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Date: Saturday, 15 Sep 2012 18:42
On days when we go to the local market wincing at the price of vegetables, meat and fish, days when walking two kilometres feels less stressful than paying exorbitant auto-rickshaw fare, days when the increased working hours for the same salary weigh murderously on our shoulders, Anandabazar Patrika successfully fulfils its function of "selling happiness".

Anandabazar shows us that it is there to speak up against injustice... like the inability of the "masses" to purchase cellphones and cars. Injustice... like India's low economic growth rate, which will of course be remedied by selling over half (i.e. 51%) of the retail sector over to other countries. A courageous step indeed, said the newscaster on ABP News today in jubilant tones.

Apparently I'm not the only one who thinks Anandabazar Patrika's priorities do not exactly match those of the "common people", whoever they are. Like most newspapers nowadays, it protects the interests of those who sponsor it - not its readers, but its sponsors. 
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Sukhaloka)"
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Date: Wednesday, 20 Jun 2012 18:50
Narcissism is not a character trait that I can vanquish by meditating about it. 
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Sukhaloka)"
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Date: Monday, 07 Nov 2011 20:21
Yet another artist discovered, and this time someone who no one will bother to write about "in posterity". After all, unlike Camille Claudel, he hasn't had the fortune to be the sibling or consort of rich, powerful and well-known individuals.

Check out his work by Googling his name, or start here - http://artwanted.com/artist.cfm?artid=44308

Image (c) Shomi Banerjee.
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Sukhaloka)"
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Date: Tuesday, 01 Nov 2011 20:55
I fail to understand why "economic stability" and "continued, steady economic growth" have become synonymous.

What's wrong with trying to get the economy stable first, without looking at growth? Can't people live without buying a newly-invented flashy gadget for a year?
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Sukhaloka)"
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Date: Tuesday, 11 Oct 2011 21:33
Especially when Monet could draw THIS?
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Sukhaloka)"
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Date: Wednesday, 21 Sep 2011 12:51


I'm sittin' in the railway station 
Got a ticket for my destination 
On a tour of one night stands 
My suitcase and guitar in hand 
And every stop is neatly planned 
For a poet and a one man band 

Homeward bound 
I wish I was 
Homeward bound 
Home, where my thought's escaping 
Home, where my music's playing 
Home, where my love lies waiting 
Silently for me 
[ Lyrics from: http://www.lyricsfreak.com/s/simon+and+garfunkel/homeward+bound_20124586.html ] 
Everyday's an endless stream 
Of cigarettes and magazines 
And each town looks the same to me 
The movies and the factories 
And every stranger's face I see 
Reminds me that I long to be 

Homeward bound 
I wish I was 
Homeward bound 
Home, where my thought's escaping 
Home, where my music's playing 
Home, where my love lies waiting 
Silently for me 

Tonight I'll sing my songs again 
I'll play the game and pretend 
But all my words come back to me 
In shades of mediocrity 
Like emptyness in harmony 
I need someone to comfort me 

Homeward bound 
I wish I was 
Homeward bound 
Home, where my thought's escaping 
Home, where my music's playing 
Home, where my love lies waiting 
Silently for me 
Silently for me 
Silently for me
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Suki)" Tags: "Moments"
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Date: Sunday, 17 Jul 2011 18:40
After a gap of two years, it was not Tom, but Suki, who decided to make a Yummy Soup. Tom's Yum recipe, which is admittedly amazing, called for certain ingredients seldom seen in the vicinity of Indian neighbourhoods.

Therefore, the recipe given here needed considerable manipulation (Editorial note: it didn't need THAT much!) Here's what we got:

Chicken, boneless and cut into fine pieces - 250g
Water for stock - 750 mL
Spaghetti, broken into 3-inch pieces - enough to fit in a teacup
Fish sauce - 30 mL
Green chillies - 2, seeded and chopped
Ginger, sliced - about 2.5 inches
Garlic, sliced - 3 large cloves
Ground black pepper -  1.2 tsp
Fresh lime - 1 (to be zested and juiced)
Lemon - 1 (to be zested and juiced)
Pearl onions - about 100g
Salt (about 4g in the chicken, 2g while boiling the spaghetti)
(Pearl onions = the small ones we put in masoor dal)

The spaghetti happened to be the stuff that needs 20 minutes of boiling in 5 times its volume of water and a fat pinch of salt. Then, you strain it and run it through cold water so that the strands stay separate.

