about it. Earlier she had taken her bald head look with elan. I returned back with a heavy heart to Hyderabad on June 5th as my daughter's school reopened on June 9th.

Mom came back home on June 13th, exactly after a month's stay in the hospital. The latest scan shows traces of cancer in the liver also. She is very weak, but her memory has improved considerably. She is getting the best possible treatment and care. The doctors, nurses and helpers were very caring at the Command Hospital. Mom's charming smile attracted many friends ( other patients and their family members) at the hospital. In the initial two weeks she wouldn't converse much, but in the weeks that followed, she was talking to people.

She is now eagerly waiting for Nagaraj and his family's visit on June 20th, especially to see her grand daughter "Gauri" and grand son, little "Raghav" who turned one on June 8th. In the past one month she had no inkling about "Raghav" as she was unable to remember him. She only remembered "Gaura" (Gauri) and of course my daughter "Aadu" (Adithi) who was entertaining us live with her histrionics in the hospital.

Adithi was very impressed with the hospital room where mom was staying. She felt it was an ideal place to live; AC room with attached toilet, Colour TV, clean bed and last but not the least, Food, which was visually very endearing. In fact she was envious of "Ajji's ' (Grandmother's) comfortable abode!

I thank all my family members and friends who have stood by us in these difficult moments and continue to do so with their prayers and best wishes.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Information Galore - 4

Are you/your daughter marrying an NRI (Non-Resident Indian) ?

Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs advises Indian Citizens, especially parents, to be vigilant before marrying their daughters to a person based abroad. It is vital to check the background and all legal details before saying 'yes'. The contact E-mail ID for Distress Resolution/Helpline is .

Courtesy: Advertisement issued in Public Interest by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs in The Week. Vol 26 . No 19, April 6, 2008.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Information Galore - 3

Save Electricity and Energy...Save Environment, Money and Our Earth. Please switch off lights, fans, television sets and other electrical appliances, when not required or when not in use.

Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC)

Attention: Architects, Builders, Building product manufactures, Commercial Space Developers, Design Professionals, Engineers and Citizens of India.

Bureau of Energy Efficiency - A statutory body under Ministry of Power, Government of India has established the ECBC which aims at increasing awareness about efficient use of Energy and its conservation in new Commercial Buildings with a connected load of 500 kW or contact demand of 600 kVA.

ECBC incorporates energy efficiency factors at the design stage itself to reduce the long-term operating energy costs of the buildings.

ECBC defines the norms of energy requirement per sq. metre of area and takes into consideration the climatic region of the country, where the building is located. Norms have been developed to cater to five different climatic zones in India - composite, hot and dry, warm and humid, moderate and cold.

ECBC details the parameters of various building materials to be used in walls, windows, glass, ceilings and floors, to minimize heat gain and thus the cooling cost.

ECBC also covers lighting, Heating, Ventilation, Air-conditioning, Electrical Distribution, Water Heating and pumping systems.

Compliance with ECBC norms is voluntary now, but soon it will become mandatory.

A copy of the "Energy Conservation Building Code - 2007" Manual can be obtained by sending a crossed bank Draft of Rs.200/- + Rs.25/- for postage charges, favouring "Bureau of Energy Efficiency", payable in New Delhi, India to the following address :
Bureau of Energy Efficiency, 4th Floor, Sewa Bhawan, R.K.Puram, New Delhi - 110 066. Tel # 011 - 26179699, Fax # 011-26178352 .

Courtesy : Advertisement by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency in The New Indian Express, Hyderabad, March 29, 2008.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Blame Game

It has been a month since the media has been talking about the death of British teenager Scarlett Eden Keeling in Goa, India. She was found dead under mysterious circumstances on Anjuna beach, Goa on February 18, 2008. She is believed to have been drugged, raped and left to die in the shallow water on the beach by a bartender, Samson D' Souza and an alleged drug dealer, Placido Carvalho. Pictures of Scarlett's mother, Fiona MacKeown, driving to the police station, giving interviews and panel discussions on the subject are aired everyday on television and articles on the same are published everyday in the newspapers.

