Friday, January 29, 2010

Book Review: Managing the unmanageable child.

Managing the Unmanageable Child - A guide to Understanding and Tackling Tough, Recurrent and Persistent Problems in Children. Dr PV Vaidyanathan. Peacock Books, New Delhi. 2010. Pages 206. Rs 175.00

(Review by Dr P Vyasamoorthy)


Dr Vaidyanathan, a leading pediatrician of repute in Mumbai with more than twenty years of experience backing him, offers practical wisdom in understanding and handling problematic children.


The book is meant primarily for parents. The objective is to make them understand the reasons behind various ailments – both physical and psychological – a child may suffer while growing up.  By design, how to treat such conditions (therapy aspects) does not form a part of the book.


The book is divided into three parts. In the first introductory part behavior of children in general is explained chronologically. Suggestions to make the child responsible are then given.  Thereafter characteristics of bad parent and bad child are discussed. Thereafter methods to avoid unnecessary anxiety that parents develop over their children are mentioned.


The second part deals with Physical problems. Almost every ailment afflicting children is covered. Paraphrasing the chapter headings we come across topics like: crying too much, wetting the bed, eating and putting on fat, refusing to take medicines, speech problems, frequent attacks of cough and cold, suffering from constipation, stomach pain, refusing to eat and frequent vomiting. Which child has not had one or many of these?


The last section is devoted to Psychological or behavioral problems.  As one could guess this is the largest section – devoting some 26 chapters among a total of 42. Problems like holding the breath, throwing tantrums, telling lies, being hyperactive, autism, introverts, aggressiveness, adoption, sibling rivalry, child abuse, hypersensitiveness, manipulation – everything you might have come across in children around your home or among your friends families are dealt with. In this respect the coverage of topics is highly comprehensive.


The language of the book is very simple and straightforward. In an impactful but easy style,  Dr Vaidyanathan provides (through concise chapters) a lot of useful information for better understanding of the problem child – whatever may be the problem. He comforts us of many anxieties that are not necessary in the first place.  He says that sometimes parents become more unmanageable than kids they bring in! I learnt, for example, that it is neither fatal nor dangerous if a child holds the breath for a minute or so.


This book will be useful for ANYONE who has to deal with problem children – whether it is parents, grandparents, teachers, care takers etc.  I enjoyed those context sensitive verses strewn in between. They relieve monotony of text. You too can enjoy verses like this:


I was highly interested in becoming an artist

My parents saw to it that I become a dentist

Instead of painting pictures colorful and divine

I'm stuck, extracting molars, incisors and canine!


It has come not a day early because stress and anxiety among parents and children alike are increasing day by day. I wish he had penned this book a few years ago – my bother's daughter had, not one but two problem children and it was so bad that the mother dreaded coming home from office everyday. Every parent who can relate himself to the scenarios depicted in this book will find its contents immeasurably useful.




Thursday, January 28, 2010

Some Tips to stay within Gmail space allocation

Some Tips to stay within Gmail space allocation

 Gmail offers 7.53 GB of disk space in its free version. When you are about to reach about 90% saturation level you get a warning asking you to upgrade to paid version. Many users may desire to stay within the free version. This may be because the upgrades cost some money that has to be paid in USD which is not easy for many in India. Minimum payment involved for an additional 6 GB is USD 20. Though the amount is affordable the annual renewals is a bother.

 Let us look into ways of managing to stay within the free storage limits of Gmail.

 Picasa allows one GB space for pictures and images. Google Docs gives another GB free storage. It is prudent to use these facilities by transferring important image and document attachments to Picasa or Google Docs and delete the message in Gmail. However, in Gmail there is no way of identifying messages with large attachments easily. One has to look for image and video files by file type searching. Thereafter delete or move each attachment to some other site.

 Another method will be to create a second Gmail account. You can automatically transfer all incoming message to the new account and delete new messages in old account. Thus space usage will remain static in old account. However you may face certain problems in the case of subscriptions to Yahoo or Google groups which you need to take care. Moreover you may have signed up into a number of Google services like Alerts, Docs, history, Google sites and others. All Google services make the Gmail account as the pivotal ID. New account might disturb this set up.

 I adopted a different approach. Gmail Backup is third party free software. This allows you to download all Gmail messages from your ALL Mail folder into your local hard disc. Labels are also downloaded. Attachments are also included. The Gmail listing of messages in Conversation (threaded) format is sacrificed and each message is listed separately. In the case of rich text messages, if you have prevented images being shown always (but only on demand), you may loose images when you download. You may backup Gmail messages year by year or between any two dates. This will ensure that you work in smaller chunks – each taking much lesser time.

