A CALL FOR CHANGE…

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I don’t remember the last time I had such a depressing weekend….

For the first time I was glad the weekend was over. I had enough of television. Enough of news channels reminding me that my country was no longer safe for me. Enough of sights that filled my mind and soul with such gloom that I felt I would never see light again. But then…I live on…

This news channel was airing scenes from Ahmedabad, after the horrendous blasts claimed lives of 53 innocent people, people who knew nothing about what was going on around them. People who did not have the faintest idea that in the moments to come their world would topple in front of their eyes…and they could nothing much about it other than pray for dear life. Pray for their God given life which until then was totally in their control…which until then was theirs alone…ruled by no one…treasured by loved ones….all of a sudden their lives were in the hands of blood thirsty so called human beings with not a trace of humanity in them..

I saw a scene from the civil hospital in Ahmedabad. A small kid, not more than 8 years of age…torn face, burnt arms, crying for his mother…he was sitting on the hospital bed surrounded by people, relatives…little did he know that the one person he wanted to see would never come to wipe his tears or comfort him…he had lost both his parents. And no one had the courage to tell him that…I cried silent tears…and prayed for the child. May God give him the courage to accept and live on…

What’s happening to our Nation…where are the so called leaders? Other than playing the blame game are they doing anything at all. There is something seriously wrong with the way our country is being lead. I was watching this guy, one of us commoners, asking the same question. Where are the leaders? Are they involved? His voice was quivering with anger and frustration and a lot of feelings waiting to explode, “If these leaders can sell their party for meager crore’s, and shamelessly display it in front of the whole nation, for a few more crores they won’t mind selling the whole country…” he said. I kind of agreed with him. I too am slowly losing trust in our politicians but I still believe in the system. I still believe in democracy…I cling on to the hope that it’ll give us better days..

Let’s wake up to reality. It all starts with us…the youth…if we can make a difference within us…we can guarantee ourselves a better future…a better democracy…where the children of tomorrow can live in peace, with their mothers close to them..

But democracy needs people who care, people who listen, people who act, people who speak out. People who stand together at times such as these…

Let’s stand together….you and I…. Let’s join hands…Let’s start all over again…

Let’s make a difference

Niyad

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Most Of The Married Women Say: “But I Don’t Feel Too Old to Be a Mommy!”

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By Shilpa Nangali

All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel, my Mother. I find it so soothing when I keep my head on her lap and I forget all the torments, worries & woes ! We become stronger over the years, but not without battle scars along the way. However, if my parents are there with me in this journey of my life, I feel as if I have got all the strength needed to fight against any hurdles. I love you mom. This blog post is for all the mothers…they are with us every moment, being there before we ever ask, saying: “It’s OK honey, Mommy’s here.” 🙂


“Youth fades; love droops; the leaves of friendship fall; A mother’s secret hope outlives them all.”

A reflection on motherhood: A story shared by Deana

I remember vividly the moment that I became a mother. Not in the physical sense, but in the spiritual sense.

It wasn’t the moment of conception, or the day that I found out that I was pregnant. It wasn’t when I felt the first kick of my precious child’s little foot, nor was it when they lifted her and placed her in my arms, still wet and screaming after her exit from my womb. It was in a moment of blinding joy the evening after she was born.

I tried to rest that first night, after giving birth, but I couldn’t sleep. I kept my baby with me most of the day. I counted her fingers and toes. I nursed her. Her father held her, talked to her and rocked her. Later that night I nursed her to sleep and put her in the bedside bassinet. I turned off the lights and climbed into bed after checking on her several times, just to make sure she was okay. Then I got back up and just stared at her. I felt as if my heart swelled several sizes and then I burst into tears. I was absolutely overwhelmed by the need to protect her, love her and do whatever was necessary to make sure she was perfectly happy.

However, now a days, for many women, an established career and financial stability come first before motherhood. This trend is going to continue and will lead to increase in stress among older women who want to conceive. From celebrities to the woman next door, later childrearing is no flash-in-the-pan fad. By delaying child birth, they are increasing their chances of miscarriage and risk of having a Down Syndrome child. Also, an increase in the rates of cesarean sections reported by many countries appears to be associated, in part, to more and more women deciding to have children later in life, according to a report in the Journal PLoS Medicine.

