Saturday, 5 August 2017


This is that time of life when we need to take a fresh guard and continue batting with the sole aim of winning the match! The pitch is a bit worn out, we are no more fresh as a daisy, a bit tired after the busy first innings, and the new ball is swinging both ways! But there are many things that are in our favor too. We have been playing this game rather well for quite some time, we know the tricks of survival and the art of thriving even when the chips are down and we have partners and friends to fall back upon! The tempo of this innings will have to be different, full of life and truly swashbuckling but at no stage can we throw cautions to the wind. So ‘discipline’ is the theme of this innings. Many people who reach the age of 60 feel a sense of uncertainty about their future, but life after 60 can also be the most rewarding and fulfilling time of all. Roles and responsibilities change with time, but this allows for a fresh canvas to be painted once again. Here are 9 ways to make the most of life after you turn 60:

1. Take care of your health
Reaching the age of 60 has long been considered the start of a time of inevitably physical and mental decline, but that no longer has to be the case. Nowadays, people are living longer and have a better quality of life than they ever did. There’s no denying that the body changes after we reach that milestone age. We add a few extra inches to our girth and a few kilos to our weight but that doesn’t mean that we cannot keep up and even improve our fitness. Having that last puff one day and then saying ‘good bye’ to our favorite cigarette will be a big help. Alcohol in moderation and only on celebratory occasions will also help. And starting a new exercise that’s suitable to our overall health condition and lifestyle will be invaluable. I am of the opinion that if we can walk 4 Km in 40 minutes every morning we will keep ill health away from us. As the Army says ‘it is very difficult to hit a moving target’! Sometimes, routines are the very things that cause our resistance. You should have some kind of structure to your exercise, just to make sure it’s getting done, so how about stringing together completely disparate activities – walking, cycling, badminton, cricket, golf and a mix match!

2. Understand Money differently
Reaching this milestone age should herald the start of a time in which we enjoy the fruits of our labor. So long we have worked for money, now our money should work for us. If we are still worrying about how we’re going to pay the next bill then something is not exactly right. If you’re in financial difficulty or feel like your money isn’t working for you, it’s time to consider making some changes. The obvious place to start is to look at your expenses to see what you can cut down on. You can also think about downsizing your home if you need to. Being 60 and over should definitely be a time to enjoy your money, but just make sure you have enough to last you, as you’re likely to live much longer than people of previous generations. You can also consider finding ways of making extra money.

3. Develop New Relationships
Many people over 60, even ones that are married, fear of being alone. For single man/women of this age and over, they wonder whether they’ll ever find love again. Those who are with a partner fear of being left alone after they pass away. So what do you do? Build a solid circle of friends. If you haven’t been lucky enough to build a solid support system of friends throughout your life, now is the time to start doing it. This is because these people will be the ones to help keep you happy and healthy for the rest of your life. Explore your hobbies with like-minded people and make a point to do at least one social activity per day.
All of us have been to schools and colleges. All these institutions have alumni associations. Visit their websites and re-establish your lost contacts. You will be surprised to stumble upon your own classmates and batch-mates in Facebook and WhatsApp and build your own support system of friends. This is true symbiosis – good for everybody and a great way to spend time! In days to come children will become too busy with their careers and it will be inconsiderate on our part to expect them to be on our side at every beck and call but with friends, staying in the same city, meeting frequently and celebrating birthdays and wedding anniversaries together are a great way to enjoy life!

4. Be happy with your body image
Society continues to propagate stereotypes of people who are in their 60s or older being invisible, unstylish or not interested in sex, and anti-aging ads with 30-year-old models posing as “older” women are all over our TV screens. Nevertheless, we gain wisdom with age, and also become more comfortable in our own skin. Being at peace with our appearance after 60 is a balancing act. On the one hand, there are few of us who don’t have a desire to keep looking great by wearing great clothes, taking care to dye our hairs if they still remain on our crown and keeping in good physical shape, but on the other, we must always remember to be kind to ourselves, and remember that beauty is both internal and external. You have every right to look great at 60 and age gracefully like Hema Malini, Sharmila Tagore, Amitabh Bacchan, George Clooney and Elizabeth Taylor!

5. Find new ways to relate to your food
You should make a conscious effort toward finding new ways to related to the food you eat. The age of gulping down gallons of Coke and Pepsi and devouring at Pizza Hut and McDonald regularly is surely over. Once in a while, for old times sake, it is all right but the daily food should be both fresh and nutritious. You should also avoid unconscious eating, such as eating when you’re in front of the TV. Be deliberate and thoughtful about every bite of food that’s on your plate. Shop with care and think about portion sizes, but remember to treat yourself every now and again. Consider eating primarily as a means to keep your immune system in tip-top shape. The second reason of eating is surely enjoyment…..enjoy your food!

6. Make changes in your home
While I do not like the idea of moving to a smaller and more manageable home, for that would hamper my style of living I see many people doing so after retirement. Whether you do so or you don’t there are a few things you need to do to your home. For one, you can have handrails installed in the bathroom. The handrails can greatly improve your mobility and security when using the bathroom. Two, you can also install non-skid tiles for all the floors of your home. Non-skid tiles can help prevent accidents such as slips and falls. Three, you should also replace your standard doors with more secured ones with better locking systems. It may seem silly to prepare even your home for your old age, but this will prove to be very advantageous for you and your spouse.

