tag 22 – gotta love english

This is somewhat of a tag from three years ago, down to the date!

I didn’t get tagged, but this seemed like juicy a punishment to lay on fellow blogger, which was the norm those days. Read the very first comment on it by yours truly and you will know the kind of wicked person I was. Am an angel now. ;-)

Those days (and I must sound like a wizened old woman rocking on her front porch chewing tobacco, with a far off glaze covering her cataract ridden eyes) tags were fun. Maybe they are still fun, I wouldn’t know coz I’ve quit doing tags, or accepting any. Nothing to do with ’em tags, just grew out of them I suppose. I mean, one can’t keep digging up 10 more secrets from within (aren’t they called secrets for a reason?), or favorite songs, movies etc. It does get repetitive and after awhile one has used their blog so much as sounding board, that it seems a bore to wrench them from the dregs and display again.

Like pulling out old leftover cold sambar from a week ago, reheating it and adding a dash of curry leaf and passing it off as new. You see where I am going with this.

English is a crazy language, but when it starts off almost close to your first language, then it’s brilliant, flawless and perfectly logical to you. You will not have an explanation on why two exactly alike words can be said differently, while two differently written words are pronounced the same! Someone, mostly folks who are learning it or bratty truthful kindergarteners will point it to you, and you would scratch that head and blink a bit, and perhaps shrug your shoulder and say “I don’t know, that’s how I’ve always said it!” I have tremendous respect for teachers of any kind, but for an English teacher, I would bow my head.

Like the irrational cranky old grandpa that you’ve grown to love and can’t imagine him any other way.

So when I came across this in my drafts, it was as wicked as it was challenging and quite tempting. I attempted it, and I managed to stumble through without much hesitation when done in even speed and tone. Kick it up a notch and your mouth feels like u have pebbles swishing around within. But, it has been fun and I wondered why I never really got down to it till now!

In any case, this here is a Youtube version of a native English Speaker.

I had a lovely audio version of mine all set to go, but been having technical difficulties and so I am forced to record again with a blank video and load it. The things I do for this blog. If it were a human, it owes me big.  Anyways, it is not perfect. So, be kind. Be very kind!

Read along with my attempt:

Gerard Nolst Trenité’s “The Chaos” (1922).

Dearest creature in creation,
Study English pronunciation.
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse.
I will keep you, Suzy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy.
Tear in eye, your dress will tear.
So shall I! Oh hear my prayer.
Just compare heart, beard, and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word,
Sword and sward, retain and Britain.
(Mind the latter, how it’s written.)
Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as plaque and ague.
But be careful how you speak:
Say break and steak, but bleak and streak;
Cloven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe.
Hear me say, devoid of trickery,
Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore,
Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles,
Exiles, similes, and reviles;
Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
Solar, mica, war and far;
One, anemone, Balmoral,
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel;
Gertrude, German, wind and mind,
Scene, Melpomene, mankind.
Billet does not rhyme with ballet,
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.
Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.
Viscous, viscount, load and broad,
Toward, to forward, to reward.
And your pronunciation’ s OK
When you correctly say croquet,
Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve,
Friend and fiend, alive and live.
Ivy, privy, famous; clamour
And enamour rhyme with hammer.
River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,
Doll and roll and some and home.
Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.
Souls but foul, haunt but aunt,
Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant,
Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger,
And then singer, ginger, linger,
Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, gouge and gauge,
Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age.
Query does not rhyme with very,
Nor does fury sound like bury.
Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth.
Job, nob, bosom, transom, oath.
Though the differences seem little,
We say actual but victual.
Refer does not rhyme with deafer.
Feoffer does, and zephyr, heifer.
Mint, pint, senate and sedate;
Dull, bull, and George ate late.
Scenic, Arabic, Pacific,
Science, conscience, scientific.
Liberty, library, heave and heaven,
Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven.
We say hallowed, but allowed,
People, leopard, towed, but vowed.
Mark the differences, moreover,
Between mover, cover, clover;
Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
Chalice, but police and lice;
Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, disciple, label.
Petal, panel, and canal,
Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal.
Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,
Senator, spectator, mayor.
Tour, but our and succour, four.
Gas, alas, and Arkansas.
Sea, idea, Korea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria.
Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean.
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.
Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion and battalion.
Sally with ally, yea, ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, and key.
Say aver, but ever, fever,
Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver.
Heron, granary, canary.
Crevice and device and aerie.
Face, but preface, not efface.
Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.
Large, but target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging.
Ear, but earn and wear and tear
Do not rhyme with here but ere.
Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen,
Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk,
Ask, grasp, wasp, and cork and work.
Pronunciation (think of Psyche!)
Is a paling stout and spikey?
Won’t it make you lose your wits,
Writing groats and saying grits?
It’s a dark abyss or tunnel:
Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale,
Islington and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict and indict.
Finally, which rhymes with enough,
Though, through, plough, or dough, or cough?
Hiccough has the sound of cup.
My advice is to give up!!!