As maternal age increases, the ability of the smooth muscle of the uterus to contract slows down, which is thought to slow the progression of labor, thereby increasing the likelihood of c-section. The association between advanced age and poor outcome in labor is likely to reflect a biological effect of aging on the uterus!

Twenty years ago most women would have already had their children before the age of 35, but many celebrities marry at the age of 35! And, most of the women believe that “becoming a mommy means they are getting too old” !

With more women deciding to delay motherhood the use of prenatal screening and diagnostic testing is increasing. Gray says this is because older mothers have a higher risk of giving birth to a child with a congenital abnormality. By conducting additional prenatal screenings, doctors are identifying more abnormalities than ever before. The result, is that older mothers must make more difficult decisions than women who aren’t screened.

Most of the women, who delay childbearing give reason stating that they have not met the right partner (Mr.Right!), or because they don’t feel ready financially. Few women are misled by the media about how easy it is to get pregnant after 40.

“You see celebrities aged 39 and 40 having kids and you indulge in that thought. They reaffirm the trend that it’s not so bad having children later in life. It’s kind of comforting” says Lindsay Lanzillotta, 32, an independent film producer.

Lanzillotta has been married for five years but has been putting off having a child, until she is better off financially and is more established in her career. “In the dream scenario I thought I would be married by 23 and have kids by 27. Realistically it could be two years time before I have a child which is kind of frightening,” says Lanzillotta.

People are giving themselves a narrower window to have children, says Roderic Beaujot, author of the paper Delayed Life Transitions: Trends and Implications and professor of sociology at the University of Western Ontario. What we are seeing now is the “two-worker model” where both women and men invest longer in themselves before they invest in reproduction, says Beaujot.

Before having children, they want to be an enduring relationship, and have time with their partner before they become parents, he says. In most cases, he adds, they also want to finish their education and establish their work lives. If relationships and work lives don’t evolve as anticipated this window of opportunity may be further narrowed, he says.

Before 1970, there was less reason for couples to wait says Beaujot, because women dedicated less time to developing their careers. In the “bread winner model” that commonly prevailed, a woman’s career was seen to be subordinate to that of the bread winner man and as a consequence women generally started having families earlier, says Beaujot.

Nowadays, with equal importance placed on the careers of both men and women, women are at a disadvantage if they decide to have children earlier in life, since they are in a position that is easier to exploit, says Beaujot.

Earlier motherhood means that a woman has less time to build up workplace relationships, and so is in less of a position to make maternal demands and to have these demands met, says Beaujot.

If a woman starts a family later on in her career when she is more established, she benefits by having more support from both her workplace and partner, who is likely to be more financially stable! For people to achieve their work and family goals earlier on in life there needs to be stronger governmental investments in young families, including subsidies for parental leaves, tax benefits, reduced work hours and childcare!

Sources: New Media Journalism Online, Reuters, Yahoo News, Google Books Search-But I don’t feel too old to be a mommy and Parenting.Ivillage.com

A Small Step For A Healthier India

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India’s healthcare sector has been growing rapidly and is estimated to be worth US$ 40 billion by 2012, according to Pricewaterhouse Coopers in its report, ‘Healthcare in India: Emerging market report 2007’. The number of patients visiting India for medicare has risen incredibly due to a combination of experienced physicians, lower cost, rising number of super specialty hospitals and world class care provided.

But what do we lack in our health care sector?

Though the prospect for healthcare looks great, I feel that we lack in general awareness. I think the pharmaceutical companies see Indian market as out dated. India has become a dumping ground for banned drugs and also a production unit for banned drugs.

We can see many banned drug in US and UK easily available and prescribed by physicians. Let me quote an example, PHENYLPROPANOLAMINE. I know majority of the people just know the brand name, so I will quote that. (Vicks Action 500 is the brand name of a combination medicine that contains: paracetamol 500 mg + phenylpropanolamine (PPA) 25 mg + caffeine 32 mg per tablet. Paracetamol is a pain-killer while PPA is a decongestant and D,Cold). On 6 November 2000 the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a “Public Health Advisory” statement notifying that it was “taking steps to remove phenylpropanolamine from all drug products and has requested that all drug companies discontinue marketing products containing phenylpropanolamine”. The statement followed advice from the FDA’s Non-prescription Drugs Advisory Committee that there is an association between phenylpropanolamine and haemorrhagic stroke and that phenylpropanolamine was not considered safe. The FDA advised that the risk of haemorrhagic stroke was “very low” but there were significant concerns because of the seriousness of a stroke and the inability to predict who was at risk.

