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Friday, 03 February 2012 21:52

Mani Shankar Aiyar did the right thing

Written by Kamal Shah
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The Congress party is upset with Mani Shankar Aiyar for participating in a debate on a Pakistan television channel where Maulana Masood Azhar, India's most wanted terrorist also participated. The thinking is that he should not have shared a platform with Azhar.

I do not think so.

I saw some footage from the program and felt Aiyar did a good job. He said rightly that Azhar should be arrested and brought before a court of terrorism. Azhar was quite agitated with Aiyar's statement.

What is wrong with this? Aiyar gave him as good as it gets! No one probably has ever spoken to him like that! There is no point in shying away from these things and taking the high moral ground. This was a good opportunity to talk. Azhar wasn't even in the TV studio. He was participating over a call.

Great job Mani Shankar Aiyar!


... http://www.kamaldshah.com/2012/02/mani-shankar-aiyar-did-right-thing.html


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Thursday, 02 February 2012 22:07

A welcome fatwa

Written by Kamal Shah
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A group of Muslim religious leaders issued a fatwa yesterday that Muslims must not indulge in loud music and other activities that disturb or cause inconvenience to others on the occasion of Milad - un - nabi that falls on Sunday, the 5th of February. They also said that even reading the Quran in a manner that disturbs others is against the tenets of Islam.

This is a very welcome step. All religions should follow this principle. Do whatever you want when it comes to religion. But it should always be without disturbing others.

I strongly believe that religion is an intensely personal thing and it should be more in the mind rather than on display. Many religions, including my own, these days have become so far removed form the initial sets of teachings that it is very difficult to recognize the original forms!

The blatant use of loudspeakers is a curse afflicting all religions today. Many people who are disturbed by this noise actually curse the religions and their followers when such things happen. This is not at all desirable. And to top it all, the followers of one religion start indulging in competitive nuisance creation. "You spoilt my sleep during your festival, so I will spoil your sleep during mine!"

So, amidst all this, this fatwa is a great step and shows some very mature thinking on the part of these leaders.

... http://www.kamaldshah.com/2012/02/welcome-fatwa.html


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Tuesday, 31 January 2012 21:49

Say Hello Kidney !

Written by Kamal Shah
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We at NephroPlus are launching Hello Kidney today, a free helpline where you can call to check on any kidney related issue. If you want to check about some symptoms that you suspect are related to the kidney or you are on dialysis and want to find out more about transplants, call Hello Kidney!

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The call will be answered by trained doctors and not some giggly, nice-sounding girls who have no clue whether humans generally have one kidney or two!

So, now if its a kidney problem, help is just a call away!



... http://www.kamaldshah.com/2012/02/say-hello-kidney.html


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Tuesday, 31 January 2012 18:34

Going on holiday with the NxStage

Written by Steve Bone
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Things are moving at a reasonable pace now. The Leicester Renal team have now acquired some dialysate bag warming plates for use with the NxStage, so come June, I will be off for a few days to try out the NxStage on holiday. I can have the supplies delivered to my holiday destination but I have room in my Land Rover to load up machine and supplies, so will fill the vehicle, find space for my two boys, and head off for some relaxation. Not going far on this occasion, juts a couple of hours drive away, to the coast, so if anything backfires, I can be back home in short order.

This is all really a pre-emptive move to try something more ambitious, but on this occasion, it allows me to be comfortable using the machine away from home, and also get to grips with the logistics of equipment, dialysis and kids! As I am self caring with no carer, it’s a test not just for me but for my boys too.

So, have NxStage, will travel.

I have read about many of the exploits of dialysis patients in the US getting out and about in camper vans and all sorts with their NxStage machines, and they have done a great job of setting the scene  and inspiring others to have a go.

I’ve holidayed abroad before, using a local dialysis unit, but this is the first time I will  be away solo!!

Now that the warming plates have arrived, others in the area have had training on their use, and are off on their holidays. Be good to read about their experiences when they get back. And, with the local authority getting behind extended distribution of NxStage use in the home, more to join in on this freedom soon.

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... http://mydialysis.co.uk/blog/2012/02/01/going-on-holiday-with-the-nxstage/


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Monday, 30 January 2012 08:55

Hopefully, some day...

Written by Kamal Shah
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A video of a young little boy diagnosed with Atypical Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, the disease that I have, being given the wonder drug, Eculizumab and being prevented from going into permanent kidney damage. The drug has also shown dramatic results in transplants as well. So, there's hope for me...

