Yes, I hate text speak (txtspk). I am probably one of those few people in the world who insist on writing complete sentences even while SMSing/texting on cell phones. I agree every character is precious and it makes complete sense to abbreviate messages so that you get charged for only one message. But why do I have to read txtspk sentences in emails? NO ONE IS CHARGING YOU FOR ANYTHING. WRITE COMPLETE WORDS, LET ALONE SENTENCES. And what really irritates me is when I see a liberal use of replacing “th” with “d”. Look man, are you trying to be cool? Because it’s not working. No, it really isn’t. And you are not gaining anything from misspelling things. It’s totally arbitrary and it is not any kind of reason for celebration or show off.

Fr exmple how wud u lk 2 read da rest of dis post in dis abyssmal form of xprshn? It tuk me forvr 2 write dis sntnce. English is 2G2B4G. @TEOTD I knw u r g8ng u r msg acrss but dis is nt pr8y. K gtg nw. Show me the English ▼

It was late 2006 when New Zealand announced that it is OK if students used text-speak in their examinations as long as they showed an understanding of what was being asked of them. And that decision got many a bee in many a bonnet. The NZ qualifications authority apparently were asked “u mst b joking. or r u smkin smthng?” I was initially wondering that probably no one really wants txtspk to exist because it ruins academic writing. Turns out there are ongoing debates where educationalists are fighting over whether txtspk should be allowed or not…

The first *serious casualty* of txtspk is grammar. Well, grammatically speaking, they are trolls… but dramatically speaking, they pretty much convey the message. Let’s be honest. Languages have evolved a lot from what they were several hundred years back. They have always converged towards ease of communication and understanding. And that’s probably why Latin is no longer spoken by anyone. 😀 But will this lead to txtspk being the ‘talk of the town’? Can it actually become a colloquial language?

Nevertheless, ryting lyk dis irritates da hell outta ma sanity.

You might be wondering what on earth ALOL is. The reason behind this actually cracked me up. So, LOL is ‘Laughing out loud’ and ALOL is ‘Actually laughing out loud’. 😀 It arose from the fact that some people while chatting on IM or texting on cell phones never really laughed out loud even if they punched in “LOL” on their screens. So they wanted to draw the distinction between just LOLing and Actually-LOLing. ALOL. On that note… I came up with a self-explanatory graph here – the latest in Thoughts in 2D.

Do you hear laughter?

PS: I thought it should be text speech – but I really don’t know why it’s called text speak.
PPS: I required a bit of asking around to know what’s new in txtspk. Looks like my age does not permit usage of txtpsk.

Weird name. No donut for you.

Ok people, what’s with giving yourselves obnoxious names in Orkut? First they are philosophical. Then they are written in convoluted text that makes no sense till you squint. Did you realize that naming yourselves this way makes you “Unsearchable“? How do you expect us to type “♥” (hearts) or a box or a dinosaur or whatever and find you in the search feature? Or if I want to find you in my email contacts list? More importantly, how do we even know that’s how you have listed yourself in Orkut! How do I know you have replaced V with \/, or S with $ or O with zero?
Some of them are so ridiculous it takes me a while to figure out whether it’s a bug on Orkut or my eyes have gone bad. Some of the awesome examples I have come across (in MY own friends list). If yours is one of them, it’s probably time to CHANGE IT. Because it is very very… how do I put it… /\nN0Y1N9!

Why so
||Bored of orkut
Life sucks
New pics
Enjoying in paris
Running the rat race
Fighting fate, c who wins
G0iN b@ck 2 tH0$e l@Zy DaYsS *
ßĦдЯǺથ…Enfield *
$leepin9 b34uty *
c00L dud3

*More annoying than usual. #%$^#%@!!

PS: I like how Facebook deals with this. There is no way you can name yourself “Life is like a crumpled piece of paper: Used, then thrown… ALBUM UPDATED

The "fat" tax

New York governor David Patterson wants to introduce an obesity tax. No, he does not want to tax people who are fat or overweight. He proposes to levy a higher tax on sugared beverages like soda. More accurately, on non-diet sugared drinks that have 70% or less fruit juice content. Revenue earned from these taxes will fund more obesity and health research. While the article expresses the governor’s points of view solely, he does make a few interesting points. First, when taxes were increased on cigarettes, it did drop in sales and there has been a considerable decrease in lung cancer occurrences. Secondly, if we take into account a study that showed additional 12-ounce soft drink daily consumption increases the risk of a child becoming obese by 60 percent (and the same for adults as well).
States such as New Jersey and California have already implemented steps on sodas and sweet foods. If I am not wrong, then NJ bans the use of sodas and sweets in schools for kids to eat. Increasing the taxes on such items, I feel, can indeed curb people from buying them as much. While this proposal is primarily driven towards childhood obesity, it will, to a certain extent have a positive effect in reducing adult obesity as well!
The world is vastly adopting a sedentary lifestyle. Though the life expectancy has increased tremendously over the decades, that is misleading as a sign of healthiness – because advances in medicine have caused the increase. People in olden days used to die of sickness and that was medicine has eradicated. Today, the story is different. While people have started living longer, they have stopped living healthily long back. Unfortunately it’s a lifestyle choice that leads to this, and all the government can really do is make people realize what they are doing wrong.

