Posted in Political

Precious Preparation/Sowing/Harvest Time Lost

More than the Covid-19 scare, I am gripped by another fear now: what shall happen to us next year.

India has had bumper harvests last three straight years. We are the world’s largest record food grain producer. World’s No.1 milk producer. We are cashing in presently our yesteryear’s reaping. We are sitting idle right now doing nothing because Corona has forced us in to this tight corner. No other way out.

Govt advises against panic buying, true there is no need to do that so far. Until now groceries have been arriving regularly and every neighbourhood is well supplied. There are adequate stocks of essential medicines and anything and everything you may need for survival. But for how long can this go on. (Booked my LPG refill two days back and got it in 24 hours. Kudos! With a rate reduction, thank you PM Modi!)

Today I heard Sadhguru talking about the impending food crisis once this is over. But even before he talked about this, i’ve been asking my maid whether farm activities are on in rural areas. She is from a village 100 km from Chennai and talks to her folks over phone almost every single day. She said, some farm workers are going to work while others aren’t. Agricultural activity is slack, but can’t say there is nothing happening. Without sales, flowers are withering in sun, without buyers, fresh milk is thrown in thousands of liters to waste. Vegetables and fruits are rotting without reaching markets in towns and cities. No mutton supply as transport is stalled to metros. Chicken and eggs are in good supply. I have a couple of fruit and vegetable vendors wheeling their carts into my street. I use every such opportunity to replenish my grocery stock. However I am aware, we are enjoying the harvests of last season. The new season has not yet begun for us sadly.

As Sadhguru rightly pointed out, this is harvest season in the north, while it is preparation time for the soil in the south. The south harvest was over with Pongal/Sankranthi in January. In fact I was asking about this to my maid who told me that near her place closer to Kanchipuram, small and marginal farmers were going in for short term crops like groundnut and greengram. In Tamil Nadu, from tv news I gathered that the floriculturists were moving over to short term commercial crops. Now neither do we have harvest nor cultivation in progress. So what do we have in store for next year. India is a monsoon dependent country. Time before monsoons (March to May) are very important for sowing and preparation.

I am sure, this scenario is not India specific but is universal. One reason why President Trump has been reluctant to go in for a total lockdown of the US. However, are we left with any other choice.

I can go on and on and on.

Yet, let me clarify here, this social distancing, this lockdown is the need of the hour in the interests of a larger cause.

Most hit will be our farmer community whose investments have turned to dust already. Govt of India is doing their best to compensate farmers for their losses. Provisions of rice, wheat, pulses and sugar bags were distributed free in my street PDS under police vigilance. My maid got my share and I asked her to keep the government assistance of Rs.1,000/-. It will go a long way in helping her family have a normal life as her daily wage earner husband is currently unemployed. My regular autowallah called me even as I was thinking about him. I would like to help both these families more but they are very proud people even if poor. Both my maid and my autowallah refused financial aid from me and said, what government is doing for them is more than enough for them. Extremely proud of these two families. Poor so what. My autowallah saves well and has a robust bank balance.

I am yet to contribute to our PM’s fund which i will be doing anytime now.  I am waiting for the initial wave to subside.

To NRI community working and living in Arab countries, there is a cause for concern. Imports of food and dairy products must have trickled down to minimum. Cargo flights may be operating yet, when the local markets in the exporting countries do not function, what will be there to ship?

It is all becoming one vicious cycle!

It is also time for us to reckon, we cannot eat gold or diamond or currency notes or oil or gas.

Someone posted this on social media:

Before the lockdown was announced for 21 days and we knew what was coming once it was out that PM Modi intended to address the nation, what did we rush to buy and stock:

Food, food and more food.

Nothing else mattered.

None of us rushed to buy gold or diamond or petrol or sedans or clothes or branded accessories for that matter.

Another friend posted:

‘My kurtis and saris are begging me to wear them as they pondered, ‘so is she on holiday’

My jeans replied, ‘if she is on holiday, then she would be wearing me! no she is not!’

And then my nightie shot back, ‘oh she works from home and i am on 24 hour duty now!’

Although I laughed loud at this, can’t help thinking on that.

Hopefully normalcy returns soon to our lives.

Having clearer skies and bluer oceans makes me feel good, seeing wildlife and birds have a free run delights my heart yet soon some day, things will be as they were before.

However I am in no rush to come out of lockdown. Prepared to wait it out.

If another lockdown has to follow, i am for that too.

My humble wish is that, agricultural activities can be exempted from lockdown wherever and whenever possible.

I look forward to the day I can preen in front of my friends in my new designer sari…  To restore balance, we can have a 24  hour lockdown every sunday in India in my opinion from now on.



Posted in Political

India Fights Novel Corona Virus

INDIA UNDER LOCKDOWN (updated March 29, 2020)

India Statistics stand at 693 (Corona infected including 43 foreigners and 13 dead, 43 Recovered and 637 Active cases) as of today.

Twice the Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji has addressed the nation within a week’s time. As Covid-19 positive cases spiked sharply in the country, in his first televised address, the PM asked Indians to observe a ‘Janata curfew’ – self isolaton of the  1.4 billion population without the imposition of Section 144 , on sunday, the 22nd March, 2020. One man, one word and the entire Indian nation ground to a standstill as if by magic and the Janta curfew proved to be a grand success. India has had bumper harvests from monsoons (in last three straight years). There is absolutely no food shortage and India tops the world in foodgrain production. So when Prime Minister Modi announced complete lockdown of the nation from 24th midnight, i.e., from 25th morning, for next 21 days, with an intent to stop Corona from spreading like wildfire across the country, there is no panic among the masses because,  we are safe and secure in the knowledge that we are adequately and well provided for . India can survive without moving a muscle for another 18 months minimum. Kudos to our farmer community for making this possible, taking care of the food security of the nation.

