Posts Tagged ‘practice’

Meeting with the head of the hospital, Fortis, Bannerghatta Road, 071217

December 7, 2017

I had a long meeting (made longer by the delay in getting his visiting cards!) with Dr Manish Mtatoo, the head of Fortis Hospitals, Bannerghatta Road. I had a few major points to convey:
1. In spite of being an educated, articulate person, I did not find any process in place, to route my grievance through, when I found a lack of service in the hospital. I want other patients, too, or their representatives, whatever their level of literacy or awareness, to be given a concrete channel of grievance which is made clear to them at the time of their admission to the hospital.

2. I want billing practices to be improved in the following ways: Operation Theatre (OT) consumables and charges itemized separately, with the patient having the ability to cross-check the items with the doctor/surgeon, in case of a dispute. Other consumables to be itemized on the bill, with the patitent (or the family or friends) being able to query them. Not every patient will need, or want, this facility, but it should be in place for those who need it.

3.A system of prompt refund of any items over-charged, and a system that does not mandate the entire estimated amount to be paid upfront by the patient before surgery is allowed to proceed. Dr Manish denied that this was the case, but it certainly happened to me, and I am sure I am not the only one. I had to pay Rs. 1,50,000 upfront, and a refund of a single over-charged item which somehow escaped the detailed querying by my daughter, took 10 days to be credited.

4.I took along a friend of mine, Tara Ollapally, who is a legal mediator, to ask the hospital to build a system whereby, in the event of a grievance or of lack of service by the hospital (whether administration, billing, or medical/nursing care) , the patient or the representative can have the option to have a legal mediator (a neutral third party) present in the meeting between the hospital and the patient, guiding both to a practical and pragmatic solution, rather than a path to our time- and money-consuming courts.

Dr Manish and Nayna Pai both agreed to the point of view presented, and did mention that they would also want such practices embedded. Dr Manish mentioned how,often patients and their representatives threaten and do actually take physical action against doctors and hospitals. The idea is to reduce this culture of confrontation, where one party is aways jockeying for superiority with the bottom line being money, not the issues at hand.

If I am given clear documentation in the near future, that Fortis Hospitals, Bannerghatta Road, has changed the billing system, with more clarity and transparency, and is working, long-term, towards making patients more aware of their rights in querying hospital practices, I will certainly change my present opinion of them, and be willing to agree that there is hope for positive change.

As of now…my perception is that I don’t want to ever enter a hospital… or a court of law….if I can help it! I feel both may take years of my life, and/or chunks of my money, with nothing to show for it.

Vasu on methods of teaching

March 4, 2014

Methods of Teaching

In the CAGE method of teaching
The guru sees you as strong but wild
He cracks the whip, shows you your place
You learn by dint of focus and discipline
As a team of lions learns from one
Truly in command

In the CASE method of teaching
The guru engages with you questions
Challenging, she channels your thinking
You learn by tentative and cautious chance taking
By participative experimentation
Your learning grows

In the CARE method of teaching
The guru expresses his love for you
He makes your mental maturation his sole mission
(His soul mission too)
You learn from his love for what and whom he teaches
And you come to love learning


P.S.: Each method is appropriate for a different stage in the student’s – not to mention the teacher’s – development. In school, we got a good bit of the CAGE method, then at college we got a taste of the CASE method. I have used a combination of the first two in my own teaching, and am now trending more and more toward the third because a good teacher once told me, “They may or may not remember what you taught them but they will never forget how you made them feel.”

Code of Ethics for Birders: Text from the American Birders’ Association Code of Ethics pdf

