Window Seat | Mrinal Chatterjee


Right Diet

Recently we organised a Blood Donation Camp at the Institute, where I teach. Many students volunteered to donate blood. However, the mandatory screening found most of the girl students were haemoglobin deficient. So, they were advised not to donate blood.

We were surprised why so many girls, most of them coming from affluent families were haemoglobin deficient, which meant many of them could be anaemic.

Before I go any further a quick appraisal of ‘haemoglobin’ is called for.

Haemoglobin is an iron-rich protein present in red blood cells and is responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body. It is necessary to maintain normal levels of haemoglobin in your blood for your body to function properly i.e. 14 to 18 g/dl for adult men and 12 to 16 g/dl for adult women. When the level of haemoglobin drops, it can cause weakness, fatigue, headaches, shortness of breath, dizziness, poor appetite and rapid heartbeat. If the level of haemoglobin decreases significantly, the condition may be diagnosed as anaemia and symptoms can become severe”. The doctors told me that it may also adversely impact intelligence and cause pregnancy complications in case of women.

The doctors told me that almost half of the women in reproductive age have haemoglobin shortage. The most common causes of haemoglobin shortage are dietary. Lack of iron, folic acid, vitamin B 12 causes haemoglobin shortage. There could be other causes too like Kidney problem, blood loss from trauma, Red Blood cell synthesis problems, gastrointestinal problems, etc.

What could be done in normal situation, I asked.

The doctors gave three advices. One: Eat food rich in iron and vitamin B 12 and C like leafy vegetables, saag, fruits like apple, pomegranate, lemon and orages. Two: Avoid eating foods that can block your body’s ability to absorb iron, especially if you have a low haemoglobin count i.e.  Tea, coffee cola drinks, wine, beer, etc.

Three: Take Iron tablets. All Govt. Hospitals distribute it at a very nominal rate. Regular intake of these tablets will increase haemoglobin level.

However, taking the right food way is more advisable.


Rumour has become more kinetic and powerful in recent years, especially after the wide spread of social media. From choti katwa (chopping of braids) and beef transport in the Northern States to witches in tribal dominated Eastern States – rumour often leads to unnecessary violence, trauma and social disturbance.

The reasons rumours spread on social media more easily and with deadly effect are quite simple: ease of creating, sharing and disseminating information in text, audio, visual and video format. Visuals, especially video (which these days could be manipulated) lend an element of perceived credibility to the information. And on the other hand, “Across India the social psyche is fraying at the edges where superstition, hate- spewing ideologies, and fear of the ‘other’ are producing massive disruptions”. The combination is deadly.

Besides policing backed by strict legal sanctions, rumour can be countered with humour. Yes, humour. Rumour at the end of the day is a balloon filled with lies within a thin skin of facts. Humour can effectively burst the balloon with a sharp sting. In fact there is no better weapon to fight rumour than humour. The cartoonists and humour writers have the skill to burst the balloon of lies. We just need more of them applying themselves to this job.

Doctor’s Diwali Wishes-1

A got this message from a doctor friend of mine.

May your Waist-Hip ratio remain below 0.85 per cent. May your BMI remain less than 25. May your HbA1c never rise despite the sweets. May your arteries remain nice and complaint. May you continue to have the mood to walk or exercise all year. May your TSH remain less than four. May you get enough sun to keep Vitamin D 25 level around 40May your blood pressure never rise above 120/80. May your LDL never rise above 70 and HDL always remains above 50.

Happy Diwali.

(Courtesy: Jaimini Rath)

Doctor’s Diwali Wishes-2

These days one gets many diwali messages on social media. People often reply without reading the text most of the time.

One doctor receives message from his friend: My daughter is suffering from vomiting and loose motions. What should I give?

Doctor replied: Wishing you the same and entire family. Enjoy the moments with full fun and have a blast.

(Courtesy: Social Media Post)


A journalist turned media academician Mrinal Chatterjee lives in Dhenkanal, a Central Odisha hilly town. He also writes fiction. [email protected]

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