Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The "DA" Syndrome

I have recently been diagnosed with The "DA" syndrome. It came as quite a shock to me as well. I was on the phone with a friend from the US of A, and while talking to her, I happened to blurt out the syllable "DA".I didn’t realise that I did so until my friend at the other end started off with a small giggle which soon turned into a full fledged cackle(Basically means she was laughing like crazy).And there I was standing like an idiot with the mobile, standing in street(because the signal in my house is sad, that’s a whole new story),as I was saying, there I was standing in my street helplessly waiting for her to stop laughing. When she finally did stop, she explained to me in the politest of ways that I now suffer from what is known as The "DA" syndrome. She pointed out that it doesn’t only include the excessive use of the word "DA" but also involved a singsong accent that I had apparently developed and the inability to finish any question without adding an annoying "UNHH" sound at the end.
After she told me this, our chat lasted barely 2 more minutes, mainly because I started using a wide range of accents ranging from Scottish to Australian to cover up my Chennai accent. This kind of freaked her out and she cut me off with a hasty "Got to go..sorry..bye".
This is where i began my research on this epidemic.

The "DA" syndrome is a common progressive verbal disorder characterized by irrepressible urge to conclude every sentence with the syllable "DA".It was first diagnosed among the English speaking community in and around the South Indian metropolis of Chennai.It then spread swiftly and uncontrollably to rest of Tamil Nadu. And it has now making its way into Kerala and Karnataka.

1) Excessive and irrepressible use of "DA" at the end of every sentence.
USAGE:” Are you coming DA"?
It can also be used at the beginning of the sentence.
USAGE: DA! Are u coming or not?

2) Use of the word MACHAN/MACHI to refer to every single person you wish to converse with.
Loosely translated MACHAN in Tamil means "Brother-In-Law". Don’t ask me why people go around calling every other guy "Brother-In-Law", in most cases the guy doesn’t even have a sister to let you marry...and even if he did, I am pretty sure he is not going to get her married to a guy like me or YOU!
USAGE: “MACHAN, How’s life?”
USAGE: "MACHAN, pass the book DA" (This is an extreme case of the syndrome where the subject uses both MACHAN and DA. This is what i am suffering from)

3)Sing Song Accent
There really isn’t any example that i can provide here coz it is something that must be heard rather than read! I would be more than happy to perform a live demonstration if you ever have the luxury of meeting yours truly! It really helps if you have a melodious voice coz people just might start dancing in the middle when you are speaking really fast.

4) The Inability to end a question without adding that annoying UNHH sound at the end.
This is a deep-routed problem, which has been traced to Man's innate need to be lethargic/lazy. We just can’t complete the whole question; we have to come up with a way to shorten the sentence, even if it is by a mere 2 words.
The correct example: Are you studying?
The "DA" Syndrome Example: Studying..UNHH?

5) Use of words like DAI etc.
Sorry, I had to use "etc" coz every other word in this category is an obscenity and since this is a PG-13 Blog, I’d rather not spell out the words for you. Yet again i would be more than happy to give you a live demonstration if you ever need one.
USAGE: “O**A..DAI..P****E.”
You don’t really have to be grammatically correct as long as you are screaming at the other guy. This final symptom is usually the last to develop and takes years of practice before being able to deliver it with conviction. Which, I am not so proud to say, I have mastered. :(

I am sorry to say that there is no proven cure for this yet. We are vigorously working towards finding a cure. Until then you could try to stop talking all together. Even though prolonged use of this method may induce a sense of insanity. It at least reduces the chances of spreading this epidemic.

Don’t come to Chennai or any other South Indian metropolis.
Should circumstances force you to come here, be sure that you have ample supply of cotton to stuff your ears with.
Even if you have to speak with anyone, try to arrange for a translator and speak with him in Tamil itself...trust me...its worth the cost.

By the way, a very similar problem is currently spreading in the North as well. It has been labeled the “YAAR” syndrome. But for some reason it sounds cooler rather than dorky.

That round about covers most aspects of this syndrome. If my post helps at least a single lost soul out there to steer away from this dreadful disease, then i have done my job well, all this work is worth it.

