Taking advantage of the flexibility of the English language, the caption is an attempt to share a vocabulary all its own. For convenience sake, I have captioned it ‘ locabulary ‘.


English language is the most universal language in history, way more than the Latin of Julius Caesar. It’s the most punderful language because its vocabulary has a certain critical mass that makes a lingo good for punning “- Richard Lederer



Move over the vocabulary pundits. With due respect to Mariam-Webster, Oxford, Collins and what have you. This warrants a new dictionary. Lets turn the page.



Here are some extracts from every day local communication from Maximum City Bombay that a lot of you would be using or aware of and that which breaks the mould. They bear testament to the fact that nothing like ‘ radical candor ‘ to get the message across. No compliance or adherence to the default. Here goes:



Abbey: Before you get there, let me forewarn you that this has nothing to do with a nunnery or a monastery like what you would see in places like the UK. It is just a wake up call to someone asking him to smell the coffee. It puts everyone out there on a level playing field(inspired by the DEI rallying cry) and is oblivious to titles be it Ms | Mr, positions of authority or any such formality. No power dynamics at work here.



Chayyla: Before you rush to get a cup of tea, and invoke the bawarchi in you, pause. This is used when you feel short changed or have made a fool of yourself. More like a self admonition than anything else.

PS: Chayyla  is best expressed at 20 db decibel levels.



Khajoor : This would be a detrimental representation of ‘ dates ‘ as it should be known conventionally but here the parlance is referring to someone who is downright stupid. Nicely palmed off I dare say. Khajoor sows the seed with a sweet tinge of respectful disdain.



Pendal: First I was at pains to understand what this meant and I continued soft-pedalling the issue. Only to realise later on that this is a well accepted pseudonym for ‘ pedal ‘, as seen on bicycles. And the big advantage is that just like pedal, pendal can be used either as a verb or a noun.



Poblem: Without any problem I reckon you have guessed it. Why are we bothered about the ‘ras long as the problem is getting conveyed. Ignore the letter r in the right spirit. I have no poblem..I mean problem with that. After all phonetics has to have a say! Actually, subtracting one r from the word, seems to have added some weight to the problem, don’t you think so?



Singal: If you turn red or amber or green on this one, I can understand. Though the alphabets are juxtaposed, what is being signaled is signal. So, left, right or state..straight? Traffic law abiding citizens are well versed with this, whether they are single or..



Waat: I know some of you might be letting off steam on hearing this but this has no relation whatsoever to James Watt( of Steam Engine fame). Waat is the weighted average explanation of a totally screwed up situation. Waat The F…? Not to be mistaken with ” Waat Pahath Hotha “, mind you. Imagine, waiting for ‘waat‘? We and our masochistic tendencies!



Apun: This may come across as a pun but there is no pun intended here. This is I, me, myself and defending one’s turf with a vengeance. Apun has a close relationship with the beach town of Alibaug and is best expressed in this usage ” Apun Alibaug se nahee aaya “- meaning- I am not a fool. I have not come from Alibaug. Embedding destination branding in everyday parlance has been inspired from this. So ahead of time!



Peshyal: Before you wonder what is so special about this, let me offer you more than a hint. This is something masquerading as special. Last heard, I am given to understand that Peshyal could also be spelt as Paycial. I am spell bound. Next time, I will do some more spell check.



Ghochoo: Tempted as you would be, please don’t rush to conclude that this is another brand from the Jimmy Choo stable. This is a not so decorated but a go-to way of addressing an idiot. The jury is still out on whether Ghochoo has an oriental descent but apparently it has been patented by Dongri, Kabutar Chawl inhabitants.



Chaapter : Stop, don’t turn the page. This has no connection to the chapters that we have in books. The additional ‘a‘ in Chapter distinguishes itself from the run of the mill. A for aura. This is a hyper localised version of addressing a shrewd and cunning person. How you role your tongue and at what angle do you open your mouth is critical in getting the pronunciation for chaapter right. Going slightly awry would mean closing the chapter shut.



Raada: Phonetics could play tricks on you and coerce you to think this would be from the Prada lineage. Alas, sorry to disappoint you. A raada is a heated argument with a strong potential to go upstream and become a full scale physical assault.



Vat Le: This is no government diktat on the collection of VAT. Nor is anyone using the French masculine article Le wrongly. Vat Le is a crisp get lost message delivered best with just one side of the mouth and minimal lip movement. Just imagine Marlon Brando saying Vat Le in Godfather and you will know what i mean.



Temporvary : Hearing this, your temper could vary. Everything in life is temporvary. We are getting philosophical here. Temporvary is a convoluted way of addressing temporary and has been used for such a long time that now it has become permanent fixture in the locabulary.
Raag : I suspected this was coined by the musically inclined. Or someone like Balamurali( the legend, who created ragas with three swaras) . But, I couldn’t have been more wrong. If you hear someone’s raag, it may not exactly sound like music to your ears. In plain speak raag is bluff made palatable. Raagpatti ( whose Cognates are found in Greek, Persian, Khwarezmian and other languages ) takes the narrative a couple of notches above and into the zone of intimidation.
Machmach: Before you arrive at the conclusion that this is a new clothing line brand from Inditex( of Zara, Pull & Bear, Bershka, Stradivarius, Massimo Dutti etc fame), machmach is nothing much more than an argument, a not so fervent plea to distill the signal from the noise. Mach obliged.
XCoosMe for me now. More mach I mean such in my next.







Being An Employee Of Our Own Myth!

