Power of giving

Power of giving

It’s strange how our emotions surface whenever we give or receive gifts. Yes, today I was blessed to receive two gifts in a day! A beautiful, delicate dragonfly brooch from the US and a pair of earrings from Russia : )


While the gifts made my day, it also made me wonder about the power of giving  —  the idea of someone actually giving a careful thought for buying or saving something for someone is so pure, affectionate, and generous that it leaves the receiver not only happy and smiling, but also deeply touched and loved.

Giving is one of the powerful ways of expression — it bridges distances, shows care, and no matter how the two people feel about each other, it always makes a gentle, loving impact, paving way for a better bond. I am blessed to have received innumerable gifts all my life and today I really thank every giver of those gifts from the bottom of my heart : )

A play needs more than a good script

A play needs more than a good script

Sometime back I saw a play that was based on the concept of how Mahatma Gandhi and Einstein were geniuses as individuals but weren’t as good as fathers. I am sure the written form of the play would have been interesting but watching it on stage was boring to the last minute. Even though the actors wanted to be the best in what they were doing, the gaps in the delivery of the message were apparent to the audience. That made me realize that a good script or plot is not sufficient to enact a play.

Play Performance
Photo by Pepe Segura on Unsplash

Based on my experience from the variety of plays I have watched so far, here are the top three things that I think could be fixed in the Two Fathers performance:

Keep it short  – Unlike the commercial movies which are deliberately created for minimum two hours, considering the entertainment expectation from the audience, theatre allows more freedom to perform only to the extent of conveying the message. It is a medium of subtlety. If the play is short, keep it short instead of adding dialogues that are not contributing to the plot. When the play drags, it is painful to sit through it.

Innovate to use the medium  – When the subject of your play is about famous personalities, you cannot portray what the world already knows about them, for ages! Innovate, research, and be creative in adding value to the script so you can show the audience an unpredictable aspect. Books and theatre are different mediums of expression. While books allow the reader to imagine, internalize and visualize, theatre allows the audience to see expressions live and use their imagination and intelligence to understand the finer nuances that are not being told or enacted.

Enacting a play right out of a book is not always a good idea. It needs to be directed well and the script needs to be tightened to ensure that the audience remains interested in knowing the final outcome. In the given example, since the two personalities being discussed are strong, the writer and the director could have taken care to show more than the predictable part of their lives. Everyone knows about them and what happened to their families. Now what? The characters could not portray the unknown aspects of the two legends and that was disappointing. Proper use of creative freedom could have taken care of this.

Practice and get feedback  –  Choose your subject/plot carefully. When your play is about famous personalities, your actors must do justice to them and deliver dialogues the way those personalities would have spoken. In the given example, while some dialogues were delivered flat, some were exaggerated. And this can be easily fixed with practice, direction and probably some feedback from peers.

I am not adding my review of the play here. The effort is to help new directors and theatre artists to gain perspective into what today’s audience would want to see on stage.

A new beginning

A new beginning

It’s been seven years since I formally left journalism to enter the field of marketing communications. It was a big step and even though I stopped meeting innovators and writing about them for a formal publication, I continued running back to doing it on my blog over the weekends or whenever I got the opportunity. It’s been a tough internal battle that I have been trying to fight for seven years now – to want to keep writing and pursue the field I so passionately love (but do it without a job because there aren’t publications which feature my kind of writing) or to continue in marketing communications where I can contribute well, learn constantly – and probably continue to earn a regular income – and find an area of interest I can put my heart to.

It’s a tough path, especially leaving something one has been doing for over a decade and then shift to an unknown field, adjust with the new, and try and find a new interest area within that.