The chicken was quickly washed in a cupful of lukewarm water, then tossed into the pressure cooker with the water, garlic, onions and 1.5 inches of ginger. Salt and some pepper too, of course. It took about 10 minutes to cook, but the rule apparently is "5 minutes from when it starts hissing".
Forcibly cooling opening the pressure cooker is a good idea at this point, but grim determination is required to forbear from devouring the product thus revealed. 

It won't take much time now.

Light the gas, add the fish sauce, pasta, chillies, lime, lemon and the rest of the pepper as soon as the mixture is boiling again. Switch off flame immediately.

Stir, sniff and adjust proportions if required.

Sip, slurp and stare.

The one it was made for decided to call it Tummy Yum. Make up your own name if you like!

 Picture Courtesy: The one it was cooked for. Also to be known here as G.
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Sukhaloka)" Tags: "Fun stuff, Food, Love, Happy"
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Date: Wednesday, 01 Jun 2011 20:02
If you haven't read Babyslime yet, do. She has the most hilarious anecdotes ever, apart from highly interesting and thought-provoking links. And controversial posts too :-). Oh, and this is where I picked up the giving-up-shampoo gag.

And here's an excerpt from her blog, where her husband Curtis indulges in "a self-described "perfect" plan to solve all of the problems going on in the US right now."

"We'll cut off America, seal it with a glass dome and launch it into space!""That's your plan?""Hey, everyone I've talked to says it's a great plan. It's flawless: first we'll give them a year to round up all the 'unAmericans' and deport them to Europe or Canada, then we start with a border fence. Except it's a wall. A steel wall. We'll use American steel, of course," he explained, "And we'll reassure them that the wall is to ensure no one gets in, when it's really to prevent them from getting out. Once we're done we'll put a big glass dome over the top, cut the landmass right off and launch it into space. Planet America. It'll orbit Mars or something." He gestured to himself. "Brilliant, right?"I give him an incredulous look. "Oh come on, you know there are tons of people who would be on that like white on rice. Planet America? How much more patriotic can it get! They can all speak 'American' there.""And not have to press one for it?""Exactly. There's a huge chunk of the population that would eat that up. We could advertise it as a way to permanently keep the 'aliens' out.""I'd give them three months before it tanked.""Where's all the timber? And the power? And all the workers?! What do you mean unemployment is at -500%? Nothing is getting done! Every Wal*Mart on the planet just self-destructed... and holy shit the stock market just crashed! How are we going to survive? We can't get anything in! Oh man, I just need a joint to calm dow--- OH MY GOD, NO.""This beer tastes like shit!" "And where's my wine and good cheese? Whaddaya mean I can't buy named brand clothes anymore? I think child labour is wrong... here!" "Why is everything falling apart? Wait... 'Made in America'? WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?" "Oh god... the STEEL!""Meanwhile the rest of the world is enjoying the quiet.""There'd certainly be a lot of new ocean front property to sell off. We'd have to put in some sort of memorial on the border though. And then we'd celebrate every year with speeches. 'This was once the site of ... America. Every year we gather together to celebrate the launch of America. It was launched in the traditional American way: with rocket's red glare'."I respond with silence."Oh come on, that was good. You can give me that one."
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Sukhaloka)" Tags: "Important Issues, Wit, Hilarious"
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Date: Sunday, 24 Apr 2011 09:37
Sometimes, all you can do is let a paper plane fly... and hope it doesn't rain.
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Sukhaloka)" Tags: "Psychoanalysis"
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Date: Monday, 18 Apr 2011 14:44
With thanks to BrainyQuote for providing the quotes. And of course to Ms Steinem.

A liberated woman is one who has sex before marriage and a job after.
Gloria Steinem

Would a liberated person be measuring happiness in terms of coitus and dollars?
- Sukhaloka Mukherjee.

A movement is only composed of people moving. To feel its warmth and motion around us is the end as well as the means.
Gloria Steinem.

So... what exactly are you fighting for? To keep fighting? Wasn't war supposed to be a primitive show of male power?
- Sukhaloka Mukherjee.

A pedestal is as much a prison as any small, confined space.
Gloria Steinem.

So what're you doing putting yourself there?
- Sukhaloka Mukherjee.

A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.
Gloria Steinem.

Correction: a feminist without men is like an ice-cream seller in Antarctica.
- Sukhaloka Mukherjee.

