More English: From India to the US

Following up on my previous post, The English language: From India to US, here are a few more of the "what in American English means what in Indian English"

  1. Okra means Lady’s finger
  2. Three times is almost always referred to as Thrice
  3. Bi-weekly : Once every two weeks in the US, but twice a week in India. Indians prefer to use "fortnightly" to mean once every two weeks. Interestingly, both are correct uses of English.
  4. Aluminum means Aluminium – Interesting history explained at Wikipedia It says:

    The United States adopted the -ium for most of the 19th century with aluminium appearing in Webster’s Dictionary of 1828. However, in 1892 Charles Martin Hall used the -um spelling in an advertising handbill for his new efficient electrolytic method for the production of aluminium, despite using the -ium spelling in all of his patents filed between 1886 and 1903. It has consequently been suggested that the spelling on the flier was a simple spelling mistake rather than a deliberate choice to use the -um spelling. Hall’s domination of production of the metal ensured that the spelling aluminum became the standard in North America, even though the Webster Unabridged Dictionary of 1913 continued to use the -ium version.

  5. to bring forward to an earlier time, antonym for "postpone" is prepone – definitely an Indian invention.

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Blogspot blocking lifted…

A few days ago, almost all ISPs in India blocked entire blogspot/typepad domains. Just a while ago, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has ordered the ISPs to block only specific sites, not entire domains.

More details.. http://pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=18954

Hopefully, the ISPs will act on this very soon.

Unfortunately, with several ways of bypassing the block, I don’t understand what purpose is being served by the block. In addition, the bloggers will keep coming up with new blog sites. Is this something more than just blocking sites to prevent the religious hate messages? Perhaps, we will come to know shortly!

Growing up without Harry Potter and Cartoon Network

As a kid growing up in the late 70s and early 80s in India, I never read or heard of “The Lord of the Rings” and definitely not Harry Potter. To add to the misery, if it would seem so for some of the kids of today, I did not have access to Cartoon Network, electronic toys or computer games! In fact, I have never seen Cable Television at my home. My parents first bought a TV in 1986 and those days, the free-to-air channels (which was the only stuff available) were about 3-5 hours every evening.

So, what did I do?

  1. Playing outdoors was the numero uno activity – cricket, aatya-paatya, soccer, hockey with cricket ball and stumps, french cricket, cycling, gilli-danda, marbles, badminton, running races, walking races, flying kites, hide-and-seek, wrestling (obviously, I never won), tennis with cricket ball, etc.
  2. Listening to radio – At our home, the radio would remain on from 6:00 am in the morning to 11:00 am at night. I still remember some of the special programs that no one listened to:
    • 6:00 am Sanskrit news that started with “Iyam Akashwaani. Samprati waartaaha shruyantam”, i.e., “This is Akashwaani. You are now listening to the news.”
    • KL Saigal at 7:00 am and Binaca sangeetmala (I don’t know what time) both on Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (also called, Ceylon station).
  3. Reading books – Some samples: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, Shyamchi Aai (Marathi), Hindu Mythology, Abridged versions of Shakespeare, Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and so on…
  4. Reading comics – Phantom, Mandrake, Flash Gordon, Tintin, and sometimes, Asterix.

I used to, literally, use a torch under my blankets to read these comics and the Hardy Boys books, because my parents disliked the “addiction” ;)Fortunately, someone is taking the painful efforts of maintaing a nice website – The comic project. It has scanned versions of several Indrajaal Comics (Phantom, Mandrake, etc.). I really appreciate this effort.

So, I did have a good time – just in a different way ;)

Blogspot/Typepad ban in India!

Recently, almost all ISPs in India have banned access to blogspot.com and geocities.com and Typepad.com

It seems this is because some terrorist groups have started using these
domains for communication. Some ISPs have said geocities is banned for
phishing. More details at:

  1. Blogger blocked? at Kanak’s Little-notes
  2. Soon, you may not be able to see Blogspot blogs at Amit Varma’s India Uncut
  3. Blogspot Blogs Banned in India: Read Tricks To Access Blocked Websites at Amit Agarwal’s Digital Inspiration
  4. Rediff’s Are Internet Service Providers blocking blogs?