7. Have a proactive social life
Nurture your circle of friends and become the group’s “event organizer” if needed. Suggest outdoor trips and overseas outings to your friends and befriend your home computer so that these events can be easily organized to the finest details. You could consider hosting a regular dinner party, coffee circle, book club or weekly cinema outings. Another interesting thing you can do is open up the doors to your home to backpackers and international visitors using sites like AirBnb. This is a great experience and you can learn a lot about people and culture of many far away places.

8. Time to tick your ‘to do’ list
Make a list of things that interest you and that you can try out as you have time and money now. So whether it is a trip to Kailash and Mansarovar or learn a new language or learn how to play a musical instrument or practice Yoga, this is the time to do all this and much more. There are no pending responsibilities, no parents or children to look after, and no regular office job to do justice.

9. Time to give it back
A quiet life after sixty is the best time to give back to the society what we truly can. While professionals like doctors and lawyers find it easy to render their services to the society, teachers, army veterans, sports persons too actively help in shaping the next generation. This is a wonderful way of staying young and useful. Simple acts of kindness and helping other individuals can help keep you engaged while imparting your wisdom and experiences to others. Volunteering may also put your life, and ability to engage in it, in better perspective, and you in turn can enjoy seeing how a little help from you can change the life of others!

Last but not least, if you compliment people, stay positive and be grateful, the blessing of friendship will definitely come into your life. As you get older, you know that bad times are going to pass and so you do not despair. You also know that good times will also pass, which makes those good times even more precious! So let’s say Cheers to the rocking 60s!

Saturday, 29 July 2017


If a person is extremely successful quite often that person is perceived as being blessed with a high level of intelligence. But according to decades of research by Stanford University attitude is more responsible for that success than brains. Success isn't about the title or position you acquire in the hierarchy. It's about your impact. Whether you run a hospital outpatient or serve kebabs in the hospital cafeteria, the choice you're faced with every day is either to influence others by your example of excellence or play victim to the conditions around you. Conditions do not change; someone changes them for the better. Do you?  

Winning in life today depends on the value you contribute. Bureaucracy is no longer the decision maker on what you contribute, or when, or to whom you make that contribution. The size of your paycheck isn't the dictator either. Today it's your call. You have free license to be a philanthropist of your personal gifts. You can add value at any opportunity by applying your talents: your ingenuity, mastery, and imagination. The new world has given you the green light to give your greatness.
I went to Big Bazzar last night with my son to buy a couple of pairs of jeans for ourselves. When I asked for a particular brand and style of jeans the salesperson was clueless. "Not sure if we have them but the jeans section is over there," he said, pointing directly to the other end of the store. He then went back to checking his text messages on company time.

As we walked towards the jeans section, we met another salesperson. He was about the same age as the first fellow, about the same fashion sense and about the same position on the hierarchy. But that's where the similarities ended. This one seemed to be switched on to the real meaning of relation building.

"The jeans are over there, right?" I asked. "Yes they are. What exactly are you looking for - I’d love to help out," he replied with a warm smile. When I mentioned the style I was looking for, he explained that the company had stopped making them due to quality issues but was planning a re-launch in a few months. He then showed me alternatives, explained the benefits of each and basically took me through a mini-course in customer satisfaction.

So, sure environment matters and a positive, inspirational, excellent, encouraging environment is a core driver of peak performance. But if that was everything, both of these guys would have behaved in the same way. So what made the difference? It actually came down to their attitudes. The first salesman was a clock-watcher. The second was a relationship-builder. And one who I could tell understood that doing great work is one of the most important pursuits in life.

Developing an attitude that wins is vital. Our attitude will either be our greatest ally or our greatest hindrance…The greatest difference maker in your life is in you…your attitude – How you respond to difficulties and negative circumstances is the determinate as to what you will be able to accomplish in this life. Psychologist Carol Dweck has spent more than three decades studying attitude and performance and her latest research shows that your attitude is a better predictor of your success than your IQ. The key as to why some people achieve their potential while equally talented others don’t, isn’t ability Dweck found, it’s whether you look at ability as something inherent that needs to be demonstrated or something that can be developed.

Dweck’s research showed that people’s core attitudes fall into two categories: a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. People with a fixed mindset believe you either are or aren’t good at something based on your inherent nature, because it’s just who you are. These people consider their abilities, intelligence and talents as being maxed out and cannot be changed. This attitude can create problems when people with this mindset become challenged because anything appears to be more than one can handle consequently making a person feel hopeless and overwhelmed.

People in a growth mindset believe that they can improve with effort. They outperform those with a fixed mindset, even when they have a lower IQ, because they embrace each challenge and treat it as an opportunity to learn something new. “In this mindset, the hand you’re dealt is just the starting point for development. This growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts,” writes Dweck in her book, Mindset, The New Psychology of Success.

Although people may differ in every which way in their initial talents and skills, interests, or temperaments  everyone can change and grow through application and experience. The critical point measuring success in life is also how one handles failures. A person with a growth mindset approach failure uniquely, to then failure is information, or a feedback saying ‘This didn’t work, and I’m a problem solver, so I’ll try something else.’ Adopting either a fixed or growth attitude toward talent can profoundly affect all aspects of a person’s life, from parenting and romantic relationships to success at school and on the job.

