Handwriting : It Says a lot about you..

Handwriting: It says a lot about you!

By

Vivek Hande

 

Your handwriting is just about as unique as you. It does say a lot about you. In the world of computers, tablets, smart phones and laptops, we are increasingly forgetting to write and we merely type. But there is something exciting and mysterious and I daresay, special about the flow of the pen on the paper. The written word will still find its place – to do lists, prescriptions, signatures, all would be hopelessly drab and without character if not handwritten. A love letter – typed out in Times Roman or Arial- absolute  blasphemy!!

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The written word goes a long time back. Though it must be pointed out that the use of numbers as symbols and some mean of communication or record keeping preceded the written word or some semblance of communication through language. The origin was obviously through Proto-Writing through the use of symbols/ mnemonic symbols to convey idea/information. Jiahu symbols on tortoise shells are the earliest recorded symbols of proto writing from 6600 BC. Over a period of time, it evolved to Linguistic Writing, which encodes almost the exact thought meant to be conveyed. This process has been slow and steady and constant and yet dynamic. Along this process, various different scripts and writing forms have developed and died.

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Sumer, Southern Mesopotamia, is widely regarded to be the origin of the written word (cuneiform) around 3100 BC.  Around the same time, the concept of a script evolved in MesoAmerica with the Olmec/Zapotec script of Mexico regarded as one of the oldest. Independent writing systems evolved in Egypt (3100BC/Heiroglyphs) and China (1200 BC).  The Indus script of the Bronze Age Indus Valley is still largely undeciphered and one is not certain whether it was linguistic or some other kind of communication. Quite naturally, trade and travel contributed to the spread of language and also brought in diverse influences into the evolution.

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Then came the era of the Greek script, which was the source of many subsequent European Scripts including Latin.  The next big milestone in the evolution was the emergence of the Arabic script which coincided with the emergence of Islam. Arabic became the primary script for Persian and Turkish language and contributed to the spread of the Hindu-Arabic numeral system through the world.  Religion has always played a role in the spread of the written word. The monks in the 8th Century spread the use of the Carolingian Script, because of its ease of use. It was modified during the Renaissance period. They modified it to make it more ornate by slanting the script – since this originated in Italy –it came to be called “Italic “!!

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The evolution of writing material used over the ages also makes for a fascinating story.  Engravements on stone/ metal/ terracotta/ gypsum changed to the use of roll/ papyrus/ reed in Egypt. Others used parchment made of sheep skin. Paper was invented by the Chinese in 105 AD. Computers have changed the way we think of writing today. The way you type doesn’t really tell much about you- since the way you write does tell a good deal about you or is supposed to – it has evolved into a pseudoscience. Graphology is the science which analyses the handwriting and helps infer something about your personality/ attitude/character. There are Bachelors and Masters Degree on offer in Argentina, Spain and Italy on Graphology. It is a different matter that a master treatise on the subject by Geoffrey Dean , based on a meta analysis of 200 papers on the subject , largely debunked the predictive value of personality inference based on handwriting.

 

Handwriting Analysis for forensic purposes is a different story all together. Since the handwriting is like a fingerprint, experts use it to prove cases of forgery or fraud. I do know of a colleague, who used to sign bank cheques with his wife’s signature for purpose of convenience, at times – now every time his wife issues a cheque , it is turned down by the bank – “Signature does not Match”! Doctors (self included) are notorious for their bad handwriting. It perhaps stems out of lots of writing to be done in compressed time periods in formative years at medical school. Some (a few) do survive and go on to write beautifully. This has prompted various Medical Councils to legislate writing of prescriptions in Capital letters to avoid prescription errors.  The use of Electronic Health Records (EHRs), will aid in more legible notes and lesser errors.  I had a colleague, a psychiatrist, who would write opinions and case notes and would come over to ask me to decipher what he had written after a few hours! Well you may not be able to read a Doctor’s notes or prescription, but you will note that the bill is always neatly typewritten!!

