Amit Paranjape’s Blog

50 Ways In Which Pune Has Changed In The Past 15 Years (Part 2)

Posted in Pune by Amit Paranjape on November 20, 2008

 

I would like to thank all the readers for the excellent feedback and new inputs on the first article in this series. Please click here, to check it out if you haven’t already read it. This second part is a continuation of the previous list. My special thanks to the readers who provided detailed comments, new data points and corrections on the first article. Looks like old and new Punekars alike are passionate about this topic. I am continuing here with 50 more ways in which Pune has changed in the past 15 years. Hope you find this list as interesting and nostalgic as the first one.

 

In the introduction article I mentioned about how different folks (people who lived in Pune through these 15 years; people like me who came back to the scene after a long gap; and today’s teenagers who were too young to remember how things were back then) would perceive this list. I could probably add a fourth constituent to this list – people who recently moved into Pune. For them, these articles hopefully will provide an insight into how fast this city has changed (probably faster than any other city in India) and yet how it continues to maintain its underlying dinstinctive character!

 

1.  ‘Laughter Clubs’ were unknown to Punekars in the early nineties. At that time, if someone saw a group of middle-aged and older people laughing and screaming in a crazy manner in the middle of a park, early morning – they would have been extremely perplexed and confounded (to put it mildly!).

On a side note, I wonder what these people would think if someone were to raise an objection about their ‘noise pollution’? I happen to live near a park where such a club assembles every morning. I for one do not fancy being woken up by these weird cacophony of sounds before 7am in the morning. J

 

2.  There were hardly any night clubs/lounge bars/pubs in Pune during the early nineties. I remember how Punekars young and old looked at the opening of ‘10 Downing Street’, amongst Pune’s first night-clubs, with apprehension and excitement (young with excitement; old with apprehension).

 

3.  Venkys near present day Dorabjees in Camp was a popular fast-food joint. Its format was very similar to modern day McDonald and it served a variety of Chicken Sandwiches, Veg Burgers and Other Side Dishes. It also had a separate Beer Bar.

 

4.  It was not very surprising to see a mongoose and other ‘wild’ creatures emerge from the dense vegetation near the old Deccan Gymkhana area bungalows. As a saying goes, ‘where there is a mongoose, there is a snake’! True to this saying, on some rare occasions, these slithering reptiles also made their presence known (experts tell me that they were of the non-poisonous variety).

Chirping Sparrows were extremely common – one really wonders where they disappeared!

   

5.  April pre-seasonal rains (‘Valvacha Paus’) were quite common. One wonders where they have disappeared in the recent years.  Note to the reader – Debating whether this is due to long term cyclic climate pattern changes or global warming is beyond scope of this article –J

 

6.  Pune was very focused on competitive exams. However, there were only a few coaching classes in this area. Majority of the classes at the time concentrated on the conventional SSC and HSC exams. Probably the most well-known ones for competitive exams were:

Sujata Khanna, Dilip Oak (GRE, GMAT, CAT) 

Rahalkar (IIT JEE)

Col Diwan, Jnana Prabodhini (NTS – National Talent Search Exam) 

 

7.  There were very few cars seen in the by-lanes of Deccan Area. It seemed inconceivable at that time to imagine that there will be P1/P2 parking restrictions there. Similarly, these by-lanes were great venues for ‘Galli cricket’. The increase in traffic and parked vehicles meant that this great by-product of the modern cricket game seems to be heading towards extinction in these areas!

 

8.  Many teenagers today would be completely unaware of this drink, but back in the 1980s and early 1990s, a milk based flavored drink ‘Energee’ marketed by Aray Dairy was quite popular. This drink was sold in bottles through various corner stores (wooden shacks) spread over many strategic locations of the city. It was a great favorite, especially amongst students on hot sunny days!

 

9.  Tilak Tank was always very popular, but there was one big difference. Instead of the nice transparent blue waters that you see today, you would have seen a dark green opaque pool of water! Thinking about it, one wonders what kind of unique disease resistance properties those brave swimmers of the yesteryears had!

 

10.  There were no bookstore chains (e.g. Crosswords) around at that time. Amongst the well-known book stores (for general books) were Manneys in Camp, Popular Book House and International Book Service in Deccan Gymkhana. Appa Balwant Chowk area in Pune City was the hub for all education related and Marathi books.

