Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Leave that child alone!

I was glancing through The Hindu’s supplement for children, the Young World and saw a whole page advertisement to educate children on sexual abuse. The NGO that brought out the advertisement also conducted an exhibition at Spencer Plaza, on the occasion of World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse. It’s great to see so much awareness in a country that normally hides sexuality under the carpet.

In fact, it was a few personal encounters with people who continue to suffer from psychological problems well into adulthood because they had been traumatised in childhood that led me to decide on Psychiatry as my choice of future specialisation long before any of my peers. Further clinical encounters and the knowledge of the scale of the problem and the preventability of future mental problems, reaffirmed my decision to pursue Child Psychiatry.

Though most of the research in this area have concentrated entirely on women, boys are no exception and you’ll be shocked to know that we live in a world where even parents may sexually abuse their own children! Some brutal tales are sure to send shudders down the spine of any average person and be a cause of endless pain and rage. Some of these data maybe shocking, but the truth does hurt...

· A World Health Organization report in 1999 stated that 1 in 10 children is sexually abused;
· A survey of 350 schoolgirls in New Delhi in 1997 revealed that 63% had experienced sexual abuse by family members;
· Another 1997 study on middle and upper class women from Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi and Goa revealed that 76% of respondents had been sexually abused as children, with 71% been abused either by relatives or by someone they knew and trusted;
· A 1996 study on students in Bangalore stated that 47% of the respondents had been sexually abused;
· A 2006 study by Tulir in Chennai found that 42% of the 2211 children surveyed, mostly adolescents, had been abused;

Stunned? Feel like puking? Or does it remind you of a dark day you always wanted to forget?

In any case it's very important that you teach your child how to recognise, protect from and report sexual abuse. It's also important for you to learn to recognise and listen to your child's problems.

Useful Web links:
Tulir - Centre for the Prevention and Healing of Child Sexual Abuse: A great site & a must read!
Tulir's Blog
Indian Council for Child Welfare,Chennai

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Who has the right of way?

It used to be a common sight in our city to see Ambulances in a desperate attempt to save lives speeding on the right side of the road (the wrong side!) to jump the traffic. But as our city's infrastructure and roads have improved Medians have sprung up on every road preventing any such actions.

With the grade separator coming up at the Kathipara Junction, traffic jams have become the norm for the stretch of Mount Road till Halda Junction. The 1.5 km stretch taking up to 15 minutes to negotiate on most days! Ambulances no exception of course.

Some time back on a typical week day evening I was caught among the traffic near SPIC Building. There was an ambulance among the sea of vehicles, after about 5-7 minutes and three signals later the Power of the Siren and flashing lights could get it only as far as my motorbike could wiggle. We turned into the Sardar Vallabhai Patel Road and the situation didn't change much. We missed another signal though I was a little ahead near the stop line, so I called out to the traffic police man standing there, who went behind and removed the barricades allowing the ambulance to change lanes and race ahead of the traffic. Whether the life was saved or not God only knows...

Mount Road Halda Junction & Barricaded Sardar Vallabhai Patel Road
It's a common sight nowadays to see Motorists squiggling uncomfortably in their seats as Ambulances wait with the traffic Siren blaring and lights flashing...

It's also a very common sight to see motorists waiting restlessly for long periods at traffic junctions as the traffic policemen hold up traffic to ensure a free passage for politicians.

So Who has the right of way?

I've also posted on Chennaiist. Thanks for the listing DesiPundit

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Don't Go Schumi!

Something amiss
someone is missed;
sadness engulfs
a sudden vacuum;
the race is over
an era comes to an end;
but time stands still
memories linger;
some race, some corner we recall;
the racer, the driver hangs his boot;
but the spirit,the man, his talent stands tall;

To Schumi,
who made a difference,
who made me his fan,
who gave me something to cheer,
To you Schumi - I bow to thee.

Schumi Forever!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Farewell to a Champion

He didn’t win the title or even the race. Indeed he didn’t even make the podium. However, Michael Schumacher’s farewell drive in Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix illustrated the grit, skill and determination that has made him the greatest driver Formula One racing has ever seen.

The odds were stacked against the Ferrari star from the outset after technical problems in qualifying at Interlagos left him only tenth on the grid. However, an excellent start saw him up to sixth place by the time the safety car intervened following Williams’ Nico Rosberg’s early accident.