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I do believe we need to use the pen and paper more often. In the era of copy –paste, many institutions insist on hand written submissions of papers. And after years of usage of the keyboard, it does appear a struggle. I have often felt, I can understand a subject better and remember far more facts when I write them down.   As a student, one of my friends would tell me, having a bad handwriting was advantageous:  nobody would borrow your notes; seniors would not burden you with written assignments to be copied; spelling mistakes would go unnoticed!!  Well, that is a perspective. But it is also true, that if one gets a note or a letter with a beautiful hand, one does think better of the writer – visual impressions do stick strong.

To quote Gandhi, “I saw that bad handwriting should be seen as a sign of bad education”. Be that as it may, I do urge you, leave the keyboard once a while – take out your writing instruments: there is no greater joy than the flow of pen on paper!!

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Samosa- A Sentiment ; An Emotion ; A Feeling..”

By

Vivek Hande

The Samosa is not just a triangular or tetrahedral savoury filled with potatoes, peas, veggies or meat. It is something far more than that. It binds the country; it unites the world; it brings life into monotony; it galvanizes and energizes and sparks off excitement; it also calms tempers and ruffles feathers; it acts as an emotional balm. It helps tide crises; it adds to the joy of celebration; it forms the platform for debates and discussions and arguments. It is not just a snack –it is truly a way of life..

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The Samosa, even though it is firmly ours to hold on to, it found its origin in Persia. Sanbosag, is the etymological origin from Persian ancestry. Some claim that it originated in the ancient city of Samosata, on the west bank of the Euphrates in Turkey. It is also believed that it may have originated from Samsa, the pyramids of Central Asia.  It found its way to India through the traders and merchants who travelled to this country. It was an easy snack and a filling food to be made over campfires as they journeyed. It found its way to the kitchens of the Delhi Sultanate and has never ever looked back. It finds mention in a 9th century poem by Persian poet Ishaq Al Mawsili! It has invented and reinvented itself across the length and breadth of the country and I daresay, most of the civilized world. Within the country, there exist as many variations as imagination and inventiveness permits. In most parts of the country, it remains a veggie dish with fillings of mashed potatoes, peas and other vegetables. In Bengal, it is more popular as the Singara, which use white flour and not wheat flour and use unmashed potatoes and may occasionally have an odd raisin or a nut; it as a flaky texture and the folds are trickier.  Fulkopir Singara has cauliflower; Maccher Singara has fish and Mansher Singara has a filling of meat. In Hyderabad, the Luqmi , has a thicker pastry crust and mince meat filling.

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The dish is not confined to the Indian subcontinent. It is popular across the Arabian Peninsula, South East Asia; the Mediterranean and large parts of Africa. It is found with different names and minor variations to the theme. It is popular as the Sambusak in the Arabic world.  In different parts of the world, it is called Somosa, Sambosak , Samboka. In Portugal, it finds its feet as Chamucas in Portugal and Pasteis in Brazil. The fillings may vary and may include apart from veggies, lentils, macaroni, noodles , cheese and beef. But then, what is in a name; it is the thought that counts; it is the feeling that envelopes you!

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The average Samosa packs in 52% fat ; 42% Carbs and 6% Proteins and gives you a generous dollop of calories , 300 calories and counting. But then, what are a few calories between friends. Efforts have been made to make it “healthier” – bake not fry; interlocked Samosas which allow only surface frying and does not allow the oil to percolate inside: apparently giving you 56% less fat and 43% less calories. But , honestly , it is impossible to insult the Samosa by throwing numbers.  Unless one feels the Samosa going down your esophagus and the delicious warmth crawling into your coronaries, you might as well not have one..

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The Samosa  is ingrained in our culture. Today, there is a social media chat –entertainment app called Samosa , where one could chat; exchange corny jokes and love messages and throw punch lines. That is what you would do sitting in a college canteen or at a friend’s pad over a plate of hot, greasy Samosas. Incidentally there is a World Samosa Day – 5th September. There is an industry spawned around the Samosa. Samosa themed greeting cards; Samosa label of clothes and a franchise called Samosa King. There are websites dedicated to Samosa Poetry and competitions based on stories revolving around the Samosa. There is a politican, by the name Lalu Yadav who grandiosely claimed that as long as there would be Aloo(potatoes) in the Samosa , there would Lalu in the state of Bihar. That might have been a trifle premature. The Samosa is certainly here to stay.