Ironically, the whole circus is leading nowhere to the actual situation on hands, but to mud slinging and blame game amongst the Goa police, Government of Goa and Fiona MacKeown; peppered with our hounding media and its reports. The issues raised are about Fiona MacKeown's personal background and her irresponsible parenting of nine offsprings , fathered by five different men in her life; the flourishing drug trade and drug mafia in the coastal state of Goa; the Goa police being charged with cover up and what not!

I wonder what torture, pain and helplessness, the young teenager, Scarlett must have undergone in the last tormenting moment in her life. Why are we not able to pin down and punish Samson D'Souza and Placido Carvalho who committed the heinous crime. I also wonder about the plight of the parents of these two irresponsible, wretched living beings and also about their parenting pattern. Every other day we hear about females being molested in India with age and nationality, no bar. As citizens of this country and living in this society, are we not responsible to counter the situation by voicing our concerns and force the authorities to take immediate action and be more sensitive and accountable to such issues. The media has the power to drive and derive justice to the victims, as it has done in some cases. It needs to take up this mission to create more awareness amongst the citizens about their rights and stimulate confidence to join hands and crusade against the evils of this society.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Great Leaders

Baba Amte (1914-2008) - A Selfless Human Being

I first heard about Baba Amte from my mother when I was in middle school. She used to read Marathi magazines and share with me and my brothers interesting information and narrate good stories. During one of those narrations , I heard her talk passionately about Baba Amte and his selfless service to our society's most downtrodden living beings , the lepers - people affected with the scary disease called leprosy.

Baba Amte himself was repulsed at the sight of a leper lying in in a muddy gutter on a rainy night. This successful lawyer; a follower of Gandhian philosophy, responded to the situation, initially with some fear about the disease. But his moment of realization came when he told himself: " Where there is fear, there is no love; where there is no love, there is no God. I must banish this fear from my mind." He did not look back on his decision and renounced his flourishing career to start Anandwan, the first of the three ashrams he established to treat and rehabilitate leprosy inflicted people, especially from the disadvantaged section of our society. Anandwan is located in Warora, Chandrapur district, Maharashtra state, India.

Baba Amte's wife, Sadhana Tai also deserves credit for her selfless service to the mission started by her husband. Their two sons , daughters-in-law and grand sons are all doctors who have dedicated their lives to social work and continue the noble cause started by their parents.

Baba Amte's guiding philosophy in life is summed in the three lines of this poem by an unknown poet :

"I sought my soul, but my soul I failed to see, I sought my God, but my God eluded me, I sought my brother, and I found all three."

He found his brother on that raining night, the leper whose sight repulsed him at first.

Courtesy: Article by R.Prasannan in The Week, February 24, 2008 and Wikipedia

Monday, March 17, 2008

Information Galore - 2

Transport Department, Government of Andhra Pradesh, India - Vehicle registrations in Andhra Pradesh State, India.

It can be done at the Road Transport Authority ( RTA ) on our own, without approaching any Middlemen/Brokers/Dealers for assistance.

A temporary registration for the newly purchased vehicle can be done at E-Seva Centre or RTA located closer to one's residence for Rs. 15/- ; for financed vehicle for Rs. 100/- extra. A Permanent registration requires a fee of Rs. 60/- for two wheeler; Rs.200/- for car.

If any dealer pressurises, call 1074 (Toll Free) or Email to or complain to 9848989874

Courtesy: Advertisement by the Transport Department, Govt of A.P., in the Times of India, Hyderabad Ed, March 2008

Auto Rickshaw Fare Meter Tampering in Hyderabad : Citizens can e-mail their complaints at against auto rickshaw fare meter tampering .

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Information Galore - 1

I have been reading some interesting and useful information relevant for the general public which includes you and me. Some Departments and Ministries of the Government of India and Government of Andhra Pradesh are releasing advertisements in the daily news papers, providing vital information for creating awareness amongst Indian citizens on various topics. I am summarizing the information and publishing the same on my blog as an awareness exercise for our benefit. It is also convenient to have all the related and relevant information in one place.

