Saturday, December 27, 2014

Remembering Tsunami ‘26th December 2004’

It seems like distant past now, we were in Vishakhapatnam living in a multi-story, my daughter was barely two year old. It was morning time and suddenly without warning the building started shaking violently. Deep into the windy winters in the coastal region, the azure water of sea churned menacingly as the Earth shook beneath our feet. People ran out of buildings and were alarmed by the violence of the earthquake. Always while visiting the beach I would observe how the colour of sea would turn dark as the tides changed and each time I would wonder how vulnerable the people living on the coasts were. On 26th December 2004, I realized my apprehensions were not misplaced. Who would have imagined that gigantic waves 115 feet high would turn the coastal region across 14 countries, battered by brutal Tsunami, into grieving grounds as the disaster left 220,000 humans dead in its wake. For months the sea water carried the stench of the dead bodies and the pain washed over the land. After a few days while visiting the market I watched a mentally unstable women grieving, I stopped to listen to her and she whispered to me, “I can hear them all night, they are everywhere and they are grieving.” I asked her who she was talking about. She confided, “These spirits, they are all around wailing all night, washed ashore by the troubled waters.” I could never forget the pain that was almost palpable all around those days. Those who face the brutal force of nature were unprepared as the sea advanced inland wiping away buildings, drowning thousands, with churning waters that carried debris that destroyed everything in its path. This was something that generations of people living across the coasts had never seen, there was no History of this scale of devastation, needless to say there was no preparedness, nor a way to escape the inevitable death and destruction. Andaman and Nicobar, which lay near the epicenter bore the brunt as land disappeared under the sea water. As an earthquake is unpredictable, the Tsunami waves that inundated the islands caught the population there unaware, there was no time to save the possessions and within a few hours everything that people owned, their life’s savings, their homes, their identity, everything were gone. There was no hope and there were no directions that could help them regain some semblance of life. An experienced Doctor narrated his experience about the state of absolute chaos, the team was dispatched by the Government of India to extend medical help to those in need and as the aftershocks shook the land beneath the feet, the Doctors observed that there was no potable water available, due to the decaying carcasses and salt water that had rushed inland the water sources were contaminated, all around the people with broken limbs and shattered raw emotions demanded attention. There was need everywhere but there were no means to reach, assure and heal people in need. The very magnitude of the earthquake measuring 9.3 was unheard of, as was the scale of devastation it caused, these were humans that had lost loved ones and all that they had built their lives around, were they supposed to look for their family, seek their lost homes, seek identity or to struggle for survival? Many states in India were ravaged by these killer waves, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Pondicherry, Andam and Nicobar islands. Later, while working with an American Professor I came across one of his papers where he talks about a man who had learned about early warning in his village and had the presence of mind to warn his village about a possible Tsunami as the massive earthquake had struck Aceh in Indonesia, which was opposite to his village, Nallavadu in Tamil Nadu. He called his sister warning about a possible Tsunami asking her to warn the villagers about the possibility of flooding. Th is early warning by Vijaykumar Gunasekaran saved lives, there was not a single death in their village and in surrounding areas where they could spread this warning. The livestock was saved, the villagers could also save their boats and thus their livelihood. Much later while I was involved in some livelihood projects that were implemented in the regions affected by disaster in Andhra Pradesh, I realized the power of preparedness, of being aware that at any moment without prior warning a disaster can strike. Also about the aftermath where in absence of support, without livelihood how lives can drift towards destitution. Small steps that I read about, the ice buckets for keeping fish fresh for longer period, the platforms to dry fish hygienically made a difference. I am sure these activities brings the communities closer and instills confidence in difficult times. As the World mourns the death and devastation caused by Tsunami ten years ago, it is time to reflect on how humanity has enabled the vulnerable communities in being prepared for natural and manmade disasters. It is time to take stock as we pray for the souls of those who lost their lives in this unprecedented disaster and to use ICT and other means to empower all the people who are at risk both physically and psychologically.

