Wednesday 27 July 2011

Why the word ‘simple’ baffles me everytime I hear it

Usually while describing a learned professor, the word which is oft used is ‘simple.’ Sentences like, “He is quite brilliant but very simple,” is something which I hear quite a bit. What exactly does this word mean? Simple, I see, is used in different contexts. For example, “Today I have cooked a simple meal,” “My thoughts are always simple,” “They are very rich, but quite simple,” She has a way of dressing very simple;” I am a simple person with not many ambitions.” Mind boggling, isn’t it? This word has almost seeped into many contexts.

In the context of food, it could mean a preparation without many spices and that which requires less cooking time; in academics, it could mean that in spite of having qualifications which run up to two lines, the individual is not proud; in terms of societal standing, it could mean that in spite of having abundance of wealth, the people live lives devoid of pomp and glory. Well, . . . I have even read blog posts which begin with, “Today’s post is a simple one.” 

Now I have a problem with this usage. Take this context, for example:  if a woman has no wealth, but tries to act rich by the way she dresses and talks, she is spurned by many but if people who are rich don’t display their wealth, they are called ‘simple.’ How does one digest that? Does simplicity reveal itself only through the exterior? Just because one does not dress extravagantly or uses less spice, does the individual/object become simple? It has to be something more that, I reckon.

By using the word ‘simple,’ does one categorise people, food, film, character, etc.? Can one word be used to signify different traits? Are we lazy to exploit the other words in the English language and therefore use a single word to describe heterogeneous contexts? 

My professor always says: “There are no synonyms in any language. Every word has its own context and cannot be replaced by another.” I think he is right. What do you think?
Image: Internet

Friday 22 July 2011

If you like it then you can take it

The shades of gray are deeper in certain spots of everyday life. Many times I tend to admire something in a friend's or relative's house. My comment goes something like this: "This bangle looks beautiful." Immediately the response would be: "Please take it." Well, when one admires something, it does not essentially boil down to possession and if I like something, it does not mean that I want it for myself. This kind of situation presents itself to me on many occasions.

The action following my comment of 'liking' is usually a gesture of love and affection. It also means that if I say that I like something, it is an indication that I would also like to possess the same. But the funniest part is that people are quite generous when it comes to small objects such as pens, key-holders, bangles, etc. but not bigger objects such as furniture, computer, dining table, etc. I reckon that it is quite easy to be a giver when it comes to insignificant things but others, no way.

I could extend this topic to a slightly different tangent: food. When I express that I like the taste of a particular dish, it does not mean that I would eat a lot of that dish. Impossible. This situation happens most of the time with me. The moment I make the mistake of saying: "Tasty curry," I can be sure of the hostess serving me extra helpings of the 'curry.' An expression of appreciation does not always mean that I want more. If I feel like having more of that dish, I would definitely do so.

Someone somewhere would have tweaked the course of civilisation by expressing appreciation towards something that was needed by that individual and bang, it has been flowing steadily through our culture.

Well, what do you think of this.

Image: Internet

Friday 15 July 2011

Possessive of experience

Humans are complex beings and sometimes this complexity manifests in the most unexpected moments. When one imagines the personality of oneself, the rough edges are carefully glossed over when in a joyful mood. But when reflection gets deeper, the rough edges glare and threaten to disturb the still surface of serenity. This is precisely what happened to me recently. A friend shared an experience and it so happened that that incident resembled an experience of mine. I could not partake in my friend's experience as I suddenly wanted to savour my experience and shield it. How could my friend experience the same one as mine. I was overwhelmed and wanted to ask my friend to stop. I know that this is not a very good thing to do but sometimes it does happen.

I found this behaviour of mine rather strange. One can become possessive of objects and individuals but experience. Possessiveness of any kind is not quite healthy and it goes hand-in-hand with jealousy. And jealousy is not a virtue! But trying to be possessive of one's experience is a complete surprise.

When I began writing this post, I found the human being as a rather complex creature but now I alter my perception to saying that there are diverse facets to a human being, out of which some seem complex. I am glad to see another dimension of the personality.

How about being possessive of experience? Are you? I don't think so.

Discovering along the journey . . .

Image: Internet

Tuesday 12 July 2011

What do you think?

The last post titled, "Thoughts on the words 'missing home,'" saw some interesting insights on home and place. Not long ago, I had asked a question in one of my posts. The question was: What is home to you? The post provided many insights on home and similar thoughts.

On that note, I would like to pose another question for you to ponder and answer:


Image: Internet

Friday 1 July 2011

Thoughts on the words 'missing home'

While sojourning in Kerala, several things made me miss home. The newspaper was one such thing. But it must be noted that while in Chennai (which is home), I don't crave for the newspaper. This attribute made me reflect. The fact that in Kerala, my husband's home, subscribed only to the Malayalam newspaper made the difference. In Chennai, just seeing the English newspaper was a comfort factor. The comfort was that I could read the paper any time I wanted to and that it was in a language that I could follow, whereas in Kerala, the script of the newspaper and the foreign language gave a different feeling. Just a look at the newspaper gave a flash of home and the treat of reading the newspaper at home, made me think of home rather fondly. I wouldn't call this factor as 'missing home,' but I cannot get closer than that.

I write here especially about the newspaper as I missed reading the paper but the language that made me miss home was English, which is not my tongue. It is quite strange that despite the fact that English is foreign but that language made me miss home is quite amusing. Paradox, isn't it? Now gradually I begin to wonder whether the post is on 'missing home' or on paradoxes?

Another aspect were the smells. I missed the smell of home and there was no specific smell which I could think of but I guess every home has its own smell. Do you get what I mean? But those were the initial "missings." After that I got used to the new font (Malayalam) and smells. Humans are quite adaptive, aren't they.

And now . . . I miss the smell of Kerala home. Life goes on.

Image: Internet


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