Friday, 5 April 2013

Do you remember your WORDS?

Burying myself in the watery landscape of Amitav Ghosh's The Hungry Tide, I lift my head to wonder when Piya asks a question, "How words are lost?" The line, for a moment, tore me away from the tides and made me ask myself, "How do we remember words and how do they inhabit us?" The question has been rising up and down in the undulating terrains of my mindscape much like the tides in Gosh's novel. I wonder when the word, 'scintillating' find root in me or when did I caress the word, 'reverie?' Books? Perhaps. Teachers who sprinkled their lessons with lovely-sounding exotic words? Maybe. Newpapers, magazines, TV, blogs - Gosh, I wonder how each of this medium has made way for a new word to enter and dwell in my system.



Sometimes I wonder if I was cut into two, how many words would tumble out and wriggle free from the thoughts and memories. The idea thrills me. But the thrill soon disappears when I think of the million words that haven't met me. No matter how much I try, my vocabulary will still be wanting. I try hard to recollect the time when I liked to pronounce words which sounded lovely to hear - sen-su-ous, dil-ly-da-lly, bour-geois, . . . I can go on with words as these. I remember the times when writers always added an extra dash of beautiful words in their works of art. I had to curb myself from running to the dictionary to find the meaning of a word that was lost to me. I never did go to the dictionary. I tried to decipher the meaning by myself by reading and reading the lines. Most of the times, the meaning unfurled without any fuss but then how will I remember that beautiful word in the future. Will I be able to use the same when I write or talk? Then in a casual conversation, the word gingerly drops itself in an appropriate conversation. I am aware of what I has just uttered. I ask myself: "Really?" I smile at the knowledge that the word had somehow taken to me and has decided to grace my language with its presence. What more? The word makes its presence felt and in some cases, for the word to be used the situation is created. It's not long before the word has built a permanent residence in me. Then the romance fades. It becomes another word in my vocabulary.

Like the smell of blood alerts the senses of a Bengal tiger, a new word lurks somewhere there, waiting for me to attack and relish it. I read a blog - the blogger has used a fantastic word. Like the previous times, the word is new, fresh and sounds good to pronounce as well. I flirt, cajole, and before long the word is nestled in the safe havens of the mindscape.

But then, as Piya remarks, words can be lost as well. Some words don't get flushed off the system that easily and those are the ones that has appeared in various parts of the chronological self - memories, nostalgia, letters, conversations, speeches and lectures. But there are the other words - which just disappear. What is that word for that wee opening? Crevice? Oriface or Orifice? Strange how words are remembered and forgotten like incidents that are vague - ones whose smells are remembered but people forgotten.



Do words have an independent existence apart myself. Of course, not. Words cannot be on their own except for a receptacle like me or you or a book or a blog. Words are parasites that mingle freely with our existence. They are parasites in a nice way, maybe not always. There are times when we can wriggle ourselves free of those words by choosing silence, once in a while.

But they say, even silence is a language. Now, I don't remember when along with words, I also learnt to embrace silence. Perhaps another post maybe.

Do you remember how words came to inhabit you?

Image 1: Internet
Image 2: Internet

14 comments:

  1. This makes me wonder if we also use a few certain words over and over again, that in a sense they seem to haunt you (although in a good way). But again, sometimes it does happen that you are in an amazing flow to pen down something, but one word, just one single word, obstructs that flow.

    Nice post Susan :)

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  2. A lovely Ode to Words!
    I wish someone started a blog trail where everyone writes a post based on their favourite word! Want to know which one mine is? "Serendipity". I have always loved that one - for the way it is spoken and written and for its meaning :)

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  3. Ah Susan! Words, I love them so much. Some sound so weighty, others timid. Some are just apt for an emotion or feeling, and yet others not as much. I have always loved not only the words but their pronunciations as well. Even in Hindi, my mother tongue, it is such a pleasure to hear saaf Hindi, devoid of slang and accent, flowing like a river. What do we have if not words? Such a scary thought! And yes, words become antiquated and eventually lost. Interesting post!

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  4. Each time a begin a book, I keep a dictionary handy. As you say, some words remain etched while some vanish into thin air never to be spoken or written again.

    A pleasurable read, as always.

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  5. smiles..i love words...and finding new words as well...as with alka, i like to look up ones that i do not know...and i try to use them before i lose them...happy friday

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  6. Beautiful post. Yes, words seem to come and go. Although, for me, it seems that words in songs, last forever and never seem to disappear. It must be the music, that never leaves me?! ;)

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  7. I love coming across new words. I usually look up the meaning, sometimes the synonyms and antonyms too! I'm a nerd like that. ;) Each new word I try to tuck into a pocket in my subconscious to pull out later strategically when I'm writing a post or poem.
    great post!

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  8. I am a wee bit lazy when it comes to looking up words in the dictionary. As you did, i too try to assert the meaning to an unknown word by correlating it with the context of the sentence in which it has been included. But then, once in a while when a word gets stuck in my thought field i do look it up for it feels great to use a beautiful, mysterious word in writings, if not in conversations :)

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  9. words come an go but i really enjoy the road to a word !
    another exciting post..

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  10. When I first started reading books, I would always have an Oxford dictionary with me. With time, I learnt to decipher the meaning through the context, though I would check it up later. When we learn how a word is used, like an example, it would stick to our minds.

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  11. Dear Susan, as I speak a multitude of languages, for me it is a difficult question to answer. I love the idea of learning new words at all times and writing a blog has certainly helped me doing that, at least in the English language.
    Have a great week dear friend,
    xoxo

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  12. With words I’d love to go on a date
    Though at times they throng you in a spate
    There are times they play truant, how much ever you wait
    But they are a joy when, with your other words they conjugate
    And become a life-long amicable mate
    but when they get buried in my memory, I’ve never wondered about their fate.

    Sus, brilliant post. As Rickie as said ‘serendipity’ is my favourite word for most of them words have been serendipitous finds.

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  13. With words I’d love to go on a date
    Though at times they throng you in a spate
    There are times they play truant how much ever you wait
    But they are a joy when, with your other words they conjugate
    And become a life-long amicable mate
    but when they get buried in my memory, I’ve never wondered about their fate.

    Sus, brilliant post. As Rickie as said ‘serendipity’ is my favourite word for most of them words have been serendipitous finds.

    ReplyDelete
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