Much of the time I spend writing a blog post goes into figuring out the opening and closing lines. I spent quite some time trying to figure out how to open this one. The options I ran through were:
- Literature: A reference to Catch 22, where the main character is given the job of censoring letters sent home by soldiers, and decides one day to declare war on adjectives.
- Nostalgia: Back when I studied in BITS, we used to have to work on rickety old terminals at the Information Processing Centre. Those machines had some kind of buy-one-get-one-free offer so that, if you typed in one character, two of them would appear on screen.
- Biology and Music: I even tried to imagine Ella Fitzgerald singing a version of Let’s Do It about cell division:
Eukaryotes do it
Prokaryotes do it
Even letters in film titles do it
Let’s split ourselves up…
Eventually I decided to fall back on my usual trick of listing down my various attempts and getting on with it.
So anyway, this post is about the war on spelling being waged by Ekta Mata, Himes-bhai and the like. Except, unlike Yossarian, they don’t take things out. They put them in.
Ekta has one mega-weapon and she uses it everywhere. Her rules are pretty simple:
- If there’s no K in the title, put one in.
- If there is, put in another just for good measure.
- If you don’t quite get it and need an example, here’s one: C Kkompany.
Himes-bhai, on the other hand, is an equal opportunity offender. Aap Kaa Surroor: The Moviee — The Real Luv Story is mostly a war on vowels, although the extra “r” and the spelling of “Luv” suggests a more inclusive approach to bad spelling. His next movie Karzzzz declares war on the letters K, A and R for having the temerity to try and coexist with the Zs. The title reminds me of Tawneee (from Terry Pratchett’s Thud) whose name has to be pronounced with each ‘e’ considered as a separate syllable. I have little doubt that, if he makes ten more movies, he will have had his way with the English, Greek, Cyrillic and Arabic alphabet. Frankly, having seen Himesh and heard him sing, the thought of him having his way with anything scares the crap out of me.
It isn’t just these two either. There’s a whole raft of numerologically-appropriate names with extra letters hanging on everywhere. So I got to wondering where this would all lead eventually. I came up with a few possibilities, all of them based on some significant assumptions:
- We’ll arrive at a well-ordered world where every letter will end up getting spelled twice, and we’ll just have to get ourselves glasses that would correct our vision and show just one of them.
- Assumption: The world will, at some point, be well-ordered, which it never will be.
- We’ll have normal spelling, but with a little asterix at the end of the title, and a line in tiny print at the bottom that says something like: Numerological taxes extra. Conditions apply.
- Assumption: The world will, at some point, make concessions to sanity, which it never will.
- We’ll have normal spelling, period.
- Assumption: I’m a lobotomized ass who needs to cut down on his coffee intake. Which is true actually, but we still won’t have normal spelling in the future.
- Someone will come up with the bright idea of using the letter P as a substitute for all the other letters that need to be repeated and putting it in front of the title. For further clarifications on this and other idiosyncrasies of the English language, watch Chupke Chupke.
- Assumption: See Prediction 3.
- Aside: Why is it that only the English transliteration of Hindi titles have numerological problems?
- Some numerologist will become fashionable for removing letters from words, and we’ll end up with SMS-spelling for movie titles.
- Assumption: The world is full of people who either can’t spell or don’t have the patience to use the dictionary feature on their mobile phone.