Sunday, November 9, 2014


Ayurveda: Ageless Remedies By Rina Tripathy May 2001 In his early years, N.K. Padmanabhan Vaidyar learnt ayurveda from ancient manuscripts handed down by the great masters. Today, at his clinic in Cochin, India, he claims to cure lethal diseases like hepatitis AyurvedaHis gentle, child-like face somehow assures one of healing and recovery. The doctor tells me the trees around the clinic bear flowers and fruits throughout the year. Strange but true. I’ve heard of the wonder drug Kamilari. ‘Can you really cure hepatitis?’ I ask. ‘Yes, all liver diseases including hepatitis can be cured,’ says N.K.P. Vaidyar, popularly called Vaidyan. ‘We have tried our herbal cures for palliative treatment of AIDS too and the results are quite satisfying.’ His son proffers a bundle of clinical reports. I am amazed to find that each progressive report records a decrease in Bilirubin count till the case of hepatitis B is rendered negative. Similarly, jaundice—with no cure in allopathy—is reportedly cured with Kamilari in a few days. How come ayurveda cures diseases that allopathy can’t? He smiles: ‘The liver is the master organ of the body. If healthy, 90 per cent of problems can be solved. Ayurveda has understood the liver, its working.’ By administering Kamilari, a balance is created in vata, pitta and kapha, stabilizing the metabolism and rejuvenating the liver. Early on, Vaidyan was spurred by the idea of doing away with surgery, which led him to discover drugs that could cure completely. Piles, prostate gland problems, tonsillitis and fistula are some of the diseases for which his ayurvedic drugs are effective. ‘Plants,’ Vaidyan says, ‘clean the environment and some—especially neem and tulsi (basil leaves)—not only benefit humans but also keep the surrounding plants healthy.’ ‘We migrated from Sri Lanka. Our ancestors were physicians of the Maharaja of Kochi. They read the scriptures and made medicines, mostly decoctions of medicinal plants, giving them to the villagers free of cost.’ He claims that all current ailments are mentioned in the scriptures with their remedies. ‘In fact, 15,000 herbs are mentioned in the scriptures of which 850 are used commonly.’ Vaidyan grows 250-350 herbs in his garden and is constantly in search of new herbs. His research has led to the discovery of herbal medicines for all types of stones, diabetes, cholesterol and even hair fall. He further claims that even AIDS patients have shown marked reduction in virulence with his treatment and some are leading healthier lives. According to Vaidyan: ‘Ayurveda restores or creates dharma while allopathy creates karma by supplying what is missing.’ He cites the example of the pancreas—its dharma is to produce insulin. If there’s a malfunction, in allopathy insulin is administered (karma), whereas ayurveda rejuvenates the pancreas (restoring its dharma of producing insulin). Vaidyan says that Ravana had discovered 4,444 diseases and an equal number of single herb cures. He wrote three important books, Kumaratanthram, Arkaprahasham and Nadipariksha. He shows me bundled scriptures in Sanskrit on palm leaves no wider than two inches and a foot and a half in length known as ‘Ollahs’. Next he shows stones that suck out snake venom. ‘These can be used to cure other diseases too,’ he says. ‘They are no ordinary stones, but medicinal concoctions, some a combination of poisons too. These have been made in this form by my ancestors.’ Vaidyan’s attention is now focused on hepatitis. WHO puts the number of the infected in India at 46.5 million (one in twenty). Two million are dying every year from hepatitis, which is many times more virulent than HIV. Moreover, the virus lies dormant for many years and carriers may unknowingly keep transferring it to others. The virus causes jaundice, followed by cirrhosis of the liver and even liver cancer. While jaundice and cirrhosis have been cured with the help of 107 herbs researched by Vaidyan, liver cancer—especially in its advanced stage—is still a challenge. Vaidyan laments that most cancer patients come to him when it is too late. With over a thousand patients under treatment and a success rate of 90 per cent, hope shines bright. The treatment is inexpensive with a package of Kamilari and Hepin that Vaidyan uses after studying the quantitative report. This is done to determine the strength of the virus and the duration of the treatment, which depends on the age and health of the patient, and costs Rs 2,000 per month. Besides, one has to follow a strict diet, avoiding jackfruit, roots like colocasia, fried fish and meat. Vaidyan points out that vaccination against hepatitis has various side effects. ‘No virus or foreign body in the world can strike the immune system if the liver is healthy,’ he emphasizes. Contact: N.K.P. Vaidyar, Post Box No 2051, Cochin 682020, India. Tel: 91-0484-317881/ 311508 (Clinic)/324015 (Res) Email:

Friday, October 3, 2014

Swatch Bharat Mission

Today I had to walk to office and reached Rajpath where our Honourable PM had delivered speech, I walked ahead towards Raisins hill but it was closed so I came back to the place where the stage was being dismantled. People were clicking pictures and a boy requested I take a picture of him and then he also offered to take pictures of me. I came back to Princess Park and near my walking place saw these pieces of glass that I dug out and put these glass pieces in a polythene lying on grass and placed these in a dustbin. My contribution today!

Sawtch Bharat Mission

oday as I was at India gate for morning walk saw this pile of garbage right where people were walking. Could not go past this ignoring the filth, mainly empty medicine bottles, how can people be so insensitive? Looked for polythene, there was none around so looked for it in garbage bin found a newspaper and a polythene, used these to collect the bottles and transport them to the bin on the side. So much of filth even nearby, identified many places were immovable bins should be placed. The video I took of the state of India Gate road and clean up.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

It is as if we can face to face with our soul and I sense through each atom of my being that the soul slips its sweet hand into mine. There is child like trust and absolute innocence. The mind that comes through as consciousness feels protective towards this complete surrender of soul. In a strange sense what comes through is when consciousness can see the soul, it becomes another kind of existence where purity of soul is there to guide at every step. Don't know if I can come across clearly but I have been sensing this in my heart so thought trying to put this in words...

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Jammu and Kashmir is battling one of the worst floods in decades with rivers in the region in spate due to days of incessant rain. Thousands of people are marooned in Jammu and Kashmir, devastated by its worst floods. Srinagar is submerged with people waiting for rescue on terraces and rooftops. Many people have lost contact with their families with phone lines down. Over 200 people have died and thousands are stranded across the state. There is still no connectivity between the remote parts of Jammu and Kashmir. Indian Red Cross Society action: The current flooding of the Jammu and Kashmir state, has seen extensive loss of lives and property. FMRs from the J & K state branch have actively rescued hundreds of people and have moved them to safer ground and offered first aid and psychosocial support to them. The IRCS has also set up tented colonies for the evacuees in Srinagar. The IRCS National Headquarters on its part in the initial phase has been able to mobilize relief of tents, kitchen sets,woollen blankets, tarpaulins,wind cheaters and other relief items to Srinagar and Jammu. Further, two Water Purification units capable of delivering 3000L of drinking water per hour and six units to deliver upto 700 litres per hour have been airlifted to Srinagar, along with trained personnel to set the units up. The 2 units delivering 3000 liters of water per hour are now operational.Around potable water is being distributed by Indian Red Cross Society to the flood victims.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


खिलते फूलो की वादी शायद फूल और धूप खिले है वादी में आज और तुम... बैठी हो चिनार तले एक सफ़ेद पत्थर पे ठंडी धार में पांव रखे धरा से व्योम तक हिमालय की गोद भरे . ..