Beta padhao, beti bachao

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Every third Saturday for the past few months, I visit some village school and interact with adolescent girls. It is a state initiative to inspire the girl child. Apart from the usual 'doctor talk' about puberty and menstrual hygiene I have been instructed to inspire the girls. So I ask them to break barriers, to dream and persevere to realise those dreams. I tell them about the...
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Shades of Grey

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A recent road trip from my father's native village in Sagar M.P to my mother's birthplace Banda U.P. was a bitter sweet experience. I was returning to this sedate region of Bundelkhand after two decades and was greeted by an almost perfect road amid dense teak forests and pristine valleys. Carelessly strewn plastic bags, a sign of modern existence were noticeably absent. I was ...
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Maya

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I was online when the news of the demonetisation trickled in. Too engrossed in the final moments of the Trump Hillary showdown, I wondered why the Prime Minister was talking about currency that had been phased out long ago. And then it slowly sinked in. He was referring to the money lying in my wallet. As he ominously declared that the notes would lose legal tender I thought of...
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Unfair Practices

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Thirty years ago when I saw it for the first time I was amazed and alarmed in equal measure. I could see the finer details, even the unsavoury ones, as I had a ring side seat to the proceedings. The annual Dussehra Mela is held on a stretch of road just outside our clinic. Back then I was unnerved by the wares laid out on the ground, narrowing the road to an alley . A sea of...
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Labour Pains

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In the thirty years of my practice, their number has decreased and I used to think that there will come a time when none will be left. Fresh out of medical school, brimming with bookish knowledge, more idealistic than worldly wise, it bothered me no end. But slowly, I got used to it. Back then, it was common for my elderly patients to calculate their age from the riots of parti...
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Friends with Benefits

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Of the many nuggets of wisdom my patients have imparted, this one is my favourite. An elderly tau once told me the secret of a happy life. With a twinkle in his eye he said," Zindagi neh badhiya banane khatir do unche, do suche aur do lucche dost chhavein". ( for a happy life you need two well placed, two enlightened and two unruly friends). He insisted that I shouldn't dwell o...
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Fat Chance

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Two states were in the news last week and established that corpulence is rampant across the country. One posed a problem the other offered a solution. A recently concluded study pointed to the growing girth of the average Punjabi and India's wellness hotspot Kerala became the first Indian state to impose a "fat tax". A fat tax is a surcharge that is placed upon fattening foo...
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Pursuing Happiness

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Last week on Environment Day when the world was reaffirming its intention to save the planet, my mind wandered to Bhutan and how this Carbon negative country is different from the rest of us. I had a chance to visit this quaint land with college friends recently. We were making good a promise we had made to ourselves three decades ago. We had plenty of reasons to rejoice on thi...
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Sedition and less

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Universities, college campuses and students have been in the news for all the wrong reasons. A wave of unrest has hit the youth across the country. A certain amount of dissent is expected from young blood and is necessary to make educational institution a nurturing ground for new ideas. Sadly with the rise of intolerance, disagreement has been equated to betrayal. Nationalism, ...
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Loops and Loopholes

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As the dust on the sedition saga was settling “Bharat Mata ki Jai” stirred fresh nationalist fervour. Patriotic and constitutional implications have been invoked by the 'great debaters' of our country but for most Indians the slogan is simply a salutation to the mother figure. This paradox of women worship calls for a revisit on an issue recently raised by the Union Minister fo...
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