I begin with

Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution , Department of Consumer Affairs, Government of India, Krishi Bhawan, New Delhi - 110 001 . They advise us to
  • Be careful while making purchases
  • Check for adulteration
  • Not be fooled by misleading advertisements
  • To insist on a cash memo
  • To always check the expiry date on products
  • To pay only the mentioned M.R.P on pre-packed items
  • Take care to check correct weight
  • Look for hall-marked jewellery
  • And last but not the least - ISI stands for quality and dependability
If your rights are violated, refer to the consumer forum with your complaints. Log on to National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission to locate the Consumer Redressal Forum in your area.

Courtesy: "Jago Grahak Jago" Advertisement in the Deccan Chronicle dated 16/03/2008

Monday, March 10, 2008

Cancer in Children

Recently, I was watching a reality TV show on Star Plus : "Amul Voice of India - Chote Ustad" which showcases the singing talent of children. This was an episode where Salman Khan was the celebrity guest and the show was good fun with the sportive Salman pulling off his T-Shirt to display his well toned and muscled body, on request from kids on the sets. He was very sweet with the kids, encouraging and applauding their talents. He danced with them when they requested him and did not put on any starry airs. And then with all the fun and masti came a poignant moment when the organizers of the show had arranged for some children afflicted with cancer to meet with their super hero on the sets. I was choked with emotion watching those tender, enthusiastic, smiling and excited kids undergoing treatment at the TATA Memorial Hospital , Mumbai .

I remembered encountering a six year old girl afflicted with bone cancer and her parents at the Army Command Hospital, Kolkota in December 2007, when I accompanied my mom for her Chemotherapy session. My mom introduced me to her little friend who was lying on the adjacent bed and undergoing the same treatment. This little girl, a year younger to my daughter, with a bald head has a fetish for the "Saas Bahu Hindi Serials" and was watching one, on the TV set displayed in the hospital room. She loves sweets, fried fish and likes to apply mehndi on her hands. But she told me her mother wouldn't allow her to do so for fear of infection while undergoing the chemo sessions. My mom and this kid had a code word for the medicines dangling by their bedsides. The white coloured one is called Rasgoolla ( Bengali Sweet) or Putharekulu ( Andhra Sweet)" . The orange Coloured one is called Jalebi ( North Indian Sweet). It was amazing to see them humouring themselves.

My mom introduced me to the kid's mother and we started conversing in Telugu. The family is from Andhra Pradesh and they speak Telugu. Her husband is an Indian Army personnel. I asked her when the kid was diagnosed of this dreaded disease and what had happened. And this was what she told me:

" It happened a year and half back . My husband was posted in a highly sensitive area and therefore I was staying with my two kids, a daughter and a son ( two years younger than the daughter). One day my daughter came home from school , hurt on the shoulder by hitting the bench in the classroom. The area on the shoulder was looking black and blue and the child was running slight temperature. So I took her to the doctor and with the medicines, the wound appeared healed and the fever subsided. But again after ten days , the fever and pain were back and with subsequent visit to the doctor and medicines, it would normalise. This cycle went on for two months. Then I got panicky and informed my husband, who rushed down and we went to Naval Command Hospital , Vishakhapatnam. The doctors recommended a series of tests and they diagnosed "Bone Cancer". We were informed that the situation was grin and that they will have to remove the shoulder scalp which was infected. My child underwent the surgery and the follow up treatment. Later the cancer spread to other part of the body and she had to undergo another surgery which the doctors told was life threatening . But my child survived and was advised treatment at Army Command Hospital, Kolkota. My husband also got compassionate posting at Barrackpore and now our lives are commuting between home and hospital."

The lady appeared composed and cheerful all through my brief stay at the hospital. She gave me some shopping tips and insight about markets in Kolkota. Her husband came in and she introduced me to him. My mom told me that he also is a very helpful person and a caring dad. I inquired about her 4 year old son and she told me her in-laws were taking care of him at their home town in Andhra Pradesh. The little boy having seen his sister suffer in pain is exceptionally understanding and never cribs. This little girl is eager to meet her brother and play with him. She desperately wants to go to school and lead a normal life. And as I write this, I am again choked with emotion and tears trickle out from my eyes ( I consider myself to be very tough and I don't cry easily). This was exactly what happened when I was conversing with this courageous mother. Thankfully, my brother, a Pediatrician at the hospital walked in and I excused myself and spent some time in his cabin.

