lalita larking

An obsession with cryptic crosswords. Everything else falls in place.

Location: Kolkata, India

Sunday, June 18, 2006

What was that again?

Setting the scene

Traffic snarl-ups irritate some people. They get all worked up as they wait for the signal to change, to get back moving. They are people in a hurry. Not so me. I always carry a book to read and if I don't, there are always billboards to read, shop signs to look at and adverts on the walls and just about everywhere.

If there are no pickings in the billboards, there is always the prospect of figuring if the number on the registration plate of the car ahead of my cab is a prime or not. There is nothing like doing numbers in your head to keep boredom or frustration away. Er. Did I just say that? Scratch that; doing numbers is one surefire way of getting frustrated, but trying to figure prime numbers is not. Okay, so glad we settled that.

Here is the poser

Yesterday, I was stuck waiting for the signals to change. Seen at the Gariahat roundabout:

The Vini Vidi Vici code


Premiere Educational Institution

Really? You could have fooled me.

Advertising on billboards, a school that offers to educate students Class 9 onwards up to graduate degree levels gets it wrong in two languages.

Aargh! This is a school, educational institution, academy or whatever fancy name you want. And they get it so wrong in public?

I can grin and bear with the Latin mistake, just about. When it carries over to naming their endeavour Takshyasila, I despair. Do they actually expect parents to flock to their premises with a spelling like that? It is depressing to think of the children who make their way out into the wide world having been educated in places like this.

Since we are on the subject of billboards, here is another that makes me see red.


A billboard plugging jeans and menswear. This makes me grind my teeth every time I see it. I wouldn't be caught dead in one of theirs. Hoffmen forsooth.

To get back to the school that needs schooling itself, I have been thinking about it; about how such a mistake could be made.

My most charitable theory is that perhaps they thought the world in general spells it wrong, or is lax in spelling and they were getting it right.

Taksha means to chisel or sculpt. Takshasila means sculpted stone.

Takshasila, which changed its spelling as and when men wrote about it, was an ancient seat of learning. Huen Tsang wrote about it. It was where Mahabharata was first recited as a tale of ancestors to Janamejaya who was performing a sarpa yajna or a snake sacrifice to retaliate at Takshaka, a sorta famous snake. I imagine Takshaka was great at etchings and must have had some hot dates. Let's not go into all that.

If we are to take a similar sounding word laksha and the derivative lakshya, it makes some weird sense:

Laksha is not just one hundred thousand; it also means that which is observed, taken note of, attended to. Lakshya, on the other hand, is that which is to be achieved, a target, an end, a project to be undertaken. These are just some definitions among others, by the way. I won't bore you with all of them.

If one muses about it, one could say if takshana is to sculpt or chisel (or whittle) something, takshya will mean that which is to be sculpted or chiseled (or whittled). But, I am afraid there is no such word as takshya. Not in my dictionaries (which are fairly comprehensive), anyhow.

Perhaps that school has studied this and decided that since it is going to chisel money out of parents and carve a huge slab of profit, it would be apt to coin a word and call itself Takshyasila, where the parents will be chiselled out of their hard-earned funds?

After all, to chisel means to cheat or rip off, too.

Anything is possible.



Blogger Speech is Golden said...

Takshyasila. Now that is a new word. How inventive!!! And you complain about the standard of spelling. lol

btw, one of my cousins explained that admakers deliberately include blatant errors as means of attracting attention. I mean, would 'Takshyasila' be immortalised in your blogsite if it was 'Takshasila'. Nope. And someone who hasn't ever set foot in Kolkatta and lives ten-thousand miles away, would he have learnt of this premiere institute otherwise.

10:10 am  
Blogger Speech is Golden said...

p.s. now you have to revoke your strike.

10:11 am  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Ram- I like your take. So they include deliberate errors? Interesting idea. But to open a school with a name that is blatantly wrong... that takes some gumption.

Oh, and I reserve the right to strike. :D

10:20 am  
Anonymous Badari Narayanan said...

What ever made you think that schools are opened to educate young minds?

10:35 am  
Blogger Siva Sivaaa said...

Was that supposed to be a 'premiere' school or a tutorial college for below-par students? All that I can conjure up in my mind is an institution like "VENDHAN ALL-PASS TUTORIAL" located near T.Nagar bus terminus :D

11:24 am  
Blogger Siva Sivaaa said...

P.S -> Yes!! You reserve the right to strike. After all, isn't it a way of life in Kolkata? :p

11:26 am  
Blogger Priya said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:00 pm  
Blogger Priya said...

Chiselling parents is the whole and sole right of any educational institution these days, ma'm. Ask me, just went through it! 33K for a 33 month old... and I was told that was "very reasonable". I'm sure. After all, what's a grand for each month of her existence?
@ Speech is golden: Is this cousin of yours someone who failed to make it into the haloed advertising industry? Nothing admakers do is deliberate, dude, it's all very ummm..."CREATIVE";)( Ask me, am married to one:))

12:06 pm  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Badari- Tsk, tsk. You are too young to be so cynical. :D

Siva- All-pass? You are kidding me, right?

And yes, Calcutta has corrupted me. :D

Priya- Good grief. You take my breath away. This for a couple of hours a day? The mind boggles.

I thought advertising was a very calculated thing, where everything is aimed at maximum impact?

12:16 pm  
Blogger Priya said...

Lalita, indeed there's a lot of strategic planning et al that does go in to achieve the maximum impact. But ultimately, it's how effective the creative turns out to be, that really decides the outcome of the ad.

12:26 pm  
Anonymous Ash said...

Bravo! Very inventive explanation.

12:44 pm  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Priya- I understand. If the core concept is bad no amount of attention to details will help.

Ash- * takes a bow* One tries. :D

1:00 pm  
Anonymous Rajesh said...

This is Lalita free associating? You have a corskscrew mind. :-)

2:00 pm  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Rajesh-Ha! A left-handed compliment. :-)This is Lali cogitating.

3:27 pm  
Blogger Speech is Golden said...

Gumption. Last time I checked it was 300 bucks a kilo. Has the price changed with the share market fall??? (and siva stole my comment abt striking in Kolkatta. Didn't want to sound anti-leftist myself. But hey! Siva speaks the truth)

Priya! Bullseye on my cousin. He did want to get into advertising and he is still trying, I believe. Still, it made much more sense to me that an error would be deliberately inserted to attract customers than just an oversight (my cousin used words like attention, retention and recall or something like that). Obviously you'd know more. Married to an ad man, huh?

6:27 am  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Ram- So even gumption is for sale? :D

Siva and you are a little out of touch with current climate in Calcutta, I am afraid. We are aiming to be the new IT capital of the country, so work culture is being embraced. Bandhs and strikes and rallies are frowned upon. :-)

10:37 am  

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