So how do we develop the winning attitude? What you think about the most is what determines your attitude and this is your mindset. Mindset is a mental attitude that determines a person's interpretation and response to situations. It is the internal dialog that we have within our self on a continually basis.  Our mindset is established when we take information about the world around and that information interpreted, filtered and stored in particular way. It is worth realizing that we don’t see our eyes nor do we hear with our ears. Seeing and hearing actually takes place in our mind. The Eyes and Ears are simply transducers that feed information to our mind. Our mind interprets the information and determines what it sees and hears. So though each one of us may be seeing and hearing the same things, but it is our mind which is interpreting these stimuli separately and uniquely according to our mindset. If we have a fixed mindset a small bad news gets converted into a major setback and if we have a growth mindset even a major setback gets converted into a stepping stone for future success!

People who constantly have a bad attitude feel they can do nothing about it. They blame their parents, their Friends, their physical condition, their environment, the color of their skin and almost everything else under the sun. They always have a reason or excuse for their bad attitudes. You must take responsibility for your attitude. Your attitude is a matter of choice People who feel that they are victims and have no choice in a matter are people who never change anything. John Maxwell of ‘Do something for your growth’ fame says “The greatest day in your life and mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes. That's the day we truly grow up.”

You will always have positive and negative thoughts. The issue is which of these thoughts are more dominant in your mind. Because you have fear, anger, resentment, offense and other negative thoughts and attitudes does not make you nonspiritual – It makes you human! The issue is will you let those thoughts and attitudes dominate you? We live in the flesh and there are mean and thoughtless people in the world or people make mistakes…Get over it and deal with it! – We might get a low grade on a test, our bodies are attacked, our teachers get to us, we get rejected by our friends, and sometimes our families go crazy! What we think when these challenges occur determines our attitude!

Changing your attitude requires changing your thoughts, changing your associations and your attitude can change independent of your environment or circumstances. It is vital to associate with those that help build your life! Don’t let people poison your life with gossips, backbiting, complains, and doubts. Don’t allow yourself to be surrounded by negative people – You don’t have to be joyless, miserable and stressed out during times of adversity.

Your attitude will make you miserable or joyful, a success or a failure. Dr. Ben Carson, the famous Neurosurgeon grew up with no father or mother. He was raised by his grandmother and they were in abject poverty.  Poor grades in elementary school didn’t help either. When he applied to medical school, his guidance counselors told him he doesn’t have what it takes to be a doctor…..but he had the winning attitude, which the counselor failed to appreciate! Oprah Winfrey is today a Media Mogul and a philanthropist but she was born in rural Mississippi to unwed teen mother, raised in a Milwaukee ghetto then sent to live with her very strict grandmother who stressed the importance of reading and education. Very poor in her early years through early teen years, attacked by her uncle, her cousin and a family friend at age 9,  she gave birth to a son at age 14 who later died. Then she was sent to Tennessee and raised by birth father and got her first TV job at age 17 and simply followed her passion with a winning attitude! Prof. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was born in a poor family in a village in Rameshwaram to a boat owner and his wife. He sold news papers to add to his family income as a child and was rejected when he tried to become a pilot. By sheer determination and attitude he played a pivotal role in our Nation's civilian space programme and military missile development and was known as the Missile Man of India. He went on to then become the most popular President of India!

There are no unimportant jobs in this world. All work can be infused with meaning, passion and a dedication to world-class. Remember the old story of the 3 stone cutters? The first was asked what he was doing. The reply was: "I’m cutting a bunch of rocks." The second responded: "I'm building a wall." The third smiled and said with deep pride: "I'm building a cathedral."

I hope you are in the cathedral building mode!

Thursday, 27 July 2017


This is an unusual post, for the history buffs. Those who love to know how it all started. We know Plastic Surgery started in India in 600 BC in the city of Varanasi by a sage surgeon called Sushruta. One of these days I am going to tell his story. Today I am trying to recount how Plastic Surgery started in Europe and doing so by reproducing two letters. The first letter is written to our Plastic Surgery yahoo group by my favorite story teller Prof. Hirji Adenwalla from Trichur and the other is my response to his story, which depicts the next generation and carries forward the story from where he left.

We have all known about Harold Gillies and rightly so. He deserves to be called the father of modern Plastic Surgery. But there were others too. In these letters we describe two real giants. We hope to come back with a few more in future including Harold Gillies for sure!

H.S. Adenwalla
Emeritus Professor of Surgery
Head of the Dept. Of Plastic Surgery, Burns & 
The Charles Pinto Centre for Cleft Lip, Palate
and Craniofacial Anomalies.
Jubilee Mission Medical College and Research Institute
Member, Smile Train Medical Advisory Board (South Asia)

Gustavo Sanvenero- Rosselli (1897-1974)

