Resuming my seat?

1. Yesterday, one of my students raised her eyebrows at the following usage in the chapter ‘The Snake and The Mirror,’ English NCERT reader for class ninth:

“…Then I resumed my seat…”

2. Instead of going at length to search through engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing to find out further examples which allow such usages: I told her based on my better judgement that it was an unusual and creative usage since it was rare.

3. The thing with language, culture, literature and life is: there are laws and there are exceptions to laws. There are laws governing exceptions decipherable by few of us but they’re there. In general: if you’re accepted by community at large and become popular: your usages and exceptional behaviour is accepted and then becomes a trend.

4. The logic might go like this: if they‘re doing this it must be something BIG. The usage upthread would make an examiner deduct marks of students. As a matter of fact: in our school days we were supposed to reproduce answers as verbatim as possible. If you took exceptions even in subjects like maths and science: you had to pay heavy prices. Even today: the prestigious school where we studied has teachers who dictate randomly structured answers which don’t follow strict standards of Grammar and they’re supposed to copy and paste those in exams. Grammar, syntax, laws, culture and their evolution are strange- therefore let me resume my seat and I hope you would resume yours until we can.

Theka, thela and aap!

1. One of my earliest childhood memories is related to my great grandfather reading a newspaper one morning. I must have started learning Hindi reading for he decided to test my skills. He was wearing glasses and reading it in the drawing room of our grandparents’ house where we used to live. Since he chose to test my skills for reading the title of the newspaper: it’s obvious that such tests hadn’t been conducted before. There’s no way to produce any corroboration for what my exact age was.

2. I read it aloud using the image on the front page, just below the title . I had only begin to read when I saw that image and thought it was an easy way out. It wasn’t. I read ‘Naav Bharat.’ Naav is a synonym for boat in Hindi which was there in the image. He immediately corrected me saying “Nav not Naav.” Nav in Hindi means new and Bharat is for India. In my very first test of reading I was cheating. Using an easy way out with the imagery available. The late old man was barely literate used dialect of Hindi prevalent in his region.

3. In another such event my parents were residing besides the aforementioned house in a rented room and I once visited my grandfather. He took me in the house and then as I was talking about my father he used a word which was new to me. To indicate that he didn’t feel responsible for my father- he said “Hamne tumhaare baap ka THEKA nahi liya hai.” It was obviously used only to tease a young child.

4. Theka was too much to interpret. I had heard thela. Thela was a moving vehicle with six wheels. Biggest vehicle on road. Thela is also used for wooden four wheelers pushed by peddlers. As soon as he uttered the word- an image of a truck was created in my mind. It stayed as one confusing word thela/theka, until I knew better.

5. Thela or thelo is also used as a verb which means: to push. That’s why hand pulled or pushed wooden vehicles are called by that name.

6. I sing a poem for my kindergarten student. This was learned a very long ago by heart. The story in the verse has to do with an old woman who buys a big pot to trick lions and tigers on path:

Image courtesy: Twitter and Google.

7. As soon as I speak the 11th line: “Usme baithee budhiya aap,” the kid gets confused about the usage of word aap. It means by herself here. He has only been accustomed to the usage of word as second person pronoun used with respect. He asks: “are you insinuating that I am the old lady who sat in the pot?”

8. Abruptly ending a post which was about language:

Twilights and Ferrymen!

1. Twilights are almost always beautiful. Birds returning to nests; calls for rest and sleep after a hard day of work. Some dusks are more dusky than others. All founders of major religions were people on path which advocates freedom from the clutches of delusions. The regimens in their times and following their times use bones left afterwards for controlling the masses to prove that they’re indeed divinely ordained rulers of the land because they’ve the most authentic version of the message. People lose sight of how religion grew up and had no shape at once.

2. The latest cafe in the chain of cafes I have frequented this year is the first one I visited after the lockdown phase. Full circle. Was it more than a coincidence that on the eve of elections here I got this coin released in 2012: celebrating 60 years of Parliament of India? I had to return it the very next morning.

Ferryman?

