Monday, January 4, 2016

Lybrate: Interactive healthcare on your smartphone

By Ila Garg
So you always thought ‘Jaduu Ki Jhappi’ (warm cuddle) works? Do you like taking your friend’s advice or do you prefer trying out your granny’s age-old anecdotes to avoid seeing a doctor for your day to day health issues?
Your healthcare worries now have a new answer.
With advancement in technology, healthcare is also getting swifter. Gone are the days of long hours in the waiting-room or traveling miles to reach the best hospitals to get the required treatment!
Now, your health is in your hands (literally). Your smartphone is not just a phone but is a bridge between you and your doctor. Lybrate has recently launched a mobile app with which the user can easily book appointments without having to wait. It is designed to reduce the hassle involved in finding the right doctor and lets the patient receive the best healthcare with just few taps.

What does Lybrate do?

Lybrate is a revolutionary healthcare platform where patients can easily find the right doctors without the worry of being misled. They have recently launched an app along with the website to address healthcare worries. It has a WhatsApp-like interface that ensures a user-friendly approach.
It assures an interactive doctor-patient engagement so that the patient can get quick treatment and in the best possible manner.
Now you can get proper health care and stay healthy on the go! The most attractive feature of this app by Lybrate is perhaps the healthcare tips it offers, right on your mobile phones. It advises you to ways to eat healthy, check salt and sugar intake, take proper sleep, drink plenty of water, take stairs, etc.
Image Source: Twitter
Lybrate has over 80,000 doctors registered from across the country catering to all kinds of ailments. A patient can simply use the app to chat with top doctors of India and get useful tips to stay healthy and happy. The app can also help to reach out to doctors from different cities and consult them.
Talking about Lybrate’s immense potential in helping patients, Dr Anil Mehta, a reputed general physician in Delhi, said, “This new feature works just like WhatsApp – I can now respond to patient queries in real time via mobile and in doing so I can quickly treat every day ailments as well as see early detection of major issues. I strongly recommend Lybrate to all my patients.”
Lybrate has a video calling facility too through which users can consult the doctor face to face in order to get a better treatment.

Other lucrative features included in the app are:

Ask Health-related Questions: You have a question related to health and don’t know who to ask? Now Lybrate allows you to ask questions anonymously in an open forum or privately to the trusted doctor of your choice.
Get Opinions: When you post your health-related questions in an open forum, you can easily get multiple opinions by trusted doctors who are specialised in the concerned area.
Daily Health Bytes: The user can also get precious health tips and suggestions on a wide range of health issues from trusted doctors. Prevention is after all better than cure.
Image Source: Twitter
Personalized Health Planners: Get disease-specific healing tips from expert doctors to heal better at home. This feature is extremely useful for pregnant women, people undergoing some kind of surgery, physiotherapy patients, and the like, in which every day care is critical and travelling much isn’t advisable.
Manage Medical Records: The app ensures that your medical records are well-maintained. One can simply click pictures and upload the documents on the cloud to access them anytime, anywhere, and never fear losing them.
The best thing is Lybrate is offering all these features for FREE.
Dr Nikita Kothari, a reputed homeopath from Mumbai, shares her experience of using the app: “Lybrate’s new Q&A feature allows me to answer questions from the general public located all over India. By creating an online reputation through high quality answers to these queries, I am able to build and grow my practice like no other way possible. Lybrate is a win-win situation for both doctors and patients.”
Lybrate is founded by Saurabh Arora, a former Facebook mobile data scientist, who shared his vision saying, “By introducing Q&A, we will facilitate a culture where people query doctors directly and get an immediate response – no waiting rooms, no appointments needed. Lybrate’s vision is to bring the wealth of country’s finest doctors and their expertise to every Indian irrespective of their geography or social standing. We have tasked ourselves to create India’s first ‘Health-for-all’ platform that’s easy to use and economically viable, like healthcare should be.”
Funded by Nexus Venture Partners, India’s leading venture capital fund, Lybrate’s vision is clear. They aim to reach out to even the remotest areas where even the basic healthcare facilities still lack.
Image Source: Twitter
CrediHealth is yet another healthcare startup that runs on similar lines. It has a dedicated website and an app too.
With apps like Lybrate and CrediHealth at our fingertips, India can now stay healthy without a single crease on the forehead!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Memoirs of veteran mountaineer Romen Banerjee

By Arnab Mitra and Ila Garg

Born on June 20, 1951, and brought up in North Kolkata, Romen Banerjee is a veteran mountaineer. The scenic beauty of mountains had always attracted him, since his childhood days. He grew up to be the first civilian of India to conquer Mt Everest in 1971.

