Thursday, September 23, 2010

Langauge Snob

I am a language snob. More particularly an English language snob. While I dont claim to be any kind of master in the language, It drives me wild to see people use phrases and slangs without bothering to understand their meaning.

A case in point is this incident, which a friend related to me.

My friend was chatting with his colleague, who was deputed to the US, about staying late at work. In a bid to prove his mighty language skills and grasp of the slangs, the colleague concluded - "If I ever go home late, my wife would screw me".
My friend, after a stunned moment, was laughing too hard to continue with the conversation.

It is, therefore, only right that I sympathize with this author

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

65 years and going strong.

How many of you out there have long term friends, what is now a days called as BFF or Best friends forever (Personally I think this BFF thingy sounds something out of a teenage vocabulary, but thats beside the point). How many of you think this friendship would last the ravages of time and life and actually last your lifetime?

My 75 year old aunt was literally running around quite excited, last sunday. Her face was all aglow. Why? Her school friend was coming to visit. The three of them had been friends and maintained contact all through their lives. They had been aunties to each others children and were woven into the fabric of each other's families .

This friend of my aunt actually stays in another part of the country and is not very financially strong now. She does not have a phone at home and so despite regular letters to each other,she saves/keeps a little money aside so she could call her two friends atleast a few times a year.

I was so pleased to see her husband being equally supportive of their friendship and more than happy to bring her over to see my aunt, despite his age and health.

It was such a dear thing to witness but it also made me a little envious. While I have some great friends now, at 75 would I still have such friends? Would I want to visit them then and will they be coming down to see me? I definitely hope so. :-)

The Earth's concerns

It does my little heart good to be validated by a Nobel Laureate. Of course the author of this piece has written it much differently and put in a lot more effort than I have but we are getting to the same point.

The only harm that humans can do is to humans and other living creatures. But the Earth is a Survivor. (Unless of course it is possible to explode half the planet using one of those N-bombs, in which case, it will spiral out of its orbit and merge into the Sun).

When I wrote my old article, a friend commented that its not fair to think of saving the planet for a million years. Human time scale is only for a 1000 years or so. So if we can save the earth and its creatures for that time, some good might come out of it.

Being a great believer in the human will power, I know we are not going to save it for the next 10 years much less a 1000. Therefore is it not good to know that what ever harm we do today, atleast good ol' Earth is still gonna be there when we come back as a newer and hopefully better batch of creatures a million years later (Oh yes! I believe in reincarnation when it suits me :-D )

Below is an excerpt from the article By George Will. Be sure to check out the little video on the second page of the article.

"The cover of The American Scholar quarterly carries an impertinent assertion: “The Earth Doesn’t Care if You Drive a Hybrid.” The essay inside is titled “What the Earth Knows.” What it knows, according to Robert B. Laughlin, co-winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Physics, is this: What humans do to, and ostensibly for, the earth does not matter in the long run, and the long run is what matters to the earth. We must, Laughlin says, think about the earth’s past in terms of geologic time.
Damaging this old earth is, Laughlin says, “easier to imagine than it is to accomplish.” There have been mass volcanic explosions, meteor impacts, “and all manner of other abuses greater than anything people could inflict, and it’s still here. It’s a survivor.” [...]"

Friday, September 17, 2010

In memory of the Queen

I was not planning write anything this month. It has not been all that good a time for me. And to be honest, I could not find the time to write either.
But it truly seemed blasphemous if I did not write about the queen. Especially as yesterday was her birthday.

I consider myself honored to have lived in the same time as the musical lady trinities. And even more honored to have enjoyed a few live concerts, if not in person, at least through TV, when they were still with us.

M S Subbulakshmi (Popularly know as MS) was born on 16 September 1916 into a musical family, and went on to capture hearts world over with her mellifluous voice. She was the first Indian to win the Ramon Magsaysay Award and the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru said about her "Who am I , a mere Prime Minister before a Queen, a Queen of Music ". Her true Bakthi to her music showed through every line she sang and in the glow on her face as she did.

When MS was in US as a guest at someone’s house, she was coerced into singing. There was construction going on outside the house and when requested that they tone down the noise as MS was beginning to sing, the construction workers started making more noise. Ignoring them MS started singing, and slowly all the noise outside the house stopped and when she finished singing, the construction workers trooped in to apologise and tell her that though they did not understand what she was singing, it was great and would she sing some more.

There was that magic quality in her voice which had the power to pull at the listeners’ heart strings. Her voice was the true definition of Alchemy, it could turn base metal into gold.

My personal favorite of MS is her rendition of “Kurai ondrum illai”. A day that begins without hearing her sing the Venkateswara Suprabatham is no day at all. Some of my other favorite works include the Vishnu Sahasaranamam, Maithreem Bajatha and Bhaja Govindam

Almost six years after her death MS still lives on in most south Indian houses talking to God directly through her music.

PS: Edited to add link to "Kurai Ondrum Illai"