Posts

Showing posts from 2018

The awful German language

Image
Mark Twain has written about the horrors of learning German language in his famous essay of the same name, but I had not read it before enrolling for the class. The language is similar to Marathi or Hindi in that everything has a gender, masculine, feminine, neutral and plural, and there is absolutely no sense of logic to why things are the way they are. Now, the  Germans are great engineers, forever asking the question “why?” in all areas of science, but they clearly did not reflect on that when they were building their language. Why? Maybe  they thought “well,we have to focus on engineering anyway so why bother about language as long as we get the scientific terms right”

If you are not one of the fortunate few who have German as their first language, your battle with the tongue continues forever on two fronts: first, the complicated rules of grammar, second, painfully long words that are equally difficult to pronounce. One of my personal favourites is “Brandschutzmassnahmen” meanin…

One day with nature

Image
Nature. For someone like me, who has been born and brought up in a city, the word means chaos, uncertainty, and a mixture of beauty and danger. What would I do if left in the midst of nature without any tech gadgets,you ask? Well, as seen on TV,  I would first find flint stones and make fire, and then look for food. Then, I would attempt to find and befriend a wolf pack and use it to take over the civilised world! But since that is difficult to do in just one day, let us look at other options.

Assuming I have found a cave, made good fire, and got the food part sorted, what should I do next? Since there is plenty to eat and drink, my first task would be to take a rock and draw and write something on the walls of the cave so that anyone who comes there knows I was here. I would probably fill the wall with fantastic stories about I was a great leader of mankind so that when archaeologists stumble upon the cave many centuries later, they will think I was really great and the children of …

My family and its values

Patience is a priceless jewel, said the old Chinese philosopher Confucius. Well, when my family came into existence, they probably chose this jewel over the other…stones. This I say about my maternal family because I rarely had any contact with the paternal one. Two things have always dominated the fortunes of my family- that quality, as I said before, of patience, and politics. My mother had been married in Maharashtra and had come home to Goa for delivery. When I was born and my father came to seem me, the Goan people decided to agitate over whether Konkani or Marathi should be the state language of Goa and the state’s borders were sealed. So, my father never went back and decided to stay in Goa.
I am not a man of numbers but my mom has around 25 brothers, cousins and all included and all of them are into business. Grocery stores, clothing stores, electrical appliances, modular kitchen showrooms, lathe machines, you name it and one of us will be selling it. Almost all of my uncles a…