3. The fish market outside Baburam Chaturvedi Stadium Chhatarpur has let the police lines entrance stay open in the last two weeks. It’s a change and an improvement. Something which allows visitors easier access to this playground. As for badminton hall: the upgrades were due before the elections but despite the predictions of the staff I felt it was going to be later than sooner and it indeed let the elections go before it. Pits, garbage, dirt and a lot of money is out there for newly elected assembly here. Stay tuned!

Unsuspecting masses!

Sanchalit or Sanlalit?

1. Big poster. Big cutouts. What for? Education. Distance education. Just below the name: in-your-face SANLALIT course is the Hindi heading for courses offered in distance learning :

There are five categories offered. These courses help you advance your career in education business.

2. Elementary education offered in Hindi is enough to teach the difference between Sanchalit and Sanlalit. It’s a typo. The question arises: an institute offering these courses mounts a poster worth 15000 rupees at many locations: why do they leave such errors?

3. What actually happens in such institutions is not hidden from anyone. Why did the editors team let this poster go out? Is it being careless or smug or following the trend set by today’s Hindi newspapers and political leaders?

4. Below the image of director: Sanchalak which means Conductor or Director. Why not Sanlalak for Sanlalit courses?

5. Here’s a song to celebrate:

6.

Chaska Chai Ka!

Another cafe located nearby. Machine is there but never used. The boy took holiday recently. It’s relatively quiet. Only place where elaichi tea is offered for ten rupees. Coffee is for fifteen rupees per serving. They also hesitate to serve an individual, obviously for time and effort put doesn’t give good returns. Mint tea is there on the menu without actually being given out. Manpower lacking. Machine shut down.

7. I was struggling with machinery for a while recently. Dogs were howling the night before yesterday and someone died recently. Howling of dogs usually is not a good omen. Now candidates for elections for local wards are out from all major political parties. Some of these people are going to become richer by virtue of rich gets richer principle without there really being any change in the shape of events or current state-of-affairs. You should feel fortunate to see their exalted faces in their humblest of days, afterwards they rarely descend down from their utility vehicles.

8. One of my friends: a positive thinker who appreciates the world at large for obvious reasons went as far ahead to say that current DM was letting the wild expansion (hijacking) of his bungalow go back to what it used to be. I thought he might be true because he’s in the circle where people often get to hear ethical discourses from his excellency. The result actually was: broadening of highway on the other side of divider without giving upon the expansion by his excellency. I was dead right in my assumption: as usual my positive thinker friend was using gossip mode in hyperactive imagination. These people, when they’re two or three of them start appreciating eachother with terms like cultural icon, maharaj, dau, this or that: obviously because life is good for nothing and we should continue to add value by being poetic for people around us.

9. If politicians have taught them anything: it’s to never discuss ideas where they had spoken something which was grossly inadequate. Loudly speak on issues where you can and leave the rest to unsuspecting masses.

Jazz!

I think I heard it in Sita Sings Blues couple of years ago.

A Tohu:

Storymyweatheravadapaaventuretinueverettenetcetranschulussulcustardentistrystintegermaneonetamarinderpestuaryosemiteemingdynastylursularinkspurupturedpurrodentomologisticsyllogisticsinequanonethelessonneteereeleeryearlyricallyophilharmonickerchieftaintaintedetonatorporomporousienigmatictactoeuvrentuftingemmatrialsomeshugametenthgatenetcimcummerbunderratamarinderfurorteutonicosmicrophobeliskydaddyaddamsonosegaymargaywildcattaboygirlyricsunstrokententhomsonowhereticalculusundryourstrulyonderenderredandereifyideifyinyangularkspuringulchopinpointedstalksuperbowlowlifelinefelicitylifeelinginsengermanemoneprandialtonesureshotpotioseymorelevancesern

Of Names!

1. This article is inspired by Dainik Bhaskar’s article about village names in Madhya Pradesh state in India. Images are also courtesy of Dainik Bhaskar- Hindi daily. Links are given below:

https://dainik-b.in/EqcIjt2mXqb https://dainik-b.in/download

Bhainsa: Ashok Nagar, Ishagarh.

