Now, what kind of a name is that for a column, in a newsletter on language and culture, you would imagine. So here we go.
This happened a few years ago. As our car was winding down the pristine mountains of Panchgani to where lesser mortals live (read Pune), the word ‘SEX’, printed in massively huge letters on the sides of a container truck, caught my attention. Obviously, why wouldn’t it 🙂
I thought I was imagining things. Who uses that kind of language in a country as hypocritical as ours! May be, these were merely alphabets my sullied mind was forcing me to perceive, conveniently helping me overlook some others of which these alphabets were possibly a part. But as our car drew closer, to my utter surprise and great relief, I realised my mind wasn’t that blasphemous. The word was indeed what I had read it to be. The finer print, that is the line below this word, read “Now that we have your attention, we would like to request you to visit Sherbaug.” And we did, if not for the love of anything in particular, at least to give it to the guys who so successfully got us to read their advertisement.
So now that I have your attention with this title, all I am asking for are a few more minutes so that I can tell you why you should follow this newsletter. I agree BITS is not exactly a world-renowned company and I am surely not mistaking myself for God’s gift to the avid reader. But, I am hoping the sincerity of our intent to make language and culture a part of everybody’s life will strike a chord somewhere.
To begin with, we know you have very little time to spare for things you did not ask for. We also know that a lot of people will find language and culture, as topics, very heavy or simply what they might put down as ‘not my cup of tea.’ So, we decided to make this newsletter very light, tongue-in-cheek and fun.
From the design to the content, we have ensured that no section is heavy on your eyes and that there are sections in the first place. That way, you can read only those parts that interest you. And none of them should take you more than a couple of minutes to read.
Agreed, but why do I need to read this at all, you might ask.
Well, for starters, it wouldn’t hurt to have a sense of humour and laugh at ourselves reading about the kind of ‘English’ we speak. You might just end up improving it. Then, it is always nice to have that quick and cool recipe up your sleeve to impress friends at a party. Even cooler to come across as ‘world-wise’ armed with the knowledge of some whacky festival or interesting facts about some language. No harm again knowing a little about the places less travelled or getting a lowdown on what’s happening (and not being covered by the media) on the language and culture circuit. You can always use it to spice up that hung over Sunday morning or beat away your Monday morning blues.
On a more serious note, if you or anybody you know is learning a language, ‘In Focus’ and ‘Getting Candid’ will show how one stands to gain commercially from all the languages one knows or simply understand how they impact various professions so that one can use languages to one’s advantage irrespective of what profession one chooses to be in.
And then on a completely serious note, here is some food for thought.
Are all new-borns not the same, irrespective of the country they are born in? Do they not start behaving, reacting and living differently eventually? Why do you think that happens? It is language as a carrier of their culture that changes them. Does that then not mean that language and culture are probably the most important factors in being and staying human?
So go on, stay human. Read whatever you like. Don’t think of how it is benefitting you. Simply enjoy the part you decide to read. For, over a period of time, these very BITS and Pieces will shape who you ought to be, a truly global citizen.
Presenting to you, ladies and gentlemen, BITS and Pieces.