Friday, November 16, 2007

Old age and behaviour

My father, who is 73 years and six months old, has gradually changed from being what he was to being an irritable, uncouth, and ill-mannered person. How this change in personality came about is something of an enigma to me, as it is to my mother, my two younger brothers, my wife and the wives of both my brothers. My daughters are just as bewildered as the children of my younger brothers.

My mom has become so exasperated that she starts crying the moment one of us (all three of us feel more or less the same way about our dad) begins to argue or talk some sense into the old man. She fears that one or all of us will stop talking to dad, and then we will all stop visiting them completely.

I will write more later. Do keep checking this blog. Thanks.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Clinic Inauguration (III): The actual event

I reached the clinic premises at about half past nine in the morning. My assistants came around the same time. A maid had come earlier than us and was just finishing up with the sweeping and mopping activities. I invited her to return later on as a guest, then the three of us became busy setting up the place for the "opening ceremony". My parents were to "break the coconut (father) and cut the ribbon (mother). They arrived well in time for the auspicious time of 9.52 a.m. Here are a couple of pictures of them doing the honours:

First, dad breaks a coconut
... then, mom is cutting a red ribbon, thus "opening" the clinic.

This was then fol
lowed by the arrival of my teacher and Guru, Dr. N.B.Kumta, an eminent Pediatrician from Malad, a Mumbai suburb. He had been kind enough to help me with the editing of my parenting book a few years ago. As a token of my appreciation for him, I presented him with a copy of the book. Here are a few pictures of him:

Over the rest o
f the day, several other guests came. It is impossible to show pictures of everyone who came, but friends, relatives, other doctors, other associates, neighbours of my home and my shop, people from the old clinic building at Nagpada, and finally, a few of my internet friends too turned up. Below are some of the pictures of these unforgettable moments. Shown are my mama (maternal uncle), a net friend Hiroo Pardasani with his wife, a net friend Tanishq, with her family, some important doctors, such as Dr. Shrin Shikari and her family, Dr. Rajendra and Sheela Verma and her son, Drs. Joshi and Barsiwala, Drs. Farooqs, some relatives, such as my uncle Idris with his family, and a few others.

As you can see, the event was a success, with over 300 guests gracing the occasion. We served kesar-pista icecream, and the guests enjoyed it. Gifts and bouquets literally rained upon us! It was a colour riot, with tens of large, medium and small bouquets, covering every available surface on the premises. Added to this were the other gifts, both in cash and in kind. There were vases, table-top decorative stuff, items useful to a pediatrician, hospitality stuff like crockery, religious photo-frames and other icons, stationery, chocolates and even something odd like a shirt for me!

I thank all of those who attended my inauguration function and all those whose prayers and blessings were, are, and will be with me and my family. To all others who read this post and my blog, please note that this is a very special event in my professional life, so I request you not to try and mock it or belittle its importance.

Thank you for reading it all.

To view the entire collection of photos, please click here.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Inauguration of the clinic (II) - The run-up to the opening

The actual inauguration was held on Sunday the 21st of October, 2007. To be honest, we had to rush through the last three or four days' work of renovation to meet the deadline for the opening. I tried to send out phone invites and also invitation cards to as many relatives, friends, doctor-associates, other colleagues and contacts, as possible. In the end, this effort involved cooperation from my children, my wife, a few of my close friends, my employees, the internet (since many of the invites went by email), the phone service (which, gratefully, did not let me down most of the time, though the landlines were more reliable than the mobiles), the postal service (since over 75 invites went by post - this one was a dampener, as later on, I learned that at least 14-15 invitees got their invitations after the event was over!) ... and some others too.

On the penultimate day, I sat down to run through the lis
t of all the things that had to be done/were done:

-sending out invitations and following those that were sent by post with a phone call wherever possible
-checking and cross-checking the invites to see that I didn't miss anyone or to confirm that the phones had indeed been made
-calling up the people who were going to erect a "pandal" (
a sort of shaded verandah on the sidewalk outside my clinic) and tell them to erect it that very night
-confirming with the icecream supplier the order for 500 ice
-running after the carpenter, plumber, painter, varnisher, electrician, glass-vendor, mason, etc. and seeing to the completion of the
ir final work in time for the opening
-installing a fish tank (the vendor also brought water in two large plastic bags from his home and filled the tank! He brought the fish on Sunday morning at nine o'clock and made the tank complete!)
-seeing to it that the florist keeps the floral festoon ready to apply it to the front of the main board the next morning
-seeing to it that the board maker fixes the main board and the side board outside the clinic's main door

... plus a zillion other tasks!