2. The village above is named Bhainsa. It actually means a buffalo: a male buffalo. It immediately reminded me of Buffalo, New York State, name of which surprised me at first when I heard in a movie.

2443: Saali: Badwaani: Rajpur

3. It’s written as SALI which is pronounced as sully but the Hindi name transcription should be SAALI. Saali is female version of Saala: brother and sister-in-law. Actually these are rarely used in their proper context: most of the times they’re used as swear words. The whole business revolves around this mentality:

Since women are a burden who are grown to be married off to another clan to help them grow and don't really contribute much into the family of birth: the family of marriage of women always has an upper hand on the other family from which they take the loan they owned. Thus Saala and Saali are actually swear curse words often used lightly over hard swear words which have reference to male and female reproductive organs. 
Hastinapur: Gwalior

4. There’s a Hastinapur in Gwalior Madhya Pradesh India. Hastinapur name in itself is a very popular place name since it’s been used as the capital of India in the epic of Mahabharata and usually points to Delhi India.

Hastinapur literally means City of Elephants. Elephants symbolise giants or persons of renown: in the context of epic they’re Kauravas and Pandavas or royal people.

5. The article also details names like Hathnee(female elephant), Galti(Mistake), Maafipura(The place where maafias reside), Udaypur and Gorakhpur(In Chhatarpur district in Madhya Pradesh ( you might already be aware of Chhatarpur in Bihar and Delhi states)), Vrindavan and Hastinapur in Guna district. Nagpur and Agra in Indore district and Ramgarh of Sholay movie fame is in Burhanpur of Madhya Pradesh though actual Ramgarh where shooting for the movie took place is located in Karnataka near Bangalore. The article details many other peculiar names but some of them stand out with: Langoti(loincloth) and Choli(blouse) for example. Haldi(Turmeric), Soda, Chaumau, Azgar(python), Sandal, Charkha, Makdi(spider) and Atoot Bhikhari ( Unbreakable beggar!)

6. Luvkushnagar in the Chhatarpur district was renamed to have names of sons of Rama from epic of Ramayana. Previously it was named: Laundi: it simply means a lady or girl or their reproductive organ. Singular.

7. Chhatarpur Madhya Pradesh India got its name from the root Chhatra which symbolises an umbrella or protective shield wielded by warriors like Chhatrasal the ancient king of this place. It’s similar to the shied of captain America!

8. Bugmau is a village name which can be expanded to mean: bug Mau. Like bugbear.

9. The article in Dainik Bhaskar also states that there are 55000 villages in 52 districts in Madhya Pradesh India.

Narration

Margie’s grandfather once said that when he was a little boy his grandfather told him that there was a time when all stories were printed on paper.

Issac Asimov, The Fun They Had, 1.12.1951

1. As I was narrating this story to my student Sumit- it occurred to me that this sentence, in the very first paragraph, was unusually long for a children’s story.

2. Was it written for children or for adults as a fiction was my first doubt.

3. The quoted sentence is in the reported speech format. I recalled how I used to wonder if narration portion of English grammar which was practiced in the standards eighth and ninth of our school curriculum of English really mattered all that much. After all: you’re supposed to tell your story. What difference does it make if narration uses the first person or third person for the subject?

4. Margie’s father once said “When I was a little boy my grandfather told me that there was a time when all stories were printed on paper.”

The Fun They Had, Issac Asimov.

5. It’s difficult to convey meaning of sentences for students like Sumit who never had good help with English which is a second language for them. Despite being a standard ninth student his reading and writing abilities place him somewhere at standard fourth or fifth of academic achievement. Consider narrating this sentence to such students. They seem inextricably elaborate and complex.

6. For Sumit:

6.1: Margie’s great grandfather told her grandfather about a time when all stories were printed on paper.

6.2: It was in his boyhood.

7. It’s obvious that narration loses all imagination with cut-and-dry approach of explanation used in 6.1 and 6.2.

8. It’s where you need to understand that this story was originally penned to be published in a children’s newspaper in the United States of America.

9. Now look at the layers of narration subjects within this one sentence:

Sumit being the listener of this story hears his teacher. Issac Asimov tells it to his teacher that Margie was listening to her grandfather who was listening to his grandfather.

