Saturday 20 April 2013

Swab your cheek - help save Nalini

Several friends are organising a swab drive on Saturday, from 11am to 2pm, at the Pinstorm office in Santa Cruz, Bombay. The address: Swati Building, North Avenue, Santa Cruz (W) Bombay 400 054 Phone: +91 22 6739 3888. 

North Avenue is the road that runs between SV (Swami Vivekananda) Road and  Linking Road. The restaurants Dynasty and Yoko's are almost bang opposite the SV Road end, and there's a Kotak Bank branch at the Linking road corner, with Tressorie just ahead. Swati is very close to the Linking road end, on your right as you go towards SV Road.

This message from Dilip D'Souza will explain the background, and what you can expect.
My good friend Nalini Ambady, prof at Stanford U, needs your help. See the web site and Facebook page of same name -- it will tell you about her, her situation and what 's been done so far. Short version: she needs a bone marrow transfer (BMT) and she has failed in efforts to find a donor in the US. So we're now trying here in India. Both to find a match and to get people to sign up with Indian bone marrow databases so that the chance of a match increases.
There is an age restriction: they want donors to be between 18 and 50.
There are two databases of donors I know about in India: DATRI ( and MDRI ( Somewhere on the DATRI site you can sign up to have a kit sent to you, you use the enclosed swabs to do a cheek swab and send the result back to them with a Rs 2500 fee. I happen to have three of those kits with me, so if you want to do that let me know (and the costs will be taken care of).
Alternatively, you can sign up for free with the MDRI database (unless you want to donate only to a specified person, like Nalini, in which case they charge you Rs 10,000). You can do so by walking into one of several hospitals in Bom, e.g. Raheja at Mahim, Holy Family in Bandra, Nanavati in Vile Parle, etc (see this page Apparently the procedure of forms and taking a blood sample will take 15 minutes or so. MDRI is run by the Tata Memorial Hospital, so your data will be sent to them by whichever hospital you sign up at.
I believe Kokilaben in Andheri also signs you up this way, it's just that I'm not sure which database you are entered in. Worth calling to ask, especially if you're nearby and that is convenient for you.
I hope you'll consider signing up. Time is of the essence for Nalini. The BMT is really the only option she has left and we have to find her a matching donor in the next 2-3 months, possibly a little more.
If you sign up, thanks! Please give a thought to whether you know others in the 18-50 age range who can sign up too.

Saturday 13 April 2013

Environment-friendly spam

My pal and colleague Charles Assisi got this email a little while ago:
From: Yogi Tripathi
Date: Tue, 26 Mar 2013 23:41:13 +0530


I manage a unit by the name of [removed], from Lucknow, India which is into trading, manufacturing and consultancy activities offering renewable energy solutions since 2008...

I have been trying to raise funds for the R&D projects in solar energy ( proposal attached) since a long time however, could not manage it...another file with our product list, video links and newspaper article have also been attached...The response so far has been negative with comments like - "no one will give you a penny", "nothing works in India", "go to America ", "last 60 years nothing much happened here except population explosion".."we are a very poor third world country", "we are service class not business class"...blah..blah...only a handful have actually offered real money...why this kind of an attitude ? does not help anyone....earlier systems in India were designed for slavery by the British by keeping people poor, weak and afraid so that they keep looking at the, how will things move this way? is is the best way to attack India's biggest problem of poverty...

So the team building effort continues....can you help - by a small personal contribution ?....can you help by becoming a customer ? can buy solar cookers, solar water heaters or get your home & offices on solar power.....can you help by circulating this email ahead?..connecting us to high net worth individuals / angel investors probably outside India....connecting us to media who could highlight the case....venture capital and banks fund only well established companies and will rarely fund R&D work...

Please reply, even if negative with explanation, else will assume that the email did not reach and follow up with phone calls and letters...

www [Removed]
Note, please, the air of persecution and entitlement, and the threat at the end.

Then, on 10th April, this:
On Wednesday, April 10, 2013, [Removed]wrote:
Since we have not received any reply from your end this email seeks toserve as a kind reminder....
Charles replied:
This is the kind of shit that constitutes spam. Reporting your email id as spam. And don't you dare assume you can keep trying to email or call me if I don't respond. Whether I choose to or not is my perogative. You can't assume anything on my behalf.
And get this:
From: "Yogi Tripathi"
Date: Sat, Apr 13, 2013 at 1:58 PM
Subject: Re: Second email - reply awaited : Individual contributions needed for R&D projects in solar energy - proposal attached
To: "Charles Assisi"

why will I waste any more time on u....when u r yourself poor, mediocre, selfish, not healthy or happy with life and frustrated...even if u wanted to, u wont have been able to....marked ur mail as spam too....we will not be talking again....