walk a-musing

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Breast Cancer Campaign - Wear It Pink


People come up with such heart warming and interesting campaigns. October is Breast Cancer Campaign month. The campaign's mission is to raise funds for research into understanding breast cancer, so as to improve diagnosis and cure. There are various ways to support the charity and wearing pink is one of them.

V's school is participating in the campaign. It is a boys' school. Every boy who donates money to the cause will wear a pink item of clothing tomorrow - a shirt or tie or socks. V has obviously donated, but he could not get a pink shirt in any of the shops. Men do wear pink shirts here but I suppose few boys do. So yesterday we brought some baby pink dye and coloured an old white school shirt pink.

Wishing the campaign all success..............

Monday, October 12, 2009

Trick or Treatment

I just finished reading Trick or treatment? by Edzard Ernst and Simon Singh. it is a book about alternative medicine 'put on trial'. Based on the results of various rigorous tests the authors show that practically every alternative medicine is hocus pocus. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book.

Alternative medicine, particularly homeopathy, is of great interest to me - mainly because I have seen too many near and dear ones suffer because of a blind faith in it. Whenever there are discussions/arguments with friends about the subject, I bring in chemistry, Avogadro number, homeopathic superdilution, and insist that no active ingredient would be left in the so called medicine. Does not impress anyone. The argument is always, "I have personally seen it work". My counter argument that there is no evidence that the result was due to the medicine alone, it could be the placebo effect, or the body healing itself, and that I not only have seen it not work but have seen it actually cause harm because of delay in seeking conventional medicine, always falls on deaf ears. Now I can quote the huge body of evidence from this book and talk about evidence based medicine, randomised controlled trials and even Cochrane Collaboration (about which I only heard from this book) and see how it goes. I will pass the book to friends and ask them to read it.

I love coincidences. The day after reading the book I received an invitation to participate in just such a randomised controlled trial conducted by a nearby university. I immediately accepted it. If Barry Marshall could get himself infected to prove that stomach ulcers are caused by bacteria, the least I could do is participate in a trial to prove or disprove the efficacy of some treatment.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Tea by moon light


I get up at 5.30 every weekday morning. I make myself a cup of tea and sit reading a book, with Classic FM playing in the background. On some days I don't bother with the book, I just sit with my tea in the dark for about 15 minutes listening to the music before I start the day's work.

It has been raining the last few days so it is really dark at that time of the day. But today it seemed unusually bright outside. Perhaps there were no clouds, but the sun couldn't be up so early? I opened the curtains to see why. It turned out to be the bright moon in an otherwise clear sky, illuminating the garden! It was so beautiful! If it had not been cold, I could have gone out and sat on the patio. I was still quite content behind the glass, enjoying tea by moonlight!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Spring is here!


The surroundings can be so deliciously distracting while driving these days . All the dull grey-green of winter in the fields near our area have started to show splashes of yellow - mostly Daffodils but some Forsythia bushes as well, that seem like they are on fire. I have to be really determined to keep my eyes on the road.

Having lived in the area for a couple of years now I even look forward to certain flowers I know will appear for sure in someone else's garden. I find myself asking V, "Could you, on the way to school check if the white Magnolia tree has flowered in the T~ Pub? If so I should drive along that road some time".

Walks take longer too. I walk along peeping unashamedly into people's gardens. There is an elderly couple who live along the path I take. They maintain a small very pretty front garden. I have never seen them but there is a small board amongst the neatly trimmed Hydrangea shrubs that says "Granny and Grandpa live here". I keep a regular check on this garden.

Mine is beginning to show colour too. The bulbs I planted in Autumn have started to push their flowers out from behind other plants.

I can't wait for these tulips to show their faces!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Sour Grapes


Tried another small one:

Fox was hungry
Saw the grape
In a quandary
Could only gape

Stood on toes
Too high up
Jumped up and tried
Still high up

Fox turned around
Nose in air
"Too sour for me,
I don't care!"


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Blue Jackal


'Beastly Tales' of Vikram Seth inspired me to write a well known Beastly Tale in my own verse. This is my very first attempt and comments are welcome.

Just outside a village
Beyond its very edge
Roamed a Jackal smart
Very clever in the art
Of sneaking into the village and out
When no one was about
Someone saw only later
That they now had one hen lesser.

As the Jackal got older
The sneaky one got bolder
One dark night the fellow
Decided he should follow
A path that took him deeper
Into the village center.