Loved it? Crazy if you ask me. So who’s crazy enough to join me? :-)

Tag 21 – books

So I got tagged by a bunch of people, so many that I actually have forgotten all who have tagged me and so in all fairness I will not link the couple I remember.

A list of 100 books (there are actually only 98, when you take it into excel!) and to check and see how far down the road you are and how many fine books there are out there that one is yet to read.

I did some work with the list. Put it into a document and called it 100bookstoread in case anyone wants to download and use. Posting a screen shot of the list of books that I have actually read..


Depressing and shocking, not to mention quite ashamed to call oneself a bookworm, but here it is. I think am only half the worm. I know. I look at the numbered list above and I have to agree, am only a third of a worm. Am like the outlier at the worm-conference. The one that everyone spots right away but are being polite not to call on, the one that gets those shifty looks. The kind when joins the table, everyone magically finds an excuse and leaves slowly but surely.

*cough- I need that drink now.

*sniff – Gosh, I must be coming down with a cold, will not infect any further

*drat – I had that call I need to return to.

and so on and so forth.


or Kolam as they say in Tamil, or Rangoli in Hindi.

My mom has and still am sure has a large collection of different kinds muggulu (kolams/rangolis) back home. Every year, as the festive season approached, she’d open her book up and brush up on them. Practicing on stolen sheets of notebook paper from our books. I remember her being very possessive about her collection. Not sharing much with anyone, and neither allowing us to flip the pages without her permission.

There were all kinds.

Dots circled by squiggles and dots connected by lines.

There were no dot ones too.

Then there were the even number of dots and the odd numbers. Some went all the way to one, while some stopped short at 3. Some had a pattern to them.

15, 13(2) 11, 9(2), 7, 5- she’d pencil the top of the page.

There was an order to all those squiggles that wound serpentine in and out and dodged the little islands of rice flour. Yes, there would be a once a month purchase of Kolamaavu or Muggupindi – a mixture of calcium and /or chalk. It was heavy in texture, and fell thickly across the wet earth. There was a knack of letting the flour flow smooth and even as one drew lines and curves in the wee hours. It was a special treat when my mother would allow me to try my hand at it. The smaller tinier lesser traffic doorways was given to me. To practice. I would.

It was a special joy to see the white powder fall ever so gently as my index finger and thumb would clasp a tiny bit and move within half an inch over the wet floor, leaving a white trail behind. The one that would form boundaries and create mazes for the ants. The ones that the ants would feed on eventually to make their way across.

Am sure there’s an interesting history to why this little art started and how it evolved. I should perhaps go read up on it.

In the meanwhile, I wanted to ask this. How many really serious muggu/kolam/rangoli folks are out there today? No, am not talking about competitions and filling the boundaries of these shapes with colors and flowers alone, but some serious pattern drawing? This day and age when nights and mornings have merged to one with busy schedules and the space that’s reserved for this artwork has been taken over by cycles parked outside, or the narrow alleys that have been created by apartments spilling over? The last time I was over, I saw little hurried dashes in place of beautiful intricate sparkling art. It was disappointing.

On special occasions such as Diwali, Navaratri, Ganesh Puja, or Varalakshmi Vratam day, or Ugadi, I try and do a small colorful muggu outside our front door. It’s with colored sidewalk chalk, not rice flour. Sidealk art at its best.

I use whatever colors I can salvage from the tub from munchkin’s corner in the garage. It feels good. It feels like a home when I have that spread outside. People who come home have always remarked (and some with an amused snicker) on how I can remember and continue to keep up a failing tradition, here outside India.

I shock folks occasionally and invariably get a kick out of it. It’s entertaining, correct? How else does one spice up a suburbian life, with three kids (I’d love to say a dog, but if I do, that would make me husband-less, so I refrain) doing the mundane soccer mom thing?

So my quick to pull out of the chalkbox, apart from drawing a padma:

a diwali 08

a diwali 08

is this squiggly one:


It’s 7-5-3-1 and it’s really very simple.

So you tell me, do you do an occasional Kolam/Muggu/rangoli outside your home? Special occasions? Do you personally know how to draw a couple? From memory? Is there favorite? Have you stopped doing it? Why?

Am gonna tag a few of you from various parts of the world to tell me about your Muggu/Rangoli/Kolam experience.

Sands, Keerthi, My3, ajcl, Maami, Sree , Mystic , Archana and anyone else who wants to do this. Would love to hear your thoughts. Add a picture if you can. Should be interesting? What do you think?

Now that I think about it, men can add in their 2 cents too. I know my dad enjoyed seeing my mom work herself up into a frenzy over getting it “perfect” – especially the one she;d do on rathasapthami (incidentally it was my birthday too) – the huge muggu, with a chariot and wheels and the flag that would fly “uptil the corner of the street, so I had to go pick your mom up on the scooter and bring her home” – Dad’s favorite, never tiring joke every year.

