Friday, 14 June 2013

'Deluxe Deaths' or Dignified Dying?

‘Deluxe Deaths’ or dignified dying?
Help people 'Live' till they leave
'Death. Dying. Loss and Care'- Social experiences or Medical Events? This was the Theme of the 3rd International Conference on Public Health and Palliattive Care held in the beautiful place of Limerick west of Dublin (banks of the river Shannon) which I attended, and this essay is few thoughts I gleaned from the conference

Death is the final physical exit of a human being from  earth. The Speciality of Palliative Medicine affirms life and regards dying as normal. It neither hastens nor postpones dying.

Palliative medicine focuses on symptom control ensuring for those whose predicted life span is short not only a good quality of life but also a good quality of death

We enter ‘life at birth and leave life at death’. So it behoves us to give the same care to those who leave life, the care we gave to them when they entered  life.

Economic liberalization  and a corporate culture resulted in  spawning of ‘Five star Hospitals’ . This has resulted in the ‘Medicalization of suffering and the Institutionalization of death’.

The British Medical Journal in a landmark article in 2003, defined as to what constitutes a ‘good death’.  In several incurable conditions where realistic hope of cure or a return to normalcy does not exist, the best place for the patient to be cared for is his or her home. Dying well is to die well cared for at home.

‘Intensive Care’ often morphs into an industry draining the family of all their life’s assets. Whereas ‘Euthanasia’ is the  administration of medicines with an intent to ‘kill’,  letting die is a different approach altogether. The former is to be condemned and is legal in Belgium and Holland and in the states of Washington, Oregon, Montana and Vermont.

Palliative Care is ‘Low tech and high touch’.Touch is therapeutic, reassuring and comforting. While called to see a patient in an ICU  I remembered that taking the pulse was an excuse to touch the patient ,and when I attempted so, I was told that pulse was on ‘that wall’. Technology to a great extent makes us recede from the patient. Unless mandatory patients should not be tethered by wires to machines that beep and squeak, lonely without the family.

The best place for death to happen is where the patient belongs , and that is the home environment surrounded by the familiar, the family, the furniture,photographs, routines and habits. Most symptoms can be controlled and the relevance of home care cannot be overemphasized.

Good communication skills are vital. The family needs to be convinced that unlike in mainstream acute care medical practice which is like mathematics, a problem to be solved, several incurable illnesses have to be regarded as an experience to be lived through.

‘Cure sometimes, relief often but comfort always’ is an age old aphorism.Death is inevitable and as far as possible we need to value ethics of beneficence,, non-malfeasance, patient autonomy and justice.
Both quality of life and quality of death are important parameters to be monitored and addressed

Justice is balancing ‘risk and reward’ , ‘benefit and burden’ of a particular means of treatment plan and chance and statistics  should not be the arbiter. The virtues of Commonsense, Compassion and Cleverness are needed. The right mix of the former two can make this world a better place to live.

We need to see that death, dying loss and care as ‘social experiences’ rather than medical events.

Death is not a defeat or failure in several instances and let us strive to give a ‘good death’ to help families in distress.

‘Death is not extinguishing the light , but the turning down of the lamp because the dawn has come’ -R Tagore.


Friday, 28 September 2012

International Coffee Day 29th September 2012

Making days brighter


September 29th is celebrated as International Coffee Day.                             

International Coffee Day  is an annual event celebrated to promote the poplar beverage and to raise awareness of the plight of coffee growers. Different countries used to have  different dates to celebrate in their own unique ways their National coffee day , but today it is agreed upon as September 29th as the International Coffee day. Coffee is one of the most consumed beverage in different forms and finds its flavour in different preparations.

Coffee has a distinct aroma, astringency and acidity. It has a a unique flavour and is a brewed beverage, and is prepared from the roasted seeds of the coffea plant . the beans are found in coffee ‘cherries’ which grow on trees that are cultivated in over 80 countries, primarily in Africa, Equatorial  Latin America. South East Asia, and Asia, and green unroasted coffee is one of the most traded commodities in the world.

With a pH of 5- 5.1 coffee is slightly acidic and can cause abdominal ‘burning’. However its stimulant effect is because of its caffeine content. Habitual users of coffee experience headache if  the user is deprived of its use at its regular timings.