A man of medium height and slim build with a broad forehead beneath which was a long face with a classical Italian nose and a strong chin. It is said that he was always immaculately dressed, loved good clothes and good food. His wardrobe was extensive, a large collection of perfectly cut suits, shoes and a collection of more than 700 neck ties. At work he wore an over sized white hospital coat in which it was said that he looked rather drowned. Rosselli looked every inch an aristocrat. He deeply read the classics such as Dante and Cicero and loved quoting from them. Besides Italian he spoke perfect French and could be understood in both German and English. In 1947 Rosselli received the shocking news that his sister and her husband were killed in a car accident. Their six month old son Riccardo Mazzola, had survived. Rosselli went and picked up the child and brought him back to Milan and brought him up as his own. The boy grew up to be one of Italy’s prominent plastic surgeons.
            Although a bachelor, Rosselli was very fond of children and he was often seen sitting on their beds, talking and reading to his little patients. Though he had an elegant home he rarely entertained there and preferred to go out to dine. Though he said he had no time for marriage, he was very popular with women of high society and was often seen at their dinner parties. Milan was known for its good food and this he enjoyed immensely. There was one thing he never missed. He was always in his box for the premiere at La Scala. This was Sanvenero Rosselli the man -a picture so incongruous from Rosselli the surgeon. He came from a family of lawyers. Rosselli broke tradition when he decided to take up medicine and become a surgeon. He began his medical studies at the University of  Genoa in 1915. For lack of money for three years he served as a medical orderly at the front during the First World War In spite of this he took his exams on time and graduated in 1921. From 1921-1926 he worked as an assistant to Professor Gavello in the ENT department of the University of Turin. Essentially like so many pioneers in plastic surgery he was an ENT surgeon. As an ENT surgeon with Professor Gavello he saw a lot of facial trauma which became his prime interest in life. To further his training he moved to Paris where he came under the influence of Pierre Sebileau and Fernand Lemaitre and it is with them that he entered the realms of maxillofacial surgery. It was here that he met the men who were the reconstructive surgeons of the day; men like Victor Veau, Gillies, Ferris Smith, Ivy, Blair and of course Jacques Joseph. Sanvenero always acknowledged that it was Ferris Smith and Sheehan who inspired him to turn from ENT to plastic surgery.
In 1929 he started a clinic in Milan consisting of 25 beds and two operating tables in one room. Slowly patients started pouring in. These were facial deformities from the first World War, burns and congenital deformities of the face. He treated about 180 new cases of cleft lip and palate and over another 100 secondary cleft cases every year. As the cases poured in Rosselli visited Lexer, Gillies, Joseph, Sheehan and Kazanjian in order to broaden his armamentarium. It is said that his work was so variegated that he even operated on trachea-oesophageal fistulae and other deformities. In 1934 it was in a book that he first described the superiorly based pharyngeal flap for the treatment of nasality in cleft palate cases. It stands today as a cart horse for various modification of his operation. Hogan and Philip Chen devised ways to line his pharyngeal flap. It is strange that only for this, is this Italian surgeon remembered today.
            In 1953 and 1955 he was appointed as lecturer in plastic surgery at the Universities of Turin and Milan. In 1962 the first chair of plastic surgery in Italy was created for him in the Universities of Turin and Milan. In 1967 he was Minister of Magic of the Fourth International Congress of Plastic Surgery, which was held in Rome.
            One of his assistants who wrote his obituary said “Professor Gustavo Sanvernero- Rosselli was not an easy man to work for. His day till the end of his life began with an operating session at 7 AM and the Professor worked straight through until 7 PM. He broke for lunch for 15 Minutes when he would eat a ham sandwich and wash it down with a small glass of red wine. He was once asked why he ate so frugally. He explained that when he was a young man his father insisted that he learn fencing. It was his fencing master who told him that when one needs both physical and mental sharpness to perform a task, one should remain hungry for “hunger sharpens the wits” and makes the body agile. Surgery is like fencing- you try and find the weakness of your enemy and then strike home. For this you have to be both mentally and physically agile. He went home at 7.30 Pm for dinner and returned to the hospital at 8.30 PM when he photographed patients till 11 PM. He expected all his assistants to attend these sessions during which he would teach in an informal manner. For all who worked for this man it was a 16 hour day. On Saturdays he operated in private and would finish by 2 PM. On Sundays he began a ward round at 10 AM and photographed out-patients until 3.30 PM at that point he would leave the hospital and would say to his assistance “I wish you a good Sunday Gentlemen”. This left his assistants smiling. (In this respect he reminds me of our own –Raja Sabapathy). Once a year he took a holiday for 15 days he went to Solda in the South Tyro and staid in the same room in the same hotel. His nephew Ricardo Mazzola also a plastic surgeon would accompany him in a hired station Wagon full of books and his favorite Olivetti potable typewriter. After his sister’s accident and death he never ever drove a car. Early every morning while on these holidays he and his nephew would go on a climbing expedition in the mountains. They would return for lunch and then there would be articles to write and lectures to prepare until late into the night.
            In his 75th year this remarkable man was as active an ever planning the next issue of the clinics in plastic surgery. In the following year he had accepted an invitation from Converse to deliver a series of lectures in New York. However, before he could go he was diagnosed to be suffering from a cerebral tumor for which he was operated. He developed a post operative pneumonia form which he never recovered, he died on the 17th of March 1974 at the age of 77.
            All my professional life I have used Rosselli’s superiorly based pharyngeal flap in its various forms , first unlined and then lined as modified by Hogan and then later by Philip Chen and all these years I knew nothing about the man, this often happens with the lives of great innovators. On a whim I decided to research into the life of Gustavo Sanvenero Rosselli and was surprised to find that he stood on a par with the great path finder of plastic surgery and was as versatile as the best amongst them. He deserves to be remembered for more than just his superiorly based pharyngeal flap, which no doubt was a remarkable innovation and has stood the test of time (nearly a hundred years). It remains me of what Claude Bernard said “Genius lies in seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought”