 

11.  In the early nineties, Deccan Gymkhana and PYC were not referred to as ‘Clubs’. They were simply grounds with facilities for cricket, tennis and few other sports. There were no fancy ‘club-house’ buildings. Extremely basic canteens (including the legendary ‘Appa’ Canteen at Deccan Gymkhana Ground) provided basic snacks.

 

12.  Minimum Rickshaw fare was Rs. 4. A ride from Deccan Gymkhana to Pune Station used to cost around Rs 15. An ASIAD Pune-Mumbai bus ticket cost Rs 50. 2nd class railway fare for the same route was around Rs 40. For the privileged few (remember, Punekars were not very ‘affluent’ back then…) the 1st class railway fare was around Rs 150.

 

13.  There were no Baristas/Café Coffee Day chains and the term ‘Espresso’ was foreign! The common places to have tea/coffee were college canteens, popular restaurants like Vaishali/Roopali and corner tea stands. In fact, the first time these ‘espresso bars’ showed up in Pune, many seniors nearly got heart-attacks after looking at their price lists J

 

14.  Back in the early 1990s, Laxmi Road was still a one-way street. The only difference; its traffic direction was directed the other way. Last year, I got completely disoriented when I first encountered this change!

 

15.  Similar to the present sad state of affairs, Pune didn’t have a good cricket stadium. The extremely rare international games were played at the Nehru Stadium and the Ranji matches were often hosted at the Poona Club.

 

16.  In the early 1990s, there was no computerized reservation for railways. One had to stand in painfully long and slow lines to get reservations from the predetermined quotas. And does anyone remember those 19th century like antique cardboard tickets?!

 

17.  During the early 1990s, telecom was modernizing quite fast and for the first time, long distance direct dialing was within the reach of the common man. Given the large student population, literally overnight countless yellow & black STD/ISD/PCO booths popped up out of nowhere! With the mobile phone revolution, these booths have almost become extinct now.

 

18.  On the topic of telecom, Pune was in the process of upgrading many of its phone numbers from 5 digits to 6 digits…how easy it was back then to remember the number! And Pune’s area code used to be: (212) – something it shared in common with New York City.

 

19.  Fergusson College Road, Jangli Maharaj Road, Senapati Bapat Road, Appa Balwant Chowk, Kamala Nehru Park were all referred to by their full names…unlike their ubiquitous acronyms today!

 

20.  Maybe it is just my impression, but it felt that in the early 1990s, the percentage of young adults and college students who smoked was a little lower…especially amongst teenage girls and women. [Before I draw any flak for this statement, here’s a disclaimer – the previous statement is not backed by any systematic data analysis…but just an ‘observation’ –J ]. For ‘old’ folks, who might come back to Pune after a long gap, seeing a group of young women smoke in coffee shops (that too, not in Camp or Koregaon Park, but in Deccan Gymkhana) would be quite shocking –J.

 

21.  Pune had no FM radio channels. Listening to good music (note – In no way I am alluding to any assertion that today’s FM channels air good music –J  ) entailed buying audio cassettes. Early 1990s was an interesting transition period that was seeing the demise of the Gramophone Records, and the rise of the Audio Compact Cassette. Even though the western world had already transitioned to CDs, they were virtually unheard of in Pune.  The well-known places to buy these cassettes back then were, ‘Alurkar Music House’, ‘Pankaj Records’ and few other stores in Camp.

 

22.  For the Marathi theater connoisseurs, there was no theater in the Kothrud area. Yashwantrao Chavan Nattyagriha came much later. Some of the popular comedy plays during that time were, ‘Moruchi Mavshi’ starring Vijay Chavan, ‘Shantecha Karta Chalu Ahe’ starring Laxmikant Berde and Sudhir Joshi, ‘Jave Premachya Gavi’, ‘Tour Tour’.

 

23.  On the topic of Marathi Theater, video cassettes of old Marathi plays were quite uncommon. At that time, if you missed a famous play during its season, you had to wait for a long long time to catch it again! In the early 1990s probably one of the all time best Marathi Theater classics, ‘Ghashiram Kotwal’ made a reappearance under a new cast. Abhyankar was quite good in his anchor role of Nana, but to many Punekars, there was only one Nana (even today…) – Mohan Agashe! On a slightly unrelated topic, it is worth mentioning that Punekars of all ages like to reminisce about ‘How things were, during their times!’ Such a statement could be commonly heard from a 60 year old as well as a 10 year old –J. Pu La Deshpande has captured this classic Puneri quality extremely well in his writings!

