Saree, Kachra and Rathore

This is a more of research paper for a blog post. I literally had to reside below a bodhi tree for a month to gain this knowledge. You better read it and like it. 🙂

If you recall a post I had Previously written, I had adequately addressed a few of my north Indian friends’ quintessential questions. It was “Why does Karnataka has a flag of its own, while other states don’t“. This is the second one in that series “Why do South-Indians add a letter h to ‘t‘ sound, such as Jayalalitha as against a proper Jayalalita“. Okay, let us get to it.

South-Indians consider four ‘t’ sounds a set of mutually exclusive and distinctive representations in their native languages. For this very reason, when written in a foreign script, such as English, they will get four different spellings.

  1. t for voiceless retroflex,
  2. tt for voiced retroflex,
  3. th for voiceless dental,
  4. and finally, tth or tthh for voiced dental.

North Indians, however, chose to manage it with two even though Devanagari still has the same combinations.

  1. t for both voiceless retroflex and dental
  2. th for both voiced retroflex and dental.

For example, the English spelling of an Atal and Atul for a north Indian will change to Atal and Athul for a south Indian.

Now, who is correct? The answer is neither, nor maybe both.

Please be aware that this cannot be a spelling bee. Indian native languages are exceptionally and perfectly capable of representing all their native sounds in their preferred scripts. The trouble comes only when one needs to write them in a foreign language such as English. In English, however, we simply do not have a one-to-one mapping for all the sounds of Indian origin. Why should they? Understandably this is by design.

If it is of any consolation, the vice versa is true as well. For instance, we can never write the word ‘acid’ in any Indian languages, convincingly. It can be either ‘A-sid’ or ‘aasid’, and that is the best you can get. Hence the verdict is, the argument itself is wrong. Unless we are talking about Unicode or international phonetic symbols as foreign languages of consideration, both representations should and are correct. Stop arguing now.

Now that we have settled that debate let me pose a counter-question on a related topic. Why do all North Indians write few words such as Saree, Rathore and Kachra with two different representations or even pronounce differently? You must be familiar with Saadi, Rathod and Kachda.

Most of the time, it is pronounced as a Sadi and written Saree? This is very annoying for a non-native.

Disclosure. I am not a native Hindi speaker; I did not even have proper formal education on Hindi. I studied Hindi as my fourth language, but my Hindi teacher was in a great hurry and skipped a topic or few, such as alphabet! Obviously, she could not answer may of such questions we had. Why such a level of imperfections

  1. Why does Hindi omit (or swallow) the final vowel, e.g., Kannad for Kannada?
  2. Why does turtle have strange spelling ending with a vowel KachuAA instead of Kachuva?
  3. Why does translation for Yesterday and Tomorrow has the same word leaving it to its verb to decide the fate?
  4. And the most crucial question is, why on earth Hindi does not end a word with a consonant and must be a vowel? I mean, Hindi’s mother Sanskrit does the proper ending of each word. E.g., In Hindi Jal and Jala written the same. At the same time, Sanskrit differentiates even with the same script of Devanagari.

What surprised me the most is my friends with proper education on Hindi could not explain this deviation of Hindi from her mother, (Samskrutam) Sanskrit.

In my quest for knowledge, I had asked many many of my friends on these discrepancies. I quizzed them precisely on the r spelling for d sound. Most of them dint have a clue but a few attempted explaining it to me. Apparently, the language Hindi has a sound/letter that falls somewhere between an ‘r‘ and a ‘d‘. Unfortunately, this consonant does not sit in a scientifically classified and tabulated alphabet of Indian languages. So, it has to be foreign.

It’s called Nuqta. Let me quote Manisha Kulshreshtha, and Ramkumar Mathur on what they wrote in Dialect Accent Features for Establishing Speaker Identity. A few sounds, borrowed from the other languages like Persian and Arabic, are written with a dot (Bindu or nuktā). Many people who speak Hindi as a second language, especially those who come from rural backgrounds and do not speak conventional Hindi (also called Khariboli), or speak in one of its dialects, pronounce these sounds as their nearest equivalents.