Meeting such women, makes me feel that every day is " Women's Day" . I pray for the recovery of this beautiful little child and children like her. When I see children suffering from such dreaded diseases , I wonder if God really exists. Maybe ...

Monday, March 3, 2008

Bloggers Meet in Hyderabad

On Saturday, March 1, 2008, I had the opportunity to enter the MICROSOFT Campus, Hyderabad at Gachibowli, to attend the Bloggers Meet organised by and sponsored by Microsoft. It was the first time I actually went around Gachibowli, which houses the University of Hyderabad, TCS, WIPRO, INFOSYS, CMC, Indian Business School (IBS), and many more offices. We took a MMTS from Begumpet to Lingampalli and then an auto ride to Microsoft campus and reached the venue on dot, at 4.00 pm. My hubby accompanied me and we were the first attendees. And then our fellow bloggers trickled in at the Hyderabadi Standard Time. But it was a good gathering of over 80 guys.

To begin with I was the only female blogger, other then the Microsoft student partner Ms. Sandhya Rajan and later a female student from IIIT, Hyderabad joined in with a group of nearly 15 student bloggers from the same Institution. Wow! and it was interesting to hear that most of the bloggers started to blog because their friends did it. And I thought, this trend was healthier, better and productive than hearing 'I smoke because my friend does'.

The meet was great fun with the ice breaker "One minute of fame" where each blogger got to introduce one's self and Blog. The IndiBlogger Jig was fun and I got to do one, as a comment from my blog was read out. The Skit by the IndiBlogger team was short and sweet. Microsoft's treat, the Pizazz and introduction to Live Writer was OK. And I got to meet some interesting bloggers which was wonderful. To sum it all, the meet was a huge success! Cheers to the IndiBlogger Team, Balaji (who coordinated this event) and Microsoft. Awaiting the T-Shirt and more such meets !

Our return journey was also fun as we hitch-hiked a car ride till Begumpet from a fellow blogger Sudeep and chatted non-stop. We were joined by two other bloggers Srikanth and Ashwin.

Deccan Chronicle, featured an article about bloggers and the meet in the March 3, 2008, Monday edition of the Hyderabad Chronicle. Excerpts of my interview appeared in it along with a few other bloggers. A good beginning for the Hyderabad Bloggers' community.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Whatte fun !

On Feb 23, 2008, Saturday, I was busy with students at my office and my mobile rings. I hear a guy asking if it was I on the line and he was calling from some Movies online booking office and that he had to deliver movie tickets to me. I was like " What the hell ! I haven't booked any tickets online" and ask him to cross check and shut off the mobile.

And then I suddenly wonder if it is some free goodies on the way. I recall having seen an advertisement, flashing, Win free tickets for the movie "Jodhaa Akbar" while reading news on IBNLive News . I had checked if Hyderabad was on the list of cities and entered my name and other details and submitted it.

After an hour I receive a call from the same guy and he asks me for my residential address as he has been asked to deliver two movie tickets. I reach home early at 3.oo pm as I have to take my daughter to a friend's son's Birthday party at ICRISAT, Patancheru which is located on the outskirts of Hyderabad. The guy who called comes at 3.30 pm and delivers two tickets for the movie " Jodhaa Akbar" for the 5.45 pm show on Sunday, Feb 24, 2008 at Prasads IMAX . The tickets are for the Gold seat worth Rs. 150/- each. I am thrilled !

I inform my husband and mother-in-law and we decide to keep it a secret from my daughter. We hardly go to a theater to watch a movie and whenever we have done so, she accompanies us. Last month we ventured out for a night show on our own after honestly informing her and the amount of verbal bashing she gave us and my MIL is still fresh in our minds. So I and my husband sneaked out on Sunday evening on the pretext of a meeting, as my MIL had agreed to take care of her at home. Sounds like a romantic escapade ! But the day our daughter comes to know of it, she will kill us verbally.

Coming to the movie, I think it was awesome. This was the first time I was watching a movie at Prasads IMAX. The excellent sound quality, huge screen and comfortable seating added to the fun. Ashutosh Gowariker has really done a neat job; Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai have shown their best acting skills. The movie is a" must watch in the theater at least once" kind of a creation. I think it is one of the cleanest movies which gives the message of love and religious tolerance with its historical backdrop. I strongly feel "Jodhaa Akbar" is to be watched and enjoyed and wonder at all the fuss and protests about historical distortions. What is to be gained by burning theaters and banning the movie?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


What is Fibroadenoma ?