I had the occasion to taste the best coffee the world produces which is believed to be in Ethiopia . Guests are honoured by maids grounding roasted coffee beans , seated on the floor and serving coffee across billowing smoke of Frankincense. The energizing effects of coffee was first described  in Ethiopia , whereas coffee cultivation started in southern Arabia and the earliest evidence of regular coffee drinking appears in the middle of the fifteenth century in the Sufi Shrines of Yemen

Historically coffee became used in native religious  ceremonies in East Africa and Yemen that competed with the Ethiopian Church , where its secular consumption was banned till the reign of Emperor Menelik II. It was also banned in Ottoman Turkey in the 17th century and in certain parts of  Europe for political reasons

 Angelo Mirondo of Turin Italy patented the machine to make ‘Espresso coffee’ in 1884 .  Water heated to high temperatures is passed under high pressures through finely ground coffee beans and the flavours and caffeine is more concentrated with a fizz and foam.

Decaffeination is the process wherein caffeine is removed  and this is being used in the pharmaceutical industry.

Today Coffee is common currency and ‘many things happen over coffee’  from discussions to debate and dating. Coffee breaks barriers of caste, creed, colour, costumes, and helps us arrive at a consensus !

Dr Cherian Koshy

Additional Professor and HOD

Palliative Medicine, Regional Cancer Centre, Trivandrum


Thursday, 26 July 2012

President of Singapore Dr Tony Tan and Dr Cherian Koshy

The Regional Cancer Centre conducts a weekly Tele Clinic in Palliative Care connecting this Centre and a rural Hospice located 350 kms away and at altitudes of over 3500 feet above sea level
The places Vellethooval, Adimali , Munnar etc are not rail linked and patients and families in and around these places benefit
To reach the Regional Cancer Centre, patients have to take a bus through inhospitable hilly terrain and reach Alwaye or Kottayam for a train connection to Trivandrum
I worked on the health ecnomics- Travel by Taxi to the Regional Cancer Centre and back costs around 100 US $. On Teusdays we have this clinic where patients and their families can have a face to face session with me.Those seeking expert advice need to come to the local Hospice ! Advice on uncontolled pain, non healing wounds and empowering the patient and family is a great service
Education on the deleterious effects of tobacco is a bonus and several households have become tobacco free as a result.
Breaking bad news the proper way and communication skills needed for the same are mandatory
If bad news is broken the wrong way 'you will never be forgiven, if done properly you will be always remembered' !
We had occassion to take classes for nursing students and volunteers through the medium of 'Tele Clinic'
The Hospice is the Karuna Bhavan which belongs to the 'Sisters of Destitute'
The Venture is christened 'HELP for the HILLS'; H E L P to mean Hear , Ease, Link Palliate
We have found patient load increasing along the past few years from around fifty  patients a year we have over 300 patients a year presently
Oral Morphine has been made available and the staff at Karuna Bhavan have been trained by us
My presentation was shorlisted as it is a unique venture probably the first of its kind linking a Tertiary Care Cancer Centre and a rural Hospice dedicated for Palliative Care , to be presented at the  fifth biennial Singapore Palliative Care Congress ar Biopolis Singapore on the 14th and 15th Singapore
The Tele Clinc is linked through an ISDN enabled line ( Integrated Service Digital Network)
At the gala Dinner the Bursary award Certificate was presented to me by HE Dr Tony Tan the President of the Republic of Singapore.
Use of Information Technology for the greater common good is a laudable cost effective step.
What a momentous occassion for me to be on stage and shake hands with a really great man !

Wednesday, 25 January 2012


When I meditated on the word Guidance, I kept seeing “dance” at the end of the word. I remember reading that doing God’s will is a lot like dancing.
When two people try to lead, nothing feels right. The movement doesn’t flow with the music, and everything is quite uncomfortable and jerky. When one person realizes that, and lets the other lead, both bodies begin to flow with the music. One gives gentle cues, perhaps with a nudge to the back or by pressing lightly in one direction or another. It’s as if two become one body, moving beautifully. The dance takes surrender, willingness, and attentiveness from one person and gentle guidance and skill from the other.
My eyes drew back to the word Guidance. When I saw “G: I thought of God, followed by “u” and “i”. “God, “u” and “i” dance.” God, you, and I dance. As I lowered my head, I became willing to trust that I would get guidance about my life. Once again, I became willing to let God lead.
My prayer for you today is that God’s blessings and mercies be upon you on this day and everyday. May you abide in God as God abides in you. Dance together with God, trusting God to lead and to guide you through each season of your life.
And I Hope You Dance!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

