Mind Your Language

Cacofonix, my guest blogger is at it again.......
My dear Ajay Maken, I am bristling with indignation at Mani Shankar Aiyar’s suggestion that your BA(Pass) education prohibits you from using the word ‘dichotomous’.  Mani, as you now know, is of St Stephens and Cambridge lineage, or one of ‘oonche log’. The same ‘oonche log’ whose ‘oonchi pasand’ is a particular brand of pan masala.  An ad exhorts ‘mooh mein rajnigandha’ with the jingle lingering on the word ‘mooh’ or mouth, just in case somebody like Mani gets confused about which bodily aperture the comestible has to be stuffed in.  But I digress.  I want to come to your rescue with a handy guide on the English language.
Dichotomous:  This is the division between two completely opposed things.  Like coffee and mishti doi.  Like politics and honesty.  Like Obama and Osama.  Like Sheila (Dikshit) and jawani.  Like Rakhi and Ramdev.  Like Mamata didi and Buddhadev B.  Like Mamata didi and Pranab M.  Like Mamata didi and everyone else.  Almost as if her appellation ‘didi’ is dichotomous abbreviated, twice over.
Analogous:  No, this is not made up of the English word ‘anal’ and the Hindi word ‘log’, suggesting a translation to ‘asshole’. Nor does it pair ‘Anna’ and ‘log’ to mean his band of fast followers.  It is the elitist version of the word ‘similar’ which Mani finds below his class.
Transcendental Meditation:  This is what some parliamentarians practise.  While attending parliament.  It brings about a sense of inner calm and peace, more so after the lunch recess, as you will see on the Lok Sabha channel on television.  Outwardly, it would appear that the person has disconnected himself from the material world, levitating high above the debate on clad versus unclad reactors for our nuclear power plants (‘our reactors must always be fully clad, preferably in a saree’ – as one avid Valentine-Day-hater asserted).  The tell-tale sign could be an involuntary jerk when a neighbouring member thumps the bench.  But, inwardly, the seasoned parliamentarian is actually engaged in bringing about union between his mind and his body, elevating his state to one of bliss.  Otherwise known as ‘sleep’.
Privilege Motion:  ‘Privileged’ means special people.  And we know from our childhood, from schools that teach in the medium of English, and schools that do not, that ‘motion’ refers to the final cathartic act of our bowels. To a BA (Pass) student, Privilege Motion may conjure visions of Lok Sabha members dashing to the loo.  Or of Amar Singh deploying two undertrials at Tihar during his stay there to clean up after his morning ablutions.  But, in a parliamentary democracy, it is really a process to affirm the privilege enjoyed by our elected representatives to stop any motion or movement by the public at large to make them work.
Sycophant: The short spelling is ‘fan’.  Not Havell’s or Usha.  But as in ‘I am a big fan of KRK’.  Only, you have to be a lot more leech-like in your persuasion and expressions of fulsome praise.  Mani himself chairs the Society, so you know this is a lofty calling.  He is the one who renamed the perfectly cheerful Connaught Place and Connaught Circus to the death-shrouded Indira Chowk and Rajiv Chowk.    
Petrol Bill:  Not a proposal introduced by a member of the house to reduce the price of petrol.  The intent is quite the opposite.  This is a piece of paper, usually recycled, smudged, with some hand-written figures that tell the auditor that the said member, like Avtar Singh Makkar of Punjab SGPC, has filled 130 litres of petrol every day in his car, 365 days a year, driving at least 1300 kilometres everyday in service of his constituency, taking the injured to the hospital, taking the uninjured to sammelans and gidda nights. 
Antediluvian:  The literal meaning is ‘before the flood’.  But, it does not really represent the condition of roads in Delhi or Mumbai or Kolkata (the city of intellectual protectors of the English language where the brain is the only organ of any consequence, but I digress again) before the skies opened up like a giant shower dunking everything in sight and putting all the silt that municipal corporations dug out last year back into the pipes that carry storm water away to some distant place.  Rather, antediluvian refers to a time long long long ago.  Like when Noah went to Home Depot to buy carpentry gear.  Like when the geriatric Advani was in hand-woven chaddis.  May not have been pink.  The chaddis, I mean.
In future lessons, I will help you navigate through other dichotomies that exist between “the culprits will be brought to book” and “let the law take its own course”.  Or between “it’s interesting” and “it’s different” when you are struggling to compliment the love of your life on his or her latest kitchen exploit. 


