My south-Indian “dhosths”!

After about 6 years in Bengaluru, I am now well conversant with the English pronounciations & “Hinglish” spellings (i.e. Indian/Hindi spellings in English!). Never understood the *logic* and never got any satisfying reason about:  Why are English spellings of Indian words (Hindi, Sanskrit, etc.) spelt differently in south-India, so much that the words lose their actual pronounciations altogether?

Listing some of my observations here:

Observation 1:
South Indians graciously add a “h” (read as “hech“) in word spellings where its not required, and also unceremoniously remove it, from where its (actually) required.

  • दोस्ती (Dosti) becomes धोस्थी (Dhosthi) or दोस्थी (Dosthi)
  • शिव (Shiv – read the full ) becomes Siva (सिवा) & शक्ति (Shakti) becomes सक्थी (Sakthi)
  • खाना (Khana) becomes काना (Kana), and भूख (Bhookh) becomes  बुक (Book)
  • माता (Mata) becomes माथा (Matha) – and, in Hindi (& some other Indian languages), ‘matha’ (माथा) means head/forehead! Jai Matha Stores! (Yeah, it does store!) 😛
  • उमावती (Umavati) becomes उमावथी (Umavathy or Umavathi), and पार्वती (Parvati) ends up as पार्वथी (Parvathy or Parvathi)
  • My colleague at work, Umavathy [Her Royal Highness, the Queen of Mysore state], usually says “Bahut book lagee hai, Kana kaaney jaana hai“. And in response, I typically crack a PJ – “Kaunsa book lagaa? eBook lagaa?… Kana-Matra!” 😀 😉
  • Another “royal statement” by the Queen of Mysore is “Wo baag gaya!” for “Woh bhaag gayaa!“. And the PJ goes – “Which baag? Lalbaug, Cubbon Park or Vrindavan Garden?” 😛 😉
  • When my wife was hospitalized for her delivery in Dec 2003, I made sure that the hospital staff registered my wife’s name correctly as “Swati” (स्वाति) – and not “Swathi” or “Swathy” (स्वाथी)
  • When our princess was born, I again had to forcibly ensure her name’s spelling was recorded as “Stuti’ (स्तुति) and not “Sthuthi” (स्थुथी) or “Stuthy”/”Stuthi” (स्तुथी) in their register & the birth certificate issued by the hospital. Whew!
  • The same kinetic force had to be re-applied a few years later to the old lady who wrote our daughter’s government birth certificate, and yet again to ensure the teacher who registered her name in the school register, during her school admission in Apr 2008, wrote it right!

Observation 2:
Though I don’t approve the spellings treatment as described in Observation 1, I somehow don’t mind the additional “a” to Indian words, to allow the Indian alphabet to be fully pronounced (just as is pronounced in Marathi too, but unfortunately not in Hindi).

  • राम (Ram) becomes Rama (The is to be pronounced full, unlike the way its pronounced in Hindi, where is partially pronounced)
  • महेशहरीश & गिरीश (Mahesh, Harish & Girish) become Mahesha, Harisha & Girisha. (Here the trick is to pronouce the  completely, and not as शा)
  • Similarly with माधव (Madhav) – which ends up as माधवा (Madhava – pronounce the full )

Observation 3:
However, we all know – this additional “a” has  caused a side-effect.

  • Now people read “Rama” as रामा (Raamaa), and Mahesha, Harisha, Girisha & Madhava as महेशा (Maheshaa), हरिशा (Harishaa), गिरीशा (Girishaa) & माधवा (Madhavaa) – respectively.
  • We passed the कालिदास (Kalidas) road last Sunday evening – and on the signboard along the road, it was spelt as “Kalidhasa” (कालिधासा) road. Saw it for the first time, took me a few seconds to get it. 😐

Observation 4:
I’ve also been reading completely new forms of certain words. Well, truly speaking, this actually is the American form of English which has taken over the original British English.

  • Instead of “He hung himself from the fan” – you would read the books & newspapers (including the national ToI) publishing it as “He hanged himself from the fan”.
  • Instead of “The house burnt down”, its “The house burned down”.
  • As well as “He hurted himself…” instead of “He hurt himself…”

Please note, I am well aware of how west-Indians, north-Indians & east-Indians speak Hinglish.

  • I know how my Gujarati relatives “wrap” their favourite “snacks” (I’d better not give the Gujju pronunciation of “wrap” here; for “snacks” they pronounce it as “snakes” (स्नेक्स)) &
  • I know how my Marathi friends learn “कोम्पुटर” (Komputer) instead of “Computers” (कंप्यूटर्स) – and
  • I also know how some north-Indians send their children to “iskool” (इस्स्कूल) and not “school” (स्कूल).