First published on Desicritics.

tag 20 (more of me)

It’s been ages since I’ve done a tag and I have a few piling. Sands and Sree both tagged me with the same one, and I can only escape so long. Somehow after spending so much time here and having done 19, I seem to have lost the zeal for them, and writing more and more about myself seems like a broken record. Just click on the Tag tag (heh) for the hugely introspective kind and read away. :-)

I like doing a tag when it allows me some creative license and knowing me, I’d hardly stick to rules. Then of course there’s this whole toning down that am doing and tags just increase more links. Either way, I can’t refuse the ladies, so here goes..


1.What is your current obsession?

Screenshots! I know, I need a new hobby, don’t I?

2. What are you wearing today?

I wore a smile this morning all the way till I then changed to a frown mid-afternoon. Then I got bored with it and wore bright chuckles. Evening wear was a stiff upper lip and now am wearing a smile again!

3. What’s for dinner?

Not the husband or kids, coz I’ve actually started cooking as in use the pan and the stove and worked on a bunch of spinach and some beans.

4. What’s the last thing you bought?

School supplies. What? Ask me later, but now it’s school opening time. What else would a mom be buying? *As you can tell, I started doing this tag last month. Yesterday I did groceries and the most interesting among them was Soybean flour.*

5. What are you listening to right now?

Munchkin and son cackling and giggling with the daughter screaming at them to get out of her room.

6. What do you think about the person who tagged you?

They sweet ladies with names starting with S, and which also happens to be my favorite letter!

7. If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be?

ooo, you gonna do a makeover on my home? Great!

8. What are your must-have pieces for summer?


9. If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go?

hmm.. to a fancy hotel and sleep in those high thread count beds.

10. Which language do you want to learn?

One that I hear by a few special folks in my life, but can’t understand.

11. What’s your favorite quote?

Not sure about favorite, but for 12 years through my school, this was our motto. Something that’s stuck in my head and I believe has seeped into my sub-conscious. I would like to think I apply in all what I do. It is “Age Quod Agis” – Latin for “Do well all that you do

12. Who do you want to meet right now?

No one really. I wish I did want to meet someone grand but sadly no one. Would my grandma in heaven be okay? I mean, not that I want to die and go up these so soon, but perhaps a portal?

13. What is your favorite colour?

Black. Sometimes it’s Red. It morphs to Green too.

14. What is your favorite piece of clothing in your own closet?

Can I just say my saris and be done with it?

15. What is your dream job?

Where I sit home and do anything and everything I like and not care about feeling like a useless irresponsible bum?

16. What’s your favorite magazine?

It keeps changing. I really am a boring flitting person. Nothing steady about me.

17. If you had $100 now, what would you spend it on?

On bhel puri? :)

18. What do you consider a fashion faux pas?

Wearing something just coz someone else is wearing it. It doesn’t matter if something doesn’t fit perfect on you, but your mind should have come up with that style.

19. Who are your style icons?

Would I be called vain, if I say “myself”? No, seriously, I don’t think of myself as an icon, but I dress with comfort in mind. While growing up, my biology teacher – Mrs. Susan John was the quintessential gorgeous elegant lady in a sari. Watching her walk down our grounds towards the building, I’d hope one day, I’d have her wide hourglass hips and a straight back and a collection of wonderful saris to look just a bit like her. With respect to those hips, you know what they say “Bhagwan jab deta hai, chappar phad ke deta?” . Right.

20. Describe your personal style?

Attitude. Confidence. Humor. In moderation. Everything else is relative and will fall into place as long as you respect and value yourself *in a dead serious tone*

21. What are you going to do after this?

Take munchkin to the park and slide down slides with her and perhaps roll down the slope. What? You haven’t done that yet? You should. It’s crazy fun, much better than a roller coaster if you ask me.

22. What are your favorite movies?

As I said before, am hardly consistent. If I have to name a couple that I liked very much – Mouna Ragam, Die Hard series, Sagara Sangamam..tons more.

24. What are three cosmetic/makeup/perfume products that you can’t live without?

My pencil eyeliner. I can live without it, just that I’d like to not try.

23. What inspires you?

Simple ideas with far-reaching results. People who make a difference without talking too much. Kids. My own children.

24. What do you carry in your bag?

Wallet and phone.

25. What do you do when you “have nothing to wear” (even though your closet’s packed)?

I’d like to wear nothing, but since that’s unacceptable, I pull out a pair of jeans and a tee.

26. Coffee or tea?

Coffee. Sometimes it’s tea. See, how flexible I am?

27. What do you do when you are feeling low or terribly depressed?

Sulk of course. Then go for a drive. Meet people, any people. Even strangers at Walmart count. Anyone who can make me smile, even politely. I’ll be okay after that.

28. What is the meaning of your name?

It’s a Hindu name. All Hindu names have a link with God somehow.

29. Which other blogs you love visiting?

I read a few on my reader when I can.

30. Favorite Season?

What’s with this favorite question? Am I the only freak that doesn’t like the concept of favorites?!

I LIKE Fall and Spring. Moderate. I like the concept of changing seasons. The fact that I get to see four of them where I live; wouldn’t trade it ever.


If anyone wants to try doing it, please do so. Especially more so if you are new to blogging. It’s nice to write about yourself. :-)