Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Reflections of the Complacent

Swami Gulagulaananda said:
"Pardon my affectations, this is me being a flibbertigibbet"

I stared into his eyes as he stared into mine. Some times I wonder if eyes are really the window to the soul, and if he could read my mind through my eyes. "What's your plan?", I asked him. "I am going to write a blog post with them", came the reply. "For the life of it, I can't believe that I can't remember most of these words, you know?", he continued. I could sense anguish in his exasperated voice. "And that's why I am going to write this post, even if it ends up being a rigmarole", he paused.

"Rigmarole", I smiled, and took out my phone. I have a need to find the meanings of words if I don't know the meaning, an OCD of sorts. So I have a dictionary app handy all the time. "Looking in the lexicon, eh?" he grinned. "What's the point of this?" I asked him, getting rather annoyed at the bombastic words. "Lamarck is a genius, my friend", he replied. "Who?" I asked. "Lamarck, the man who spoke about the theory of use and disuse. you see, without regular use, you forget things you learned, you lose the skills you developed and perhaps once excelled. We have to use and keep them sharp all the time, lest we forget them all", he sounded profound.

"So your goal is to sound ostentatious?" I asked. "Far from it", he smiled, "the goal is to make words my factotum." I was beginning to doubt if he was even using some of these words in the right sense. I remembered a couple of incidents where certain friends simply used words based on dictionary meanings. This happened a few years back. It was around 9:30 AM then, and my friend and I were travelling in the bus. He turned to me and said "I can't believe there is this much traffic in the wee hours." You see, the dictionary, oh I am sorry, the lexicon defines it as 'early morning' and it doesn't specify how early. It is an easy mistake to make if you don't have good examples. I believe dictionaries should include them as well. Another friend of mine told me that the director of a college had eloped from hostel. I asked him, "Really? He got married in college?" and he replied, "Who said anything about marriage?" It was bewildering. "You just said he eloped, didn't you?" I asked. "Yeah, the word elope means to run away", he said. And his GRE book had defined it as run away. Indeed, GRE books seemed to believe in Lamarck's theory, use the words as much as you can.

"Alright, alright", I said, "I need some water." He raised his eyebrows and said, "I am not your flunkey, nor am I your lackey. If you want it, get it yourself. I haven't reached the nadir of my fortunes," he replied brusquely. "Nadir? Nadir Shah? What?" I asked. I was beginning to get irritated, but I continued listening. This bloke was pretty irritating, but I found I could learn from him if I could resist my urge to punch him squarely in the face. "Nadir, it means the lowest point", he replied.

"Are you preparing for GRE? What's with you today?" I asked him. He grinned at me and said, "No, can't a cove revise words? Can't a bloke create an artificial situation just so that he can use the words in an attempt to remember them?"
"Artificial situation? You mean, you are twisting the context so that you can use your words?"
"No, it means this isn't real"
"Isn't this real?"
"Real? Plane mirrors don't project real images, they are always virtual, remember?"
"Plane Mirror?"
"Well, of course... You are here to help me reflect"

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