The Power of Pictures in History

Tryst with Destiny1947
Eleven days before August 15, 1947, Viceroy Lord Louis Mountbatten (center), Jawaharlal Nehru (extreme left) and Mohammad Ali Jinnah (right) prepare for the transfer of power from the British Crown. A notional picture of a divided nation comprising India and Pakistan, as distinct from the agglomeration of princely states and provinces administered by the Raj, came into being during these deliberations. Nehru represented the Indian National Congress while Jinnah stood for the Muslim League, which demanded a separate sovereign state for Muslims. Although the British were in favor of a united Indian subcontinent and the 1946 Cabinet Mission attempted to reach a compromise between the Congress and the Muslim League, neither Nehru nor Jinnah agreed to its proposal for a decentralized state with power vested in local governments. August 14, 1947, the dominion of Pakistan (which then included East Pakistan) declared independence from the British Crown. At midnight the following day, India followed suit with Nehru famously heralding our tryst with destiny.
1947 Train to Pakistan

As British India was cloven in two, the birth pangs of nationhood were followed by separation anxiety. The first train to Pakistan, which ran from Delhi to Lahore, was flagged off in August 1947 in a climate of warmth and bonhomie. However, as massive population exchanges took place between the two young nations, tensions ran high and fanned communal passions aflame. As people were plucked out of their homes and forced to cart their families and belongings to the strange new land across the newly drawn border, they came under attack from brigands and hired thugs. Both fledgling governments were ill equipped to deal with such massive migrations, displacement and violence driven by communal sentiments. About 10 million people are believed to have been displaced, and over a million are estimated to have died during the Partition. Sixty-four years later, the scars of Partition live on in public memory, even though the descendants of those affected by it have few physical memories of the event.

A prodigal son's Patricide

A prodigal son's Patricide
Nathuram Vinayak Godse (extreme left) and Narayan Apte (center), members of the extremist outfit Hindu Mahasabha, blamed Mahatma Gandhi for conceding Pakistan to the Muslims. Godse and Apte had been part of previous unsuccessful attempts to assassinate Gandhi. On January 29, 1948, the two men reached Delhi Railway Station and checked into the retiring room. Financed by their organization, they had purchased a Beretta .38 semi-automatic pistol. The next morning Godse approached Gandhi as he was heading to a prayer meeting and bowed before him. At point blank range, the assassin fired three shots and the Mahatma collapsed to the ground. Gandhi, breathing his last, is believed to have uttered the words, “Hai Ram”. Announcing Bapu’s death to the nation, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru said, “The light has gone out of our lives, and there is darkness everywhere.” Godse and Apte were executed in November 1949.

 Glory to the Republic
On January 26, 1950, the 34th and last Governor-General of India Chakravarti Rajagopalachari read out a proclamation announcing the birth of the Republic of India. The Constitution of India came into effect, declaring India as a sovereign, democratic and secular state. Until this day, India was a dominion under the British Commonwealth acknowledging George VI as King and Emperor. Dr Rajendra Prasad (in picture, right) took oath as the President of the new republic. Interestingly, despite the newly proclaimed status India did not renounce allegiance to the British Commonwealth. As the Manchester Guardian observed on January 26, 1950, India regarded the Commonwealth as a “political machinery used to promote peace and economic advancement.”
 1950 The First Missionaries of Charity
1950 The First Missionaries of Charity
Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, an Albanian nun, came to Darjeeling, India in 1929 with the Sisters of Loreto. She learned Bengali and took the name Teresa upon being initiated into the order. While the nuns at the Loreto Convent were engaged in teaching, Teresa was moved by the poverty she witnessed around her. Traveling by train to Kolkata (then Calcutta), she experienced the epiphany that was to become her life’s mission – to devote her life to the service of the poorest of the poor. On October 7, 1950, Teresa established her own congregation, the Missionaries of Charity, in Kolkata after receiving permission from the Vatican to do so. Its purpose was to care for “the hungry, the naked, the homeless, the crippled, the blind, the lepers, all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society, people that have become a burden to the society and are shunned by everyone." She abandoned her nun’s habit and adopted a white sari with a blue border, which continues to be worn by members of her order. Started with 13 members, the Missionaries of Charity have more than 4,000 nuns today running hospices and orphanages around the world.