January 2, 2014

Everyone who enjoys birds and birding must always respect wildlife, its environment, and the rights of others. In any conflict of interest between birds and birders, the welfare of the birds and their environment comes first.
Code of Birding Ethics
1. Promote the welfare of birds and their environment.
1(a) Support the protection of important bird habitat.
1(b) To avoid stressing birds or exposing them to danger, exercise restraint and caution during observation, photography, sound recording, or filming.
Limit the use of recordings and other methods of attracting birds, and never use such methods in heavily birded areas, or for attracting any species that is Threatened, Endangered, or of Special Concern, or is rare in your local area;
Keep well back from nests and nesting colonies, roosts, display areas, and important feeding sites. In such sensitive areas, if there is a need for extended observation, photography, filming, or recording, try to use a blind or hide, and take advantage of natural cover.
Use artificial light sparingly for filming or photography, especially for close-ups.
1(c) Before advertising the presence of a rare bird, evaluate the potential for disturbance to the bird, its surroundings, and other people in the area, and proceed only if access can be controlled, disturbance minimized, and permission has been obtained from private land-owners. The sites of rare nesting birds should be divulged only to the proper conservation authorities.
1(d) Stay on roads, trails, and paths where they exist; otherwise keep habitat disturbance to a minimum.
2. Respect the law, and the rights of others.
2(a) Do not enter private property without the owner’s explicit permission.
2(b) Follow all laws, rules, and regulations governing use of roads and public areas, both at home and abroad.
2(c) Practice common courtesy in contacts with other people. Your exemplary behavior will generate goodwill with birders and non-birders alike.
3. Ensure that feeders, nest structures, and other artificial bird environments are safe.
3(a) Keep dispensers, water, and food clean, and free of decay or disease. It is important to feed birds continually during harsh weather.
3(b) Maintain and clean nest structures regularly.
3(c) If you are attracting birds to an area, ensure the birds are not exposed to predation from cats and other domestic animals, or dangers posed by artificial hazards.
4. Group birding, whether organized or impromptu, requires special care.
Each individual in the group, in addition to the obligations spelled out in Items #1 and #2, has responsibilities as a Group Member.
4(a) Respect the interests, rights, and skills of fellow birders, as well as people participating in other legitimate outdoor activities. Freely share your knowledge and experience, except where code 1(c) applies. Be especially helpful to beginning birders.
4(b) If you witness unethical birding behavior, assess the situation, and intervene if you think it prudent. When interceding, inform the person(s) of the inappropriate action, and attempt, within reason, to have it stopped. If the behavior continues, document it, and notify appropriate individuals or organizations.
Group Leader Responsibilities [amateur and professional trips and tours].
4(c) Be an exemplary ethical role model for the group. Teach through word and example.
4(d) Keep groups to a size that limits impact on the environment, and does not interfere with others using the same area.
4(e) Ensure everyone in the group knows of and practices this code.
4(f) Learn and inform the group of any special circumstances applicable to the areas being visited (e.g. no tape recorders allowed).
4(g) Acknowledge that professional tour companies bear a special responsibility to place the welfare of birds and the benefits of public knowledge ahead of the company’s commercial interests. Ideally, leaders should keep track of tour sightings, document unusual occurrences, and submit records to appropriate organizations.
Please Follow this Code and Distribute and Teach it to Others


September 18, 2013

The internet forward which gave me this link mentioned that it was a traditional Indian “punishment” for children…”uthak-baithak” (get up and sit down). But in south India, especially in Tamil Nadu, this is a form of obeisance to the Elephant God, Ganesha. We call it “thOppik-karaNam” (the “karaNam” part, meaning ear, refers to the holding of the ears cross-wise by the opposing hand.)

Certainly worthy trying if it’s going to improve my brain power! I’m starting with 10 every day…taking me back to my childhood!

I dislike the practice of canvassing for votes

July 25, 2013

Dear Blogger, Photographer, or anyone else canvassing for my “valuable vote”.

I dislike the practice of canvassing for votes.

I have several friends in the running for several competitions, and I am voting for no one, because often I will be voting for one friend at the cost of another. How “valuable” could my vote be, if canvassing by you can secure it, not the intrinsic merit of your post or photo?

I don’t like to be told what I should do, even in a humorous vein. Eg, “Write good things, or lie if you like….. Note the topics, and emphasise on those” Why on earth would I want to do all that?

I blog myself. I don’t badger anyone to see my blogs. I post photos. I do not pester others to see my photos, or vote for them. I do not enter competitions as I too might turn to this kind of canvassing.

It’s not your problem; it’s mine. I do not like canvassing, that’s all. Have you seen the sentence, “Canvassing in any form will disqualify the candidate?” I wish that rule would apply. When you need to cast around for votes, there’s something fundamentally wrong…or at least, that’s my opinion.