 

24.  Before the Expressway, the old Bombay-Pune Highway had some star attractions for the foodies along the highway, especially at Lonavala/Khandala and Khopoli. Kamat, El Taj and Diamond were quite popular on the Khandala side….And how can anyone forget the ‘Batate Wada’ of Ramakant!

 

25.  Pune didn’t have any private banks at that time…no HDFC…no ICICI. The only banking option was nationalized and cooperative banks. There were no ATMs anywhere in Pune. HDFC loan applicants had to often head to Mumbai!

 

26.  There were no Visa Processing Centers in Pune. To apply for any Visa to a foreign country, one had to head to the respective Mumbai consulates.

  

27.  Bicycles were everywhere…students and industrial workers, the young and the old, men and women were all seen riding bicycles. Today many of these riders have graduated to motorized 2-Wheelers. To serve these bicycles, the ‘Cycle-Repair-Wala’ was omnipresent. Literally every corner, under every large tree you could find one. Whether it was simply refilling the air in the tires, or getting rid of a tire puncture – a visit to this place was quite common.

 

28.  In the early 1990s, the nice residential neighborhood of Prabhat Road was significantly better. The number of apartments was significantly lower as many bungalows still dotted the scene. And what’s more you could buy a nice apartment for between Rs 800 to Rs 1000 per sq feet!

 

29.  Distances in Pune were quite short. Most places were within ‘walking distance’ and people routinely walked around. Of course, in those days, the pollution levels were substantially lower and the risk of being run over by a vehicle was quite remote as well!

 

30.  On the topic of pedestrians, I have good memories of traffic signals at the Good Luck Chowk and Nataraj Chowk in the Deccan Gymkhana Area. Vehicles used to stop before the pedestrian crossings (even when no police were around!) and crossing the road was an easy task. Back then, the left turn signal opposite Popular Book House was respected! Unlike today, when all vehicles conveniently assume it as a ‘flashing yellow’ – virtually making it impossible for anyone to cross that road. Same was the case at the Nataraj Chowk (opposite the Bata Showroom).

 

31.  The most popular 2-Wheeler was still the ‘Bajaj Scooter’. Motor-cycles were on the rise, but in much smaller numbers. Mopeds like the ‘Luna’ and ‘TVS 50’ were quite common, and so were those weird looking two wheelers that cannot be classified into any category – M50 and M80 J

The scooter had it’s unique characteristics – kick-starter, peculiar lift-up stand, that irritating horn, rear spare wheel and last but not the least that unique ‘reserve petrol system’. Along with the reserve tank valve this lead to certain unique workarounds. For example, do you remember, how a Scooter driver would ‘tilt’ it at an angle when it was running low on fuel and wouldn’t start?!

 

32.  In the early 1990s, international consumer electronics goods from various world-leaders (such as Sony, Panasonic, etc.) were not available in regular stores. The only way to get those were bringing them with you on international flights or visiting some of the few ‘Custom Clearance Stores’. These stores sold consumer electronics goods that were impounded by customs. One such popular store back then was ‘Gharonda’ in a by-lane of Laxmi Road.

   

33.  Video Cassettes Libraries were there everywhere! While few of them have been converted to DVD/VCD libraries now, many of them have gone extinct – the same way as those STD/ISD booths! Lack of any cable TV until 1991 meant that the Video Cassette was an extremely popular form of entertainment. VCRs were quite expensive and in those days, it was a common practice for many to not only rent cassettes, but the VCR as well.

 

34.  Some how in those days in Pune, it felt like people didn’t have many joint replacement surgeries or cosmetic surgeries. Either these procedures were not available back then, or maybe most of the people were physically well-off and very beautiful –J

 

35.  Unlike today where the Jewelers have set shops in all the Pune areas, at that time, the primary place to buy Jewellery and Indian Wedding Apparel was Laxmi Road.

  

36.  Bata was the primary place for shoes store in Pune with branches in Deccan Gymkhana, Camp and Kothrud. No foreign brand sports or formal shoes were easily available and Bata ‘Power’ was probably the most popular sports shoes. Well, to be absolutely accurate, quite a few Adidas, Reebok and Nike imitations were in fact commonly available in small stores.