Because I have work to care about, it is possible that I may be less difficult to get along with than other women when the double chins start to form.
Gloria Steinem.

Ok this one? I completely agree with!
- Sukhaloka.

Childbirth is more admirable than conquest, more amazing than self-defense, and as courageous as either one.
Gloria Steinem.

Is it at all comparable?
- Sukhaloka Mukherjee.

For much of the female half of the world, food is the first signal of our inferiority. It lets us know that our own families may consider female bodies to be less deserving, less needy, less valuable.
Gloria Steinem.

I don't get this one at all. If she's talking about the complete malnourishment that girls, women and especially widows are subjected to in many parts of India and Africa, she might have a point. If she's talking about the valorization of malnourishment as a part of the "being-thin" process in hyper-developed countries, she might have another. But does the solution lie in eating as much as a man, and in eating like a man regardless of one's own physical needs?
- Sukhaloka Mukherjee.

Clearly no one knows what leadership has gone undiscovered in women of all races, and in black and other minority men.
Gloria Steinem.

From pacifist to terrorist, each person condemns violence - and then adds one cherished case in which it may be justified.
Gloria Steinem.

Right said, Fred! Oh sorry.. Right said, Frederica! But. BUT. How do you justify your own desire for discovering leadership in the downtrodden? (see quote above, re: leadership going undiscovered).
- Sukhaloka Mukherjee.

God may be in the details, but the goddess is in the questions. Once we begin to ask them, there's no turning back.
Gloria Steinem

I looked, I looked, I swear I looked with magnifying glasses, but I haven't found a single question in this forest of your aphorisms.
- Sukhaloka Mukherjee.

Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Sukhaloka)" Tags: "Rant, Feminism"
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Date: Sunday, 17 Apr 2011 17:18
is probably the best way of dealing with impending separations that will last for months.
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Sukhaloka)" Tags: "Love"
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Date: Thursday, 14 Apr 2011 18:04
These days, I end up overwhelmed by a strange feeling. A feeling that Kolkata, a city that I once vowed would never ever become home, is slipping away beneath my feet. A feeling that it is up to me to grasp as much as I can, before the hourglass flows away in front of my eyes.

My being immerses itself in the sound of the pakhawaj, of the rudra veena, of the sonorous mellifluity of the Uday Bhawalkar, interspersed with recollections of chicken à la Kiev and Chateau Briand at Oly Pub, all in the course of one evening. Seventy rupees might be about thirty five times too much to pay for a cup of tea at the Cha Bar, but it's completely worth it, feeling entitled to go into the five-star Park Hotel just to use the toilet. And of course, each newly-bought and much-loved book on my shelf bears in it the love of a shopkeeper, who had the courage and the taste to choose something that defies the "in-vogue". Mr Tiwari of BookLine, Tottee Lane, thank you for being such a good friend to those left of the book-lovers.

A small glass of fresh, pulpy grape juice refreshes a corporate-sick soul, while a loving and hearty sandwich appeases the appetites of the New Market-goers. From hairclips to clothes to pork to knitting wool and craft supplies... oh yes, even those tiny pouffes for a paltry hundred rupees! - there is nothing you don't find at Kolkata's "Splanade". Bissounath Law is more than willing to show Bengalis the wonders of French wine for as little as Rs 510, while not twenty meters away the sizzle of freshly fried goja tempts the sweet-tooths.

The green, horsy, flowery fields under the majestic shadow of the Victoria Memorial are not far away. If you aren't interested in the paintings of people, nature, persons, gods and ideas that adorn its walls, if you couldn't care less about the frighteningly impressive marble structure topped with a deceptive angel that no longer spins, you could submit yourselves to the eternal sound of something on ghostly speakers that goes on at Mohor Kunja. Mohor di will give you a rest at the Peace Park, while you may be hard put to exercise your constitutional right to sit down while watching the magical fountain at Citizen's Park.

Kolkata, I'm so sorry I hadn't devoted more time to knowing you. 
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Sukhaloka)" Tags: "Kolkata, Letting go, Love"
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Date: Wednesday, 13 Apr 2011 14:19
[Translated, an article from Le Monde, 28th March 2011. And by sheer coincidence, published on Jacques Lacan's birthday.]


Law about psychiatry is absurd, illogical and inapplicable!

