Monday, February 27, 2006

Danger of HIV lurking in public places

Kindly take a couple of minutes to go thru this message from S. Dinesh Gopinath, I.A.S, Director of Medical & Research Div, Chennai. I had received it as a mail forwrded by one of my friend. If you find it useful, please advise others also .

Please pass this on to others this happened in Paris recently and may happen elsewhere also. A few weeks ago, in a movie theatre, a person felt something poking from her seat. When she got up to see what it was, she found a needle sticking out of the seat with a note attached saying "You have just been infected by HIV". The Disease Control Center (in Paris) reports many similar events in many other cities recently. All tested needles were HIV Positive. The Center also reports that needles have been found in cash dispensers at public banking machines. We ask everyone to use extreme caution when faced with this kind of situation. All public chairs/seats should be inspected with vigilance and caution before use. A careful visual inspection should be enough. In addition,they ask that each of you pass this message along to all members of your family and your friends of the potential danger.

Recently, one doctor has narrated a somewhat similar instance that happened to one of his patients at the Priya Cinema in Delhi. A young girl, engaged and about to be married in a couple of months, was pricked while the movie was going on. The tag with the needle had the message "Welcome to the World of HIV family". Though the doctors told her family that it takes about 6 months before the virus grows strong enough to start damaging the system and a healthy victim could survive about 5-6 years, the girl died in 4 months, perhaps more because of the "Shock thought".

We all have to be careful at public places, rest God help! Just think about saving a life by forwarding this message. Please, take a few seconds of your time to pass along.

With Regards,
S. Dinesh Gopinath,
I.A.S, Director of Medical & Research Div, Chennai.
I hope the stories are not true. There are so many people out there causing pains to others. Please pass on this to create awareness and be carefull.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Ellora's sojourn to Egypt

sphinx (sfĭngks)
n., pl. sphinx·es or sphin·ges (sfĭn'jēz').

1. Mythology. A figure in Egyptian myth having the body of a lion and the head of a man,

ram, or hawk.
2. often Sphinx Greek Mythology. A winged creature having the head of a woman and the
body of a lion, noted for killing those who could not answer its riddle.
3. A puzzling or mysterious person.

The third definition of sphinx befits my friend and colleague Ellora, undoubtedly the most vivacious person in our batch of executives who joined ONGC together. Recently she had a trip to Egypt, the land of pyramids, with her husband Kaushal. Indeed very lucky to be at one of the most frequented tourist destination. The couple had taken hundreds of photographs of the trip. The place has no greenery and everything seems to have the yellow-brown desert hue. Here lie testimony to the history of progress of mankind.

I choose these two photographs from the lot to share with visitors to this site. The first one had Ellora herself standing next to the Great Sphinx at Giza, near the pyramid of Khafre, which is considered as one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Nails : A mirror into your health

Do you know that your nails can tell you a lot about your internal health? Nails are said to be a mirror that reflects our internal health. A healthy blood supply will create a peachy-pink nail bed. If there is a deficiency or physical problem within our bodies, the fingernails can show it. My curiosity on the subject arose from vertical ridges that appear mostly on our toenails. The net has thrown above me many interesting facts hitherto unknown to me. Toenails are very susceptible to fungus attack and so they do not have a peachy-pink nail bed like our finger nails. Reproduced below are two most common sights we observe in our nails ----

Ridges on Nails : Vertical ridges that appear on the nail can indicate disorders as simple as iron deficiency, poor absorption of vitamins and nutrients, overall poor health or they could indicate something as serious as kidney trouble. These vertical ridges, as well as bumpy nails, can also suggest that one is prone to developing arthritis. Ridges running horizontally across the nail can indicate physical or mental stress.

White Spots on Nails : Probably the most common sight on the nails is the "white spot". Although it has been noted that white lines can be symptoms of a serious disorder, their presence is more than likely a result of iron or zinc deficiency.

Before worrying about any severe disease, your first step should be to see your doctor, preferably a dermatologist. If you want to know more, these are very useful links ---

Fingernails and Nutrition

Your nails and your overall health

Friday, February 03, 2006

419 scam in eBay : Shipment / payment request to Nigeria

Are you trading through eBay (earlier If so, BEAWARE of Nigerian scammers. I recently tried to dispose of my old moblie through and got a taste of this scam which has become a concern for everyone. I am sharing the experience which will help others.