Is this the right way to do any kind of censorship in the largest democracy? It seems only a few sites were supposed to be blocked, but the ISPs have just blocked the entire domains! Clearly, every involved party will now play the blame game and point fingers, while the sufferers have no idea of what is going on!!

As is expected, there are several tricks to overcome this problem.
It is well-known that the Pakistani government banned blogspot and so
people came up with pkblogs

Hopefully, there will be some updates very soon. In the meanwhile, we can follow developments through the googlegroup, BloggersCollective

Interesting, google owns blogspot… but, we don’t seem to have any news from them — yet!

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The English language: From India to US

Some of the interesting aspects of Indian English (which I realized only after coming to the US) are:

  1. Use of “Curd” to represent “Yogurt.”
  2. A student “passes out” of school, i.e., he/she graduates from school.
  3. The teacher takes the exam and the student gives it.
  4. In some areas sentences such as “I am knowing what to do” are directly derived from Hindi language.
  5. Relations such as “cousin-brother”  and “cousin-sister.”
  6. “Eve teasing” to indicate sexual harassment of women by men
  7. “French beard” to indicate “goatee” type of beard.
  8. “Lakhs” to indicate 100 thousand
  9. “Crores” to indicate 10 million

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How people reach my blog

WordPress has some interesting statistics. In the last 7 days, some keywords that people (other than myself) have used to reach my blog are:

  1. yahoo music engine
  2. Roy bengali last name
  3. good marathi thoughts ;)
  4. traffic video
  5. keyboard has coffee spilt on it
  6. lalit patil [someone was actually looking for me!]
  7. mumbai blasts
  8. latitude D610 coffee

Interesting that there are two visitors who were looking for advice to manage spilt coffee on their notebooks! Looks like it is a fairly common procedure for giving a new life to the notebooks!

In the last 30 days, the most visited posts are

MAC and Viruses

The common perception is that MACs are “immune” to computer viruses. Apple even has an ad that hints towards this view

I wonder why companies such as Symantec, McAfee sell anti-virus software for Macintoshes, and why people buy and update them very regularly! And then there is a website called MacVirus.org that provides “Macintosh Virus and AntiVirus Worms and Trojan Information!”

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Plagiarism in Hindi Film Music

For long have we complained about the blatant plagiarism in Hindi Film music by music director’s such as Anu Malik, Bappi Lahiri and Jatin Lalit.

I think there are worse heartbreakers – Shankar Jaikishen, R.D. Burman, S.D. Burman, Salil Chowdhury, Laxmikant Pyarelal and so on. They never got tagged as “lifters” but lifted some of the biggest hits in the Indian film industry.

I knew about quite a few of these copies, but ItwoFS (I2FS – Inspirations in Indian Film Songs) is a good website that has enlisted quite a few of these.

My heartbreakers include (most links and information copied from ItwoFS):

  1. R.D. Burman (one of my most favored music directors)
  2. Laxmikant Pyarelal
    • Om shanti Om (Karz) – Real heartbreaker – Shanti om
  3. Anand Milind
  4. S.D. Burman
    • Hum The Woh Thi (Chalti ka Naam Gaadi) – Listen to The Watermelon song if you want to be speechless!
  5. Shankar Jaikishen – My favorite music directors :(
    • Kaun hai jo sapnon mein aaya (Jhook gaya aasmaan) – Blatant – Marguerita
  6. Salil Chowdhury

ItwoFs lists many more!

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Mumbai Blasts – To call, or to not :(

First, I got an email from my brother: a one-liner saying “I am fine.” I wondered what was wrong with him in the first place (since I interact with him more than once in a day!) and just neglected the email.

Then, I just switched on CNN and realized what he meant. He was referring to the serial Mumbai train blasts.

My maternal uncles, aunts, cousins and grandparents live in Mumbai. My uncles work at Mahim. Even though I know that they do not commute by train, I was scared.
I picked up the phone to call them up, but I could not dial the number. The fear of losing someone close forever is really very strong. I spent quite some time contemplating and finally called up. As soon as my cousin heard my voice, the first thing he said was “Aamhi sagle theek aahot.” (All of us are OK out here).

I wish such things never happen to anyone ever. I sympathize with those who have lost their dear ones, not just in these blasts but anytime in their lives.

Now, I really understood how awful it can be. The fear of having to face unwanted news literally forced me into not making the call!

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