10. There are seven subjects already involved in the elaborate scheme of things as you read this. Otherwise there are only two or only one: you!

11. In mythology of Bhagvata Purana there are many such exercises for imagination with multiple layers of narration and storytellers accompanying listeners. I didn’t appreciate it fully until I watched some movies like Rashomon/Inception/Suraj Ka Saatvaan Ghoda etc.

12. Asimov is credited with the invention of robots and compact disc in his stories much before the technology arrived on scene. It so happened that when I first taught this lesson to a CBSE student in 2020 it was during Covid lockdown. She had to attend classes online. It was almost the future author imagined in his fantasy in 2157 AD.

13. I stressed on how 2157 was exactly 300 years after mutiny of 1857 against British empire in Bundelkhand in India. After about a century republic of India was established with constitution elected assembly in operation for making law and executing it. Two centuries after that(actually 200 years after Asimov published this story : he imagined appearance of fully computerized education system.)

14. As with simulation hypothesis arguments related to AI and emerging threat to humanity similar to depicted in the 1990s movie Matrix: it’s true that in many ways the third decade of this century proved that Asimov placed such technological advancements much far ahead in time in his imagination than they actually happened. I think he would have been surprised by it if he was alive.

15. Asimov was founder of MENSA: a non profit organization which promoted education for highly gifted. Asimov himself reportedly had an intelligence quotient in the excess of 200.

Watch “Timeline of Rulers of INDIA (1526-2020)” on YouTube

1. Night before yesterday, in a discussion intended to address the issue of partition in India before its independence, holding Gandhi to be responsible for losses then and now, one of the interlocutors began with this line of reasoning:

“Mughals had already ruled for 800 years.”

2. If this video is based on certain facts: 1526 AD to 1674 AD is only 148 years. It actually took me a while to bring him to a reasonable ground where he was willing to agree on a figure of 300 years. Why does our imagination exaggerate things especially in case of religion? It’s upto you to think at present. I intend to keep this article based on data available online, verifiable by anyone with an internet connection and a smartphone.

3. As one of the comments observed: son of Indira Gandhi is named Indira Gandhi in this video. Might be poignant but would be registered only as a technical error.

4. It must be noted: using umbrella term ‘rulers of India’ is actually invalid for people represented to be working on behalf of East India Company or Republic of India post independence. It’s what creates an image of Modi or Chouhan being sovereign rulers of state in the mind of youth and it’s grossly mistaken notion.

Eh?

Pundit Baburam Chaturvedi Stadium Chhatarpur Madhya Pradesh India

1. As I was reading an article on beach it occurred to me that the way it’s pronounced in Hindi is beech which means middle. The Sanskrit word contributing to pure Hindi would be Madhya. Madhya contributes to madhyam, maddham(mild) etc. In a way it’s true that it defines ‘the wet sand between water and land.’ The word might have been brought by ships which came exploring India for I am unsure about its origins. Middle part between vast waters of ocean and land is illusory for you don’t know where one ends and the other begins.

2. Tsunami and deluge. Tsunami sounds like it’s a word with ‘su’ prefix to nami which means name. Thus tsunami would translate to Hindi as ‘something which has a good name.’ Noah’s arc.

3. Noah is the name of a neighborhood dog barking from rooftop. I was reading about Noah Webster’s groundbreaking work for American English language. Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson were inventors and statesmen who had to master almost every department of living in their days to make it worth their while and a few centuries later people thought they were universal geniuses, polymaths and so on. Some people were at some places at some times and they were recorded as significant causes for certain changes which were taking place. This made them heroes or villains of their times.

4. Eh? In the same book, in the same chapter I read a bit about how distinct Canadian English language is. So far I was under the impression that ‘eh?’ was originally a British usage.

Mug!

5. Tea in red earthenware tastes different from the tea in led glasses and it tastes different in chinaware.

Forehead forrid got rid of lot of ids.

For head heads along shores of reason!

Resplendent chores resonate.

Ate very late ait it ain’t tainted candidates.

Dates gone through rough terrain rain.