Over the past few years, I have made several attempts at going back to weekend journalism, if nothing else, but with a full-time employment, the hours did not permit me enough time to pursue stories. With a heavy heart slowly I let go. There were times when the passion used to kick in and I used to again spend hours searching for new stories and chasing people to feature their work. But it all faded again with time due to pressures of time, energy, and focus on the current job. This cycle has been very stressful psychologically because I think deep down I will never move on from being a journalist, by nature, and yet with lots of self-motivation, I have come to terms with my current role as a branding and marketing professional. However, I now want to continue writing anything and everything that captures my thought and needs penning down. That just widens the scope of this blog and hopefully will help me move on.

And so here’s a new beginning. You will see more of my casual writings now, whenever my muse is in action. Enjoy!

New portable device can detect diabetes, kidney failure, chronic anemia, malnutrition

New portable device can detect diabetes, kidney failure, chronic anemia, malnutrition

Bangalore-based PathShodh Healthcare, a startup at the Entrepreneurship Centre of the Indian Institute of Science, has developed a hand-held device to measure eight vital parameters for diabetes, kidney failure, chronic anaemia, and malnutrition.

The device, called anuPath, has been developed by Dr. Vinay Kumar along with Professor Navakanta Bhat of Indian Institute of Science and a friend, Gautam Sharma.

According to a recent International Diabetes Federation (IDF) report, diabetes currently affects over 425 million people worldwide, and the figure is expected to reach 629 million by 2045. With 73 million diabetics, India ranks second in the world after China.

People with diabetes have an increased risk of developing a number of serious health problems. Consistently high blood glucose levels can lead to serious diseases affecting the heart and blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, nerves and teeth. In addition, people with diabetes also have a higher risk of developing infections, says the IDF report.

Currently, anuPath can test for hemoglobin, HbA1C, glycated albumin, blood glucose, serum albumin, microalbuminuria, urine ACR, and urine creatinine. It will be extendable to other markers (glycated albumin, serum creatinine, serum bilirubin, etc.) in the future. It works on a non-enzymatic- and non-antibody-based electrochemical biosensing technology. The measurement is done on electrochemical disposable test strips that contain a membrane infused with patented sensing substances. For each biomarker there is a separate disposable strip. When the user places the required sample on the electrochemical disposable test strip, anuPath detects the electrochemical outcomes and the deciphered results are displayed on the digital monitor within a minute. This enables the patient to get a comprehensive report of the status of the disease, which is essential in disease management. Read full research paper.

Presently, it can store one lakh patient reports, making it easier to share with doctors. With one international patent and eight in process, anuPath costs Rs. 50,000. The team is working on a cost effective model of about Rs. 5,000 – Rs. 10,000 for individual users to use it at home. Read more

Indian startup turns crop residue to usable pulp, assures farmers’ benefit

Indian startup turns crop residue to usable pulp, assures farmers’ benefit

Three graduates from the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi, Ankur Kumar, Kanika Prajatat and Pracheer Dutta have developed a machine that can convert the hardy straw of paddy into a fibrous raw material that can be used by the pulp molding factories to prepare disposable cutlery.

In India despite a Supreme Court order, and a government scheme that offers stubble management machines at subsidized rates, farmers continue to burn crop residue after harvest, as they find it cheaper than clearing the crop residue manually or by using machines. The practice is rampant across rice-growing belts as paddy straw is neither a suitable fuel nor can be used as cattle feed. The situation is worse in Punjab and Haryana as the smoke resulting from burning the residue chokes Delhi and envelops the entire northern India with dense toxic smog for weeks.

Paddy straw is rich in silica, which slows down its rate of degradation and hence farmers choose to burn it post harvest to make the land reusable faster. The new machine, created by the trio as the first product of their startup Kriya Lab, uses an environment-friendly chemical that can strip the straw of silica, making it supple and usable. The pulp can be used as raw material for the pulp and paper industry. 

For now the machine can convert one ton of paddy straw into 500 kilograms of pulp, which can then be sold at Rs. 45 per kilogram. It holds promise for those who want to start commercially viable ventures as there is a growing demand for ecofriendly cutlery and packaging materials, particularly the ones made from biomass waste. Read more