As I am living in India, I know majority of us take this medicine when we have cold and headache. What is worrying is that this drug can be bought off the counter without even a prescription. To add to that the drug is advertised on prime time television without even a mention about the side effects. The medical community is also guilty of prescribing these unsafe medicines. If I quote the medicines that are banned in other countries but are available in India, I will have a long list.

So, I request everyone to check the content of the drug you take and have a general idea about it. Also spread information about the dangerous side effects. Be bold to tell your physician that you had read about the side effects. You might provide the physician with an information that he wasn’t aware of’ thus saving the lives of many others. If not, you would have at least prompted the physician to be careful and not take advantage of a patient’s ignorance. Your questions might change the fate of many others!!

Dhanya.

Hey smokers, BE AWARE

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If I say hello to smokers, I believe I will be addressing the majority of the people in the world. It is such a common habit nowadays that it has become a part our life. India is home to one of the largest-smoking population – estimated at 120 million.

A couple of weeks back when I was watching certain shows on the TV, an advertisement suddenly hit me. It was not mentioning the brand name, but projecting it as a help for people to quit smoking. It was being advertised by Pfizer. As I know about this drug, since I am working on it, I started thinking about CHAMPIX. CHAMPIX is the latest blockbuster from Pfizer – a billion-dollar-blockbuster drug. Pfizer launched CHAMPIX in India on 26 February 2008. The drug costs about Rs 10,000 (approx.) for a 12-week course.

CHAMPIX was introduced with much salute, and with good reason. I agree with that. A study conducted by scientists from India, Canada and the UK and published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that smoking kills 900,000 people every year in India, and unless corrective action is taken, soon the number will increase to 1 million annually by the year 2010 and beyond. Therefore, our government should do some thing as soon as possible.

On 25 February 2008, a day before the launch of CHAMPIX in India, I had gone through an article from Dow Jones Newswires which said that Pfizer had recently stopped running ads that identified CHAMPIX after the FDA had issued a safety alert about potential neuro-psychiatric side effects of the drug. Pfizer is running an ‘unbranded’ ad campaign about smoking cessation that doesn’t identify CHAMPIX.

Why does our Government entertain the entry of a drug that doesn’t reveal its identity? Are we saving our smokers in this way? The drug is facing a lot of controversy in the US and UK due to its side effects like depression which finally leads to suicide. There are strict warnings in these countries that people taking this medication should be under close monitoring by the doctors to identify the change in behaviour. They are given counseling and care with the drug.

Do our doctors follow the same method? I don’t think so. So smokers ‘BE AWARE’. Try to quit this habit with your willpower and the proper guidance of a physician. And let the whole world shout against the pharmaceutical companies that we are not ‘GUINEA PIGS’.

Dhanya

Sexy People Sound Better!!!!! Watch Out!!!! How Close Can You Be????

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Sexy People Sound Better!!!!! Watch Out!!!! How Close Can You Be????
LiveScience.com, By Breg Soltis (Collected By Arunava Das)
July16, 2008

People with voices deemed sexy and attractive tend to have greater body symmetry upon close inspection, suggesting that what we hear in a person can greatly affect what we see in them.

“The sound of a person’s voice reveals a considerable amount of biological information,” said Susan Hughes, an evolutionary psychologist from Albright College in Reading, Pa. “It can reflect the mate value of a person.”

Hughes, whose new study is detailed in the June 2008 edition of the Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, cautions that an attractive voice does not necessarily indicate that this person has an attractive face.

A symmetric body is genetically sound, scientists say, and in evolutionary terms, in the wild, it can be an important factor when selecting a mate. But sometimes changes during prenatal development can slightly skew this balance. For instance, the length ratio between index and ring fingers, known as the digit ratio, is fixed by the first trimester, a time that corresponds with vocal cord and larynx development. If the hormone surge that affects vocal development also affects finger growth, there should be a connection between an individual’s voice and digit ratio.

Hughes could not demonstrate a connection between voice attractiveness and digit ratio in her previous work, possibly due to vocal changes that occur during puberty. So in the new study, about 100 individuals listened to previously recorded voices and independently rated them on nine traits important during mate selection: approachability, dominance, healthiness, honesty, intelligence, likelihood to get dates, maturity, sexiness and warmth.