However as you see, these all are pronunciation goof-ups only, and also pertain to individual treatment of the words.

Nevertheless, no offence meant to anyone, listing observations just for fun – nothing official about them! 😉

I have been learning and unlearning all these years… and will continue to do so! 😀

To conclude, my dearest south-Indian dhosths (friends)… See picture below – a token of our dhosthi (friendship) – (I shot this in Fort Kochi [Cochin, Kerala] in Oct 2008) 😉

“Yaaro yehi “dhosthi” hai; Kismat se jo mili hai” – Junoon
(See the video with English subtitles HERE and the actual music video HERE.)

"Yaaro Yehi "Dhosthi" Hai..." - Junoon
"Yaaro Yehi "Dhosthi" Hai..." - Junoon

The Gladiators: Google & Microsoft

Background: The recently announced Google Chrome Operating System! Don’t pull out your wallets yet – there’s time before they launch it… and it might also be available as FOSS! 😉

In HK Sir’s recent blog, he puts forth his thoughts about why he thinks the recently announced Google Chrome OS might not give Microsoft a run for their money.

I do agree with many of the points he raises there, however I still think Google Chrome OS (GCOS) will do well & Microsoft better start saving! 🙂 The GCOS may not do as well as Google would like it to do in the OEM segment (as he’s highlighting in his blog too) – but it would do well, otherwise.

Knowing Microsoft’s “innovative” ways, they might’ve already started working on a new Windows 7 Lite (a stripped down Windows 7 for the web) to compete with the GCOS. 😉

My flow of thought about why Microsoft *has* serious competition:

  • Windows Vista has been a major flop & most people/companies are not likely to consider buying Windows 7. GCOS would be a good option for them.
    (Tangent, but relative: Many companies have not switched/upgraded their Windows 2003 to Windows 2008 yet – and they probably even won’t).
  • Microsoft is known to *force* its users to upgrade the OS – by stopping their support to legacy OSes. But in these tough times, people/companies would rather stick to Windows XP/Vista/2003 (with the available support – or force Microsoft to extend the XP/2003 support even further), than spend money on a new Windows OS. This Microsoft policy is also likely to cause the switch to the GCOS.
    (Tangent: I never understood why Microsoft spurns its existing babies when they deliver newborns! I do know people who still happily use “Microsoft-unsupported” Windows 98 SE and Windows 2000 Pro.)
  • So, the obvious growth for Microsoft’s new OS is likely in the OEM segment only. Linux distros have already eaten up (& are still munching) some space in that segment. However, due to lack of marketing the Linux-OEM bundle hasn’t seen major growth to dent Microsoft’s share there.
  • In comparison – Google will most likely spend a lot of money in marketing its new OS & will have much more recognition in the market as compared to the other Linux distros. This is bound to affect Microsoft’s share in the segment.
  • One other serious pain with Microsoft is its OSes demanding high-end hardware. The GCOS, with its new GUI on top, is expected to not demand for high-end hardware (unlike Windows 7), so users of old hardware are expected to dump their old & slow Microsoft OS, rather than spend money to upgrade their computers to run the new Microsoft OS.
  • The GCOS would have the Chrome browser built-in, and it would be expected to carry/support OpenOffice & multimedia apps; which are more then enough for a majority of tasks that a typical user does. (Yeah! A majority of users don’t know how to download and/or install software. They prefer to stay put with what they have.) For power users, there are enough FOSS software available today, to make an easy switch to the GCOS and replace almost every Microsoft offering. (.NET developers, you must check out MonoDevelop!)
  • Existing computer users (even non-techies!) would definitely try the GCOS once (assumption: Google’s strong marketing!), to atleast check its claims – and I think, there will be substantial number of users switching from Windows to the GCOS after that.
  • For new computer buyers – a great deal with a free/cheap & fast OS with a small footprint might sell well. Microsoft Windows isn’t getting low on its bad cholestrol (bloatware!) and neither is it getting any easier to use, like the bothersome security prompts being thrown at the user at almost every other click of the mouse button (Microsoft’s own admission). A lay user gets *very* worried using Vista – trust me here, I’ve helped quite a few. 😐  I don’t expect Windows 7 to radically change that.

Both Microsoft & Google have a tough battle for their space in the OS market – with Microsoft desperate to save its share, and Google out to grab even that, with its GCOS.

