Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Eves, with abdominal zip? hmm

“The God would have created eves with an abdominal zip, if He prefers caesarian to a normal delivery,” quipped Dr Gita Suresh from EVK Medical Centre, Chennai. She was answering to a query on "why caesarian", and the reply not just evoked laughter but also some thoughts and a healthy debate.
The venue was SNR Kalaiarangam, and the Sunday audience seemed to be more illuminated with the smiles of tiny tots and their moms. With the ambience of togetherness and happiness around, Women’s Centre was celebrating its 25th anniversary with an open forum on ‘women and wellness’.
“Infertility is a challenge that no one expects. Dealing with infertility and its treatment can be emotionally frustrating and exhausting. It can put a strain on even the best of relationships. But medicine has developed in such a way that it gives good reasons to be optimistic,” said Dr Mirudhubashini Govindrajan, clinical director of Women’s Centre.
Though the literacy rates have increased and people are more accessible about medicine, many are unaware of facts like infertility, its reasons and treatments available. A group of leading professionals from the Women’s Centre clinical team, headed by Dr Mirudhubashini, made themselves available to the women of Coimbatore through a free 2-hour open public session ‘Ask the gynaecologist’.
The first doubt from the audience was on 'fertility'. With all the specialists of Women Centre on dais, it was the infertility specialist Dr Lakshmi’s turn to answer.
“Infertility is the inability to become pregnant after one year of trying to conceive. Now a days, one of six couples suffer from infertility. Only 10 percent of the infertility is due to unknown causes,” she said.
“There are many causes for infertility which vary from women to men. Failed ovulation (the failure to develop and release egg due to some hormonal imbalance, stress, obesity etc), damaged or blocked fallopian tubes due to previous infection, surgery, tuberculosis etc, disorders of the uterus and problems around the uterus, age and other hormonal disorders can cause infertility in females while low or abnormal sperm count, stress, ill-health, hormonal problems, diabetes mellitus, smoking, tobacco and alcohol consumption can be the reasons in males.”
"Infertility can be treated. It can be sometimes cured with medications and not surgery, if known in the earlier stage," she added.
Meanwhile, a slip was passed on to the stage. Dr Suganya read it out, a question on sperm and embryo freezing. Dr Mirudhubashini explained on the situation that leads to sperm and embryo freezing and extend to which it can be kept frozen, said, “Well… often sperm is frozen when a man undergo some serious surgeries or treatments like chemotherapy, where there are chances of decrease in sperm count. Or it can happen when the husband may not be available at the time of sperm collection for test tube baby or in vitro fertilisation.”
“… And about the extend to which it can be kept frozen defers on conditions available. Anyway, embryos can be preserved for years.”
The next question was on in vitro fertilization and formation of embryos. Saranya, the embryologist was ready with her answer. “In vitro fertilization is a technology where human eggs, sperms and embryos are handled and grown outside the human body, in a very controlled environment with the optimum temperature needed. The embryo is then placed into the mother’s womb after a few days, to grow further into a baby,” she said. "It is this stage where the need for embryo freezing arises. If the implantation happens to be unsuccessful, then the embryos, collected and kept frozen, can be used."
Implantation unsuccessful?, came the next question.
Mirudhubashini now asks Dr Saradha to explain.
“Implantation is the term used for the process of keeping embryo back in uterus. If there is any further problem inside the uterus, which is causing a hindrance for the growth of the baby, then it is called implantation failure,” she explained. "The laboratory conditions are the most important aspect of implantation. The sperm, egg nor embryo should be kept in a temperature outside 37 degree, that it can cause abnormalities in them."
Dr Suresh and Dr Indrani Suresh from Mediscan, Chennai, had no hesitation answering a query from a mother on whether the doctors would support abortion in case of any abnormalities found. "Doctors are the advocates of the unborn. A doctor only has the right to save a life. He will never ask for an abortion unless the situation demands."
On the future mental and physical sufferings of such babies, he quoted one of his experiences where a childless mother who conceived after treatment, was shocked to know that her baby was handicapped. Though abortion was suggested she said that if the baby can be kept alive at least for a few seconds after the birth her motherhood will be fulfilled. “…It depends on attitude. It’s a baby of our own that matter. All the rest comes after that for a childless couple,” he added.
“Today, women are less pain tolerant. They can’t tolerate the delivery pain, which was once considered the privilege and happiness of womanhood. Some working couples also 'plan pregnancy', some want delivery in ‘auspicious time' and good positioning of birth stars, and demand caesarian,” Dr Gita Arjun said.
Teenagers also took the opportunity to clear their doubts. The effect of uterus removal on physical fitness was raised from one of them. “Uterus removal has nothing to do with physical fitness. Since hormones are produced by ovary there is no chance for hormonal imbalance too," Dr Saradha explained.
The session continued with many more live questions and answers, but the most enlivening part of the session was the latter part. The children, whose reason for being in the earth was the Women’s Centre, filled this part with variety cultural programmes.
Published in Expresso, The New Indian Express on August 6

