14 Monday
August 2017
Freedom From Honking.

When one lands in India after a foreign holiday, the one thing that hits you at the airport is the vehicular noise. How much do we Honk!!!

In Seattle or Toronto, one may be in a mile long jam, but no one breaks the line, everyone maintains a safe distance while driving and there is absolute silence. No one honks.

Decibel (dB)is the measure of sound. The sound at which we converse is around 50-55db. Any sound above 80dB causes trauma to the inner ear hearing cells. The level of sound produced by horns in India is 90-112dB . That means every time the horn blows it is harmful for you and everyone who is in the vicinity.
Any sound that is unpleasant is called noise. Noise induced hearing loss is becoming very rampant these days because of excess mobile usage.Add to that the headphones, excessive constructional noise, noise from machines,etc which is unavoidable. But Honking is literally in our hands !No where else do people sound the horn as much, so why must Indians sit in their cars and honk?

Honking causes a sensorineural type of hearing loss. This loss is irreversible, that means the hearing once gone can never come back. There is no medicine or surgery to bring back this kind of hearing loss. The only option left to give serviceable hearing is to use hearing aids.
Excessive noise pollution also causes a ringing sensation in the ears called Tinnitus. This gives a feeling of sound in the ears like a buzzing or ringing sensation especially in quiet environments. This is a very unpleasant experience and again there is no definitive treatment for this.

Heart attacks , panic attacks, psychiatric disorders are triggered by loud sounds like Honking .

The entire world drives millions of cars without Honking . A little bit of patience and self restraint, a little more consideration for fellow human beings and most importantly saving yourself from the effects of honking can make India less noisy.
This 70th Independence Day please pledge that you will not honk unless someone’s life is in danger, and you will help make a better India.

Jai Hind.
Dr. Sarika Verma
Ent surgeon & Allergy Specialist

04 Friday
August 2017
Period Leave: Do Women Need This Tokenism?

There are a lot of things the Indian woman needs today: equal opportunities, freedom, child support….but Tokenism is not one of them. Reading articles on period related leave has left me aghast! Have you all just woken up to the fact that women in fact have periods every month?? Who has gone on dharnas and agitations asking for period leave?

Women have been making very vocal protests about the raise in taxes on sanitary napkins from 5% to 12.5% as if it were a luxury good, and I don’t see the Finance Minister yield to this simple request! Yet all of a sudden there is a talk of giving period related leave to women every month. You’re not helping us. You’re creating more hurdles in the chances of us getting employed, because we will now be seen as a person who gets 12 paid leaves more in a year compared to a man. Add to that the fact that we are entitled to 6 months maternity leave it tilts the bar of employment opportunity away from us.

Girls fare better than boys universally in schools. And they do well in entrance exams and equally well in college. Somehow, between graduating and getting jobs, their market value falls because of multiple reasons. Marriage, inability to get transfers to where their spouses work ,inadequate support from family to pursue their careers and children. There is no equality for women once they complete their education, whatsoever.

Despite a few women who have broken the glass ceilings and reached the topmost echelons of power of banking and the retail industry , the fact is more and more women are sitting at home fully qualified having dropped out to bring up wholesome children. They are educated, qualified, dissatisfied and disgruntled, and taking out their frustrations on their husbands : )

India has to create more job opportunities. Half work, half pay job opportunities should come up in all sectors. Women or men for that matter should have the freedom to work 10-2 or 2-6 at half the pay. There are innumerable options for people to work flexible hours in the West. When are we going to start emulating this? When a person gets out for work, it gives them a sense of purpose, self worth, respect in the family and society.

A friend of mine in the US has been working as a physiotherapist weekends only, for the past 7 years since she has had 2 kids. Her husband and she work and babysit alternatively so that the kids are well looked after. Is such an opportunity available in India?

Jobs in India have such grey areas as far as timings are concerned, 9-5 usually means 9-8pm, especially in the private sector. A whole atmosphere is created where people (especially women) who have to leave on time are considered work shirkers, while the people who waste hours during lunch and coffee breaks during the day, but sit up late, end up looking sharp! This shows in the performance ratings and promotions.

Gender lines are merging in the urban sectors atleast. Today I watched a person walk out of our building and despite my best observation and deduction power, I could not tell for sure if it was a really thin girl or a really hip boy! Jeans, a tucked out shirt, neck length hair, glasses, a cool asexual walk. It was nice that I couldn’t tell the difference. I wish we could have the same gender neutrality at the workplace.

When we have no gender discrimination at homes or schools, why do we have different attitudes in the work place? Enough laws are already in place. As long as they are followed in letter and spirit, women don’t need any new rules or regulations. In fact the men need protection from section 376, consensual relationships cannot later be called rape! There is a glaring need to change this loophole and protect our men as well!!

Women have been working for the past 200 years without needing the crutch of extra leaves for periods. The whole patronizing “abla nari” needing help is ridiculous, unwarranted and sexist. Your moms went to work without needing a crutch and so can we. Drop it, and just treat us as equals, just a fellow human being.

Dr.Sarika Verma
ENT Surgeon and Allergy Specialist.