In the event, is it a surprise that a few people did get left out, a few tasks did remain incomplete and a few mistakes did occur? :-)

Here are a few pictures of the clinic on Sunday
morning, before the guests began to arrive:

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Inauguration of the Clinic - Buying the place

Let me share with you all the major event that happened in late October: the inaugural function of my new clinic. In this post, I will tell you about how we got to acquire the place where the clinic came up. My wife Nishrin and I had, over the past year and a half, been looking for a large premises, at least 350-400 sq. ft. floor area, to be able to start her parlour and a small place within that for my new clinic. Our search had started at Mazgaon over two years ago, but its scope widened to areas like Clare Rd., Byculla main road, J.J. Hospital area and even the Bohri Mohalla area where Nish currently runs her parlour from a rented premises. Things weren't moving, and in the meantime, realty prices began to zoom up like mad. We had funds to the tune of 22 to 25 lacs, which, later, we hiked to about 30 lacs, but there weren't any decent premises available in that budget.

Our search narrowed down to a 350 sq.ft. place near the J.J. traffic signal, and before we knew it, that owner refused to sell the place and backed off. Sometime around mid-May, a broker approached us with a proposal from another party which had a main road shop close to the J.J. signal, but was a bit smaller, at around 250 sq.ft. Negotiations started with the party asking for 40 lacs net, and promptly broke down as we simply did not think the place was worth that! Remember, we had to give an unspecified amount to the landlord - this would be anywhere from a fixed amount of 5 lacs to a fixed percentage of the amount we paid to the owners. Thus, we would have to shell out an additional 7-10 lacs for the landlord, and we simply did not have that kind of money.

Our thinking got to the point where we almost gave up the whole idea of buying a place in these cost-inflated times. Then, we got used to the idea that that place was really good, and we would not want to give up on it; so we began to discuss how to raise additional capital. Loans would have to be taken, there was no question. We put a counter proposal of 35 lacs including the amount to be paid to the landlord.

This was not fair to the owners, since they too did not know what the landlord would be seeking. Hence we gave them another figure: 30 lacs Net, take it or leave it. In the final meetings, this figure was re-negotiated to 32 lacs net. and then the talks with the landlord took place ... this was between the landlord and the owners. The former asked for 10, and finally settled for 7.

Thus, the deal finally cost us 39. We paid a brokerage of 0.60, and spent another 4.5 on the renovation of the place. The clinic has thus cost us nearly 44 lacs, give or take 25000 rupees. To raise this huge difference between what we had (30) and what was needed (44), we took loans from doctors, relatives, and friends, plus a 3 lac loan from a bank to part meet the cost of the renovation.

We got possession of the place on 31st July, and began work on the premises by mid-August. The work went on for over 2 months, and the place was finally ready on Sunday 21st October 2007 for the official inauguration.

More in the next post.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Lots of things to say

I know I haven't been around for a long, long time, and to all readers, past and present, I can only offer a limp apology for this absence. Several things have transpired in my life since my last entry. In a nutshell:-
  • All thirty fasts got over, Ramadan got over and my family and I celebrated Eid with the usual fanfare.
  • We, that is my wife and I purchased a shop near J.J. Hospital, a premier area in South Mumbai, then I was busy getting it shipshape for a doctor's clinic, and finally, on the 21st of October, we had it inaugurated at the hands of my parents, and invited over 500 guests to "view" the new clinic, to bless and guide us, and to join us in our happiness.
  • My younger daughter went on a 4-day trip to a resort in nearby Vasai from the 26th October to the 29th. The house just isn't the same with one member missing.
  • Today, I finished registering my 50th patient on the new Computer-based patient registration system installed in the new clinic; the software is developed by a private software company called Maze Designers and Developers (from Vadodara), and is blessed by the Indian Academy of Pediatrics (the I.A.P.) - the official organisation of the Pediatricians of India.
  • My elder daughter went on a one-day picnic with more than 150 other adolescents last Saturday, that is on the 3rd of November. She had great fun.
  • My wife is now busy with the wedding season. Dressing up brides, giving them hair-styles, hair colours and hair-cuts is part of the preparation that she participates in.
  • On Writing.com, an internet writing site, I am unnecessarily drawn into a controversy that touches upon not just my writing skills, but also my leadership qualities, my religious affliations, my sensitivity or otherwise in certain matters, and so on.
Having said all this, let me add that several other things have also happened, but they will have to wait for another post. The most important among those is that my father took ill and was admitted under a physician at a Hospital last week for 4 days. He even had to go into the ICU for one night on account of his deteriorating condition. However, now he is well and at home.