Kamal Shah

Kamal Shah

Hello, I'm Kamal from Hyderabad, India. I have been on dialysis for the last 13 years, six of them on PD, the rest on hemo. I have been on daily nocturnal home hemodialysis for the last four and half years. I can do pretty much everything myself. I love to travel and do short weekend trips or longer trips to places which have dialysis centers. Goa in India is a personal favorite. It is a great holiday destination and has two very good dialysis centers.

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I really loved A R Rahman's music for 'Ye maya chesaave'. The music was redone for the Hindi version 'Ek Deewana Tha'. There is this song - 'Phoolon jaisi ladki' the original for which was the brilliant 'Kundana Bomma'. The music is exactly the same as the original. These are the lyrics for the first part of the Hindi version:

Aahaan... hai yeh kya?
Aankhein yeh aankhein
Saagar se gehri yeh aankhien (hey!)
Jhookti (hey!)
Uth.ti (hey!)
Sharmeeli se aankhien, yeh aankhien
Sapno ki rajdhani
Saare... jugnu... taare
Inse hi jagmagana seekhe
Oh ho ho..

I don't understand Telugu so I am not sure if these words are a direct translation of the original. But honestly, these lyrics are pathetic. I make no claims to a poetic temperament but I can tell this is plain bad poetry. Especially the phrase "Sapnon ki rajdhani"!

Javed Akhtar, the lyricist, could definitely have done better. In fact, the album is touted as "An A. R. Rahman and Javed Akhtar musical"!

This is what typically happens when the lyrics are done after the music. And especially so when the music is redone in another language. So, while we see good lyrics for original music like 'Rockstar', we see disasters like this.

... http://www.kamaldshah.com/2012/01/sapnon-ki-rajdhani-problem-with-doing.html

When you're on dialysis, within a few months, you could build up a mountain full of investigation reports. Referring back to check how much your hemoglobin was a few months back could be an impossible task. So, here's a handy tip: start recording your investigation values on your computer!

Since you're reading this, you obviously use a computer. So, make better use of your computer. Record all your investigations on it. You could either use Excel or even better - a Google Doc spreadsheet so that you can access it from anywhere. There was a tool called Google Health which was discontinued on January 1 this year. There are other similar tools like Microsoft Health Vault and so on but I am not really sure how they are. Excel or a Google Spreadsheet are good enough for my needs. So, I will stick to that.

The next question is how do we maintain the vast range of blood tests that we usually get done?

I put the dates in the rows and the test names in the columns. But with the large number of tests, the sheet could become unreadable. So, I split the tests into the groups that are usually used - Complete Blood Picture (which includes things like Hemoglobin, RBC, WBC, platelets etc.), Biochemistry (Urea, Creatinine, Potassium, Calcium, Phosphorus etc.), Liver Function Tests (SGPT, SGOT etc.) and put each group in a single sheet. I also have a sheet for Others which includes all other tests that are not done frequently. That way all my blood tests will come into 5-6 sheets without any sheet becoming unreadable.

Now, looking for an older blood test value becomes very easy. Since all these tests will be entered in chronological order, you can also see trends and do cool looking graphs!

If you have an iPad, you could also sync this file with it and carry it along with you when you go to your nephrologist on your monthly review. And if he asks you, "Has your hemoglobin been this high ever?", you can quickly open that file and scan the sheet in a second and tell him, "No, doctor, never!" and then he might actually reduce your erythropoietin dose! So, moving to the electronic form of investigation record keeping can actually save you money!!!

(If you want a copy of the file I keep - without the data, simply the format - so that you can start entering your values immediately, send me an This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and I will send the file to you.)

... http://www.kamaldshah.com/2012/01/do-you-keep-your-investigation-reports.html

Saturday, 14 January 2012 18:40

Three A. R. Rahman masterpieces

Yes. Undoubtedly, A. R. Rahman is a genius. No two ways about it. His music is something else. His songs have an enchanting effect. Though they can take some time to grow on you, once you are hooked, you can never have enough.

Though many of Rahman's songs are amazing, I find that there are small pieces tucked away inside some songs that are the real gems. Here are three of my all time favorite pieces from his songs.

1. Kehna hi kya...(Bombay): Check out the part from 1:43 to 2:20.

2. Jiya jale... (Dil se): Check out the part from 2:55 to 3:30

3. Naadaan Parinday...(Rockstar): See from 4:06 to 4:32

... http://www.kamaldshah.com/2012/01/three-r-rahman-masterpieces.html

Saturday, 14 January 2012 07:45

Chennai Diary

Last minute thingie

It was a last minute trip. Oh, how I hate these last minute trips! You always get high fares and you don't get the timings you want. And you invariably forget something. Honestly, I am quite a fussy guy. I need my stuff around me and feel quite lost without some of my things.

