Sunday, November 21, 2010

Not the best of times

Bad luck comes in bouts I suppose. Here I was leading a reasonably peaceful life with my company , glorious food, the shiny new Macbook Pro and then everything started becoming skewed. It all started one fine Saturday morning after a month I joined. My room-mates being honest software engineers are generally over worked and don't manage to pull themselves out of bed until noon on weekends. I, having planned a nice "More Kozhambu and paruppusili" for that day's lunch sauntered merrily to the stove and lifted the benign looking vessel from the burner. 15 seconds later my finger had become swollen, thanks to the now not so benign vessel. It had turned out that one of my late rising room-mates had actually pulled herself out of bed that day and had made some kind of fry. The vessel despite being empty was virtually boiling hot and when clamped to my poor finger, had scorched it.

I have this paranoia about doctors. I have never been to a proper hospital in 8 years (not counting my internship at Apollo last year). This is partly due to the fact that I was raised up in a predominantly homoepathic household where belladona, rhustax, aconite and phytolacca rolled about freely. Having a genetic disposition for throat infection we clutched to our Bio 6 with fervor and scoffed at proper medicine. I was not even vaccinated for Hep C until I freaked out reading a Michael Crichton novel and hastily got the required shots. The second reason happened to be the fact that my father, having worked in the medical college branch of his bank, virtually knew every other specialist and I was in "Uncle" terms with most of them. We popped into their houses on Sunday afternoons for the rare cases of allergy or sprains and got ourselves redeemed for free.

Given the background, I naturally soaked my hand in water and nursed it with coconut oil for the weekend. After a couple of days, I opened the rather elaborate first aid box at office and found that Soframycin was listed under burns medication.

I was going around with Soframycined hand until I started noticing that my hand was not recovering and I was finding scales around the finger which looked like fungus. Then I did the unthinkable. I googled my symptoms. The only results I found for "Fungal infection after burns" were of autopsied cases which froze my blood. The next day I rushed into this Dermatologist near my house. He asked me to make a fist and pooh poohed at my fears. He even offered to show me photos of real second degree burns. Then he charged me Rs 400 for a 5 minute consult.

Having had free consults all my life, I gaped like a gold fish and returned home feeling like someone who had just been robbed out of the wits. I started using this egregiously expensive tube of medicine and went home for Diwali. Soon this burn started morphing into a full blown fungal infection which disappeared twice every seven days and re-morphed on other days.

I came back to Hyderabad armed with to-dos and not tos from this skin doctor friend of my father's and antifungal creams. The glitch is that he had seen my hand at its pink of health, literally, when it was raw and cherubic. This means he had to wait a week until our friend, the fungus, wiped away the rouge. I ended up spending sleepless nights with a hand itching like crazy and without being able to actually touch it. It started looking very ugly and the prescription behind the tube said that it was for "weeping eczema". I don't really know who the "weeping" referred to.

After all this happened, one day, I decided to cycle to office on a Sunday because I felt like drinking Pepsi and really not feeling like buying some. I raced gleefully in the beautiful bends and curves until I felt my cycle jilting. Shortly, I was on the other side of this small road completely dazed. My cycle was lying abandoned on the other side and I realized that I had practically been thrown up in air, not unlike the things that generally happen to "other people". I had sprained my elbow and not to mention the tennis ball sized bruises on all soft tissues. I went around wearing my bruises gallantly for a while recounting my adventure to the entire amused office who had come to know about the incident.

If this was not enough, that very night I casually took an ear-bud and stuck it inside my ear for the buds' intended purpose. Two seconds later, I became absolutely deaf. My working ear had blocked itself completely. It was complete silence and yes, a bit scary.