Hirji Adenwalla

Respected Prof. Adenwalla,

I do not have to tell you once again that I am the President of the Adenwalla Fan Club. My friends tell me that may training is incomplete and I will have to visit you to bring it to completion. I am trying. Today I am about to tell you about a generational shift. I am today going to introduce to you and our group members another genius whose name you just mentioned, the nephew Prof. Riccardo Mazzola. I have known him from his work on history of plastic surgery and aesthetic surgery for quite some time but it was in Berlin during the IPRAS meeting and later on in Santiago, again during the IPRAS meeting that I had the opportunity to interact with him in person and was most impressed by his fathomless ocean of knowledge of the history of our speciality, the one which we practice, live and love. The IPRAS had designated him as the official historian of the International Association and he richly deserved the honour. Unfortunately today we don't have IPRAS!

Prof. Riccardo Mazzola

While his research on the history of our speciality is documented in this article which I invite you to read: History of Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery: history-of-reconstructive-and- aesthetic-surgery/  the history of European Plastic Surgery which he narrated to me in his inimitable style of story telling is what most impressed me. He said that by the end of WWI, plastic surgery had reached unexpected heights. The high quality of the work done for soldiers with facial injuries and burns, either as an emergency or as a delayed procedure, demonstrated that this new discipline was honourable, worthwhile and socially crucial, thus deserving official recognition and independence. The establishment of new plastic surgery centres, scientific societies and specialised journals were the key to success for the achievement of this goal.

In 1936, the Belgian Maurice Coelst (1894–1963) founded the Société Européenne de Chirurgie Structive, the first supranational society, with the aim of gathering once a year all those interested in this new branch of surgery and favouring confrontation of ideas by showing innovative clinical procedures. Prof. Riccardo then mentionned that a very successful first Congress with a large international participation was held in Brussels, with Coelst as the president, the second in London, in 1937, organised by Kilner and the third in Milano, in 1938, arranged by his uncle Sanvenero Rosselli. Even live surgery was performed during the meetings. The beginning of the WWII stopped the Societé's activities, which were never resumed.53 years after the foundation of the Société Européenne de Chirurgie Structive, a new European Society of Plastic Surgery was formed in 1989 to stimulate research and education at a European level and it was named the European Association of Plastic Surgeons (EURAPS). 
Though very reluctant to talk about himself Prof. Riccardo said that after obtaining his Medical Degree at the University of Pavia, a Mecca of Surgical training then, in 1967, he completed his full residencies in ENT in 1970 at the University of Ferrara and Plastic Surgery at the University of Milan in 1974 where his uncle Prof. G. Sanvenero Rosselli was the chief and the hardest task master. He was appointed the Assistant Professor of Plastic Surgery at the University of Milan in 1971. He currently runs the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery training program of the Postgraduate School of ENT and Maxillo-Facial Surgery at the Milan University School of Medicine.
In April 1975, Prof. Mazzola established the Fondazione G. Sanvenero Rosselli for Plastic Surgery, as a tribute to his late uncle Gustavo Sanvenero Rosselli, founder of Plastic Surgery in Italy. This internationally reputed institution promotes various forms of teaching, fulfilling a continuous postgraduate training program, by arranging meetings, seminars and courses in the field of Plastic Surgery. Directed by a Board of Trustees, the Fondazione has coordinated more than 150 meetings/seminars and organized 53 courses with live surgery over the years. The Fondazione, of which Prof. Mazzola is currently President, houses one of the most important rare books collections on Plastic Surgery, with more than 3000 volumes, dating from 1490.
Founding member, Secretary General and President of the EURAPS (European Association of Plastic Surgeons). Secretary of the Italian Society of Plastic Surgery (SICPRE)  from 2001 to 2004 and President, Riccardo Mazzola is a member of over 15 national and international societies, among them the prestigious American Association of Plastic Surgeons (AAPS).
He presented his work innumerable invited panels, lectures, conferences, courses at National or International Meetings and Congresses. He has himself organized 55 Congresses and Courses. Keynote speaker in numerous International Congresses, he has been awarded the Maliniac lecturer at the 2006 ASPRS Congress in San Francisco.
He is co-Author of 3 textbooks (“Craniofacial Malformations, Churchill Livingstone 1990; “Velopharyngel Incompetence”, Masson 1995, in Italian, “Fat Injection, from Filling to Regeneration”, Quality Medical Publishing, 2009), 12 book chapters and 115 publications, 40 of them in peer reviewed scientific journals.
His primary interests includes Cleft Lip and Palate, Head and Neck reconstruction, Nasal Reconstruction, Rhinoplasty and the History of Plastic Surgery. A very simple man, he has that old world charm and is a great story teller, just like you Sir.


Surajit Bhattacharya 

Saturday, 15 July 2017


Ideas are the currency of the twenty-first century. In order to succeed, we need to be able to sell our ideas persuasively. This ability is the single greatest skill that will help us accomplish our dreams. Remember the 2014 general elections; one leader had an idea of ‘Acche Din’ and he went ahead criss crossed the country with his confident body language and persuasive oratory to win a landslide victory! This is what good public speaking is all about. Persuasion is undoubtedly an art form, but have you ever wondered about the secrets of the world’s most persuasive speakers? They are usually tasked with steering an audience to accomplish an explicit action, or to get it to convert to a specific assumption or opinion……... to believe in the fact that ‘Acche din’ or good days are just round the corner!

