Wednesday, July 28, 2010


This looks like an effort which was made in haste.

In West Bengal,it is called Alpana.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Puppy craze

My daughter 's holidays had just begun.She was excited as there was a stray bitch who was pregnant.My daughter was sure that somehow,I will be cajoled into adopting a puppy.

A week later,she came home with the good news .''Amma, five puppies were born .They are so cuute."I told her," Please stay away from the puppies as the mother will be very protective."But my warning was all just swept aside.

It then became a daily routine.Every morning & evening,she would get up & go & have a look & come back to tell how the puppies were faring.It was also to keep me updated that they had no proper home.They had found a shelter in the shopping centre next door.

I had read about a family being so so obseessed with pets that when their pet passed away ,the family was inconsolable.Whenever I see pets & their masters,I am thinking ,what will happen when the pet passes away.That is why ,I have never tried to keep a pet.I am sure,it is so lovely a relationship that when the pet is no longer there,life gets miserable.This fear of loss keeps me away & I wanted my kid to stay  away from pets.I knew that I would never be able to console her when tragedy strikes.

Since,all this failed to evince any affection from my side,she decided to demand food for the puppies.She would ask for  milk.I told her that I buy  milk for our use & not for charity.So,my daughter decided that she will forgo her share of milk.She would then give it to the puppies as their need was greater  than hers.I also added that milk would be too difficult to digest for the  puppies .So,my daughter devised a solution.She would pour the milk into a bottle .Then she would dilute it with an equal amount of water.This ,she opined was good enough for the puppies to digest.

Next,her friends also joined her in this job,  of  feeding  the bitch & her puppies.Sometimes,they would collect biscuits & feed the bitch while the puppies were fed milk.My repeated warnings about the bitch attacking were never heeded.My daughter clarified that they were trying to care for the bitch as well so that she would be friendly .It was clear that the said tactics were working as there were no untoward incidents .

My kid & her friends named the puppies -Custard,Brownie,Snowflake,etal. My daughter's pet was Snowflake,as it was totally white without any brown spots.My daughter is someone who has  full faith in being discriminatory about colour.She represents the Indian mindset about fairness in colour.

Then the caretakers decided to phone a vet to enquire about vaccination-of the puppies.I put my foot down.I said that I will not pay even a paise towards all this.My daughter stated that since  they were not vaccinated , I was constantly apprehensive about her safety.So,this was her attempt to allay my fears.Since,I was non-committal , my nightmares about kids getting bitten by the bitch continued.

My neighbours & other acquittance had started complaining to me that my daughter was taking too much interest in the puppies.Moreover,they opined that other kids were following in her footsteps.I was elated that she was exhibiting leadership skills at such a tender age .Actually,they did not mind, nah, were quite indifferent to my kid's forays into anything but since this was interfering in their domain ,they were objecting.I tried to reason with my kid but it was useless.

I then decided to join her .No,I did not adopt the puppies. I readily started giving milk & biscuits. One day,I took the photographs of the family .As I took the snaps,I knew why my kid had fallen for the puppies ! I too fell for them -hook,line & sinker. The puppies looked so innocent.They were all so vulnerable.They started following me & my kid as we snapped their pictures. I  posted the snaps on the net.I asked my daughter's friends to look at the snaps I  had taken .I Though the kids wanted to have a look,the parents refused to part with their email ids.They were sure, that I had also gone bonkers like my kid.

Anyways,the care shown by my kid & her friends proved inadequate.Very soon,two puppies passed away.The last straw was when my daughter heard the news that her favorite Snowflake had expired.She felt miserable as she heard about it on her birthday.She has overcome it ...that'w hat I think.And yet any day,she is ready to adopt a dog ! And I am the same....unsure.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Posted by PicasaIn Bihar,it has a slightly different name from the alpana of West Bengal.In Bihar,rangoili is called aripana.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Security ? !

A recent report by Washington Post says that  after 9/11,US has in place a security system that has grown so gigantic that it is almost impossible to handle ! So,how can it handle security as it cannot manage  itself ? !

The report states that structures of 250 security bodies have been changed since the attack in September,2001.Also,33 buildings have come up measuring 17m sq.feet for secret services in  the Washington area.The report also adds that 51 federal organisations & military commands are working in 15 US cities keeping  track of money flow amongst terrorist outfits.