Friday, July 25, 2008

The labour of love

"Pitha rakshiti koumare
Bartho rakshiti youvane
Putro rakshiti vaardakye", says Manu.
Yes, there is a need for a woman to be cared for in all phases of her life _ especially when in labour.
And it's to cater to her physical, emotional and mental needs that Coimbatore Women’s Centre has added new features that cater to the needs of mothers-to-be _ especially the 'birthing suite'.
"The childbirth is a sweet memory that a mother should always cherish. It should not be turned into a thing that she should fight to forget. It is to be carried through out the life as now-a-days motherhood comes only once or twice in a lifetime for most of the women," says Dr. Mirudhubashini Govindarajan, clinical director of Women’s Centre.
"We try to take up women issues in a manner that is less addressed by other hospitals or organisations. We focus mainly on the comfort zone. that should be provided for a woman to have a pleasant delivery," she explains.
Childbirth being the most special occasion for the women, the mother-to-be should be taken care of and provided with all comforts around. It's to serve this purpose that the centre has added ‘birthing suite’ concept among its features.
"Birthing suite is more than a hotel room with all the facilities around. Rather than the physical amenities, the suite helps in backing the expecting mother with needed emotional support. The husband's access to the room at the time of delivery is also made possible. All the equipment needed for the delivery will be there in the suite hided so that it do not create an ambience of hospital. Usually, all the deliveries except the high risk cases will be held in the suite itself," said Jayaram Govindarajan, the administrator of the centre.
The most special feature of the birthing suite is the ‘birthing bed’, which gives a comfortable birthing position for the mother-to-be and also the staff attending her. The main characteristics of the birthing bed includes its excellent design for the usage of it through out all the birthing phases, its low entrance height, stable construction, inclining of segments according to comfort ability and easy control of handles.
Stepping into 25th year of service, Women's Centre, located at Sri Ramakrishna Hospital, is a comprehensive women health care setup providing most complete solutions for all the health problems of women, from her puberty to menopause. It is unique in Coimbatore and the first of its kind to receive an ISO 9001:2000 award for its quality in service.
A well-catered team of 14 highly qualified full-time consultants, several visiting consultants, para-medical staff and a handful of other nursing staff enable Women’s Centre to be more passionate and responsible for the services. The consultants include professionals in infertility management, embryology, clinical obstetrics and gynaecology, andrology, laparoscopic (key hole), endoscopic and hysteroscopic surgeons, gynec-oncology, ultrasonology, adolescent care, pregnancy, newborn care and neonatology.
"We are an independent entity without much tie ups, for we concentrate more on quality, than spreading out the banner name. The key element of this type of organisation is the specialised consultants at the reach of our hands. It is not that to invite a visiting professional at their schedule, but it is to provide the medicare at the time, when the patient is in need of it," said Jayaram on the reason for not having more branches.
Women’s Centre, with a hand full of specialised doctors, round the clock are capable of giving individual attention to the patients. The infertility department, which needs more care while handling with eggs and sperms, outside the human body, to make sure that the couple bears their own child, it is important to have an individual attention.
The Centre is having an infertility laboratory with a completely sterile environment, which enables them to be more precise in IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) treatment.
"IVF is the last thing to choose for a childless couple. We are having many other phases of treating infertility, even without any surgery. IVF being the more critical phase is dealt with more precise. Highly qualified medical and technical personnel with years of hands on experiences add to the IVF facilities in the hospital," said Dr Lakshmi, specialised in treating infertility. Also three embryologists are there to offer their services round the clock.
Spreading more than 15,000 new smiles to the world, the centre has given many childless couples a reason for living.
"I was childless for 17 years. I tried out many medicines, but of no use. Then I came to know about Women’s Centre from some of my villagers. I was suggested to do IVF. Now I am three months carrying, thanks to the doctors here," says Janaki (name changed) of Erode.
Another childless couple, settled in Australia, came to Women’s Centre knowing about it from the successful story of their relative. Sairadha, childless for five years is now a mother-to-be with a four-month child giggling in her womb.
Apart from the health care services, the centre also stretches its hands to educational aspects. Classes are been conducted for the expecting and her relatives on various issues like the breast-feeding, obesity, a pre-note on the delivery pain, meditation etc. The shortage of well-trained personnel has made the centre to have a tie up with Bharatiar University to start a new course in Maternal and Child health for plus-two students. It also offers a Fellow of National Board (FNB), with students from various parts of the country enrolled after an all-India entrance test.
"The best feature of the centre is the emotional support they are providing. They understand us fully and only after that the doctors even start treatment. The way of approach helps to build confidence in patience," said Biji Alexander, who is preparing to be a mother after the IVF.
"Instead of bits and pieces here and there, we give a package for childbirth, starting from treatment till having a baby, at ultimate rate of affordability along with quality. In all means, Women’s Centre spreads an ambience of a second home for the mother-to-be," says Dr. Mirudhubashini with a confident smile.

