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Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Edward Jenner, the great physician who invented Small pox vaccination

I do not think Edward Jenner (1749 –  1823 ) needs any introduction.

He almost single-handedly popularized vaccination against Small pox, a deadly and highly contagious disease of the yesteryears, that led to it's total eradication from the world by 1979 - 80. It was the first disease that was eradicated completely by a combination of preventive measures, vaccination being an important tool and we achieved it in the year 1979 ! Just imagine, this great feat was accomplished before the advent of internet and other sophisticated medical discoveries of the modern world.

Now, where do we stand ? Why we were not able to eradicate any disease after the success with Small pox and rinderpest ?

We now have mind boggling technologies and thrilling discoveries not only in the medical field but also in every field, all round developments have taken place everywhere. I decided to post this topic being driven by a recent post by Andrew, my blogger friend, about abandoned structures. On his blog,, he posted pictures of Renwick Small pox hospital, an abandoned hospital, where Small pox sufferers were once housed. The youngsters today are completely ignorant about the severity of this disease. It is like Chicken pox in a much severe form but the face is the body part that gets affected more and disfiguring, ugly scars occur. Mortality is also high from respiratory complications, sometimes eyesight is lost because of ulcers and in the olden times there were no antiviral medicines to treat it. Natural cure was the norm and if the poor soul survives the bonus was life long immunity. But such people acted as caregivers to patients. The mortality rate was very high among children.

I have vague memories of being taken to a municipality preventive clinic in 1968 or so by my dad along with my sister to get vaccinated against Small pox. In the clinic multiple punctures were made with a bifurcated needle dipped in vaccine solution on the outer aspect of the left upper arm on two spots, one above and the other about 5 cm below it. There was mild pain and we were crying all the time but were restrained by dad. The reward for co-operating with this dreadful exercise was 'rose milk', sweetened cold milk with rose syrup added, a popular drink in the era prior to colas and other types of carbonated drinks in South India, which was available in a hotel by name 'Lakshminivas', nearby. The waiters wore white uniforms with frilled caps and the huge ceiling fans there had egg shaped bottom. Fond memories :) boy, that was the sweetest drink we ever had, no drink enjoyed later on in life from awesome restaurants in different parts of the world could replicate the same effect. The sweet taste buds of childhood !

Young generation will not be having vaccination scars of Small pox, it was stopped in the USA in the 70's itself.

Edward Jenner was aware that milk maids were immune to Small pox and he assumed it could be due to the immunity conferred to them from contracting cow pox that was a mild form of pox the cattle had. The practice of inoculation / variolation of pus to persons, who were willing to try it for prevention, from the lesions of Small pox patients that made its entry to England from Turkey was also prevalent at that time. All these made Jenner believe in the effectiveness of vaccination. His trials finally gained acceptance among the medical community as well as the public after much ridicule and criticisms. This finally made the Government to ban the crude practice of variolation and adopt vaccination by cowpox material formulated by Jenner for the prevention of Small pox. But his lucrative medical practice suffered because of his work on Small pox. He continued with his activities with grants from the British Government. He used to vaccinate the poor at his clinic. Finally after suffering from a massive stroke he passed away in 1823. May his soul rest in peace.

Small pox was considered as a curse from the Goddess in our place in the olden days. People used to conduct elaborate rituals to please the Goddess to avoid wrath. Being a viral disease there were no medicinal cure those days, only prayers were the remedy hoping for a natural recovery. The situation was more or less the same, everywhere in the world, only the practices differed.

With the support of world leaders of that time, provision of funds, willingness of people to try their best to eradicate this serious disease, an effective vaccine, life long immunity of people with no re-infection, all played in it's eradication. Sadly, such collective and determined efforts are lacking now-a-days. Only hope is Polio, which may get eradicated soon !

Did the world's focus and attitudes changed to cure and care, from prevention and eradication ? Priority to allot funds shifted to much more profit making ventures globally ?
I would like to hear your views about this topic :)
  • No words can sufficiently portray efforts for humanitarian causes by great people. Their good deeds speak volumes about themselves. Let it all inspire us to do something, be it a simple thing, for the betterment of mankind.  
Visit this awesome site to learn more about this English Physician who saved millions of life on the planet !