Ultimately, it’s a matter of a dot (period). You can bring this confusing sound by merely putting a period, below or on the side, wherever you find some space. It should be done for one and the only purpose – to represent a foreign sound, especially with loan words. By definition, anything and everything can be covered here, including click sound of African languages. Nuqta was introduced in Devanagari to accommodate pronunciation India’s invaders bought in.

This is brilliant stuff; I have full clarity now. Absolutely useless! But still brilliant!

This raises more questions than answers. Why on earth would you consider sadi/saree is a foreign loaned word? Have you seen anyone in central Asia or the middle east wearing it? The Saree, its style, its etymology – they all have origins in India. It existed even before Hindi was even born, let’s not even talk about loans.

Photo by Nivedita Singh on

The answer is very straightforward. This is the side effect of a hangover by Turkik and Persian speaking empires ruling us. We could not even decide if a piece of clothing we wore for a millennium, was foreign or Indian. Finally, we settled, and we decided its foreign. Well done there.

Let me know your thoughts, do write your opinion on the comments section.

[Book vs Movie]Calling Sehmat vs Raazi

Generally, I do not get involved in the business of comparing the movies against the Book based on. The primary reason for that is that I will have to read fiction for the comparison. And I hate reading fiction! Nevertheless, here is an attempt. This is more of a fictionalized biography rather than a novel, hence the exception 🙂

The movie in the discussion is Raazi starring Alia Bhat. She is a nepo-kid with reasonably good acting skills amongst a truckload among quintessentially bad actors and movie makers. For a change, the movie is loaded with decent actors; songs are brilliant with excellent lyrics. Its quite old movie by now and you would have seen it already. The book is based on “Calling Sehmat”, authored by Harinder Sikka penned on fictionalized biographical narration based on what he gathered from actual Sehmat.

On an overall and surface level, the movie captures the essence and sequence of events described in the Book. However, there are a few fundamental differences, which could be deliberate or creative. I will leave you to decide:

  1. The movie does not capture the first chapter of the Book. The chapter is an essential part of the storyline, but the film chooses to leave behind. The book takes its own time, deservedly, to define Sehmat, her love interest, passion, etc. The movie does not care about any of that.
  2. The movie Sehmat is a weak girl who flinches with the pistol backfire, the book’ Sehmat is a cold-blooded determined soldier who is willing to kill, lie, kidnap, and blackmail for her nation which was at war. The Book’s Sehmat does things as her conscious directs her, while the movie’s Sehmat does it as obligations to her Indian handlers.
  3. The movie ultimately leaves put last few chapters, which most probably is to avoid hurting sentiments of a rowdy family lived terrorizing a village in rural Punjab. Also, they probably do not want to show Sehmat owes her newfound sanity to a hermit.

Also read: Letting Meghna Gulzar direct Raazi was the biggest blunder, rues Calling Sehmat author Harinder Sikka

The Psychology of Money and Paracetamol Junkies

I am currently reading this cool book, which interestingly named “The Psychology of Money: Timeless Lessons on Wealth, Greed, and Happiness” by Morgan Housel. I have not finished it yet to give you a full review. But, I could not help but to share an important concept resonated well with me. Housel calls it as “being rational vs being reasonable”.

We all know what is being rational while taking any decision ahead of us. To achieve it rationally, we pull out all available information from Google, Wikipedia and Quora, draw a spreadsheet on pros and cons, apply the weighted average, analyze balance sheet, and then go for it. Additionally, you might factor the scenario of “What would Kejriwal do?” :-). Being reasonable is much easier to explain, it is just being practical with taking one day at a time and accepting being imperfect.