The center announced welcome relief package for some 80 crore Indians, a vast majority of our population including rationing of food grains at very nominal/subsidized rates. The present allocation of rations to subsist the masses for next three months if we have reasons to continue with the lockdown. No Indian will  be forced to go hungry. No Indian family will be put to hardship because our economy in gradually grinding to a total halt. At this moment, I can say, we are mercifully in strong and good hands. I trust our government and our prime minister to steer us to safety out of this unprecedented crisis that is shaking the world.

“Modi-led government has approved the world’s largest food security scheme to benefit 80 crore people across the country. Out of them, every person will get 7 kg ration per month for the next three months, including wheat at a cost of Rs 2 per kg, instead of Rs 27 per kg; and rice at cost of Rs 3 per kg, instead of Rs 37 per kg,” to put it in a nutshell. I wonder whether first world nations like the US or Canada or even the oil rich Arab nations can pull this mammoth feat. India has a well established, disciplined and managed PDS rationing system which now has enabled smart card operations.  India manages Her food distribution chain with exceptional efficiency. One of the best welfare systems in the world anyday. For instance, in my homestate Tamil Nadu, 20 kg rice, Atta, Sugar, Palm Oil, Pulses etc are distributed free or at very nominal prices for every household. Rice comes completely free.

On the economic front, the accounting for financial year 2019-20 has been pushed from March 31, 2020 to June 30, 2020 by the finance minister Smt. Nirmala Seetharaman, providing a great relief to banks and other financial institutions and businesses. Deadline was also extended for filing Income Tax (IT) and GST returns and for linking PAN with Aadhar for individuals and businesses.

1. Last date for filing GST annual returns of FY 18-19 extended till the last week of June 2020.

2. Last date for filing GSTR-3B due March, April, May 2020 returns and composition returns extended till last week of June 2020.

3. No interest, late fee or penalty for companies with less than Rs. 5 crore turnover; For the bigger companies, interest would be 9 per cent.

4. Last date for opting a composition scheme is extended till the last week of June 2020.

5. Payment date under Sabka Vishwas Scheme extended to June 30, 2020.

Government today announced relief package for the entire nation in view of Corona virus spread in the country.


The Prime Minister Gareeb Kalyan scheme to have two parts — cash transfer and food security :

The Package is for instant relief only. A much awaited stimulus package for the industry and local economy on the way.


For Organised sector workers:

The Government of India will pay the EPF contribution of both employee and employer for the next three months. This will be for all those establishments which have up to 100 employees, 90% of whom earn less than Rs 15,000 a month.

For Senior citizens, Rural BPL Families, Women and the Disabled: 

One time ex-gratia of Rs 2,000 to 3 crore poor senior citizens, poor widows and Divyangs through DBT

20 crore Jan Dhan Women account holders covered- Ex gratia amount of Rs 500 per month for the next three months

Women in self-help groups: 6.3 million SHGs get up to Rs 10 lakh collateral-free loans under the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya National Rural Mission scheme. The cap has been doubled to Rs 20 lakh. The move will benefit 70 million households

Beneficiaries of the Ujjwala scheme: 80 million households benefitted from the gas cylinders provided under the scheme. These beneficiaries will get free cylinders for three months in view of the disruption the coronavirus lockdown will cause.

Coronavirus lockdown package for poor: MGNREGA Wage increased from Rs 182 to Rs 202 per day. MGREGA is India’s minimum rural employment guarantee scheme.

For Farmers:

First instalment of the PM-KISAN payment of Rs 2,000 to be frontloaded; move to benefit 87 million

Package to directly reach out to the poor: 

— Relief package of Rs 1.7 lakh crore

—  Medical insurance cover of 50 lakh rupees per health worker

80 cr (some 800 million) poor people (BPL families) to get 5 kg wheat or rice and 1 kg of preferred pulses for free every month for the next three months through Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Anna Yojana during lockdown . This is in addition to the 5 kg they already get.

Additionally, each household to get 1 kg of preferred dal for free for the next three months

Rs 50 lakh insurance per health care worker as a medical insurance cover for them for three month.

Some links in support of the above:

India is also helping the SAARC nations fight the  spread of Coronavirus with free medical and material supplies to the tune of 1 million US$

Chennai streets sprayed with disinfectants since last two weeks.

Indian government has banned export of masks and hand sanitizers.

Tamil Nadu state govt announced double pay for the medical fraternity as well as sanitary workers employed with govt hospitals and civic administrations.

Indian govt has approved the first Made-in-India test kit within record 6 weeks for coronavirus.

Over 50 private laboratories have been roped in  by government to test for the coronavirus. Here is the list:


Indira Gandhi Government Medical College, Nagpur

Kasturba Hospital for Infectious Diseases, Mumbai

SRL Religare Laboratory, Gaiwadi Industrial Estate, S.V. Road, Goregaon (W) Mumbai

Dr Lal Path Lab

Metropolis Healthcare Ltd – Global Reference Laboratory, Vidyavihar, Mumbai (Will be ready by 23 March 2020)

Metropolis Healthcare Ltd, Bhandarkar Institute Road, Pune (Will be ready by 23 March 2020)

SRL Dignostic Laboratory, Dr Avinash Phadake Laboratory, Mahim,Mumbai

AG. Dignostic Lab Pvt.Ltd.Pune

Apollo Hospital, Nashik 31. Apollo Hospital, Navi Mumbai

SRL Limited, Sector-4, Kharghar, Navi Mumbai

SRL Ltd-CoE Histopath Mahim

SRL Limited, Hiranandani Fortis Hospital, 5th Floor, Mini Seashore Road, Sector-10, Vashi, Navi Mumbai

