Posts

Remembering Dr Usha Nayar

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My dear friend Usha died last year in February 2021. I heard about it only today, when I saw a message from her daughter Priya. A very nice  website has been created for remembering Usha , her life and her work, where you can find many of her writings. While I process that she is no more, through this post I want to share some of my memories of her. I had met Usha through an Italian friend, Dr Enrico Pupulin in 1996. At that time, Enrico was the head of the Disability and Rehabilitation (DAR) team at the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Geneva. He was keen to conduct a multi-country research on implementing community-based rehabilitation (CBR) programmes in some urban slum communities. In CBR programmes, disabled persons themselves, family members, and local community persons are trained in providing support to children and adults with disabilities. Enrico wanted to see if this approach would work in the poor communities living in the slums. Enrico had gathered some really committed

Schio's Cosplay Meet

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I had my first encounter with the Cosplay world a few years ago, when I saw some persons dressed like cartoons in our little town Schio in the north-east of Italy. I was fascinated with those costumes and the strange young people wearing them. I feel a little jealous of the Cosplayers. I think that it would have been great fun when I was young, to have purple and green hair along with an Arabian Nights kind of costume. Unfortunately, it is too late for that and the only costume that can fit me now is a potato-sack! So sour-grapes and all, I try to think of these guys as a new species,  Homo comicans , who are a bit of narcissistic nerds, a little clumsy in their social relationships who can only find fulfilment in imaginary worlds.  Schio had started organising an annual Cosplay meet some years ago. The Covid-19 outbreak had interrupted this tradition in 2020. This year (2022) finally it is back. This post is about ths year's Cosplay. It also talks about a group of graphic and co

Importance of Alternative Medicine

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Over the past couple of years, ever since we have broadband internet with unlimited use, I often watch some YouTube video channels including lessons on cooking and about the use of specific software. I also like some channels on politics, health related issues, Indian classical music and dances. One of health related channels which I often watch is Medlife Crisis by Dr Rohin Francis from UK. Recently, I came across one of his older videos, which was about "alternative medicine". In this video he had explained about the importance of evidence-based medicine and how this scientific approach ensures that we can truly understand the efficacy of treatments and make rational choices about medicines. The other aspect of his intervention was that alternative medicine lacks this evidence-based approach and thus for him it was mostly hogwash. In his intro on this channel he also says that " There's a lot of bad science on YouTube, especially medicine, with quacks and clowns p

Schio’s Old Water Canal

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The north Italian town called Schio, where I live, has a thousand-years old water-canal. It starts from our river called Leogra and ends in another river called Timonchio. On its way it passes through different suburbs to the north and south of Schio, going underground for a brief part in the city centre. It is called Roggia Maestra (Master Canal). Over the centuries, this canal has played a key role in the city’s life and history. Today, it has lost its importance for the city’s industries, however it accompanies some of the most beautiful walking areas around the city and continues to be important for the farmers. I am always interested in discovering the history of old places. This post is a result of my search for information about this canal. I had found some information on internet, but most of it came from some books in the Schio library. There are some bits of information which are still missing. The River-Crossing Canal Schio’s water canal has one peculiarity, which I think is

Failures in Global Health?

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Three years ago, in July 2019 Dr. Madhukar Pai , Associate Director, McGill International TB Centre in Canada wrote an article on " Failures of Global Health ". In this article he had written: In global health, we love to talk about success stories and publish interventions that seem to work. Eradication of smallpox, dramatic decline in polio incidence, reduction in child mortality, etc. But we also know global health deals with huge, complex, challenges. And involves several agencies and stakeholders with their own agendas and political instruments. So, failure is guaranteed. Failure is a powerful tool for learning, and we can always learn from failed interventions and projects. Then Pai went on to list some of the major failures in Global Health: " I do not see a similar openness about failure in the global health arena. To be sure they are discussed in hushed tones in the corridors of global health agencies in Geneva, New York and Seattle, but not quite publicly, in a

Liberal Dilemmas

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I have always thought of myself as a liberal. However, increasingly I feel confused when I am faced with competing liberal values. Often, I am not sure, which values should be chosen and why. Most of the times, the more I try to read and understand about these issues, the more complex they seem to become. In the end, it leaves me frustrated because I can’t make any decision. Even a decade ago, if somone had told me that I will be confused about my liberal values, I would not have believed it. It is not just me. Many others I know, face similar dilemmas, while some others, wh seem to have taken a positio, can't really explain their choices in a logical way.  So, lately I am not very sure, what kind of liberal I am or if I am really a liberal! One thing is sure, compared to some people’s certainties, I feel like a sand-castle whose walls fly off in all directions at the first sign of the wind. Liberal Struggles in the Past The identity struggles in the past were simpler. For example,

Meet the Artist - Eva Trentin

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Eva Trentin is an artist from Marano Vicentino, a tiny commune a few kilometres away from Schio (Veneto, Italy), where I live. Her art is closely linked to the nature and the natural world, such as flowers, leaves, plants and trees. Her works combine the organic world with UV photography and some special techniques of imprinting on paper and clothes, creating designs which look like rain-washed shadows of fossils. I am always very keen to meet artists and to understand the ideas underlying their artistic evolution. Recently, I had an opportunity to talk to Eva and to visit her art-studio. This article is an introduction to her and her art-world. Let me start it by showing you an artwork called "289" which had a profound impact on me when I had seen it at the Mutazioni exhibition in Schio in 2021. Meeting Eva This work "289" was my first real encounter with her at the Mutazioni art exhibition held in Palazzo Fogazzaro, our local venue in Schio for important art eve