 Once you have all (or as much as you want to delete) messages onto hard disc you need to search them. I downloaded WS4 – a new Windows Search Engine (free) as a part of Windows – and installed it. The folder containing Gmail messages is to be included in this WS4 indexing facility. Thereafter searching large (I have some 60K messages) number of messages by sophisticated searching is possible. Results appear even as you type the query. WS4 is very fast and reliable especially for email messages. Selected ones are read or browsed using Outlook. Messages after backing up may be removed from Gmail server. When required, the backed up messages may be restored to Gmail also.

 If you know of other methods please share with others.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Negligent Peruvian doctors remove both legs instead of one!


Negligent Peruvian doctors remove both legs instead of one! 

Peruvian doctors amputated the wrong leg by mistake and quickly corrected the situation next day by removing the other leg also. Read the sad story of Villanueva in Callao in Peru

 There is a hospital by name Alberto Sabogal Hospital in Callao in Peru. One Jorge Villanueva was admitted with gangrenous ulcer in the right leg. A negligent team of surgeons amputated the wrong (left, healthy) leg by mistake. Caren Villanueva, daughter of this 86 year old patient, discovered to her horror that the wrong foot has been removed. When this was brought to the notice of hospital authorities, the doctors did another operation the next day – and removed the other leg as well. For, if left as such the infection was likely to endanger patience's life. Villanueva walked in with two legs but was left footless. Hospital authorities immediately suspended the doctors. Peruvian Health Minister Oscar Ugarte said that this is indeed a punishable offence. This was on Jan 5th 2010.

 Nowadays health related services are sold in novel units. For example weight reduction courses for the obese charge their customers in terms of Kg of weight you will (want to) lose. Therefore the advertisement says: Buy ten Kgs and get 2 Kgs free. While taking up such a course you sweat it out by doing strenuous exercises, eat almost nothing at all and lose your weight and ultimately lose your money as well. On similar lines these Peruvian doctors seem to say: Buy one (surgery) and get one free.

 I remember that in 1977 AIMS (Delhi) doctors operated on the wrong eye for cataract but I don't think they went about damaging the other healthy eye by operation saying it will be compensatory complementary surgery! As far back as 2001, one New York Times news item on wrong organs surgery states: Most people can easily tell right from left, but for some surgeons it seems to be a problem. That sums up our plight.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Human bed-warming services offered by Holiday Inn

Oddities around the world are limitless – Enjoy the fun as it unfolds,
this time via bed spreads and innovative human bed warming service!

International hotel chain Holiday Inn is offering on a trial basis
"Human bed-warming service" at three of their hotels in Britain
effective January 2010. This is in connection with the launching of
3200 new Holiday Inns worldwide. Brits have been braving harsh cold
weather recently and this innovative service is supposed to be a
response to nature's unfriendly ways of treating Brits!

Some willing staff member of the hotel would wear a full length woolen
suit and slip into the bed sheets before the customer comes in and
leave when the guest arrives. Equipped with a thermometer the sleeping
staff can measure whether the room temperature is just right (20
degrees centigrade). Florence Eavis of the hotel, while agreeing that
the method of keeping bed warm was quirky, could not explain why the
bed could not be warmed with warm water bottles or electric blankets.

Reading through the Reuter's News Item raises a few doubts:

• In the case of a double bed, will there be two bed warmers?
• In such a case, will they match equally in their bed warming abilities?
• Do bed warmers get any special training?
• Is this a free lagniappe service or guests have to pay extra charges
for a pre-warmed bed?
• What is the gender of the bed warmer? Most guests assume it would a
woman but the news item cleverly keeps silent about it.

What next?

May be we will have many similar services to take care of guests
requiring help in getting sleep.
Providing boring books that will induce sleep within minutes of
reading could be thought of. A librarian specializing in Bibliotherapy
can be hired to select such books.

Playing bizarre and jarring music: this will make the guest get out of
the room. He will then find that outside is very cold and would get
back to the room that will be warm enough to get into the bed.
Everything is relative, isn't that so?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Poetry helps in healing process: Kutikuppala

Poetry helps in healing process: Kutikuppala

VISAKHAPATNAM: Poetry does help in healing several ailments, says
noted physician Kutikuppala Surya Rao.

