Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.
Dear Friends,welcome to my blog.
Let’s begin with positivity amidst the gloomy days. The world has seen many pandemics before, but for us the current generation it was unprecedented and a big blow causing hardships to millions across the globe. However, it has also taught us the humans, the value of relationships, we are concerned more about our health than ever before, many are spending quality time with family, last but not least the positive impact on the environment. It can be very stressful for people, here are some tips to manage stress
1) Structuring our day to day routines helps us adapt to the changes which are happening in our lives today, learn new skills or go back to your old hobbies which helps you to stay calm in these times of uncertainties.
2) Try to get news/information from authentic sources such as websites of world health organization or medical research institutions in your country. Avoid fear-inducing news channels, misinformation, or rumors.
3) Learn a small amount of anxiety will be present in everyone, it helps us to maintain proper hygiene, social distancing, and sanitation. Try doing physical activities, hydrate yourself adequately, sleep well to alleviate anxiety.
4) Follow proper safety measures but avoid stigmatizing and discriminating people who tested positive, isolated, or quarantined.
5) Take extra care for your kids and elderly, engage your children in skill-building activities, and avoid much screen time.
6) Listen to your friends, ask their concerns, and validate their feelings and emotions, if possible extend your support, they need it now more than ever.
7) Avoid excessive intake of caffeine, cigarettes, or alcohol.
8) It’s common to get frustrated because you can’t dine in your favorite restaurants, can’t hang out with friends, watch your favorite superhero movies in the IMAX. Learn to relax.
Let us be prepared instead of getting scared.
Meetings & Presentations
Life in Bengaluru- Nostalgic memories of Namma Bengaluru by Dr. Karishma Kulkarni from down under
There are a million reasons to love our city Bengaluru. Known for its pleasant weather throughout the year, our garden city claimed world recognition as an IT hub. Our city is best known for its culture, ethnicity, and unity in diversity. Bengaluru has the best dine-in places and chats streets. Those who lived in Bengaluru or visited cant forget the experiences they had here. Despite its heavy traffic which is a major limitation, Bengaluru continues to be the most loved place by Indians and tourists across the world.
Dr. Karishma Kulkarni is an energetic, smart, and talented psychiatrist, who has a long list of following degrees MD, DNB, MRCPsych (UK)PGDMLE (National Law School of India University), Post Doctoral Fellowship in Psychiatry (NIMHANS). Currently working as Psychiatry Registrar, NWAMHS, The Royal Melbourne Hospital & NorthWestern Mental Health, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. She is an inspiration to early-career psychiatrists. Apart from her academic interest she is an avid reader, traveler, music lover, and loves to play Ukulele, swimmer, and cuisine enthusiast. I know her as a genuine, humble person source of inspiration and a mentor. Thank you, Dr. Karishma, for graciously accepting my invitation to share her memories
This post is really a trip down memory lane with me wearing my rose-tinted goggles of nostalgia. I left Bangalore to move to Melbourne two years ago and not a week goes by when I don’t find myself reminiscing about my Bangalore days when I was younger, more idealistic, footloose and fancy-free.
In the summer of 2013, I’d moved from the megapolis of Bombay with its fast-paced life, manic monsoons, vada pav and local train to the more laidback, sprawling, green city of Bengaluru with its decidedly more temperate climes and chilled out cosmopolitan vibe. I knew not a word of Kannada – to which all my sweet-natured Kannadiga friends replied – ‘Kannada gothilla? Parvagilla!’
I had started studying at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences – it was the first time I’d lived away from home in a hostel and the first time, I felt truly independent in life. This was my first taste of adulthood and I was surrounded by people who became my lifelong friends and support networks.
I did so much for the first time in Bengaluru – learned a new language which all the gentle, sweet people of Karnataka appreciated, despite me making millions of mistakes; I learned how to drive in the crazy traffic jams of Bengaluru mostly spending my evenings on the way to Forum Mall from Dairy Circle, I learned swimming at the Basavanagudi Aquatic Centre and I learned how to appreciate the truly cosmopolitan food culture of Bangalore.
I have never been exposed to food from every part of the country and one of the biggest things I miss is the food – particularly, the delicious Andhra-style chicken biryani from Meghana, the benne dose at MTR in Lalbagh, the amazing Death by Chocolate from Cornerhouse, the simple Uttar Karnataka meals at the little mess in Jayanagara, the steaming hot holige from Holige Mane in Jayanagar, the amazing little cafes and restaurants in Koramangala, the delicious Haleem and kebabs during the Ramzan festival outside Empire hotel, the simple Malayalee mess just one lane away from the Punjabi and Bengali mess food places. The diversity of Bangalore was in the diversity of its food culture.
