Thursday, 27 February 2020

God’s mother tongue?

Updated: January 29, 2011 1:42 pm

What is God’s mother tongue? Satiricus, being a journalist and therefore illiterate, does not know. But Bollywood knows that it is English. In fact, God even seems to know the occult intricacies of the English spellings of the Indian names of the stars, starlets and other assorted luminaries of Tinsel Town. For instance, Satiricus recalls reading in the papers a few years back that a well-known male star by name Sunil was advised by his personal astrologer (a la personal physician) to add an E to the spelling of his name, so that instead of just making many millions he could make many more millions. That, he was assured, would happen by God’s alphabetical grace. Since then Sunil became Suneil—and probably rich Sunil became richer Suneil.

                This was just the beginning. Since then Satiricus has been watching the various wondrous ways in which the sacred secrets of spelling are guiding the fortunes of the stellar firmament of the silver screen. For starters, Ritesh became Rietesh and Rajnish became Rajneish. Did that make them famous? Satiricus does not know. If he has heard of Rietesh only occasionally and of Rajneish never he must thank his own ignorance of the Indian edition of English spellings.

                Then again, the stellar science of spelling seems to suggest that a repeated letter would lead to repeated success. So Tushar, Irfan and Prabhudeva have been upgraded to Tusshar, Irrfan and Prabhudevaa. Satiricus wonders—would Prabhudevaa be more successful than Prabhudeva? God knows—became Deva means God. But even Deva may not know why Devgan became Devgn. Oh well, perhaps he wants to keep an option on all the five vowels in the English alphabet.

                Anyway, this mere male, yours truly, knows that what men can do,women can do better—including those in Bollywood. So we have a Giaa, a Soojata, a Mahii, even a doubly emphatic Narmmadaa. To cap in all, Aditi, the mother of the Aditya God, has been terrifically transformed into Addite!

                The Bollywood bottom line: If and when Satiricus decides to stop being a poor pen-pusher and become a fabulous film star, he will have to improve the spelling of his name. So the curious cuss that he is, he wonders—how about Satiri-cuss?

Yankee happiness

“Keeping up with the Joneses” is a common English phrase that seems to be going out of fashion. Why? Probably because Jones was an Englishman, not an American. For in the USA “keeping up” is not enough.

                Take, for instance, a poll conducted there not long back. Aimed at finding out the ‘happiness quotient’ of the American people, it gave them two choices: which would make you happy—a gift of 100,000 dollars that everybody else got, or a gift of 50,000 dollars for you alone? And what was the finding? An overwhelming majority opted for the lesser amount. The data showed that what mattered for the happiness of an American is not how much money he has, but whether the money he has is more than what the Jones next door has.

                The title of the article in which Satiricus read this was a question—“Money equals happiness?” The American answer to this question seems to be “Equal money does not equal happiness”. In a way this is a convenient quantification of happiness. If you have a hundred dollars, you are happy because your neighbour is unhappy with his 99 dollars. But what happens when the neighbour gets two dollars more? Why, it would make the happy American an unhappy American by a full dollar. By the way, what about that American who has Bill Gates living next door?

Types of lies

We live in a competitive world. So should Satiricus be surprised at a competition in telling lies? He should not, but, to tell the truth, he was. It seems some place in the US called Burlington has a ‘Burlington Liars Club’ which sponsors an annual contest of telling lies, and a man by name James Wilberg beat as many as 300 other liars from 14 states and three countries to recently become “World Champion Liar” with his winning lie—“There are three kinds of people in the world: Those who are good at maths, and those who are not.” Well, now, Satiricus sincerely congragulates Mr Wilberg on being such an accomplished liar, but he honestly doubts if this American citizen is in the same league as the former American President in this particular skill. For Satiricus recalls reading an article in an American newspaper recounting how President Bush told a lie at the drop of a hat. But then, Bush has been a politician, this Wilberg was apparently not. And who can beat a politician in telling lies anywhere in the world, including India that is blessed Bharat?

                Anyway, Satiricus always tells the truth, because he is always afraid that he would be easily caught telling a lie. And that, of course, separates the pen-pushers from the politicians. Unlike pen-pushers like Satiricus, politicians are not afraid to tell lies, because they are expected to tell lies. Still here’s a champion lie from Satiricus: “There are three kinds of lies—a lie, a white lie, and an election-time promise of a politician.”

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