Lingua Franca

Can you remember the first French word you had learnt? I can. Let me take a guess about you, was it "Bonjour", "Monsieur", "Mademoiselle", "Au Revoir"? If you say yes, I can safely assume that you were the novel-reading types and you must have read these in a dozen fiction novels where the protagonist travels all over Europe trying to escape from KGB, MI6, CIA or trying to uncover some deadly conspiracy against all odds. I am equally sure that you would have pronounced them in your mind like how you would pronounce an English word. Only later, you would have known that "Mademoiselle" sounds like "memmozee" or "au revoir" sounds like "avva".

If you were not the novel-reading types, in the post-cable-tv-pre-Internet era, there was only one way to get your basic French education - Fashion TV. You had to tolerate horrendously dressed zombies to catch a rare episode of Rio Carnival. I need not say that most of the times it was watched on Mute, so that the elders would not figure out the rate of erosion of Indian culture and values. It was then we came to know about "Michael Adam presents"...and then "Lingerie". And like our novel-reading siblings, we had assumed that it was pronounced the way it was written (only after many years, on one of the Non-mute occasions, we realized that it was pronounced something like "lawn-sje-ray". More weird the accent, more authentic your French is!)

On my way to Mysore (more than a decade after the first French education), imagine my joy when I see this on a wall. Somewhere in this world, even today, there are people who pronounce it the way I used to. Isn't it strange that we humans can relate to each other in the most unusual scenarios?




P.S: My most favorite word though is "Oui". I love the way the women say that in French movies!

I always find it amusing to imagine Shankaracharya, Madhvacharya and Ramanujacharya standing forming a triangle inside a circular ground. Ennio Morricone score in the background. Slow long shots of each one, followed by close up of each of their eyes.

Then, Ramanujacharya mutters to Madhvacharya - "Seems like you are one entity short" (followed by guffaws from Ramanujacharya's followers in the background)
Silence for 30 secs. And Shankaracharya slowly tells Ramanujacharya - "Looks like you got two too many" (followed by eerie silence and then heavy duty music from Morricone)

So here it is, the last one in the series...


A colleague of mine used to ask other colleagues whether they are "smart" or "mad". In case you have not guessed, it was her short form for Smartas and Madhvas!

Okay, Madhvas need not feel bad. Smartas have a bigger problem. Anyone returning from abroad with a fake accent will ask them "Are you smartas?" and it is an interesting way to stop people from acting oversmart ;)
So presenting the next one in the series: Dvaita...

I admit that my knowledge of UML as well as Hindu philosophy is very basic. So any discrepancy in terms of UML or philosophical concepts will not be totally unexpected. I am planning to do this series for different schools, here I am starting off with Advaita first.

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