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The Samosa is much like India and the Indians: adaptive; flexible; inventive; innovative, accommodating and capable of absorbing diverse influences and making it their own. More strength to the Samosa ; indeed an icon of national unity!!

 

 

Call The Plumber..

Call the Plumber..

By

 Vivek Hande

Blessed are the folks who clear their bowels clean and satisfactorily in one go and are happy and light the rest of the day…

 This is not a frivolous statement . Constipation is serious matter and affects large numbers of people and can spoil your day and make your existence miserable. Espepcially in a gut-centric  society like ours , it is very important to get this matter sorted  to its logical conclusion.  I have many patients who have varying degrees of this problem  and life does seem to revolve around this issue for better or worse.

I am an honorary member of this club and I have many patients who try their own brand of remedies and pass it on for the benefit of others .  There is a grizzly old veteran who has tried everything under the sun and moon . He told me once that the amount spent on his laxatives over the years was probably more than the GDP of Finland and Hungary put together.  Another retired senior Government Offical  told me that he is redecorating his toilet. He told me that since I was not really helping his cause and he continued to spend about four hours in the toilet each day he was planning some changes . He said he had installed a  1.5 Ton Air – Conditioner and a 42 inch LCD Television in the loo. He was seriously considering arranging a Mini- Bar too…

 Another lady told me that  with the amount she had invested in Prunes and Flax and Sesame  seeds and Lemon juice with coriander; warm water with honey ;  cold tea with molasses and a million other remedies , she could have bought a flat in Cuffe Parade! Another gentleman told me that none of my prescribed medicines helped him much – he said all the Lactulose and Dulcolax and Liquid Paraffin in the world had not helped him. He told me that on my  insistence he had stepped  up his fiber  and fruit intake each day and half his pension was being spent on the enhanced fiber intake but to no avail. He also told me that he was almost feeling like a fruit orchard himself.He did tell me that he had finally found his own cost effective remedy and that was helping him enormously. He was a changed man and looked extremely chirpy the last time he visited me. I believe his secret recipe which he strongly urged me to pass on to others was to listen to The Rolling Stones at full blast at 5AM. He insisted it produced dramatic and explosive results within half hour!

It can affect  ones’ day and behaviour and outlook and many behave in a very unpredictable manner if one is not happy with the “output”. I had a colleague who would not attend classes in the morning because he was suffering from a sense of ‘incomplete evacuation’ till mid morning. I had another colleague whose behaviour was the gauge to his bowel movements. The days he had done well in the loo would translate into cheerful banter and coffee and Samosas for his staff.  On the not so productive mornings , he would be grumpy and crabby and make  everyone around him miserable too.  

There was yet another unhappy gent who asked me if it was all about tubes and the intestines being like coiled up pipes ,why is it that we could not take some tips from the plumber and set the plumbing right. Sadly , there are somethings which help and some which don’t; some who do well and some who do not inspite of all concerted efforts.

Then of course , there is another entity which has nothing to do with the gut. And as  John Ottesen is said to have famously remarked,” Some people are just mentally constipated and could use a brain enema”  And that is an infinitely more difficult entity to treat and is almost beyond any form of known therapy!!

Takhti Chu: Idli and other stories..

Takhti-Chu ; Dosa , Idli and other stories..

 

By

 

Vivek Hande

 

Quite often , a thought or an image or a memory is linked with a place in ones’ mind. Every time I tuck into a Dosa or an Idli with freshChutney or steaming hot Sambar, I am transported to Bhutan!

 

 

It was a very long time ago – nearly two and a half decades; I used to often travel between these two places on work. The road was picturesque and the view from each window frame, a picture post card. The road was winding and often had you quite literally, at the edge of the seat. The hills were green and one could smell the fresh, crisp, bracing Himalayan air. There would be friendly children and women returning from wood –gathering waving you along. The distance between Phuentsholing and Thimpu was about 170 kilometers and the distance took about seven hours on the road.

