Monday, February 18, 2013

92. Dude, you are a dud!

It was tough to convince my nephew that 'rest room' indeed meant 'toilet' only. In his early years of double-digit age, he has been as inquisitive as reflective in questioning what a majority of us would consider 'given'. When indeed 'toilet' signs got replaced with 'rest room' boards? Hasn't it been a transition that we have got used to without wondering when did we ever enter a toilet to take 'rest'. I'm told 'rest room' is an american expression aimed at outwitting the prevailing terminologies for a public convenience i.e.,Latrine is Latin, Loo is French and Toilet is English. Like one global currency, how about 'one' expression for a global human daily engagement! 

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!