Another thing which I miss is the weather – the lovely gardens of Bangalore always looked lush and inviting due to the amazing mild and cool weather. I spent many evenings walking in Lalbagh Botanical Gardens – even my mum who visited from Mumbai thought it was lovely here. The flower shows and the mango shows were my favourite. A morning walk was always followed by dosa and filter coffee at MTR.
The other amazing thing about Bangalore was its nearness to my other favourite city in Karnataka – Mysuru. The drive on the Bangalore-Mysore highway was one of my favourite long drives. Nandi Hills was a favourite place to stop.
Most of all, what I miss about Bangalore are my friends from NIMHANS, my teachers, my patients – all who were so respectful and tolerant. It’s in the nature of Kannadigas to be welcoming and accepting – especially the Bangalore culture which is amazingly ‘live and let live’ – ‘swalpa adjust madkoli’ is the unofficial city motto. Even today, on a particularly cold winter’s night – as I sip coffee with chilli bajji and listen to Raghu Dixit songs, my heart takes flight and goes back to my first home away from home – Namma Bengaluru. This city will always have a special place in my life.
Coping with the uncertainties: How to handle your emotions better?
“We have to go on unraveling the jumbled threads one at a time, without losing hope. No matter how hopeless her condition may appear to be, we are bound to find that one loose thread sooner or later. If you’re in pitch blackness, all you can do is sit tight until your eyes get used to the dark.”
― Haruki Murakami
With the emergence of the COVID 19 pandemic, we are facing a lot of uncertainties, whether its work or personal it has caused significant stress in everyone’s life. Millions in the world have affected by lockdowns, closure of non-essential business, or by the recessions which have resulted in unemployment. For those who have finished degrees and waiting for the job opportunities seems like a mirage now. Thousands of migrant employers across the world facing a dilemma while planning for their future, in addition to a bigger issue i.e, visa-related problems as countries have made strict regulations to address their unemployment problems. Whereas unskilled or semi-skilled workers who migrated from rural to urban places in the country struggling to make their ends meet. Policymakers are in a helpless condition as most of the resources are directed to the health care sector to fight the ongoing pandemic. Personal and professional life imbalance can happen due to stress, unemployment, loans and other financial constraints associated with Coronophobia is causing a significant toll on mental health in the global community. Which is making people vulnerable to anxiety, depression, addictions, and many more mental health-related issues.
In times of crisis, man loses his sense of purpose and identity, many are concerned with the health of loved ones and themselves this may result in a lack of motivation and appreciation in their jobs. For those who are facing hardships to find jobs or lost employment may feel worried about their families. They can also be angry, scared, or jealous and confused about their future.
Mayo Clinic is an American non profit academic medical center in the US is dedicated to integrated patient care,education, and known for its research. I have used some of the sources from the Mayo clinic to give some life hacks to face the current uncertainties
- Accepting and acknowledging your feelings- No human being on the earth is immune from the stress, our brains are developed to produce certain neurotransmitters during the stressful times which causes a certain range of emotions.
- Try to give your best, don’t blame yourself for your problems as you have no power to control certain situations.
- Sometimes the loss of a job leads to grief and addresses the grief as similar to the loss of someone you love. Unless you accept you can’t move further.
- Remeber not getting work or losing work in this crisis doesn’t define your worth. It depends on company policies. Believe that you are strong
- Seek assistance, it doesn’t make you look weak in front of others, you should know how to go with the wind, there might be opportunities which may be there with less remuneration than previous ones or below par, your expertise, go for it for the time being.
- Be creative, innovative- adversities bring the best from humans this has been proved time and again. If you have any creative ideas go for it even though it is risky but you still feel it is worth giving a shot.
- Don’t compare with others, comparison always leads to sadness. There are millions of people who are facing hardships. Grass always looks greener on the other side.
- Keep your relations safe, resolve any misunderstandings, make them understand your struggles. Unless you speak nobody can read your mind.
- Use your resources and energy wisely, focus on your strengths rather than the losses
- Make an activity schedule to occupy yourselves, try and avoid maladaptive coping mechanisms like addiction to substances and gambling. They give momentary pleasures.
- Take care of your physical and mental health
- If you are finding it difficult to manage stress or depression reach out to seek help at the earliest from psychiatrist or psychologist
Remember that there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Earth has faced many pandemics in the past but the strength and resilience shown by the humans made them prevail.
