Tuesday, 16 February 2010

jam session

i feel like a walking episode of "casualty" - in a week i have managed to succumb to a terrible sorethroat, lose my voice completely (still speaking in a rather raspy falsetto that makes me sound like a donkey with asthma), burn my right hand while roasting some salmon in the oven and come down with viral flu.

then waking up this morning i realised i could not open my left eye, safely glued together by a sudden bout of conjunctivitis.

naively, on sunday i had the very bad idea of expressing some perplexities on my poor state of health with my students.

they looked at me with solemnity and proclaimed "it is because of envy" - explaining that if you are too well liked and admired people envy you to the point of wishing you and consequently causing you heaps of misfortune. i tried to laugh it off - "c'mon, you cannot believe in that stuff, can you?"

to which they looked at me with the face harrison ford makes on his indiana jones movie posters. "you should not joke. it is true. take refuge in Nazar, the Evil Eye. you should wear one."

in turkey, anywhere you go - in any shop, office, home, cafe - you always see up on the wall, in full display, the traditional blue-eye bead used for protection against envy, also known as Nazar, or Evil Eye. people also wear it on bracelets, necklaces; they sew it on the inside layer of their jackets and skirts; they keep one in their wallets, cars, bags, etc.

slightly startled by how homicidally certain my students sounded i tried to ask the opinion of other fellow teachers; then asked the school director, then the two secretaries at the office and finally the cleaning lady of the school building.

comically, yet tragically at the same time, not only each and every one of them believes in the envy conspiracy - but they all seemed eager to provide horrific examples of the devastating effects of not trusting the traditional faith in Nazar, while at the same time reiterating that "you must get protection from the Evil Eye as soon as possible".

call me gullible.

but not to jinx it 100% - i now wear 9 (nine) Nazar beads on my right wrist (just below the scar inferred by the weapon of mass destruction i use for baking);

a huge pendant around my neck with a blue eye the size of a compact disc;

a tiny one inside my purse.

yet - this morning conjunctivitis proves that Nazar is (blatantly) still failing me.

perhaps he does not like me much.

perhaps he senses my lack of faith in his creed.


as i was 'seeing life through rather sticky and hazy lenses', i decided it was high time i overcame my coercively induced state of fear and superstition and put myself in the safe hands of science.

namely, i finally resolved to make an appointment with our family gp, doctor cem (interestingly - to be pronounced as "jam").

the single reason we chose him as our gp is that he speaks english fluently. having said that, i have seen this doctor three times and have yet to understand whether he is a truly good practitioner. and it is my fault actually - since whenever i meet him i tend to get distracted by his appearance.

he is a beefy, stocky man, with coarse skin on his face, square hands and huge, purple lips. there is something invariably bored and kind of sleepy in his glassy gaze, hidden behind the heavy, dark frame of his glasses. he breathes slowly and deeply and combs his hair to the side, yet his hair is so thick and dark that it is hard to see it parting anywhere on his head.

he always wears chekered shirts where the checkers are too big and too red. all in all, i would say he looks like a transylvanian lumberjack - and behaves as one.
with very abrupt, sudden sentences - yet uttered with the sense of benign bravado and comradery of someone who is telling you with pride he has just killed a wild boar with his bare hands.

today, after confirming my conjunctivitis and emphatically ruling out pneumonia, bronchitis and irriversible mutism - he wrote a long prescription and then concluded - with his thick lips smiling with benevolence "all in all - you only have flu. you understand the word FLU?" he asked, his voice spelling the word for me like a slow thunder.

"i guess", i answered.
at 31, i think my wordliness can still stretch to that - fortunately.

as i shook his thick, dry hand on the way out - he grinned pointing at my right wrist and said cheerfully "good on you! you carry nazar. veeeery good idea".
i nodded - looking up at his square face through my foggy eyes.
of course.
very good idea indeed.

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