lalita larking

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

Location: Kolkata, India

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Maanga in The Larking

Writing 'The Maanga' is more difficult than I anticipated.

Let me back up a little and explain: I had a staccato email conversation with Nilu a day ago, full of brilliant one-liners and repartee. He asked me to write 'The Maanga', so I asked him if he will write 'The Larking.' After dazzling each other with our wit, it was agreed that I would talk about English in the Desi Blogosphere.

Right away, there is a snag. I am a newcomer to blogging. The blogs I read are few. I spend most of my time online doing crosswords and then reading news and dealing with my mail.

I knew there was this thing called blogging, of course. I heard that term some three years ago, but it meant nothing to me. Who wants to read the journals of other people and their innermost thoughts, I remember thinking.

Then, this January, I was searching for a Kannnadasan lyric and somehow I ended up at a site called Teakada. There was a wickedly funny summing up of the year 2005. So I read more. And more. And then I noticed the links. I clicked on them and discovered that there are clever people, witty people, thoughtful people, brilliant people - all writing regularly, regaling the world with information, analyses and witty essays.

I was gobsmacked that there were so many Indians, all over the world, writing about so many things. I wanted more. I wanted to add my voice, too.

The standard of English is like the curate's egg, though. Many people don’t bother punctuating correctly. Some don't seem to know the difference between 'lose' and 'loose' or 'their' and 'they're'. For every erudite essay, there were half a dozen incoherent blogs. For every brilliant observation, there were a dozen inane blathers.

The younger generation writes with energy, yes and with immediacy. They indulge in profanities, they write in slang but they still make sense. Most of the time. Why would I want to read about somebody's ingrown toenails if they can't make it a riveting essay?

There are bloggers who write one sentence blogs. They provide links, but I think it is a cop-out. Where is your take on it then, Sir, Madam or Thing? Are you a traffic warden?

There are blogs with specific target readerships. (Gosh, I feel so clued-in using terms like that) Madrasis writing about Madras for example: you can't really take umbrage to a phrase like jolluvittufying (translation: drooling) if you know the blogger's readers are knowledgeable with the slang. Ditto all regional languages.

So there are styles, categories and audiences. There are voices. 'Immense joy comes' is instantly recognisable as Amit. 'PUKE' says it is Nilu. Flippin' Writing is Chandru. 'The mind boggles', I say.

There are breathless airhead chick rants done by entirely too clever young women. There are thoughtful essays posted by studious young men. There are food odysseys and cookery blogs. There are spoofs and reviews.

There is a lot of profanity. There is a lot of vitriol. But I always felt that however valid a point might be, its impact is lost if it is made in slipshod fashion. Bad grammar and worse language detract, don't add to your point. Bad punctuation doesn't help either.

I always hear my typing instructor hissing "Two spaces after a period, one after a comma," when I read some blogs.

Admittedly, English is a second language to most Indian bloggers. Still, is some care and use of spell-check too much to ask? I make mistakes too, and when I notice it, even after I post, I correct them and republish because I care about that sort of thing.

Of course, it is a free world and people can blog as they want, and if I wince more than twice or have to cringe as I read, I can always exit the blog and never return.



Anonymous Rajesh said...

So now you are doing command performances? Can we suggest topics?

2:15 pm  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Sure. If I like the topic, and if I have anything to say about it, I will take it up.

3:06 pm  
Blogger Priya said...

Err, hate to be the nitpicker, but there's a solitary I standing there at the end of the penultimate para. The editor at work, as you can see.;) Read you rlast few blogs only now, god I have so much catching up to do, and hardly any time. You know I'm around, even if I'm not leaving comments, right?

3:29 pm  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Ah, thanks darling. corrected it. Yeah, I know you lurk as I lark.

3:33 pm  
Blogger Rimi said...

There are breathless airhead chick rants done by entirely too clever young women.

My dear, it's supposed to be a secret ! (note dexterity with which I lay claim to 'entirely too clever')

This is rather lovely, really. But we expected more vitriol. Lali, this is not even close to Nilu's standards.

