Age of Kali – Offended!

Last night I posted a piece on “offence”. Basically? A bunch of people got “offended” by the facebook status of one person reposting the statement of another and were sufficiently offended to start a riot. The police responded with typical aplomb and injured people and then promptly arrested everyone including the people who exercised free speech. [Read more…]

The Price of a Big Heart

I got approached by two patients today, they lay on the floor of the hospital. This is not a new thing. People sit on the floor all the time. There isn’t enough seats sometimes and the Indian habit of the lotus position lends itself to sitting on the floor. The young woman pulls herself up and starts crying.

“Doctor! I have no food, I came here to take my mother to the hospital. Just look at her foot! (I look, it’s a diabetic ulcer and it needs to come off). We don’t have enough money for even a cup of coffee (South Indians are bigger fans of coffee).”

The ulcer is nearly 20 cm in length. It’s clear that her foot will need amputation some time soon.

She couldn’t get care for her foot and needed diabetic shoes to help her walk. All of this costed money.

This woman wept and it hurt to see someone like that.

So I gave her my month’s luxury budget so she could buy the things she needed and left feeling my heart grow a size and feeling like I had done something to help. I had also gotten her free treatment for the foot.

Less than 5 steps later I get told by one of the ward attenders that she is a con woman, who tricks the charity doctors into helping her. She is a psychiatry patient from a fairly well off family who pretends to be poor to get money out of people. I didn’t believe him.

Until I saw her pull off the same stunt in a ward.

Sigh. Such is the price of having a heart…

I Get Mail – Sex for the Gods

[notice]Testing out my three tier comments policy. Expect fancier artwork to be put in place when I can get some up but consider this topic a Yellow one. Stay on target, and discuss away. And at all points will there be no personal attacks and no bigotry. The following topic is NSFW as it contains a discussion about the sex trade. If you like what you read then pass it on, as I do feel there are a fair few misconceptions[/notice]

This was watched and reviewed at the Bengaluru/Bangalore Meeting of Freethinkers and it got me thinking and one of it’s members asked me if I could have look at it. It’s about the Devdasi or the sacred prostitutes of India. I am not against it, it’s not incorrect but it has a few misconceptions that we can clear up. [Read more…]

Thieves of Potential

Let’s call him V.

V is 12 years old and came to see me today. And V is a classic example of “chronic starvation“.

V’s got two sisters and a brother who are at school. They will be coming in tomorrow for an assessment too.

V’s so chronically starved that he is 20% of the normal height for his age. He is straight up 30 cm shorter than the average. A foot smaller. V is also 15 Kg lighter than the minimum weight for a 12 year old.

But he is a smiling child, the only sign of his starvation is seen when you notice he doesn’t play with the other kids. Merely watches. [Read more…]

A Voice for Me: No, You Cannot Steal A Voice

As you may recall, I was “bloody pissed off” about the Steubenville Rape story but didn’t weigh in. I didn’t know enough about American Jock culture apart from cursory immersion within it due to contact with Americans and through the media. However the post by Judgy Bitch kind of forced me to speak due to the absolute horror of watching her denigrate the suffering of others by showing greater suffering.

I call it the Suffering Olympics. For instance? I am sorry, you not getting a proper balanced meal on food stamps is insufficient suffering as I am going to play the “Starving Children in Africa ™” card. You Lose. Good Day Sir. [Read more…]

A Voice for Me: Not You Too India!

In the light of the Delhi rapes you may have noticed a couple of the MRA websites have rushed to defend the “so called Rights” of men in India.

I does need to be repeated. Anyone who has read my blog is aware of the various “major” rapes that grip the news headlines out here. Rape is common place enough and India still doesn’t consider marital rape as rape.

But various websites and indeed the commentariat from such stellar places such as the Slymepit and a Voice for Men have shown up to defend the laws based on a variety of points ranging from “not reading the News Article” to “But I have to pay more for Nightclub Entry”.

Today’s “Won’t Someone Think Of the Menz” candidate is A Voice for Men and it’s David Cuspis. [Read more…]

Greatest Show on Earth – Kumbh Mela

If you hadn’t already heard, I was at the Kumbh Mela for 3 days.

