Category Archives: Language

Hoary narratives

Ratna Raman IN The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock (1915), a somewhat diminished narrator poet, chronicles the history of the early 20th century in modern verse. Sporadically recording the experience of urban life in a post war world, Prufrock … Continue reading

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Charades the elite play

Ratna Raman THE noun ‘charade’ refers to any pretence at projecting a pleasant front. Charades usually conceal unpleasant situations. Charades were literary riddles popular in the 18 century France among the elite. Each syllable was described by a separate phrase, … Continue reading

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Get caught in the rain

Ratna Raman I GREW up listening to the song ‘Don’t go out into the rain, Sugar, you’re gonna melt’, sung persuasively by Herman’s Hermits (1967). It short-circuited all outdoor expeditions while it rained and was reinforced by warnings from mothers, … Continue reading

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Enough of concocted stories!

Ratna Raman LAST week, a newspaper reported that a custodian of India’s legal system, explained why the peacock is our national bird. According to this judge, the celibate peacock sheds potent tears, which are gobbled up by the peahen, the … Continue reading

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Weather it out

Ratna Raman WHEN we were growing up, conversations veered around the topic of the weather in England and its central role in routine discussions. Since English weather was awfully unpredictable, it served as a handy tool to draw upon whenever … Continue reading

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‘Games We Play’

Ratna Raman APPARENTLY, games played by children have been devised to prepare them for adulthood. I hated the game of musical chairs. Chairs, less in number than participants, were arranged to form a circle. While the music played, people ran … Continue reading

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Frankly, messiahs overrated

Ratna Raman THE adjective ‘frank’ is associated with plain speaking. The verb ‘franking’ refers to an official mark indicating money has been paid towards postal charges. A ‘franking machine’ stamped the official mark on parcels and letters automatically. Francs once … Continue reading

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