As a teenager, I used to give a lot of cards.
Birthday cards, friendship cards, 'simply for no reason' cards... you name it. I actually had a whole bag of them with me, ready to whip out and use at a moment's notice. For friends, I was the go-to guy to get a card at the last moment. For me, giving cards was a genuine expression of respect, friendship and love. I liked the set of people around me and I was not scared to let them know how I felt, ably aided by Hallmark.
A single act by someone who used my cards against me destroyed this quirk in me. But we will talk about that at the end of this post.

Before that, I want to go out of the light and into the darkness with you for a moment.
The theme for this month's #1000Speak is 'Inherent Compassion'.
Is compassion something that exists within all of us? Passed on perhaps from generation to generation? The generous and pious father implying that the daughter too is definitely going to grow up to be kind?
Yes or no? Choose one of the two in your mind before you continue.
Done? Now let us flip that question around a bit.

You can read the rest of the post here

I always remember a good spell of spin bowling in test cricket when I think of a typical Stephen King novel. The bowler does not look to get you with the first ball or even the second. He weaves a spell, tossing the ball all over the place and tiring you down by keeping your concentration levels high till you finally tire and drop your guard. Boom! Suddenly your off stump is off the ground.

Stephen King is like that. There is never an urgency to his novels. If he needs to tell you about the cow, he will start by telling you about the rope that ties the cow to the tree, the tree and its siblings within the orchard and the travails of the owner of the orchard. But rest assured. He will tell you about the cow. By the time we reach the end of the tale (no pun intended), you will know the thoughts of that cow better than any cow in your life. 
And that is where King gets you. He is no narrator of horror stories. He just guides you to a beach chair and makes you sit alongside him and watch the darkness as it unfolds, turning you from an innocent viewer into a co-conspirator of his imaginative inner demons. 

The best movies based on a Stephen King Novel

Today (September 21, 2016), the King turns 69. And I figured that while there are plenty of lists all over of the 'Best novels of Stephen King', something worth exploring would be the movies based on his novels.

You can read the rest of the post here

Can I interest you in keeping an extra note in your wallet?
It is slightly bigger in dimensions than your average 1000 rupee note but I promise you, it can be a lot more valuable. No, it does not have the face of a Gandhi or a Washington upon it, I fear, though you are free to add your best drawing to it.

Would you like to see my note? Yes? First hear me out.

As per the most recent available statistics, 1 life is lost every 4 minutes in India due to road traffic accidents alone. Over half a million documented road traffic accidents took place last year.
These numbers do not include events like strokes, seizures, hypoglycemic episodes, allergic reactions, poisoning etc any of which could also render you unconscious. These scenarios can be scary even in a familiar environment. But away from the safety of your home or work place, you are left at the mercy of the rare species that is the good Samaritan to help get you to a hospital.

The problem for an emergency medicine doctor or a casualty medical officer is that he is given an unknown person with no clear history at all of the patient. The kind strangers who delivered you to the hospital too don't know your medical history. As doctors, we can save you during the golden hour if we know not just your immediate history but also your past medical history which includes
1) Your illnesses
2) Medication you are on currently
3) Allergies you may have.

This can be crucial because in addition to narrowing down the cause behind your ailment, it helps determine what drugs to use and what to avoid. And the honest-to-God truth is that we have lost lives because of lack of information. We have lost lives we could have saved had we known...

So do us a favour - print out the note below (OR just take a regular paper next to you right now), fill in those details and put it in your wallet.

I've made it in dimensions a tad larger than a Rs 1000/- note
so it should fit easily with a single fold

Nobody goes out of the house expecting to be rendered unconscious. But if such a situation occurs, you can help yourself by having your emergency contacts, ailments and medication history ready in your wallet should someone check when they try to identify you.

This happened last week. It just reminded me
of the need to publish this blogpost ASAP

Help yourself.
Help us help you.

Authors note:

A few more random thoughts:

  •  Consider doing it for the elders in your family. It helps not just in case of an accident but also if they have to come to the hospital for something and cannot remember their medical history.
  • Have you added an ICE (In Case of Emergency) number in your mobile? It helps if someone finds you unconscious and does not know the nicknames you have for your spouse or parents. Just re-add the contacts of the people you would want called in an emergency and add the word ICE beside their name. For example, my phone would show ICE Deepika Padukone & ICE Priyanka Chopra. (Now, if they would only give me their number to fill in the rest of that contact entry!)       
  • For those of you who want to make better templates for your 'health note', here is the required data which you can 'copy and paste' instead of typing it down from the beginning.

My Health Information


In case of an emergency
Person to contact (Name/number/relation):


My Ailments:

Current medication (Dosage):

I am allergic to:


One thing you learn as a doctor, in the end, it is the simplest things (like this DIY note) that can make the biggest difference. Anyway, be safe. Have a nice week.

Less than 72 hours after its release and Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury's Pink is already on its way to being heralded as one of the best courtroom based movies that Bollywood has ever made in its 103 year old history. In Pink, you have a movie that forces you to introspect, using the courtroom to show society a mirror of its own prejudices.

Which is a good thing because we have been sorely lacking in that department, even if you include the likes of the testosterony Damini or a few melodrama lathered ones from the 80s. (A big part of that is probably because a good courtroom drama requires actual writing skill from a knowledgeable mind as opposed to a typical Bollywood superstar worshipper but that is a discussion left for another day.)

Now that the 'courtroom based movie' bug has bitten you and you think you would enjoy it over the regular 'good guy thrashes a dozen goons' fare, are you in the mood to see some more? Here, in my opinion, are some of the best that Hollywood has provided us over the years.