The next day I was yelling at my room-mates unable to hear my own voice. I convinced that things were not quite the way I want them to be and went to this multi speciality clinic. I told the receptionist that I wanted to see a general doctor, a dermatologist and an ENT specialist in no particular order. The guy looked behind me expecting to see two more people and when there was none, said that the ENT specialist was the only one on call that day. After poking with a gigantic needle inside the ear, she found a big wad of wax that I had pushed inside the ear unknowingly. More poking ensued with a bigger needle and when the last bit was unplugged, even the otherwise annoying traffic of Kothaguda junction sounded like Lata Mangeshkar's voice.

With new hope in my life, I resumed my day. Today, I found that the fungal infection had spread to my right hand. Now, I am just using all my self restraint to prevent myself from Googling. The plan is to go to the best dermatologist in place and scream for help. The first pictures I have taken on my Mac are of my mutilated hand to be sent home for additional consultation.

Not the best of times.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The way words swirl around the tongue!

In a sudden spurt of enthusiasm- Here goes,

ஆங்கிலத்துக்கு இணையான தமிழ்சொற்களை கண்டுபிடிப்பது மிக இனிமையான பொழுதுபோக்கு. "rather" என்ற சொல்லுக்கு சொல்லப்போனால் என்று தமிழாக்கம் தரலாம். " I would rather drink a coffee now instead of tea later" என்பதற்கான தமிழாக்கம் "பேசாமல்,பின்பு டீ குடிப்பதற்கு பதிலாக ,இப்பொழுதே காபி குடித்து விடலாம்." இங்கே rather "பேசாமல்" என்று உபயோகிக்க படுகிறது.
நேற்று போக்குவரத்து நெரிசலில் சிக்கிகொண்டபோழுது பக்கத்தில் நின்ற மினி பஸ்சின் மீது "சிற்றுந்து" என்று எழுதபற்றிந்திருந்ததை கண்டேன் . அப்பொழுதுதான் ஏன் பஸ்ஸை பேருந்து என்று அழைக்கிறார்கள் என்பது புரிந்தது. இதில் "உந்து" என்பது வேர்சொல் (root word?). ஆனால் உந்துதல் என்பது "stimuli" or "acceleration" or "encouragement". ஒரு வாகனம் முன்னால் உந்திசெல்வதால் உந்து என்று சொல்கிறோம். பெரிதாக இருப்பதால் பேருந்து என்றும், சிறிதாக இருந்தால் சிற்றுந்து என்று கூறுகிறோம். இது "noun from a verb"க்கு நல்ல எடுத்துக்காட்டு. எனக்கு இன்னும் லேப்டாப் என்பதின் சுத்த தமிழ் வார்த்தை தெரியாது. மேலே சொல்லப்பட்ட வகையில் யோசித்தால்" மடிமூடி" என்று தமிழாக்கம் தரலாம்.

இன்னும் பல தமிழ்வார்தைகளுக்கு மிகச்சரியான ஆங்கில வார்த்தைகள் இருந்தாலும் அவை என்னவோ தமிழில் ஒலிப்பதுபோல் ,தோன்றுவதுபோல் ஒலிப்பதும் தோன்றுவதுமில்லை. ஒரு சிலநாள் முன்னால் தியானம் மோனம் என்பதற்கு நிகரான ஆங்கில வார்த்தையை என்னால் பல நேரம் முயற்ச்சி செய்தும் யோசிக்க முடியவில்லை. எழிதாக "A state of deep concentration", or "profound passion" என்று சொல்லலாம். ஆனால் "it does not ring the same bell". இந்த உபயோகத்திற்கும் இணையான தமிழ்ப்ப்ரயோகம் என்ன என்பதும் தெரியவில்லை . "தலையில் மணி ஒலிக்கிறது" என்று சொல்லலாமா அல்லது "காதில் மணி அடிக்கிறது " என்று சொல்ல வேண்டுமா என்பது தெரியலவில்லை.

