Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wrath Upon English!


"Did you cutted your hairs?"... An unforgetable question that will rest in my memory for eternity.

I am not a paid editor or a proof reader nor do I find nirvana in correcting people, but it just becomes too hard for me to not to cringe over the erroneous words uttered together or independently. And as long as my cringing is silently mumbling inside my head there is peace. The moment it's out, no matter how sugary my words are, people take offense. Ergo, I have been tagged one of the most bothersome grammar Nazis around.

Nobody likes to get corrected specially by a non-authoritative person and I value that, furthermore not everyone is open to learning and I get that too…yes its individual choice to remain in the deep dark primordial well. So, it's fine with me with the title and the indifference of the ignoramus minds, except that flaws in the language peeve me and my oh-so-understanding nature refuses to show up. And I'm not talking about confusing cousins like "then" and "than" or "accept" and "except" nor I'm speaking of the catastrophic use of apostrophes, where "Girls' Hostel" becomes "Girl's Hostel". I'm talking about the other sort...the sort that gives acidity to Mr. Shakespeare in his grave (Lord Bless His Soul).

Look, I don't expect anyone to be an expert in English, neither am I. But, I fail to understand, how people can make humongous blunders and furthermore refu
se to learn and correct them.
The other day a co-commuter asked a woman before me 'where are you get downing?'. Initially, I ignored it as a slip of tongue until she repeated merrily the same ‘downing
statement. This time it was for me.  Anyhow, I couldn't correct a stranger while all she needed to know was my destination, so, I replied, "I'm getting down at Bandra"... stressing on the word "getting". Alas! She repeated the "downing" question, again, to another girl.

I did my schooling from a fairly good school, it's one of the sister branches of a very prestigious school. And it had
some very good teachers too, but it did give me a few cringing moments. Some of the teachers were accustomed to asking the loud chatty bunch of students to "talk slowly". What they meant was "talk softly". But sadly, they never got the difference between slowly and softly as they literally translated the Hindi word "dheere" here. This mistake is quite common among many teachers here. My itch to correct our educators knows no bounds. I hope they realize soon how amusing it gets for the students listening to their teachers making such howlers.

My friend Brendan aptly call
s this perversion of the English language in India as a revenge on the British for ruling over us for two centuries. I couldn't have agreed more.

P. S. If you find any howlers in this post, kindly state it on the comment section. I detest living in the primordial well.

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

No Happy-Birthdays For Me...

I had to leave early this morning for office.  It was 6.15 when I started from home. The sun was still in the sleepy mode and the only source of light was the street lamps. I live in the suburbs of Mumbai which is close to nature and here the temperature decisively drops a degree or two more than it does for the city. And even then it is not cold enough to clad in woolens. I just had a wrap around my kurti; both garments thick enough to offer me warmth.  

Yet the chill in the air made it little difficult for me to fight my keenness to get back home. It was difficult to kill the urge of going back and tuck myself in my snug bed. The pink floral bedspread, the fluffy pillow, the comfy mattress were calling for me, I could hear their voices…oh so welcoming. But, work had a stronger voice and I was piloted towards it.

So, there I was waiting for an auto- rickshaw when I saw them. Dressed in red sweaters, ears covered with cute knitted woolen ear scarves, they stood across the street with their respective guardians. Their beige and red uniforms were peeking through the warm clothing giving away their school's identity. One of them looked from a different school though. The girl had her hair done in a different way and her pink frock and ballerinas told a different story. Then it clicked-Of course, she is the birthday girl.



Birthdays were always special during school days. I think it's still is. One gets to wear fancy new clothes, no boring uniform, no boring hairdos. But, I never got to do that. Every year I longed to wear my birthday dress and flaunt it…every year I craved to stand on the alter and listen merrily to the entire school singing "Happy Birthday" during the morning school assembly… every year I desired to distribute candies and toffees to my classmates. All these never ever happened until we were in 10th grade.

No my parents had nothing to do with this discrimination I faced nor it was an illegal practice, there was no superstitions attached to it either and neither our constitution denied me of this right. The reason was my birthday always fell during Diwali Vacations (I was born on Diwali). Okay, so my parents did have something to do with it, they had me on Diwali. Anyhow, vacations meant no school… except 10th grade when we had our extra classes conducted. Still, it wasn't much fun given that extra classes never required any student to wear uniforms and by that time everyone thought it to be juvenile to sing "Happy Birthday" and eat candies. Those rituals were meant for kiddos. Yet, it was something to me.

A rickshaw halted in front of me with the driver giving me the 'for hire!' Look. I jumped in within seconds and looked at the birthday girl for the last time before my ride took me away.
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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Tracing The Beginning

Image: Random fromGoogle

Imagine you stumble upon a name that has a tag to it saying, s/he is the first person of your lineage. You are her/his descendent. No matter how vague the information might be or no matter how high your right eyebrow might jump over its authenticity, the truth is, it would be fascinating.
My adrenaline gland would definitely do some record breaking high jumps if I get my hands on such information.

Where did my family gene launch from? Where did it all evolve? Where there any foreign gene involved if yes then which ones and when? Did some lady look like me? Am I a photocopy of the female precursor or um a male in mannerism?

Raised in a Hindu family, I became aware of my Gotra which they say tells you about your lineage. An interesting thing to record I say. Though that can’t exactly give me my family tree given there are many Kashyaps all over the world, may be in millions and finding my kinfolk among them would be a not-so- bright task. Rishi Kashyap however, became my object of interest and I am still trying to get acquainted with him. I’m trying to identity with him but, his many wives and many children with various opposite traits are already mystifying me.

Mythology might not give the pleasure of unearthing my lineage, I was privileged enough to come across a few names of my ancestors. The names sadly impede at the great great grand fathers and mothers from both my parents’ sides. That didn’t complete my family tree, but I have names.
 The interesting part nevertheless, was covered by my dad long ago, when he told me stories of our predecessors. Some interesting characters they were. All zamindars, clad in crisp silk Kurta and dhoti , and a hooqah beside them. I am curious if they were those good-for-nothing-music-lover kinds or did they paint a different picture altogether. How were the ladies of the households? My grand mom generation ladies had their equal footing in the family, was it same with the earlier generation too? A certain ancestor I hear was loyal to his Queen and ostracized the British. Grandpa was a freedom fighter then perhaps that piece might be true; i.e. if we believe the gene pool carry such traits. 

These and many questions often churn out and to appease their heat, one of my bucket list items is to locate our ancestral Havelies (both paternal and maternal). Just to feel the walls that witnessed the lives of the people who lived their and the ground they walked upon. Who knows, I might chance upon a descendant of a neighbor or a family friend.  I am not sure if the villas still exist, I don’t know if a skyscraper or a mall would welcome me when I trace the addresses. Nonetheless, I would like to find them. I want to find them. That would be the main reason to visit our neighbor; visit Dhaka and Faridpur.
The success rate of this hunt is unknown. Till then, I will take delight in the stories and weave my own fantasies around them and enjoy the delicious recipes of the family.
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