Friday, March 31, 2006

Ten Simple Rules for Getting Published

The rri group has a post that points to this article, which talks about the ten simple rules to get published.

No quotes from it, go and read - a very good article.

So, What is your home?

Thanx: Thanks to all those who posted their comments on my Rang De Basanti post. If you have not posted one yet, please do - I am looking forward to them.

And now to the topic of the day ...

All us of have a homepage. No, not the one where you host information about yourself, I am talking about the one that opens by default when your browser starts. Some people have the default or firefox start pages, depending on the browser, whereas many have specified a specific page. Those pages range from news sites, search engines and movie showtime pages to modern day multi-information pages such as MSN Live, Google Personal Home Page and My Yahoo!.

For a long time, I was wondering what my homepage should be. Since google can be searched using the address box in Firefox, having it as homepage did not make sense. Then I chose the USC homepage, just for a trojan feeling whenever I open my browser.

It was during the search of the best homepage that the idea struck me, what if I can do some charity just by selecting a homepage? And that is why I chose the hunger site as my homepage. Just by clicking on the button, you can donate 1.1 cups of staple food to a hungry person somewhere - talk about RoI!

So my homepage for a long time was the hunger site, until I discovered, the Indian equivalent of the hunger site. I wanted to make that my homepage too, but felt sad betraying my old homepage.

And that is when the magic of firefox came in handy. Did you know that in firefox, you can have multiple pages open in multiple tabs automatically as you open your browser? Think of this as a homebook [as opposed to a homepage].

All you have to do is to to list all the urls separated by the pipe symbol [the " | ", located above the " \ "] in the homepage field, and there you have it, a homebook!

Request: I know you have your fav homepage, which you want to see. But please go to tools - options - general [or edit - preferences - general, if using Fx on Linux] on firefox, and set your homepage to

" | |"

Remember to remove the quotes, and replace the last url with your preferred homepage.

What this will do is that when you open firefox the next time, three tabs will open, with the hunger site in focus. Click, Close Tab, Click, Close Tab. You now are where you were before making this change, and you have already done two actions of charity! Talk about getting a warm fuzzy feeling first thing in the morning!

Question: Please post comments if you have any confusions in this process. I am sure any tab based browser would support it [IE users will have to wait till the next version, or download firefox :-) ].

Also, what is your homepage? I will be interested in reading the comments, as always.

Love and Luck,
P.S. and yes, if you are around the USC area on April1, we are having our first desi improv show! Do come! [In spite of the wonderful date, this is not a joke :-)]

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Finally, I am also spring-colored

Spoiler Alert: This post will spill some beans, so watch the movie before reading it. However, even if you think the beans have been spilt [by some spoilsport friend of yours], go and watch the movie, for the feel.

Yes, I finally watched Rang De Basanti. Before you come to me with your criticisms for the delay, I think I have a valid enough excuse - first, I did not watch it since I wanted to be a PhD. Candidate before that [which I am now, BTW, after passing my quals], and then I realized that saturday nights were not free, since sunday mornings were marathon practice times. So, the saturday after the marathon, I was at Naz.

Anyways, this post is not about why I was not able to watch it.

This post is also not a detailed review of the movie, since many people have written that, and have done a good job at it. No point in me reinventing the wheel.

This post is about what I felt during the movie, and that's what it is.

I knew all of them die. I knew they try to kill the defence minister. I knew that Madhavan dies in an air crash. But I did not know about the way they have intermingled the freedom struggle scenes and made it revelant. The cinematography, the acting, the background scores - everything was just great! Someday, I shall be able to create a fraction of this effect in my theatre.

I must confess, I was in tears for a large part of the movie, but I think of late I have learnt to not stop them [touchy-feely, I guess]. The tears ranged from missing-home-style during the title song, so happy-for-them during the engagement-ring scene to angry-and-sad-at-the-same-time during the lathi-charge and the commando-attack scene. After a stage, I stopped wiping them, no point.

As H so aptly pointed out, the director gave us "breaks" to wipe our tears and compose ourselves before launching another salvo of emotional scenes at us - very aptly done. BTW, H is an american and liked her first hindi movie so much that she is going to recommend it to her friends!

I especially loved the fact that they did not justify the killing of the minister - shown when Karan says "sorry" to the school principal who calls him.

In my view, what the movie tries to say is that situations are as sad today as they were under the British Empire -- and the people are noting that -- except no one is doing anything, and it definitely succeeds in conveying the message.