ஒரு சில வார்த்தைகளை "onomatopoeic words" என்று கூறுவார்கள். அந்த

வார்த்தைகளை கூறும் பொழுது அவை எந்த செயலை குறிக்கின்றன என்பது

தெரியவரும். "buzz of a bee", "Whirr of the washing machine", "babble/gurgle of the flowing

stream" - இவை அனைத்தும் அந்தந்த ஒலிகளை நினைவுக்கு கொண்டு

வருங்கின்றன . தமிழிலும் இதை காணலாம் "தேனீக்களின் ரீங்காரம்" "சலசல

என ஓடும் நதி" "சல சல என என்ன பேச்சு ? ". இங்கே சல சல என்பது "babble"

என்பதின் மிகச்சரியான தமிழாக்கம். It feels quite the same, doesn't it?

While one can potter around, botch up, splatter and flatter in English, தமிழில்
தில்லாலங்கடியாகவும் , குறுக்கெழுத்து புதிர் போடும் திறமைசாலியாகவும் இருக்கலாம்.

ஒவ்வரு வார்த்தையும் ஒவ்வரு மொழியின் அழகை கண் முன்னால் நிருதிக்காட்டும். கம்ப ராமாயணம் தெரியாவிட்டாலும் ,
அந்த அழகை ரசிக்கும் அளவுக்கு ஒரு மொழியை தெரிந்து கொண்டால் நம் மொழிப்பற்றை நினைத்து நாம் பெருமை கொள்ளலாம்,என்பது என் தாழ்மையான கருத்து.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Duck's back and a deaf ear.

The latest hot news in my family seems to be the fact that my little cousin failed to make it to the top three in the "jumbled words" competition.My visibly distressed grandfather prattled off snide remarks whenever possible and my cousin shook them all off like a duck shaking water off its back. When my mother, who happens to be his doting aunt, pointed out his lack of interest in knowing pretty much anything, my cousin stuck his lollipopped tongue at her, and immersed himself in Pogo channel.

My grandfather is the most amazing/amusing man I have ever known. He is almost like Peter Pan, stuck at 16. He talks about Macro-economics for full 2 hours, impromptu at that; Repeatedly tells me I owe him everything for making me read "Robert Louis Stevensen" when I was 8; Reads "Phantoms in the brain" with as much enthusiasm as my room-mate; Understands Wodehouse; gets gored by a bull after wearing a black T-shirt (which happened to be the bull's non-favourite colour); walks 8 kms a day; makes a zillion in stocks; talks how my company (everyone's company to think of it) will go bankrupt in two years. He is too good to be true. If there be a Mannaarkoil mafia, he would be The Don.

My grandfather's non-subtle remarks amused me now more than it amused me as a kid. It included facts like how I missed the Nobel in medicine by refusing to take it up as a profession. This is a man, who thought I had a shot at Olympics (in gymnatics, mind you), when I hung upside down on a tree at my back-yard. He even got me an ice-cream that day.

Contrary to the expectations that kids these days are more sensitive, my cousins seem to have taken it for a fact that to survive in my family filled with accomplished relatives, one needs a lot of selective deafness. One has to wade through a sea of criticism, not give into the genetically inherent intolerance of criticism and restrain from hitting the roof. I remember being the same age as my cousin is now and being asked what "half times half" was. I thought it was one and when I did, the crowd erupted with joyous throes of how they knew I will not clear JEE. I remember being weepy and heavily upset when my mother took it as a personal failure in her mathematical training of me.

My cousin after being asked what 10/2 was, replied that it might as well be four, but he liked to deal with "big numbers" not trifling things like tens and twos. Having said so, he munched on the Murukku my grandmother had made and listened to my Grandfather's horrified banter with not as much as a quirk in the eyebrow, and ran away to play guns.

When I listened to my cousin's very convincing argument of how his C grade was oodles better than "Samyuktha's A grade", I knew, Nobel or no Nobel, the kid will make it big in the corporate and will sit on his billions one day to laugh at people who had known trivial things like what 10/2 was- also at people who had cried for not knowing what half times half was.