Saturday, 25 October 2008

A State of Chassis

For awhile during the week I thought my moment had come. Revolution was in the air. In Dublin a conference room full of 1500 pensioners were showing their teeth, or to be exact, their dentures.Wild eyed behind flashing specs, the word Grey Panther had taken on an emerald hue. On the platform stood the sacrificial goat, a Junior Government Minister, helpless and hapless and bleating plaintively for understanding.
The next day they were on the streets again having commandeered every piece of rolling stock on the railways and marching on Parliament. This time there was no Government minister to be seen.
The Oldies were following in the queue by the students, fleeter of foot than their predecessors, but no less impassioned.
By now the only elected representatives to be found in the capital were men and women waving their resignation papers.
In m y neck of the woods even my postman was asking me where we'd end up.
By the Friday I knew the earth really had moved. My good friend and butcher told me that the bottom had fallen out of the greyhound puppy market. For yonks a reliable dog man could depend on getting a grand per pup from the clintele of every pub in the country.The market was big in syndication. Ten boozers ( or sportsmen) would peel off a green one each and qualify as an owner and gentlemen. But then the banks crashed and the economy hit the skids and noone was buying dogs.
On Sunday morning at Mass in the Cathedral, the top priest, a born and bred , dyed in the wool Fianna Failer got up to deliver his sermon and lashed out at the budget. In the congregation a traumatised local politician who is currently Mayor of Loughrea had to choose between politics and faith. He chose politics and walked a lonely walk out of the church( though he claims that when the sermon was over he went back).
Things had come to such a pass that I wasn't terribly surprised when my friend returned from France with the news that things are so bad over there, the French railways won't put on extra carriages to transport protesters to Paris, so they are reduced to gallic shrugs and muttered "merdes"
Meanwhile in Loughrea the tom toms are beating away with news of my night in the hospital . The story is that I fell and injured myself and had to be ambulanced to Ballinasloe. Sadly the story lost its impact when it was admitted that I was discharged .What isin't known is the detail of my night in ER. All things considered, I think I'll leave it that way.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

A night in ER -through other eyes

Dear mum . This Ireland is a strange place for a well brought up young Kashmiri doctor. In fact it can sometimes seem like a gaping chasm, culturewise. Take the other Sunday night for instance. I was called from my bed to the A and E department where I found myself confronting a large old woman wearing only a dog blanket - Allah be Praised. Even sitting in a wheelchair it was clear that very little of her modesty was left to the imagination, (though the legend "Paws" on the spotted garment was some distraction for an animal lover like myself). The old woman was clear, to the point of aggression, that she had not had a heart attack or broken her back. She had , however, torn a muscle in her back and was in severe pain. Eventually the nurse and I decided it was safer to take her at her word, especially since, by this stage her language had deteriorated to what I later learned was called "anglo-saxon". This language contains words which you are unfamiliar with, dear mother, and which I had never learned during the many years I spent becoming fluent in the tongue of the oppressors.There is no adequate translation for such words in Urdu, or Punjabi , let alone Arabic. In fact I had not heard anything like them in all the years I spent in the Ukraine studying medecine and Russian.
She was given a painkiller injection - sufficient to stun a strong ox- and some hours later we felt it safe to ask her if she could stand. She agreed to try, on condition that the nurse and I help her. This we did and slowly, she rose, unfortunately dislodging her grip on the dog blanket. Only the intervention of the great Prophet saved me from impiety. For as she rose, so too did the wheelchair, due to the fact that her unclothed lower regions had stuck to the plastic of the seat.
Believe me, dearest mother, it was a terrible sight and combined with the strange " anglo-saxon" has left an indelible mark on my mind. As I write, I believe I may be suffering post traumatic shock. I can only hope that my stay in Ireland does not continue to hold such surprises. Your trembling son, Naeem.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

A Night in ER

A Good Spanking

Wednesday, 1 October 2008


somewhere in the blogosphere there is another marydloughrea.sometimes I can find it and sometimes I can't. This is a pity because my take on Baffle is well worth reading. It maybe that it can be accessed through, or it may not.perhaps www.marydloughrea will do it. who knows? certainly not me.These remarks are directed primarily to by beautiful granddaughter in Moscow. At the moment she's trying to find the local Ikea in the hope that they stock a maxi strength duvet. I hope she reads my thoughts on goji berries for her physical wellbeing is always dear to my heart. Meanwhile her father's mother-in-law,a woman of altogether finer cultural instincts, is anxious that Aoife exploits the baboushka on her floor .We'll see.


Uncharacteristically, I sailed serenely through Meltdown Monday.In fact it wasn't until Tuesday morning when I rang a friend (to report yet another lost foxhound), that I heard about it, at all at all. He was in a gleefull state, especially when he told me that the Government had turned me into a financial underwriter. When he explained that this had to do with my taxes bailing out the banks, I was elated too, since so far as I know, I haven't been a taxpayer since 1979. But of course, as he pointed out, I had been coughing up, through the fact of just breathing, that being the way of indirect taxation.

Later, my son - the Great White Hope of the Duffys- went further by suggesting that I investigate my participation in the Derivitives Markets whatever they are. Thus cresting a wave of euphoria, the crises of the world washed over me.

Then this morning as I prepared my breakfast porridge, a lucid moment opened like a shaft of sunlight through a leaden sky. I was sprinkling Goji berries at the time and realised that there has been a distinct improvement in my mood since I first fell for these dried out little red yokes. Could there be a connection? I went to the back of the Linwoods pack to see the history of these magic berries.Allegedly they hail from some obscure region of the Himalayas and really that's all you need to know about them. But the thing is, Gojis appear to be brilliant at everything. So, could it be that my upbeat mood which appears to have innoculated me against financial doom
and gloom has to do with diet.Am I living proof of a berry induced Nirvana, a sort of instance of Shangri La on the hoof or just my the fact that having no money to invest, I may be the only person in Ireland with nothing to lose.
There's no doubt about it. Its an ill wind.....