Fibroadenomas are benign breast tumors commonly found in young women in the age group of 15 to 40 years. Fibroadenoma means "a tumor composed of glandular (related to gland) and fibrous (containing fibers) tissues."

Described as feeling like marbles, these firm, round, movable, and "rubbery" lumps range from 1-5 cm in size. Giant fibroadenomas are larger, lemon-sized lumps. Usually single, but some women have more than one. While some types of breast lumps come and go during the menstrual cycle, fibroadenomas typically do not disappear after a woman's period, and should be checked by a doctor.

What causes Fibroadenoma?

The cause of breast fibroadenomas is unknown. They may be dependent upon estrogen, because they are common in premenopausal women, can be found in postmenopausal women taking estrogen, and they tend to grow larger in pregnant women. Generally when it occurs in young women, it is benign, but when it occurs in postmenopausal women, they need to take extra care as they are found to be malignant. Fibroadenomas usually cause no symptoms and may be discovered during breast self-examination, or during a routine check-up.

If a breast is injured by trauma, tiny blood vessels can rupture to cause an area of localized bleeding. Trauma to the breast can damage the fat cells in the breast tissue, a condition called fat necrosis. The injury can also form a lump in the breast. These types of lumps that follow a significant trauma are not cancerous.

What to do when you find a lump on the breast?

Immediately go to your family doctor, who will advise you to meet a Surgeon.

How will the doctor diagnose?

The doctor takes a complete medical history, they will ask when the lump was first noticed, if there were any symptoms or changes in lump size, and if there is any personal or family history of breast disease.

The doctor thoroughly feels the breasts (palpates). Tests are done, usually including mammography or ultrasound scans, or surgical removal of cells or tissue for examination under a the microscope (biopsy).

What are the different diagnostic tests administered?

Diagnostic tests include:

  • Mammogram. An x-ray examination of the breast.
  • Ultrasound scan. A technique that uses sound waves to display a two-dimensional image of the breast, showing whether a lump is solid or fluid-filled (cystic).
  • Fine-needle aspiration biopsy. A minor procedure wherein fluid or cells are drawn out of the lump through a small needle (aspirated).
  • Core biopsy. A procedure wherein a larger piece of tissue is withdrawn from the lump through a larger needle.
  • Incisional biopsy. A surgical procedure wherein a piece of the lump is removed through an cut (incision).
  • Excisional biopsy. A surgical procedure wherein the entire lump is removed through an cut (incision).
What is the treatment for Fibroadenomas?

Breast fibroadenomas are removed by lumpectomy, or surgical excision under local or general anesthesia. Sometimes lumps in younger women are not removed but are monitored by self-examination, yearly doctor check-ups, and mammograms. Surgery is generally recommended for women over 30, and especially for lumps that are painful or enlarging.

Alternative treatments for breast fibroadenomas include a low-fat, high-fiber, vegetarian diet; a reduction in caffeine intake; supplementation with vitamins E and C; and the application of hot compresses to the breast. In addition, a focus on liver cleansing is important to assist the body in conjugation and elimination of excess estrogens. Botanical remedies can be useful in hormone balancing, as can acupuncture and homeopathy. Massaging the breasts with castor oil, straight or infused with herbs or essential oils, can help fibroadenomas reduce and dissipate, as well as keep women in touch with changes in their breast tissue.

Some facts about Breast Fibradenomas.

Breast fibroadenomas are not cancerous. The lumps recur in up to 20% of women. A small number of lumps disappear on their own. Breast fibroadenomas cannot be prevented. They can be discovered early by regular breast self-examination.

Courtesy: ,

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Fighting Fear

As human beings , we all experience this emotion called "FEAR". It does vary in its proportion and to certain extent also depends upon some internal factors and external factors that influence the breadth and width of this emotion. The external factors could be the people around us and their experiences ; the internal factors could be one's own experiences and observations.