At the age of 20 when he was a second-year commerce student, he took conquering peaks as his mission. He along with six other members of Balak Sangha mountaineer club started their mission from the highest peak of the world, that is, Mt Everest. He successfully scaled the deadly heights of Mt Everest with the help of two sherpas, namely, Ang Tshering and Pemba Doorjie. It took him 11 days to reach the peak and complete his first mission.

It was on June 19, 1971, that he finally reached the peak, and was subsequently honoured by the West Bengal government for becoming the first Indian civilian to conquer Everest. This victory was enough for him to start off with the expedition of conquering all the prominent peaks of the world. His achievements include scaling the peak of Kanchenjungha in 1973, Nanda Devi in 1974, Sandakphu in December of 1974, Dodda Betta in 1975 and broad peak in 1977. He then joined IMF in 1981 and alongside managed two schools in Garwal.

Banerjee, at present, works as a teacher in Himalayan Mountaineer Association. He is also a member of IMF Eastern region. He actively participates in different camps and continues to inspire young mountaineering enthusiasts. 

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Indian Diaspora: Dissecting the incredible

By Ila Garg

Since the beginning of civilisation, people have been migrators. In India too, diaspora has a history of more than 2,000 years. From Kanishka dynasty to Cholas, many people have dispersed in and out. They were popularly known as gypsies across the world.


The term diaspora has draws its roots from the Greek lingua and it means distribution, or dispersal. Many people in the past have spread across the globe due to multiple reasons under different circumstances. However, there was no term to define this dispersion.

Diaspora was first used for Jews who were scattered worldwide, but these days diaspora can be applied to anyone residing away from their native land.

An overview of Indians residing abroad

According to the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, an estimated population of 25 million (2,84,55,026) Indians are presently living overseas. See the table for detailed stats:

Area Population of Indians
USA 44,55,909
Saudi Arabia 28,00,013
Malaysia 21,50,000
UAE 20,02,349
UK 18,25,000
Sri Lanka 16,14,000
South Africa 15,50,000
Canada 10,16,185
Singapore 7,00,000
Thailand 1,70,000
Spain 54,974

These statistics are too high. With so many Indians living abroad, Indian Diaspora becomes an invincible topic of discussion.

What is Indian Diaspora?

Indians living abroad come under the blanket of Indian diaspora. These days, they are often called NRIs (Non-Residential Indians). Diaspora is very special to Indians; the reason being Indian Diaspora is the largest diaspora counting to about 25 million people who are scattered worldwide. With such a large Indian-origin population residing away from their motherland, there are huge chances of intermingling of languages, cultures, and religious practices.

In literature too, very often one stumbles upon this term ‘Indian Diaspora’ and why not? Eminent author Salman Rushdie, who writes extensively about his memories of India, caters to the Indian Diaspora.

How did Indian Diaspora start?

Gypsies (Romani people)
Gypsies (Romani people)

Indian diaspora came to the fore around 2,000 years ago and Indian people who travelled across in northwest direction to settle down in European and American countries were more often known as gypsies (or Romani people) by the English-speaking lot. These gypsies mainly originated from Rajasthan in India.

Modern Indian diaspora roughly started around 1800s with the arrival of East India Company in India. As the demand for sugarcane planters increased, millions of Indians were forcefully taken to the Caribbean island nations as indentured labourers. Later, it also assumed the murky form of slavery.

Thus, the dispersion to the middle-east nations was at times, mobile in nature. Even today, many Indians travel to the Caribbean nation. They work there for a short span of about six months and return. There can be many reasons for their return to India; for some, it can be the relations that they leave behind. For others, it can be the Indian culture that they carry in their heart. The link with the native country is what makes this diaspora so significant for India and Indians.

What does being Indian mean? What exactly is Indian-ness?

People can disperse anywhere but the emotional connection with the motherland can’t be done away with in an instant. Indians can be scattered worldwide, but the ‘Indian-ness’ goes along with them. After all, it is India where they belong to. The emotional, cultural, and spiritual links with the country are not marred and thus Indians residing abroad often end up creating their own little India wherever they go.