COVID 19 and children; A perspective and woes of a pediatrician
COVID-19 has affected every individual life in some or the other way. As adults we all know what is happening globally and some how find a way to cope.Where as children are the silent sufferers of this pandemic.They are vulnerable and prone to suffer both physically and mentally.
This time I would like to invite my dear friend and most hard working pediatrician, who has secured top rank in one the most difficult entrance exams of the country and perused his dream of becoming pediatrician from premiere institute of the country i.e postgraduate institute of medical education and research (PGI), Chandigarh. Over to Dr Prabhudev
It is been 7 months since COVID -19 pandemic started in China and eventually affected every country. I never would have thought it would grip the whole world like it did in the coming days. Even while on embarking into this never seen before (for our generation) pandemic, I had a sense of relief when I learned children are least affected and the mortality rate was less in pediatric patients. It didn’t take much time for me to realize I was completely wrong. Children may not form the major chunk in this pandemic statistically, but children are the biggest victims of this universal crisis.
This morning I went through the article just published in the Lancet journal, it opened up a Pandora’s box, how COVID -19 could affect our efforts for many decades. COVID-19 has brought all essential health services to a standstill, so is the vaccination. This article reveals by halting the vaccination services to curb the COVID-19 spread, we can save one child but by doing so, we are risking 84 lives from other diseases that are unchecked by a lack of vaccination. By other means it is wise to go ahead with the vaccination program, by doing so we can save 84 children from deadly diseases like pneumonia, meningitis, tetanus, etc., by risking 1 child’s life by COVID-19. Authors say these are possible numbers when we consider the worst scenario. COVID-19 pandemic is a tip of the iceberg and its affiliated problems which lie beneath the surface are going to show up at once and are a real threat to the bright future we are striving to create for our children.
According to UNICEF as on June 2020, 117 million (11.7 crores) children are at risk of being pushed into poor monetary households, 1.5 billion (150 crores) children are missing schools and learning opportunities, 368.5 million (36.5 crores) are at risk of malnutrition and 1.2 million under-five deaths in the continued scenario, 117 million (11.7 crores) children are at risk of missing out life -saving measles vaccine across 37 countries. There is one thing common in all these predictions, all these children live in backward countries and to some extent developing countries. Poverty, violence, and abuse are the endpoints of this situation. The impact will be lifelong for all these children. Whatever the effort we had put for decades to uplift the lives of children, especially in underprivileged countries, is being wiped out by this crisis. COVID-19 is stealing the future of our children and pushing them into the darkness.
Coming to India, according to 2019 revised World Population Prospects, the Indian population stands at 1.35 billion (135 crores) and 0-14 years age group constitutes 28.6 %, roughly that is 38.6 crore. Currently, India is in the tight grip of COVID-19, schools are shut and teaching on online platforms without other option, routine vaccinations are hampered due to social distancing and lockdown norms and also rightfully afraid parents who are not willing to take risk of exposing to
COVID-19. Many children belong to rural areas and underprivileged. Poverty, lack of hygiene, malnutrition are still our allies, and children are still the victims of these. COVID-19 pandemic is harming both privileged and underprivileged children in their way. Children of migrant workers and children at slums are expected to suffer more. Corona pandemic will unmask the problems already existed by adding many to it. Online teaching is as in my opinion is not a great solution to educate the children, having said that I don’t have any brighter idea than that. Online teaching cannot reach the children to live in remote areas or underprivileged families for the reasons well known. Their academic year is more or less being wasted. I am particularly interested in children whose parents are COVID-19 warriors. The child who is not able to meet the parent or have to maintain distance from them, who is aware of the threat lying outside and still seeing the parents going out, I feel it is hard for a child to accept. Education which is the greatest weapon of India against all its woes has been hammered by the pandemic. Lack of business, nosediving economy, and unemployment will impact the wellbeing of children directly or indirectly. It is hard on parents too especially on mothers to keep watch on children and meet all their demands just like Sunday on the rest of the days 24×7.
One more important matter that needs to be addressed is probable mental health issues being inflicted on children by the ongoing pandemic. Locked up at homes, not able to meet their friends and teachers, missing their fun and entertainment outside the home, 24×7 breaking news on deaths and sufferings, depressing talks and sightings. By being locked up at home means more are fewer children spend most of their time being in front of the TV, tabs, and cellphones. Parents need to be careful about exposing the children to electronic device screens and duration. Many hours a day for months in front of screens is not good for children’s overall health. It is not just about the screen time, the content they are exposed to for a long time has the potential to change the child’s behavior and thinking.