From 1950 1952 - Democracy's Dance
From 1950 1952 - Democracy's Dance, and the Dove of Peace  
 Jawaharlal Nehru, who had led the interim government since 1947, was elected in the country’s first parliamentary election in 1952. The Congress Party emerged victorious in the elections, the first test of fledgling democracy. On May 13, Nehru formed the first democratically elected Government of India and assumed office as Prime Minister. Later that year the Prime Minister, seen here on his 65th birthday two years later, unveiled India’s first Five Year Plan.

1954 -The China Syndrome

1954 The China Syndrome
 Before India became independent of British rule, it had little political contact with its northerly neighbor. China had also recently undergone a political upheaval. The incumbent Kuomintang nationalist party had been defeated in a civil war by the People’s Liberation Army, which established the People’s Republic of China. Nehru’s foreign policy began with his government’s recognition of the new republic. In April 1954 Nehru traveled to Peking (as Beijing was then known) where he met Chinese leaders Zhou Enlai and Mao Zedong (in pic). April 29 became a red-letter day in the history of Sino-Indian ties for the declaration of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, known as Panchsheel (inspired in part from the Pancasila – the five principles for the foundation of Indonesia as laid out by the nation’s first president Sukarno), which comprised respect for each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty, non-aggression, non-interference in each other's internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful co-existence. The refrain “Hindi Chini bhai bhai” was common during the 1950s as the two countries ignored the odd border skirmish to maintain peaceful relations. Within a few years, India and China fell out over China’s occupation of Tibet.
 1955 Devdas - The Original Love Triangle
1955 Devdas - The Original Love Triangle
Bimal Roy’s Devdas was not the first cinematic adaptation of Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s novel (it was preceded by five versions in various Indian languages) but the 1955 film was path-breaking in its mass appeal. Starring Dilip Kumar as the tragic male protagonist, Suchitra Sen as Parvati (the estranged childhood sweetheart) and Vyjayanthimala as the courtesan Chandramukhi, the bizarre love triangle left an entire nation bewitched. Though the film has been remade amid great hype, no one could surpass Dilip Kumar’s iconic portrayal of the doomed lover, which has since been much emulated, imitated and parodied. Even the bitterest critics agree that Roy’s cinematic technique was leagues ahead of his time. Elsewhere in the Hindi film industry, Raj Kapoor and Nargis stole hearts in Shree 420, and the song “Mera joota hai Japani” symbolized a bold new patriotism.

1956 - Ambedkar embraces Buddhism, spearheads Dalit Buddhist movement

 Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar was born into an impoverished family of the Mahar caste and spent his life battling the stigma of untouchability and caste-based discrimination in Indian society. In an era when education was the province of privileged upper castes, he obtained multiple doctorates in law, economics and political science from institutions such as Columbia University and the London School of Economics. As Law Minister in the first Union Cabinet and chairman of the committee appointed to draft the Constitution of India, Ambedkar envisioned a law that provided constitutional guarantees for a wide range of civil liberties including freedom of religion, abolition of untouchability and equal rights for women. The Constituent Assembly adopted it in 1949. However, Ambedkar’s proposal for a Hindu Code guaranteeing equal right to inheritance and property was opposed by a section of Parliament. Disappointed, he resigned. After unsuccessful attempts to contest the Lok Sabha elections as an independent, he turned his focus on Buddhism. Discovering through anthropological research that his Mahar ancestors were in fact Buddhists who were made untouchables by dominant Brahmins, he converted to Buddhism in 1956. He also proceeded to proselytize the faith among 5 lakh supporters. Despite failing health he completed the manuscript of his book, The Buddha and His Dhamma, and died just days later on December 6, 1956. Ambedkar’s philosophy had a profound influence on Indian society and initiated a journey towards equality that continues to date.
 1957 Mother India soothes India's Kashmir Woes
 1957 Mother India soothes India's Kashmir Woes
 It was a year of great changes. Even as Kerala ushered into power the first democratically elected Communist government the Kashmir problem rose to a boil with both Pakistan and a section of Kashmiris pressing for a plebiscite to determine the future of the state. However, it was cinema that truly fanned India’s patriotic sentiments. Mother India, a story of grinding poverty directed by Mehboob Khan and starring Sunil Dutt and Nargis, became a national sensation. Nargis played Radha, a poor village woman who rises against odds and sacrifices her own corrupt son in the film’s melodramatic climax. Nargis represented the turbulence of India in the wake of independence. The film’s title was taken from a controversial book by American writer Katherine Mayo that made a disparaging attack on Indian society. Khan, drawing upon Pearl S Buck’s books The Mother and The Good Earth, said that his film’s title was a challenge to Mayo’s “scurrilous work”, declaring the empowerment of Indian women and their triumph over sexual subjugation. Mother India was India’s first official submission to the American Academy Awards in the Best Foreign Language Film category and finished among the top five nominees in 1958