 

37.  Super-Markets concept was quite alien to most people in Pune; however one store on FC Road was trying to be a path-breaker. In 1990 a store called ‘Super Shoppe’ opened on FC Road (right opposite Roopali, near the present Subway restaurant…). It was probably Pune’s first modern self-service super-market. I was a big fan of that place, and was sad to see it go away in a few years. Maybe it was too far ahead of it’s time. Note – In the early 1980s a supermarket like store ‘Parijat’ was opened on Tilak Road (near Tilak Smarak Mandir). Have vague memories of it…no idea what happened to it.

 

38.  The only software technology park was a small facility in Bhosari (Pimpri Chinchwad Area). Many Pune based IT icons made a humble beginning in less than 1000 sq feet offices at this park. (E.g. Persistent Systems)

 

39.  Even back then, Pune was an extremely popular destination for international students. One catalyst in this process was the Symbiosis International Hostel. In the early nineties, the original Symbiosis building (the one with the flags painted on it…) was the only one around in that campus.

 

40.  Not sure about today, but back then who could forget a Sunday morning without the hot and fresh Veg Patties! Hindustan Bakery and Santosh Bakery were amongst the popular ones making this delicacy.

 

41.  Pune was a big manufacturing hub in the early 1990s as well. ISO 9000 and Total Quality Management were the latest management fads in vogue. Management Consultants in Pune were making a fast buck ‘helping’ companies in these areas.

 

42.  The annual Pune International Marathon was quite popular; the only difference between the one today –  It was not as commercial as it is today. On the same lines, another India first that started in Pune was the annual ‘Motocross’ event. It started around late 1980s/early 1990s and quite popular back then. Its detractors blame this event for the destruction of any cricketing future that was there in the Nehru Stadium.

 

43.  Italian/Thai/Mexican and other world cuisine were ‘Greek’ to most of the people! [I guess so was Greek cuisine]. In those days, many fancy restaurants’ continental menus were highly limited and revolved around Vegetable Augratin, Russian Salad and Fried Fish & Chips.

 

44.  Senapati Bapat Road had only one traffic signal! Ganeshkind Road had a few more giant old banyan trees, than present. Pune didn’t have any concrete roads. The railway over-bridge near Sancheti Hospital though was as congested as present –J. Somehow this is one traffic bottleneck that refuses to be addressed. And while talking about traffic density, can you imagine finding a comfortable parking spot on M.G. Road today?! It was fairly easy at that time.

 

45.  The popular venue for Circus and other similar events was the open ground (Sanas Ground) right next to Saras Bag. The bridge and the surrounding area behind the PMPML Bus Stand at Deccan Gymkhana were not built at that time.

 

46.  An old, small Causeway stood where the S.M. Joshi bridge is today (right by Abasaheb Garware College). This Causeway was popular place for Ganesh idol immersion ceremony during the Ganpati Festival.

 

47.  These popular snacks restaurants in the early 1990s are not that quite well known today. Ask a teenager or a college student today, and see if they know any of these places below. [Note – I am not including places like ‘Vaishali’ in this list, since they continue to be as popular today. I am sure there are more restaurants in this category. Readers are welcome to add to the list.]

Deccan Gymkhana: Koo-Cuch-Ka-Cu (this crazy name was that of a small joint near Nataraj theater, famous for it’s chicken), Appa’s Canteen, Darshan

Camp/Dhole-Patil Road: Marz-o-rin, Jaws Burger, Mona Foods

City: Sweet Home, Janaseva, Jayashree Pav Bhaji

 

48.  Similar to Prabhat Road/Bhandarkar Road areas, back in the early 1990s, there were many grand bungalows, with huge yards on Apte Road. Many of them were constructed in between 1930s – 1950s. Today many of them have given way to commercial buildings, hotels and banks. Jangli Maharaj was not that crowded and as a result no one used Apte Road as a diversion to beat traffic. And in the Deccan/Jangli Maharaj Road Area there were at least two more famous Iranian Restaurants – Lucky and Café Sunrise.

 

49.  The shores of the Khadakwasala backwater had yet to be converted into a ‘Chowpati’. Panshet backwaters were pristine and there were plans in place to start ‘water sports’ activity there. Heading on Sinhagad Road, past Vithalwadi, it felt like you had left the city limits!

 

50.  Sugarcane Juice was lot more popular back then, than it is today. And I can bet that there were more juice centers in Pune serving a much smaller population. One extremely popular sugarcane juice center was the college-run store, in the Agricultural College campus (right by the main-gate). This was the best sugarcane juice I have had! Wonder if this place is still around today.