It was also interesting to see that the situations here in the US is no different -- if pilots die due to low-grade airplane parts there, then young soldiers of this country die fighting a war that was not needed. Same problems, different flavors.

I loved the message the movie gives, if you feel bad about stuff, go in and clean it -- no point in staying away and giving gyan.

So, now that each of us have seen the movie, it is time to act. Given that you belong to the intelligentsia of your nation [whichever nation you belong to], what are YOU going to do to improve your nation's status?? Let us all know by posting a comment to this post. And then, visit this a year later and see where you are.

My plan:
Finish PhD, join ITBHU as a prof. Make sure I instill these values in my students, so that they go out and become good citizens, who don't indulge in corruption etc.

What about you?
P.S. Here is the wonderful "Sarfaroshi ki Tamanna", just in case you wanted the words.

Update: Thanks for the comments so far, but please realize that this is not about how the movie was made, but about how you will contribute for your country. It will be great if your comments are in that line.
Looking forward to some insightful ones,

Saturday, March 25, 2006

So, after the marathon, what next?

Well, I actually put my right knee in a crape bandage and went to perform in the first show of our Indian Improv group - Vidushak after the marathon.

Read on here for more details. Pd has done a good job writing the report. And for all of you at USC, please join the Vidushak mailing list, our desi show is coming up in a week!

And yes, thanks for all those wonderful comments. I have nearly healed, but no running for 2 weeks. After that, lets see.

back to work now,

Thursday, March 23, 2006

26.2 miles of pain, sweat and perseverance ...

... or how I ran the LA marathon.

As mentioned in my previous post, I ran the LA marathon last sunday, and this post is a [somewhat] detailed account of the same.

Lets revisit some of those moments: [link to route, for reference]

Saturday, Mar 18, 6pm: The team got together for a carbo-load potluck dinner. The atmosphere was charged and the coaches each gave a small motivational speech. Also, everyone appreciated my chawal-ki-kheer [or Indian rice pudding :-)].

Saturday, Mar 18, 9pm: I was busy copying songs into my mp3 player so that I keep going. I had gotten somewhat bored with my current playlist and there was more space remaining, so I figured I should load up. Rang De Basanti, Paathshaala and Raahe Raahe remix by Rishi Rich are among my favorites.

Saturday, Mar 18, 11pm: Two hours in bed, but
no sleep -- too much adrenaline I guess. Somehow I got some sleep.

Sunday, Mar 19, 6:30am: I was waiting at the assigned spot. The rest of the team came and we biked to the Marathon starting line in downtown. For those of you who are wondering why we thought biking back 2 miles after running 26.2 would be a nice idea, the answer is towards the end of the post.

We all got together, took some pictures, and squished together near the starting line. With 25,000+ people running, it takes quite some time if you are not in the front of the bunch. The atmosphere was electric, with choppers above us, music around us, and tonz of adrenaline inside us! We all were together, wearing our USC Marathon Team T-Shirts, and did a couple of battle cries! You had to be there to feel it!

8:17am: The crowd started moving and we knew that it had begun - the first marathon of my life. Heather Hydzik and I started together, and the plan was to run together, as we had done in the practice runs. It was cool, us running together, sharing headphones, with Daler Menhdi going "Rang De Basanti" - very cool.

Mile 2: As I had expected, my IT band started to complain. I knew it was not long before the pain would make me walk.

Mile 5: I told Heather that she can go ahead after mile 6, since my knee was going from bad to worse.

Mile 7: I stumbled strangely, the right knee giving way. I told her to go on, and started walking. Her final words were, "resume running soon". I walked for some time, my right leg straight. Tried running but too much pain. Then I saw written on the T-shirt of the guy ahead of me "This is my first Marathon, and I am 50!". That was motivation enough for me to take some 20 steps running, crossing mile 8 in the process.

My aim was to somehow cross the halfway mark, since after that, I knew I would be able to push myself - running, walking, crawling, whatever!

The people on the sides of the streets, cheering every runner, gave me energy, and so did the oranges handed out by them.

Mile 10: I was happy to be in double digits, 1/5th running, 4/5th walking. That is where I met Ashiya, from the USC marathon team. She was also sore, but going on. More inspiration.

Mile 13.1: The halfway mark! I stopped at a medical station, and got painkiller spray on both my knees, and got an ice-pack tied to my right knee.

I thought, I have finished the half marathon, now even if I don't complete, it is ok. But then Adrian's words came in my mind - "They are going to give medals to all those who finish, and what a medal it is!" - I definitely wanted that medal, and 13.1 miles stood between me and it. Needless to say, I kept on.