... http://www.kamaldshah.com/2012/01/hopefully-some-day.html


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Sunday, 29 January 2012 05:03

Here's to the kidney donors!

Written by Kamal Shah
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(Thanks Shree for the suggestion!)


I received a transplant in November 1998. My mother donated a kidney to me. In my almost fifteen years with kidney disease, I have seen many people getting transplants. I cannot remember any failed transplants except mine.

Nephrology has come a long way when it comes to better transplant success rates. Most transplants today work for a few years at least. Undoubtedly, transplants offer the best outcomes and quality of life compared to other renal replacement therapies.

Which brings me to the donors. The selfless act of donating an organ to someone is probably the highest form of altruism the human race knows. It surpasses all other forms of generosity. Many people can donate money. Donating an organ requires much more than just willingness. It requires tremendous courage and limitless love for the person donating.

(Altruistic donation is something that I cannot even begin to comprehend. To donate a kidney to someone you know, care for and love is great but to donate a kidney to a stranger whom you have never met and you never ever will is something that is beyond me. I simply cannot understand that. To me that is beyond humanity. It is truly saintly. Yet, there are an increasing number of people doing that.)

Coming to my mother, from the day we began discussing a transplant, she was very clear that she would donate. My father was ruled out because he is diabetic. My brother also was very keen on donating. Eventually, the nephrologist decided it would be my mother because my brother was too young.

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My parents, brothers and I

You can read about the whole story of the transplant here.

My mother, as would anyone about to undergo such a major surgery, was probably very worried. She did not show it though. We went through a battery of tests to determine whether she was a possible match. It turned out that she was. Donors must go through a lot of emotional upheaval. You are doing something so counter-intuitive. Your sub-conscious must ask you, "Whatever the hell am I undergoing such a major surgery for? I am ok right?" But then the heart takes over and says, "I just have to do this! I cannot see him/her suffer any more!"

One the one hand is the trauma of getting under the knife. On the other hand is the promise of liberation from the dreaded dialysis. It must be one hell of a fight! Oh, life!

Surgery day came and went. There were a few hiccups but in the end, I had a functioning kidney. My mother has been totally all right with one kidney. We can all survive with a single kidney. She has never had any medical issue because of having one kidney.

Whatever the outcome, the act of donation and the bravery that went along with it never changes. Though my transplant failed after eleven days with the new kidney, I can never forget what my mother did for me. Well, mothers are like that. Among all the transplants I have seen, most of the donors have been mothers. Yet, as it is in my case, every recipient feels this sense of eternal obligation to their mother. Like she is the best mother in the world. I guess we are all correct!

... http://www.kamaldshah.com/2012/01/heres-to-kidney-donors.html


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Wednesday, 25 January 2012 21:29

Announcing Aashayein 2012

Written by Kamal Shah
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Aashayein is back!

Aashayein, the one day exclusive free event for dialysis patients is back. After creating quite a sensation last year, the NephroPlus sponsored Hyderabad Kidney Foundation is organizing the second edition of the event this year on Sunday, 19th February, 2012 at 9:00 a.m. The event is being held at the same venue as last year, Hotel Fortune Select Manohar, Begumpet, Hyderabad.

The event will have educational talks by nephrologists, urologists, dietitians and patients. There will also be a whole lot of fun and games exclusively for dialysis patients. There will be an elaborate lunch prepared as per the dialysis patient diet. There will also be a whole lot of goodies for dialysis patients which will include erythropoietin injections.

NephroPlus is the chief sponsor and the title sponsor of the event. Biocon Nephrology and Nipro are the other main sponsors.

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Seats are limited and last year, the registrations had to be closed a few days prior to the event. So, I would suggest that you register early enough. To register, please visit the Hyderabad Kidney Foundation website or call 8008-964-888.


... http://www.kamaldshah.com/2012/01/announcing-aashayein-2012.html


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Tuesday, 24 January 2012 18:30

My Lawn project - Part 2

Written by Kamal Shah
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Yesterday, I wrote about how I did up my lawn initially and how it finally dried up.

For a long time, there was a small patch of grass, dried up, almost anemic, that remained to one side of the lawn. Every morning as I sipped my steaming hot cup of Darjeeling tea, I would look sadly, helplessly at the lawn and wonder when I would do it up again.

At one point, I almost committed a blunder. I almost decided to cover the area with stone. "Limestone!", my granite expert brother suggested. We actually went to a shop and selected the stone, fixed up the price and asked them to send the marker to measure the area. Luckily, the marker never bothered to show up and I never bothered to follow up. My heart was wedded to the lawn.

