Wr R U…

Deccan Herald
Image Courtesy: Deccan Herald

Doesn’t the title piss you off? Doesn’t those three words (er, letters) make you wanna rip your hair out and scream out in agony? Doesn’t those three seemingly harmless group of alphabets make you cry out against the injustice meted out to a glorious language – a language that has survived from the start of the previous century (and probably much earlier if we can believe the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle) and has been passed on from one generation to the next like a carefully preserved and prized family heirloom, only to be raped and hacked into little bits and unrecognizable letters like the title above?

Well, this was a text message I received this morning, which promptly put me in a foul mood. I was reading an article yesterday in Deccan Herald about the dominance of Indian English or “Indish” over the Queen’s English, and traces the reasons for Indish being as crappy as it is. Excerpts from the article:

[…] David Crystal’s crystal-gazing could not possibly apply to the various regional accents — probably as numerous as the main languages of India — which imbue Indian English. For instance, a Keralite, a Bengali or a Maharashtrian speaking on the phone can generally be ‘placed’ by his intonation of English – unless he has attended one of the ‘convent’ schools- where the spoken English is closer to the Queen’s English. […] Crystal more likely has in mind syntactical Indish, as in the omission of the definite article ‘the’ and the use of ‘we’ for ‘I’, e.g., ‘we are going to office’; and the omission of ‘or’ in a phrase like ‘two, three persons’.

The more outré usages such as ‘you only told me like that’, or ‘my head is eating circle’, or the ‘big, big’ double-barrelled adjectives used for emphasis are evidently not in the running for global usage. These are close translations of the vernacular.

Indian English manifests itself chiefly in the oral form rather than in writing, which reaches a larger audience. ‘Indish’ now includes arbitrary plurals such as ‘furnitures’. ‘You people’, is often used to mean ‘more than one person’ (a translation of aap log) but can carry racial or belittling overtones. Commonly used translations of Hindi phrases are ‘Close the light’ (for ‘switch off the light’) and ‘Will you take tea?’ (for ‘will you have tea?’)

A mixture of English and Hindi results in such expressions as ek minute, maska-fy (verb formation from maska or butter); and ‘Masaala-movie’ (hotchpotch movie). ‘Pass the time’ has resulted in a compound adjective, as in ‘time-pass movie’.

[…]

I think it’s about time people wake up to the fact that a language is alive only as long as its not hacked and killed. Ah well, at least I’m happy that there are a few sane people left in the world who cringe when someone texts them “Wr R U?”

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Trippin’ On Life…

Been on a trip inside my head for the past few days, and am off on another one, this time for real. I’ll be back soon, hopefully within the next two days, at which time I’ll respond to all the pending comments, visit all the blogs, take a bath and catch up on all the gossip!

Wish everyone a Happy Diwali. Play safe! 😉

The ‘Butt’on Brigade

This post is for the person who gave me that screwball lecture on Global Warming,   😀

I sat through a long discourse on global warming and how it’ll affect the kind of clothes we wear on a daily basis. Apparently, the Earth is going to become too hot for us to wear clothes and we’d all be walking around butt-naked on the streets, sweating like pigs. Nudists are going to have a field day, however, but for the rest of us unfortunates, we will be forced to do something drastic to preserve whatever ‘little’ decency we have.

From the Stone Age to the Information Age and the present Boobage, we’re hurtling towards another Ass Age. Strangely, this comes just before the next Ice Age, and the two pronunciations are not to be confused. So, what do we do in this ex-ass-perating situation?

There will come a time when people’s butts will become a taboo – as taboo’d as the other ‘private’ parts. Unfortunately, people will not share the same obsession they have for these parts and we’ll see them being bared in public. But the butt, it’s gonna be highly private. Someone will invent a Butt-Guard or a Butt-Off or something similar in all shapes and sizes and fake ones too, that will protect the butt from prying eyes. More than anything, these inventions will prevent Ass Lovers from their eye-candy.

These Ass Lovers will create a secret society called the ‘Butt’on Brigade, and their main objective will be to beautify the backside through underground videos. Scores of people will be misled into joining the ‘Butt’on Brigade and kids as young as 10 will be brainwashed and made to join. Law and order will fail against the sheer numbers of the Brigadiers and the kids will create their own version called the ‘Little Asses.’

And since all the truths about Global Warming would have been proven to be true, the Governments of all the countries will decide that they need to ignore the ominous signs again. Their anal logic would be: Lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice, so why should Global Warming?

