Saturday, August 16, 2008


While reading the Chapter “ Town and Country” in Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris, the impact of cuss words did impinge on my sensibilities. Although, we are used to the BC/MC kind of language at college, a major rehabilitation needs to take place when one joins the corporate world. Suddenly, the search for the political correct word assumes huge importance. A wrongly used phrase can bring opprobrium on oneself. My favorite politically correct phrase is “ significant other”; as in, You and your significant other are invited to evening cocktails. This eliminates any discrimination of gender, preferences and marital state. “Happy Holidays” at Christmas time or when Diwali and Id coincide is another opportunistic phrase used to pussyfoot around the religious space.

BBC Entertainment channel which sometimes airs the show “ Live at Apollo” does have at least one loyal viewer. Partly because I lived for some time near Hammersmith, the home of Apollo theatre, but also, this is one show which has some adult humor. The comedy stand up shows on the Indian channels, barring a few original comedians, are just too tame for me. BBC also tailored the show to “beep” out any profanities, which does compromise the show a wee bit.

This reminds me of a head of a company I used to work for. A person of Indian origin, settled in UK, used to liberally sprinkle his talk with the four letter word. Apparently this is the normal talk for London, although I did not hear anyone using the word ( as frequently) in the office when I was working there. I think he used the shock words to make himself more Brit than the Brits. When apprised of the fact that Indian sensibilities do not appreciate his colorful language, and, instead, find it offensive, he showed surprise, and vowed to become a better person. His vocabulary did change after that, although one could see THE word lurking at the tip of his tongue.

Bill Maher, the American talk show host, is much more expressive with his language. He does use the four letter word, with some convoluted variations, and for some interesting people; or makes them interesting by prefacing or suffixing them with some astute observations . His blog makes an riveting, though controversial read.

It may be time that we allow ourselves a little more liberty in using the cuss words in public. Adult humour and comments can be scheduled in the late night hours on TV, although knowing the kids, this does not stop them from keeping awake till the wee hours. The Indians need some risque humour to spice up their life, without feeling offended at every casual utterance.

Odds and Ends

Some acronyms used by the Delhi-wallah

CP: Connaught Place or Rajiv Chowk
Willington Hopsital: Maulana Azad Hospital
South X1 - South Extension Part I
South X2- South Extension Part II
GK1- Greater Kailash Part 1
GK2- Fgure it out!
Malls: Gurgaon; As in We are going to the Malls
NOIDA: New Okhla Industrial Development Authority. A misnomer as half of Delhi actually resides in the "Industrial Area"
NCR: Delhi to Jaipur, Agra and Chandigarh and everything in between.
C Sec: C Section or Central Secretariat, depending on whether you are a doctor or not.
DC ( as in District of Colombia): Janakpuri District Centre

Delhi Chronicles

Hole in the ground

Delhi seems to have the best roads in India, but that is not saying much. The heavy rains last week wrecked havoc on the Delhi roads, with potholes threatening to make them a minefield. The water logging (actually flooding) at critical points on major roads backed up the traffic for hours on Thursday, 14 August. Here are some timings people known to me took for travel:

Faridabad to West Delhi: 4 Hours

West Delhi to Pansheel: 2 Hours

Back to West Delhi: 2 hours

Gurgaon to Noida: Are you kidding?

Gurgaon to West Delhi: Forget it. Go back to office and sleep in.

The Delhi government has instituted an enquiry into this mess, to be completed speedily, and we are looking with anticipation to the findings. No doubt the responsible person or 'party' , as such anonymous people are known in Delhi, will be brought to light, and punished for their inaction , or action ( like taking bribes from the contractor). It will be a long and thorough investigation, with many witnesses, and files ensconced in their shelves brought out to the eagle eyed committee members. After many deadline extensions, a thousand page report with innumerable Annexures will be finally revealed to the public, and the guilty will be given their dues, but only after they have challenged the report with the 'competent authority', which may take a few years. In this long drawn process a few relevant files may go missing or a few key witnesses may die, but fear not Denizens of Delhi. Justice will ultimately prevail.

In the meantime, do get that car repaired for the next monsoon cross country rally from CP to South X1.

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