Mile 18: I met Adrian, who was having his own problems with the IT band. Since his left knee was busted, we walked symmetrically for some time - his left leg straight, my right leg straight - funny :-).

Mile 19: I randomly met Sumun, who had come with her husband to cheer one of her friends. It is amazing how good I felt to see another known face cheering me on!

Mile 20: 6 more to go! I took a stretching break. Then resumed. There was loads of downhill stretches and I used them, since you can run downhill in long strides without bending your knees :-).

Mile 22: 4 more to go, and the stretch on Olympic Blvd. started. Thanks to the training runs on this route, I knew exactly what was coming from this point on. I knew I could do it, it was just a matter of time now.

Mile 24: I saw Heather O'Shea [different from the Heather I started with], sore all over but fighting on, just like everybody else! She proposed that we cross the finish line together, but our speeds were different. I sped ahead, hoping to finish the run before I collapse.

Mile 25: I feel tears in my eyes - I cannot quite explain why this spontaneous crying thing happened. I see that I have 15 more minutes until 6 hours, and decide to finish before that. Time for running!

Final half mile or so: So, I turned left from Olympic on Flower, and could see the finish line, I put on "Rahe Rahe" for the nth time and kept running. I could see the clock ticking to 5:56:59 as I crossed!

On the other side: After I finished, I was like "give me that medal!", and "I want to crash", and "water", and many other feelings, but most of all, I was surprised to see Heather O'Shea standing next to me! It seems that she sprinted the last part and we finished exactly at the same second! Her idea came true after all :-).

Zack was there, as he has always been, waiting for hours for the slow ones to finish [he took 3.5 hours, the fastest from USC]. He took my snap [and one with Heather also, who was all smiles].

Zack and I then biked back to campus. It was interesting to see how biking was not tough at all, partly due to the downward slope, and partly due to the fact that it uses a completely different group of muscles.

Epilgoue: All through the marathon, there was one question in my mind -WHY? - Why do these people stand on the side of the track and cheer complete strangers, give them high-5s, give out oranges and water [even beer at one place!]. What makes them spend their money and time on this day. And yet, who knows how many people like me would have dropped out mid way if it had not been for those who were cheering me. People would go "hey USC, Fight on!" when they would see my Jersey. Some even shouted my name, reading it off my race bib. I wonder what makes them do this?

And then I thought, what made me do this. Why am I paying money and training and then running 26.2 miles, when I am sure to not get the prize? And I guess there I had my answer - it is a great feeling to be part of a marathon, running or otherwise.

So people, make sure you run at least one marathon in your lifetime - no one can be explained what the experience is like, much like the matrix.

Still a bit sore, and still in love with the whole world,

Monday, March 20, 2006


5 hours, 50 minutes, 10 seconds -- that is how long my 26.2 mile trip to hell and back took.

For those who are wondering, I successfully completed the LA marathon today. Thanks to all those who supported me during the training and the race.

That's all for now, I am now going to tend to my sore body, and also prepare for the first show of our Improv Group - Vidushak.

Off to the freezer now, to get some frozen spinach to tie to my right IT band.

in love with the whole world,

Saturday, March 18, 2006

No Danish PM for us Indians please, we are crazy fanatics!

Many sources are reporting that the visit of the Danish PM to India has been postponed because of "fears that the trip could provoke fresh protests by Muslims against cartoons of Prophet Mohammad."

Shameful. utterly shameful. The Indian govt should be able to assure that there will be no violent protest as a result. And peaceful protests should not scare a PM away.
The image of India has taken a beating. I think the drunk guy is winning [ref to my comment]. Sad.

It will be interesting to see someone come forward and "assure" the Danish PM of no untoward incident at his trip.

Fanatics 1, Moderates 0. Who are you cheering for?


Friday, March 17, 2006

Victory for the Moderate Muslims in Varanasi

Update: Remember to read the comments, they add to the article. Thanks for them, folks!

Some weeks ago, I was sent this article [free reg required, you can use bugmenot]. The point the article made was that Islam is suffering because somehow the moderate section of the community is not coming out strongly, thus letting the fanatics rule the roost and dictate the policies. Some very valid points and a nice read.

I have been engaged in a strong debate, both on the web and off it, regarding my pro "do not call Varanasi bombing a religious attack since it was not, and this might cause riots" stand. You may want to see my comments at the bottom of the post linked above. More about that issue some other day.