But the logic would turn out to be just that – anal and stinky, Global Warming would strike again, bringing an end to the Ice and the Ass Age. The taboos would return to normal. We’d be flashing our butts in public again and hiding other parts.

If only this fucked-up version of the future were true. Unfortunately, it’s just a dream. An ass-piration…

Encyclopedia Of The Eternally Lazy

People like me who are eternally lazy need a ready-to-use encyclopedia, something that is easy to use, easily indexed, heavily archived and doesn’t involve moving more muscles than required. Google Search beautifully fits into this category, so much that a whole meme is based on Google Images. Apar tagged me to do this a long time ago, and very subtly, she reminded me that it’s still pending.

The objective is to type the answers to all these questions in a Google Image Search field and pick an image from the first page of hits. Quite an interesting assignment – it’s very misleading in it’s simplicity. 🙂

Here goes:

1. The age you will be on your next birthday…

25!
25!

2. A place you would like to travel to…

the dark side of the moon!
The dark side of the moon!

3. Your favorite place…

toilet humor
The Loo...

4. Your favorite food…

anything edible
Anything Edible!

5. Your favorite pet…

hot dogs
Dogs!

6. Your favorite color combination…

any color that blends in
Any thing that blends in!

7. Your favorite piece of clothing…

hiking boots
Shoes!

8. Your favorite TV show…

small wonder
Small Wonder!

9. First name of your significant other…

crazy
Crazy...

10. The town in which you live…

bangalore
Bangalore

11. Your first job…

Anal-yst!
Programmer 'Anal'yst!

12. Your dream job…

relaxation therapist
Sleep Therapist!

13. A bad habit you have…

rationalizing alcohol consumption
Rationalizing Alcohol Consumption!

14. Your worst fear…

i will never have her back
... is that I will never have her back!

15. What would you like to do before you die?

Grow Old...
Grow Old...

I hereby kill this tag right here…

Revenge Of The Idiots

This incident happened sometime last year, and I still remember it vividly. Idiots are so hard to forget.

It was supposed to be a surprise. Or a suspense. Whichever one wasn’t creepy. One hour was the time frame. I was supposed to present myself at the remote location in one hour. Yeah, right, I thought. With this traffic, I can make it just in time for a perfect sunset. Three in the afternoon on the roads of Bangalore is like being killed and transported to Hell and made to push a huge, heavy wheel for no apparent reason, with a red, pointy-tailed, French-bearded individual who laughed demonically for no reason and lashed you with a whip every now and then, with your sweat dripping off your face and crusts of dirt and tar sticking to every part of your face. Well, almost.

I was stuck in each and every traffic signal on my way. The location was called BTM Layout, and I was cursing the fellow who’d called me there. My mind back to the phone call I received that morning, while I waited for more than ten minutes at a junction where a truck was stranded in the middle of the road with two-wheelers peppered around it like seasoning on a horrendous Christmas dish.

“Hey Nikhil,” said the idiot over the phone.

“Hey dude,” I replied, silently wishing he’d never called. I hated this guy, and had tried to distance myself as much as possible from him. But, as you probably know, some people just don’t get it.

“Listen, this is important,” said the Idiot. “Can I meet you today? This is really important!”

The Idiot had called me after a gap of almost three years and this is how he opens the conversation. As I said, some people….

“Yeah dude, tell me,” I said, sounding as indifferent as possible.

“Can you come to BTM Layout at three today? Please man, this is important!”

“Whoa!” I said. “Why should I come there? It’s a Sunday, if you remember? I’m trying to relax at home.”

“Please Nikhil. I wouldn’t call you if it weren’t important. Please come to the Shopper’s Stop in BTM and call me. I’ll pick you up.” No matter what I tried, he wouldn’t give in. I finally agreed to meet him.

“Thanks a lot, man!” he said.

“No problem. This better be worth it.”

“Oh, it is! It is! Don’t you worry. Just be there at three and I’ll pick you up,” he said. “So, how’ve you been these past few years?”

I smiled. “Bye dude. See you at three.” And I hung up. It’s not that I’m an anti-social animal, I just hate this guy.

So here I was, stuck in inching traffic on a blisteringly hot Sunday, in the middle of nowhere, about to meet this Idiot, when I should’ve been at home, my feet up on the couch, leaning back in my sofa, watching the French Open finals with a chilled coke in my hand. Ah, life mocks me. I can’t help it.