Study participants generally agreed on what made a voice attractive. But when Hughes used a spectrogram to analyze these voice ratings according to different acoustic properties such as pitch, intensity, jitter and shimmer, she could not find a common feature that made these voices seem attractive.

This indicates our perceptual system may be more advanced than expected.

“We can agree on what’s an attractive voice yet I can’t capture it with a computer,” Hughes told LiveScience.said.

Investigating if a combination of these properties can define an attractive voice may shed light on a connection, she said.

10 Tips for a Healthy Voice

Hogikyan and colleagues have put together the following 10 tips to help keep your voice in shape:
1. Drink water to keep your body well hydrated, and avoid alcohol and caffeine. Your vocal cords vibrate very fast, and having a proper water balance helps keep them lubricated. Important note: Foods containing large amounts of water are excellent hydration-conscious snacks, including apples, pears, watermelon, peaches, melons, grapes, plums, bell peppers and applesauce.
2. Allow yourself several “vocal naps” every day, especially during periods of extended use. For instance, teachers should avoid speaking during the breaks between classes and find quiet ways to spend the lunch hour rather than talking in a noisy staff room with colleagues.
3. Don’t smoke, or if you already do, quit. Smoking raises the risk of throat cancer tremendously, and inhaling smoke (even secondhand smoke) can irritate the vocal cords.
4. Don’t abuse or misuse your voice. Avoid yelling or screaming, and try not to talk loudly in noisy areas. If your throat feels dry or tired, or your voice is getting hoarse, reduce your voice use. The hoarseness is a warning sign that your vocal cords are irritated.
5. Keep your throat and neck muscles relaxed even when singing high notes and low notes. Some singers tilt their heads up when singing high notes and down when singing low notes. “The high notes are on the ceiling and the low notes are on the floor,” Rosenberg says. “Over time, you’ll pay for that”—not just with strained vocal muscles but also by causing future limits on the vocal range.
6. Pay attention to how you speak every day. Even performers who have good singing habits can cause damage when they speak. Many skilled singers don’t continue their healthy habits when they speak; indeed, says Herseth, “many people—including singers—should have much more breath flow when they speak.”
7. Don’t clear your throat too often. When you clear your throat, it’s like slamming your vocal cords together. Doing it too much can injure them and make you hoarse. Try a sip of water or swallow to quench the urge to clear. If you feel like you have to clear your throat a lot, get checked by a doctor for such things as acid reflux disease, or allergy and sinus conditions.
8. When you’re sick, spare your voice. Don’t talk when you’re hoarse due to a cold or infection. Listen to what your voice is telling you.
9. When you have to speak publicly, to large groups or outdoors, think about using amplification to avoid straining your voice.
10. Humidify your home and work areas. Remember, moist is good for the voice.

Deep-Voice Men Have More Kids
If you want to have lots of kids, look for a Barry White instead of a Justin Timberlake. Men with a deep voices have more offspring, a new study suggests.
Previous studies conducted by David Feinberg of McMaster University in Canada have shown that women are more attracted to men with deeper voices, judging them to be older, healthier and more masculine than their higher-pitched rivals.
Men, on the other hand, go for women with higher pitched voices because they find them more attractive, subordinate, feminine, healthier and younger-sounding.
In the new study, detailed in a recent issue of the journal Biology Letters, Feinberg set out to see how that attraction to deeper-voiced men affected reproduction and the survival of offspring.
“While we find in this new study that voice pitch is not related to offspring mortality rates,” Feinberg said, “we find that men with low voice pitch have higher reproductive success and more children born to them.”

When Terror is Pathology To India, Her Inefficient Politicians Seem To Have Contracted The Disease Called ‘Terrorism’

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Arunava Das, Media Analyst

Terror is pathology. That is what it is in India, See the government’s response to terror? The serial blasts in Bangalore and Ahmedabad were met with cringe-inducing official harrumphs from Delhi that warnings had been already been given to respective state governments. It is time to ask what the Union government means when it says warnings were available or is it the negligence of the states’ intelligence agencies? Is it the case that the Centre’s, or specifically the home ministry’s, radars are always buzzing efficiently with actionable information that is not acted upon by inefficient state governments? If so, why doesn’t the Centre say it straight? They have a duty to the nation to say it. And if that is not the case, as one strongly suspects is not the case, why take this, to put it bluntly, awful way to pass the parcel? It has to be said, in the context of this trait, that the UPA’s whole approach to terror has been scarily confusing.