The Bhutanese were and perhaps still are the simplest and the happiest people on earth. Warm and friendly; outgoing and affectionate- they were very easy to get along with and make friends. Those were the days when there was no internet and cell phones and one still had to rely on enquiries along the way to figure out where the meal break was to be. I am a vegetarian and was not much of an adventurer those days in matters gastronomic.  The Bhutanese were famous for Jasha Maroo(spicy chicken) and Phaksha Paa( pork with red chillies) and Ema Datshi(Chillies  and cheese). A couple of hours along the route, I was getting a trifle hungry. I stopped to enquire about the possibility of some food along the way. Through a bit of sign language, I realized that some food was on offer about another half hour along the road.

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Almost mid – way, a place called Takhti – Chu, was home to a canteen run by a retired Malayalee ex – serviceman. A basic and functional canteen; no frills and fancy stuff.  The smell of fresh hot steamingSambar wafting through the Himalayan air! I could not believe it. That is a sight which has remained imprinted in my mind forever- several Bhutanese men and women attired in typical Gho and Kira, sitting on the wooden tables and tucking into the softest Idlis and the crispestDosas and enjoying the several types of chutneys to go with it. I don’t think I have enjoyed a Dosa or an Idli more than that day sitting on the bench under an overcast Bhutan sky, breathing in the unpolluted Himalayan air and sharing the table with an elderly Bhutanese couple!

 

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I did the trip several times over the next few months and a stop atTakhti- Chu was inevitable. But for the rest of my life , whenever it isDosa or Idli , it brings back memories of that my first pit stop at Takhti-Chu…

 

When the going gets tough..

When the going gets tough, the tough get going!!

 

By 

 

Vivek Hande

 

 

Stay fit; Burn fat. Kill the calories. Eat less, exercise more. I am a staunch believer in fitness and one has to strive hard to be fit. But, there is no point overdoing things. I am also a believer in the principle of moderation. Everything is good in small portions and good measure.  I agree with some proponents who say mental fitness is more important than physical fitness. In fact , there are some who also say that running late should be considered exercise. There may be something to it.

 

 

But living in an environment, where everybody is so fitness conscious and burning calories as if there is no tomorrow, one does get swept away. There are two very well appointed gyms close to where I stay. They are teeming with folks sweating away, pumping iron and what have you. One of the gyms is called “Serendipity”.  I ventured into the gym deciding I needed to emerge after a couple of hours with a set of six packs and a well toned physique. The trainer swooped down on me and prescribed a set of warm up exercises.  After fifteen minutes of warm –up, I would have liked to gulp down a glass of chilled beer along with some roasted peanuts perhaps. The trainer had different ideas. After pushing me onto what he called were graded exercise sets on a series of equipment that seemed to have emerged from “Star Wars”, he seemed to have an unbecoming smirk on his face. Because of my mental toughness, I was somehow surviving and managed to keep my heart within my chest cage and was not asking for an oxygen cylinder. It is to my credit that I stumbled through some more time on the “fly” and the “lat pull down machine” without needing a stretcher and inspite of the trainer’s diabolical intent to see me erupt in flames!

 

 

An hour seemed like an eternity. I staggered out of the gym with a solitary thought in mind. Why have they called the gym “Serendipity”? I am good with the etymology of words and in my oxygen starved state I recollected the origin of the word. First used by Horace Walpole in 1754 in a book titled “The three princes of Serendip”, old name for Sri Lanka. In the book, the heroes are making discoveries by accident or sagacity of things they were not in quest. Serendipity;  noun. Luck that takes the form of finding pleasant things that are not looked for. The occurrence or development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.

 

 

 Well, my bursting lungs and stiff back and muscles and wobbly knees and hypoxic brain were certainly not pleasant things I had found by chance. There seemed nothing serendipitous about the whole thing. I slowly dragged myself home, crossing the other gym on the way. By the way, the other gym is called “Utopia”. Utopia, noun.  An imagined place or state of things in which everything is perfect.

 

An Officer and a Gentleman..

An  officer and a gentleman. ..

By

Vivek Hande

The story dates back to the late fifties.  My father was a young officer (and a gentleman) in the Indian Army. Those were the days of train travel. First class coaches had independent compartments with attached toilets. Journeys were long and criss- crossed the length and breadth of the country. But one traveled in style as befitting an officer. This included being served tea and meals in porcelain crockery. It also involved changing into a night suit; of course one had to be in silk dressing gown when stepping out of the compartment.  One usually sank into the upholstery and enjoyed the countryside passing by in style. There were no smart phones or laptops to distract you; so one indulged in catching up with ones’ reading.