Published in Expresso (The New Indian Express) on 25/07/2008

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Imbibing the 'art' of living

“I learned to dream, to dream high,” said Preetha, a kindergarden kid with a twinkle in her eyes. This was what 600 of them from various orphanges who walked in to the Nani Kalayarangam at Mani School, Coimbatore on Saturday had to say. All of them were gathered to celebrate a day laughing, clapping and knowing more.
The programme ‘we care, we share’ was organized by the art of living to instil various values of life in the children. There was a clapping session, a gratitude session, laughing session and many other value sessions. The children imbibed self-love and self-confidence through the programme.
“When ever you feel low, stand in front of a mirror and shout ‘I can, I will’. This will build up your confidence,” said Soundarajan, district coordinating committee member, art of living, to the children during the self-confidence session.
Sasirekha, a member of art of living during a section on self-love interacted with the children through stories and visuals that helped them understand the importance of self-love. When she told the children to hold their palms close to the heart and repeat her words, the auditorium echoed with the repetition of her words, “I am very very special, I love myself”.
The faces of the tiny tots brightened with smiles during each section.
“It’s not important for one to give money to these children but giving them some time is what matters. So we planned such a day, one special day for them to make them feel special,” says Sasirekha.
There was a meditation session by 'Sanvithi’ - the women wing of art of living, which made them, sit on a magic mat and take a virtual ride across rivers and mountains.
Many people want to help the needy. But they don’t know how to do so. Being under the banner of art of living enables us to help them, said the members.
“The children from orphanages are more frustrated than normal kids. They need special attention. Through this programme, we are trying to build a clear fertile mind in them so that good things can grow in it,” said Lokanayaki, ex-lecture, Krishnammal College.
This is only a beginning. We are trying to monitor orphanages around the city, so that we can give them our special attention, care and love, said the coordinators.
In the post-lunch section, the children were thrilled by the magic show performed by Veerashekhar. Also the lucky draw and the gift hampers given to them took them to the heights of joy.
There are many among these children who have great ambitions and great willpower to succeed. Such programmes enhance the spirit in them and help molding them for a better tomorrow.
“Even if only five from these 600 become the leaders of tomorrow, we will be glad,” said Sasirekha.
Published on 02/07/2008 in Expresso, The New Indian Express