What is the Kumbh Mela? It’s arguably the biggest religious event in the Hindu calendar occurring every 12 years and it’s a ridiculously oversized event. This year 30 million people converged on the town of Allahabad.

I was planning to cut lose and photograph stuff but since the camera was damaged (don’t worry, I have earmarked a nice little camera to pick up when I am back home in May.) but more than an equaliser the mela is an entirely different world of faith, poverty and humanity.

IMHO it is poorly managed. It’s mass of humanity is astonishing. 30 Million People is a enough to populate most countries let alone a small town. The facilities are lousy. The streets are filthy.

I have said this to people everywhere but here especially I mean it the most. In India you will see the absolute best of humanity and the absolute worst of humanity. I shared food with someone who saw that I had worked 8 hours straight, they found out I just finished my exams the day before and treated me to a little bit of their dinner and some sweets they had. I saw rich people help poor people when they wouldn’t normally have in any other part of India. I saw the weird side of Hinduism in the Naga Sadhus (not to be confused with the Naga Khmer).

I also saw the bad side of it. Open toilet facilities that were little more than holes in the ground (let’s just say I didn’t really eat for 3 days lest I required to take a poop as the toilet facilities terrified me). Many of these were not even covered so they spread flies and disease and were often in full view of public access (even the women’s facilities).

And it was weird, I never got asked for money. Just for food and water. At the Kumbh money has no meaning since water and food are more valuable. A couple held onto my legs as I walked recognising the white coat and stethoscope I carried to work. I didn’t understand what they wanted then but someone later told me that their child had gotten lost and they hoped I could have found it. It sounds silly to assume that a doctor (in their minds) somehow had the power to find their child where others had not in the seething mass that was the Mela.

You can share what water and what food you had but you would get mobbed. There are too many to share with and you do what you can. I heard the people who had helped feed the pilgrims often fed them by the thousand. I didn’t keep count on the number of patients I saw but on day 1 I slept like a brick when I finished my shift. This was the India that people never see because it was so poor.

There is nothing like this in any other faith, Hinduism’s unique position as the last “old” religion left means it is unique and different to the ones we are familiar with. Check out these photos. They are absolutely stunning. (I know many of you don’t click links but Do It… Consider this Doctor’s Orders)

So I did something weird, on my last day there I woke up early and told myself that I would get to sleep on my flight and made my way down to the river where I was to take a bath myself. I certainly looked the part of a pilgrim with my hair shaved that morning in just a pair of trunks. It was cold and it certainly wasn’t pleasant or clean. The water is murky and polluted. Many pilgrims were drinking this stuff and I knew by the sheer number of cases of diarrhoea and dysentery that it was a “poor idea”. To think that this would wash your sins away is laughable but I still did it because I could.

I left feeling ambivalent.

And then I saw the news. In order to control a crowd of poor pilgrims who broke through barriers that had overcrowded them, Police responded with a batons (in India they are called lathis) which caused a stampede killing 32.

Those who lost loved ones poured the water they had collected from the sacred river at this most sacred of events onto the bodies of those they lost because they believed that it would bring them back to life…

Trashy, Glamorous and Insightful – Shobha De

She was (in)famous for writing proper trashy romance lit and pseudo-erotica. Less 50 Shades of grey and more throbbing manhoods…

But there was one thing I loved Shoba De for growing up (despite not having read her books) was how much scandal she caused. And let us be honest here.

Her books were terrible.

But for many women they were the first taste of sexuality. These were a generation of Indian women’s 50 Shades of Grey. A lot of the sexual freedom that Indian women have today can be directly linked to her works in some small way of emancipating women and making them realise that their desires are normal. This was a little sexual revolution in a world where women weren’t expected to have “fun” during sex.

And she has a phenomenal article out on censorship in India. This is worth a read.

Not the Ducks! – and Cancer Quackery

There exists a massive problem in India and that is the notion of western medicine.

There is medicine and there is quackery. Vaccination is an eastern form of medicine but it is still used because it works. Medicine is EVERYTHING that works and is proven to work scientifically. Everything that doesn’t work is quackery.

Flogging “Eastern” Medicine is just a method of denigrating real medicine by equating “Eastern” medicine as an opposite equal.

And it kills. It’s simple.

Read this. This is not on a small website. This is a major website and it’s flogging some really dangerous things. [Read more…]