SRL Ltd, Fortis Hospital, Mulund-Goregaon Link Road, Mulund, Mumbai

SRL Diagnostics –Dr. Avinash Phadke (SRL Diagnostics Private Limited), for its facilities at Dadar,Mahim & Andheri

N M Medical Centre, Mumbai


All India Institute of  Medical Sciences (AIIMS)

National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)

Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, Delhi

Dang Lab

Dr Lal Path Lab

SRL Limited , 74, Paschimi Marg, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi
Max Lab, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket

SRL Limited, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, Okhla Road, New DelhiFortis Hospital, A Block Shalimar Bagh, Delhi

SRL Ltd, Fortis Flt. Lt. Rajan Dhall Hospital, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi

Lifeline Diagnostics, Green Park, Delhi

Oncquest Laboratories Ltd, Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi-110029

Metropolis Healthcare Ltd, Mohan Co-operative Industrial Estate, Mathura Road, New Delhi (Will be ready by 23 March 2020)


National Institute of Virology Field Unit

Govt. Medical College, Kozhikode

Govt. Medical College, Thrissur

Govt. Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram

DDRC –SRL Diagnostics Private Limited, Gandhi Nagar, Kottayam-686008, Kerala & Amalagiri P.O., Ammencherry, Kottayam, Kerala

DDRC SRL Diagnostics Private Limited, Ground Floor, Aster Square, Medical College P.O., Trivandrum-695011, Kerala

DDRC SRL Diagnostics Private Limited., Ernakulam G 131,DDRC SRL Tower Ernakulam-682036 Kerala

EI LAB Metropolis, North square build, Paramara road, Cochin(Will be ready by 1 April 2020)


National Institute of Virology Field Unit Bangalore

Hassan Inst. of Med. Sciences, Hassan

Bangalore Medical College & Research Institute, Bangalore

Shimoga Inst. of Med. Sciences, Shivamogga

Mysore Medical College & Research Institute, Mysore

SRL Limited, Bangalore Reference lab, Next to Jal Bhavan, Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore

SRL Limited, Fortis Hospital Limited, 14, Cunningham Road, Bangalore, Karnataka

SRL Limited, Fortis Hospitals Limited, 154/9, Bannerghatta Road, Opp. IIM, Bangalore

SRL Ltd, FortisHospital, #23,Gurukrupa Layout ,800 feet road, Nagarbhavi, Bangalore

SRL Diagnostics Private Limited for its facilities at 51, Chintal Plaza, 10th Main Road, 33rd Cross, IV Block, Jayanagar, Bangalore

NEUBERG ANAND Lab, Shivaji Nagar, Bangalore

RV Metropolis Main Lab, 76/10, 15th Cross. 4th Main. Malleshwaram, Bengaluru (Will be ready by 1 April 2020)


Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, Aligarh

Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi

King’s George Medical University, Lucknow

SRL Ltd, B1/12, Vipul Khand, Gomti Nagar, Lucknow

SRL Limited, Fortis Hospital, B-22, Sector-62, Noida


Jhalawar Medical College, Jhalawar

SP Med. College, Bikaner

Dr. S.N Medical College, Jodhpur

Sawai Man Singh, Jaipur

RNT Medical College, Udaipur


Govt. Medical college, Thiruvaru

Government Medical College, Theni

King’s Institute of Preventive Medicine & Research, Chennai

Tirunelveli Medical College, Tirunelveli

Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory, Apollo Hospitals, Chennai

Apollo Greams Lane, Chennai

Apollo Hospitals, Madurai

SRL Limited, AB-46, First Street, 6th Main Road,Anna Nagar Chennai

Neuberg Ehrlich Lab, Royapettah, Chennai

Lister Metropolis Nungambakam, Chennai (will be ready by 23 March)


Government Medical College, Haldwani


IPGMER, Kolkata

National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases, Kolkata

Apollo Gleneagles Hospital

SRL Limited Reference laboratory, Salt Lake City, Kolkata, West Bengal

SRL Limited, Fortis Hospital, 730, Anandapur, E.M. Bypass Road, Kolkata

Suraksha Diagnostics, New Town, Kolkata

Medica Super Specialty Hospital, Kolkata


All India Institute Medical Sciences, Bhopal

National Institute of Research in Tribal Health, Jabalpur

SRL Ltd, 34/2 New Palasia, Behind Industry House, Indore


MP Shah Government Medical College, Jamnagar

BJ Medical College, Ahmedabad

Apollo Hospitals, Ahmedabad

Neuberg Supratech, Ahmedabad

Desai Metropolis Health Services Pvt. Ltd., Near Mahavir Cardiac Hospital, Athwagate, Surat(Will be ready by 1 April 2020)

Sanjeevani Metropolis, Safal -3, Swami Vivekanand Road, Opp. Commissioner Bunglow, Rajkot(Will be ready by 1 April 2020)


Pt BD Sharma Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Rohtak

BPS Govt Medical College, Sonipat

SRL Limited, Clinical Reference Lab, Udyog Vihar,Sector-18, Gurgaon

SRL Limited, FEHRC, Neelam Bata Road, NIT, Faridabad

Fortis Memorial Research Institute (FMRI),Sector 44,Gurgaon

SRL Limited 416, Ashoka Colony, Opposite Kalpana Chawla Medical College, Karnal-132001


Indira Gandhi Medical College, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh

