Saturday, November 14, 2015

For The Sweet People

“Daktre nange sugar ide!”

This is something I get to hear from every fourth person I meet. ”Doctor, I have sugar!” With India being the diabetes capital of the world, a spacious home to about 60 million people living with this disorder there is a lot more that needs to be done in this regard. As a  doctor I would like to share a few thoughts today on World Diabetes Day. 'Healthy Living And Diabetes' is the theme for the period 2014-2016.

Diabetes has no longer remained a problem of the rich. A day ago one of the house keeping staff of my laboratory came to me.

“Madam! 279 Madam! Is it because of the Diwali sweets?”

I gave him some serious advice. I told him to go for a check up, for some more laboratory tests and for a dietitian consultation, but the indifference with which he responded only made me realize that this diabetes problem is a tough one to deal with in this country. It requires a multifaceted approach. Do visit the Diabetes Foundation Of India to know more on what is being done in India.

 My concern is that there are innumerable myths around this non-communicable disease. I would like to throw some light on the most popular.   

  • SUGAR is synonymous with DIABETES.
Picture Courtesy

 No. Diabetes has reached such magnitude that we need to be a tad serious about it. Sugar does not mean diabetes, let us get more rational and scientific. 

  • INSULIN is worse than TABLETS. 
No. Treatment has to be monitored by a diabetologist. Do visit one before getting into self medications. What works for one patient may not work for the other. 

  • I only have to STOP EATING SWEETS.
No. Diabetics require a diet. There is nothing like no sweets. We all are born with a sweet tooth, aren’t we? And that too with so many festivals that have to be celebrated every fortnight! But yes, we need to watch what we eat, when we eat and how much we eat!  


No. Although there is familial predisposition there is no science behind this baseless thought. Diabetes is a lifestyle disorder, mind you it is a DISORDER and not a disease.  

Picture Courtesy


NO. This is a major misconception among diabetics. You know that constant feeling of self assurance 'Nothing is wrong, it is only diabetes' The first step towards living with and solving a problem is accepting it followed by gaining knowledge about it. Diabetes can lead to multiple health issues, if I were to list it as a risk factor for the number of other diseases I can begin and end a major medicine textbook.

 Some diabetics do good and live with it like they have no problem at all, what I see in them is the difference in attitude - diet, exercise, medicines, health updates and most importantly 'HAPPINESS'- Hakunamatata! :-)

My mother is someone who believes not in fighting with diabetes, but in living smart with it :-D

She was the one who reminded me this morning.

 “Aren’t you going to wish me today?” she asked.

“Why?” I questioned in reply looking at her adorable smile.

“Today is World Diabetes Day, it is kind of my day” she said.

And we laughed.

We had gorged on this last week. Haha! :-)


Friday, November 13, 2015

My Wild 'Messi'-ah

“I would have in no world gone an inch closer to what he has done!” said a friend of mine looking at him.

I know he looks like one of those guys who has the potential to let a frog inside your shirt anytime! The world is full of fantastically large number of people indeed. ‘Once in every gazillion years’ yes we do encounter someone who leaves a lasting impression on us. What if that person turns out to be our 'BEST FRIEND'? Well I have been blessed enough in this regard and this post is all about him. He is undeniably good in many ways, and that is something which invariably makes him great. 

Psst! Sorry Anup, I shall not lie today. Bless these rains of Diwali I wouldn’t mind blogging everyday about what I have learnt from him, sharing my experiences with him over the years would require a minimum of thousand posts for sure. A word he says, a smile he gives, a frown he throws, the silence he asks me to listen to, all these little things have had a major influence on the way my system processes, the obvious wavelength match that we have. [He is THE one who made me start this blog by the way!] The essence of this write up however is different. 