What he knew not
Was the small fact
That around the village center
A few dogs did loiter
This area they felt was theirs
And guarded it in pairs
They kept watch for ever
Lest someone else takeover
If they did spot a stranger
Then he better take cover

Walked the Jackal into this zone
And having observed no one
Ventured at once to inspect
If there were any hens to select
The dogs, they were alert so
Were at once on the go
They gave their warning with barks
And went in for the attack like sharks

Ran the Jackal for dear life
To avoid at any cost the strife
Ran he helter skelter
Looking for some shelter
Further and further he fled
But the dogs only hounded

Atlast saw the Jackal right ahead
Just as he thought he was dead
A yard with many clothes hanging
In the breeze gently swaying.
Lying about were many kegs and tubs
In between various shrubs

Jumped the Jackal into one
Giving thoughts none
As to what the tub held
As long as it provided a shield

Hearing the great commotion
The man of the house woke with great emotion
Through the window he gave a hoot
And told the dogs to just scoot
The dogs had to leave the kegs
With their tails between their legs

When all was calm and quiet
The jackal slowly slunk into the night
And finding a safe road to the forest
Lay down for a well deserved rest

He awoke soon at sunrise
And found to his surprise
Animals gathered all round him
And watching with faces grim
The moment they saw him awake
He saw a step backward they take

It was only then that he saw
Why they were watching him with awe
His coat no longer had its original hue
It was now coloured a deep blue
The Jackal now inferred
In what he had interred
The previous night he had hidden
At the village dyer's unbidden

The wily Jackal's mind whirred
The seed of an idea stirred
And up he stood majestically
And announced unequivocally
"I am your King sent by God Almighty
To look into your worries weighty
For don't you need someone wise
To solve problems life holds otherwise?"

The animals oh so gullible
Believed this evil dribble
And fell one upon the other
To please this intruder

From then lived the Jackal in luxury
For his subjects went to any misery
To gain favour with their king
Who found all this to his extreme liking
They brought him rats and rabbits
Juicy fruit and tidbits
They fed him crispy nuts and sweet corn
And cared for him till they were worn
If this continued, the Jackal saw
All his life he never had to lift a paw

But Alas there came an evening
When our friend was dozing
He was awakened by a sound
Which had an effect profound
The sound was the call loud and clear
Made by a leash of foxes somewhere near
The yearning he felt was indescribable
And in he joined with his own, fully audible

There was then a stunned silence all around
The beasts for a minute stood rooted to the ground
As it dawned on each hapless creature
That this was a jackal and no God's messenger
Thereupon with an anger limitless
Rushed towards the Jackal pitiless
The clever Jackal in a flash caught sight
Of the only route for him to take flight
He was off in a bound
Before the others could turn around

The Jackal, it was very clear
In those parts would not be seen again ever
But one thing was plain
And that was, that wisdom surely the animals did gain

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The pleasure of reading to kids


Last week I bought a book "The Voyage of the Arctic Tern" to read to V. Yes, V is now twelve and definitely beyond the age to be read to regularly. But I still try to steal the pleasure occasionally.
V and I started enjoying books together when he was still really small. A book in front of him would make any food go in without a fuss. So books who were always my great friends became my best friends. We also had the help of the lovely Karadi tales. Three year old V and I followed the pictures in the book while Nasiruddin Shah narrated the tales of Kala and Karupi and the Monkey and the Crocodile. Perhaps that is how V picked up some English though he only knew to speak Kannada.
Once V actually learned to read, we read to each other just so we could enjoy a story together. But it was a very short time before he could read to himself much faster than I could read aloud. So when the story was new and interesting he did not have the patience to listen to me. But he still liked me to read as he had his breakfast or dinner because he hadn't learned the trick of managing a book in one hand while eating with the other.
Since he had already become a voracious reader and had taken control of what books he read, I took this opportunity to read to him the books I thought were good but which he did not think were exciting enough. He didn't mind the book as long as I read to him.
Then came poetry. We have enjoyed reading Roald Dahl's 'Dirty Beasts' and 'Revolting rhymes' any number of times. I think Poetry should be read aloud anyway and if someone enjoys listening, nothing better. It had been a long time since then but recently I discovered Vikram Seth's 'Beastly Tales', a very enjoyable collection of stories written in the form of poems, and I was quite pleased to find that V still enjoys listening to me read. So I have brought home this big book which is a long adventure story written in verse which I hope to share with V. I wonder if it is ambitious. Perhaps. But try I will.