Yours Sincerely
Gowri Shankar

P.S. All donations to the find a cure for this dreaded disease maybe made to my name.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

College-The true meaning of Secularism

Secularism...hmm...brings back "not so fond" memories of "History and Civics" from class 10.Further rummaging through my brain has yielded a definition that goes something like this
Secularism: The view that religious considerations should be excluded from civil affairs or public education.(SEE! My brains is a veritable anthology of facts or maybe it’s just the dictionary that’s running at the background). Anyway, it basically means a state of affairs where all religons are treated as one and often implies a sense of respect among people from different religious backgrounds. Which brings me to the purpose of this post. Secularism in college .If you are expecting a solemn and serious report on how educational institutions have helped in upholding one of the pillars of "The Constitution of India", please press "Alt+F4".

Why do i choose to write on such a topic suddenly? The reason a series of events that compelled me to, not only ponder about this topic but also forced me to share the consensus with all of you. I will be more than happy to paint out the various situations that led me to this write-up.

Scene 1-We have just realised that this year Christmas falls on a Sunday. The bearer of ill news gets a volley of insults from us and a couple of Lighthearted pats on his back. This sudden revelation left most of us stunned. The reaction amongst us was more or less as follows.
*WHY, GOD WHY!?!?!
*What Injustice!?
*How dare our forefathers plan out the Gregorian calendars in such a way that Christmas falls on a Sunday this year!
*Why couldn’t Jesus have lived a few more years!
*How can the Christians amongst us celebrate Christmas knowing that it falls on a Sunday!?
As we were all busy mourning, Aaron, who happens to be the only Christian in our group, seems to be really calm and didn’t mind the unfortunate circumstances. It was his Muslim and Hindu brothers who had taken it upon themselves grieve for such a sad turn of events for Aaron (Ahem! and it doesn’t really hurt us if we had gotten an extra holiday as well). It was this sudden outburst of emotion and camaraderie, which got me thinking, Wow, we really do care for Aaron and all the Christians out there.

Scene 2-A couple of days back there was this rumour that no holiday will be given for
Bakr-Eid. This statement evoked sentiments, which could have probably been seen only during the demolition of the Babri Masjid. Two guys shot up from their desks and started shouting out the preamble to the constitution of India and something about tolerance towards and equality among all religons. Eventually it ended in threatening violent consequences, should such a rumour ever re-surface again. Yet again, there was hardly a Muslim buddy of ours in sight during this whole skit and it was his buds from other faiths that carried out this protest for them. I must point out at this juncture that there was no professor or anyone of authority while the play was in progress. I am saying this because i don’t want any of you associating them with any false sense of bravado. But hey, its the thought that counts!! Yet again this outburst had clearly put into perspective the sense of unity and brotherhood amongst us! Another face of secular India.

Scene 3-Diwali is just over, Almost the entire class is waiting for his arrival .He enters the class and there is a sudden rush towards him. It is obvious...everyone wants to greet him and wish him on this joyous occasion. How can we let him stand there with the burden of all his bags that he is carrying. We caringly relieve him of the bag that he was holding in his right hand .Now, how is it our fault if that bag turns out to be the bag in which he has brought diwali sweets for all of us? How dare you accuse us of being rude and impolite just because we eat those sweets? It would have been rude had we not eaten the sweets that he so lovingly brought for his friends. This feeling of happiness for each other is not exclusive to diwali but to any festival that involves giving sweets to your friends and it has crossed the flimsy barrier of religon. We no longer care what festival it is, we will treat all festivals with the same level enthusiasm as long as there is an opportunity for some sweets or better yet an invitation to his house for lunch.

The above three scenarios are but a small preview of the intense sense of harmony among us. There are myriad examples of such selfless good deeds which may often be mistaken for opportunistic self-centeredness but as the above examples would have undoubtedly cleared your minds of any such misapprehension. With such overwhelming evidence how can anyone deny secularism in our colleges? Albeit an extreme version of secularism, but you cant, for one second, doubt the intentions of the noble students who pass through those hallowed portals of education. They are after all the future of our country. The future Doctors of our country, the future Engineers of our country, the future Scientists of our country, the future POLITICIANS of…AHA! Mystery solved!