When karma justifies destiny

‘As you sow, so shall thy reap’
_ The Bible

Janarrdhana Guptha, a Kovai-based energy consultant, too believes in this cosmic principle of ‘give and take’. “Our karma includes actions that we have ‘sown’ in the past, including in the past births, that are the cause for those ‘reaped’ in our present life,” he says.
Think about it. Are you not interested in knowing about the aura that guides you or the amount of energy within you? “Knowing the amount of energy in you _ be it positive or negative, can help sort out your problems,” says Guptha explaining 'energy correction and crystal healing'.
Energy, plentiful in the cosmos, is pure on its own and is balanced. Then how this negative energy develop? "If a tenant is well settled in a house, left by its owner due to his miserable past there, then it has nothing to do with vaastu or horoscope. It all relates to ‘karma’. When energy is the base on which this cosmos is built, it is a person’s karma which determines the kind of energy he attracts. “Not just his/her karma, even that of his ancestors,” says Guptha.
In energy correction, karma controls the whole life. Until and unless a person is aware of this, he will never have a control over himself. Wherever a man goes, his karma follows. So does the energy beam.
Clairvoyance is the tool for reading the karma. ‘Karmic reading’ through clairvoyance is a ‘virtual go back to the past’. It helps in determining the type of karmic burdens or blessings one is carrying.
“My wife and I got into this because of higher energy beings (devatas, as we call them). Perhaps we have been selected for this purpose. Our knowledge is merely a drop in the ocean. Clairvoyance should be a guided one, obtained from some energy higher than human beings,” says Guptha.
After reading the karma of the individual and his family members, dead or alive, the clairvoyant identifies where things went wrong. Then the energy flow can be corrected accordingly.
Energy correction is the concept of controlling 8 directional energies, 7 chakras and 7 energy bodies in people and boosting and balancing the 5 elements in land and buildings.
When energy comes towards a person from major four directions, it remains positive till it is 3 feet from him. However, beyond this his karma determines the energy receipt and its quality. Unlike in Feng Shui and Vaastu, energy correction can be done through quantification of energy in percentage.
“I don’t need the physical presence of the person for karmic reading. Just a photograph will do. However, the date and time of birth and name of the person will help cut short the time required.”
The negative energy in a person is due to bad karma. The tool used for this negative energy correction is known as Crystal Energy Field (CEF). CEF, a combination of multiple crystals, is selected, energized and programmed according to the karma of an individual or his family.
Energising and programming are two major concepts on which crystal fields work. Every object has its on energy. However, the energy within an object is not sufficient enough to act as an energy giver. The same is true for crystals that need to be energized. Energizing helps imbibe lasting energy in a body. Especially when it is in crystals, it lasts for hundreds of years. Energizing and programming will take 2 to 8 weeks depending on the karma reading and also the magnitude of the problem to be solved, says Guptha.
CEFs need not be worshipped or carried with you. All you have to do is find a safe space for it. It’s up to the client to programme it even for generations.
The crystal shapes used for building a CEF are based on the client's needs. They could be Crystal Maha Meru for balancing the Seven Chakras and Seven Energy Bodies, Crystal Stupa for controlling the Five Elements of Nature, Crystal Rahus for directing Energy Beams, Crystal Vajras and Viswa Vajras for destroying Negative Energies and some unique shapes like Ashta Vajra, Ashta Vajra Stupa, Double Vajra Phurba, and so on. Crystal Colours too are important. Amethyst for Spiritual Energy, Red Cornelian for Money Energy, Lapis Lazouli for Wisdom Energy, Green Aventurine for Cleansing Energy etc.
These crystals are imported mainly from countries like Brazil. He also gets crystals from Gujarat, Himalayas and remote areas in South Africa. The tools made of crystals are carved into definite shapes through handwork. Guptha designs these tools and sends their photographs to Nepal where particular groups of people carve them for him. It takes several months to make a single piece of tool. No machine work can be used since the crystals are so delicate and need to be hand made.
He owns a grand collection of crystals and energy correction tools in his Sri Sudharshan shoppe, the largest of its kind in South India, as he claims.
Unlike other sciences that can seldom assure the time required to solve the problem, energy correction is time-bound. It is a solution given to the entire family.
Guptha has clients across 18 countries. He has published articles and books on energy corrections, Feng Shui, Vaastu, Numerolgy and has four websites as his own. For karmic reading and a printed report on the whole energy level of the person and his family and the reasons for the problems, he charges around Rs 15,000. CEF can vary in its cost depending upon the solution needed.
“We live in Kaliyug. Everything will be misguided and wrong judgments will rule. All we can do is to enhance the positive and control the negative,” says Guptha.
Now, get rid of the negative powers that govern you. Get energized!
Published on 02/07/2008 in Expresso, The New Indian Express