People are dying because we can't communicate in ways that allow us to understand one another. That sounds like an exaggeration, but I don't think it is. When patients can't relate to their doctors and don't follow their orders, when engineers can't convince a town that the dam could break, when a parent can't win the trust of a child enough to warn her off a lethal drug, they can all be headed for a serious ending

The power of presentations is rooted in our craving for human connection. When two or more people come together to exchange ideas, something bigger is born: a shared experience that aligns their minds and moves them forward with unified momentum. Yet most presentations fall short of this promise, and so we need a methodology designed to shape ideas into presentations that shift audience beliefs and behavior. So what did Modi do differently in 2014 and then again in 2017 during the U.P. assembly elections?

I think it is a grand combination of 4 things:

Empathize: In the theater of presentations, the audience is the hero and the presenter is the mentor. We have to learn what moves audiences, find common ground, and inspire them with a compelling reason to change.

Engage: Story structures are inherently persuasive. We need to craft a narrative that uses proven techniques from oratory and storytelling traditions to ignite excitement, overcome resistance, and motivate action.

Visualize: If people can see what we’re saying, they’ll understand it. We need to use visual thinking and smart design to conceptualize our ideas and convey information clearly and powerfully.

Activate: A potent idea packaged well takes on a life of its own. We need to invite interaction and accelerate the reach of our ideas with presentations that spread content across multiple channels.

What is a successful presentation?
Successful presentations are understandable, memorable, and emotional.
Understandable. Successful presentations are free of jargon, buzzwords, complexity, and confusion. Although there are many ways to make a presentation clear and understandable, my favorite technique is what I call the “Twitter-friendly headline.” Steve Jobs always described his products in one sentence “the world’s thinnest notebook.”. Even before Twitter existed, Jobs’ product descriptions never exceeded 140 characters.
Memorable. If our audience cannot remember what we said in our presentation or recall our idea, it doesn’t matter how great it is! Here there is ‘a rule of 3’. Neuroscientists generally agree that the human mind can only consume anywhere from three to seven points in short term, or “working memory”. We must try to incorporate the rule of three in your presentations. We can divide our presentation into three parts, discuss “three benefits” of a product, or give our audience “three action steps” they can take. Packaging the content into groups of three makes it far easier to remember, and if we can rhyme it, it is even better….’Abki baar Modi Sarkar’!
Emotional. There’s a large body of research that shows the emotional component of a message trumps the analytical. Yes, you need to show data and evidence to reinforce your position, but it’s the emotional part of a presentation that often moves people to action. By reiterating the monitory losses suffered by the nation because of corruption in 2G scam, Coal scam, CWG scam Modi was analytical but the moment he started telling his electorate that this was their money which, if not looted , would have electrified their villages, provided schools and hospitals to their towns and tehsils, fed the poor and the underprivileged, he established an unbreakable emotional rapport with his audience.