1959 - Tibetans find a home in India
1959 - Tibetans find a home in India
Since 1951, the Communist Party of China had declared its hold over Tibet but granted the area relative autonomy under the provisions of the Seventeen Point Agreement. A protest in certain parts of Tibet against the redistribution of land according to socialist norms sparked off fighting that turned into an armed rebellion. The Chinese occupants stepped up the subjugation of the Tibetan people with brutal measures that included killings, rape of women and coercing monks and nuns to have sex in violation of vows of celibacy. An armed rebellion intensified in Lhasa, Tibet’s capital, but the Chinese suppressed it. During the uprising the 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso escaped to India along with a number of refugees. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru met the Dalai Lama in Mussoorie in 1959 and assured him of protection for his people, offering them land in India to set up settlements in Dharamshala, Bylakuppe and Darjeeling among other places. The Tibetan spiritual leader would go on to establish the Tibetan Government in Exile at Dharamshala. The influx of refugees into India continued for decades thereafter.

1960 – Hamara Bajaj

In 1960, Bajaj Auto, established in 1945, went public. Just the previous year the company established by visionary industrialist Jamnalal Bajaj had been granted a license to manufacture two- and three-wheelers. While the company initially imported the Vespa 150 under license from Piaggio of Italy, it began production of the Chetak scooter in 1972. Modeled after the Italian Vespa Sprint, the Bajaj Chetak – named for the famous horse of the historical Rajput hero Maharana Pratap – became a household symbol across India. In 1985, a long-running commercial on Doordarshan with the jingle “Hamara Bajaj” cemented its reputation as the people’s scooter. Several scooter models have been rolled out down the ages, but the Chetak became ingrained in culture. In 2009 the company, now among the Forbes 2000, stopped production of the Chetak

1961 – India marches into Goa
1961 – India marches into Goa
The longest reigning colonial power, the Portuguese had held Goa for 451 years until India wrested it back on December 19, 1961. Starting in 1950, the Government of India had attempted to make diplomatic dialogue with the Portuguese government in Goa, which asserted that the territory was not a colony but an integral part of Portugal. Calls for freedom had begun as early as 1928 when the French-educated Goan nationalist Tristao de Braganza Cunha organized the first independence movement to liberate the colony. Cunha, who was instrumental in coordinating the many disparate freedom movements within Goa, was made a state prisoner and confined first at Fort Aguada, Goa and then at the Peniche prison in Portugal. Cunha died in 1958, by which time the movement to free Goa had built up momentum. In addition to the nonviolent methods adopted by Cunha and his Gandhian supporter Ram Manohar Lohia, groups like the Azad Gomantak Dal and United Front of Goans, supported by the Indian government, used force to attempt to unseat the Portuguese government. After a series of incidents, Indian forces stormed Goa by land, air and sea and liberated the coastal enclave after a 48-hour operation. The Goa episode was hotly debated across the world when a United Nations Security Council draft resolution spearheaded by the United States calling for a ceasefire in Goa was vetoed by the Soviet Union, India’s Cold War ally. India’s ties with Portugal were suspended until they were restored in 1974 after the authoritarian ruler António de Oliveira Salazar’s regime was overthrown in 1968.
1962 – Friends, brothers and enemies