 

 

 

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November 14 2008 and July 21 1969 – The Journey To The Moon

Posted in Science & Technology by Amit Paranjape on November 15, 2008

 

The NASA Apollo program still fascinates me tremendously. I consider it as one of the foremost technological achievements of the human race. From Kennedy’s great speech in 1962 to Neil Armstrong’s famous words at the Sea of Tranquility, this program achieved the near impossible in less than 8 years! Just goes onto show that if mankind puts its focus and priorities in the right place, nothing is impossible.

 

But, I am digressing a little bit from the primary topic of this brief article. Let’s take a step back and see where India was in 1969. It was a country that was still struggling to achieve the most basic needs of its people. The Green Revolution was in progress, but the ultimate objectives were still not realized. Economic isolation and certain other policies had put a dent in the progress towards a vision that many saw on 15th August 1947. India’s share of global trade which was near 8% just after the Second World War had fallen to less than 4%.  The outlook didn’t look that great for the future. And around this exact same period, on August 15, 1969 Dr. Vikram Sarabhai established ISRO – Indian Space Research Organization. Dr. Sarabhai had actually started work on the Indian space program much earlier, in 1962 under the leadership of Dr. Homi Bhaba.

 

Dr. Sarabhai’s dream has definitely come a long way. From the sounding rockets of the 1970s, to the SLV and ASLV program in 1980s, and further to the PSLV and the GSLV programs, the program moved forward at a steady pace, certain setbacks notwithstanding. And then in 2008, the Chandrayaan mission finally moved to the ‘launching pad’. During the past 4 weeks, various critical intermediate steps were successfully completed. From the launch on the cloudy morning of Oct 22 to the various orbit altering maneuvers that finally inserted Chandrayaan into a close circular orbit around the moon, the mission progressed like clockwork precision. And finally on Nov 14th around 8pm IST, the ‘MIP’ (Moon Impact Probe) separated from the orbiting module and started a controlled decent towards the moon. At 8:30pm IST, the MIP landed on the surface of the moon near it’s south pole and elevated India into that select special list of countries that have achieved this feat earlier.

 

I would like remember November 14th 2008 as India’s July 21 1969. Yes, we just landed an unmanned probe and not an astronaut. Still from where we have come, it is still an achievement worth cherishing for a long time! And the fact that this mission progressed so smoothly, is further testament to the glorious efforts of the ISRO scientists. Let’s wish for even greater success for the future Chandrayaan and other ISRO space missions.

 

 

Useful References

 

Here is a list of useful references if you are interested in learning more about the Chandrayaan mission.

 

1 The ISRO website has a lot of good information about the overall Indian space program

 

2 The Wikipedia article on the Chandrayaan mission provides excellent technical details on the mission.

 

3 ‘Destination Moon’ is a nice short book about the Chandrayaan mission, written by Pallava Bagla and Subhadra Menon (Published by Harper Collins in 2008). It describes India’s quest for the moon and beyond, and also provides a brief history of the Indian space program.

 

 

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Do You Understand Your Doctor’s Prescription?

Posted in Healthcare & Medicine by Amit Paranjape on November 14, 2008

I have always been interested in learning more about the ingredients in the various common medicines. During school days, chemistry was one of my favorite subjects and may be it is this reason; or it could simply be my general interest in any ‘trivia’! To add to this, I have had the misfortune of having a variety of minor (and a few major) illnesses, resulting in me being at the receiving end of various pills. Over the years, I have made an attempt to understand some of these common medicines, their ingredients, actions, and other properties. In this series of articles, I will make an attempt to provide some basic information of the categorization of common prescription drugs, as well as provide some information about their ingredients and their effects. I will start off with my discussion on why many people today don’t have a basic understanding of this area, and why I feel this is very important. Based on the feedback, I will publish follow-up detailed articles on individual medicine categories.

 

At the outset, I would like to put out a few clear disclaimers and ground-rules. 1) I am neither a doctor, nor a pharmacist. Hence please consider this article as ‘general information’ only. Please do not use this information to decide on any self-medication/self-treatment strategy. Always consult your doctor prior to taking any medications or undergoing any treatment. 2) While I have researched the various terms and medicines in this article, there might be some inadvertent mistakes or omissions. Please provide me feedback and corrections (especially, if you are a Doctor!). Like some of my previous blog articles, this one too is targeted towards readers in both India and USA; hence I will make some distinctions where necessary. At some places, I will try to provide mappings between American OTC (over-the-counter) medicines and basic medicines in India. This is of particular interest to people like me, who have moved back to India after spending many years in the US.

