Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Goggles are nice. They provide a tinted view of the world. Change the colour of the glass and the world changes. No-colour brings excessive clarity. Eyes can't take it. They find solace in the stained sight.

Eyes on the opposite side of goggles, not covered with any goggle, try to push their vision beyond the glass boundary of goggles. But the real eyes are not visible. When they stare hard enough, all they get to see is their own reflection. Looking at themselves, they think, is this a pleasant sight? Eyes can't decide. All they decide is to wear a goggle.

Now either eyes, when stare at each other, can only see goggles - the other goggle and a reflection of own goggle.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Objects Shift, Humans Move, Languages Transform

I love languages. The romance is very much a part of daily life - observing the dialects, varied pronunciations, use of pin-point synonyms, clarity and brevity. Over the years one of the most enjoyable activities I've found is to figure out the impact of Indian languages on English and the other way round. A Hindi poet Kumar Vishwas joked, pointing at the weird ways in which English is mixed with Hindi in Uttar Pradesh, 'to avenge the British, they have been doing to English what British did to Indians'!

Coming to the title of the post, in strictest sense shift should be used in the context of objects whereas move should be used for humans. So 'We moved to Mumbai' is more appropriate than 'We shifted to Mumbai'. So the point of this post is that, I've found in most of the cases in Hindi or in Marathi, the word shift to be more 'Indianized' than the word move. So I've frequently heard Hum log shift ho gaye or Amhi Shift Jhalo whereas I've never heard move being used in Hinglish or Minglish. The reason for the more Indianization of shift and less of move still remains unknown to me. So the impact of this imbalance becomes imminent when somebody speaks English in a translated-from-mother-tongue manner, which happens in most of the cases. In the other direction, I've frequently heard my sister saying Ye combination theme ke sath jata hai. This is a direct translation of 'This combination goes with the theme', although it doesn't make much sense in the native language. I love to find the roots in such cross-lingual mix ups.

I watched an Interview of Shobha De in which she claimed to be the first journalist to introduce Hinglish to the Indian English Press. Anti purists who support such mingling of languages defend it by the fact that historically, anything averse to change underwent extinction and languages were and will be no exception. I'm not much of a supporter of the intermixed languages and try to avoid it as far as possible. But, I was simply in love of the philosophy by another showbiz person Bharat Dabholkar regarding Hinglish. He said, 'Pepole resort to Hinglish because they aren't proficient in English speaking yet they want to be seen as 'cool' while not speaking in Hindi alone'. Ideally linguistic fusion should be treated as the mixture of two correct languages and should not be used to shield the lack of proficiency in either language.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Concreting Abstract

The last semester at BITS Pilani is typically more relaxed, not so rigorous as compared to the previous ones, or let's say students make it so. On the positive side of which, it makes it easy to attend almost every cultural event happening on campus. One of which's a puppetry show. Though this wasn't like those which are traditionally portrayed. The katputlis were more innovative and it amply used effects of fluorescent lights and various sounds.

Out of the four segments in the show, there was one in which a bird accidentally falls on a tabla and discovers the sound of it. The bird goes on to try few things on the tabla. At the same time a spider is busy resonating sounds on web. Meanwhile a floating feather causes melodies on a violin. All of these integrate to create a wonderful symphony.

When this wonderful segment of the show was building up many people left the auditorium complaining about its abstractness (lacking in meaning to be blunt). That brought me to the point abstractness.

Modern art is often not taken seriously in non-art appreciating sections of the society. Mostly because of the inability of the art form to convey it's meaning in a definite way to the audience. I came across this article which partially satisfied my doubt: How to appreciate abstract art?

The notion of abstractness is very subjective. There is a Hindi Drama Club(HDC) in BITS which conducts stage and street plays in Hindi. Vineet who is a great fan of HDC plays lived in a predominantly HDC wing and often used to get inputs from them regarding various techniques adopted in plays, how to understand plays etc. For him many HDC plays were not so abstract which left me absolutely clueless.

Mathematics has its own mystic ways of baffling its students. A simple 1x1 square which is as real and tangible a mathematical concept as our existence, suddenly becomes an abstract concept when we consider the length of its diagonal. Mathematicians are so much fond of this very abstractness that maths quote books are full of this love affair. A quote by Paul Erdos taken from this page says

Why are numbers beautiful? It's like asking why is Beethoven's Ninth Symphony beautiful. If you don't see why, someone can't tell you. I know numbers are beautiful. If they aren't beautiful, nothing is.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Citizens Against Inappropriate and Excessive Use of Awesome

In an attempt to revive this blog, I am posting my Facebook notes over here. I hope to be more regular on the blog in the coming days.


We are a group of like minded people who are often irritated with the widespread usage of awesome; predominantly on web-forums, social networking sites, in status messages and chatting. This usage at times is improper and there can be other adjectives better suited for the purpose. People have started losing the ability to discriminate between adjectives. We at CAIEUA want everyone to realize the wide range of adjectives English language has got and use them appropriately.

About the quiz:

Nearly a week ago, we posted a quiz on this link. We thank everyone for taking the quiz. The quiz was conducted just to make the quiz takers realize the objective of CAIEUA. Posting the results of the quiz would hardly make any sense as many quiz takers seemed to have got cautioned at the time of answering the questions. CAIEUA wanted to capture the dilemma that many quiz takers would have faced while choosing between awesome and other appropriate adjective present in the options. Had the other adjectives not provided, many would have straight gone for awesome without even thinking for other suitable choices. If even one of the quiz takers starts thinking on our lines after taking the quiz or reading this note, it would be a great success for us. We thank you for the precious time you spent on this whole exercise.

P.S - Please don't comment as "Awesome post" or make any oblique references to certain Barney Stinson just to show that you liked it.