Sedate see date sea seed deed mead enneadeaneedeinnuendoubtincturemnantennamesakeratosisisiestabaniditestamentationoumenoesisomercuriallohistoricitylightsimsummummerbonermuremburgermanemoneonoununthelessonoonomatopoeiaitingentryennobitamarinderfurorteutonicussuctionorwaygianniversaryoursuresowonincompoopooperandindinabulationowheretowithalamustardentistrystitmeanswhatitmeanswerinematodensemesnescafelinefelicitylightswiftightwaddlepatenetsukeynoteemingdynastylustrousudorifictionoisenamibiamberserkierkeguardenmarksmanshipwreckedeckierkegaardurockrasterlingastronomicalculusumplumugwumpunterrafirmamenthollonovembermudaldantianictitatemesisonatammyosemiteparkouroustaboutoutiffinnishinbonetzahummingbirdswordswardebturfulcrumuttermitenthgatengentryonderratapatanamnameowlowlifencesernebraskamikazephyrodentistrystutahattahamburgermannahannahunchopinchinchinatihullabalustradeleteriousufructsimcardoorwaywardennearmarkedofficecoolooccludenowinsomentholoninzaturtlensecarticleonasmeraldaldampsonoshoguntiedinteger

Bonus track:

Thanks for the memory,
Of sentimental verse,
Nothing in my purse,
And chuckles,
When the preacher said
For better or for worse,
How lovely it was!

6. Attention span of goldfish is greater than human attention span.

Psychology section: UNWFP Free Rice game.

Like dreams that which has no beginning or end has no middle either!

Unknown

Would you like to swing on a star, carry moonbeams home in a jar?

Wikipedia: Educational courtesy!
Google search
UNWFP: Free Rice: Psychology section!
Milestone blue LEGAND!
Moonbeams home in a jar!

1. I was listening to AFI’s 100 years 100 songs playlist on Google Spotify when I came across this track. Music composed by Jimmy Van Heusen and lyrics by Johnny Burke. I might have come across this one last year when I was watching classic movies from Hollywood.

2. However what I didn’t appreciate last year was lyrics. These used to be tagline of Willem from Belgium. I asked him what his forum name meant: William as in Williamthe protector he told. I never forgot it afterwards but his tagline seemed like it was picked off from some nursery rhymes book. His avatar actually reflected it as a boy hanging on a Moonbeam.

3. Willem was one of the moderators on forum. Susan who had her birthday recently was the admin of this small forum known as The Couch. Paul used to do technical support time-to-time and Brian aka Monk2400 aka Midnight monk was Philosophy major. Henry Quirk from Voice of Lafayette, Louisiana was there for a while. He was also on Mad Philosophers where I first interacted with Chinese philosopher Xanthos who after a heated debate on The Couch moved onto a Science discussion forum.

4. Incidentally, United Nations World Food Programme website Free Rice introduced two new categories in their free gaming section which educates and helps you help alleviate the hunger in the world: Psychology and Economics.

Thus they now have 54 categories instead of 52. Psychology section had a question with a grammatical mistake in the last option. I tried to notify them of it on Facebook where I had previously interacted with one of their technical supports. (The Couch and Psychology section)

5. Needless to say that the correct answer in the question shown associates watching more television with unhappiness. Couch potato is another term associated with this pattern.

6. The second last image in this sequence of images has a menu of liquor items I saw this evening as we went to buy a drink for my friend who drinks regularly and needs company. Legend is spelt as LEGAND. You need to click onto the picture of menu and amplify the resolution to be able to spot it. It shall be a test for your seriousness. Else: never mind fir else fur Elise Elijah ah!

7. Full moon for this month of Jyeshtha constellation is celebrated as birthday of Kabir. After my research I noticed that full moon days were assumed to be birthdays of saints and mystics no matter what their exact birthdays were. In case of Kabir birth month might be accurate. Since Jyeshtha Sun is hottest in this part of globe: Moon merely reflects that lustre. Hence Kabir( al-kabir a name of God in Quran which means ‘the great one’ ) as the name suggests has most illustrious moon for his birthday.

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