We are all frauds.


Creating is hard for every last one of us( including those from the allegedly superior Aryan race). Yes!


Coal mining is harder. Do you think the miners stand around all day thinking about how hard it is to mine for coal? Certainly not!  They simply dig.


Throughout life, you collect data points or dots. And you probably don’t have a clue as to how these dots will connect in the future. As Steve Jobs said, you can connect these dot only by looking backward. But you have to collect them moving forward.


Without the mistakes we make, the decisions we regret, and the experiences that didn’t live up to our expectations, we would be woefully short of material and ammunition for our creative work. These things are all ingredients for your soup, material for making meaning and creating art.


The creative life, just like the creative process isn’t linear. We don’t know how each of our life experiences will impact us down the road. With each step forward, the landscape differs, the view changes, and the most insignificant experiences of our lives at the moment can serve as the most informative ones in our future.


Our creativity is not something that someone can give to us or take away. It’s always something within us. Happily domiciled. Whether it’s the degree we earn or the job we hate,  every experience provides us with seeds to plant for the stories we tell.


Life doesn’t pause to make room for our precious creating time.


” There is an unknown room in the soul that is constantly turning the stuff of daydreams into myths for us, helping us to get at meaning we can’t get to through the front door “- Phil Cousineau



Being an employee of our own myth!

We are all frauds! Forgive the blatant articulation.


To quote Wikipedia ” The master race (GermanHerrenrasse) is a pseudoscientific concept in Nazi ideology in which the putative “Aryan race” is deemed the pinnacle of human racial hierarchy. Members were referred to as “Herrenmenschen” (“master humans”).


Creating is hard for every last one of us– including for the ones from the allegedly superior Aryan race.


If you think creating is hard, try grave digging. Or coal mining. Infinitely harder. Do you think miners stand around all day thinking and talking about how hard it is to mine for coal? Certainly not. They just go ahead and do it ie dig!


Throughout life, you collect data points or dots. And you probably don’t have a clue how these dots will connect in the future. As Steve Jobs said, you can only connect these dots looking backward. But, you can only collect them going forward.


In our daily lives, too many of us favor the comfort of conviction over the discomfort of doubt. The result is that our beliefs get brittle long before our bones.


Without the mistakes we make, the decisions we regret and the experiences that didn’t live up to our expectations, we would be very short on material for our creative work.  These things are all just ingredients for your soup, material for making meaning and making art.


The creative process, just like the creative life, isn’t linear.  We don’t know how each of our life experiences will impact us down the road. With each step forward, the view changes, the landscape shifts and the horizon offers a different dimension. The most insignificant of our experiences and life’s little skirmishes at the moment can serve as the most informative (and even inspiring) ones in our future.


Our creativity is not something that someone can give us, gift us or take away. It’s something thats always within us.  Whether it’s the degrees we earn or the jobs we hate, every experience offers us seeds to plant for the stories we tell.


Life doesn’t pause or stop to make room for our precious creating time. So, if you are running your own life’s employment exchange, show up and ship out!




The Algebra of Trust..

The Algebra of Trust and How the Virtual World is Playing Havoc with it!
We have all noticed that all too often online, feedback descends to trolling and then degenerates to hate on all sides. Why is that? Why does this honourable form of human commentary from one person to another rarely work online?

Fundamentally what has changed is the nature of trust and as trust changes, so do relationships precisely because of how we are hardwired to form connections with people. It is no surprise that trust in the virtual world is very fragile(though easier to establish initially). Feedback depends on trust. In face to face relationships where there is trust, when one side screws up, it would be causing anger, friction, resentment, mistrust to creep in. But, if the connection is strong enough, things can be salvaged, an apology rendered and trust can get restored. Indeed, once restored, the bond of trust maybe even stronger than what it was erstwhile.
It’s different in the virtual world- once trust is threatened, it’s instantly broken and almost impossible to reestablish. People simply move on. Since trust was fragile and on egg shells in the first place, it gets broken at the slightest provocation.
Let’s look at the resident flaws domiciled in virtual feedback. Firstly, there is much less of it because it is harder to give than face to face feedback. Secondly, virtual feedback is much less robust and more likely to cause irreparable harm. And as an extension of that a weaker feedback has far diluted meaning.
Though lacking the unconscious stream of emotional information we receive automatically from other people face to face, virtual feedback, less robust as it may be, still stings- why is that?
We humans are social beings; put us face to face, we share mirror neurons that allow us to match each other’s emotions unconsciously and immediately( more about Neurons and Narratives in a separate post). We leak emotions to each other. Yes. We anticipate and mirror each other’s movements when we are in sympathy or agreement- singing from the same hymn sheet shall we say. And we can mirror each other’s brain activity when we’re engaged in storytelling and listening-both halves of the communication conundrum.
All of that leaking and sharing creates intimacy, trust and connection. It fuels receptivity and interest in other people’s point of  view. There is a quest to achieve this state of human communion. Make no mistake- it’s wrong to think that most humans prefer the solitary life that so much of modern virtual life imposes on us. We’ re most comfortable when we are connected, sharing strong emotions and stories.
The virtual world in stark contrast is much less engaging. This stems from the fact that the forms of the virtual world lacks the emotional information we crave. With this we can segway into another critical aspect of the virtual era that has high premium written all over. The issue of authenticity. More on it at a later date in time.
As an aside: Do you think Twitter needs a crash course in Anger Management? It is said that your audience is the product– just a polite enquiry… ( Well it’s for a different discussion!).