Managing fear is a challenging task. If managed properly, it will produce positive results and work in one's favour, otherwise it can be disastrous. The best way to manage fear is by sharing and discussing the same with a trustworthy family member, friend or a professional helper. Firstly it reduces the anxiety level and then instigates one towards taking relevant action which will facilitate in managing, tackling and overcoming this monster called 'Fear".

On October 15, 2007, this monster entered my life. I have been doing a routine self examination of breasts, since my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer last November and she is currently undergoing treatment at Army Command Hospital, Kolkota. I found a small pea sized lump in my right breast and panicked for a while. Later on I told my husband and he took it rather in stride, did not panic and assured me not to worry. So I found myself regaining my calm. I immediately approached my Homeopath, Dr. Annapurna Waghray , who told me not to worry, as it could only be a case of "Fibrodenoma", but nonetheless get a mammogram and FNAC (Fine Needle Aspiration Cytology) done. I spoke to my brother Ravi who is a doctor and he too assured me that the lump should be benign but advised immediate medical attention. I did a lot of reading and research on the diagnosis and treatment of "Fibroadenoma" and "Breast Cancer" on the internet. Thanks to GOOGLE !

We approached the Railway Hospital, Secunderabad where we are entitled to medical facilities , as my husband is employed with the South Central Railways. My husband's colleague Mr. Prasad Babu , Personal Assistant to the Medical Director of Railway Hospital was of tremendous help. I first approached a Gynecologist, who asked me to meet the Surgeon. And Mr. Prasad Babu suggested we meet the senior surgeon Dr. M. Ravi Kumar and so we did. I explained when I identified the painless lump and that I had a family history of breast cancer ; my mom being diagnosed with the same in November 2006 and undergoing treatment and my paternal aunt, i.e my father's younger sister succumbed to the same about 9 years back. I informed him that there was no nipple discharge or any kind of discomfort. After the clinical examination and a series of queries, I was recommended to the Indo American Cancer Research Center, Jubilee hills, Hyderabad for a Mammogram and Ultra sound. The results indicated a 1 cm palpable lump in right breast and another same sized non-palpable lump next to it and also one in the left breast. The results indicated Fibroadenoma, advising FNAC ( Fine Needle Aspiration Cytology) .

I underwent FNAC at the Railway Hospital with Dr. Neelala Krishnaveni, the Pathologist conducting the same. She was kind enough to clarify a lot of my doubts. After a tension filled two days period wondering if the lump would be benign or malignant, I got the FNAC reports indicating " Fibroadenoma" , a benign lump . I was relieved of my worst fears. I underwent Blood tests , Chest X-Ray and ECG which were all clear and I was happy that my general health was good. Anyway the Surgeon suggested for the "Excision of the lump" which is also referred to as "Lumpectomy" and gave me a date for November 27, 2007 and asked me to get myself admitted the day before. I learned that FNAC reports are 90% accurate whereas biopsy reports are 99% precise. And keeping my family history of the disease in view, the need for excision of the lump became vital. I had to meet the Anesthetist who would see all my reports and declare me fit for surgery. Again Mr. Prasad Babu was kind enough to introduce me to Dr. Ramana Murthy, Anesthetist who checked my Blood pressure which was on the borderline, presumed to be so due to possible stress as I did not have a BP problem. He also checked all my reports and declared me fit. He was very kind and patiently answered to all my queries about the surgical procedures and after effects. I felt very good and confident about the whole thing. I also got enlightened on the important role an anesthetist plays during surgeries.

On Nov 26th, 2007, I got myself admitted in the hospital. I was overwhelmed with the atmosphere. Rows of beds, patients with all kinds of health problems and surgeries, the overworked nurses and smell of medicines got the wrong side of me. By the time I met the Anesthetist in the evening for a PAC ( Preoperative Anesthesiology Clinic ) where the Anesthetist reviews all the test reports, checks blood pressure and informs about the preparation required for the surgical procedure, I was running a slight temperature and coughing like mad with my Blood Pressure indicating hypertension. Well, it was an anti climax. I was advised to recover from the cold, cough and fever and was prescribed medication to reduce my BP and the procedure got postponed. I was discharged the next day and the Surgeon was kind enough to give me a date of my convenience on December 11, 2007.