  1. Purba Ma'am, that was a very enlightening post. The best of all were transcendental meditation and antediluvian in particular and how can I miss sycophant, which is chaired by Mani himself?

    Looking forward to the explanations of the other promised expressions :)

  2. :) I like the ANALOGOUS seems to fit on a lot of people :)

    Oh my , my vocabulory has suddenly increased mani-a-fold .. thank you for that ..

    and MAKKAR has filled that much petrol OH TERI karte kya hain yeh sahib, he is in the run to become the president or head of SGPC wonder what he will do then ...


  3. An enlightening rib tickler!Thanks Purba for giving another perspective of these words!!

  4. Awesome post Purba! :P


  5. That was side splitting. It is time you should be knighted for writing such amusing pieces.......Sir Cacofonix, Lord Wit, Count of Satire

  6. Although not quite enamoured of Shri Ajay Maken myself, I remain unimpressed by the snootiness of Mani Shankar Aiyar. I loved the absolutely scintillating explanations of those words by Cacofonix .

  7. Thoroughly enjoyable post enlightening the real meaning of those heavy words! Looking forward for more such stuff for knowledge. Another word needing clarification is 'We are looking into'!

  8. Absolutely delightful read ! Loved it Purba !

  9. Helooo my lovely people, much as I would love to pass off this crackling piece as my own, this is a guest post my Cacofonix :))

  10. I love the dig on "Petrol Bill".
    "Transcendental Meditation" that was a killer.

    I'm lovin it...

  11. Hilarious as always, am eagerly awaiting the next class :)

  12. Cacofonix, well done. Mani and his verbal pyrotechnics are always amusing.

  13. wow..class le le yahan too!
    Cacofonix writes in your distinct style Purba:-)

    and thanks for improving our knowledge of Dichotomous and loved Analogous!
    my god-such a rare dissection of words!:-)

  14. Purba / Cacofonix,

    Hope the involved persons do read this to improve their knowledge. I really liked Transcendental Meditation and Sycophant the most.

    Take care

    PS : Purba, Finally caught up with all pending posts and left comments from one on Freedom 11 Aug onwards.

  15. @zephyr - will surely let you into the secrets that I promised
    @bikramjit - makkar ji is adding a lot of fuel to the fire
    @rahul - keep your ribs bared for the next one!
    @CRD, aativas - thanks!

  16. @snow leopard - I bow and acknowledge the compliments! Sir Cacofonix would sound honourable.
    @umashankar - there is something about Mani's nose, always up in the air
    @ayyangar - 'a one-man bench will be constituted'? you are so right there.
    @ruchira, suruchi - I am in exalted company if I am being considered in the same league as Purba ma'am

  17. @blue lotus - you owe me a McBurger.
    @siddhartha - it makes my day if I have made someone laugh!
    @alka - mani has a knack of getting back into the news...maybe he did it on purpose!
    @jack - i should try TM at my office

  18. Splendid humor.... loved snaking through every bit of this over and over....and over (consider it a well regarded symptom of being dim witted.)
    Mani Shankar Iyer and his stiff upper lip perched on his 'hind' sight is a sure sign of the anglicised anal log.
    Purba...this b(log) post takes the cake, certainly not of the 'prevail -age motion' kind :)

  19. great take on dichotomy,
    i too learnt some lessons today.

  20. Good Post - Entertaining and Witty

  21. Came here via Indivine to purely promote my latest blog post and I didn't even read this post. I know! How very shameless of me. But I promise one thing, you won't regret reading the latest post on the blog. Really, I started writing 6 years back and nowadays they no longer make my kind of blogs.

    So go ahead read :)

    Thank you for allowing this space if this goes through the moderation that is :)


  22. LOl...awesome post...purba /guest


  23. Purba, that was really A-Musing!

  24. great post. had fun reading.
    oonche logon ki oonchi pasand - haha

  25. This article was fantastic. I will be smiling for the next few hours just thinking about it.

  26. @the mind, on hind sight, i have to prevail upon you that the post was not Purba's!
    @pramod, we are a nation of dichotomies
    @vikram karve - love your dog!
    @vikram - :)
    @sanjukta, honesty is hard to come by these days

  27. @chitra, thank god you found it awesome, not awful!
    @saras, i am purba's guest blogger
    @sujatha, you should try out pan masala to truly understand oonchi pasand
    @rocky - keep smiling!

  28. @Cacofonix. Record ironed out...error regretted.All said and done....opinion on the post sticks,originator credits transferred.:D

  29. Great write as usual, especially the description of DICHOTOMOUS..


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