Soon after the race restarted, Schumacher dived down the inside of Giancarlo Fisichella’s Renault to seize P4, but as he exited the Senna S he appeared to lose the back end of the car, the Italian promptly regaining the position. The cause of the slide quickly became clear - a left-rear puncture thought to have been caused by debris on the track.

Schumacher limped back to the pits to take on fuel and fresh rubber, but when he rejoined he was running 19th - and last. However, he was immediately back up to speed, slamming in fastest sector times and slicing his way past backmarkers. His progress slowed somewhat when he once more found himself behind Fisichella in the closing stages, but the Renault driver was eventually forced into a mistake by Schumacher’s relentless pressure, running wide at Turn 1 and surrendering fifth place in the process.

McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen - the man who will replace Schumacher at Ferrari - was the next target, and the Finn defended aggressively to maintain fourth place. It took a special move from Schumacher, the pair going side-by-side into Turn 1 just inches apart, with the seven-time champion ultimately emerging ahead.

That left him chasing Jenson Button for a podium, but with just two laps remaining there simply wasn’t time to catch the Honda, despite Schumacher's penultimate lap being the fastest of the race, over half a second quicker than team mate Felipe Massa’s best.

Schumacher’s competitive Formula One career may be over, but true to form, the great man entertained us to the last. Goodbye Schumi!

From Formula1.com Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 11, 2006

Five years after 9/11 - The Xenophobic world we live in

It just took two towers (9/11), a few trains (7/7) and a foiled plane bombing. Now the western world considers anything that walks on two legs, having a beard, as a terrorist! Call it bigotry, call it Islamaphobia, call it whatever, it's sad and troubling how broad minded our human race has become!

Only last month a flight was forced to return to the Amsterdam airport escorted by fighter jets when travellers got Xenophobic and suspected their co-passengers of being terrorists. The pitiable suspects turned out to be Indian businessmen, who happened to be Muslims. (

Now Scotland Yard has admitted it is profiling thousands of UK Muslims and is carrying out a close surveillance of the activities of these potential 'terrorists' (

While the West continues it's obsession with it's flawed 'War on Terror' program, that ignores the root cause of the problem. The terrorists continue to indulge in arbitrary slaughter in the name of jihad. Thousands of human lives have been lost, mostly innocent, yet the Vicious cycle continues with no end in sight.

Last month,
I too became a terrorist inadvertently...!!! Read more about it on www.Chennaiist.com, a new group Blog where I contribute. Chennaiist, is all about Chennai, the City I live in and love the most!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Flowers from my Mom's Garden

Collage of Flowers on Blog, originally uploaded by prahalathan.

Thought you'd seen it all? Head over to my photo blog Garden Flowers for Flowers, Flowers and more Flowers! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Crash - Movie Review

Amazing movie that makes you empathise with the characters and experience their emotions.
An unflinching look of the racial conflict simmering beneath the calm exterior of Los Angeles city. This provocative movie examines the perspectives of the multi ethnic population as they 'crash' into each other.
The movie truly deserves the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Watch out for the scene where the persian shop keeper shoots the locksmith.

Don't miss it!

Five Thumbs up!!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Ugly Roses of Siachen

The World's largest non-polar glacier.
The place of Wild Roses.
The Third Pole.
Siachen.... Definitely deserves a place in the record books
It's also the world's highest battlefield, where, for over two decades India and Pakistan have fought at altitudes of over 22,000 feet in minus 60ÂșC temperatures.
It's definitely not something we should be feeling proud of.

For a glacier that has overstated strategic significance, India spends a whopping 1-2 Billion Rupees a year!
Not just the enormous waste of money that could've been sensibly used for a hundred other things. Thousands of Indian Soldiers risk their lives every year in those inhospitable heights.
It's considered a great honour to serve at the Siachen Glacier in the Indian Army.
Not without reason...
The Indian Army looses one soldier every other day mostly to the extreme weather!
Many soldiers who return after serving at the Siachen Glacier suffer from psychiatric illnesses.

We are a nation of a billion people and they a nation of a quarter billion. Aren't there enough sensible people on either side of the Siachen to put an end to this nonsense?