Monday, June 30, 2008

Nilambur­-famous for its forestry and its landscape, a small town situated forty kilometer from Malappuram town, North Kerala. The teak plantation covers the major land area in nilambur. The nature enthusiasts, who are in much need of information on teak, can find the Connolly’s plot and teak museum as the perfect place.
Nilambur is renowned for the oldest teak plantation in the world, Connolly’s plot, just two kilometer from the town. The teak plantation is named after H.V Connolly, the Malabar District Collector. During his period, he took initiative in planting teak in the entire nilambur area. Chathu Menon, the forest officer under Connolly, organized the task of planting the saplings. He was laid to rest in the teak garden in Connolly’s plot.
The oldest teak tree, Kannimari is a rare attraction at the Connolly’s plot. The plot extends over 2.31 hectares beside the Chaliyar River at Arecode. This is one of the most famous forestry plots of the world, attracting foresters from all over the world, interested in studies and researches in teak trees. This experimental plot is preserved since 1844.
Four kilometer away from the town, on Nilambur-Gudalur, stands the world’s first teak museum, and its only kind in India. The museum is a sub centre of Kerala Forest Research Institute. Arranged in the two-storied building are exhibits, articles and details of historic, aesthetic and scientific value, which give information on all aspects of teak to visitors.
The fascinating abundance of information on this wonder tree attracts an entire horde of tourists to visit this museum through out the year. The extensive root system of a fifty five year old teak tree exhibited for welcoming the tourists is itself a metaphor of the past, present and future of the museum.
The ground floor exhibits a translite of Kannimari teak- the oldest naturally growing teak tree, the life size replica of the trunk of the largest known teak tree and added attractions are traditional granary and miniature model of sailing vessel called ‘Uru’, made of teak wood.
The depiction of foliage, flowers, fruits and barks of the tree gives us deeper insight into the characteristics of the teak. The large stump of a 480-year-old teak tree is also exhibited in the museum. The various methods of seed-grading, pre-sowing treatment, preparation of teak stems, and vegetative propagation of teak and different stages in the complete rotation cycle of teak from seed to mature tree are also on display. In addition, a collection of over 300 butterflies, moths and insects that are found in teak plantations are exhibited in the museum.
Another exclusive section deals with the various physical disorders of teak, disease causing insects and pests, plantation and other nursery diseases. Some of the special attractions of the museum are a series of interesting paintings portraying tree-felling operations, a collection of photographs on the phonological of the events of the teak at different seasons, exhibits on traditional harvesting tools and wood, samples of different ages from various parts of the world.
The 800-meter long bio-resources natural trail on the museum campus is indeed, an interesting one. This natural trail passes through a heavy growth of shrubs, trees and bamboos. One can also find different species of birds and reptiles here. There are 50 naturally grown tree species and 136 endangered and near-extinct tree species of the Western Ghats planted in this natural trail.
Thus, the Conolly plot and the teak museum offer a strong perspective of a glorious era spanning a period of 150 years. It reveals the magical bounty of the natural beauty.