Some 8,54,000 people including civil servants,military personnel & private contractors get top secret clearances which cannot be penetrated by any equipment.So ,the personnel are above scrutiny ! It will be so easy to just infiltrate such a set up & then do what the unit or rather units were supposed to prevent and or protect ! As usual,we will get wiser only after the catastrophe /s.The secret enterprise has a mission which is confidential.It is indeed doubtful if even the people who are working for it know the aims of the unit.Maybe,it was set up just like that & then as it progressed,they were sure of coming up with some ideas about the objectives of the set up ! After all,this is how all giants come into being !

Since,all are in the dark about the supposed objectives other than fighting Al Queda,there is hardly any need to determine if the set up has had any successes.This is a win -win formula for all the world to just emulate! How convenient -no questions need be asked & even if asked cannot be replied to as replies are top secret if not the queries !

Big money is involved so much so that the budget was two & half times more than what it was before 9/11.The many sub-units are unable to spend or maybe waste the said funds.So,the money could  have been spent on better options.

But it has solved the unemployment problem atleast to a certain degree as a mimimim of 263 orgainsations have been refashioned and or created after 2001.This just goes to prove that some good ultimately comes out of any exercise /s in futility.We must therefore,  always be  optimistic.The Bush administrtation tried to get some hold over the giant but the law failed in giving authority to the director  over individual units.There are battles amongst Pentagon,CIA ,NCTC staff.So after they have finished with their inter departmental wars,will they wage a war against terror.The flood  of information is so immense that it is just being collected.The huge volume defies analysis !

Now,in India also after terrorist attacks,security has been a growing concern.No,we are not worried about our life & limb but about how to prove that we are not terrorists.Address proof is a big headache.Identity cards are needed to prove that I stay at a particular house.Now,if I am staying at a relatives place as a temporary arrangement,how does one prove residence ?

Residence proof is established by producing utility bills in one's name.If the staying is temporary ( not rented ),how will any utility bill be in that person";s name ? But such concerns are all brushed aside by the overtly secured fellows who insist on residence proof.Address proof is such a big issue that it is a must for opening an account, for entry at BARC, for securing a loan,passports, et al.

Mind you, that PAN card is not taken as a valid identity card.This is because PAN card does not state your address.So,the PAN card is a reminder of your duty towards the nation -the duty of paying taxes.But it fails to give you any right -even right of way even though,as a PAN card holder,you are a citizen.In all probability,the facility which you are seeking for which you need address proof has been funded out of your taxes !

Address proof is mandatory for all bank accounts,etc as Governments feel that with valid addresses ,money transfers can be checked to detect funding of terror outfits.But this is brushed aside for our netas who are regularly sending money to shady set ups in India & abroad.After all ,they are a shade apart from ordinary mortals like us.

The unenviable growth of our economy is raising the real estate prices so high that address proof will be given by terrorists only.Because only they will be able to afford flats,houses,etal.

At the passport office also,residence proof needs to be endorsed by utility bills.Actually,one feels so harassed that it makes you ponder if the passport office is going to fund your overseas trip.They do all that is possible so that you just leave in disgust.

Terrorists & criminals are able to procure as many  passports as against us who find it impossible to even get one.The felons are able to don disguises which we can see through but not our officials at the passport office ! So much like the movies wherein the characters don false teeth,costumes,wigs et al & manage to fool their co stars but not the audience !

The traffic snarls which result whenever our highly secured leaders travel in & out of cities,towns & villages leads to tragic outcomes.Recently ,it was alleged that due to the PM 's visit,a boy could not be taken to hospital in time & he breathed his last.If this continues unabated,our netas may find that there are no people against whom they have to be secured !

The  genuine public gets harassed in the name of security as our Government tries to secure itself ( leaders,their cronies & their ilk ) from all of us & that too by security personnel whose funding is made possible by the taxes we pay sincerely , year after year !

Monday, July 12, 2010

Friday, July 9, 2010

Deception in Mediclaim

The headlines  in the Times of India dated today said  that many hospitals are off the Mediclaim radar as many are supposedly involved in false claims.There are related reports about increase in consumer cases because of rejected Mediclaims &Hospital  charges being too exorbitant.

The insurance companies have resorted to denial of cashless facility. All this has led to a lot of hardships for the patients .Obviously after the fleecing by hospitals & TPAs,insurance companies have become bereft of cash - so cashless has suddenly got a new meaning ,for the Insurance Industry that is !