Modus Operandi of the scam:

If you are selling : Normally you tend to keep a higher price to taste the water. Then you got surprised that someone has bought it the very day it was listed. You are happy that it got sold fast. The scammers had an almost perfect Indian address in some city. But even before you send him a bill through eBay, the buyer will send you a mail saying he is currently out of India and will like the item to be gifted to someone in Nigeria (or Lagos). Further the item is to be sent through DHL for which he will bear the cost. Two samples are reproduced below ----





How are you doing today?i recieved your mail about the item ibought from your store, i am the winner buyer of the item.i am currently out of india,presently in london,so i want to send the item to my friend in nigeria as a surprise gift.what i need from you,i want you to send me the total cost of everything both the shipping cost to nigeria through dhl becuase i we be paying you through money order i also want you to send me your name address so that i can send the money order if you agree with me just send me your name and address so that i can send the money order and this is were i want this item to be delivered

obazee enduranceno

30 lawani street,

new benin benin city,

edo state nigeria 23452

Best regards,dave kunal



Hello Saller,

How are you doing today?i recieved your mail about the item i bought from your store, i am the winner buyer of the item.i am currently out of india,presently in the Uk for a i want to send the item to a friend in nigeria as a new year (gift).what i need from you,i want you to send me the total cost of everything so that i can send the money order if you agree with me just send me your name and address so that i can send the money order and this is were i want this item to be delivered:





Get me the total cost of shipping the item through dhl courier service and the cost of item to enable me send you the money order with out any mistake,also provide me with your details like this: First name:last name:street:city:state:zipcode:country:phone: I await your urgent response.

Best regards,


The first time, I had received the buyer's mail (buyer named Kunal Dave), I replied diligently after finding the rate from Blue Dart site. I told him the shipping charges to Nigeria is 3300 and he may not like to pay 3300 for shipping an item bought for 2000. But he agreed and this made me smell fishy. I searched the net and found that this is rampant in e-bay and is termed as '[419] Lagos / Nigeria: eBay' scam. I continued communication with the scammer out of sheer curiosity. Then I received a payment information supposedly from BidPay. This site BidPAy is a genuine site, so does Western Union. But none have to do anything with the scam. The scammer are using their name to create credibility. The first mail said that they have received a money order request from the buyer and are processing the case and will inform me when the money order is approved. Then came the next mail confiming that the money order had been approved. The mail said that I need to ship the item first and then confirm the tracking no. to them. They will release the money once I give them the tracking no. Meanwhile the scammer also sent me a sepearte mail saying that he had made the payment and I need to do what the bank had asked. The mails had excellent graphics with logos of Western Union. It was good enough to fool any not so net savvy person. But on careful scrutiny I found that it had some flaws. Some links do not work. When I clicked on the BidPay link, the website said that effective 31.12.2005 we have closed down. I also checked with Western Union site and they have no such service named Western Union® Auction Payments. The copies of mail are reproduced below ---

Begin of reproduced MAIL texts from bogus Western Union account


From :

MAIL-1: (informing me of order by scammer)


Subject : Western Union Auction Payments **ORDER PENDING** (27576497)

Dear Mr.Rupankar Mahanta,
Western Union® Auction Payments has received your email address from Dave Kunal to inform you of the order to have a RS 5,550.00 (126.00 USD) Western Union Money Order sent to you for:

Auction Site: EBAY

Auction item: Nokia 2100

Auction item number:# 6474263796

Please verify that the following address (as entered by the buyer) is correct.

Mr.Rupankar Mahanta

B-27/2,ONGC Colony North Side

Kaulagarh Road,

Dehradun 248195

Uttaranchal India

This order is PENDING approval. Most orders are approved within hours of being placed; however, there may be exceptions. Some items may be considered high risk because of the item cost or description. These types of orders are subject to additional verification and may take longer to approve. You will receive an Order Approved email from us when this order is APPROVED. You SHOULD NOT send this item to the buyer until you receive the confirmation email informing you that the order has been approved before you can ship. If your address information is correct and you do not wish to register, this will in no way affect the delivery of your payment once the order is approved. It may take up to 2-3 weeks for this status to reflect in newly registered seller' account but will not in any way affect the delivery of your money order if APPROVED Thank you for using Western Union® Auction Payments. We look forward serving your online auction payment needs in the future.


Western Union® Auction Payments

MAIL-2: (informing me of order approval)

Subject : Western Union Auction Payment **ORDER APPROVAL ** (27576497)

Dear Mr.Rupankar Mahanta,
A RS 5,550.00 (126.00 USD) Money Order has been approved. Dave Kunal has chosen to use Western Union® Auction Payments for the speed of an online payment service from a name you can trust.

Go ahead to send the item to the buyer while your money order is on its way to you, the buyer's shipping information is provided below. Your money order will be sent by the close of the next business day after you receive this email. First Class mail is typically delivered within 5-8 business days.

Once the item has been shipped the tracking number should be mailed to the next 48hrs DO NOT email the tracking number to the buyer until we verify that the item is on transit and you have your money on the way because we have to protect both you and the buyer against Fraud. A copy of the money order is attached to this mail,The money order will be delivered at your residence. Note that the money order will not be delivered to you if you do not dispatch the item as soon as you recieve this mail.and you have 48 hrs for you to send the item Shipping information for the delivery of the item are as follow:-

Mr.Obazee Endurance

No 30 Lawani Street,

New Benin Benin City,

Edo State Nigeria 23452


Western Union® Auction Payments


End of reproduced mail text


I had enough of this and need to take action. I had read in a site what we all should do in such cases. Unfortunately our law enforcing agencies could do nothing to get these scammers. All that we could do was to get the e-mail accounts suspended for abuse and made the scammer put extra effort to create new ids.

