Monday, August 14, 2006

Apostrophe catastrophe - Signs of our Times!

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It is hard to argue with the crystal clear logic of a child.

"ma, can you higher the volume?"

"sweetie, it is make it louder...not higher"

"but higher is the opposite of lower, and you say lower the volume".

"Well, yes, that is correct, but we don't say higher the volume, the correct way is to say make it louder"


"Err...that's because...ummm...that's just how it is !!"

Yup.... really hard to argue with a little one that wants answers.

But, then again English is a tricky language. Full of idiosyncrasies. Perhaps that is why there is a proliferation of institutes claiming to teach English and other "Soft Skills" in India. Now, what on earth is a "soft skill"??? is there a "hard skill"??

On a recent visit to India, we were amazed at the number of signs, posters and billboards advertising agencies and institutes proclaiming their English teaching skills. What boggled the mind, was the grammatical errors and spelling mistakes in the signs themselves. Who would want to learn English from an institute that didn't know how to spell "Academy". But then again, if you knew it all, perhaps you wouldn't need to go to those classes, eh?

On the first day of our vacation in India, we hired a car and were on our way to Taj Mahal. After oohing and ahhing over the monument, we came out into the busy Agra township and spotted a sign proclaiming in big, bold letters:

Anus English Academy

We all looked at it for a moment, and then at each other. All of us burst out laughing simultaneously. We were puzzled as to why someone would call their institute by such a weird name and then, it dawned upon us was missing an apostrophe. It should have read

Anu's English Academy

Poor Anu, I wonder if she had a lot of students show up at the academy!!

It didn't help that the academy was right next to a "Barfwala" who proudly proclaimed that he had Fresh and Cold Barf and his Barf was made fresh every day!!

[for my non-hindi speaking readers, Barf or baraf is ice]

Between the Academy and the Barfwala, these guys sure had both ends covered !!!

Unfortunately, I was not able to capture these 2 signs on film, but here are few funny signs that I did manage to take a picture of.

Please note: it is certainly not my intent to deride anyone associated with these establishments for their signs. I just think that these colorful signs are so quintessentially Indian and very charming. There is a certain charm and innocence associated with these signs and everytime I feel homesick, I just have to look at these pictures and they immediately bring a smile to my day.



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err, which way?

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Friday, August 11, 2006

I'm back !

Hi all!

We are back after a fantastic vacation in India. Despite the soaring temperatures of the summer season in India, we had a fabulous time and a very relaxing vacation.

We visited venerable Delhi, vibrant Chennai and verdant Cochin. Visited a lot of friends and relatives, shopped, ate, relaxed and just chilled out (figuratively speaking !!)

I spent a total of 8 weeks in India and it just flew by so fast! So many things to do and so little time to do them :(

Thanks to all of you who wrote to me while I was away from blogger. It is nice to be missed!!

I am amazed to see so many new blogs come up in the time that I was away. It seems like new ones are being launched everyday. And the blog events ??? oh my, it seems like there is one everyday!!
I'm going to have a hard time just catching up with all the blogs and the updates. My own blogroll needs serious updating!!

I missed blogging and even though I didn't want to come back from my vacation, coming back to blogging makes it a bit bearable!