On to the latest news, I just saw that the Varanasi muslim moderates got a fatwa issued by the religious officials there against terrorism. Pretty cool, I say.

From the article:
Quoting references from the holy Quran, the mufti said Islam strongly condemned and restricted the 'fitn-o-fasad' (violence).

"Islam is synonymous with peace and protection of humanity," he said, adding that Allah has expressed unhappiness on all those acts that breach peace.

Allah says: "Slaying an individual without any reason is a heinous crime and sin; if one kills an innocent person, it is the killing of entire humanity, and if one saves an innocent person it is an act of protecting the entire humanity." (Quran; Sooreh Maida, Ayaat 32).

The fatwa against terrorism came in response to the written queries put before the Mufti by Qamar Jehan, former head of the department of Urdu, Banaras Hindu University, and Muniza Rafiqu Khan, registrar of Gandhian Institute of Studies, to know whether terrorism had any place in Islam.


The three-page fatwa said all human beings of the world were members of the family of Allah. The safety of each individual is essential and there is no barrier of religion or geographical boundary.

The holy Quran strictly denounces the act of violence through its different 'ayaats' including 'Sooreh Bakara - 60 and 205', 'Sooreh Araf - 56' and 'Sooreh Qasas - 83'.

It is the duty of each and every Muslim to have good relations with all individuals, irrespective of their religion. The fatwa further stated that a person of any country or religion involved in act of terrorism goes against the teaching of Islam.

Such persons could not be termed as religious-minded, as terrorists have no religion. Islam not only restricts a person from doing wrong, but also commands not to support evil as it is a sin.

I know some of you will brush it off as mere lip service, but honestly, isn't this a pleasant surprise, coming from a community where we were thinking that the moderate voice is not loud enough.

I wish for more such pleasant surprises in the future.

P.S. I got new shoes [unevenly worn out, thus playing a part in my ITB injury] and Zack, my officemate who is one of the coaches in the Marathon team, corrected my running style. Lets see.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

So, just because it is tough, you won't do it?

A lot of you would have seen this quote in my signature, and I guess it is time to put it to practice.

The LA Marathon is here, this coming Sunday!

Here is the route. [switch off the elevations and unzoom a couple of levels to get a complete picture]. The mile markers are a bit off due to not considering elevation, but you get the idea.

Yes, my Ilio-Tibial band is not in the best shape, but I am still hoping to cross the finish line, a little late, a little limping, but crossing it for sure.

So wish me luck! [and be at Vermont and Expo at marathon day if you are in the USC area!]


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Holi Cow! No punishment to stung MPs!

Happy Holi to all! Hope your life is colorful and you make up with your enemies :-).

And now to the main issue, I was shocked to read this article in TOI today telling how all the MPs in the MPLADS scam have gotten the benefit of doubt.[link to one-page version, cancel the print option when it comes]

Let us look at some snippets of this superb article.
While maintaining that the conduct of none of the four members "was above board and they need to be handed out appropriate punishment", it gave the benefit of doubt to the four lawmakers saying the "improper conduct" on their part "did not, strictly speaking, relate to their parliamentary duties and none of the said members was actually shown accepting the money".
"Alemao Churchill (Cong), Paras Nath Yadav (SP), Faggan Singh Kulaste and Ramswaroop Koli (both BJP) may be reprimanded. They may also be suspended from the membership of the House till 22 March 2006," recommended the Committee in its 51-page unanimous report tabled in the House today.

And how is this punishment "appropriate" ? Agreed, they did not accept the money on camera, but they did write those absolutely bogus letters! What about that?

The Committee recommended that the Government suitably revise guidelines governing MPLADs with a view to plugging various loopholes and lacunae.

A suggestion made by the Committee to the Government on implementation of the MPLADS scheme was that NGOs and private institutions be barred from getting any funds under the scheme.
This was because most of such NGOs are "merely facades for unscrupulous organisations formed to usurp funds" from MPLADS, which are meant for community development works.

Under the scheme, each MP is entitled to sanction developmental projects in their respective parliamentary constituency to the tune of Rs two crore annually.

So, what the committee is saying is that the money should not be given to NGOs, then who will do the work? The government organizations? I wonder how much it is going to affect the "good" MPs who want to use these funds to support actual projects. [or maybe there aren't any left]

It asked the Government to initiate steps for laying guidelines and norms for sting operators.

The Committee expressed concern that the media has been indulging in "sensationalism on a competitive basis" in a race to achieve viewership.

It noted that in this case, a television channel had implied that all MPs were susceptible to corruption.