This is one version of the scam. One of my friend Ashish had another experience. His buyer was in India and asked him to ship it to another place in India. The buyer also made payment through Paisa Pay in eBay. He was sent the payment by eBay and he also despatched the item. But later eBay sent him a mail reporting of a payment fraud and chrged him the entire amount eBay had paid him. But fortunately he had the courier slip as proof of despatch.

If you are buying: The seller will ask you to send the payment to a different address then what is registered. If you do, you are gone. Take notice of someone selling new items at exceptional low price, e.g., someone selling Sony handycam at 10000. Try to ascertain the price in grey market. 1000 bucks here and there is OK. But more than that is sure sign of fraud.

So what do you do to stop this:

First of all, report this member to eBay through Security Centre link. Ask them to suspend the user account. Then get the emails, from which the scammer communicated with you, suspended for abuse. Note down the email from which mails were sent. For this you need to report this abuse to the email service provider from where it was sent by forwarding these scammers mails. You will get the address to whom this is to be forwarded by replacing the part ahead of @ by the wiord 'abuse', e.g., if the mail was sent from say, then forward these mails to the address ''. Change the subject to [419: Lagos / Nigeria : eBay] scam. Also forward the mail with original headers that contains the trail for investigation. In body of the mail write:

Dear Yahoo,

This email id is being used for [419: Lagos / Nigeria : eBay] scam. Please suspend this account.


[Your full name]


I strongly suggest that you should do these. I got both the emails from where he sent mail and also the from where the bogus money order was sent got suspended.

Please tell others:

Most of us had at some point of time explored e-bay (earlier was somehow a relatively safe place for online trade. In fact I had purchased a digital camera and then also a Sony handycam through Ever since it was taken over by e-bay, a horde of scammers got themselves registered and may be duping not so net savvy traders. Educate others to save them from falling a victim. You can visit the sellers forum in eBay to know more about it. I got to know a lot from this excellent link which you may also like to read --Fraud in the name of western-union-bidpay in ebay

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Welcome to middle age: Have you got your BP, Cholesterol and Sugar checked

I will soon be completing 34 years of mortal existence. At 76 kilos for a height of 5’9”, I am not certainly overweight. Even after 6 years of marital bliss, the tummy bulge is not that prominent. I had always thought that I have got a healthy physique. Even many of my colleagues also felt that way. Do I? Well, it just took 24 hours to have another perspective of life.

Last forthnight, I went to the hospital with the simple objective of getting some antacids for acidity that has been bothering me. The lady doctor advised me to get the BP checked. I could see from her expression that she was a bit surprised at the readings. It was 140 –100. The doctor made several enquiries about my age, family history of diabetes, heart problems, etc. I told her that my family has no history of diabetes, but my father expired at the age of 52 of a heart attack. The doctor suggested me to get an ECG done and also get both sugar and cholesterol checked as I am entering the potentially dangerous late 30s. The ECG was OK, but the results of blood test made many eyes popped out. At 112, Sugar (fasting) has just crossed the normal upper limit of 110. Fortunately, it is not that alarming. People with reading of 125 and above are diagnised for diabetes. But cholesterol had a reading of 298. The doctor said it is high. But when we did some research on the net, we found that a reading upto 200 is normal, upto 250 is borderline high and above 250 is HIGH RISK zone. The ratio of LDL (Bad) Cholesterol to Total Cholesterol should be below 5. But mine was 6.1. Triglyceride reading was 196 as against normal values of 160 The realization dawned on me that I am a sitting duck, waiting for a heart attack to occur. And all these were happening while I was thinking that I am in good health. I had read that built up of high cholesterol in blood do not show any outer signs until it stuck you after few years. The normal age for heart attacks in man is above 40.

Reducing sugar will not be a problem. I just need to cut down the number of sweets I take. But Cholesterol? This situation has obviously not been because of food intake in the last few months or so. But it has been getting built over last few years. So it will take effort for much longer period to bring it down to desired level. I now repent the lazy weekends which I spent by lying on the bed and watching TV. Inactivity is one of the main cause. I have been suggested several ways to bring BP and Cholesterol down – the most common being regular walking and physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day. The other option is to take to Yoga regularly. It is good that these days many Indian TV channels are showing programs by Swami Ramdev. Two of the yoga, viz. anulom-bilom and kapal-bhati, are specially meant for lowering BP and Cholesterol and also sugar. And of course, you need a drastic change in your menu. Well, now I am into all of it. I have no reason for wanting to leave this world early.

My results had made many to get their tests done. I should have got these tests done at least 2 years back. In fact, if you are above 32, you should also get a sugar and lipid profile test done which will give you an idea about how to live in the years to come. If you want to know more about Cholesterol and other blood test results, then you may read on the following links which I found very useful---