The present home minister will demit office as having made a spectacular non-impression as far as his leadership of national security efforts go. It took the prime minister, that too after more than half of the UPA’s term in office was over, to say Naxalites were a high-priority threat to India’s internal security. Can you recall the home minister taking political leadership of this national security issue? Can you recall him owning up to his remit as home minister vis-a-vis terror? And let’s remember that while strong and clear political positions are no guarantees against stopping terror, their absence severely weakens the government’s fight against it.

More than four years after the UPA took over, not a single terror attack has been brought to closure in terms of catching the perpetrators and putting them through the mills of justice. There’s investigative failure of a scale that would have in normal circumstances consumed the career of several ministers – but in the UPA the home ministry seems to have acquired immunity from even the most obvious of questions. And what more to expect from a country’s ministry which stands at an awful 74 in the list of the most corrupted countries of the world. It’s long been known that security agencies are in part handicapped by a certain absurd notion of political correctness – a notion that implicates the very people it professes to protect. The convenient political assumption in India is that voters don’t punish governments who appear to be ineffective against terror. This government really has pushed that assumption to its limit.

Do not allow ur blood to become thicker & sticky!!!

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By Shilpa Nangali

“An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.” – Henry David Thoreau, US writer and naturalist.


A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for me when I’m unhappy than any medicine in the world! Most of us work mechanically, like robots, without any physical exercises. If I work like that then that puts me into a kind of depression! In fact, even I was one among them, who have no physical workouts but now I have realized how important is walking or any other physical exercises in our lives. Walk and be happy; walk and be healthy. Trust me, when I work out, I feel happiest! After my aerobics class, I will be so joyous and that joy will be carried through out my day!


Make your feet your friend. Our legs are considered as secondary hearts of our body. Help these secondary hearts to beat properly, do not make them numb!!!

If the air quality is bad, you are more likely to have serious heart disease related events. Gokhan Mutlu, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the Northwestern’s Feinberg School and a physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, said: “Being exposed to higher levels of pollution may unmask heart disease even if you’ve never had any symptoms.”

Mutlu published a study in 2007 that showed how pollution triggers heart attacks and strokes. He found that microscopic air pollution, particles less than one-tenth of the diameter of a human hair, makes the blood thicker and sticky. So people, please see to that your blood will not become thicker & sticky!!!

A morning walk in greenery – the real oxygen park!!! 😉

When lungs are inflamed by pollution, they secrete a substance, interleukin-6, which causes an increased tendency for blood to clot. People who live in polluted areas are more likely to have blood clots in their legs. Traveling long distances by car or plane is known to put people at risk for these clots.

For people in certain risk groups, breathing high levels of pollution can cause heart attacks and strokes within 24 hours of exposure and increase the possibility of having blood clots in their legs on the plane home, according to a warning given by two researchers in pulmonary medicine and critical care at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

It’s not just Olympic athletes who need to worry about the heavily polluted air in Beijing, for the dirty air may cause serious heart problems for some spectators too!!! Spectators could suffer serious health problems from traveling to China for the games.

People who are at most risk include those who already have known cardiovascular disease or risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, lung disease, a current smoking habit or a family member diagnosed with heart disease before age 55. If you spend a few weeks in Beijing, your blood might become thicker and sticky and then when you fly 12 hours back to the US that further increases your risk. If clots migrate into the lungs and cause pulmonary embolism, that can kill you,” Mutlu warned.

The Chinese government has been scrambling to cut down on air pollution before the world’s best athletes compete in the Olympics next month at Beijing; they’ve closed down factories near Beijing and allowed people to drive their cars only every other day.

Even if you have a healthy visit to China, you’re not off the hook—Mutlu says the same pollutant particles can cause blood clots, especially if you spend too much time sitting down on one of those marathon flights back to the States.

So what’s a globe-trotting sports fan to do? Men over 40 should take aspirin, the researchers say, and everyone would do themselves a favor by staying inside during rush hour, when cars in traffic jams are spewing forth exhaust. And what about that lengthy flight home? Make sure you get up occasionally and walk around. That’s probably good for you no matter where you’re flying to or from.

I feel that in every walk with nature we receive far more than we seek. I am right now connecting to the silence within..which is clearing most of the mental cob webs…it is in the silent mind that the true consciousness can be built…!

References:
Economic Times & Discover magazine

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