"Carrying out such operations in an unregulated manner, which cast aspersions on MPs, erodes the credibility of our democratic institutions," the Committee said noting that "such motivated trial by the media needs to be regulated".

This surely takes the cake... instead of lauding the efforts of the media, the committee is busy reprimanding them. While agree that tainting a MP by sending a girl to her place and assailing his character may be below the belt [since it has no relation to his work as a parliamentarian], why should the media not find out their corrupt dealings?

And what would these norms look like -- please submit in tripilicate the names/addresses of your sting operatives and the target MP three months in advance, so that we[govt] can go after you[media]!

Funny how this is called operation "Duryodhana", and I was reading the "gambling scene" in the Mahabharata yesterday. It is said that when Dushasana finally got to disrobing Draupadi and fabric appeared magically to cover her, Dhritarashtra and others realised how everything was so wrong and that the end of the dynasty is near. Somehow, with the recent Jessica Lal case and now this, I see the proverbial cup of corruption running over in India.

Reminds me of..

"Yada Yada Hi Dharmasya. Glanirva Bhavathi Bharatha,.
Abhyuthanam Adharmaysya. Tadatmanam Srijami Aham'.

Bhagavad Gita (Chapter IV-7) [ref]

I think it's time -- so where art thou?


Monday, March 13, 2006

India Shining: A video is worth a thousand pics

Harshit sent me this video, which ties in to my post a few days ago.

Watch it [7 mins] if you can, if you don't have the time, watch the last 40 seconds, where they discuss as to "what is it that makes Indians study"

Suddenly, I feel a little happy to see these non-Indians in awe of my culture :-).

But all the same, we must remember that a lot needs to be done before we reach what we deserve... I just hope the huge legions of youth in India get proper guidence as they grow and mature.

Amen to that.
P.S. The marathon is in 7 days, and my knee is busted! Going to the doc tomorrow.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

How to react to a bomb blast if you are a politician

I was checking out desipundit and saw a link to this post by Sonia Falerio -- absolutely great!

No more from me, visit the link above... sums up my opinions. Also, read the comments, they add to the article.

Friday, March 10, 2006

The Banarasi Spirit Lives!

My Siddharth bhaiya pointed me to this news, and what a news item it is!

TOI [and others] are reporting about a candle light procession taken out by shopkeepers in Varanasi to protest against the bomb blasts. The article also talks about how the vigilance of a vendor saved people from the third bomb!

I must confess that my eyes welled with tears seeing people from all communities in the pictures above. I am so relieved to see the show of solidarity from all communities. This is a clear signal to all the disruptive forces that this attack is clearly a "terrorist" activity, and not a communal one.

I hope the students of ITBHU also organize a procession of this sort to show solidarity with the people of the great city of Varanasi.

This reminds me of:

"Kuch baat hai ki hasti mit-ti nahin hamaari
Sadiyon raha hai dushman, daure zamaan hamaara!"

Long live the spirit of the people.

a little overwhelmed with emotion,
Update: Arvind points me to this NDTV article about BHU students and secularism.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Varanasi is us

Mukul sent this today -- wonderful article.

I am not saying much about this since the article so aptly captures what I had to say -

Of all the soundbites that emanated from the mouths of leaders after the Varanasi blasts, it was surprisingly Uma Bharati — the “daughter of BJP cast out in the darkness” — who spoke with the most wisdom. The burden of her words was this: these attacks are not about religion, they are about crime. The nation needs to remain united now more than ever. True, many others expressed similar sentiments, but when the woman who had once celebrated the fall of Babri Masjid expressed them, they assumed importance; and when her words were compared with the statements of her former colleagues in the BJP — including of course those of the inimitable Pravin Togadia, anxious to convert the blasts into bankable political capital — they assume even greater importance. Because these, precisely, are the two ideas that need to guide political and popular response to the grave and wanton aggression on Varanasi. One, do not communalise these attacks — criminalise them; two, come together in resistance against them, don’t fall prey to the larger design of their perpetrators.

My prayers go out to maintaining calmness in the people.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Mayhem in Shiva's City

All of you know it by now, about the varanasi blasts. Abhishek Khanna from ITBHU talks about it here. Looking forward to more blog entries from the city itself.

A sad occurance, and a time for calmness and restraint. Everyone in the city is now apprehensive about riots, with the RAF deployed everywhere. I hope that people remember that the reason the terrorists chose to target Varanasi was to cause communal tensions - and if communal violence flares up, they have achieved exactly that.

