Sunday, April 21, 2013
For Oscar Wilde, weather was the most unimaginative refuge for getting into a conversation. It indeed is but just don't knock it out as yet because nine-tenths of the people couldn't start a conversation if weather didn't change once in a while. But one is advised to jump on the drawing-room furniture only if one could hold his own in the conversation. Else, try painting your drawing room 'red' and watch the heat it generates!
If that doesn't suit you, try wearing a hat instead! I have tried it. Whether I wear it or take it off, either way it has been a conversation piece. But amazing are those guys who can neither initiate a conversation nor can contribute to it and yet hang around! Quite often, such characters nod their way through it. Though it is better than 'nodding off', such irritants stick around to avoid being rejected. But can Madame Tussads wax statues be comforting in any drawing room?
Even Steve Jobs would have agreed that gone are the days that 'apple' could start or sustain a conversation. After frequently flying into the country for over two decades now (and holding a 'apple macbook' now), a friend has struck with a novel idea to push the 'silent lambs' into conversation. Says he, 'to support a flagging conversation bring 'mango' into conversation'. Layers of experience get peeled off in a short span, everybody (at least in India) has something to talk about 'mango'!
Having tried it a few times, mangoes easily trigger a conversation. Try it, it works!
Monday, April 1, 2013
Why would it spread so thick and fast? With 'solutionism' being the new belief or ideology amongst youth, perhaps the idea has been to identify those 'tools' that could offer instant 'solutions' by presuming to be intrinsically creative. For the carefree youth, the world and our relationship to it are puzzles to be solved. Complexity, ambiguity, uncertainty and disagreement are all confused renditions of problems. If one phrase could strike all such puzzles than let that be! And, why not?
Though novel in its approach, Swalpa Adjust Maadi offers a non-contentitious 'fix'. It compromises on the situation by taking a status quo position. It is more about adjustment than transformation, an approach that emerges from a generation mistrustful of government and the state, but enamoured by its own capacity to manage its well-being. A tech-savvy generation which surfs information and searches solutions at the click of the button has only gone by the entrenched notion that 'convenience' and not 'contention' is the solution. In the face of all the array of major problems confronting us, Swalpa Adjust Maadi could indeed help slip past numerous small problems at hand!
The worrying side of this invention, according to 'Citizens Against the Swalpa Adjust Maadi', is that it helps settle for anything 'less than hundred per cent', justifying the widely held notion that we are as a nation more 'satisfier' than 'maximizer'. Our roads may be clogged; our infrastructure crumbling; our public institutions decaying but we should take pleasure in the small things and be content with it. If Swalpa Adjust Maadi is what the youth find comfort in than those hoping for an Arab Spring in India must go on a long vacation!
Monday, February 18, 2013
You may wonder what is so 'uncool' about it. Aren't things being made convenient for us, after all? No doubt, but 'cool' too is 'american' that subsumes many linguistic expressions. It's economy may have touched rock bottom but its cultural dominance hasn't, it is a strange mix of arrogance and hegemony that the post-war america has mastered. Despite half the world filled with hate for america, from far-East to middle-East and from latin-America to southern-Europe, there are growing millions who love to talk and walk the american way. Isn't it 'ah-sum'? It indeed is and if you haven't still got it that's how an american will pronounce 'awesome'.
Would you call it globalization or will monopolization be a better substitute? Whatever be it, the world near us is fast turning what some commentators call 'americanese'. And the 'ease' with which 'american-ese' is becoming a norm is indeed baffling. From american brands to american sops, it seems to be the new way of life. It is fast turning youngsters of all hues into 'couch potatoes' and they are all 'kewl' (or cool) about it. It is, however, different matter that their parents are absolutely 'uncool' about it and are often found fuming with rage at the growing trend that has caught on everybody, from Karol Bagh to Kanya Kumari.
Pardon me for my naivety but till the other day 'dude' for me was a rhythmic expression for the word 'dud'. Wondering why youngsters wouldn't take offence to being called a 'dud(e)', I checked it up with a younger colleague. I was told that there is nothing stupid about being called a 'dude'. it is a Scottish word that has been americanised since the early 1970's. Often a person belonging to the male gender, who is 'with it', is called a 'dude'. And for God-sake, I was cautioned, don't ask what's the 'it' that a dude is with. Not only will it be 'uncool' but that I'll end up proving myself to be a 'dud'. Got it, dude!