A Few Good Men

When two marines are accused of murdering one of their own, a young team of lawyers are sent in to take on their case. Fighting the rigid army laws and codes of honour, they end up staking their reputation as they try to uncover what happened on the night of the murder.
My two cents: Arguably one of the best courtroom dramas of all time and one of Rob Reiner's best movies as a director. A magnificent star cast at their brilliant best - Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, Kevin Bacon, Kevin Pollak & in one of the most memorable cameos of all time, Jack Nicholson. The tension holds till the very end with minimal digression in between.

You can read the rest of the post here

Onam - the most awaited festival in God's Own Country - is here.
Flower carpets, flower carpets everywhere. Of course, you know me by now so naturally you know that my roving eye is always headed towards the kitchen where the traditional Kerala feast - the sadya - will be 'under construction.'

If you need to refresh your memories, here is the list of the most common 29 items (yes, 29 items in one single meal) that one can find in a Sadya. Invariably, the final two in such a list will be sweet payasams. The common ones you can expect to see are:
  1. Semiya payasam (vermicelli pudding)
  2. Ada pradhamam (rice ada/pasta pudding) 
  3. Pazha pradhamam (banana and jaggery pudding)
But as usual, we Mallus are quite malleable (Malluable? okay, okay. I know. That was terrible!).
Anyway, there are variations to this sadya too, depending on the ingredients you have, your location, your level of creativity and whatnot. With Onam being a celebration of our harvest festival, I thought now would be a good time to make use of that harvest to give Lord Mahabali something different when he visits us.
So instead of the usual trio, this time I thought we would use some lovely fresh pineapples in our payasam this time. And believe me, this is an easy recipe which yields absolutely yummy results.

So, without further adieu, I give you Pineapple Payasam.

You can read the rest of the post here

  • As a teenager, you become addicted to drugs and alcohol. Unable to handle life, you commit suicide.
  • Having suffered the shame of being homeless earlier and now watching your marriage fail, you successfully kill yourself via carbon monoxide poisoning by running your car in an empty garage.
  • Struggling to come to terms with your hidden sexuality, you kill yourself using the gas oven.
  • A failure at your job and with no real prospects for the future, you drink a bottle of furniture polish. You successfully die.
  • Raped at nine and pregnant at 14, you don't know what to do. So you drink a bottle of laundry detergent and end your life.

The reasons are many but the premise remains the same - you suffered and are sure that there is no way out. You are ashamed of how far you have fallen from where you thought you would be.
It is okay. You need to believe me, it is okay. I hate that you lost but you need to know this isn't the end.

Read it aloud if you must - The end of a journey in life is not the end of your journey in life. Whether it is in love or in your career, whether it is an exam or an ailment, it is not the end of YOUR journey.

You don't know how brilliant your life can be if you only try.
Today, you may be someone who has lost in love. Someone who is divorced or broke or both. Today you are someone who cannot find a single friend to spare a moment to listen to you. Today you are watching everyone else move forward in life while you are sinking.

You can read the rest of the post here

Before I explain to you why the details about the minute of your birth as you know it is wrong, I just want to tell you about this story that appeared in the papers last week. 

"An innocent pregnant woman in Nellore had acid thrown on her belly by her in-laws after a doctor informed them she was carrying a girl."

Bastard doctor. He deserves to be arrested and thrown in jail along with those in-laws. 

Oh wait, I'm sorry. I misspoke. It was an ASTROLOGER who PREDICTED she was carrying a girl child. But don't allow that to affect your response. Should not the astrologer also have been arrested here? Did he not start the chain of events? 
He did not suggest they throw the acid, you say? But... but... neither do radiologists now, do they? And yet you are okay with them being arrested for the prejudice of strangers who come to their clinics. But leave it, who cares about silly Indian doctors, eh? Radiologists are a dime a dozen so we can afford to lose a few thousand of them, I'm sure. 

No, today I want to talk about the people who check out Uranus.

Astrology uses the precise time of your birth alongside the alignment of celestial bodies at that particular moment in time to predict your destiny. 
Unlike what you may believe, astrology does not belong to one religion. Not even to one country. Fortunately or unfortunately, the Indian/Vedic variation of this is quite specific in its answers. Crores stand by it and check it even today, using it as either a rigid dictum or at the very least, a road map of the path they should look forward to.

Indian astrology vedic

And I have a few issues with that.

You can read the rest of the post here

Book: Curtain Call

Publishers: Half Baked Beans
Compiled & Edited by: Rafaa Dalvi
Pages: 230
Format Available: Print ( Amazon )
Curtain Call is an upcoming anthology releasing in August 2016. Featuring some of the best names in contemporary short fiction in India, the anthology chooses to avoid the traditional route of sticking to a single theme,  providing the reader with something different to look forward to within each tale.
From historical fiction to romance, horror and humour, there is something for everyone in this collection. 

Bragging rights

So what makes this posse different from the other collections of short stories available presently?
Simply a matter of class, really. 
Between the 20 who have contributed here, you have authors with not 1 or 2 or even 10 or 20 published stories in their combined quiver. You have a whopping 75 published short stories (both Indian & International) and no less than 13 published novels between these authors. That is talent that has gone through literally more than hundreds of short story contests, honing their skills through both success & failure till they got the art of storytelling down to a science.


One of the common issues that people have when it comes to buying an anthology collection is that they don't get to know what the stories are all about. How can you decide if you don't know what is in the package you are expected to buy? 

We hear you. 
Which is why with Curtain Calls, the authors decided to give previews of ALL the stories so that you, the reader, can make an informed decision for yourselves. So without any further delay, allow me to present to you the stories and genres you will get with Curtain Calls.

You can read the rest of the post here

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