Dr Rajendra Prasad Government Medical College, Kangra

SRL Ltd, Zonal hospital, Mandi, Room No 813, Mandi, Himachal Pradesh

SRL Ltd, OPD NO. 3, Dr RPGMC, Tanda, Dist Kangra, Himachal Pradesh

SRL Ltd. Indira Gandhi Medical College IGMC Shimla Dist Shimla, HP-171001

SRL Ltd. C/o Regional Hospital Hamirpur, Dist Hamirpur-177001 H.P


Government Medical College, Srinagar

Government Medical College, Jammu

Sher-e- Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, Srinagar

Dr Lal Path Lab, B C Road Jammu


MGM Medical College, Jamshedpur


Regional Institute of Medical Sciences, Imphal

JN Institute of Medical Sciences Hospital, Imphal


NEIGRI of Health and Medical Sciences, Shillong


Silchar Medical College, Silchar

Regional Medical Research Center, Dibrugarh

Gauhati Medical College, Guwahati

Jorhat Medical College, Jorhat

SRL Diagnostics – Skylab Assam

SRL Limited-Magpins Diagnostics, Paltan Bazar, Dibrugarh


Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education & Research, Puducherry


Regional Medical Research Center, Bhubaneswar

Apollo Hospitals, Bhubaneswar


Rajendra Memorial Research Institute of Medical Sciences, Patna

SRL Reach Limited,Sadar HospitalCampus,At Court More, Dhanbad


Government Medical College, Amritsar

Government Medical College, Patiala

SRL Ltd, Fortis Escorts Hospital, Majitha Verka Byepass Road, Amritsar

SRL Limited, STREET Mundian, C/O Radhaswamysatsang, Beas, Fortis Hospital Building, Chandigarh Road, city Ludhiana, Punjab -141001

Fortis Hospital, Sector-62, Phase-8, Mohali, Punjab


Osmania Medical College, Hyderabad

Gandhi Medical College, Secunderabad

Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad

Apollo Hyderguda, Hyderabad

SRL Ltd.Legend Crystal Shop No.06,Ground Floor,Plot No.1-7-79/A&B,Prenderghast Road,Secunderabad,500003

SRL Limitedc/o Ambicare Clinics Kondapur Hyderabad

Medics Labs, New Bowenpally, Secunderabad


Government Medical College, Agartala


Siddhartha Medical College, Vijayawada

Andhra Medical College, Visakhapatnam

Sri Venkateswara Institute of Medical Sciences, Tirupati

GMC, Anantapur

Rangaraya Medical College, Kakinada


Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh

SRL Limited, S.C.O-24, Sector-11 D, Chandigarh


All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Raipur

Dr Lal Path lab, Raipur

SRL Diagnostics lab, Raipur


Regional Medical Research Centre, Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar

India is fighting on all fronts the Novel Corona Virus Pandemic. We shall break the chain. We shall flatten the curve. With resolve and restrain as PM Modi vowed. Right now, India is at Stage 2. It is the duty and responsibility of every Indian citizen to ensure that the infection does not reach the Stage 3 Community level wherefrom things can go out of hands very quickly leading to a dreadful situation of chaos and confusion and even complete breakdown of the medical system of the entire country. Let’s stay put at home socially distancing ourselves and contain the spread of Covid-19. This is ‘do or die’ for each of us and for our beloved nation. We could be in here for a long haul until the vaccines arrive. Loads of patience and prayers the need of the hour. Will continue to update with latest developments.


India pledged with member nations of G20, to jointly inject funds to the tune of 5 trillion $ into global economy to counter the social and economic impact of COVID-19. Leaders of the states also agreed to contribute to the WHO led COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund on individual basis. 

PM Modi attended last evening the extraordinary virtual G20 summit where global leaders united to combat and eradicate the novel coronavirus pandemic that has raised the very existential question of entire mankind.

Reserve Bank of India, the RBI, has announced massive reforms as well to keep the wheels of the Indian economy oiled and rolling.

RBI announced this morning, a rate cut of 0.75% to ensure liquidity.

RBI also announced EMI freezing of homeloans for 3 months

Credit card payments may be deferred by 3 months

Sensex has since rebounded on RBI announcement.

Posted in Political

Terror In The Times Of Corona

Updated: March 29, 2020

The Kabul islamic terror attacks that massacred in cold blood some 25 sikhs in Gurdwara had a Kerala mastermind. Home grown terror.


India Fights Two Cancers At The Same Time: Corona and IslamicTerror

The Corona virus spread has exposed the dreadful agenda of islamic proselytizing in India by a well knit terror group that has bases in India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. Our ‘friendly’ neighbourhood the sponsor? Dozens of foreign islamic preachers have since been taken into custody by the Indian government, a number of them active carriers before their arrival in India. India and the world have to fight battles on multiple fronts at the same time. Even as the infected cases of Covid-19 explodes exponentially across the globe, Kabul witnessed a bloody carnage at Gurudwara, the Sikhs’ place of worship, where at least twenty five sikhs were blasted to death yesterday, that didn’t make it to the headlines. Except that the BBC staffed by vastly Pakistani muslims quite understandably labeled the terror attack as by ‘militants.’

A couple of disturbing links:

Jamia professor fails 15 non-Muslim students for supporting the Citizenship Amendment Act

Never mind the anti-CAA protests by islamic community defying government and protesting in Nellai (Thirunelveli) in times of Corona scare. Anything that attempts at derailing Modi government is pet agenda for our media.

Let the world nations and Govt of India not lower their guard in these troubling times. The proliferation of islamic terror is even more cancerous and lethal over that of Corona. Very soon, Corona will be brought under control like the Plague etc., that were eradicated centuries ago, with the arrival of vaccines. However, there is no such easy solution in near future for islamic terror. India in particular is vulnerable. Our enemies may up their ante cashing in on present environment of chaos and confusion to push in terrorists. Government should stop issuing visas to these foreign imams visiting India to spread the desert culture in Bharat. More investigations needed into the sponsors and hosts, given the groups’ alleged link to Sri Lanka.

Just what business these islamic preachers have here in India. Why visit so many mosques spread across the nation. What is their allegiance. Are these agents of terror. Who is funding their India visits. Who are the local hosts and sponsors. Are they preaching hate. How much of this is reported in mainstream Indian media in all honesty. You have to look into these things in the light of Sri Lankan horror in very recent past.