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Sunday, 20 April 2014

How to stop worrying and start living by Dale Carnegie

I bought this book years ago. When ?...well, about 22 years ago, yes..., the 'real' book not the digital version of the book in 21st century :)

How many times I have reread this book ? Countless... !
How many times I have packed this book while travelling ? Difficult to count... !
How may times I have recommended this awesome book to friends ? Lost the count... !

Took this out of my book shelf today and decided to blog about this.

Dale Breckenridge Carnegie (November 24, 1888 – November 1, 1955).

I do not think I need to write here in detail about this genius who pioneered self help programs in the modern world. I attended a personality development program about 22 years ago spending a huge sum of money, almost a month's full salary, while working as a junior staff immediately after my graduation and internship. There I happened to hear about this brilliant man and subsequently bought his book from a book shop in Bangalore when I went there some months later because it was not available in our place at that time. Expensive book, it was !

Now, I feel lucky in learning the important principles outlined in this beautiful book at a very early age. Thereafter I attended many such self help programs but what I felt is they were all modifications of the same principles clearly and simply written by this brilliant man years ago. I have applied these principles that I learned early in my life as much as possible and I can state truthfully that whatever little success I think I have attained are the result to a great extent to his book and it's contents.

I found all his books wonderful. Collected many, some are in digital formats. I make it a point to tell my friends to read a self help book online or offline daily. Many are available for free online, so getting one is not a problem all, no need to spend a dime !

Some interesting quotes collected from the www supposed to be made by Carnegie:

"The ideas I stand for are not mine. I borrowed them from Socrates. I swiped them from Chesterfield. I stole them from Jesus. And I put them in a book. If you don't like their rules, whose would you use?"

"People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing."

"Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success."

"Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit at home and think about it. Go out and get busy." Well, this one may be amended to suit the life of today's world with internet opening never before horizons of success - "If you want to conquer fear, do not sit idle at home, start some home based business or if you prefer to go out, get busy with something you like in the world outside :)"

“We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses blooming outside our windows today” 

For more quotes and further details:

Well the last quote is the basis of this blog - live in the present and the present moment is magical.
  • Live in the present happily and contented. Time just flows away, it never waits for none. The magical present moment that we have in our hands is the only thing that is sure for you to posses and whoever utilizing it well is the wisest on Earth.
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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Beautiful flowers, sweet memories

Enjoy these beautiful flowers :)

All these were shot some time ago. When I saw these recently while searching my external hard drive, it brought many memories. These were shot when I bought a second camera, a Panasonic point and shoot model, some years ago. I used to compare pictures taken by this cam with my favorite Canon during that time.
  • An old picture can stir so many memories. It is good to walk down the memory lane once in a while. 
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Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Nishagandhi ( queen of the night, Epiphyllum oxypetalum ), the fragrance of love )

Pictures of Nishagandhi ( queen of the night, Epiphyllum oxypetalum ). 

This flower blooms only at night; during daytime it looks like what you see in the picture. At night when it blooms it emits a wonderful fragrance, addressed poetically ' fragrance of love'. 

I searched my collection in my hard drive recently and found this picture. This was taken about 5 years ago during one of my visits to my ancestral house. I did not know the importance about this unique flower at that time, apparently I do not have a picture taken at night when it blooms emitting divine fragrance. If I happen to get it from some relative who might have taken a picture will surely post it here, picture courtesy acknowledging them.
  • Search for hidden gems. We may not recognize the value of many simple things in life but it becomes valuable at the right time.
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Sunday, 9 February 2014

Beautiful countryside

These are the pictures of the country side villages in Kerala. Full of greenery, paddy fields and coconut trees. 
Rapid urbanisation has changed the landscape in big cities making them concrete jungles :)

  • Numerous gifts of nature, do not miss the opportunity to indulge in such treats that we may get during our hectic day to day life.
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