Monday, December 19, 2011

63. Enriching or diminishing....

As the year draws to a close, lexicographers (those who work on words) search for frequently used 'words' through the year. Once accepted, quite a few of such words make it to the next edition of a dictionary. Mountainology, the study of mountains, is one among several such words that had slipped into the dictionary some years ago. That is how 'dictionary' continues to swell in size.

Blending of words too has led to emergence of new words as well. 'Jeggings', a blend between 'jeans' and 'leggings', has gained acceptance and is now a commonly used word. In similar tone, apparent reference to widespread obesity has led to coinage of the word 'globesity'. In certain instances, new words have replaced the existing expressions. Hasn't 'item number' replaced 'cabaret' in Bollywood movies?

Words are known to enrich our lives, giving fresh expressions to human emotions and thoughts. Thanks to Jarnail Singh, 'Shoe' has attained a distinct status this year - it can henceforth be conveniently called 'a weapon of mass attraction'. The equivalent of 'Arab spring' in our part of the world is 'Slap', the thunder from Harvinder Singh will continue to echo for certain politicians. Finally, use 'Sibal' as a generic replacement for 'censor'.

Whether or not 'new words of 2011' are enriching or diminishing is anybody's guess!

Monday, December 5, 2011

62. Is there a choice?

Not many would disagree that life is filled with more choices than ever before. Be it food, beverages, goods or services, there are plenty to choose from. Whether big or small, simple or complex, choice has created a world of immense possibilities around us. Seemingly we are not done yet, aspiring for more to choose from. Isn't it? Because the aggregate result (from your choices) creates momentum and perpetuates life.

You go to a restaurant and choose for yourself; you go to a shopping mall and choose soap, sandal and shirt for yourself; you go to car garage and pick car of your choicest color; and most youngsters choose their brides. Life is on a roller coaster ride, you would imagine, with variety of choices spread all across. Yet, as you watch closely you'd get to see that the choices are indeed 'limited' and it is no more than Hobson's choice you end up making - either you have 'this' or 'none'.

Haven't leading brands proliferated because choices have been smartly restricted? Aren't corporations expanding their global reach on account of limiting consumer's choice? Haven't democracies enforced choice between 'better of the worst' at the ballot box? The most celebrated application of Hobson's choice in the 20th century was Henry Ford's offer of the Model-T Ford in 'any colour you like, as long as it is black.'

The idea of 'choice' is what you make of it. Neither can you choose your parents, nor can children be of your choice. And as you go to your doctor, the idea of 'choice' takes a beating. 'Doctor, we will go by your advice' is what lays the idea of choice to 'rest'. How often have you gone against your doctor's prescription? Yet, you think you can make informed choice in a world that is largely driven by Hobson's choice.