Archive for the 'Women' Category

Interview with the Braveheart, Dr. Ritu Biyani

Today I bring to you an extraordinary story of a courageous woman, Dr. Capt. Ritu Biyani, who is based in Pune. She is a woman who has worn several hats – a dental surgeon in army, first Lady Officer paratrooper from the army dental corps, a mountaineer, skydiver and a thorough nomad.

Her story can be an inspiration to you, me and everyone who has faced, even for a moment, the dreaded fear that – This is it. The precious life that you have so far taken for granted, may no longer be there.

Dr. Ritu grappled with this fear in 2000 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She fought back and survived.

It is after the struggle for survival is over and acceptance for the inevitability of the situation seeps in; comes the hardest part – rebuild your new life. How you choose to do it, is where heroes differ from the common folks.

Dr. Ritu decided to dedicate her life for educating people on cancer, preventive measures and offering supportive care for those afflicted with it. She decided to reach out. To thousands of women and men, living along the length and breadth of the entire country. Yes, the length and breadth of the country. Literally.

She drove solo across the country, the four tips of India, along with her 14-year-old daughter Tista in a Ford endeavour for 177 days! Distance covered – a whopping 30, 220 kms! First woman to go on such a solo drive, she, along with her daughter Tista holds Limca Book of Records for first mother-daughter  duo  expedition on cancer awareness across the country.

Here’s a quick Q and A with the lady herself:

Why a road journey? Why this need to reach globally and not focus on just local awareness?

(Naughtily smiles) Yes, a good question when going only local could have made me famous as well, at least locally. But cancer is not a local problem. It does not recognize geographical, cultural, political, socio-economic boundaries.

I am a doctor, and yet I was taken unawares by breast cancer at a young age of 40. So my thought after survival was what about so many of the other women who in the course of multitasking in their different roles in daily life are unaware of their health. They keep their own health on low priority.  It is imperative that they must be forewarned and be groomed to prevent.

Traveling is second nature to me.  I am at peace when I am at roads. So I thought I would travel to people with my story, with scientific facts and basic awareness about cancer. I focus on oral cancer and cervix cancer, besides breast cancer.

That explained, I have undertaken several local initiatives like cancer walks, workshops etc. in Pune.

Continue reading ‘Interview with the Braveheart, Dr. Ritu Biyani’

The Romantic Case Study

Warning: This post is long, rambling commentary of how romantic books are packaged, old and modern. If reading about this genre is beneath you, feel free to skip it. 😉

I have watched hundreds of movies in past few months. Yes hundred, it’s not an exaggeration. I have read several books as well. But I read and watch more than I write. And I feel I must remedy that. In coming days, I will do my best to write about what I am reading and writing.

I was reading The Blind Assassin and The Clockwork Orange, both somewhat profound books. But the books didn’t seem to suit my tired state of mind, so I began looking for a fast read thriller, mystery or romance instead of a literary classic.I remembered A Reader’s Digest list had recommended Nora Roberts’ Chesapeake Bay – Quinn Brother series. I remember I had searched and downloaded the books from Internet. (Yeah, I am biggest beneficiary of pirated ebooks. I don’t ever download anything else from Internet. Just ebooks.) And then had promptly forgotten about Nora Roberts. (You see I am big on hoarding books/ebooks than reading them. )

Until now. I have never read a Nora Roberts, though am aware she is a prolific romantic book author. I started reading the books.  I can’t say I was tremendously pleased with the book, but it didn’t disappoint me. It had its downsides, but it was right fodder for my frazzled brain.

The First MB I read at age of 14

The First MB I read at age of 14

Continue reading ‘The Romantic Case Study’

Anti-Moral Policing Protest in Delhi

The Stand Up to Moral Policing protest in Delhi was worth a visit. 🙂 Well, I was not a visiter, I travelled half the Delhi (not to mention sacrificing my morning sleep on weekend :P) to be there to protest against moral policing. And I was not alone. There were others who too had traversed the whole length of the city on the Valentine day’s eve for the same cause. 😀

Continue reading ‘Anti-Moral Policing Protest in Delhi’

Feminist Reader

Princess: Book about Saudi Princess

It all started with my reading of this book called Princess by Jean P. Sasson. This book is story of a Saudi Princess, who tells her story anonymously, through this American writer. We all have known that women do not have it easy in Saudi.

Saudi is rich but even princesses are shabbily treated by their fathers, husbands and brothers. The protagonist, Princess Sulatana, therefore, grows up with hatred for her brother. Other than the facts that a Saudi women is covered whenever she ventures out, she can’t drive, she can’t inherit, she has to have permission of her father/husband/brother to navigate outside, mere suspicion of sexual infidelity of a women can cause her to be stoned to death.

There are other chilly incidents of a Filipino maid who comes to country only to realise that her duties include sleeping with her male masters. As sexual activity and dates are inhibited, royal princes have been known to sleep with young girls (read children) in countries like Egypt. A girl is electrocuted by her father in swimming pool as she brought bad name to family by mingling with males. A young girl is stoned to death for committing a sexual crime but the truth was that she was raped by her brother’s friends. Brother did not take stand for her. Phew! There is more of stomach-crunching stuff (words/language in book are not gory, its the content that is sad) in the book if you care to catch up. You can read a balanced review here.

Continue reading ‘Feminist Reader’

Happy Women’s Day!

March 8, 2008: So today is women’s day! Last year on this day, I wrote this post in my blog when I was so much gaga about receiving so many women’s day messages. I naively thought now that this day was getting lot of attention, some real positive action would follow. This year, the days passed unnoticed. There were hardly any sms-es, except those from DoT and service providers. I searched the local newspaper for any play or show taking up women’s issues in my city. There were none!

It was good old Internet that could bring up something for me about the day.

International Women’s day

Read here to know why we have International Women’s day! According to a blog post I randomly came across, women’;s day is national holiday in Russia. Read this blog post to read an interesting way in which Russian women celebrate their women’s day.

Happy Women’s day, though! 🙂

Come, Fight Breast Cancer!

Pink Ribbon
October was Breast Cancer Awareness month. Pink ribbon is the International symbol of breast cancer prevention.

Breast cancer is the second most prominent cancer that assails Indian women. Urban Indian women are said to be more susceptible to breast cancer than rural women. A woman with family history of breast cancer is 15% more susceptible to the disease.

Read the complete post here at Its A Free World.


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