 On many occasions I have contemplated on what drives him from within, it has taken me a decade and more to understand and I am still getting to know. Anup has always been a smart alec, getting top grades, up with questions, being the teacher’s pet, eyed by all girls ‘cause he was quite a popular guy (Ahem!) at school and college. He joined one of the top engineering colleges post twelfth standard, he did work in a tech company for a couple of years. The apparent normalcy of life was getting quite monotonous for him. What happened during this period is what I truly admire about him even today. Like many of the engineering guys during undergraduate days he must have gone for a dozen treks- Agumbe, Chunchi falls, Donigal, Kumaraparvatha, Mulliangiri, Skandagiri, Dabbe falls, you name it! Half of my one terabyte external hard disk is filled with photographs of his escapades. He has a thousand odd friends on his Facebook friend list and trust me he knows each one of them personally. While half of them are in Amreeka post masters working, some are in town commuting through the Silk Board Junction of Bangalore, the ‘techies’ as they are fondly called will know what I am speaking about! ;-)

Anup is the sort of person who very often falls in love with ideas more than with people. He chose to be different. He always does, even before Farhan wanted to be a wildlife photographer in ‘3 Idiots’ he had decided to follow his heart, he joined the course of Masters in Wildlife Biology & Conservation at National Centre of Biological Sciences. For him nature and wildlife meant more than those treks indeed. 

“I would have in no world gone an inch closer to what he has done!”

 Many must have thought so when he took this decision. I remember one particular day, when we were sitting on a bench and talking about this matter, about how much he wanted to do this particular career switch, the conversation brings tears in my eyes when I think of it even now, I am glad that he made it. 

He almost ended up being a radio jockey once, read this hilarious post on his blog to know more. 

His folks and friends remember such incidents even now. He has indeed been a talent galore with conviction. He is smart, but not an alec. He believes in collecting moments and memories, not many people dare to do that.

A picture they say is worth a thousand words. Anup has always been pioneering, trustworthy, reliable, simple and driven by self belief. He has made mistakes, he has learnt. He has worked hard, he has been lazy. He has fallen, he has known that he can rise. What has had a great impact on me is his passion for what he does and the way he approaches our fellow beings on this planet. It is an absolute pleasure to be with him when he handles a cat, a dog, a bird, a snake or an ant, I am pretty sure he must have handled more wild ones by now. [ He does handle me pretty well!]

Anup is currently working in the position of Field Director at Agumbe Rain Forest Research Station  in the lush green region of Western Ghats of Karnataka. I had made a short visit to Agumbe this October for about four days. While other tourists may choose to see Dodda Mane of Malgudi Days fame and have a sumptuous lunch made by Kasturi Akka and her folks over there, and see other tourist spots in and around Agumbe, our Anup had a different plan for us.

Watch this video to know more.

This was during one of those snake rescue calls that his team was called for when we were there. My heart swelled with pride when he was teaching the village folks about the Dos & Donts, when he caught the snake and when I heard this during the catch, listen to this in the video:

“I would have in no world gone an inch closer to what he has done!”

Anup says that he is still learning. Holding and rescuing snakes is more of science than art in his opinion. What he did must have been one among his routine tasks but when he held the King Cobra by its tail and helped his colleague catch that naive reptile, well that was one moment that made us realize how technically competent he has become over the years as a Wildlife Biologist. I am absolutely proud of him! This definitely is more exciting than traveling in cabs for hours together in traffic to one’s work place. Watch this another video to know more, this was shot by one of our close friends in 2007 during their visit to People For Animals , an animal shelter in the outskirts of Bangalore.

Look at the sheer excitement in his eyes. There is a colossal difference in his courage, therefore of all the people I know Anup came to my mind when I thought of those who are #madeofgreat. After all what is greatness about? Greatness to me is about growth, about learning something you are wanting to, about going that extra mile, about following one’s heart more than one’s brain. Anup does just that, EVERY TIME! And that’s what makes me think that he is #madeofgreat

Our heroes are around us. 
We draw inspiration from them. 
They need not necessarily be 
someone posing in a poster. 
Lucky are the ones 
who find them in their best friend. 
I found one in mine ;-)


PS1 : This post is a proud part of Indiblogger & Tata Motors #madeofgreat campaign and contest.

PS2: Dear Anup, DECEMBER 3rd is a special day. I know its too early for a birthday gift, you better count this as one :-D !

PS3: Some of the photos in the collages are from Anup's timeline on Facebook, a heartfelt thanks to everyone who tagged him :-)

PS4: I would be glad if you liked this post. For all you readers out there, this a chance to win an AMAZON VOUCHER worth 750 RS! What do you think of Tata Motor's association with Lionel Messi ? Post your comments about the global icon who blends in beautifully with the values that form the DNA of Tata Motors here. Go ahead, be the chosen one! :-)