I wonder what all it takes to prevent such occurances, a sense of responsibility in the powers-that-be to heed to intelligence reports as and when they come in, maturity in the population of the city to make sure that noone provides a safe-house to such criminals ... I wonder.

Sad, and a little worried,
Update: The explosive used, the no-good-causing bandh, and the proposed "yatra". [Everyone knows what happened after his last yatra!]

Sunday, March 05, 2006

25 done... onwards now...

So, last friday was my birthday. And no normal one, it was my 25th birthday!

This means a lot to me, being half as old as my advisor [he is turning 50 this year], not having to pay extra when renting cars, paying less for my car insurance ... and not being picked on by my "older" friends [they know I am talking about them :-) ].

And I got a bunch of gifts too -

  • Numerous wishes on facebook and orkut. Thanks to all who sent me those lovely messages. And add to that the number of calls/IMs/emails/SMSs .. I am touched!

  • The gang got two cakes at midnight and applied part of it [add some beaten eggs] on my face/head, then gave me the customary "birthday bumps" [oww.. it still hurts!]

  • Zack made a carrot cake and we had a cake-cutting ceremony in the group in office.

  • Rosine, our division coordinator took me out to lunch to the parkside cafe, the best food place on campus! The Oreo pie was awesome!

  • Diane [from our main deptt office] told me that my quals passing papers have finally reached her! Maa, main pass ho gaya! Say hello to PhD. Candidate Animesh Pathak!

  • Lots of my friends came for the party in the evening. I made ghughni, which is like chholey, except made with black chana, which is smaller. Traditional bihari dish. Wish mom was here in LA to taste it :-)

  • We went to see second nature perform after the party, and after the show, Eddie, their leader said - Today is the birthday of our biggest fan - Animesh!. They also gave me a T-shirt.. how sweet :-).

A lot has happened in the past 25 years, maybe I will blog about the milestones some other time, but a lot is going to happen in the next year - especially in research... I am going into my paper publishing mode, and that will mean less time for blogging.. but all for a good reason.

Thanks to all who have shaped my life till now,

P.S. I was told this morning about the Varanasi bomb blasts! I pray for calmness in the people of Varanasi and elsewhere in India.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

India Shining.. or not?

I was interviewed today by the university television channel for my views on USA and India as an Indian student ... nice to see the motherland getting importance.

This was aptly followed by an article link sent to me by Rishi.. so here it is.

India, Asia's other Superpower Breaks Out - article in Newsweek. It is a little long, but worth the read. This issue of Newsweek is dedicated to India!

However, I should also point out a couple of other articles that bring us back to the ground and show how there is much more to be done, and India's prosperity will come in spite of its politicians/bureaucrats, as opposed to due to them.

Here is Rabri Devi, the leader of the Bihar opposition, showing a chappal to someone in the state assembly, and there are reports about how a dalit woman who was going to represent India in a UN forum was given her passport one day after the convention started in New York! That is why I say we need to progress despite the system.

Here's to Mera Bharat Mahan [? maybe not yet.. but in some time]


Outsourcing Medicinal Testing?

Hi all,
I am super busy nowadays... hence the lull in posting... but could not resist to post on this news item about how a hostpital in Sevagram [yes, where Gandhiji had his ashram] is letting its subjects be used as guinea pigs to medicinal testing.

From the article "A Nation of Guinea Pigs":

The drug regimen, known as Aggrenox, was being tested for its ability to forestall a second stroke. S. P. Kalantri, the doctor tapped to lead the trial in Sevagram, quickly grasped the offer's appeal. Patients in Sevagram are poor enough that the benefits of taking part in the study would amount to a health care windfall; among other things, Boehringer Ingelheim guaranteed participants two physicals during each of the three years that the trial would run. For each person enrolled, moreover, the hospital would receive 30,000 rupees (about $665) - no small amount, given the puny budget of the center's stroke ward, a single room of eight pallet beds. Kalantri talked the matter over with the chair of the hospital's ethics committee, and the two concluded that the trial drug itself, with its possible side effects and limited efficacy, would provide little benefit to their patients. Then they went ahead and signed up.
Little by little, however, Kalantri began to see the problematic side of outsourced trials. "When I try to explain that a drug is experimental, that it might not work, the understanding is not there," he observes. "One woman said to me, 'What do you mean, the drug might not work? All drugs work!'"

Interesting.... I recommend reading the whole article..

I _so_ look forward to going back my motherland... it will be an interesting phase of my life.