Sunday, June 06, 2010

Depression - lost in translation

I've developed an unhealthy obsession with trying to compile a list of words/phrases in South East Asian languages that helps capture the essence of depression. A previous post on Begum Syndrome, touched on language and cultural barriers to interpreting and understanding complex symptom clusters and subsequently conveying a presumed diagnosis of low mood.

Drawing on my East African Asian heritage I discovered that the term often used in my community to describe depression is munjaro - a Swahili word which translates as cobweb - perhaps perfectly capturing the clouded perception and thinking that can take hold with clinical depression. However, in its original usage it was probably applied more to long term psychosis rather than the more subtle but equally pervasive depression.

If the Queen spoke Gujarati she might describe depression as manshik udashinta which I suspect may correlate with it's Urdu equivalent udasi (sadness) which doesn't really hit the spot.

Tellingly, the Royal College of Psychiatrists' patient info leaflet on depression (in Urdu) merely transliterates depression.

Has anyone had any success in coining an appropriate phrase? Which other languages pose a similar challenge?

[First posted here at doc2doc]

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Even more delicious

If, like me, you use to record your online reading while you work and your appraisal is approaching, you're probably wondering what's the best way to export your learning record into your appraisal portfolio. This entry will show you how to generate a neat, dated, pdf of all that browsing you do that so often goes unrecognised! Read on here.

Sunday, May 02, 2010


Tired All The Time since returning from Afghanistan
Running late because of a codebase error

Difficulty expressing myself in English
Difficulty understanding his English

Walking away clutching a form for some blood tests
Baseline bloods should reveal anything serious

Reading a letter from my doctor. In English.
A raised ALT and γGT – come and see me at your earliest convenience

Walking away clutching a form for more blood tests
I didn’t realise he’d lost his son

Another letter from my doctor. In English.
Have you ever used drugs? Any tattoos?

I can’t believe I’m crying
I can’t believe he’s dying

By Tauseef Mehrali
Top 300 entries for the 2010 International Hippocrates Prize for Poetry and Medicine

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Street Sign

Street Sign, Marrakech ©Tauseef Mehrali 2010

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The art of engaging a chicken in conversation

Chicken Chat, Marrakech ©Tauseef Mehrali 2010

Koutoubia Minaret

Koutoubia Minaret, Marrakech ©Tauseef Mehrali 2010

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Saadian Tombs

Saadian Tombs, Marrakech ©Tauseef Mehrali 2010

Life in the fast lane!

Life in the fast lane, Marrakech ©Tauseef Mehrali 2010

Les Jardins Majorelle

Les Jardins Majorelles, Marrakech ©Tauseef Mehrali 2010

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Asymmetrical Rosetta

Rosetta, London ©Tauseef Mehrali 2010

Make room for the shock doc

As I grow older and theoretically wiser, it is becoming clearer and clearer that I am turning into my dad - who is, incidentally, an authority on wisdom: he says things like "that would be wise" on the phone.

Balding - tick
Inability to lie-in - tick
Buying anti-freeze in bulk - tick
More than one pair of brown shoes - tick

Read the rest here.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Charity, recession and micro-loans

Understandably people give less in charity during a recession. At the very least it forces us to re-examine how, where and to whom we give.

I recently came across Kiva, a microfinancing scheme which involves lending micro-loans "to unique entrepreneurs around the globe" "for the sake of alleviating poverty".

Reading around, there appear to be some drawbacks, most notably the exorbitant interest rates charged to borrowers. This latter aspect flies in the face of the microfinancing envisaged by its creator Muhammad Yunus, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006.

Does anyone have any experience of being involved in such a scheme? Would you consider it as an alternative to "traditional" charity? Share your thoughts here.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The snow has gone

The snow has gone. All of it. As a fully signed up member of the pro-snow brigade I mourn its passing. (Although rumour has it that it may well be back on Wednesday).

As the snow dusted the London cityscape, I continued to regress further into childhood. The mere sight of snow brings back vivid memories of sledging, dysmorphic snowmen and the sheer delight of school cancelation. My wife thought I’d gone insane as I eagerly peered out of the flat window and made my minute-by-minute snowfall pronouncements, cheering on the subzero temperatures and blizzards.

Read the rest here.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

How to measure a mountain

Managed to sneak a letter into today's Guardian review in support of the Persian polymath al-Biruni (973-1048) against Renaissance hegemony.

Letter and accompanying cartoon.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Who am I to argue?

Health, London ©Tauseef Mehrali 2010