1962 – Friends, brothers and enemies
After the 1959 Tibetan Uprising and India’s decision to grant refuge to Tibetans fleeing the Chinese occupation of their homeland, India’s relations with China were simmering. They finally came to a boil over disputes concerning two border areas – Aksai Chin on the border of Kashmir and Xinjiang, and Arunachal Pradesh in northeast India, a consequence of the Chinese refusal to accept the McMahon Line that was drawn in 1914 as the historical border between China and British India. Skirmishes and hostilities escalated as the Chinese built up troops and reinforcements in two places along the disputed border. The Chinese aggression was timed to coincide with the Cuban Missile Crisis in which the United States and the Soviet Union were involved, as this meant both powers would not involve themselves with the happenings in southern Asia. Nehru’s Forward Policy and assertion of the McMahon Line as the boundary was criticized and he lost standing for failing to foresee China’s motives. Defense Minister V K Krishna Menon resigned accepting responsibility for India’s lack of military preparedness. The war called for a review of India’s foreign policy – from ‘brotherly’ ties with China, Nehru began to look west.
1963 – Nagaland joins the Indian family
1963 – Nagaland joins the Indian family
Nagaland, at the northeastern tip of India, was inducted into India as its 16th state on December 1, 1963. The region was a designated home for 15 officially recognized Naga tribes, many of whom also live in Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. Naga tribes had little contact with the outside world until Christian missionaries arrived in the 1870s and over 95 per cent of Naga people have embraced the faith. The British, who annexed Assam following the Treaty of Yandabo after the First Anglo-Burmese War, attempted to reach out to the tribes but conflicts often took place. Even as India announced independence from the British Crown in 1947, the Nagas pressed for a sovereign nation of their own. Talks with the Government of India, which began in June that year with recognition of the Nagas’ right to “self-determination”, continued until 1952 when a rebellion by the Naga National Council, which pressed for secession from India, was crushed by Indian armed forces. In 1962, India assembled the controversial Naga People’s Convention and following an agreement granted statehood to Nagaland in 1963. The move was seen by the rebels as a great betrayal of Naga interests. Since then, Nagaland has had a troubled relationship with the Government of India, although talks have been held periodically after the National Socialist Council of Nagaland was founded by Thuingaleng Muivah, Isaac Swu and S Khaplang in 1970. In the picture above, Naga tribesmen are shown performing the traditional dance on the occasion of the Hornbill festival.
1964 – The passing of Nehru
India’s first prime minister was a troubled man after India’s defeat in the 1962 war with China. Facing criticism internally and losing Congress political strongholds in Kerala in the 1962 election, he took ill and spent his time recuperating in Kashmir. On returning to Delhi he suffered a stroke and later a heart attack. He died on May 27. Despite criticism of some of his policies, Nehru was an acknowledged statesman and visionary who led a young nation out of post-Independence darkness. Interim Prime Minister Gulzarilal Nanda, who had been sworn in, would soon be replaced by his close political confidant Lal Bahadur Shastri. 
1965 – War in the subcontinent

 1965 – War in the subcontinent
Indians (in picture) celebrate with a seized Pakistani Army tank. India’s military losses in the war with China emboldened Pakistan to attack and lay claim to Kashmir, which it had lost during the Partition of India. After clashes between troops in the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat, the hostilities intensified in August. Though both sides suffered heavy casualties in land and air battles that extended along Pakistan’s border with Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat, India was perceived as the victor for decisively thwarting the Pakistani attack. A United Nations-mediated ceasefire was enforced and remained in effect till the next war in 1971. Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri was hailed as a national hero for the victory, which soothed the memory of the defeat to China.
1966 – The cartoonist who drew ire
1966 – The cartoonist who drew ire
 On June 19, 1966 Balasaheb Keshav Thackeray, who had started his career as a cartoonist with the Free Press Journal in Mumbai, founded the Shiv Sena. Six years before, Thackeray had started Marmik, a cartoon weekly in which he criticized Gujarati and South Indian laborers in Mumbai whom he accused of usurping jobs that Maharashtrians deserved. His organization was launched to campaign for job security for Maharashtrians. In years to come the Shiv Sena’s ideology and methods would invite strident criticism but it would emerge as a decidedly powerful political entity both in state politics and at the centre, where it would ally with the Bharatiya Janata Party.
1966 – Women on top
Ups , Downs and Reita Faria
India in 1966 saw her share of ups and downs. Even as India and Pakistan negotiated for peace at Tashkent, Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri died thereafter in mysterious circumstances. An Air India flight crashed into Mont Blanc killing 117 people including Homi J Bhabha, chairman of the Indian Atomic Energy Commission. But it was woman power that really swung it for the nation that year. Months after Indira Gandhi was sworn in as India’s first woman Prime Minister, a young medical student floored a Miss World jury with her beauty and wit. For one year Reita Faria wore her crown and then threw it all away to concentrate on completing her medical degree.
1968 – A boy band in India
1968 – A boy band in India
Though it was much later that an Indian rock band would sing of John, Paul, George and the other guy crossing the universe, the Beatles made a beeline for India in 1968 at the height of their fame. Accompanied by an entourage that included actress and model Mia Farrow, an acolyte of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the Fab Four arrived at the Maharishi’s ashram near Rishikesh for what was to be a ten-day course in Transcendental Meditation. Their stay was cut short by the death of manager Brian Epstein. The Beatles went back with mixed feelings – while John Lennon’s initial fascination with the Maharishi turned into disenchantment (he later referred to the Maharishi as a “lecherous womanizer”), George Harrison and his wife were taken in, while McCartney recounted many years later upon the Maharishi’s death that he was a great soul. All said, it was a fertile period in the band’s career as many future hits were penned here, including Ringo Starr’s first composition “Don’t Pass Me By.” Portraits of the Beatles’ stay in India, taken by Paul Saltzman, were released in 2000.
1969 - A train to the capital