A few days back, in an extraordinary moment of determination, I pulled up justdial.com and keyed in "carpet grass" for my city. A bunch of numbers were sent to my mobile number and email address in a second. I called  couple of them, picked one that seemed most professional, checked the price and asked him to send 120 square feet of carpet grass. I asked him to send a variety that did not need sunlight. He said that would be shade grass and would come in a sack and they would need to plant the blades and we would need to wait for 45 days.

Nooooooooo..... not again!

I asked him to send the carpet grass. If the parts of the lawn that did not receive sun light dried up, I could always order a few blocks of the carpet grass and replace those areas, I reasoned to myself. All this happened on a Friday. I asked him to have this done on Sunday. I would be at home. I could supervise this myself.

The grass arrived Saturday evening. I was excited. I also ordered the other things that would be needed - vermi compost and neem cake.

Sunday came. 9:30 a.m. No sign of the maali. I called him. He said there was a strike and they would not come! I asked him why he did not inform me that he was not planning to come. He did not understand that question! Inform? For what?

I let it rest. Monday it would be.

After a couple of phone calls on Monday morning, the maistry arrived with a maali and maalin in tow. He asked me to get a trolley of red sand. I had that arranged. The maistry gave instructions to the team on what had to be done and left. The duo got to work. First they cleaned the area thoroughly and removed the old patch of grass. They also cut the lower branches of the palms so that light could enter the area.

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Then they started laying the grass, one slab at a time. Each slab measured 2 feet by 1 foot.

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Here is the finished lawn. The lines that you see between slabs should gradually disappear.

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This is a shot of the lawn from inside.

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Overall, I am very happy with the lawn. The maistry sort of dampened my enthusiasm a bit by asking me not to step on it for a few days. The number of days varied from 4 to 15 at different stages in the conversation. I am going to average it out to 7.

The lawn will require a lot of work - watering twice a day, mowing etc. But this time I am determined to make it work!

... http://www.kamaldshah.com/2012/01/my-lawn-project-part-2.html


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Monday, 23 January 2012 22:24

My Lawn project - Part 1

Written by Kamal Shah
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In our house, we have space for a lawn. It is a small little private space hidden from prying eyes on the road, tucked away at the back of the house. When we moved in, we were all gung-ho about the lawn. On the advice of the architect, we planted a Silver Oak at one corner. Slowly, however, we got sucked into our busy schedules and nothing was done about the lawn. It lay just like that -  a brown piece of land awaiting some love. The Silver Oak was a lonely crusader in the battle for green.

A few years into my kidney disease, I developed a green thumb - not sure if that has anything to do with the kidney disease though! I then went and got hold of a maali - a gardener and got him to do up the lawn. He brought grass in a bag and dexterously planted the blades at small distances from each other. It did not make a great visual but I was promised by him that in a month or two we would have a beautiful lawn.

I religiously would water the lawn every morning and wait. "Ah, look there, there's a green patch coming up", I would exclaim every now and then. In about two months we had a functional lawn. In the meantime I had also brought some potted plants and placed them at the front of my house. I also planted some Arecka palms at one end.

Lawns can be demanding. Our lawn quickly grew wild and needed urgent trimming. I hired a gardener - a young guy, Veerappa - to come every Sunday and do the mowing and the necessary maintenance for the potted plants. This gardener was a dedicated soul. Clearly, he enjoyed his work. He loved plants and would caringly look after them. For a few years, things continued well. I was very proud of my lawn.

At Veerappa's level however, passion is rarely enough to feed hungry stomachs. He became a traffic policeman and told me he would no longer be able to look after my garden.

I looked around for replacements. Spread the word among everyone who worked for us, the security guy of the neighbours, anyone who might know a maali. After all, Naukri.com has no section for maalis!

We did get a few applicants. We even hired a couple of people. Their quality however was pathetic. All they wanted was money. No passion, no commitment. I quickly got angry and fired them.

So, that was it. The lawn received no attention. All of us were busy with our lives. Who had time to look after a lawn? It quickly grew wild and unwieldy. No one dared venture into it. Slowly, the Arecka palms continued to grow however. They totally blocked out the sunlight from the lawn.

Due to the lack of sunlight, the lawn dried up. And that was the end of the story.

Until, of course, Part 2 happened!

... http://www.kamaldshah.com/2012/01/my-lawn-project-part-1.html

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