I’d say, look forward to them fight as gladiators, while you are the Emperor! 🙂

Microsoft .NET is like James Bond’s cars

An odd comparison?…

“What exactly is the Microsoft .NET Framework?” (Tip: Read .NET as “dot net” – stands for Microsoft .NET Framework (Fx))
=> A typical (basic) interview question you might’ve asked/been-asked, or as a non .NET techie, you would’ve pondered about this question, isn’t it? A curious layman – think of an octogenarian relative/contact (grandpa!) – who’s heard about .NET (or maybe even not!)… He could fox you with such a fundamental question… Especially after you just looked him in the eye & told him that you work on .NET, at the same time as you straightened your shirt collar, or ran your hand over/through your hair.

A (kinda crazy) thought just passed my mind last week, when I was chatting with my friend Hari Krishna, currently a (HSMP) C# developer in London (he hates VB.NET, so explicitly mentioned C#)… Well I thought that the .NET Fx was *just* like a ready-to-use gadgets-fitted James Bond car – specially made-to-order (as per the movie’s script ;-))! 🙂

I understand & agree (Yeah, I seriously do!), the .NET Framework is much much more than what it sounds above, but to a non-techie (or even to the interviewer), he/she gets the basic idea here. (I hope your octogenarian relative/contact (grandpa!) knows Bond as Sean Connery or Roger Moore… or if not, maybe he remembers the Bond girls, viz. Ursula Andress, Tania Mallet, Nadja Regin, Jane Seymour or Lola Larson! ;-)… Hey go easy, you could give him a hard situation at this age! 😉

Back to our  interviewer, he/she could also be impressed that you have given ‘deeper’ (& philosophical?) thought to their ‘question’, than just reply with a (vanillatextbook answer.

I’ll delve in a little deeper… Stick along…

C++ (my alma matter!), is like an old HM Ambassador. Powerful, but with a hard steering wheel & manual transmission. C# (of course, throw in your other favourite .NET compliant languages too) is like driving a nice (relatively) effortless & large Toyota Innova with power steering & auto transmission. 😛  (HK Sir always says he drives an ‘elephant’ in the city! :P)

Obviously, in contrast to the point above, though the Amby is not as fuel efficient as the Innova – increasing the ‘run-time’ costs; a binary built with a C++ compiler-linker is pretty small in size, as well as low & efficient on resources at run-time; in comparison to a C# intermediate language (IL) one. Let’s not get into the differences between a native binary & intermediate language code (IL is ‘supposedly’ OS independent. => ‘supposedly‘ because I’ve not tried porting, yet.).

So – while with a C++ program you have to spend a lot of time & efforts ‘plumbing‘ your code for optimal system resources utilization; C# allows you to focus on the functional issues of your program, rather than bother about the system resources. With the framework providing you with a host of goodies – it further alleviates your focus to the domain of the problem you’re working on through the program.

Isn’t that just like in the James Bond movies – where 007 has fantastic cars fit with special gadgets, specifically designed as per the movie’s script, because 007 uses each & every one of the gadgets it has? Though his cars don’t allow gadgets to be ‘plugged-in’ dynamically if required, he makes optimum use of the gadgets he has, i.e. his resources. He isn’t bothered about the car or the drive; he focuses on fighting the villains he’s chasing, or the ones chasing him, or even to charm his beautiful ladies. (OOPS guys -> Yeh Abstraction hai mere yaar! – Listening to Rahman’s ‘Yeh Delhi hai mere yaar‘ from Delhi 6 while composing this, hence the quote… nevermind!)

Similar to Bond’s cars – the “Framework”… “.NET Framework” (the name is “Bond”… “James Bond”)… makes the developer’s life easy by giving him/her ample ‘gadgets’ (ready to use classes/libraries/controls) – and even allows third-party gadgets (custom classes/libraries/controls) to be dynamically ‘plugged-in’ & put to use without any dev delays. These days the developers are reading more about theoretical concepts like Design Patterns, Architecture & Algorithms – rather than learning the programming language’s ‘grammar’, or as we techies call it, syntax & parameters. Aah, truly RAD! (RAD stands for Rapid Application Development, & not ‘radical’)

So, is this convincing (or pakau) enough now? (Yeah, & I could drag this crap this long to compose such a long post… Eh!)

I do hear the hard-core Java guys (Madhav [Jaba?], Manju, Sukesh!) squealing: “Hey, Java has always been like Bond’s cars!”! Well, Microsoft ‘innovates’ stuff and *markets* all of it sooo well [bang, bang, bang!] ($ rules :-(), can you blame me that I didn’t compare Java here, instead of .NET?