I reached shopper’s stop in one piece and my bike groaned to a halt as I parked her, and the engine trickled as it cooled. I loved my bike. She was a work of art. She belonged in a museum, under the “Tools of the Neanderthal” section…

I called up the Idiot and told him that I’d reached. It was two minutes to three. I sat back on my parked bike and waited for the Idiot. He came there two minutes later, running, and hot in the face. He’s a weird looking guy – tall, balding and a thin hairline mustache. And his eyes were a constant reminder of his inborn idiocy. He was always an idiot – slow to grasp things and concepts and slower to understand them. Now, he was working for a software company. God save software!

“Thanks for coming, dude!” he said.

“No problem,” I said. “Ok, what’s this all about?”

“Listen, I’m into a scheme where you can make lots of money in a week. Up to twenty thousand in a week! Are you interested?”

You can imagine what went through my brain. I looked around for a sizable stone to bash his head in, but refrained myself. Too many witnesses around. I could never make it look like a suicide.

“What?” I asked, incredulously.

“Yeah man! This new company is giving away money, dude. I asked you to come here because I want you to attend a presentation, which the company is giving. They’ll explain exactly how you can make the money. It’s quite simple, dude. And I get a referral fee is you sign up.”

“What?” I asked again. I was beginning to eye some really nice stones.

“Yes,” he said. “Follow me.”

He led me to a hotel which was behind the Shopper’s Stop mall. Lots of people were hanging around the entrance. “These are all my colleagues,” he said.

“Ok,” I said. I was really annoyed now, as most of the people there had the same idiot look in their eyes. I wanted to run away from there as fast as I could. He led me into the hotel and into an air-conditioned conference room, where there was a long table, made of cheap woodwork to match with the cheapness of the wood-paneled walls. Lots of people were sitting around it and there was a white board on the far wall, with a guy standing in front of it.

“Guys, this is Nikhil,” said the idiot. They all waved at me. I was asked to take the only empty chair in the room. I felt like the newest inductee into the Idiot Club of India.

I Am God's Yo-Yo!
I Am God's Yo-Yo

The presentation started. Two minutes into the talk, I hated the idiot all the more. We were supposed to pay thirty thousand rupees to join the company, and then go out and refer more people and convince them to join the same charade. Every time one of the poor idiots joined, we would get a commission. And just to show that the company believed in proper “motivation,” we would be given a gold coin once we pay them the initiation fees!

I frantically took out my cell phone and messaged my friend to call me so I could get an excuse to get out of the place! He did, and I walked out, telling the Idiot that I had to attend the call. I went out, took a deep lungful of refreshing polluted Bangalore air and told the moron that I’m going to work. “I’m not interested, dude. Honestly. I think it’s not going to work. You want my suggestion, quit!”

“Hey, it’s ok dude. It’s really your choice. Are you sure you don’t want the gold coin?”

I wanted to bash his head in so badly, but I summoned all my inner strength and held back. I hated him.

“Bye, dude,” I said. “Don’t ruin my Sunday again.”

As I drove back, I thought about the scores of people fooled in this quest for money. Greed had blinded them so much that they could believe anything. Who could get twenty grand for referring a few people? Seriously!
I went back home and splashed my face with cold water. I switched on the fan, lay back on the sofa, put my feet on the couch, held my coke tightly, and switched to Star Sports. Roger Federer had just won the first set. I settled back with a contented sigh, when the power went off.

Life mocks me.

Sometimes, when I hear real hard, I think I can hear the crack of a whip and a demonic laugh…

Heads Up: The True Story Of Why I Quit Journalism

Finally, I am strong enough to reveal the truth. This incident took place in the offices of a leading newspaper in the city. None of what follows in fiction. Unfortunately, and gruesomely, every word of it is true. This is definitely not for the faint of heart.

I am a little apprehensive about sharing this incident with you all, but then, it’s about time I set the record straight and confess to everyone why I left journalism.