I enjoy reading your posts, seeing your photographs. But I don’t like coercion or persuasion of any kind, and I don’t believe that we need to be competitive all the time. By all means let me know if you are in a competition…and then…please leave it to me to vote, or not, as I wish. Do not apply pressure of any kind.

This is not aimed at anyone in particular; it’s a general statement about my dislike of canvassing.(And it’s worse when I am bcc’d for canvassing!)

Science of the Circus, 080613, St.Louis

June 10, 2013

I’m on the mailing list of the

Academy of Science, St.Louis,

and was very intrigued to see that there was an event at the

Centene Center for Arts and Education

called, “The Science of the Circus”. The

Circus Flora

which is a 26-year-old organization in St.Louis, devoted to fostering circus arts, and the Academy of Science had together organized the event, where performers would share the science behind some of the acts found in a circus. Off I went (I took bus no. 97 to North Grand and enjoyed the short walk to the Center!), and I found that three people were giving demonstrations or talks at the venue….

Zi Teng Wang, a doctoral student of molecular biology at Washington University, was a very dextrous card-handler (I’m sure there is a technical term for this.) One after the other, he showed us several tricks (or “magic”, if you like)….here are the videos:

Here’s his trick with this, that, and the other!

Here he shifts around one Joker and three blank cards, and changes the colour of the back of the card:

He turns the aces face up and face down by magic:

Here he changes the queens similarly, then turns them into aces!

Another one face up amidst 51 face down:

Here he mixes up half the pack and puts them one side up again:

He then proceeds, in these two videos, to explain how our brains supply the “gaps” in our eyesight, and hence we are fooled about what we think we see:

Semilla Bland went to watch “fire eaters” at the age of 18, and wanted them to teach her their arts; she said they had a group which later disbanded. Her parents, she says, are not thrilled about this activity of hers!

She, too, explained how intense patience and practice are necessary, and told me how she uses camp fuel instead of lighter fuel, and always wears pure cotton clothes; any polyester fabrics could be dangerous.Her “torches” are made of kevlar, so that they can soak in the inflammable fluid and burn it off each time. She would have preferred her act to happen at night, but sportingly did it in daylight, on the terrace. She is a Life Sciences Gallery Assistant at Saint Louis Science Center. With her bandanna and flowing skirt, though, she looked every inch a Romany gypsy, a look that she cultivates carefully, no doubt!

The third person was Dr Brian Zanghi, who works for the Nestle Research Center, at the Pet Care Center. He gave a presentation about how dogs are naturally far more athletic than human beings, and their VO (Velocity of Oxygen,measuring efficient use of oxygen), could be 120, compared to the average athlete’s 35 to 82. His dog, gentle and beautiful, was an advertisement for his talks!

I would like you, if you can see this post, to watch these videos, one by one, and be as delighted as I was!

Immense wastage of brown paper

June 5, 2013

It’s the beginning of a new year in schools across the south of India, and once again, I see a massive wastage occurring…that of brown paper.

Every year, children go to a new class or form, and they have to buy a set of new text books and note books. We do not have any concept of using the text books that the students used the previous year.

Each printer and publisher of a school text book obviously goes to great lengths to design the cover of the book. So, too, do the printers of note-books. The text books and note books, therefore, come in a variety of sizes, and many have attractive covers.

However, some time in the ancient past, the practice of protecting the books came into being, and for the sake of uniformity, it was decided to use brown paper to cover them. Today, brown paper itself comes in a variety of colours and textures. The brown paper comes in sheets.

Busy parents have the job of helping their children in the job of covering all the text books and note books before the start of the academic year.

Given the fact that the brown paper covers regularly tear and are sometimes replaced, and sometimes not, what is the mandate that schools place on this process of covering? And if the books are to be covered, why not in newspaper, which would recycle paper, and not waste virgin paper?

Covering all the books and notebooks with brown paper actually has the disadvantage that when the child is packing his or her books in a hurry in the morning, they all look alike, and the child has to open the books or notebooks to make sure that the right book is being packed. Of course, the wrapping never can last through the entire academic year.