During the night of 16th March, representatives adopted at first reading the project of law “relative to the rights and to the protection of persons who are objects of psychiatric care and to the modalities of their guardianship”. The formal vote for the project took place on Tuesday 22nd March, before it was sent to the Senate for examination. But there will be no second reading.

The government having chosen the accelerated procedure, the text – even eventually modified by the senators – shall be able to be adapted according to the first reading of the National Assembly! However this project of law provokes a radical shuffling of psychiatric practice, and a crazy, worrisome transformation of psychiatry!

The teams in charge shall be transformed by this law into a “sanitary psychiatric police”, whose role shall be reduced to “supervise, monitor, inject”!

The wish for this law came from the President of the Republic, as a hasty and emotional reaction to the murder of a student by a patient. This law ought to concern the people currently under duress, i.e. 70 000 people out of 300 000 who are hospitalized. But it has been created in relation to situations of hospitalization without consultation, i.e. 10 000 people! Its basis is the completely erroneous presupposition about the scientific plan, enunciated by the president on December 2008: “All the mentally sick are potentially dangerous, potentially criminals”!

Thus all those under psychiatric care, those who choose freely to take care of themselves, i.e. 80% of hospitalized patients, but also the three millions of persons who have consulted psychiatrists and have been treated for psychological trouble, will again find themselves confronted “by contamination” by the same à priori, the same prejudices, the same risks, and will fall potentially into the category of “care without consent”.

This terrible, devastating message, calling on the age-old fears of madness, condemns these people to public prosecution, amplifies the fear of the other, and reinforces stigmatization. Law has thus just instituted it in an intolerable, disgraceful manner!

The 23 000 signatories of the Call issued by the Collective of 39 against the safe night: “Psychiatric reform: an irrationality of the State”, the totality of psychiatrists’ syndicates – the first of its kind – the national syndicate of psychologists, the syndicates of caregiver personnel, associations of psychoanalysts, associations of patients, associations of families, the Syndicate of the magistrature… hundreds of them shall form a procession on Tuesday 15 March before the Assembly. Nothing could be done about it!

Psychiatry, however, has been in a catastrophic state for more than ten years. The Controller-General of the places of deprivation of liberty [lieux de privation de la liberté] has just made public a damning report on the situation in psychiatric hospitals. Its conclusion: psychiatry is a hidden world, “and in that hidden world, it isn’t so much law – whatever be the cause – but reality of practice”!


Derivatives [Dérives]

For the two years since it was constituted, the Collective of 39 has been denouncing the drift [dérive] of practices, of situations of wrong treatment, of trivialization of mental strain, and of the abandoning of families to their distress. The States-General [États-généraux] of psychiatry, in June 2003, had already called for twenty-two measures of urgency to try and fight against the growing threat against psychiatry in its entirety!

This situation is in no way due to the ill will of the caregivers, or to a kind of indifference of patients and their families. It is the result of multiple elements: the concept of mental sickness which is coloured by the intrusion of scientism that has dominated over the past years, the indigent training of psychiatrists that has been reduced solely to medical treatment, the near-absence of a training for nurses that is worthy of the name, minds lacquered with the ideology of the hospital-business, of the bureaucratic management that has received its coup de grâce thanks to the recent Hospital Law, patients, health, territory, to the organized penury, and finally the absence of a specific budget for psychiatry.

To the arguments supporting the entire profession, all statutes merged, denouncing a Safety Law but asserting the urgency of a Sanitary Law, to the calls for rescue for the associations of patients, to the rejections by numerous regional associations of the patients’ families, the informer of the project of law is opposed to nothing but arrogance, falsification, mystification, and ignorance. Falsification, when it declares that the law will allow the saving of the four thousand people who commit suicide every year! Mystification, when it proclaims that the 30 000 to 60 000 homeless people suffering from mental trouble, abandoned by their families, will be taken charge of! Ignorance of psychiatric practice, when it declares that the patients who deny their pathology will finally be treated thanks to this operation!

And more. With this project of law, the power rests in the hands of the police. The disqualification of professionals is total. To suspect them, as well as to suspect the magistrates, is ratified by the text.

Worse, in their political blindness, in their false knowledge of the most elementary psychiatric clinic, most of the representatives have not taken the most serious measure: this law, if adopted, will lead to the exact inverse of what it pretends to address – the security and the prevention of passages to the dangerous act.