M father was travelling between Madras(Chennai now)  and Calcutta(Kolkata now). It was to be a rather long journey and he was travelling along with a course mate in a first class coupe. The reading material had been exhausted and most of the problems of the world had been sorted out over animated conversation between the course mates. The train stopped at Bizwada( Vijaywada now) around eleven at night and my father was pleasantly surprised to see the AH Wheeler book stall open  through the window. He got off, rather jauntily attired in his black silk dressing-gown to arm himself with some books for the rather long journey yet to go. Engrossed in selecting books, he was alerted, a little late in the day (or night) by the rather bored vendor that the train was half way out of platform one! The young officer threw the books and sprinted not so jauntily to catch the fast departing train.

He managed to get onto the railings of the last coach which was the unreserved one. Barely clinging onto the foot board and holding on for dear life as the train hurtled into the darkness of the night. He could see the coach was packed with passengers stuffed like sardines but all seemingly oblivious to the world and definitely unable to hear his shouts for assistance. The train gathered speed and the steam engine roared into the night and was sending billowing gusts of soot into the air. The dressing gown was flapping wildly with the wind; soot and dust was settling into every pore on the face and eyes. He was fighting sleep; the winds and the momentum of the lurching train and quite literally, blowing in the wind (Bob Dylan would have approved!).

It was a nightmare by any standards and at the end of two hours when the train rolled onto the next station, the young man had numb hands and wobbly legs and a very black face and a very very tattered dressing –gown. He managed to make his way back to the coupe on very unsteady legs. The course mate emerged from deep slumber oblivious to the excitement. He asked, “Where have you been? What happened?”  The young officer replied,”I had stepped out. I think I need a new dressing –gown!”  The officer and gentleman was ready for more adventures…

When The Going Gets Tough , the tough get going!!

When the going gets tough, the tough get going!!

By

Vivek Hande

 

Stay fit; Burn fat. Kill the calories. Eat less, exercise more. I am a staunch believer in fitness and one has to strive hard to be fit. But, there is no point overdoing things. I am also a believer in the principle of moderation. Everything is good in small portions and good measure.  I agree with some proponents who say mental fitness is more important than physical fitness. In fact , there are some who also say that running late should be considered exercise. There may be something to it.

But living in an environment, where everybody is so fitness conscious and burning calories as if there is no tomorrow, one does get swept away. There are two very well appointed gyms close to where I stay. They are teeming with folks sweating away, pumping iron and what have you. One of the gyms is called “Serendipity”.  I ventured into the gym deciding I needed to emerge after a couple of hours with a set of six packs and a well toned physique. The trainer swooped down on me and prescribed a set of warm up exercises.  After fifteen minutes of warm –up, I would have liked to gulp down a glass of chilled beer along with some roasted peanuts perhaps. The trainer had different ideas. After pushing me onto what he called were graded exercise sets on a series of equipment that seemed to have emerged from “Star Wars”, he seemed to have an unbecoming smirk on his face. Because of my mental toughness, I was somehow surviving and managed to keep my heart within my chest cage and was not asking for an oxygen cylinder. It is to my credit that I stumbled through some more time on the “fly” and the “lat pull down machine” without needing a stretcher and inspite of the trainer’s diabolical intent to see me erupt in flames!

An hour seemed like an eternity. I staggered out of the gym with a solitary thought in mind. Why have they called the gym “Serendipity”? I am good with the etymology of words and in my oxygen starved state I recollected the origin of the word. First used by Horace Walpole in 1754 in a book titled “The three princes of Serendip”, old name for Sri Lanka. In the book, the heroes are making discoveries by accident or sagacity of things they were not in quest. Serendipity;  noun. Luck that takes the form of finding pleasant things that are not looked for. The occurrence or development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.

 Well, my bursting lungs and stiff back and muscles and wobbly knees and hypoxic brain were certainly not pleasant things I had found by chance. There seemed nothing serendipitous about the whole thing. I slowly dragged myself home, crossing the other gym on the way. By the way, the other gym is called “Utopia”. Utopia, noun.  An imagined place or state of things in which everything is perfect.