7:31 pm  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Rimi- I only lark, dear. I don't do vitriol. And yes, we have noted your laying claim to the airhead chick rants. Tee hee.

9:41 pm  
Anonymous AKM said...

Not all airheaded chicks writing rants ; you left out the Angsta Rap.

9:42 pm  
Blogger Ravages said...

Vitriol, you know, is entirely necessary. Especially when one is faced with the task of scourging the 'sphere of dirt. Yes, yes! We are evil.

9:43 pm  
Blogger M (tread softly upon) said...

Another excellent post. And a lot of shared views which made reading it more personal and got me smiling and nodding my head. Even the reasons put forward for wanting to blog. Nice!

9:48 pm  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Akm- Hm, angsta rap has a beat, you can dance to it. Heh.

And yeah, Chandru, we are evil only. But I prefer to be sweetness itself, no? I am a nice person, no? Why rain on anybody's parade? Let them be, and they will let me be. There's logic for you. Ha.

9:49 pm  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

And M. Yeah, thankya kindly lady.

9:51 pm  
Blogger Ravages said...

Letting them be, heh?
I see I shall not be able to trust you in my campaign for world domination.

10:08 pm  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Gulp. World domination, and you want Missus Em's participation? The mind boggles.

10:24 pm  
Blogger anantha said...

It appears that World Domination is a team sport. And it appears you have a certain role. We urge you to join the team!

10:33 pm  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Sheesh! If you insist. I will keep score, all right? Lemme be the Scorer. Ya'll play the game and I will keep tabs.

10:49 pm  
Blogger Ravages said...

Anti, The world domination thing is not a team sport. I, benevolent dictator-ly let you hitch a ride with me. And point out tiny targets and big ones for me to conquer.

11:52 pm  
Blogger indianangel said...

I thought I replied here, but it appears though maybe I just somehow missed it. Nice post, I too do the same thing whenever I find that there are some mistakes in my post I correct them and re-publish! But it really doesnt matter to me if grammatically a post is wrong as long as the content and context are right. As for a very simple example:
Myself, Peter and Kavitha went to a movie...
is actually gramatically wrong
It should be either
I, Peter, ......
Peter, Kavitha, and myself....
But anyway no fret, as long as the meaning is conveyed does it really matter what the grammar is??

6:03 am  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Chandru, just tell me when the ride begins. I will get off and watch.

Indianangel- I, the donkey, always comes last, I was taught. Myself isn't too good either. To use your example, it should be "Peter, Kavitha and I..."

Do visit again.

8:22 am  
Blogger neha vish said...

Lali Dear, I wonder whatever you think of my grammar now.

We all must aspire to Lali Ratings now. :)

10:08 pm  
Anonymous ramki said...

Stumbled upon this blog quite by chance and have enjoyed it. Two spaces after a period, one after a comma... seems like ages ago. Quite true too your observation about punctuation. Assume you would have read Lynne Truss. Recently came across a New Yorker review of the book that trashed it.

10:29 pm  
Anonymous Prophet of Doom said...

@ Lalita:

Two spaces after a period, one after a comma

Finally .. somebody who follows the rule besides me !

4:50 am  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Neha- Don't fish.

Ramki- Yes, I read that review. Case of poramai , nothing more. Truss is fun.

Ram- You too? Yay!

8:46 am  
Anonymous Arvind said...

you know, you have to read this immensely enjoyable book called 'Eats shoots and leaves' - if you havent read it, of course.


11:29 am  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Arvind- I read it, enjoyed it, and agree with all the sentiments expressed within. :-)

12:18 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


12:39 pm  
Anonymous Rangarajan said...

check out

9:45 pm  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...


10:11 pm  
Anonymous Aniket said...

"Two spaces after a period and one after a comma"; "Donkey comes last"!!! WOW!

Just so glad that there are people who respect and follow such rules/conventions.

It pains me equally to find more and more people just utterly disregarding some simple grammar/spelling.

I, by the way, try my best to adhere to these rules.

I find even newspapers and news websites flippantly violating grammar rules and several spelling mistakes go uncorrected.


5:51 am  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License. /body>