Anyway, I did not have a choice. The meeting had to happen. So, within a few hours of crystallizing the plan in my head, I found myself in a cab driven by an oblivious cabbie on the way to the Shamshabad Airport en route to Chennai.


I find that people have extreme feelings for Chennai. Some love the city to the core. I know people who willingly give up high paying jobs just so they can settle down in Chennai. They simply swear by the city! And then there are the rest of them. They loathe the city. Everything about it. The food, the people, the place.

I am neutral. I have no problems with the people or the place. I love the food here (more about this in a bit). I was warned about the airport even though this was not the first time I had been there. I was told that a whole swarm of taxi drivers would accost me and ask me to take their taxi. No such thing happened because I took a pre-paid taxi. I guess it is an unfair bias after all.

Highway Robbery at Lunch

I reached my hotel at around 12 noon and checked in. I had a meeting scheduled at 1:30. That gave me enough time for lunch. I checked with the room boy where I could get a decent South Indian Thali. He told me to go to the Malgudi restaurant on the Ground Floor. I went there with high expectations. This was Chennai after all - the best place for a South Indian Thali. I asked for the menu. This turned out to be a branch of the Malgudi restaurant at Hyderabad - only much pricier. Disappointing! I looked for the Thali. All I got was some platters. Guess how much they were priced at? The cheapest was Rs. 1,300! WTF??? Thirteen hundred bucks for a thali?

I decided to go for a dosa with some Karnataka-origin curry (I forget the name). The dosa was good. I took one spoon of the curry and left the rest. The bill came to Rs. 641 - for a dosa and one spoon of curry!

There are idis and there are idlis

Many people in Andhra Pradesh are used to a variant of the idli rather than the idli itself. Most hotels do not use rice while making the idlis. They use rava. This makes good idlis too but the original is something else. In Chennai and the entire state of Tamil Nadu, the rice idli is the default. There is a difference. The rice idli, though a bit heavier to feel, is much lighter and better to taste.

When I come to Chennai, I always make it a point to visit the Murugan Idli Shop. They started off with one outlet in T Nagar, close to Vani Mahal and have now expanded to 15 outlets including 2 in Singapore! They serve out-of-the-world rice idlis. The other fare is also good. I was told not to miss the uttapam. I tried it. Good. But not as good as the idlis.


The important thing to know is what the best thing about a place is and then focus only on that. When I go to Poorna Tiffins in Hyderabad, I only eat idlis. Nothing else. So (I must) let it be with Murugan.

On an interesting note, a relative of mine, also an idli aficionado, suggested I try the Idli Vilas, a new joint opened right outside Savera Hotel, where I was staying. I kept space for a plate of idli and checked Idli Vilas on my way back from Murugan. The idli was good. But not as good as Murugan.

All in all, it was a great trip. Thanks in no small measure to the idlis!

... http://www.kamaldshah.com/2012/01/chennai-diary.html

Friday, 13 January 2012 09:49

The oblivious cabbie

I was on a cab this morning. After a few minutes, the cab driver struck up a conversation. He asked me what I did in Hyderabad. I told him that I work in a dialysis center. (He spoke in Hindi. I am translating here.) "Hmmm, dialysis? Kidney stones related huh?" I explained that kidney stones were different and that dialysis had to be done when someone's kidneys failed. Dialysis was needed to clean the blood and remove excess toxins and water.

I wondered how oblivious this guy was to what his kidneys did. They worked every instant of the day, tirelessly cleaning the blood. And he was not even aware of their existence. Well, to be fair to him, we are all like that. I had no clue that there was a word like 'dialysis' until I had to get onto it.

"There are many dialysis centers in Hyderabad, na?"

"Yes, most big hospitals have one. But ours are different. We do only dialysis."

"How much does it cost?"

"Roughly Rs. 1,500."

"Oh, that's it? Quite cheap!"

That was one thing that dialysis has never been accused of! "Quite cheap"! Everyone complains about the price of dialysis. You have got your frequency wrong, dear, I mentally addressed him.

"Thrice a week"

He turned his head towards me in disbelief. "Thrice a week?"

I gestured to him to turn his head to the front. He was driving, after all!

"So, Rs. 4,500 a week?!"


"I thought it just had to be done once!"

"Oh, how I wish that were true!", I thought to myself!

I refrained from telling him that I was on dialysis. I wanted to get to my destination.

... http://www.kamaldshah.com/2012/01/oblivious-cabbie.html

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