Sunday, December 23, 2018

Of Stones, Stories & Cities

ಮೂರ್ಖಂಗೆ ಬುದ್ಧಿಯನು ನೂರ್ಕಾಲ ಹೇಳಿದರು
ಗೋರ್ಕಲ್ಲಮೇಲೆ ಮಳೆಗರೆದರೆ, ಆಕಲ್ಲು
ನೀರ್ಕುಡಿವುದೇ ಸರ್ವಜ್ಞ?

Moorkhange budhiyanu noorkaala helidaru
Gorkallamele malegaredare, aakallu
neerukudivude Sarvajna

-Sarvajna-

Translation: Giving advice to a fool for hundred years is as useless as a heavy rain pouring on a stone. The stone never drinks the water.

Sarvajna summed it up quite well in the 16th century, well to add to his Tripadi the stones can stand the sun and rain but not human indifference, especially our Inscription Stones.

I am glad that I was one amongst a group of Bangaloreans who crossed the fence. Today we were at Hebbal as a part of the Brass Replica distribution ceremony for the donors who had donated to the construction of the mantappa for the Kittaiah inscription organized by members of Inscription Stones of Bangalore. 

It turned out to be a great winter morning with fellow city dwellers who care about the city's roots and history and more importantly with people who are actually doing something about it. Uday Kumar, who has been driving this citizen led project showed us the first pleasant surprise as we reached, a 18th century inscription stone tucked in a corner inside this local diety Maramma's temple. We humans in the 21st century have ensured that we give our future generation enough concrete to excavate, smeared in layers of all pastes and grilled. As we were discussing we found the localities performing some rituals of worship, this got me into a train of thought. Why don't we find out what exactly are we worshipping, why aren't we told, why don't we question? An eye for these precious details of the past is all that we need if we really wish to protect them.


Maramma temple and another inscription

 What got us all together on a cold December Sunday morning in the narrow lanes of Hebbal here was the love towards our city-Bangalore, Bengaluru, Bendakalooru, Vengalur-call it by whatever name. The eagerness to learn and preserve what we own is thankfully alive with some people. 

With the original, before it gets on the Ganga Mantapa


During the session we met a localite Dilip, he is the first person who noticed this piece of our city's history lying in a drain and approached the people of Inscription Stones of Bangalore for its revival. We got to hear about this oldest inscription in detail from the renowned epigraphist and historian Dr PV Krishnamurthy, he was the first to decipher the Halegannada letters on this stone, listening to him was better than an history class in school, such an inspiring eloquence. I couldn't stop myself from recording his words for fifteen minutes! We met Yashaswini Sharma who is the architect behind the Ganga style Mantapa that is being built for these inscription stones, I have ordered her book on Bangalore in which she has extensively researched upon the city and I cannot wait to read it! There are many others like Vinay Kumar, Dhanpal Manchenahalli, Prof. Narasimhan, Alex Kevin, Mohan, Srinivas; people whom I have read about and some of them whom I have met on other occasions. Also there were anonymous donors who gifted these brass replicas to people who have worked extensively for the history of this city. Now where else would you find such collective selflessness?




Nammoora Janaru

More often than we know we as citizens complain about the government and bureaucracy, about bad roads and power cuts, about power and corruption. Initiatives such as these where people who are pushing this first of it's kind project speak positively about the support that is received from the administration are commendable.  We Bangaloreans are indeed optimistic and can really work as a team despite our varied professional backgrounds.

The Brass replica

The oldest named Bangalorean, Kittaiah, his brass replica has reached my shelf today and I am going to share this story with whoever visits our home. There is more to this city of Kempegowda, more than the 'City of Boiled Beans' is what I am going to tell them.  


The handout with the details

The handout inside the memento has all the details about the history and deciphering, the process of excavation and installation of this inscription, both in English and Kannada. The compilation is an effort of all our fellow Bangaloreans who have cared for this cause.

The original inscription
Try reading it !
All fellow Bangaloreans and Bangalore admirers can support this initiative called Inscription Stones of Bangalore at

https://imojo.in/InscriptionStones




Your love towards the city of Bangalore and contribution will fund the building of a Ganga-style mantapa for the inscription , you will also receive a high-quality 1/8 scale brass replica of the 750CE Hebbal inscription stone in gratitude.



Do something for the city you live in.

Be a part of Bangalore.




Also do listen to this Vachana, some food for thought.

-R.



#bangalore #nammaoorunammahemme#inscriptionstonesofbangalore l#bangaloreheritage #bangalorediaries#kittaiah #bendakalooru #bengaluru#kittaiahhebbalinscription

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Know Your Antibiotics!




“What are the five commonly prescribed Antibiotics by you?"

I asked. A very unpleasant question this was for one of our residents seated in a room of about thirty odd doctors during today's very pleasant Bangalore afternoon.

“Augmentin…

Piptaz….

Clindamycin…

Metrogyl…

….mumble…

Dalacin”


He completed after a lot of contemplation. For those commoners who lack the knowledge of antibiotics, the third and the fifth one are the same, the former being the generic name and the latter being its brand name. While he was happy that he got his five, I thought it would never hurt to ask more and went ahead with my rapid five.

Me: “So….what do you give it for?” 
He: ‘Blank’


Me: “How many patients do you give it to on an average?”
He: ‘Blank’


Me: “And how many of them recover”?
He: ‘Blank’


Me: “Do you look at the antibiotic policy of the hospital before prescribing?”
He: ‘Blank’


Me: “Do we have an antibiotic policy in the hospital?”
He: ‘Blank’


I could have gone ahead with my minor dissection on his prescription practice and rationale but the general reaction in the room with department heads, senior consultants, residents and interns was a sight to behold. Working with microbes and antibiotics day in and day out I am of the opinion that the most resistant of all are us Doctors, nobody or nothing else. We are way ahead of all the Multi-Drug, Pan-Drug and Extremely Drug Resistant Microbes that we fret about and deal with in our hospitals.

