The Remix of Orchid

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Friday, March 02, 2007

Old Doubts Die Hard

[As my book nears its release and launching, I feel the same old doubt: will it work? Will my plots attract and sustain the attention of my readers? Will the style be readable? I feel very much like a candidate before entering the examination hall: will the chapters I've prepared come in the examination or will it be a rude surprise?

In my earlier blog, now defunct, I had written a few paragraphs to capture such a feeling, say four months ago. I feel I should post it here; it will go with the previous posting seamlessly.

Now the question still remains: what will make these stories so readable? Its unique style? Its flawless English? Its sing-song flow?

My answer here will be a little evasive, rather a kind of a rhetorical. Is there a thing called Indian English? An English with its original nuances compromised? With inappropriate occurrences of a-an-the’s? With antiquated expressions and overuse of clichés? Even in India do we have something called standard Indian English? The other day I read in a certain blog: a fellow from Chennai has commented that Oriyas speak English in a weird fashion. I contested it giving examples of how ‘link’ is pronounced as ‘ling’ in Kerala, ‘give’ as ‘gee-you’ in Andhra, ‘three’ as ‘tree’ in Tamil Nadu, ‘Property’ as ‘praparty’ in Haryana, ‘school’ as ‘saw-cool’ in the Punjab… Is then the modern English the standard English? Go and visit a few literary sites and see how people write. To follow that I think one has to unlearn the kind of grammar one had learnt in his/her high schools.

So, what am I trying to arrive at? Oh yes, it’s about the style I have adopted in my book. Sure, it is in Indian English, the English I learnt from Wren and Martin grammar book in my secondary school, the flowery expressions in history books by Kettleby or A. L. Basham in my college days, the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, the periodicals and newspapers in India, and so forth. Nowadays, I’m into the Internet in a big way, but then my English has not changed greatly. Even today I feel awkward to use ‘IMO’ or ‘IMHO’ in my e-mails, or ‘dat’ or ‘4u’ in my SMS. In that way I am traditional or a slow changer. My book will be more or less like that.

Readable? Oh no, it’s a difficult query then…looks like the question still remains despite my long-winded explanation.
A. N. Nanda


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