Tulu Stories

Tulu stories

By

Vivek Hande

 

Tulu is a language /dialect spoken in a very small part of India. The language is spoken mainly by the natives of South West Karnataka – primarily the Udipi and Dakshina Kanara districts to be precise. That is really a small part of the huge country that India is. Tulu has a large body of literature written in the traditional Kannada script and earlier works are found in the Tilagari script of Sanskrit origins. It has a rich body of oral literature and there are about a dozen variants of the spoken language as one travels across this part of Karnataka. It does have a sweet ring to it and I do agree with many who say that is the Bengali of the Dravidians!!

 If you go by census figures, Tulu is spoken by approximately two million people today. Most of the Tulu speakers are largely confined to this geographical belt. You could find a few Tulu speaking cohorts in parts of Mumbai and Kerala. It would be rather extremely rare to find Tulu speaking natives in significant numbers out of these geographical boundaries.

This preamble is necessary to establish the background of the story. It was way back in the mid sixties. My parents, still in early years of their marriage, were traveling by a first class railways coach between Calcutta (of yore) and Ranchi. They had only one confirmed berth of the two- berther coupe and were hopeful that the person occupying the other berth would miss the train or be severely indisposed or forget that he was to travel so that they could have the berth to themselves. But that was not to be. A portly gentleman made himself comfortable in the upper berth and he seemed in no mood for conversation. My parents knew it would be safe to converse in Tulu and were discussing diabolical plans to throw him off the train or plans generally in that direction. My father took it upon himself to impress his newly acquired wife and spoke in emphatic Tulu to convey that he intended to roll up the “intruder” into a ball and throw him out of the train at the next station. While they did not have the luxury of the additional berth, these imaginary plans certainly added to the mirth and they continued to amuse themselves. They told themselves that thanks to Tulu, they could discuss safely whatever they wanted to do to the gentleman, who was most certainly from Bihar or Bengal and was oblivious to their plans for him.

 My mother remarked, “Tulu is probably the safest language to converse in this part of the country!” The journey rolled on and it was time to alight at Ranchi.

While they were getting off, the gentleman spoke almost for the first time- in chaste Tulu!! He asked if he could help them with their luggage. He went onto apologize for having made the journey uncomfortable for them by occupying his own berth- all in glorious Tulu.  He laughed heartily and said he was grateful for all the imaginative plans being discussed – he said it had made his journey memorable!

 My parents went into an apology overdrive. Well, at the end of it three Tulu speaking strangers became friends in a remote corner of this vast country and the friendship has survived four decades, notwithstanding the diabolical plans!!

 

bitten by the spelling bee

Bitten by the Spelling Bee!!

By

Vivek Hande

I cannot say my spellings are always perfect but I do try. Nothing irritates me more than seeing a word spelled (not spelt) incorrectly on the Television screen or hoardings or advertisements or banners or in power-point presentations of my residents. I get an irrestible urge to take a brush or a pen or a mouse and do the necessary corrections every time a ghastly mistake pops up-it is a reflex thing.

In a research brought out by BBC in 2011, it was highlighted that nearly 70% of people lost faith in the quality of a website and doubted the honesty of its content if it was riddled with spelling mistakes. They took their business or queries to another website. Some years ago, Chile lost huge amounts in revenue when their 50 peso currency came out with the spelling “Chiie” instead of Chile. The whole process of minting had to be repeated and lots of people in quality control lost their jobs – all because of a spelling error!

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Oxford Dictionary lists the 250 commonly made spelling mistakes the world over. Respect the words in the italics and remember that very often we have spelled them incorrectly as well. I don’t wish to exaggerate but the most conscientious speller could also land up embarrassing oneself with the silliest spelling mistakes. Someone once remarked that a synonym is a word you use when you cannot spell the other one. At times, spelling mistakes could result in humourous situations and at other times could unknowingly be mischievous!  For instance a man sent a SMS message to his neighbour apologizing for using his wife through the day without obtaining his permission. While the neighbour was still recovering from the shock, he got another message apologizing for the wrong spelling –he meant WIFI and not WIFE!  Another man who wrote to his wife about a grand holiday he was having. “I am having a wonderful time. Wish you were her.” He meant “here”. Just in jest but it almost sent the neighbour and the holidaying husband to the cemetery!!

