Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My Eye: Latest Update

[Those who are not aware about the context of this post, please check here for an older post with more detail]

Am writing this from the train to Versailles, my eyes still dilated.

Met Dr. Cassoux this morning. She is a retinal surgeon specializing in my ailment, and came highly recommended by my ophthalmologist, Dr. Zeghidi. (Huge thanks to @k_sam for accompanying me.)

After looking at my retina, she said, like the previous retinal surgeon, that my loss of vision is due to the scar itself, and in her opinion, it will not be wise to perform surgery, given how little it will possibly achieve for the many risks in the operation.

So yeah. I'm f*&ked.

But wait, there's more. Apparently there is a high chance (50%) of this infection's relapse, and she recommended I take an antibiotic (Bactrim) once every three days for the next two years to bring that risk down to 20%. 

Well, I guess that is a good motivation for me to eat right, exercise, and meditate to keep my immune system strong.

--sent from my Google HTC Magic--

Monday, September 14, 2009


Nebil was kind enough to invite Oleg and me to join him in Iftar today, the ritual breaking of the fast in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

After a usually-argumentative metro ride, with Nebil telling me about the virtues and rules of Islam and my maintaining that I dislike _any_ organized religion (except perhaps the church of the FSM :)], we reached Belleville, the Tunisian part of Paris. (yeah, we have pretty much the same argument every day at lunch time, and had been missing it due to his fasts)

The streets were full of vendors selling all sorts of stuff, which people were purchasing on their way home to break their daily fasts. And that is when I saw something that made my eyes widen.


Yes, the multi-layered flat bread we make in India from unleaved flour cooked with a dash of oil.

And it tasted very similar too (Oleg bought some to share). And then another shock.


Yes, the deep-fried flat bread made from leavened flour and eaten classically with chholey.

We then went to a Tunisian Jewish store, which sold pretty much the same stuff as the other stores in the area, with the difference being the presence of wine, and that of Kosher foods. I got some Harissa, which I am looking fwd to using as a mirchi-substitute.

The iftar meal itself was also interesting, and very different from the desi stuff I used to have at Salahuddin uncle's place as a child [I _so_ miss those pakoras and chana :-( ]. The start was with dates and fermented milk (very similar to the buttermilk I have had in India, and the fermented milk in the Netherlands), which was automatically followed by a soup of rice, chickpeas, and lamb stock flavored with turmeric and coriander/cilantro leaves. This was followed by bric, which you can think of as a flat samosa filled with an egg and fish. Pretty interesting, and heavy.

After this traditional fast-breaking meal (apparently this is an every-evening affair), we were nearly full, but ordered a lamb dish that was more baked than roasted. It was amazingly well-cooked, and the taste reminded of lamb curries made from the Shaan brand of spices here. We topped it all off with some Boga Lime cola, the Tunisian version of Sprite/7up (and the inspiration of the name of Obi-wan's steed). Interestingly enough (and lucky for me), there were no beef dishes at all in the restaurant, since apparently the Tunisians consider beef to be "cheap meat", and prefer lamb.

We had planned to have tea afterwards, but the super-heavy downpour forced us to cut our evening short. Ah well.

Another evening well spent, utilizing this unique opportunity I have here. Makes my belief stronger that traveling and sampling other cultures is absolutely essential, and that world peace will come through dining together :).

Sunday, September 06, 2009

New Maxims

Woh kehte hain na, sabr ka phal meetha hota hai.

Jhooth kehte hain!

[They say that the fruit of patience is sweet.

They lie.]

By most measures, this last week has been miserable.

For one, the eye situation is no better, although I _have_ gotten responses to my digital scans from some Doctors whom my friends contacted for me [HUGE thanks to them]. But nothing greatly positive. And then there are other, crazier things, about which we shall not talk here.

But I guess the part that has been bothering me the most are maxims such as the one above, which make very strong claims, which are not true, at least not to the extent they claim.

For example, there indeed _are_ instances when too much patience can mean you lose out on an opportunity, for no fault of your own than this "virtue" of patience.

As another case, take the following
Good things happen to good people.

or its much stronger cousin
Bad things do not happen to good people.

WTF?! That is _such_ a strong claim. How about saying
Bad things can happen to good people, but usually they have a strong social net of similarly good and understanding people to rely on, and that helps reduce the recovery time.

which, in my opinion, is much closer to the truth than its simple, absolute version.

Yes, I understand the above is hard to fit on a bumper sticker or a motivational poster, but some of us here are trying to lead more logically rigorous lives!

Well, enough of my rant. Have _you_ seen maxims that you think should be altered/improved/deleted?

And to end, I leave you with the song of the day, my favorite one from Ek Chalees ki Last Local (must watch, for desis and non-desis)