Educationalists suffer from dementia

The CBSE syllabus in India has decided to mellow down the sex education in their syllabus. Wait a minute, did they have one to start off with? Or was I not paying attention in class when they were covering sex education?

While words like masturbation, arousal and sexual intercourse have been deleted from the revised version of the training manual for teachers, diagrams which describe the journey from puberty to young adulthood have been done away with. This modified version is set to reach schools in a few weeks.

This is what the “educationalists” have been saying in defense. My reaction to each of them was “What the…?”

[…] Don’t impose degenerate western culture on Indian schools […]

[…] India has not given HIV/AIDS to the world. If the world had followed the Indian tradition of one wife or one husband, this disease would not have developed at all. […]

[…] if the sex education was introduced in any form, episodes like Nithari village would repeat in every school and locality of the country. He said just withdrawing students from the schools where sex education is being introduced is not enough, we need to firmly ensure that it is not introduced at all in any school […]

[…] It is claimed that the objective of imparting sex education is protecting the students from HIV/ AIDS, but the syllabus prepared for it is so much indecent, damaging and obscene that it will increase the disease on a much higher speed. We don’t want that abortion centres should be opened in schools like that in Britain, morning pills need to be given to teenage girls like that in France, increase in number of unmarried mothers like that in America and teachers sexually exploit their students like that in New Zealand […]

Source: Organiser

Face the nation (hosted by Sagarika Ghose, CNN-IBN) has the script of the debate between, as I put it, realists and educationalists.

To put it mildly, I am outraged. Are these “educationalists” idiots or are they idiots? More importantly, in their childhood, did they look down at themselves and figure out there was a “branch” growing out of them that stiffened on its own accord?

UPDATE: Sree narrates an incident in her life that took place recently. Death of someone because of AIDS – her husband was infected. May be it could have been avoided if people knew more about HIV/AIDS than they do now. How unfortunate.

The stray and the astray

So the Mumbai municipality has decided to approach the SC for permission to KILL all stray dogs to stop the stray dog menace.
I wonder if it will extend the same thing to the millions of people who are homeless.

Losing focus: Moral policing

A fable:

Nationalism – He cut it, she wore it.

First it was Sachin Tendulkar.
Now it’s Mandira Bedi.

There was a cake that had the Indian flag on it.
A saree was designed with 16 flags of the countries participating in the CWC 2007.

He cut that cake.
She wore that saree, with the Indian flag located near her feet.

He disrespected the country.
She disrespected the country.

And now there are charges against both of them. Are the law enforcers in the country succumbing to the whims and fantasies of the ones seeking publicity? After Tendulkar’s cutting-the-cake came the Gere-Shetty episode and now Bedi’s insulting-the-flag is the limelight of the so called moral police.
It would fall on deaf ears if I mention the unending list of things that need fixing in the country. Corruption, rape and female infanticide to name the top few. And while I was writing about this – a thought crossed my mind – the moral policemen have decided that the reason for rape in the country is actually provocative dressing by women. So the main culprit is not anatomy of the male genitalia, instead it is the choice of dressing by women.

Is the country’s attitude slowly becoming irreparable?
Have we veered off the path to overall development by defining obscure and ridiculous things as a basis of discipline… what’s happening of this country where whistle-blowers are being mercilessly killed or having their lives ruined by the ones in power?

On a completely unrelated note, the sari looks awful.
And my comment on Tendulkar and the cake – when we put a birthday boy’s picture as icing on his cake – are we insulting him?

Of cultural sentiments, hugs and kisses

From The Daily Collegian, 27th April 2007

This news article appeared in the daily published newspaper (The Daily Collegian) of my university – staring at everyone in big bold letters.

Click to view larger image.

Aaaargh! Don’t publicity seekers (the judge, in this case) in India EVER realize what a big fool they are making of themselves voluntarily? A silent satirical mockery has been made of “publicity seekers” and frankly, many of us are plain EMBARRASSED that it has been printed in a paper with a readership of over 40000 students from all over the world. I actually tore it off and scanned it so I could just put it up here… my emotions are a mixture of ludicrousness, sympathy and embarrassment at the same time.

Spotted in this article –

“their kiss at a public function transgressed all limits of vulgarity and have the tendency to corrupt the society”

What tendency to corrupt is this judge (the one issuing the arrest warrant against Richard Gere) talking of, in a society riddled with fiscal corruption, rape, child trafficking and atrocities to womankind? A playful peck on the cheek to compliment someone is NOT corruption of social customs! Don’t even get me started on that age-old argument of “hurting the religious customs and culture of India”. Who gave them the license to rule what is the right culture? Isn’t culture and open-mindedness a relative thing?

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