I have the list of these common bloopers in my possession and I don’t want to lose it and I am not writing loosely when I say that almost each one of us would have to be careful when one attempted to successfully spell some of these very common words.  The government should probably definitely set up a committee to correct the disastrous spellings floating on various signboards and hoardings – if you have to use a language, let us do it well and let there be a noticeable absence of these eye-sores! Whether you agree with me or not is another matter but the problem of these errors happens through all seasons and all kinds of weather. Thoughts of personally correcting these mistakes have occurred to me on more than one occasion. This is honestly not a very bizarre idea or a personal idiosyncrasy. I feel we should be aggressive about correcting these errors and we could be successful if we liaised with the correct authorities in pursuing this matter.spelling 1

English is a beautiful language and if we were to use it, we ought to with care and diligence and with an effort to at least spell correctly. As Marilyn vos Savant remarked, “When our spelling is perfect, it is invisible. But when it is flawed, it prompts strong negative associations.” But then Mark Twain had another perspective, “Anyone who can only think of one way to spell a word obviously lacks imagination!”

Hair -Raising Stuff!!

Hair –Raising stuff!!

By

Vivek Hande

 

I needed a haircut rather urgently. My usual neighbourhood Barber (origin Latin, Barba, beard) being closed, I ventured into a rather fancy setup. I was welcomed by someone of indeterminate gender who asked me to state my requirement. I said I needed a chop – he looked down at me as if I was from some other planet. He asked me to fill a questionnaire which was two pages long. I said I was not seeking employment at their establishment- the person told me either I fill out or file out!

I plodded through the form which required me to state my personal details; allergies; ailments, afflictions and an extra page for additional remarks. For good measure, I let them know my favorite ice-cream flavor; the color of my son’s eyes and my shoe size and the movie I saw last night on the page for “additional remarks”.

I asked the person could I see the barber now – he glared at me with a look of disdain. He said that the concerned “Trichology Consultant” would see me in a while! Where I had landed, I asked myself.

I was ushered through a passage which looked like straight out of a Star Wars movie with strobes and fluorescent lights and some kind of UV lights and some trance music playing in the background. I decided to be a man and get through with it.

The “Tricholgy Consultant”, Andy, had a rich, luxuriant seemingly unruly mop of hair himself. It had a careful carelessness kind of feel about it. I told him I would like a chop- he asked me to tick my choice or combination of choices on another form – the list of choices included : “Butch; Quarter Butch:; Buzz; Business; Brush; Comb – over; Crew; Half Crew; Crown – Half or Full; Faux-Hawk; Mullet; Mop-Top; Mohawk; Surfer; Spike ;Taper cut; Quiff “. I implored him to give me a regular, normal, standard hair cut and let me escape.

He told me,”At your age, you still have hair. Be grateful and appreciate the fact. This is not a saloon- this is the Hair Temple! Don’t treat this exercise like a routine matter-this is a sublime experience.” I surrendered and devoutly asked him to proceed with the ritual. I asked for what I thought was a safe bet-“Business”. For the next forty minutes he used all kinds of instruments and clips and combs and appliances and creams and at the end of it, asked me to admire myself in the life size mirrors. I was aghast –I looked much the same and had seen no change from my appearance forty minutes earlier. I tried to protest but he told me in no uncertain terms that this was the best Business cut money could buy!

I returned through the Star Wars passage and the receptionist of uncertain gender presented me with my bill which made my hair rise phenomenally. The bill settled, I was presented with my own privilege card and flashed a smile and told “Do come again. We are always hair for you!!”

I staggered out, got into my car and was trying to regain my composure after this “hairy” experience. I saw a vaguely familiar face getting out of the saloon – Andy , my Trichology Consultant of Hair Temple fame , out of his work clothes and lo and behold , without his wig of luxuriant unruly hair!! Bald like the moon – he gave me a cheery wave and walked away briskly. I sat in the car, trying to tear my hair out!! Hair today , gone tomorrow…