Why can we not eliminate this extremely wasteful procedure, and become a little more green? Just calculating the amount of paper that must be used in our country, across so many schools in so many towns and cities, is a mind-boggling task…all I can say is that the amount must be astronomical.

Yet another example of “that’s how it’s always been done” becoming the guiding rule, instead of a common-sense approach. If only we could move forward into today’s world, where paper is a resource to be husbanded. We teach green practices to our children in our schools..but do not practice what we preach.


October 25, 2011

Staples. A “staple” is something that is supposed to be very good…it forms the main part of what we eat, for example. But another kind of staple…those ubiquitous little twice-folded pieces of metal that hold two surfaces together…seems to be taking over the world. They are so popular that a famous chain of stationery is named after them!

I’ve learnt to utterly detest staples. Every document of an official nature that arrives at my doorstep seems to be festooned with them. A cheque or an important document is attached to the covering letter with one, the envelopes are often closed with two or three more, and several other staples seem to be added on in some random way, for what reason, I cannot fathom.

What is even worse is that so many packets of foodstuff are stapled shut. Every so often, these staples make their way into the packets themselves, and are a deadly danger to the unwary consumer. I remember, long ago, finding a staple in a dish of pulao that I’d ordered (it was the Peacock restaurant that used to be on Residency Road) and I promptly quipped that “rice is our staple diet, and the restaurant cooks know that!”

I googled around and can’t see much on the impact that staples have on the environment…but surely millions of small pieces of sharp metal can’t be a Good Thing!

So I was quite happy when a forward from Padma Kanani of Kalanjali gave the following news:

“Environmental company creates a staple-free stapler to avoid staple pollution.

“Staples are supposed to be so bad to the environment that a company decided to create a staple-free stapler. This product promises to make collation eco-friendly. Instead of using those thin metal planet-killers, the staple-free stapler “cuts out tiny strips of paper and uses the strips to stitch up to five pieces of paper together.” You can even order them customized with your corporate logo so you can, you know, brag about what your company is doing to stop the staple epidemic.”

paper stplr 251011

I would like to use one, but first I have to first find out how it works! Goodbye to the “staple” diet hereafter! Let me google and find out where I can get one…or, alternatively, I resolve to use only paper clips…and reuse them, too. Can anyone tell me who makes this eco-friendly stapler?

This post is for Venkat Mangudi, whose post on Facebook, and Gabin’s comment on it, that got me back to the subject of staples!

Mockingbird practising various bird calls!

May 4, 2009

The Northern Mockingbird is so called because it “mocks”, or imitates, the calls of other birds. We had a great opportunity of listening to one of these birds, practising, when we went for a walk to Forest Park last week.

KM decided to record some of it on “movie” mode on his little Fuji Finepix…and here’s the video:

The camera was aimed almost vertically upwards, so all you can *see* is silhouettes of the branches, and the bird.

It’s amazing…all those bird-calls are being made by that one bird, which you can see sitting in the upper part of the video (before you click, look just above the Youtube arrow)….! We heard even more variety, but couldn’t record everything!

Perhaps not as spectacular as this clip of the LYRE BIRD, the David Attenborough series…but wonderful, nevertheless!

Death Posters…

October 9, 2007

No, I don’t mean the violent posters that many rock bands put up!

One of the practices I have seen in Tamil Nadu (I don’t know if it also exists elsewhere) is to print notices of someone’s death, and stick them up in public places.

Here’s one, stuck on the back of a bus:

death notice

This particular one mourns (the title says, “kaNNeer anjali” or “homage through tears”) the death of E. Mariappan (alias “auto Mari”) who was an auto driver; it has been paid for by his auto-driver friends, and mentions where he lived, and the date of his birth and death.

No, I don’t think I am violating anyone’s privacy by posting this photo; after all, the original posters were stuck everywhere in public places.

But I am still mystified by why this is done. Would it not be more fitting to have the friends pay for a better funeral…or give the money raised to the deceased’s family? The posters might last for a day or two, that’s all…so this practice really does puzzle me a lot. It must cost a fair amount to print, too…and the bill-posters would have to be paid as well. Does looking at the poster solace the family or friends? What is the point of having unknown strangers looking at it? I can’t get it….

Any ideas, anyone?