He was speaking on 'Poetry and geriatric health' quoting extensively
from various studies at a meeting conducted here by Vintage Visakha, a
forum for elderly and senior citizens, here on Wednesday evening.

Dr. Rao, a Padmasri recipient and Guinness Book record-holder for
making world's largest red ribbon, admitted that there was ideological
split in defining the poets' role in the healthcare environment. One
aspect is considering poetry as art therapy and therefore, poets work
in essence as therapists.

"What do poets and healthcare professionals feel about future training
for poets who would like to become more involved in residencies within
the healthcare field?" he asked.

Dr. Rao said there was a need to highlight the medical and
socio-economic problems that were being faced by the elderly people in
India and strategies for bringing about an improvement in their
quality of life.

The physician said 10 to 15 years ago, poetry's role did not get much

Source URL:

The Hindu : Andhra Pradesh / Visakhapatnam News : Poetry helps in
healing process: Kutikuppala (22 January 2010)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

4 ways to revive a friendship

Have you recently browsed through your address book? Normally we refer
to the address book for reaching a specific person either for his
phone, email or physical address. I suggest that just browse through
the address book at random for some five to ten pages. You will find a
number of good contacts who have faded off your memory. How about
reviving those contacts or friendship? If you agree with me and say
within yourself: "yes, it is worth it", then we may look at just four
tips now.

1. Just pick up the phone and call. Nothing like hearing your friend's
voice and gauging its vibrancy. Share anything that you like to by way
of catching up with him. Or you may simply listen and find out what
has been happening in his life. Just ensure that the time of the call
is right – some time when your friend is most likely to be relaxed and
receptive. Just don't do this during his business hours and if you do
you are likely to lose him for ever.
2. Send a greeting card to a long-time-no-see-friend just for no
reason. Just to surprise him. Just to remember or remind him. Be sure
to include your current contact details – even a cell number is
enough. What you write depends upon where you left touch, or what you
heard about him in recent times or anything else personal.
3. You may even decide to call upon him on a Sunday morning if he is
reachable and in your own city. We Indians do not mind surprise
visits without appointment. In fact many would be happy to receive you
with bubbly happiness. In Tamilnadu there is a standard sentence of
welcome for rare visitors: "Hey! Yaar Vandhiruuka Paru" which
translates to: "Hey! Look!! Who has come!". This is presumably
directed to someone else in your friend's house.
4. If you are an old timer and have not lost the habit of writing
letters and sending by snail mail, you can take time to write out a
long letter and send it over through courier or postal department.
This approach is good for guys who aren't lazy and those who feel they
can communicate better in writing.

The first tip is the best in my opinion – it provides instant reaction
of your friend at the end. His voice and its components like tone,
words, pitch etc reveal many things. Second and last methods make you
wait for a response. Sometimes you may not be lucky at all, if the
card or letter is not delivered at all. Personal visit may yield best
results in terms of his reactions but many people change over time and
you can not be always assured that you are welcome at all times.
Anyway it is always best to attempt reviving old friends. This
benefits you and him. JUST TRY and SEE.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Seven held for duping senior citizens in guise of cops (Pune)

Seven held for duping senior citizens in guise of cops
Posted: Jan 12, 2010 at 2302 hrs IST

Pune The Crime Branch of Pune police on Monday arrested a gang of seven persons, including a 15-year-old, for posing as policemen and duping several elderly women in the city.

The suspects pretended to be policemen by wearing 'police-style' goggles and jackets while approaching the elderly women on the road. Police said the imposters, who hail from Pune and Ahmednagar, had stolen ornaments worth Rs 16.97 lakh so far.

In last two years, there have been 61 incidents of "fake cops" cheating senior citizens in the city. 2009 alone saw 42 such incidents, police said. Police said the gang would approach women and say either a riot or some such incident had taken place in the city and advised the women to remove their ornaments for their 'safety.' Soon they would disappear with the ornaments.

Acting on a tip-off, the Crime Branch team, led by inspector Sunil Pawar, arrested the suspects in Lonavala around 3 am on Monday. The suspects have been identified as Imran Froz Irani (19), Ayazali Babulal Irani (20), Imran Sherkhan Pathan (29) all from Shrirampur in Ahmednagar district, Yusuf Salim Ali Irani (25), Siraj Jafar Irani (25), both from Loni Kalbhor, Taher Jafar Irani (32) from Shivajinagar and a 15-year-old boy.

Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime) A D Shinde said the suspects have confessed to their involvement in 30 crimes in the city. "The gang had also committed similar crimes in 20 other districts, including Aurangabad, Latur, Beed, Parbhani, Jalgaon, Wardha, Nashik, Solapur, Jalna and Thane," he said.

Explaining the modus operandi of the gang, Shinde said they used to come to Pune city from Shrirampur by car and motorbikes. "The suspects were very persuasive. Calling themselves as police or CID officers, they would approach elderly women walking alone on the roads. They made the women remove their ornaments and took them away by tricking the elderly ladies," he said.

The suspects were produced before the sessions court on Monday. The court remanded the suspects to police custody till January 15. The minor boy was sent to a remand home. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Anil Kumbhare said the gang was also involved in duping people inside banks. "They used to enter bank as customers and would target people counting money," he said.

Police said they have so far recovered a car, two motorcycles and cash worth Rs 5.5 lakh from the suspects and are looking for the stolen ornaments. Investigation is being carried out to find out if the gang had more members.
Seven held for duping senior citizens in guise of cops - Express India (14 January 2010)

Senior Citizens Unite to save Powai Lake

Senior citizens unite to save Powai lake
Dhanya Nair
Posted: Mar 30, 2009 at 0118 hrs IST

Mumbai They are a motley bunch of senior citizens fighting for a cause dear to their heart-to give a fresh lease of life to the over-a-century old Powai lake. The Powai Senior Citizens' Association (PSCA) has come up with a self-sustainability plan for the lake. "Despite our old age we continue to be independent. There is no reason why a rich natural body like the Powai lake cannot do the same. Our idea is to utilise the natural bounty available in plenty around the area so that the lake can see another century," said S Subramaniam, Vice-president of PSCA.

Though the civic body's work on beautification of the lake is going on, this group wants to convert the once-picturesque Powai lake into an eco-tourist hot spot using maximum natural resources and minimum funds from the civic body. "Though the BMC has started beautification work on the lake, we just don't want a mere cosmetic face-lift. We want to change the area into another landmark for the city," said Subramaniam.

The PSCA's plan entails both cosmetic and environment-friendly changes. "Any major change can take place only after the infrastructure of the area is fully developed. The idea to convert this area into an eco-resort came to us when we saw private developers building budget hotels nearby," said another member, V Appukuttan.

Since the group wants to see the spot as a tourist destination, they want boating facilities to be remarkably improved. They also want a separate crocodile park with a nature center to come near the lake. "These attractions will surely get more tourists. We can also develop aquaculture and fish farming using harmless techniques," said Subramaniam.

They also want the de-siltation process to start soon. "The siltation in the lake has risen considerably due to the ongoing concretisation work in the area. Our main thrust is on de-silting the lake. The silted mud can be utilised to make small gardens in and around the area. Even natural waste can be used as a resource," said Appukuttan. "We would also want to raise the bund level for better water management. Also we will set a plant for waste water recycling," said Subramaniam.

The group said they will shell out some money out of their own pockets for their plans and will approach NGOs and the civic body for funds. "Once the work is done, we are hopeful the funds will be generated since it will then become a spot attracting tourists. We residents too can maintain the facilities. Also we will approach the corporate houses or any dynamic body for maintenance, this way we will not be burdening the BMC or the state government for funds," said Elsie Gabrial, Founder President, Young Environmentalists Programme Trust and a resident of the area.

The group is certain that their beloved Powai lake has still got a lot of untapped potential. "Why we need the Powai lake to be developed is because the water body is serene and calming. Also a concrete jungle like Mumbai needs a soothing spot like the Powai lake," said Gabrial.
Senior citizens unite to save Powai lake - Express India (14 January 2010)

Helpline for senior citizens from January 26, 2010 [Ahmadabad]

Helpline for senior citizens from January 26
ahmedabad Posted: Thursday , Jan 14, 2010 at 0413 hrs Ahmedabad:

In an effort to help the senior citizens, the Gujarat Police have planned a toll-free helpline number 1096.

The helpline will begin from January 26, Director General of Police S S Khandwawala said.

He said the helpline will be connected to the Police Control Room (PCR) to extend day-long services to the senior citizens.

"This is a free service that will enable every senior citizen to seek help in all matters. With this number, any query or problems would reach us in minutes. If they require any housekeeping persons, the police will crosscheck the candidates' background, criminal records, among others." said Khandwawala.

