Saturday, September 19, 2009

The sad assault on linguistic senses

"The British left India for they could no longer bear the assault on their language."

Although it's an age old joke; somehow, I find its relevance increasing progressively. The torture of the linguistic sensibility is more rampant. Ravindranath Tyagi, the great satirist and poet, has written at length about the torture brought up on Hindi. In his own style, he elaborated that how a slight misspelling can wreak havoc - सूत्रधार से मूत्रधार, स्तर से स्तन, और रेडियो से रंडियो.

In Gujarat, the story is not much different. In India, the snack parlors are aplenty but in Gujarat, all one can find is 'snake' parlor. In addition, there are no halls here, since all of these are spelled as 'hole'. I even found a coaching institute, apparently named after a planet, for teaching 'good' English. Just that they misspell their institute's name as 'Yuranus' (whatever it says about their learning orientations and methods, spare me the thought). The list is much longer than the bounds of space and time can hold.

However, the germs of linguistic lunacy travel faster than my wildest imagination. Hence, much to my chagrin, I have discovered two 'gems' in Lucknow as well. The city of nawabs, the last shelter of linguistic purity, the home of etiquette and mannerism, the land of gardens and science gave me a big shock with two signboards that read - "The Oaf Public School" and "Hilarious Beauty Parlour".

Et tu, Lucknow? Now where would Caesar fall :??

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

भूल गया सब कुछ...

I am becoming more and more forgetful by the day and then, by the night I forget a little more. Perhaps, I am moving way too fast on the path of becoming a professor, at least in terms of forgetfulness, if not in intelligence.

I remember it was years ago when I learned that I can't remember streets or roads or ways to anywhere. I have got lost in every possible corner of Lucknow, have lost my way in some 30 different cities and three different countries so far. Once, I even got lost on a straight road. In fact, I am often amused by the fact that I still somehow reach my home without forget.

When I was preparing for competitive exams and teaching alongside, I used to forget whatever I was saying in the middle of a sentence. And then I had to ask the class what was I saying. Mostly they thought, it was a trick question and kept quiet. More often than that, they were simply not listening and hated me for waking them up.

Few days ago, I was on a night stroll with a friend. He kept talking and asking things to me, however, I kept quiet for most of the time - I had forgotten his name. In fact, forgetting names is nothing new for me but since it offends people when I ask their name after seventeenth meeting, I have found a way around that. At IIMA, I ask their name and when they tell me their real name (with a visible irritation / disgust / surprise), I simply say, "duh! I was asking your dorm-name. I know your real name dude." Alternatively, I ask their e-mail id, which almost always gives a clue to the real name. However, the real problem arises, when I have forgotten someone's name a few times over and done asking their real name, surname, dorm-name, father's name, e-mail, etc etc. Please note that I use masculine terms for this paragraph for the simple reason that I don't forget any name from the fairer sex, primarily because they are they - the fairer sex.

And the trigger of this fond remembrance of my forgetfulness is this morning's event - I was leaving for gym, when I realized that my shoes have become loose. I happily thought that I have lost some weight. All those gym mornings helped finally. Then, to my utter disappointment, I saw my socks still lying on the floor. The shoes were obviously loose without socks. Actually I could have written this post last week as well. That was when I wondered one day that why the wind is super cool today till before seeing my jeans was still on the hanger. But then, I was too embarrassed to let everyone know that I really forgot that.

Despite all my forgetfulness, I still haven't forgotten somethings - some people, some days, some places, some memories, some dreams... I never forget a birthday, never missed an anniversary, and still remember all those days moment by moment, when I was with my dearest ones.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

God of stupid things

"Genius may have its limitations but stupidity is not thus handicapped."

Elbert Hubbard said this about me before he passed away in 1915. And So far, I've humbly devoted my life in proving that he was not wrong at all. And I'd quote just a few examples of limitation of my genius (and the infinitive capability of its counterpart within yours truly) to drive home the point.

For once, whenever I cooked in my room, I preferred doing it with lots of vegetables and flavoring with ginger, chillies, and spices. So I used to buy, among other things, some green chillies, clean and cut them meticulously. And then cut other vegetables and finally onions, which caused a lot of tears. And then, I wiped those tears off, only to realize that the green chillies were still not washed away. So saving my eyes from onions invariably resulted in putting chilly in my eyes every single time.

Getting out of my small kitchen, I drive straight away to my driving genius in order to drive home the point. Well, to be honest, in my ten years of driving, I was always rated as a rash driver but I've never had an accident. That is, I've never had an accident when I was driving rash. My first accident was at 5 in the morning, second one at about 06:30, another one at around 0730, and the last one was around 7 in the morning. One common thing in all the accidents, apart from being an accident and my involvement in those, is that every time I was driving in third gear, enjoying the morning breeze, and thinking smugly about my driving skills. No need to mention that my smug thoughts were interrupted with a KAABBOOOMMMMM!!! Again - every time.

And I am reminded of my infinite 'genius' again today, when I took a glass of water in gym. I switched on the red tap, filled my glass, and looked at it, wondered for a while about the specks of vapor inside the glass, and then... then I took one large sip. I remember throwing it all out and then drinking lots of cold water before I finally stopped feeling my tongue. After about eight hours, I still can't differentiate my Ss from my Fs. Ironically, when I speak like this, people stare at me, thinking I am copying Shahid Kapoor of 'Kaminey'.

Well, the tales of my 'genius' are longer than my humble genius self can put into constraints of a mere 26 letters, added to already tight constraints of such limited space and illusory time. However, I'll keep us all posted. Thank you for understanding.


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