*all links and pictures from Facebook and the concerned websites.

Posted in Political

Corona Memes

Let’s not linger too much on negativity. Now some good humour to pep up our day!

Posted in Political

Why Lockdown Will Not Be Hard On Indians.

Hopefully our PM orders for a lockdown of entire India after today’s Janata Curfew that is already an overwhelming success. I have my reasons. I don’t think most Indians will suffer because, Indians have the habit of bulk buying for generations. Culturally also we have the stocking practice in our homes.

I heard our PM asking us citizens not to hoard in his televised address. I did in fact shop a few days ago. I did a bit of bulk buying. I don’t feel guilty because that’s how we Indians shop generally don’t we? I did nothing unusual. You just have to queue up in the grocery stores to see how much we Indians bulk buy routinely. Anyway, bulk buying now for me is reduced to a pathetic 2 kg of everything. In modern times and in urban homes, bulk buying is a cruel joke when it comes to groceries. Our lifestyle changes being the reaso.

We bulk buy by month beginning typically after we receive our pay checks. For instance, in our joint family (some 25 years back), we used to bulk order 25 kg Rice bags,  5 to 10 kg Atta or Wheat bags, 5 kg Onions, 3 kg Sugar, 5 kg Cooking oil, dozen Toilet soaps, 1 kg Detergent, etc. In north Indian families, they add a 5 to 10 kg ghee (clarified butter) tin. Still this was not even one month’s provisions. Even after mine became a nuclear family, I followed the same method for managing groceries except that now in our case, our bulk buy has considerably reduced over years given our small family size and in keeping with changes in our eating habits. So now my staple bulk buy is 5 kg Rice bag, 4 kg Idli Rice bag, 3 kg Wheat bag, 3-5 kgs of mixed Dals or lentils, 3 kg Cooking oil etc. Even the rice content is now divided between Basmati, Brown rice, Jeera rice (seeraga sambha) and Ponni plain rice so effectively I buy 1 to 3 kg of each type of rice.  Except for vegetables and fruits and meat and fresh milk, most Indian families shop at one go like this. We also store for a month or two months in advance always. In our joint family, we always hoarded six months stock because we used to get a steady stream of guests then. We buy Tamarind to last us for 2-3 years, spices like Cardamom, Cinnamon etc., to keep for years. We pickle mango, lemon etc to use for years. We make papads and masala powders and fryums for winters. A chief reason is that, the older the foodgrains like rice get, the older the tamarind gets, very much like vine, they taste better and improve in volume.

So I am confused about this Covid 19 advice against hoarding. At least as far as India is concerned. We don’t do panic buying and hoard. Let me make it clear here. We Indians generally buy our provisions in bulk. That is it. Even if sec 144 is announced without a warning, most Indian homes can still manage. Just look into our refrigerators! Bursting at seams!

Even in government-run fair price shops (PDS), provisions are issued on bulk basis only. My maid uses my card, therefore I know. At any one time, Tamil Nadu govt issues 20 kg free rice apart from other foodgrains and pulses. Minimum/Maximum quantum is fixed for pulses and cereals of course. This is on monthly basis.

Indian shopping habits are very much unlike the western habits. We always save for a rainy day. That is why, even our savings and investments ratio is far higher than you may find in advanced nations.

Masks and hand sanitizers started selling out from even a month before. We Indians hardly use tissues or sanitizers because, instead we use water faucets in our toilets. When we are in the habit of washing our hands everytime before and after we eat anything, where is the need for sanitizer. We don’t use forks and spoons to eat. We eat with our hands. So that means, we wash our hands always. Of course we have the rudimentary handwash liquid soap these days at home, nothing more. Hand sanitizers and tissues  are in production and available in India mainly for the sake of visiting foreigners and for those Indians who  live western life within India. And of course for restaurants. I am not ashamed to admit, i have no use for them sorry! Now that there is a demand for masks and hand sanitizers, the government has ordered for increased production locally.

Since tomatoes started selling cheap, I have been bulk buying tomatoes as well for more than a month now. I buy 2 kgs minimum for our small family! I buy kilos of fresh unpeeled green peas, double beans, soya beans, rajma, etc, shell them and freeze them for off-season. I buy kilos of mangoes for pickles. There are atleast a dozen coconuts shelled and stored in  my freezer as well all the time. Idli batter, I grind every week once and refrigerate to last for a week. I dry grind wheat locally and store atta in kilos at home. I pound even dhania (coriander seeds) and red chili with a dash of black pepper, lentils etc., locally in a mill. Minimum 2 to 3 kgs because this is a basic spicy ingredient in our south Indian cooking. I grind my Masala/curry powder as well to last me an year. I buy coffee and tea in bulk and hoard always two months stock in advance.

Since I have lived abroad a considerable time, I know the difference between the shopping habits of my fellow Indians and other nationalities. Others hoard things that normally we Indians don’t pick up much – like now the tissues for instance. Indians buy fresh vegetables and fruits in kilos as well. Alongside you can see Arabs bulk buy frozen meat. We buy ‘agarbathis’ for our Puja while other nationalities buy scented candles. Cannot catch a single Indian citizen paying for a scented candle. It is okay for us to receive these as gifts though 😀

Most Indians also use only cloth hand-made nappies for babies. 99% don’t go for Huggies or such diapers. You can see other nationalities even in general times bulk buy and hoard diaper packs in dozens. I used to smile looking at this because I never once bought a single diaper for my baby all those years ago 😀 We Indians have lived the natural way all along. Now the diaper companies are trying to capture Indian market at any cost trying to change us. The upper middle class is already falling for it. Sanitary napkins – we women can’t do without. But why can’t babies be weaned out of the disposable napkins. Major pollutant environmentally.