 

 

How many people make an attempt to review, understand, and re-check their tax returns, prepared by their tax-accountants? How many pay attention to their financial planning and investing, in spite of having a good financial advisor? How many get involved in the detailed designing of their homes, after hiring top architects & designers? According to my knowledge, a good percentage of people do spend time on these activities. Yet when it comes to medications, these same highly-educated and well-to-do people can be completely ignorant. A common excuse one would hear is, ‘I trust my Doctor! Why do I need to know this?’ Another one, ‘This is not my area – I am too busy to spend time on this.’ Or one more, ‘If I start thinking about this, I will have too many questions, worries and concerns – potentially driving me towards a hypochondriac behavior! It’s best I stay away from it!’ There are quite a few other similar questions…let me make an attempt to put forth my views on these.

 

An interesting saying goes this way, “In God I trust; everyone else bring me data!’ Or the famous Ronald Reagan quote, “Trust but Verify”. Clearly, people think it is important to understand and verify the outputs of their financial and tax experts. Same holds true when they work with other specialists. Yet, when it comes to their own personal health, why this sudden blind trust? I have nothing against the doctors; they are doing their noble jobs in the most professional way. The onus is on the patients to have some understanding of what is being prescribed to them; and what course of treatment they are on. Simply saying I don’t understand this, is not the right answer. A top-notch design engineer will go out of his way to understand the minute details around tax codes on his returns, and still be completely clueless about basics of common cold medications. An experienced computer professional will learn the subtle nuances of home building/architecture when building his new house, while not knowing anything about the prescription antacid medicines he has been taking for months. These successful professionals, one would presume, are ‘too busy’ to learn anything about their medications. I guess these are not as important to them as their financial or residential priorities.

 

In today’s world of constant stress, many people don’t want the added worry about their health & medicines all the time. They would rather have their Doctor worry about it. This third concern about ‘potential hypochondria’ is partially valid. Yet, there is a thin line between complete ignorance on one side, verses full blown hypochondria on the other. Some of my Doctor friends suggest that patients with partial knowledge (especially those that have ‘learnt’ things on the internet) cause more harm to themselves than patients who don’t know anything, and completely trust the Doctors. This may be partially true to some extent. Partial knowledge is always a bad thing. Not only could it cause hypochondria in some patients, it also leads them to often ask irrelevant questions to the Doctors (who, especially in India are highly pressed for time). However the solution for this cannot be to stop learning about the basics. ‘Partial Knowledge’ in any discipline is a bad thing – yet the solution to this cannot be to stop learning! There is this phenomenon in India to blame many things on the ‘internet’ (this is especially prevalent amongst the people of older generations who haven’t been fully exposed to it…). Blaming the ‘internet’ for partial knowledge is like blaming newspapers, or books! What’s the point in blaming the medium? We, the human race haven’t progressed by stopping the learning process. I do agree that the medium needs to be utilized properly.

 

I think it is imperative that patients understand some basics about the common medications. Moreover, in my view they also need to understand some fundamentals that they should have learnt in their high-school biology class. As medical sciences advance year-over-year, isn’t it the responsibility of the common man to at least be aware of some basics, when interacting with the Doctor? If nothing else, it can speed up the efficiency of the whole diagnosis process.

 

In this series of articles, I will discuss some of the common medications that most people end up taking at some point or the other. For simplicity sake, I will divide these common medicines into the following categories (this is my no means an exhaustive and complete list. Feedback/additions most welcome).

 

  • Basic Pain-killers (Opiates based pain-killers not covered here…)
  • Anti-Inflammatory – NSAIDs ( and COX2 Inhibitors)
  • Antibiotics (1st gen – 4th gen)
  • Common Cold & Cough Medications
  • Anti-Allergy
  • Antacids & Other Digestive System Related Medicines
  • Vitamins & Supplements
  • Skin Medications
  • Other External-Use Medications
  • Others (This is a place-holder for other important common meds that are not categorized in the above categories) 

In subsequent articles, I will discuss each of these categories in more details. For now, simply classifying common medicines into these categories can be the first step towards their understanding. Note that many of these basic medications are available in the US as ‘OTC’ drugs (Over the Counter – available without any Doctor prescription). In India, while rules are in place to ensure what drugs are sold through prescription only, often times this ends up being implemented at the discretion of the pharmacist.