In effect, the most disturbed people, those who suffer the most, are taken with an extreme distrust, to the extent of feeling persecuted, of feeling watched and spied on. These people, when they learn that they will be denounced by their psychiatrist and their caregivers to the director of the hospital and to the police in case of refusal or opposition to the treatment and that they risk a forced return to hospital, will do anything to escape, to save themselves. And it is in such a context that individuals feeling surrounded, hunted or forced risk toppling over towards the passages to the most serious acts.

Psychiatry, in a therapeutic perspective, can only work if it privileges trust, the establishment of a reassuring relation, the weaving of a link with a sick person. It is in this capacity, and uniquely so, that we can impose a restriction sometimes necessary, that psychiatry can pretend to be therapeutic.

Sirs and Madams Parliamentarian, be conscious of the immense responsibility that you are taking, of the absurdity of this legislative operation, of this monstrosity that is in the process of being created!

Paul Machto, hospital psychiatrist; Marie Cathelineau, psychologist; Hervé Bokobza, psychiatrist. For the Collective of 39 against the safe night.

Note: More here about the "Collective of 39" in case you're as flabbergasted by them as I was at first reading. http://www.collectifpsychiatrie.fr/
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Sukhaloka)" Tags: "Mental health, Psychiatry, Translation, ..."
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Date: Wednesday, 13 Apr 2011 09:43
Avoidance of responsibility = the worst social menace ever.

And no, your jouissance of guilt-tripping isn't any better.
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Sukhaloka)" Tags: "In My Arrogant Opinion"
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Date: Thursday, 17 Mar 2011 16:24
I'm really aching to get back to writing. Especially my strange fictionalized real-life stories. The only problem is that I'm tired of the empty praises and the back-biting. Or maybe I'd like someone to take me seriously enough to tell me what's wrong with my work.

Is it worth writing again, just to put work out for plagiarism rather than criticism?
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Sukhaloka)" Tags: "Blurt"
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Date: Saturday, 05 Mar 2011 06:22
Psychiatrists seem to prescribe based on trial and error, they're just a little more self-righteous about it than laymen.
 - Conclusion reached after numerous recent encounters with yet another well-known psychiatrist in Kolkata.


 ***************

Erm... this is a post "continued" from something I wrote way back in 2007, when most of my encounters with shrinks took place. I'm reposting it here, unedited. It was titled "Psychology vs psychiatry", and written when I knew little more than Freud's name as far as psychoanalysis is concerned. (Also, please bear in mind that I was eighteen years old :P).


Psychology is not psychiatry.

In case you missed it,

PSYCHOLOGY IS NOT PSYCHIATRY.

