29 August 2008

Toilet Language

Just a quick update to let you know what has been happening, and what is on that abstract to do list.


  • Get some lights for the damn bike - seriously! It's getting dangerous out there! See the next point.
  • Find someone official enough and demand they do something about that open manhole on the main street in Lazimpat. Currently a green tree branch is sticking out of it, warning all and sundry not to drive into it. Of course, this is quite an acceptable solution, until such time as the branch dies, and then people won't know what to do.
  • Work out how to convince my didi (literally, 'big sister' but actually the lady upstairs that does my washing) that the money I am waving around in my hand is actually for her, for services rendered over the last month. The broad just won't take it!
  • Write a paper on the optimal intraocular lens power for North Korean cataract patients based on a minuscule dataset that may or may not be complete and accurate.
  • work out how to work out what the optimal IOL power for North Korean cataract patients should be.
  • Work out how to convince colleagues that I don't know actually know how to work it out. There must be some research, formula or method for deciding these things. Not some Australian guy with no experience pulling numbers from tea leaves (while apparently a widely accepted fortune telling technique, I'm not sure the scientific community is likely to accept it) - however i could document it in the Methodology section.
  • Find a colleague that doesn't nod and smile as I ask the above questions. I want some head shaking, frowning and even some yelling just so i know I'm getting somewhere, even if it's wrong.
  • Determine how to jump the locked fence after 9pm without waking up the entire compound.
  • Sound proof my bedroom from the morning sounds of neighbour's sex, dishwashing at the communal well, taxi music, taxi drivers, taxi exhaust and taxi maintenance sounds (apparently I live above some kind of taxi gang hideout).


  • Established the phonetic difference between four and six (being 'char' and 'chha'). To the point where I was actually able to request half a dozen bananas. Seriously, what the hell do I want with 4 bananas anyway?
  • Followed a conversation with a local shop keeper.
    "namaste, tapaailaai kasto chha?" - "I greet the gods within you, to you how is it?"
    "namaste sir, Thik chha" - "i greet the gods within you sir, OK is"
    "chhawataa keraa dinus" - "six bananas give please"
    "oho! countrymaa aaun-something something" - i interpreted as "hey! what country have you come from?"
    "ma Australiamaa aaue: bhayo" - "I Australia at, came"
    "ma Australia something something something something something suhuji" - i interpreted as "I want to open a shop in Australia"
    "raamro chha" - "good is"
    "paache-teis rupiyaa: dinus" - "25 rupees give please"
    "la" - "there ya go"
    "pheri aaun:aulaa" - "again come!"
    Of course, at one point in there we broke into English to discuss the potential of his business and expected salary in Australia, which I craftily avoided, but I was pretty happy with my efforts.
  • Sunil came back from India about 2 weeks ago, and came to check in. Technically he wasn't "in" India, or anywhere near it in fact, but was working on an infrastructure project somewhere translating for the Japanese. So, not India then. Apparently Danesh (Denis, I have now worked out his actual name) couldn't work out how to use the key in my lock after I showed him), it is tricky - I'll give him that. Sunil "fixed" the toilet, by buying a new hose and applying duct tape. Always a good solution when times get tough. Aside from some acceptable sprinkling when you flush, the toilet seems to function to a most satisfactory level.
  • I determined that Danesh is not the son of, but in fact the husband of my didi "Rita". Who knew?
  • Had a lesson from my neighbours son (Bin) on making dhaal baat. It wasn't a lesson so much as him cooking for me using every food item in the fridge and every pot and pan available.
  • Worked out that Jingo is called by a different name depending on who speaks to him. Bin dislikes him so much that he just calls him dog (cucuur). Bin's mum calls him something else and his brother Prim (they like to keep it simple for me) calls him something else again. SO I'm gonna stick with Jingo.
  • Wrote a program in VB with Raju, technically its not part of either of our job descriptions, but it is "capacity building" so I'm not feeling too bad about it. It adds 7 days to a date of your choice. Sure, it hasn't got the most practical of applications, but it worked, which is a big improvement on my stuff from uni.
  • Felt like I have lost a significant amount of weight. Not so much because I feel thinner, but because my favourite shirts have doubled in size due the Rita's "technique". What used to be a chest hugging arm-strangling polo now reaches to my knees and would probably function better as a nightie or some kind of short towel.


Amy xxoo said...

I love a good list! I also love a good conversation in a language you can barely speak ( apparently Nepali for you, Spanish for me ).

Oh, and I feel for you on the IOL thing. As far as I'm professionally aware, the optimal IOL power for any patient is determined by their ophthalmologist in relation to their previous optometry Rx. So good luck with finding data that might give you some generic idea....

Dash said...

linguistic adventures...

we know how to determine the optimal lens for a patient. Things aren't quite that bad here. But we're looking at the optimal lens for a population (being North Koreans) based on 400 people that rocke dup to our camp.