In the periodical class on Infection Prevention and Control that we conduct for consultants and residents wherein we brief about NABH standards, Standard Precautions, Personal Protective Equipment, Hand Hygiene, Bio-hazard Spill Management, Biomedical Waste Management, Health Care Associated Infections, Surveillance Charts, Antibiotic Policy and Post exposure Prophylaxis the most I could do as a Medical Microbiologist and an Infection Control Officer was to share my little knowledge I have about these issues.
Some days there are few consultants with a ‘rock-solid-will-never-change-my-unit-my-antibiotic-my decision-my responsibility-my patient-I-know-better’ attitude and then some days there are only residents with ‘i-will-only-follow-what-my-head-says’ [read: not the head above his shoulder but the unit head] attitude. Some days there are five in the room, some days about ten and some days there are none. And on all days the laboratory doctors are considered ‘para’-medical and not medical because they see samples, not the patients. The samples are from their own patients is something long forgotten.

Despite all this our quest for training and data collection continues. “To measure is to know, if you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it” so said the great Scots-Irish mathematical physicist and engineer Lord Kelvin. It has not been an easy ride and it will never be, likewise for all doctors dealing with Infection Control especially in small health care settings where constraints are not just with resources but also with the lack of awareness and drive amongst our own peers, it has always been so in most of our Indian hospitals with regards to other situations.

Microbes with novel beta-lactamase enzymes have reached the United Kingdom from our capital and are christened with the city’s name too! New Delhi Metallo Beta-Lactamase! If it sounds very cool and you are a health care personnel you should be more than sorry. At the grass root level we still are far away from deciding on whether to check or not on what happens to the antibiotics that we scribble on our prescription pads. Only the kinds of Nipah Virus can wake us up.

Guidelines and policies are slowly falling into place at all levels but there are hundred other institution and speciality specific issues of Antibiotic Resistance and in the way we approach them, we are facing a silent epidemic and we have a long way to go!

Right Choice, Right Route, Right Dose, Right Frequency & Right Duration-the 5 Rs of Antibiotic Prescription apart, a 6th R would definitely do a lot of good to our patients and also all of us who belong to the medical fraternity- RIGHT ATTITUDE.
A kind request to all my fellow doctors- Know The Antibiotic You Prescribe! If not, we are here at the lab to help.🙂

As you all know we are facing a huge problem of Antibiotic Resistance across the world and India is considered as one of the epicentre of what we call as Superbugs, they are even named after our towns and cities like the famous NDM-New Delhi Metallobetalactamase!🤔

Healthcare associated infections are a huge problem due to antibiotic resistant microbes which increase our hospital stay, they also are a huge expenditure and carry a high risk for mortality.😢


Public perception of the issue is very important in this regard which my doctor fraternity seldom considers for discussion. Since we have to begin somewhere I am carrying out a small survey titled ANTIBIOTIC AWARENESS SURVEY with a few questions to be answered.

If this healthcare issue is of concern to you please participate and help us doctors analyze where we all stand. Thank you, your participation and feedback is highly valuable.🙂
Here is the link :

-R.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness-Book Review



“To The Unconsoled” 


Arundhati Roy writes in the dedication page of ‘The Ministry of Utmost Happiness’. And what can console in a better way than berries and plums of the summer and rains for breakfast on a Sunday morning. A bowl of ripe jamuns and kokum juice soaked overnight is just like Roy’s writing, pungent and poignant. I began this book with a presumption that some weekends and reads especially when it is after two decades, they are truly meant for shattered stories.


I read ‘The Ministry of Utmost Happiness’ like a perseverative reader determined to understand the intent of Roy’s words. What clearly stood out for me was the fact that there is no middle ground when it comes to having an opinion on this second work of fiction of hers written after two decades. You either like or dislike. 

There are very few writers who go beyond prose or poetry, between heights and depths of life and living. A lot here depends on the reader’s intellect and interest on many issues and events that have shaped today’s India, so if somebody reading the book does not feel connected I rather not blame the writing. Of course the plot lacks linearity and is greatly influenced by her viewpoints which can be interpreted in a hundred different ways. The incidental mentions of the you-know-who people leaves us with a chuckle, not for the humour but for our own lack of concern and action.

I am impressed by the distinctiveness of this book for two reasons. Firstly the theme is absolutely haphazard, like scattered pieces of a very difficult jigsaw puzzle which can never be solved or fixed. The characters and events are like tiny motes of stardust in the same sky, connected nevertheless. Every issue of political, social and more so everyday significance talked about directly or indirectly oozes out a strange kind of individuality parallel to the author's thinking.

Secondly the idea that nothing should bring down or berate anybody’s or anything’s existence; no species, no nationality, no gender, no caste, no status, no education, no belief, no religion, no occupation, no upbringing, no law of the land, no establishment or no other human, that by itself was thought provoking and impressed me greatly. 

Her description on many issues, particularly the part on martyrdom has left me transmogrified. We live in a world that makes us as well as breaks us. The breaking is what we end up focusing on. One thing’s for sure. Call it anti national. Call it dissident. Call it wail. Call it bestseller. Call it exceptional. Call it much awaited. It really does not make a difference. Call it ‘The Ministry of Utmost Happiness’ and read it, that’s all that matters.


-R.