So our Prime Minister need not have to worry. We Indians bulk buy always. This is nothing new or extraordinary. This is not panic buying at all. We Indians have no use for tissue boxes either – we use cloth handkerchiefs mostly. I use tissues only to soak extra oil from the fried food in my kitchen. If you are an American guest in my home, you will have to learn to use the water faucet as I don’t buy toilet rolls at all! Only five star hotels in India and resorts stock the paper rolls!

As for bulk buying of prescribed medication, i take mine overseas so I buy everything in bulk again. I am presently in India on long haul. Otherwise, I used to be here once in 3 to 6 months. So my medical supplies have to be prompt and regular. Most NRIs like me bulk buy their medical needs in India because our dosage is light, never strong like in foreign countries.

So what conditions apply to others, need not have to apply necessarily to India. India is not locked down. At least as yet. We are unofficially 1.4 billion. We have 370 covid-19 infected cases out of which 7 are dead. Stage 2. As of today, this figure includes 39 foreign nationals mostly Italian tourists.  370 on 1.4 billion is not bad, touchwood. India is doing good without imposition of section 144, so far. Let us see. I am keeping my fingers crossed. I am pretty optimistic that we Indians will break the corona chain. We will!

Still, the cautiously optimistic me would like more and extended isolation and social distancing in the nation so that we flatten the corona curve from rising to stage 3. Last evening I was shocked to notice people queuing up to buy milk from a booth in my street because the milk van arrived late. I buy my fresh milk by morning always.  Milk has to be fresh for us Indians. No UHT longlife milk. Not even our groceries sell it. Today in tv news I saw that most of India ., i.e, some 99% of the country is deserted and on self imposed isolation/lockdown. Yet there were people outside the Central Railway station in Chennai, obviously migrant labourers from other states wanting to go back home.

From today, all the incoming and outgoing international flights to and fro India stand cancelled. Train services cancelled until the month end for the entire nation. Now this definitely means hardship because India moves on its rails. Major ferrying of goods and services across the country is through our extensive railway network. Which means, the local economy is to take a hit, as expected. But this is something we have to grin and bear for our own sake.

Let’s see.

Off to have a glass of buttermilk now. Waiting for the clock to strike 5 so that I can rush to my balcony and start clapping hands to applaud the services of our medical fraternity. Hats off to our dear doctors, nursing staff, lab techs, paremedics, police force, janitors, security detail etc., etc on this most important day in contemporary Indian history.


Learning now that 75 districts in India have announced lockdown. Chennai figures in the list along with Erode and Kanchipuram districts from Tamil Nadu. Pharmacies, groceries and bank ATMs and other essential services will still function. Milk supply will be uninterrupted! This is extremely important for coffee and tea crazy Indians!

I never dreamed that such a day would dawn in my life. I was talking to my aunt who is 75 and my mother-in-law who is 83. They both said, things were like this during the India-Pakistan war times in 1965 and 1971. My MIL is 1937 born so she remembers the World war II times even if it did not involve India. She was sent to a village to live for months as safety measure. The Japanese did bomb Chennai, then called Madras and there was some casualty. Considering what was going on in rest of the world, this never made to world headlines. India was also on the verge of winning independence from the British.

I also remember my father telling me of how his family rushed back to Madras by ship from Burma by 1942 or 42. My grandfather, my father’s father, was a matriculate and he worked as postmaster in Rangoon. He also was running a very prosperous side-business selling leather footware. The affluent family could earn their berth in a ship therefore. Some of my relatives who also worked for the British govt in Burma, returned to Madras by foot walking for months through jungles. An elderly woman relative was born as a baby in the jungle near Assam and named  ‘Janaki’ promptly. I inherited my grandparents’ teakwood cot, rosewood dresser and a teakwook bureau. I gifted the cot to my maid who eventually sold it not realising its value. I regret gifting it. I still have the other two. Strong and solid like steel. War reminders. Now we do have a war like emergency in the world. Only this time, the entire world is fighting a novel enemy, the Corona virus.


Posted in Political

The Corona Gyan: The Famous Indian Resilience

I remember the time when there was Anthrax scare in the US. My brother-in-law who is a general physician then said, Anthrax was not uncommon in India, with cases present even in Chennai. We have simply remained unaware that’s it. In his over 30+ years of private practice, he bemused that, there was not a thing he did not get to see. We have cows roaming our streets, dozens of stray dogs and cats littering every gulley and crows shitting every windowsill and parked car without being shot down at by civic authorities. Rhesus monkey menace is pretty common in every Indian city, town and village in India. You may find them in your balconies and terraces or even sometimes raiding our kitchen. We feed them fruits because we think actually God Hanuman is visiting us! We even feed the snakes, milk in our temples. We host elephants in temples! The only difference is, we DO NOT EAT them! In India, everything is holy and revered – from the cow to the crow! Even the dog happens to be the vehicle of Lord Kala Bhairava, a fiery form of Lord Shiva who is connected to destruction and restoring balance in the universe. World media portray India as filthy and teeming with germs, but at times like now perhaps, it helps growing up with a natural immunity to a good number of bacteria and viruses in the kind of environment we have in India. Could be a reason for covid 19 picking up slow in India (touchwood). Indians’ physical resistance to germs is very strong unlike those who grow up in sterile atmosphere.

