Thursday, March 27, 2008

It's not about the sugar

Via 3QD:
"Researchers have found that mice prefer sugary water even if they lack a gene needed to taste it. Although the mice could not taste sweets, reward centres in the brain reacted when the mice drank water spiked with sucrose, but not when they drank water mixed with a low-calorie artificial sweetener. The results, published this week in Neuron 1, suggest that mice can detect calories without relying on their taste buds — a finding that could change our understanding of the sugar cravings that can plague dieters and contribute to obesity.

The presence of a calorie-sensing pathway makes evolutionary sense, says study author Ivan de Araujo, now at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. “The taste system evolved to allow animals to quickly detect what is worth eating versus what is not,” says de Araujo. “But the real reward that they need is not the taste itself but the calories.” "

Ya, well. I only eat stuff thats worth eating. No wonder I shall never ever loose weight. I'm at the same evolutionary level as, you know, mice. And, I have terrible metabolism. Sigh. The calories just track me down.

But then again. Totally worth it. The foodie in me wins.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Bir kelebek gibi olmak istiyorum...

I have been told that I am dysphoric. At this point, the butterfly's freedom fills me with many sorts of envy.

The closest translation of the word dysphoria I can find in Turkish fills me with amusement and delight - rahatsızlık. Rahatsızlığım?

*Bu fotoğraf bahçemde cektim. Evimi çok özlüyorum.

Monday, March 17, 2008


So, overheard the other day:

"What’s wrong with being sexist? How does it matter if I’m sexist in my personal life as long as I behave professionally at the workplace? "

I paraphrase (though, trust me, the original comment was worse), but you get the point. And I have to wonder, where do people come up with this stuff from? I mean, seriously? (This is not considering that the above comment doesn't even make any fucking sense.) And how much can one argue with obtuse twits who, no matter what you say, are happy to stick to their own misogynistic world view?

Unfortunately for me, I seem to be coming across more and more of such people. The omg feminists are responsible for all that’s wrong with the world, women are really bad drivers and women can’t do math sorts. It’s irritating beyond belief and I am fast loosing patience and strength to keep arguing. It's depressing.

[1] I keep thinking, it would be great if we great if we could just unleash Falstaff on them. I’m amazed by his stamina to keep on arguing, honestly.
[2] All this makes me think so much more fondly of University. No matter how bad, it still acts as some insulation from such people. I think I would really like to go back to that cocoon.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Let Them Snuff Out the Moon

A Prison Evening

Each star a rung,
night comes down the spiral
staircase of the evening.
The breeze passes by so very close
as if someone just happened to speak of love.
In the courtyard,
the trees are absorbed refugees
embroidering maps of return on the sky.
On the roof,
the moon - lovingly, generously -
is turning the stars
into a dust of sheen.
From every corner, dark-green shadows,
in ripples, come towards me.
At any moment they may break over me,
like the waves of pain each time I remember
this separation from my lover.

This thought keeps consoling me:
though tyrants may command that lamps be smashed
in rooms where lovers are destined to meet,
they cannot snuff out the moon, so today,
nor tomorrow, no tyranny will succeed,
no poison of torture make me bitter,
if just one evening in prison
can be so strangely sweet,
if just one moment anywhere on this earth.

Faiz Ahmed Faiz
Translated from the Urdu by Agha Shahid Ali


Another translation I like, by Ted Genoways (from this excellent article on Faiz in the Annual of Urdu Studies) below. It is, I feel, more faithful to the original. I haven't been a ble to find a transliterated version of the poem online and I don't trust my Urdu reading skills enough to do so myself from the original Urdu script (I don't have the poem in Devanagiri). If any one can help out here please do!

A Prison Nightfall

Rung by rung, night descends
its spiral staircase of stars.
A breeze passes gently by,
as if words of love had been whispered.
Trees in the prison courtyard, like exiles
with heads bowed, are absorbed
in embroidering arabesques on the skirt of the sky.
On the crested roof are glittering
the beautiful fingers of moonlight,
dissolving star-shine into dust
and washing the blue sky into white.
In the green corners, dark shadows collide
as if the ache of separation
might eddy and fill my mind.

But one thought keeps running through my heart—
how sweet these moments are. Though
there are those who may concoct tyranny’s poisons,
they will have no victories, not today or tomorrow.
So what if they douse the candles in rooms
where lovers meet? If they’re so mighty,
let them snuff out the moon.

Faiz Ahmed Faiz
Translated from the Urdu by Ted Genoways

Monday, March 10, 2008

Friday, March 07, 2008

TGIF. Really. Thank God.

Perfect pictorial representation of how I feel by the end of the work week, (especially this one, given I was sick*):

Thank God for alcohol. K has been a very gracious companion to my spur of the minute can we please go out and drink because I really need to get out of office SOS calls. If nothing else, I have a new found appreciation for beer. It might be unhealthy.

Also thank the lord for weekends. Tiny little opening to just be.

*Not well is not a state I like being in. But on Monday I finished of Dalrymple's From the Holy Mountain and watched Majid Majidi's lovely Baran. On Tuesday, I read Kamila Shamsie's
Salt and Saffron. (It was a fun read. I would like to come from a family called the Dard-e-Dils. I am silly like that). TAP had the temerity to tell me, "It's almost like you took off to read!" Then again, maybe it was some subconscious thing.