Toying with Words

I’ve always been fascinated with words, language and its beauty in conveying simple things. In this blog, I am paying my respect to my language influencers. People from different professions had a way with words.

Let me start with some writers, columnists, and authors whose work has helped me develop a process to improve my writing. If I have stuck with my blogging it’s only because of these writers, bloggers and columnists who kept pushing my limits. I liked “City City Bang Bang” weekly articles of Santosh Desai where he chronicles the nuances of life. Twinkle Khanna with her breezy and funny way of portraying various facets of life in Times of India weekly and finally Chetan Bhagat who gives me a chance to understand complex things in a simple way through his columns. Then there is a bevy of other writers like Arnab Ray, Bikram Vohra, Bachi Karkaria ( erratica), and Jug Suraiya (second opinion, jugular vein) who make reading a spiritual experience. Recently Bikram Vohra’s, “Joys of flying again: It all begins with you checking you have your passport for the 27th time”, had me in splits. I could relate to it and I have made a draft of a blog based on my travel experience.

They have a special place as I continue to read their articles every now and then and try to understand their pattern and see if I can improve my writing by learning their way with language. I noticed that it is better to continue reading and writing. Entrepreneur Chris Herd was vocal when he said, ” Nothing has been as important to me as a start-up founder than reading and writing every day probably the most underrated habits out there“.

It was the era of television with no social media or mobile phones and surely no retweets and trending news. It was the time we eagerly waited for our favourite shows on TV. Sometimes I had to skip because of exams and at times I had to negotiate with my mother for permission to watch those shows. I was fascinated with TV personalities like Prannoy Ray, Vir Sanghvi, Riz Khan, Karan Thappar, Tim Sebastien, Shekar Gupta and Sir David Frost who made Guinness’s book of world records famous. I was also fascinated with the trio of cricket commentators- Richie Benaud, Tony Grieg and Bill Lawry. Getting up at 4 AM to watch the Benson and Hedges world series and listening and seeing visuals with their comments was a visual treat to watch. How can we forget what Benaud mentioned about Shane Warnes’s delivery dubbed “Ball of the century“. This is how the legendary Richie Benaud who was in the commentary box described Warne’s marvellous act: “First ball in Test cricket in England for Shane Warne, He has done it. He started off with the most beautiful delivery.” “Gatting has absolutely no idea what has happened to it and he still does not know, a raised eyebrow and a little nod that’s all it needed,” Benaud said as he himself seemed bamboozled just as much as Gatting.

Another commentator who wields words at will is Harsh Bogle. In his inimitable style, he goes to great lengths and thus makes those words stick with us.

My liking for new words started when I started hearing new words from my wife in the early days of our marriage. In the past, I used to maintain a short notebook which got replaced with iPhone notes and Notion these days to record new words. I made notes and I used to forget those ones. Later, I developed a process of recording it digitally and did my best to incorporate those ones into my arsenal for blogs. My fascination comes from a place where I can use those words to simplify things and make them concrete. Today in an intellectual session of minds I used a couple of words which was not part of my normal vocabulary and I was trying to add them to my repertoire. My friend thanked me for using his favourite words and that was “Act with Volition”.

To quote a paper which disagreed with Wittgenstein’s philosophy ended with these lines, ” the fact that word meaning cannot be isolated from the world suggests that although the limits of my language may not be the limits of my world, the limits of my world are most definitely the limits of my language.

What got me to wrap my head around was this one from Ludwig. I am buoyed by these words below from Ludwig and this time toying with these words and trying to make sense of it…

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