He added: "The old people can use this service for emergency health issues, for ambulance services, among others. They will also be able to get police protection in the event of burglaries or any other untoward incident; police help will just be a call away."

Helpline for senior citizens from January 26 (14 January 2010)


State Council of Senior Citizens to be formed to advise government [Tamilnadu]

State Council of Senior Citizens to be formed to advise government

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: A State Council of Senior Citizens will be formed to advise the government on effective implementation of the Tamil Nadu Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act.

It will be chaired by the Chief Secretary and comprise heads of various government departments and seven non-official members nominated by the government.

Further, district committees will be formed under the chairmanship of the District Collector to ensure implementation at that level.

Laying down the rules for the Act, the government, in a gazette notification, declared that it was the duty of the Collector to monitor and oversee the working of old age homes in the district, so as to ensure that they conformed to standards.

Each Collector, along with the district's Superintendent of Police, would have to ensure that the life and property of senior citizens of the district were protected and that they were able to live with security and dignity.

Under the rules, each police station will be required to maintain up-to-date list of senior citizens living within its jurisdiction, especially those who are living by themselves.

A representative of the police station, along with a social worker or volunteer, is required to visit such senior citizens at regular intervals of at least once a month; apart from rendering assistance as soon as a request is made.

The SP must submit a monthly report about the status of crimes against senior citizens.
State Council of Senior Citizens to be formed to advise government (14 January 2010)

Home for senior citizens ready for inauguration Kakinada

Home for senior citizens ready for inauguration

Kakinada: The Red Cross Home for Senior Citizens at Vakalapudi is getting ready for inauguration on January 22. It was built at a cost of Rs 70 lakh. Reliance Industries Limited provided 12 cots with beds costing Rs 1.5 lakh and five dining tables with chairs and other donors contributed Rs 10 lakh, said Collector and Indian Red Cross Society district chairman Gopalakrishna Dwivedi. He was addressing a meeting of the IRCS here on Monday.

IRCS district secretary P. Durga Raju, executive committee chairman Y.D. Rama Rao, vice-chairman Aluri Vijaya Lakshmi, treasurer Madhava Swami and others were present.
Home for senior citizens ready for inauguration (14 January 2010)

Senior citizens denied [bus]concession. Bengaluru.

Senior citizens denied concession

Staff Reporter

KSRTC conductors refuse voter's card as age proof

BANGALORE: Despite the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) and its affiliates in the State directing their conductors to accept voter identity cards and driving licences as proof of age for senior citizens, this is not being followed, complain commuters. On the contrary, most conductors insist on the senior citizen card issued by the Directorate of Welfare of the Disabled and Senior Citizens.

A large number of senior citizens do not have these cards and are deprived of the 25 per cent concession they are eligible for.

According to the September 23, 2008 order issued by the KSRTC, 25 per cent concession is offered to citizens above 65 years on all mofussil and express services of the various corporations. To get the concession, senior citizens have to produce the photo identity card issued by the directorate or driving licence or voter identity card, the order states.

But the order is being flouted, say senior citizens. M. Madan Mohan, a Hubli-based journalist, has had several experiences of conductors refusing to allow concession on the basis of his voter identity card.

Arguments with the conductors have not helped, he said. If conductors could do this to a journalist, what would be the plight of someone who is ignorant of the rules? asked Mr. Madan Mohan. The States of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are more generous, offering 50 per cent concession to senior citizens.

According to Shankaranarayana Sharma, another senior citizen from Bangalore, bus conductors in the neighbouring States treat the elderly with dignity besides accepting any card showing proof of age.
Corporation's reaction

A KSRTC spokesperson told The Hindu that conductors would be asked to follow the September 2008 order. The spokesperson said, along with senior citizen's card, conductors have been asked to accept voter identity cards and driving licences as proof of age.

Senior citizens denied concession (14 January 2010)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Irish Senior Citizens’ Parliament

Irish Senior Citizens’ Parliament: "What is the ISCP?
The Irish Senior Citizens' Parliament is a representative organisation of Older People in Ireland.
The Parliament is a non-partisan political organisation working to promote the views of older people in policy development and decision-making.
The Parliament is run by older volunteers who are elected annually at the Annual Parliament Meeting by delegates from affiliated organisations. The ISCP currently has 400 affiliated organisations whose memberships combine to a total of 100,000 individuals.
This membership means the ISCP has a genuine mandate to be the Voice of Older People in Ireland."