Solutions for all my woes are not simple since we are talking in terms of crores, there is no fixed solution. It largely depends on governance, geography, demography, and parenting skills. Parents can particularly help their children to sail through this crisis, but the same cannot be applied for underprivileged. Where the resources don’t match the spirit of the parents. These are my woes, I am leaving it here, I hope whoever goes through this will surely think about this underrated problem. In my next article, I will come up with how can we tackle or handle some of the child issues during the COVID-19 crisis. Stay safe and take care.
Life is a journey: A tale of a passionate journey of 20,000km and beyond seeking the purpose of life, a fabulous weekend with Ankit
“Life they say is the essence of living
living they say is the essence of life
life thus, is a journey, that we live through
in the journeys we make, we are faced by the reality of brute
in the reality of brute, we come face to face with our fairy tales
in our fairy tales, we get to learn from our experiences
in our experiences, whether sweet or bitter, we learn to live by
and face the opportunities tomorrow brings.
with the opportunities of tomorrow, we survive
when we survive, the damaged things we revive,
and the reconstructions we live by.
Life can be beautiful, life can be sweet
if only we live by her rules,
then life would treat us fairly,
and we would walk back home at the end of this journey
whether long or short, whether good or bad
back to where we all belong
to the great beyond.
Life indeed is a long way home”.
In life’s journey, we meet so many people who are not stuck in mundane work, have an immense desire and potential to thrive, break the chain of ordinary, not only passionate about transforming their lives but also live as an inspiration to fellow beings. I was fortunate to meet such an inspiring person Mr. Ankit Arora, a resident of Ajmer, Rajasthan. As a journalist , avid reader, he always had a desire of doing something big, rather than living an ordinary work life from 9 to 4 pm. He was confident about his dreams, his athletic personality, and experience of cycling while deciding to begin the journey to make a Guinness world record to achieve the longest journey by bicycle in a single country. All these happened 3 years back and he quit his job to pursue his dreams. He was confident, passionate and everything was going as per his plans, but something was bothering him. He took some time to realize he is not enjoying the journey because of keeping on time to break the existing record and Ankit was not spending enough time to connect with the people, learn something from their life. Though he was still confident to make a new record and had enough time, he was about to make a much bigger decision in life. He came to a resolution, he will continue the journey but not for the record, and the achievement.
The motto changed to finding the purpose of life, happiness, joy, and learning through journey l. The initial 5-month plan changed into a lifetime journey. In the next 10 days, he will be completing 3 years, travel of 20,000+ km, covering almost all states of the country, rich experience of living with 600+ families. Ankit says language was never a barrier. He continues to travel across India with a few pairs of clothes and only essentials. His discovery of life has taken him through different cultures, meeting hundreds and thousands of people across villages and cities across every corner of India. He neither stay in hotels nor has food there. There are hundreds of people who are kind enough to provide food and shelter after knowing the purpose of Ankit’s journey. Many become life long as friends, they teach their work, language, cuisine, and culture. He has stayed in remote tribal villages, worked in the rubber plantations, caught fish with fisherman, learned pottery, wooden carving, carpentry, weaving, painting, and lots more.
During his exploration in south India, he has fascinated with the cultural diversity and biodiversity, understands almost all south Indian languages, and tries to speak also with great love. He likes staying in the rural part of India learning their life skills, way of living, their organic and healthy lifestyles and he understands minimal resources never a barrier for their happiness
On life’s journey, Ankit has met several inspirational people and legends like A R Rahaman, Sudha Murthy, VVS Laxman, Kiran Bedi, Baba Prakash Amte, and many more. He says every common man whom he meets in a village is no less inspirational. He says he is fortunate that he has not come across any major difficulty except the lockdown which prohibits him to cross many state borders. Ankit is just 30 years and has a life full of experiences, the journey has taught him compassion, peace, and content, and he is genuine and humble, wants to discover more in the unknown paths ahead.
We had a great time discussing the travel life, education system, and extraordinary travel stories. And I showed him the beautiful campus of NIMHANS, he enjoyed the south Indian delicacy “Davange Benne Dosa” and “Hatti filter coffee” in Jayanagar. It was a pleasant Sunday morning with life lessons and inspiration from Ankith, hope to meet you soon.
Best wishes Ankit for your future endeavors,
Those who wish to host Ankit in their place in any city of India, you can find him below links,