So what does it mean to be an Indian? There is no earmarked definition for being an Indian. On the contrary, being Indian is a feeling and an emotion in itself. It can vary from person to person. From the snow-covered mountains in the north to the deep blue oceans in the south, and from the beautiful valleys in the east to the sand dunes in the west, India is a diverse and incredible country.

Consequently, being Indian is a very personal expression. It means to imbibe the diversity and yet live in harmony. India as the golden bird has welcomed the pluralistic ideas in the past, resulting in an extensive cultural diversity. The tri color flag fluttering in the air and the tune of the national anthem are enough to germinate pride in the heart of every Indian. The waft of spicy Indian cuisine, the beautiful architecture, the congested old lanes, the smilingly innocent villagers, the youngsters imitating the dialogues from Hindi movies, the indigenous music and others characterise ‘Indian-ness’.

Mothers worrying for their children; fathers going beyond their comfort zones to ensure smile on their children’s faces; the unsaid family bonds and many other factors are uniquely embedded in India. Praying to millions of gods and goddesses and the management of pompous Indian weddings make India a truly colorful nation, and perhaps they act as identity-markers when they interact with the natives of other nations.

So what makes Indians travel abroad? And what keeps them linked to their motherland? Is it the relations that they leave behind, the memories, or something else? How do they survive in a different land and what are their experiences there?

All these questions firmly hold ground but they will be unravelled in the NEXT…

Friday, January 1, 2016

Pahala- a village flourishing with Rasgulla Business

By Ila Garg and Arnab Mitra


An inescapable fragrance of sweets imbues the streets of Pahala, a place between Cuttack and Bhubaneswar. Innumerable sweet shops, on either side of the road, are definitely an amazing sight to savour on.

Kelu Charan Mohanty, the man behind the fame of Pahala told NewsGram, “It was way back in 1965 when I came here and opened my first sweet shop. Initially, we sold sweets at a price of Re 1 per piece.”
When asked from where had he learnt the art of making Rasgulla, he said, “I joined the famous KC Das sweet shop in the year 1945, and worked there for 20 years. But soon the monotonous routine started to bore me; it was then that I decided to make Rasgullas on my own at my native place.”
In 60’s Pahala had no facilities, nothing at all. Illiteracy and malnutrition were widespread. The lack of electricity added to the plight. The only source of income for the people was mushroom farming.


Mohanty’s initiative inspired the natives and from the initial one shop, Pahala gradually made way for almost hundred and fifty shops. Once a village stricken in poverty, Pahala is now filled with well to do families. The natives now own good homes and their children are well educated too. But the most interesting fact is that the family members are still devoted to the Rasgulla business and even the raw materials that they use are all home-made.


About a hundred and fifty shops are spread in a stretch of 2 kms on the national highway, where the artisans work hard every day to make delicious Rasgullas. The Rasgullas are priced at a very reasonable rate that ranges between Rs. 3 to Rs. 6 per piece.

The economy of Pahala villages is thus, based on the Rasgulla business, and according to Harihar Behra, “The profit per day varies between Rs. 1000 to Rs. 2000, and during the festive seasons it reaches to Rs. 3000.” Regardless of all the expense made on the shop maintenance and other amenities, the owner is able to save around Rs. 1000 per day easily.


The sweets are made using some extraordinary techniques. At first, cheena is processed for around five hours in a wooden stove to make it thin. Then tiny cheena balls are made, which are then processed for two hours in slightly saccharine water. They ensure that the end product is ready by 4 PM to be sold in the shops. The shops remain open till 9 PM. Besides Rasgulla, they also make different kinds of sweets like cheena bada, ledikeni, swarvaja and other delicious sweets.

They also supply Rasgullas to the other shops of Orissa. In addition, they get orders for different occasions, like marriage ceremony and birthday party. The quality and taste of their Rasgullas get appreciated across the nation. They are now trying to conquer the markets of Kolkata too. Their sweets are also sent to Sussex, England and other parts of the world.


Pahala narrates the story of about hundred and fifty odd artists who work hard every day and yet these people are neglected by the government. Even the condition of roads is pathetic here and it often hampers their daily business. But, the artists never compromise with their creation. It can be seen as the infamous village came to limelight due to the struggle and dedication of the people of Pahala.