Skip to main content

Posts

What if government schools and hospitals attract people with money

I had this random thought (and I get this often only when I have 1000 important things to finish!)- what if people who can afford private schools and hospitals find state-run schools and hospitals good enough for them. All of my friends in UK and US don't send their children to private schools (its another matter that location matters on quality of state-run schools there) and those in UK, don't spend money on healthcare.

Just imagine if this can happen in India. People will be left with more surplus that they can save more or spend on something else. School fees in major Indian cities can be as high as Rs 2 lakh per child per year. The sheer confidence that we don't have to spend on medical expenses and the state will take care will give confidence to spend more money.

The multiplier effect of this extra money in the hands of the people will hugely benefit the economy, and can spring creative enterprises.

This level of expenditure (even Rs50,000 per child per year) is si…
Recent posts

How can you support a publication you like

When I shifted to my half completed (more on this some other time) flat in Gurgaon in 2016, I couldn't locate newspaper distributors for four or five months. Suddenly, from consuming four or five newspapers, I was completely dependent on digital media. I was going less directly to the news source (say, thehindu.com or livemint.com) but was getting my news from Facebook and Twitter, and from apps like Flipboard.

It became an experiment, as I was consuming interesting stuff but I was not necessarily getting informed. People whom I have met once or twice, or have never met are influencing what I was consuming via Facebook. If you're wondering why you often see posts by your most popular friends, that's the way Facebook algorithms work, unless you specify who's feed should come first. If Facebook promotes post of your not-so-popular friends, why would you read!

I searched hard to find a newspaper distributor and found one finally, after four or five months. So now I subsc…

Happiness, street vendors, and negotiations......

Few days back I was watching a documentary series, "India's Frontier Trains". The three-part series was on trains connecting India with its neighbours - Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal. Yes, there is a train connection between India and Nepal, and that train is the only functioning train for the whole of Nepal.

In the episode on the train between India and Bangladesh, the program documented a life of a chocolate seller inside the train. He boards the train in the Bangladesh side of the route. A sole bread winner for a family of four, he earns by selling chocolates in the train.

He faces a perennial problem: because of hot weather conditions, his chocolates melt. In those hot days, his earnings are meager. A basic cooling device like this costs seventeen pounds and he couldn't afford that.

What moved me was the insensitive nature of some passengers in haggling with this struggling chocolate seller. They would force down the price by 10 pence or more (which is more tha…

Being hopeless....

Three months back when my mom was visiting me, she experience heart palpitations for two consecutive nights. Worried I called my cardiologist friend who asked us to visit him in the government hospital on that day as it was a non-OPD (out patients day) duty for him. Apparently non-OPD days are less crowded. As we sat waiting, we saw many worried parents bringing their just born babies to treat serious heart problems. What struck me were the faces of these parents - a feeling of hopelessness. This was their last hope to treat their infants in a state-run hospital as they don't  have money to take them elsewhere.

Fortunately, the staff at this government hospital were treating patients sympathetically. I hoped the patients would have got the best of treatment available. In comparison, patients were treated as cattle herds at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), India's premier hospital. To get an cardio OPD appointment, you will have stand in the line from 5 PM …

Life’s lessons from people around us……

On a day when Indira Nooyi, head of Pepsi, was in the news with her frank comments on women and career (though it's not the first time she said this), I was thinking of many unsung heroes that we see every day. We not only ignore them but also miss out on opportunities to learn from them. Couple of incidents come to my memory. A friend was admitted in a state-run hospital recently, and the patient next to him was a frail looking mother of four children. She has been in hospital for more than three months. She was so weak that someone has to help her to do the basic stuff. My friend was saying the couple from Bihar were probably from a very poor background, "The way the husband took care of his wife was amazing. He fed her with great patience, and took care of her needs. Probably my mom would have taken care of me like that."
Pretty much sure the family would have slipped back into poverty with this illness though the treatment in a state-run hospital is almost free with …

With no choice and voice….

Last Sunday I took a friend of mine to the emergency gynecology ward in one of Delhi's private mission hospitals. It was a lean day with not much of activity and I was chatting with my friend's husband, it was then I noticed a pregnant women walking in along with two of her relations. They have been referred to this hospital by the nearby government hospital as the private hospital would take better care of her. The reason: the estimated weight of the baby she was carrying was grossly under-weight, measuring only 1.2 kgs even after nine months of pregnancy. She was in great discomfort as her membrane broke, and sat next to me in a wooden bench.
In the meantime, I saw a lady doctor talking angrily out of frustration with relations of this pregnant lady, including her husband. With little knowledge of Hindi, I couldn't follow the conversation. Another friend had come by this time, and also a senior doctor was summoned by the lady doctor who first talked to pregnant lady'…

Be a democrat in US, but root for BJP in India

Before I say anything I would like to disclose my knowledge of political affairs in India. I had lot of assumptions and predictions for this just concluded elections, and none of them came true. So I am not going to talk politics and waste time. But this election season reminded me of a funny incident when I was a student in Arizona State University (ASU) in 2004.
As a thumb rule, I discuss politics only with close friends. So my flat mates in Phoenix had no idea about my political likes and dislikes. So on the day when BJP lost the elections, one of my flat mates – who used to hate George Bush and an active supporter of Democrats – saw me in that morning, and said, "What John, people have done this" in a disappointed tone.
He saw no contradiction whatsoever in supporting democrats in US and at the same time supporting BJP in India. It was after that I started noticing Indian students in US, and people who got their jobs in US recently, most of them exhibited this kind of du…