It has been reported that Hospitals have indulged in putting up fraud claims in collusion with TPAs ( Third Party Administrators)  to whom processing of  health related claims has been outsourced by the Insurance Companies.Patients are also said to be  a party to the frauds.TPAs are a recent phenomena unlike hospitals which have been in existence much before.TPAs came in, when the Public Sector Insurance Companies announced the VRS ( Voluntary Retirement Scheme) some years back.The staff shortage due to VRS was tackled by outsourcing processing of health related claims to TPAs.

But the Insurance Companies seem to think that TPAs are doing a good job.Hence,the axe has fallen on the Hospitals. This is not to say that Hospitals are clean but to question this blacklisting of Hospitals.The TPAs ought to be taken to task .But instead of that, a TPA has investigated & based on that investigation ,Hospitals have been listed out.This is giving new meaning to the term " natural justice." Natural justice demands that no one should be a judge in his own case.In this instance,a TPA is the investigating agency & based on that ,so many are blacklisted.How can a TPA sit in judgement on other TPAs as also Hospitals ? The report omits to state if any TPAs have been blacklisted but still,this is all an eye wash.

What are the credentials of the TPA which investigated the fraud claims ? The said TPA is a later entrant compared to some  TPAs .As happens sooner than later,the said TPA may be involved in bigger frauds or maybe get involved later.Perhaps, it wants a clean slate to begin.After all,aren't we  too familiar with the brands which worked hard to get the  ISI marks & once,they got it,it has just been downhill ever since.

The report also says that many Hospitals are in the dark about their status & some Hospitals have themselves opted out of the list due to strict norms.The insurance industry will soon inform its decision to the listed Hospitals but " soon" in Public Sector parlance can range from days to months to years ! So ,the stage is set for disputes about Hospitalisation in blacklisted hospitals as neither the TPA,nor the patient or the Hospital knows the current status of the Hospital.

Related reports speak about the rising number of consumer disputes about Mediclaim.About two thirds of all Insurance claims end up in consumer forums.This is a very sorry state of affairs.Claims are rejected for flimsy reasons like pre-existing ailments,excluded diseases,etal.Moreover,in Public Sector,decisions ( if any ) to delay & reject claims are lauded .Such actions also keep the bosses in good books of the audit & vigilance departments.The executives are preventing the drain of wealth thereby protecting the funds.But when the judgement comes,generally interest payment is also a condition But such small things do keep happening in big Public Sector companies.So,no one gets wiser.

It has been stated in the  report that one can choose the TPA.But this is easier said than done.Many compnaies have only some TPAs on their rolls.So this may not be economical .Moreover,if I want a particular TPA,it may be taken to mean that I want to conspire with the TPA to defraud the Insurance Company.Moreover,how does one know if any TPA is good ,bad or ugly ? Many will tell you that all TPAs are chips of the same block.

Mediclaim is a drain & has been so for a long time.With the TPAs in it now,it has started burning huge holes in the pockets of the  Insurance Companies. So what is the way out ?

One way is to start in house TPA cells manned by the employees of the Insurance Companies .Some private sector companies have set up such cells for processing Mediclaims.The TPAs should be strictly monitored as well, as before the TPAs came in,there were no such blatant attempts at cheating.Unfortunately,the TOI report seems to suggest that TPAs or rather the investigator TPA is calling the shots ! The said TPA Manager has spoken to the press & the Insurance Companies have no spokesperson to tell about their version /s  ! One really wonders " Who is the boss -the TPA /s or the Insurance Companies ? The more things change,the more they remain the same or perhaps change for the worse.On second thoughts,we haven't yet hit the pits ,not yet !

Thursday, July 1, 2010


 This is the age of saying Sorry .You must have seen it coming.All over the world,people from all walks of life started saying that they regretted the acts  and or omissions committed by them or their ancestors or their countrymen etal in the past.This regret was then given official recognition by the head of the State saying 'SORRY " to the victims  and or the survivors or the present day generations whose forefathers had been butchered.

Sorry ,I believe is a very convenient word .Convenient, as anybody commits a felony,an act or ommisssion to wrong another or others knowing it to be grossly unjust & then regrets by saying " Sorry ." Hence,it is the most abused & misused word of the English language.

Recently,the Canadian Prime Minister publicly apologized for being apathetic to the Kanishka tragedy.Now,the present Canadian Prime Minister was not responsible for the accident but he said he was regretful for the attitude of his administration .So ,in this case,someone who is hardly to be blamed takes the blame & expresses regret.Moreover,since it is done publicly & by Head of the State,it is a very strong apology.But do the victims feel that this is so ? Is it that all felonies can be done & then apologized in front of the world & so will be forgiven ?Also,as the government is expressing regret,all ought to be forgiven but is this workable ?Perhaps,this means that the said case or felony is a closed chapter now & all should move ahead.It also means that the victims need not keep harping about the same wrong doing.But naturally,there will be new wrongs which have been committed & will continue & so we must move on to those .

