Tuesday, July 22, 2008

May-June 2008 Issue of Health

Things have gotten so hectic of late, I've neglected by blog for something like two whole months!

The May-June 2008 issue of the Southern Health Magazine came and went and I never got around to posting a copy here for my long distance readers.

If you'd like to take a look at it:

Click here to download a low-res PDF copy (3.5 mb) of the Southern Health Magazine.

Click here to download a hi-res PDF copy (8 mb) of the Southern Health Magazine.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Big red dogs, trucks and well child visits

Its Sunday and my story on how a rural health clinic is making literacy a part of regular pediatric care was in the papers today!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Her hands in many pies

Wrote my first story for the main paper a few days ago! So exciting!

It was a feature on this 77-year-old guy who bikes 10-17 miles a day, despite having had both his knees replaced, a hip replaced, peripheral neuropathy of one foot and some pins in his back. Was truly inspirational. Will be writing a story a week for the paper from here on out.

As you can see i'm a regular busy bee these days! :)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Classic Moment...Captured!

The four babies in my house: Pico (in front), Mina (behind him), Billu (cat on the right) and Motu (cat on the left).

Friday, April 18, 2008


Our windows and doorknobs rattled and shook for a bit around 4:30 a.m. this morning. Nanu wondered why the road crews - who have been re-laying roads in our neighborhood the past few days - were already at work so early in the a.m. I never heard it, because I was sound asleep.
Imagine our surprise then to wake up two hours later and find Southern Illinois had experienced an earthquake that registered a 5.2 with the U.S. Geological Survey. Luckily no one was hurt.
But I found it interesting that our dogs woke my husband up sometime before the earthquake and he figured they needed to go potty at this unearthly hour. So he let them out in our back-yard and got them back in and came back to bed.
And that was the only reason he was awake when he felt our windows rattle…

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Goodbye Bombay Tatha

After spending 10 days in a coma, my grandfather’s heart finally gave up on him. He died five minutes to midnight on April 13. If he’d hung on five minutes more, it would have been my grandmother’s birthday. He was 86.

I had no idea he was so well known and respected, until I was at a friend’s house some years back and her grandfather totally perked up when I mentioned my grandfather’s name. “

You’re Mr. K. Ramachandran’s granddaughter?” he asked me.

“Yes,” I confirmed.

“Oh he is the Steel Man of India!” he said admiringly.

Steel Man of India or not, he was simply Bombay Tatha to us, because he was the much-loved grandfather who lived in Bombay (now Mumbai). Summer holidays during my childhood meant heading to Bombay, to my grandparents’ house, with my sister and mom. Dad, a chartered accountant by profession, would never come since April-May-June was invariably his busiest time work-wise.

We’d spend two whole months playing with my cousins and assorted building kids our age, while mom would catch up with old college friends, shop and relax in her parents’ home.

I remember my Bombay Tatha then as a powerful, authoritative figure, who enjoyed clipping interesting or relevant articles from the newspaper every morning and filing it away or sending it to someone who needed to read it. He would get very upset if any of the neighborhood cats - Chellam Paati (my grandmother) loved to rescue - so much as got on the couch!

Many years later, when I was all grown up and working in Bombay as a writer, living on my own in a small apartment in Four Bungalows, Andheri, a suburb of Bombay, Bombay Tatha took the time and effort to visit me one day. Due to the traffic it took him two whole hours to get there. I was on the third floor with no elevator. Bombay Tatha was too weak even then to negotiate all those stairs. So we sat in the backseat of his car and spoke at length. I brought down some snacks and drinks and we had a nice time talking. He seemed proud of the fact I was making it on my own.

In August 2003, a few days before I was all set to head to the US for graduate school, Paati died. Bombay Tatha was heartbroken. He’d been married to her for a lifetime. Now he would have to learn to live without her.

At my wedding, he helped arrange a whole lot of things, including the venue and the caterers and at the ceremony itself he was the person in charge of all the change. He sat on the stage with us and the priests, dutifully handing all the coins and notes whenever asked, as part of the ceremonial rituals.

He approved of my husband and said I had made a good choice. That meant a lot to me.

Since then, Bombay Tatha has seen his first born die due to cancer, and his youngest (my mother) lose her husband. The deaths affected him profoundly and weakened his already frail heart.

Living with my mother the past year, he’s been in and out of hospitals a lot for a while now. The doctor’s called it, “Living on borrowed time.”

His failing health frustrated him, because his mind was as sharp as ever. “My body is refusing to keep up with my mind,” he said to me on the phone one day. And that was the problem.

I will miss my Bombay Tatha. I’m sorry I wasn’t around in India to participate in his last rites. I hope he’s reached a happy, serene place, wherever he is now.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Shaking Cue Stick Club

A story aout four friends who wont let Parkinson's disease or stroke get in the way of some serious fun.

Now this was a story I had a blast writing. I interviewed these four feisty old men who are determined to lead full lives despite their serious health conditions.

Midway through the very serious interview one of them said to me, "You know that one of the side effects of Parkinson's includes having an erection for up to 4 hours or longer, right?"

“Really?” was all I could muster. I was caught completely off guard. I didn’t recall reading anything about erections and Parkinson’s in the course of my research prior to the interview.

And then they started laughing, loudly. Rolling on the floor laughing. It took me a few seconds to realize I’d been had. Imagine pulling a reporter’s leg! Seventy plus and with a fantastic sense of humor to boot! Ha ha ha.

Every Tuesday, three men with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and a recovering stroke patient meet for lunch, followed by an interesting and often comical game of pool. They call themselves the Shaking Cue Stick Club or more hilariously, the Shakers and the Shufflers...
Read the story

How Local Residents Deal with Parkinson Disease

Read the story here.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Celebrate All Fools Day with Gmail Custom Time

So its April 1 and guess what Google has come up with for Gmail users?
Gmail Custom Time™
The tagline? Be on time. Every time.*

The idea is fantastic. You can send an email and reconfigure the time to the past – so say your mom’s birthday was last week and you forgot to wish her, you could still send her an email today and change the sent date to last week – so it appears in her inbox as sent on such and such a date. Then you can claim, “I did send you an email!”

Google has even set up testimonials:
"I just got two tickets to Radiohead by being the 'first' to respond to a co-worker's 'first-come, first-serve' email. Someone else had already won them, but I told everyone to check their inboxes again. Everyone sort of knows I used Custom Time on this one, but I'm denying it."
Robby S., Paralegal

Even more hilariously, Google has set a 10 predated email limit per person because allowing an infinite number, “would cause people to lose faith in the accuracy of time, thus rendering the feature useless.” Heh heh, they talk about e-flux capacitors that make predating an email possible and even have a crazy formula:

Ha ha, hilarious. Its so April Fools day! I'm loving the humor in it. They almost had me. Almost!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Reducing Recidivism: The Awakenings Way

Revolving Door No More: Why Local Communities Need to Care about those with a Criminal Record

I got a little too involved with this story and ended up interviewing a TON of people! I had the hardest time ever fitting it into the allotted word count.

But the end result is a story that will hopefully initiate conversations about why we as a community need to care about those with a criminal record.

Read the story here

Home Modification for Seniors

Click here to read a text version of the story.

March-April 2008 Issue of Health

Click here to download a low-res PDF copy (3.5 mb) of the Southern Health Magazine.

Click here to download a hi-res PDF copy (8 mb) of the Southern Health Magazine.