In fact I was debating this with my son very recently. He returned from the US quitting his research studies (we forced him to). He was telling me how mental health is not given its due share of attention in India. I quoted a cousin’s name and said, today he works for a multinational only because we did not label him as autistic or dyslexic when he was a kid. He was just a backbencher and a poor performer in academics who did not merit any extra attention. He grew up with his peers as an equal and had a normal childhood and adolescence. Not all the kids can be class toppers. You need some to flunk the grades as well! In today’s schools and times, I wondered aloud how someone like him might fare. Sidelined like a freak, asked to join a special school, forced into counselling sessions and behaviour therapy classes. Of course there are varying degrees of delayed development and in some cases, special attention may be warranted. But in a majority of cases, not sidelining the odd but mainstreaming them and normalizing them must be sufficient. I have heard our elderly say, ‘not all the fingers in our hands are the same.’ This is how we tolerated and nurtured the slightly lethargic among us and made them live a normal life.

Today my sister called to tell me how the situation in the US is getting worse and out of control. She has family there from in-laws’ side. Not only are the masses there hysterical but even the doctors are overtly stressed and can’t cope up. The American physicians may be great research scientists and innovators in the field of medicine, but it looks like, they are not mentally prepared or trained like their Indian counterparts to take on or deal with highly stressful situations and therefore cannot get down to work on their hands and knees when there arises a crisis, without breaking down. Then what is the use of boasting state of art institutions and cutting edge technology medical apparatus and testing/research laboratories. Apparently, the medical fraternity in the west gets overwhelmed/ exhausted too soon. Indian doctors are good at managing stress and dealing with traumatic conditions because, life is a struggle for us all the way. You only have to step into our government hospitals to understand why a huge percentage of medicos in the US, UK, Europe, Australia and Middle East are Indians by descent. Same for our staff nurses and paramedics. Comparatively India is cool. Of course I do not know how the next few weeks are going to pan out. Indian doctors still are good at diagnosis without the help of screening tests for the chief reason that medical equipment and testing kits are expensive in India!

I was telling my son, we don’t give importance to mental health in India because we never believe we will have any problem in the first place with our mind. We meditate. We pray in temples. We celebrate without holding back. Just look at our festivals and weddings. Globally they call ours ‘the big fat Indian wedding!’ We don’t control our emotions. I have been on the verge of so-called depression myself many times in my life. All of us go through ups and downs in life. We go through phases. We throw temper tantrums, we stomp and scream, we cry and curse but then we do come around in a while. We do not consult a psychiatrist for normal but sometimes erratic human behaviour and we refuse to pop a pill branding ourselves as ‘the depressed.’ There is nothing wrong with a vast majority of us. The actual cases for counselling or medication may be negligible. After Corona, my son tends to agree with me.

I have had friends and relatives visiting from US. What spooks me is that, some of my friends and relatives who grew up in India actually find India unsettling! For instance, someone complained about fresh milk I was using for coffee. These people are now used to milk from cartons that they cannot accept fresh milk not older than one day, merely pasteurized and without added vitamins and preservatives, as safe enough to drink. In fact at Ongole in Andhra where my husband worked, i used to watch as my milkwoman milked a cow in front of our house. Straight from the udder, warm and without water mixing. I love fresh milk and ‘seempal’ (the first milk of a cow after it births a calf but now i don’t have it because I think only the calf has the right to the first milk not humans) and until last generation, many of us owned cows at home. Now of course, we get milk sachets in half or one litre hardly a day old that we refrigerate. This milk unlike the UHT milk you may find in the US or Europe, has only a day’s shelf life even if you put it in fridge. This milk curdles if you use it after a day. Because this is how the natural milk must be. Have you ever seen the UHT milk souring. It can have even 365 day shelf life! I was shocked when my friend refused to drink fresh pure Indian milk only because it did not come from a carton printed with calories and ingredients (!)

Same for the meat we cook in India. No frozen fish or chicken or goat meat. Even though I am vegetarian, I cook meat for my family and friends. We have never so far gone for frozen meat. Even in Malaysia and in Middle East (where we are currently based), we have gone for fresh meat only. Most Americans again cannot agree with meat that is not packaged or frozen. Anything that is packed for them is automatically safe and hygienic enough to consume. Fresh meat is contaminated in their dictionary. Expiry date and date of packing are a must for them in anything and everything! Now how can you ever change this mindset! We Hindus in India who are supposedly the poorest, refuse to eat food older than a day but the far richer Europeans and Americans and even Arabs go for food frozen for months even years! I wonder who is really living a truly richer and better life!

The curry smell may be because of turmeric, an array of spices like black pepper, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, even saffron, curry leaves, coriander, red chili, asafoetida (hing), fennel, cumin seeds, mustard, kalonji (or black cumin) etc., etc. that are an integral part of Indian cuisine – north and/or south Indian. We Indians use a mix of all or most of these on a daily basis in our kitchen. Eating with hands, walking without footwear – these are all healthy habits. Even power-cuts are good! Most Indians can go without power and amenities like air conditioner for days! Yoga helps most of us have flexible bodies. Meditation calms our mind. I am not saying we are the best. But I guess, we can handle trauma and crises much better than the so-called advanced first world nations as we see presently.

The greatest lesson I learn from Corona is that, not necessarily everything has to be streamlined or strictly disciplined and enforced as in the US or Europe. Things can be irregular and not punctual as in India. Things can go wrong no issues. Things can wait. Things can be imperfect. Systems can break down like our power grids and metro rail! India teaches you resilience and patience as none can! One of the major issues in the west I feel, is this invincible attitude of theirs because they believe they have put in place the best streamlined system that will take care of itself.The litmus test for such a hypothesis is now. And I must say, most western countries are already proving the theory wrong.

We Indians are infamous for our ‘chaltha hai’ attitude about everything. We take it all very easy and nothing is serious for us. ‘This too shall pass.’ For the first time in my life, instead of counting it as our curse, I am taking it to be our greatest blessing.

We Indians, especially Hindus, have been slowly getting materialistic that is against our dharma. Covid 19 is like a rude awakening to us, reminding us, our goal is Nirvana/Mukthi – the ultimate renunciation of all things bonding and materialistic by nature.