In a tumultuous year for Indian politics – the Indian National Congress split into two factions – all eyes were on New Delhi. No surprise then that the Indian Railways introduced a special train connecting the capital with other Indian cities. The first Rajdhani Express left Delhi for Howrah, traversing 1,445 km in under 17 hours. The fully air-conditioned railway coaches are the gold class of Indian Railways and are accorded royal treatment. Today, 21 pairs of Rajdhani trains connect Delhi with state capitals.

Monday, 23 January 2012

I wish I was as intellegent as this boy :-))

STUDENT WHO OBTAINED 0% IN AN EXAM  : (His answers are in red.)
Q1. In which battle did Napoleon die? * his last battle
Q2. Where was the Declaration of Independence signed? * at the bottom of the page
Q3. River Ganga flows in which state? * liquid
Q4. What is the main reason for divorce? * marriage
Q5. What is the main reason for failure? * exams
Q6. What can you never eat for breakfast? * Lunch & dinner
Q7. What looks like half an apple? * The other half
Q8. If you throw a red stone into the blue sea what it will become? * It will simply become wet
Q9. How can a man go eight days without sleeping ? * No problem, he sleeps at night.
Q10. How can you lift an elephant with one hand? * You will never find an elephant that has only one hand..
Q11. If you had three apples and four oranges in one hand and four apples and three oranges in other hand, what would you have ? * Very large hands
Q12. If it took eight men ten hours to build a wall, how long would it take four men to build it? * No time at all, the wall is already built.
Q13. How can u drop a raw egg onto a concrete floor without cracking it? *Any way you want. Concrete floors are very hard to crack.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Kerala Appams

   Appam- you had kallu before , today it is yeast
   You are welcome for any feast
   For B’fst lunch and dinner you fill us
   You are our desire , 24 x7 without fuss

   Your periphery is like dosa, your centre is like idli
   Your presence lifts our mood like the garden lilly
   You are fashion and passion all in one
   You are anybody’s longing, there is disagreement with none

   You taste better with sugar and milk
   Your presence makes a home better than a woman’s silk
   Chicken stew continues to an exciting side dish
   Can Fish moilee be behind as we relish?

   Some guys  like it with beer
   Beer beside makes the gals fear

   Kerala appam a seductress to its taste
   Make haste and you waste the taste

   We enjoy you appam in Five stars to no stars
   On tables and ‘parcels’ ,and in the ‘hit list’ in Bars
   Wherever your presence you tickle our buds of taste
   Oh how we rush to you with haste

   You periphery is like lace, I call them frills
   Your  steaming sight beside a stew adds to thrills
   A tinge of brown colour means crisp you are   

   Appam dear be near don’t be far

   The Kerala  appam has more potential for rhyme
   If only I have the time
   Like  your spouse, have her always
   Desire appams like a beautiful face

                                           Copyright@ Dr Cherian Koshy