I came home in the evening eager to surprise my daughter and was flabbergasted with her reaction. She was disappointed to see me back so soon, because I asked her to get her school books for doing the home work. Her hair was looking untidy as she had left it open. It was hair style for her. Later my mother- in- law told me that she refused to get her hair oiled, combed and tied neatly into a pony tail, pleading to her grandma " Please let me leave my hair and go to school, if my mom is around she will not let me go like this" and when my MIL said " what would the teacher and others in the school think; that you did not have any one to take care of you at home"; my daughter promptly replied " Don't worry, I'll tell them my mom is in the hospital and my grandma is "BUDDI" (Oldie) and can't do much work".

I experienced abnormal living the next two weeks, popping pills, drinking cough syrups, not going out to avoid the cold wave in Hyderabad, steam inhalation and what not to reduce my cold and cough. I recovered well and the Anesthetist gave me a green signal and assured me that they will take care that the procedure will go ahead successfully without any hindrance. I got myself admitted on Dec 10th, 2007. This time I had no apprehensions leaving my daughter (What with her BINDAAS attitude !) I knew she will enjoy her freedom. But she had her exams the coming week which was a matter of concern for me, not her. I was not worried about the home front as my Mother-in-law was there to take care.

As I already had a prelude and was familiar with the staff and other patients, I was comfortable and confident at the hospital. I had company of another lady who was to have the same procedure the next day along with me. She was ignorant of the whole process being an illiterate and had three small kids with the youngest still breast feeding. She was scared that the doctors would remove her whole breast. She did not follow a word of Telugu and could only converse in Marathi and a little bit of Hindi. As I know Marathi, I spoke to her and assured her that everything will be fine and that I was there to give her company. She and her husband were grateful to me for the pep talk. At that moment, I realized about the lack of awareness people have about the whole process .

The Anesthetist guaranteed , he will take care despite some traces of upper respiratory tract infection. Blood Pressure was also normal. On Dec 11th 2007, we were prepared for the surgery, and paraded to the Operation theater in the flimsy gowns wrapped with bed sheets at 8.oo am. I am thankful to the kind nurse Sister Padmavathi and her assistant Bhanu who took good care of me. My husband arrived in time to wish me well. I was the last to get operated on that day and by the time I was shifted to the Surgical Intensive Care unit, it was about 2.30 pm. My husband was patiently waiting near the operation theater for nearly six hours. By the time he was allowed to see me it was 8.00 pm. I was feeling fine and relieved. The next day when the Surgeon came on his rounds, I requested him to allow me to go home. He checked the wound and said I was fine, my BP was normal and to the surprise of the staff , gave me a discharge. I believe the general trend is to keep the patient for a week in such procedures. I later learned from the nurse that he referred to me as a very cooperative and calm patient. WOW, great compliment! The Surgeon asked me to come for a check up after two days and then get the sutures removed on 19th Dec, 2007.

My daughter as expected was disappointed to see me back so soon. She wanted to visit me at the hospital in full filmy style. I told her, the doctor had sent me home immediately so that I could take up her studies for the exams. Her imagination had gone as far as seeing my "Photo on the wall with a garland" if the surgery would fail. The movies and TV serials effect! I was amused but also wondered if it was just" innocence" or was leading to "apathy".

I got my biopsy reports on Dec 22, 2007 which indicated the lump as benign. Though it was a minor procedure, the anxiety it caused was a learning experience.

All my family members and friends were relieved. My mom was keen to see me and I too wanted the same, so we left for Kolkota on Dec 23rd, 2007. My brother Nagaraj and his family also came down from Dubai to Kolkota. And I ushered in the New Year with my six month old nephew "Raghav" , my lovely niece "Gauri" and my baby "Adithi" with their proud grandma - my mom, my two brothers "Nagaraj and Ravi", my Sisters-in-law "Suma and Ashwini" and my hubby "Phani".

I wish you all a Very Happy New Year with special thanks to my friends, relatives and family members who gave me a lot of moral support either by calling on phone or came to see me which made me feel very, very good. I am now committed to spreading awareness about " Fibroadenoma of the breast" and "Breast Cancer". More of it on my next blog.