I live in India. Every minute, every second of the day I am faced with the pitfalls of living in a Third World, developing country. I chafe against the lack of infrastructure, rampant corruption, lack of education and awareness that keep my country from going anywhere near its possible zenith.
  • "Educated" people unaware of the difference between psychology, counselling, psychoanalysis and psychiatry
I am ready to scream blue murder when I realise that "educated", "aware" people are unaware of some basic facts and rules. I have had to suffer for their lack of awareness.
One of the basic things about mental health and its treatment is that psychiatry and psychology are two completely different things. To put it as simply as I understand it, psychiatry involves drugs and psychology involves verbal interactive therapy.
  • Causal treatment of mental/behavioral disorders, ie verbal and interactive therapy
When someone has a mental problem, in most cases it can be addressed mentally. There are reasons that cause symptoms like depression(as distinct from clinical depression which MUST be treated using drugs if severe), withdrawal, regression, aggression, etc. These reasons are rooted deep inside the mind.
Occasionally one single event is enough to cause severe mental disorders, but it is far more likely that a lifetime of a certain conditioning has brought this about. Whatever be the case, antidepressants/antipsychotics/tranquillisers do not undo traumatic events or harmful conditioning, even if it is self-conditioning. They will not give a person the necessary skills to lead a happy life, and in the end he ends up being a helpless dependent on his doctor and medication.
  • Psychiatric drugs can occasionally be the only way, or a necessary addition
I recognise that there are occasions when therapy alone is not enough - a boost of drugs is needed. There are also, as I alluded to, disorders rooted in the chemistry of the brain rather than one's upbringing and experiences. These are occasions when judicious use of drugs is certainly permitted, even advisable. But I still maintain that therapy(by which I generally mean "counselling and self-help activities") is essential to help the .. er.. patients(for want of a better word..) lead a meaningful life.
  • Instant gratification vs long-term success, satisfaction and wellbeing...
Drugs nowadays are becoming the epitome of instant gratification. An instant high, free from the cares of the world, who gives a damn what happens next? Just reach for the next stick of Mary Jane or who'eva. Prescribing drugs is also a similar "instant solution", introducing foreign substances into the body to make it better, not always addressing the causes at hand. A person with diabetes could be given insulin.. why ask them to stop eating sweets? Someone with low pressure could be given medicine - why ask them to regularise eating and sleeping habits, possibly eating more salt? In the end, medicines - no matter what good they do - are foreign substances which make their presence felt in the body somehow or another. Usually in unpleasant ways when the body is too weak to handle the side-effects.
  • Side effects
So imagine how drugs affect the most intricate and beautiful part of the human body - the brain, which is the shell of the mind?
This is one point where I can talk with some authority, having been forced to take care of someone wrongly prescribed anti-psychotics. My grandmother, an erstwhile healthy if ageing, mildly arthritic and cranky individual, was paralysed. Grew incoherent and deliriousLost awareness. Lost control of her excretory muscles .. all her muscles atrophied and wasted away till she was a mere skeleton. She recovered - guess how? Complete withdrawal of psychiatric drugs(to wit. the antipsychotic Olanzapine) and intensive physiotherapy.
And Olanzapine is not one of the drugs said to have such intense side-effects. So what would the others do?
Documented side-effects of antipsychotics are as follows:
  • dry mouth
  • constipation
  • blurred vision
  • drowsiness
Some people experience sexual dysfunction or decreased sexual desire and menstrual changes.( http://www.healthyplace.com)
  • Parkinsonism - Tremor, increased muscle tone, bradykinesia or akinesia, drooling, postural instability, loss of spontaneity, micrographia, seborrhea
  • Akathisia - Restlessness
  • Dystonia - sudden muscle contractions
  • Tardive dyskinesia - characterized by repetitive, involuntary, purposeless movements. Features of the disorder may include grimacing, tongue protrusion, lip smacking, puckering and pursing, and rapid eye blinking. Rapid movements of the arms, legs, and trunk may also occur.
(http://www.postgradmed.com)

Note that what happened to my grandmother is not listen anywhere. But it happened. I, aged 17 at the time, went to the psychiatrist and urged him repeatedly to discontinue Olanzapine. He didn't. Our general physician heard me out, looked up the links I had researched(but have now sadly forgotten) and stopped the medicine immediately, overruling whatever fucked-up specialisation that psycho might have had. Yes, I have a grudge against him. Wonder why?

Yet again, in my defence of psychiatric drugs - judiciously used - I have to add that my gran is still on a mild antidepressant, which I shall not name. It has not harmed her so far, but I wish she would get better without it. Well.. if she were less of a scumbag she would have managed to be more in control, I reckon. Especially given the pampering she gets. But that's another point. I still state that none of this would have been necessary had she been taken to a counsellor, or better still - a psychoanalyst.
  • Psychoanalysis in India(as distinct from "counselling")
One of my college professors, Dr Santanu Biswas, is training in Lacanian psychoanalysis. He tells me that psychoanalysis is about identifying the traits in someone's personality which do him harm, and then helping him get rid of it. Drugs are nowhere in the picture. But even in the building which houses the headquarters of the Indian Psychoanalytical Society, people calling themselves "psychoanalysts" prescribe drugs with nary a look at their "patient's" face.
My professor tells me he will be the first Lacanian psychoanalyst in India. I say, a few Freudan psychoanalysts would be enough. Because something is better than nothing.
  • Counselling
Counsellors, luckily, are available without much difficulty. The trick in identifying a good one is simple:
1. Do not go for someone who prescribes medicine unless he/she has at least an MBBS on his nameplate. In any case, no counsellor is authorised to prescribe medication so it's better to get out of there right away
2. A good counsellor will instantly inspire trust. At the slightest instinctive misgiving, GET OUT of there. Wrong counselling is worse than wrong conditioning - which is bad enough.