 

I understand it can be overwhelming to deal with the myriads of medicine names that are available in pharmacies and drug stores. One problem here is the competition in the drug industry. Most common medicines are out of patent and can be produced virtually by any drug company. Hence multiple versions (brand names) of the exact same medicine are often created. This brand proliferation leads to more confusion. Here’s a simple US example. ‘Motrin’ and ‘Advil’ have the exact same active ingredient – ‘Ibuprofen’. Yet I have seen people who stick with one of these brands, like a true brand loyalist! By the same token, in India – many cold medicines, marketed under variety of different brand names have often times the same list of active ingredients. Same is true regarding various prescription antibiotics. In US, all prescription medications come with a fairly detailed information sheet, from the pharmacist. However, in India no such additional information is available, making the understanding that much more difficult.

 

How do we start this learning? As I said earlier, the first step is to just understand the categorization. Simple classification is often times the first step in structured learning in most disciplines of knowledge. Secondly, be observant! Next time you look at a medicine bottle; don’t spend time looking at the brand-name. These change all the time. Instead, please look at the ‘active ingredients’. Active ingredients are key chemical compounds in the medicine. These provide the necessary therapeutic properties of the medicine. The ‘inactive ingredients’ serve other purposes such as providing bulk, etc. This will be a good step towards understanding these medicines. Initially don’t worry if you don’t understand these complex chemical names! For now, just try to find the common names across different medicines that you might be taking. Soon you will start noticing the commonalities. You might realize that most cold medicines have an active ingredient of ‘Paracetamol’. This active ingredient is also referred by its other name ‘Acetaminophen’. This is probably one of the most common ingredients found in a variety of common cold medications, fever medications, and pain-killers.

 

Well, this is already turning out to be a long introduction article…I think I should stop here, and continue further discussions on these categories in the next article! Once again, comments, feedback and suggestions are most welcome.

 

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Supply Chain Management Overview (PuneTech Article)

Posted in Information Technology, Supply Chain Management by Amit Paranjape on November 13, 2008

Recently, I wrote an article on Supply Chain Management for PuneTech.com, an online community that I am actively involved with. PuneTech was founded earlier this year by Navin Kabra.

 

PuneTech is a community portal exclusively focused on the innovative IT companies and startups in Pune. The primary objective of this initiative is to enable closer collaboration and knowledge sharing between technology professionals and companies. The ultimate long term goal is to help in creating a sustainable startup technology ecosystem in Pune.

 

PuneTech provides daily updates on various technology related happenings in Pune, with specific focus on new products and innovation. It also has a wiki where companies can update their profiles. PuneTech also works in close conjunction with other Startup Community and IT initiatives in Pune.

 

One sense I got after interacting with many IT experts here, was that their focus is more on pure technology and less on the business problem domain that many application software solutions eventually aim to solve. Hence I thought of writing a brief series of articles that provide a high level overview on specific application software domain – Supply Chain Management (SCM).  To access this first article in the series, click here. This article provides an overview of SCM and provides some information on SCM Software Development in Pune. Future articles will dig deeper in specific application areas of SCM.

 

 

Innovation In America – Professor Amar Bhide’s View

Posted in Financial Markets/Economics by Amit Paranjape on November 12, 2008

 

Here is a very interesting interview with Amar Bhide, featured in the Inc.com. Professor Amar Bhide is one of the most respected authorities in entrepreneurship and innovation and is a Business Professor at the Columbia University. Prior to that, he was a Professor at Harvard. He did his studies at IIT and Harvard.

 

Professor Bhide argues that the US Consumer has been one of the important drivers of innovation. The need to consume increasingly advanced and sophisticated products drives new R&D. He further states that innovation is not a ‘winner-take-all’ race and that America is not competing with China and India as feared by what he terms as ‘techno-nationalists’. Scientific innovation in any country benefits the entire world, but specifically that country (like US) whose consumers want to leverage it to the fullest. Even in the 1920s depression era, Americans were actively innovating, leading to the gains at a later point.

 

These thoughts are further explained in his new book, “The Venturesome Economy”, which was recently published by Princeton University Press. For more information on Professor Bhide’s work, you can checkout his website.

 

[Note – I have ordered this book and looking forward to understanding his views in further detail. I will post my interpretations here.]

 

 

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