Similarly,the Pope has said that he regretted that children were sexually abused by the clergy in some European nations.The Pope probably means that such acts will not be repeated but how anyone can guarantee this is beyond me as the Pope has refused to bring the perpetrators to book.There is nothing which will debar anybody to repeat  such wanton crimes .How are these perpetrators different from other similar accused ? Only that these are from the Church -they enjoy a position of trust & hence the crimes are more grave.What about the victims who have suffered for years & come out openly now to complain ? Just a " Sorry " will never be able to erase all the painful & horrific memories for the victims who were so vulnerable at their tender age.

Come to think of it-if US were to say sorry to Japan for the Hiroshima & Nagasaki attacks, Israel were to say sorry for the acts it keeps indulging in Palestine et al,& so on & so forth,there would be peace .The Nobel Peace Prize would then go to the word " Sorry " ! But since,we have to keep giving Nobel Peace Prizes to so many people so as to appear politically correct,we have to keep indulging in acts of war.Then we can pretend to be making herculean attempts at brokering peace & be the contenders for the coveted prize,if not the winner !

When our Prime Minister went to Canada,he apologised at a meeting about the anti -Sikh riots .The idea behind this was that the Indian PM,himself being a turbanded Sikh,his public apology will carry a lot of weight.But can the Sikhs forget & forgive one of the worst nightmares they have faced ? They have lost so much that one brutualised victim had gone on record to say that they had lost all & had nothing left to loose ! If the ruling party thinks that justice has been done by the PM's public apology,then we need no courts,no judges,etal.All public crimes wherein a large number of people were involved can be settled out of court by saying sorry.Only individual acts & ommissions need to be tried & punished.So convenient-our courts as of now have enough judges to try these individual cases.So much time is wasted in having commissions of enquiry ,committees & sub committtees on fact finding missions.But once we no longer need them, where will our retired but pliable judges,beurocrats,politicians go ? They cannot fade into oblivion like us,lesser mortals.So for their sake,we  have to  pretend that we are indeed serious about meting out justice to millions who were affected by riots,Bhopal Gas tragedy & the like.

In case of Bhopal gas incident which left millions dead,disabled etal,,I think all our ministers,politicians,bureaucrats are in overdrive.They are all trying to go to US to supposedly get Anderson's extradition so that he will tell sorry for the mishap ! But then ,this will perhaps be the most expensive sorry so far ! We might even create a world record for the most exorbitant regret ! No because,Anderson or Dow,the new owners will pay anything but because of all the US jaunts by our countrymen !

Since the ruling party has regretted the acts which led to the anti Sikh riots,will it similarly accept an apology for the Gujarat riots from the Gujrat CM ? This has been rightly asked by the safforn party.If the  answer is in negative,may we know the reason.This is double standards-one for the ruling party & another for the opposition.No,I am not trying to say that the Lotus was right in the Gujrat riots & the Hand  was wrong in the 1984 riots in Delhi.I am just highlighting the dangers of where all this regret in the public domain is leading us to.Our netas are having a ball as they can aid & abet riots etal today & say sorry tomorrow & be done .There is nothing to refrain our so called leaders from repeating such wanton acts ad nauseaum.

Now,if we could say sorry like our netas,we could get so many things done or undone in our private lives.Men especially find it difficult or rather impossible to say sorry .They believe that they are infalliable as they are of a superior gender (? ! ).Most of all,they never say sorry to their life partners.Rarely when they say it,it is just in the air.There is no feeling of regret.It is as if they are obliging their spouses.But in private lives also, an act or ommission cannot be just wiped away by a regret hows ever heartfelt,the apology may be.Because all said & done,one cannot travel back in time & correct that which has been done.Unfortunately,a bigger & more brutual act may make us forget an earlier less painful folly.

So,let us be very careful when we say,do or omit to do something which might lead to consequences which may need more than a lifetime or maybe many lifetimes to regret.After all, as long as we live socially,our acts & ommissions affect one & all.

Yes,even I have felt wronged.I am awaiting regrets - private ones but will I be able to forgive &  more importantly forget ? Maybe, but, I am quite unsure.
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