Who is a successful presenter?
1. They always appear confident
Although the confidence might not be there in reality, a persuasive speaker will always give the impression of confidence. This is one of the most imperative parts of being persuasive. Unsureness on the speaker’s part will be picked up on by the audience, so it’s crucial for a persuasive speaker to have a confident demeanor.
2. They don’t talk right away.
One should never talk as one walks out on stage. A lot of people start talking right away, and it’s out of nerves, it communicates a little bit of insecurity and fear. Instead, one should quietly walk out on stage. Then take a deep breath, find his/her place, wait a few seconds and begin. I know it sounds long and tedious and it feels excruciatingly awkward when you do it, but it shows the audience the orator is totally confident and in charge of the situation.
3. Their body language is strong
In order to maximize their interface with an audience, a speaker must exhibit strong body language. Consider how much emphasis is now made on visuals in our culture thanks to technologies such as tablet computers, smart televisions, movies, video games and smart phones. We come to expect the same visual strength from the people we consider to be persuasive.
4. They make eye contact
Rather than looking out at the audience as a collective, a persuasive speaker will go that extra mile to ensure that they make eye contact with as many individuals as they can during their speech. In fact, people in an audience tend to expect a speaker to make eye contact with them, and this is a great way of building trust.
Scanning and panning is a speaker’s worst enemy. While it looks like he / she is looking at everyone, it actually disconnects him/her from the audience. It’s much easier and effective if the orator directly looks at specific audience members throughout their speech without breaking their gaze. When he/she finishes a sentence, he/she can move on to another person and keep connecting with individual people throughout the tenure of speaking. It’s like one is having a conversation with the audience not speaking to them but speaking with them. This tactic not only creates a deeper connection with individuals but the entire audience can feel it.
5. They use an emotional punch
Whether it’s highly joyful or frightening, the memories stick because they arouse our emotions Many highly persuasive speakers include a “grabber” right at the start of their presentations. Examples of a grabber are a declaration, symbol, image or other tool that is employed to immediately grab the audience’s attention. Furthermore, persuasive speakers also use emotions to gain attention and elicit a positive response from their audience.
 6. They turn nervousness into excitement.
Have you noticed what champion athletes or tennis players or cricketers say when reporters ask them "Were you nervous?” All of them give the same answer: "No, I was excited." These competitors were taking the body’s signs of nervousness - clammy hands, pounding heart and tense nerves - and reinterpreting them as side effects of excitement and exhilaration. When a speaker is up on stage all nervous in front of a crowd all he/she has to think is  “I’m not nervous, I’m excited!” This has a miraculous impact on the speaker.
7. They speak unusually slowly.
When we get nervous, it’s not just our heart beat that quickens. Our words also tend to speed up. Luckily audiences are more patient and forgiving than we know. They want us to succeed up there, but the more we rush, the more we turn them off. If we just go quiet for a moment and take a long, deep breath, they’ll wait for us. It’s kind of amazing but the best orator in Indian parliament Sri Atal Bihari Vajpai used these pauses to miraculous effect and people… would… hang… on… to...his… every… word..!
8. They always answer “why” questions
Another technique that persuasive speakers use is to answer a “why” question at the very beginning of a presentation, such as “why is it essential to discuss this subject at this point in time?” Posing such a question, then having the ability to answer it clearly is a demonstration of strong and effective communication skills.
9. They are passionate about the topic at hand
In order to persuade or convince an audience, a speaker needs to be passionate, or at least convey passion, about the topic at hand. This has an impact on the audience, which will inevitably pick up on the passion, leaving its members with a sense of obligation that they should accept what they are being told for their own good.
Great communicators read many books from a variety of authors and across a range of genres. The best communicators are readers, synthesizing ideas from different fields and applying those ideas to their topic.
10. They speak conversationally and tell stories, funny stories
A persuasive speaker will always place emphasis on talking conversationally with their audience, as opposed to giving a speech. This creates an honest and trustworthy perception of the speaker in the minds of the audience members. Persuasive communicators don’t speak in passive language. They take a stand and argue forcefully for it. Genuine humour and true, open laughter almost always lead to engagement, If they’re laughing, they’re listening. Humour comes in the form of humorous short stories, while other forms of humour are self-deprecating.
11. They build a sense of truth among the audience
The world’s best actors are prized for their ability to completely involve themselves physically, mentally, and emotionally in the role they are playing. A persuasive speaker takes on the same role whether in a rally or in the boardroom or at a conference. The more natural the delivery, the more believable the speaker’s message is.  Persuasion isn’t simply a recitation of facts. Persuasion requires connecting words to a broader theme that inspires to embrace a big, bold vision. Having a vision for the future will give hope for a better tomorrow. And hope is a powerful thing for anyone who wishes to persuade.
12. They will use repetition for emphasis
Recapping certain points a few times throughout the course of a presentation is the perfect way for a speaker to create greater engagement with the audience. This is especially effective when the speaker goes over the points covered in the presentation immediately after it has been given.
13. They share their personal experiences
In order to make themselves more relatable, persuasive speakers will share personal experiences when and where they can as they’re giving their presentation. Doing so brings the message to life, makes the presentation pleasant and wins over the hearts and minds of the audience.
14. They show up to give, not to take.
Often people give presentations to sell products or ideas, to get people to follow them on social media, buy their books or even just to like them. These kinds of speakers “takers,” and audiences can see through these people right away. And, when they do, they disengage. We are highly social animals and even at a distance on stage, we can tell if the speaker is a giver or a taker, and people are more likely to trust a giver - a speaker that gives them value, that teaches them something new, that inspires them!
15. They ignore the naysayers.
Dismiss the people furrowing their brows, crossing their arms or shaking their heads “no.” Instead, focus only on supporters - the people who are visibly engaged, enjoying the presentation and nodding “yes.” This makes the speaker much more confident and relaxed than trying to convince the naysayers.  
16. They are brief
The audience is expected to have a cascade of information coming at them from all directions. They need information fast. By stories, anecdotes and personal experiences the speaker has to convey the information effectively, convincingly and conclusively.  Condensing the argument makes it tighter, stronger, and easier for the listener to absorb.
17. They say thank you when done.

Applause is a gift, and when we receive a gift, it’s only right to express how grateful we are for it. The audience gave us their time, and they’re giving their applause. That’s a gift, and we have to be grateful. So we always end with a ‘Thank you’!

Thursday, 29 June 2017


What is this that invariably happens to us as we get older? Why do we start talking about the better atmosphere, the better morals and the better humans we had when we were young? I refute this theory on two counts, the first and the most important is I hate referring my youth in past tense – I am young. My mind says so and I believe my mind more than anyone else. My ideas and ambitions have not deserted me yet, my quest for the unknown remains alive and my thirst for the new remains un-quenched. The second is I do not think the days gone by were better than today and I am convinced that tomorrow and the day after will be even better.

When you talk about ‘good old days’, what was exactly good about them? What was "good" about polio, small pox, the cold war with nuclear attack drills, the Vietnam  or Indo-China war, racial segregation and gender discrimination, Indira and Rajiv’s assassination, paisley print Guru Kurtas, polyester leisure suits, disco, LP records, black and white TV, manual typewriters, exorbitantly costly calculators, and computers the size of high school gyms?  I like the modernity and things are going to be better and prettier! And friends, you haven’t seen anything yet!

I never complain about the younger generation, except perhaps their choice of music! After my generation has given the world Osama Bin Laden and AlQuida, Prabhakaran and LTTE, serial-killer and cannibal Jeffery Dahmer, Waco whacko David Koresh, O.J. (Outwitting Justice) Simpson, Mumbai blast masterminds Dawood Ibrahim and the Kashmiri terrorist Masood Azhar, the younger generation can hardly do worse.