I’ll try to report exactly what happened, objectively and without any emotional bias. Oh, who am I fooling? I’m going to tell you exactly what happened. Trust me, this is scary…

It was 2 in the morning, and the office was deserted. I was on the night shift, and had just finished a satisfying smoke and was walking up the old staircase to my workplace. There wasn’t a soul anywhere in the huge office. The only sounds I could hear were those of the air conditioner clanking up a notch and the occasional roar of a speed devil out on the road. There was a chill in the night air, and I hugged myself for warmth and entered the office. If I stood still and strained my ear, I could hear the footfalls of the people walking on the pavement outside. I glanced at my watch and decided it was high time I packed up and went home for the day. Being on the Internet/technology desk of a newspaper isn’t a comfort. More than anything, it’s a hindrance. Unfortunately for me, this newspaper was widely read, and so I had to stay back till two in the morning to give those insomniac readers the latest update of who killed whom in the world.

I returned to my desk and started to close all my open windows in the computer, switching off the AC and the muted television, where the cricket match of the day was being shown again. As I heard the satiating jingle of windows being turned off, I switched the monitor off and picked up my bag, and stopped…

My bag seemed exceptionally heavy. I didn’t remember bringing any books to work and I distinctly remember the bag being very light. Now, I noticed that there was a slight bulge in the bag’s midsection also. My bag is one of those horizontal zipper bags that require to be slung across the shoulder. These kinds of bags are great for carrying books, but are woefully inadequate for anything slightly bulky like water bottles and tiffin boxes. They stand out like a pregnant belly. There was a similar bulge in my bag. I was confused.

I looked down at the bag again and placed it back on the desk. Frowning, I opened the zipper and looked inside. I almost screamed out…

There, lying in a pool of dirty papers was the most hideous looking head I’ve ever seen. And the fact that there was a HEAD in my bag almost made me faint. It looked up at me with this horrendous expression fixed on it. I couldn’t speak, my mouth was dry. I wiped the sweat off my head and looked around to see if there was anyone who was watching me. There wasn’t a soul…

Now, I’m a pretty rational guy, and my mind quickly switched on the rationale. I started thinking of how this head could’ve gotten in my bag. Obviously, someone must’ve placed it there when I wasn’t at my desk. Now, there were only two instances when I was out of my desk – once for dinner and once for my habitual two a.m. smoke. I could rule out dinner, because the office was packed more tightly than a circus at eight.

So, obviously, someone had put the head in my bag at two, when I was out smoking. This made me feel a bit frightened, as I was sure that there wasn’t anyone in the office!

Or was there…?

I felt goose bumps rising on my arms all over. A streak ran down my spine. “Relax,” I told myself. “There’s no such thing as ghosts!”

“Yeah,” replied my brain. “But there’re serial killers and murderer and psychos!”

Now, I felt really scared. I am a well-built guy, and I could hold my own against anyone looking for a fight, but the thought of defending myself against a crazed lunatic who’d just dumped a frikking head in my bag?
Well, I frankly preferred the quiet life…

The phone rang on my desk, suddenly and shrilly, making me jump put of my skin. The sound of the phone seemed unnaturally loud in the quiet office, and scarier with a head in my bag! I approached it gingerly and picked it up. I could hear my heart beating against my chest.

“H-hello…?” I said.

“Nikhil?” came a gruff voice that I couldn’t recognize.

“Yeah, who’s this?” I demanded, slightly strung out, hoping that the person, whoever it was, wouldn’t notice the tension in it.

“Are you alone?” the voice asked.

“What?” I asked, now scared. “Who is this?”

“Do you have the head?” the voice said.

I was terrified, and a bit angry. “Who the hell is this? And what’s the meaning of this sick joke? Whose head is this?”

“Joke? Mr. Nikhil, I assure you this is no joke. Didn’t you find my note?”

“What note? Who the fuck are you?

“You don’t recognize me, do you?” he asked.

“Obviously not, asshole!”

“Check the note next to your computer. That head is mine,” he said, and the line got cut.

I held the dead receiver next to my ear for a long time with sweat running down my face, and finally put it down. I looked next to my computer and found a yellow post-it stuck on the side of the monitor. Why hadn’t I noticed it earlier? Curiously, I pulled it out and read what was written on it. And I almost fell down…

I looked at the head in my bag and back to the note I was holding in my hand, and vowed never to do night shifts again. I couldn’t take it anymore.

“Nikhil,” the note began, “please find the head of cabbage in your bag. Keep it in a fridge and bring it tomorrow. I don’t have a fridge at home. How was dinner? Thanks. Ranjit.”

That asshole colleague of mine didn’t even tell me! Imagine finding a head of cabbage in your bag when you least expect it! I am freaked out…

I resigned the next day. I prefer the quiet life. Without heads.