I am lucky to have a few very sensitive people in my readership. Some are not Indian so probably know this shit anyway, but this post is for the rest. I hope it makes you think before popping that Prozac and thinking it will solve all your problems. And please... when you think of going for treatment for a mental condition, look for counsellors first. NOT psychiatrists.
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Sukhaloka)" Tags: "Mental health, Rant"
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19:30   New window
Date: Sunday, 26 Sep 2010 11:21
Too many 7:30s have come and gone.
365 X 12 + 31 X 5 + 30 X 2 + ... I was never great shakes at multiplication. And there are leap years involved too.

Or maybe seeing the result in front of me will just say "It hasn't been long enough."
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Sukhaloka)" Tags: "grief"
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Date: Monday, 20 Sep 2010 05:11
Malaria
Dengue
Swine Flu
Conjunctivitis.

Somebody clearly doesn't like being interfered with.
(Think Mama Earth is PMSing?)
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Sukhaloka)" Tags: "Random"
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Date: Wednesday, 18 Aug 2010 07:24
Learning a new language has been quite the ego-crusher for this literature graduate. From churning out complex sentences with consummate ease, I have often been reduced to babyish gestures - and often whimpers - to express the simplest of ideas. I have formed what I thought was a perfect sentence, only to be told that it would have been good English, but is in fact very bad French. I thought I was good at grammar, until I met the subjunctive... and the conditional... and the present participle. I thought I was a good speller, until I faced three verb conjugations that sound the same but are spelled differently.
In short, I had entered class thinking that I would learn French. Today, I'm not sure who this I is/was/will be.

Every language has its beauties, its idiosyncrasies and its annoyances. Just as I can't fathom why English orthography necessitates websites such as "Absolutely Ridiculous English Spellings", I have no clue why the French have numbers like "sixty-eighteen"(78) or "eighty-fifteen"(95).
In English, for instance, it is a lot easier to distinguish between the simple present and the present continuous. In French, on the other hand, one doesn't need an auxiliary to invoke the simple future. I can see why my teacher described English yesterday as a "more practical" language, and French as "more conceptual". No wonder, then, that the English are a people of the "stiff upper lip", while the French stand stiffly upright in support of their right to dream.

What, then, happens to one while learning a language? I wish I had observed the changes in myself better, but I suppose I will see many, many language learners in the near and far future.
When one plunges into a language, it cannot fail to make its entry. The culture also follows right on its heels. True, not every facet of the language and culture agrees with every learner. But then, something is also born from the disagreements, from the disturbances... in short, from every encounter with the new. As long as the learner is open-minded, language learning is an experience like no other.

PS, on a personal note: I've been very silent on many things, many recent painful experiences. Let mine be mine alone, but my heart goes out to my friends who are hurting. RIP, Tejaswee Rao.
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Sukhaloka)" Tags: "Français, Reflections"
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Date: Sunday, 20 Jun 2010 17:05
Sue's Red Marker Blogathon has proved useful in two ways:

  1. It's encouraging collective venting against (ab)use of the English/english language(s). It started with Sue, who realized that too many people (don't) give a damn about the language they speak!
  2. I'm actually learning some things, such as the pronunciation (NOT proNOUNciation) of "the" from Rohini's post
Dipali's collection of gems has finally goaded me into action, and here's my weeny bit!

Way back in Class Five, the refrain that greeted all the naughty ones was, "I will tell to Ma-a-aaam!" 

A few years down the line, things progressed, and we were now told, "Ma'am said us to do this exercise."

Let's get something clear here. You TELL someone something, but you SAY something to someone. The corrected sentences are "I will tell Ma'am!" and "Ma'am told us to do this exercise", or "Ma'am said to us that we should do this exercise".

If these classmates wrote these sentences, they would probably have omitted the obligatory comma after "X said", or put the punctuation outside the quotation marks. As if Ma'am had said, "Do Number Two"! and left the exclamation mark to the imagination! 

In American English, every punctuation mark adjacent to quotation marks should be within the marks. In British or Canadian English, however, the rules are more logical. If the punctuation mark is part of the quote, it comes within the quotation marks. If not, it is left outside. 

For example:
Did she really say "I think he's quite hopeless"?
could also be this:
Did she really say "He's hopeless!"

The entire set of rules, like everything you take a deep look into, is actually extremely complex. There are ways of quoting things and there are ways of saying things, there are ways to handle quotes that conflict with the sentence they're in, and so on and so forth. 

For now, I'll be very happy if my two little Class Five students - a veritable pair of cute little monsters - stop calling me "Ma'am-ma'am!"
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Sukhaloka)" Tags: "Writing, Teaching, English"
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