Circus - A declining art

Circus, an art that attracted the people world wide, is now in the wedge of decline. The existence of circus is challenged world wide especially in India. Circus, as a declining art form, is not preserved or encouraged well.
Often the circus people entertain us by making their life at risk. When they are walking on the narrow threads, when they play with man-eating carnivores, when they fly high to touch the sky, all they do is to make us laugh by endangering themselves. When they end up their performance and successfully leave a smile with audience, they are entering into another rebirth.
About twenty years before, circus was a good ‘entertaining business’ that had talented opportunities in our country. Now, the situation has changed and today this art is added in the declined arts. Within these twenty years, most of the circus artists have changed their profession.
The media revolution and the central government order to ban the use of animals in circus have changed the entire scenario of this art form. The public often misinterpret circus as an art of exploitation by assuming that the artist are forced to wear disgusting costumes by the circus owners for the financial profit. Now, circus is like any other art form with respectable salary and other allowances. However, though the situations have changed, no one is ready to survive in this profession.
The young generation artists started moving towards cinema, advertising and many other media profession. When the entertaining profession like magic shows, film, folklore etc are appreciated and recognized through various awards by government, circus still stands out. In addition, like other arts, circus does not have any organizations or unions in common. When the government show keen interest in providing place and space for cricket, football they should turn back to circus too. Also, the municipality should avoid imposing high taxation on their land for exhibiting the circus.
The technological improvisation and development of modern equipments have influenced the success of film industry. But the circus is existing only with the talents and risks taken by the artists. Circus also tells the story of the communal harmony and brotherliness. They work hand in hand. They are the co-travelers of danger and calamity. They appear in the ring every time as a test of luck to live.
When this art form makes the audience laugh, but with tears in the eyes of the artists, it is the duty of our government and public to nurture the art of circus. The ‘circus’ both as an entertainment and an art form, should be encouraged.

Harry Potter - A fiction stranger than Fact!

Harry Potter, a series of seven fantasy stories written by British author J.K Rowling, is in the height of its publicity. The books chronicle the adventures of an adolescent guy wizard ‘Harry Potter’, together with Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, his best friends. The story is mostly set at Hogwarts School of Witchcrafts and Wizardry- an academy for young wizards and witches. The central story concerns Harry’s struggle against the wizard Lord Voldemort’s attempt to conquer death.
The success of the novel has made Rowling the highest earning novelist in the history. Rowling’s publishers were able to capitalize on this buzz by rapid and successive releases of her book. It is amazing fact that ‘Harry Potter’ is the most influencing character created by a novelist. With the release of the seventh book, Harry Potter series have become so crazy even for the adults.
A good readable novel will ultimately have the power of bringing in the moral values and basic humanity among readers. But Harry Potter under critic examination is not exhibiting such qualities of a good novel. This is clear from the fact that, her first book, ‘Harry Potter and The Philosophers Stone’ was finally published after eight rejections from various major publishers.
The author herself has quoted the theme of the novel as ‘theme of death’. She quoted “My books are largely about death”. Especially, when the book is aimed at children below the age of fifteen, it should have the theme of hope. Instead the book is presenting an over view of death, witchcraft, nightmares and other troubles.
When other fictitious stories create a world apart from ours, Harry Potter creates a link between virtual world and other world. Thus it makes the witchcraft to happen within the existing world of ours itself. In addition, the ‘wizard guy’ is an ordinary boy who is realizing his wizard character very late. The children think themselves to be a part of the witchcraft and are even trying to gain knowledge in it. The book has become such a craze that children started dressing like Potter and are living in such a hallucination.
If ‘Harry Potter’ were an imaginary character, beyond human powers, children would have ignored this, just as a story. But when Harry potter is presented as one among the ordinary, it forms a greater tendency for the children to turn towards wizardry. Instead of making children to understand the real life and its problems, Rowling is making children to think of gaining extra ordinary powers to over come troubles. This will lead readers to run away from reality. It seems that Rowling’s mind is governed by clich├ęs and death metaphors and she knows only that kind of writing- thinks the majority of the parents.
The American religious groups and recently Vatican have claimed that the magic in the books promotes witchcrafts among children and make them far away from religious beliefs. Vatican City refers Harry Potter as ‘the wrong kind of hero’ and he poses a danger to children across the world. In addition, Vatican quotes the book as unsuitable for children.
It is a notable fact that, the book is not creating simply mere fans, but the followers of the hero. This can create a more situation than the present. Under the critical examination, it is clear that Harry Potter should not be given this much importance, but only a position of mere fiction or fantasy story.