My friend from the US recently sent me this interesting piece of information by email


“Project Management – a lesson from the Americians”.


“The project was, reconstruction of an old bridge located above the important and busy interstate freeway 405 – a 12 lane highway. The old bridge was to be demolished and a new one reconstructed. After working on the logistics for nearly 8 months the authorities decided that this project was to be executed between 15th July, 2011 to 18th July, 2011 in a total time of 53 hours. There was a heavy penalty of US $7200 per hour on the contractor if the work was delayed. The traffic was to be completely stopped on the freeway during that period. The public was duly informed through all the newspapers and TV channels and asked to stay at home that weekend or take alternative routes and diversions as recommended. The work began on sehedule and all demolition was complete inside of 24 hours. About 800 trucks removed 4000MT of rubble in record time. Fresh reconstruction of the new bridge was then done in the next 24 hours. Freeway 405 was opened to traffic in 38 hours, 15 hours ahead of schedule. The Metropolition Transport authority gave a bonus of US $ 3,00,000 for the early completion”.


Reading this news item was like a whiff of fresh air on a hot sultry day. Each day when I read the newspaper, I have to literally search for news that motivates me. The rape of a bar girl, the murder of a gangster and the endless politics and battles of the more corrupt vs the less corrupt and other useless trivia dominates the print. All this gets more importance than an inspiring life saving act of bravery or a monumental test of human endurance or creativity. Today we are truly living in a fickle superficial world thriving on frivolous materialism and irrelevant sensationalism.


The great frescoes, paintings, sculptures of the Art renaissance, The Tajmahal, The Eiffel Tower and the Pyramids were all built in lesser times without the aid of computers or the latest earth moving equipments. Fiery inspiration, burring passion, focus and persistence went into the making of these wonders of the world. Daniel Goleman has defined emotional quotient EQ as zeal enthusiasm persistence and ability to motivate oneself continuously over prolonged periods of time. EQ seems to have been certainly higher in those days when we were not dependant on technology.


During my visit to Rohtang Pass, I once saw a board put up by the Indian Army after completion of the civil work. It said, “Difficult one day, Impossible one week, Miracle one month”. This is called missionary zeal and this is what went into the record breaking feat of freeway 405 repair. This is in sharp contrast to the dug up roads and unfinished flyovers in our metros and national highways.


Today there seems to be a chronic deficiency of visionaries, statesmen and philonthrophists who can, not only dream but execute those dreams. Our great minds and the new generations of our Tatas, Birlas and Ambanis are far too much embroiled in commercial controversies and considerations which impedes them from giving their brilliant best.


Way back in the 70’s I had the good fortune of meeting Mr. T. M. A. Pai, the founder of Manipal University and campus the hub of quality education near Mangalore. He said that he was always “Inspired By Life” and inturn inspired all those around him and so the slogan of Manipal University is “Inspired By Life”.


So, whoever we are businessmen, professionals, students, teachers, bank employees or just ordinary citizens doing over daily chores, cocooned in our comfort zone of I, me and myself, we must get inspired by life to do extra ordinary feats by using the fuel of creativity and capability to contribute to a modern and a progressive society.


Thank You.



The Valentine’s Day

(This artical is published in today’s Times of India)

Towards a Healthy India

As we complete one decade of the new millennium, we have many things to be proud of. For India this has been a decade of progress. We have emerged relatively unscathed from the global meltdown, our GDP is rising, our per capita income has crossed the 1000$ mark, we have faced terrorist attacks bravely and diplomatically, we survived the swine flu scare and finally we elected a stable government at the centre.

Whilst we are well on the way to becoming an economic super power, we still have a long way to go on the health front. Our life span has increased significantly in the last 60 years almost reaching 65 years, as against 48 years at the time of independence but our infants and neonates continue to die of malnutrition, gastroenteritis, dehydration and sepsis. We are still losing young mothers in childbirth due to anaemia, hemorrhage and infections.  Infective and vector borne diseases like typhoid, malaria, tuberculosis, dengue and leptospirosis continue to take a toll of human lives.

Mentioned below are some insights and health tips to combat this killer diseases and some possible solutions.

Prevention of communicable diseases:

Our governments owe its citizen good, clean, potable uncontaminated water and unadulterated food stuffs. Effective disposal of sewage, a closed gutter system and an ongoing mosquito control program will control infectious diseases.

Most common vaccinations such as BCG, DPT, MMR, typhoid and hepatitis B are given at PHCs and government centers. Newer vaccines are available against a wide range of infections like swine flu, pneumonia, meningitis, rotavirus, hepatitis A which are costly and still inaccessible to the masses.

Cardiovascular diseases:

Modern diet, life style and stress has resulted in an alarming rise in obesity, diabetes, hyperlipidemia and young heart attacks. Myocardial infarctions and strokes continue to be the number one killer at all ages. Prevention is still the best answer. Life style modification, no smoking, weight reduction, yoga, pranayams and anti cholesterol drugs all help to prevent a catastrophe. Modern technology now offers angiography-primary angioplasty and bypass surgery even in smaller cities and this has helped to reduce mortality.


India has over 30 million diabetics and is set to become the diabetic capital of the world. Early detection, diet, medications and constant monitoring helps prevent life threatening complications and end organ diseases.


Oral cancers, lung cancer, GI cancers are more common in males-mostly related to smoking and tobacco chewing, whereas breast, uterine & cervical cancers are more common in females. Persistent symptoms should be taken seriously and investigated. Early detection using modern gadgets and technology such as CT scan and MRI is important as stage 0 and stage I cancers are curable. In fact a vaccine is now available against cervical cancer. Advances in chemo and radio therapy have prolonged quality of life in many cancer patients.

End organ diseases:

Renal failures, cardiac failure-cardiomyopathies-liver cell failure and lung failures-require organ transplantation and advances in immunosuppressant therapy has made post transplant survival easier. Excellent critical care centers have emerged which are treating organ failures successfully. Of late, stem cell therapy and regenerative medicine is providing new hope to the otherwise hopeless cases.

New emerging diseases:

With increasing life span we are standing in front of an age quake. In the next 10 years India will have nearly 75 million people above the age of sixty. Neurological diseases like parkinsonism and Alzheimer disease, osteoarthritis requiring joint replacements, psychiatric problems like depression, schizophrenia and anxiety syndromes are on the rise due to increasing loneliness and disturbed inter personal relationships in these fast moving times. Geriatric problems will need more focused attention.

It is the government’s responsibility to offer health care to its people. Until we are able to provide tertiary level health care centers in rural areas, modern super specialty care will be elusive to a majority of our rural population. New centers of excellence in the form of medical colleges and hospitals in rural areas will be needed to produce more doctors and para medical staff for which more government – private joint ventures will be needed.  Health insurance covers only 7-8% of our population. This coverage will have to be extended substantially.

The coming decade should witness significant developments in the health care scenario if we are to face the national health challenge seriously.

Dr. Kishore Nadkarni