The present generation of performers in every field is outperforming their predecessors. You can compare anything from games to medicine. The current European football champions will beat even the best of yesteryear hands down if a computerized version of the game is played. The present cricket team of India is the best so far. Whether it is Sachin Tendulkar or Mark Phelps or Usain Bolt's all their records will also be broken in future. The current plastic surgeons replant fingers so routinely which about fifteen years back was a domain of a few Indian surgeons. So let us now draw some parameters and seriously compare whether we are truly better than our forefathers.

There is no doubt about the fact that global conditions are changing, but are they changing for the better, or for the worse? Surprisingly, when a survey was done on this topic not many even in the developed world felt that we are doing better! In response to a question "All things considered, do you think the world is getting better or worse, or neither getting better nor worse?" in Sweden, 10% thought that things are getting better, in the US this dropped down to 6%, and in Germany this decreased even further to 4%. In other words, not a lot of people think that the world is getting better.

That was a survey of the developed world and it is quite naturally expected that in developing countries the dissatisfaction with the present would be far more……but is it so? The survey must take into account the history of global living conditions; the history of everybody. So let us take five global parameters poverty, literacy, health, freedom, and education and objectively analyze how they have changed over the last two centuries.

Let our lifetime not be a restricting factor for evaluating the timeline but let us go back in history. The world is not static, it has been ever changing. When civilization had established its roots in India, China and Egypt, today’s developed world was nomadic and barbaric. Rich countries today were very poor in the past and were in fact a lot worse off than the poor countries of today's world.  In fact, to avoid looking at the world in a static way we have to go back 200 years before the period when living conditions changed dramatically. Before the British occupation India was rich and prosperous but the systematic loot by the forces of occupation, the ruthless tax system that destroyed the agriculture and the industry and the inhuman trade restrictions that crippled the overseas business and trade left India a pauper in 1947, when finally the Union Jack came down. Today after seventy years India is the fastest growing economy once again.

Poverty, according to researchers, is living with less than $1.90 per day. In 1950, 75% of the world was living in extreme poverty; in 1981 it dropped to 44%. Latest research suggests that extreme poverty is now below 10%. You would have thought that with world population continuously rising this would lead to more extreme poverty, but the fact of the matter is that the opposite has happened. In a time of continuous population growth, our world has managed to give prosperity to more people and lift them out of extreme poverty.

Only a small number of elite were able to read and write at the beginning of the 19th century. In fact, in 1820, only 1 person in 10 was literate; in 1930 it was every 1 in 3 and now 85% of the world is literate.  Yes, pockets of illiteracy are still there in the developing world, but their size is shrinking all the time. Technology, particularly in the last three decades, has changed the scenario totally but there is no doubt that a lot needs to be done.

In 1800, the living conditions of our ancestors were so bad that 43% of the world's newborns died before they turned 5. Nowadays, the child mortality rate is down to 4.3% - 100 times lower than 2 centuries ago. This is thanks to vast advancements in modern medicine, science, housing, sanitation and diets. Epidemics like plague and cholera were rampant once but are almost unheard of today. India has been Polio free for almost a decade and our neighbors too are striving for the same.   

Not so long ago the sun never set on the British Empire, and if we are to believe Shashi Tharoor, the author of ‘An Era of Darkness’, a testament of the British misrule of India, that was because the plundering British could not be trusted even in daylight! Throughout the 19th century, more than a third of the world's population lived under colonial regimes and everyone else lived under autocratic rule. The first expansion of political freedom (from the late 19th up until the time of World War II) was crushed by the rise of authoritarian regimes. However, during the second half of the 20th century, the world changed dramatically; the Colonial Empires ended, and more and more countries started to turn towards democracy. Now, every second person in the world lives under democratic rule.

None of the progress that the world has seen would have been possible without an exponential explosion of education and knowledge. Education has an add on effect and not only are those once educated stay educated but they inspire and educate others. The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) is an international scientific institute that conducts research into the critical issues of global environmental, economic, technological, and social change that we face in the twenty-first century. This Institute predicts that by 2100, there will be only a very small percentage of people without formal education, and there will be more than 7 billion people with at least secondary education.

As we can now appreciate, our global living conditions are improving - slowly, but surely and the statistics of these five parameters prove it with a lot of conviction. We can most certainly look forward to a brighter future than the ‘good old days’ there is no room for doom and gloom. But then again, are we missing something? With forests disappearing, polar ice melting and rivers drying out is a much larger disaster just round the corner? How many humans, the most destructive species on earth, can this world hold? Are we thinking along these lines?

For the time being I will continue to be addicted to books and magazines as long as I have eyes to read or ears for someone to read them to me. (Maybe by my 100th. birthday, they'll finally perfect audio/video e-books!) And I never want to lose my child-like wonder for DNA and PSLVs. I would know everything about all the keys of my laptop and all the wonders of my son’s play station, and the functions of my Samsung mobile phone for I think these are the ultimate challenges yet to be conquered.

So, yes the olden days were good, but nothing worth bragging about; today  is fantastic and the days to come would be even better. The only lurking doubt that I have is with our uninhibited use of natural resources will the world we live in give us a signal well in time by continuously blinking the recharge button!