My husband has been working outside India for over 20 years now. For the first time I heard him say, he wants to return home for good and be with just the family. Corona has opened his eyes and he says, ‘what for all this money. who for?’ I braced myself for three more years abroad as he very recently bagged a prestigious project to head. We don’t know how this will work out, but the very thought has stirred emotions in me. Many expats working overseas who are doing great share a surprisingly sudden and similar feeling, wanting to get back to India.

India’s greatest pluses are this mental strength and quiet confidence and physical resilience. Even after serial bomb blasts on more than one occasion, Mumbaikars returned to work the very next day because the city never stops or sleeps. This nation has to go on, come what may. This my nation has been hounded and traumatized for centuries – that there is never a chance or moment for us to get complacent. We are always on our toes. Even militarily, we have to thank our hostile neighbourhood for keeping us always on alert! Our soldiers are battle hardened! We fight the worst adversaries : the Pakistanis and Chinese!

Family ties in India are very strong. Family breaks your heart as none does. Rat race for school and university admissions, employment etc., etc., have you primed to compete with the best brains in any part of the world ! Frankly this is the secret of success for most Indians who make it big in the US.

You cannot drive in the city without having your car scratched. Nobody even bothers! No court case, no fine. That is India. If you drive in Indian roads, you can drive anywhere in the world – that is another feather to our cap!

Do i sound sarcastic! Or satiric? No. This is just matter of factly.

The calm demeanor with which our prime minister Shri Narendra Modi ji addressed the nation has won him our hearts. Such a confidence yet caution for corona. Fixing responsibilities. Assigning roles. Preparing the grounds, testing waters, for the masses before taking the eventual and inevitable plunge shortly, if things don’t work out smooth. I like his approach.

India is resilient as ever. Will will banish the corona! Covid 19 will bypass India! Jai Hind!

PS: Watching a rerun of Man vs Wild with Bear Grylls featuring our PM, I can’t help lauding the clarity with which Modi ji asserts, how personal hygiene is very important to Indians even if most of us can’t care less about social hygiene. With Chinese or the west, the reverse is true. For Planet Earth to stay healthy and survive, every society must practise both in tandem.

Posted in Political

Chennaiites Have No Clue On ‘Social Distancing.’

Update: As of now, confirmed corona cases in India crossed 150 with two dead.

Chennaiites continue to go out and shop and socialize in restaurants not heeding to round-the-clock warnings by government in tv channels and in phone messages advising the public to maintain social distancing to discourage the spread of Covid 19 in India. All the medical advice seems to fall on deaf ears. God knows what is in store for India in the coming weeks. Well, by the way our temples are still functional drawing devotees by hordes who are undeterred by the corona virus. You simply cannot reason with these people. A friend is determined to visit Tirupathi saying, ‘if it has to happen, it will happen!’

However schools (except for board exam candidates) and universities and anganwadis (creches run by municipal authorities) remain closed. Also all fitness centers, swimming pools, clubs. Most IT staff work from home and banks are encouraged to deal with clients online or via phone. Man-to-man contact is tried to be kept minimum. There was a media report claiming that the vegetable and the fruit wholesale markets of the city are shut. Not sure how far this is true as there is no news in local tv channel confirming the same. Petty hawkers and small traders are already hit, no doubt, but what to do.

Crowds are milling as ever at T. Nagar, the middle-class shopping district of the metro , and Saravana Stores is doing brisk business in their nine floors saying, the ban is applicable only to malls and cinemas and not to smaller establishments like proprietary stores. Trains and buses are full as usual. I finished my fifteen day grocery shopping yesterday and stocked my fridge to full capacity. I missed getting only long life milk as I have fresh regular supply at doorstep. Other than that, I am fully equipped for even a one month complete social distancing and house arrest, should need arise. Last noon, I shopped only for most essential items and topped up my medical supplies from pharmacists. Still, I could not find a single face mask N95 for protection on leaving home. I did with a chemist, but he quoted an exorbitant price so I ordered the same online. Same for hand sanitizer so I got handwash instead.

The fate of my nation and my state and my city have me worried. I don’t want to panic but it is impossible not to think about this when there is so much of ignorance even among the educated here. Government should penalize the private showrooms selling textiles and merchandise like in T Nagar, Anna Nagar etc., who do not have a concern for the greatest catastrophe that is waiting to strike India if we don’t stay alert. Profiteering even at trying times like these. If the system collapses, none of us stands a chance but who cares.

I would like my government to enforce rules and regulations more severely and strictly, restricting movements.

I understand that with a population of 1.3 billion, India’s medical facilities are already on the verge of being stretched to full capacity. I am told, testing is done on priority basis only because the testing kits and supplies are also limited. No use in blaming the government that is increasing production of masks, sanitizers, testing kits, antibiotics, everything, all at the same time. Hats off to our medical fraternity who are working twenty four hours nonstop and to Modi government and our respective state governments for all that they are doing in their capacity to keep the nation going. God be with you!

My only visitor is my housemaid who lives in my next street. I have educated her on sanitizing. Her two college going kids are home and her labourer husband has to still find a job everyday, so that is precisely India’s problem. The lower middle-class. Daily wage earners. Most of them have to necessarily work every single day to earn the bread for their family. I tried to convince my autowallah to take a break yesterday but he refused. At last he obliged and came to a compromise saying that he would tie a cloth towel over his mouth. He has to necessarily work from morning 8 to evening 8 to keep his kitchen fires going. I can understand his situation perfectly but there is no way I could drill into him the precarious nature and condition of Covid 19. As every other Indian citizen/Chennaiite, my automan believes the corona virus will bypass him or he would survive it anyway even if it strikes. To him, it is like any other flu. He can’t understand what the fuss is all about.

Under these circumstances, all I can do is only pray. Pray, pray and pray.