However, more than the concept itself, the example Morgan chose is fascinating. It is about temperature increase during a fever. Fever is almost always misconceived as a bad thing. We know that it must be avoided at any circumstances, else immediately leading to a panic situation. This has mostly to do with discomfort a fever brings in. And there is a widely accepted popular opinion that Fever is a side effect of an ongoing battle within the human body. For these reasons, we pop paracetamol even for a small degree increase in body temperature. In fact, a sub-industry of pharmaceuticals working on curing ‘fever’ and provide comfort to the ailing.

However, apparently, myriad studies have been conducted on fever and its effects on human body. Please be informed that I am not qualified to fully comprehend and provide advise. But I can tell you what the gist is. The temperature increase is not a side effect for most cases. Instead, it is a mechanism deployed by our immune system to set favorable grounds for battle by deliberately increasing temperature. In other words, temperature raise is not post-battle collateral damage. Instead, it is pre-battle and pre-emptive preparation against the infiltrating microorganisms. Evidently, a slight increase of one degree Fahrenheit can immediately put foreign microorganisms at their backfoot and thus increasing efficiency of our immune system by manifold.

On contrary to popular opinion, consumption of a Paracetamol would reduce the temperature setting back to the square one. The head start it previously gained is now completely removed. Basically, paracetamol will nullify the action taken by a system, which has a maturity that evolved over millions of years with its infinite wisdom. Now immune system will have to overwork.

In this scenario, and for short fevers, keeping calm and resting is the most rational thing to do. However, we have already sleepwalked into being paracetamol junkies. As adults, we pop a pill on the drop of a hat and rush toddlers emergency rooms. The panic overpowers the rationality, and we consider the most reasonable thing to do it burden the medical industry further. The doctors are obligated to remove patient’ discomfort, more than the obligation of cure. Hope it makes sense.

Disclaimer: I am not qualified to provide you with a piece of medical advice here. Please do your own reading and consult.

Soorarai Pottru Review – Apologies

Apologies for having misled you in believing that Soorarai Pottru post has good plot and script. My readers have pointed out that I was wrong, and I was indeed wrong. In my defence, I was not aware of the socio-political and economic background of the story depicted in the movie, fiction or otherwise, which quite possibly, be propaganda. 

I had reviewed it as ‘a movie as an artform’ rather than a socio-political statement. I am aware that I stand against almost an entire internet, who probably did exactly the same. You will have to talk to someone from the region to understand the movie from different perspective.

Okay. Here are the things I had missed:

  1. Name of a character as ‘Che’ was not an unfortunate coincidence, rather quite possibly, it was deliberate. 
  2. Even without reading the biography, you can google and find out the creation of airlines did not encounter sabotaging attempts from bureaucrats and competitors. In fact, It was told that Chief Ministers like SM Krishna and Chandrababu Naidu stood behind the airlines when it got into trouble. 
  3. The protagonist is seen in a black shirt, or shades of it, for almost the entire movie, including his wedding ceremony. I do not know what it means as of yet, but apparently, it does have a statement. 

I have already ordered the book “Simply Fly: A Deccan Odyssey” by GR Gopinath, let me read through and let you know. From what I have told, the movie has a minimal relationship with Autobiography. 

Apart this, I already have “Calling Sehmat” in my queue which supposedly inspired the movie Raazi .

Reading challenge – 2020

Okay. Its done. 2020 resolution complete and I have competed 52 books in 2020. As promised, below are my recommendations.

As usual, below are the boxes I would categorize them. Take it as you like.

  1. Level A) This book will turn you into Yoda!!
  2. Level B) Beware of Goosebumps
  3. Level C) You are gonna think about them for a while
  4. Level D) Good time-pass, read them if your only alternative is to watch paint dry.
  5. Level E) I hated these, I still went ahead and completed it. There is a hype around each of these books and hence thought of mentioning

Lets start. (all images are from

Level A) This book will turn you into Yoda!!

Level B) Beware of Goosebumps

Level C) You are gonna think about them for a while

Level D) Good time-pass, read them if your only alternative is to watch paint dry.

Level E) I hated these, I still went ahead and completed it. There is a hype around each of these books and hence thought of mentioning