To the Man from Madras Musings, it has always been a matter of wonder that while we know nothing about the Bard of Avon, we do know his wife’s name. In recent years, there has been an actress with the same name, a multi-million dollar investment firm run by an old man whose surname is synonymous with help-yourself-to-all-you-can meals at restaurants and weddings, and also with the dropping of an alphabet, you get an Indian company that specializes in broadband connectivity. It is the last named that MMM is now taking up finger to type about.
But before that, let MMM type in a few pre-read safeguards. Firstly, MMM is of a privileged background and so it is not with any intention to denigrate anyone of any gender, caste, community or sex that he writes this. Secondly, he is aware that back offices in the country provide a great opportunity to the less privileged, which is a noble activity. Lastly, he is also aware that not everyone can be flawless in English. Even the husband of Shakespeare’s wife was not perfect as you know, or his plays cannot be full of strange words such as abroach, gaby and guffin. As the Perhaps Greatest Writer once wrote, half the time Shakespeare just put in whatever came into his mind.
But to get back, the broadband company has a back office and it is populated with people who have been clearly instructed with learning the Queen’s language on the sly or fly. As a consequence, most end up speaking in a strange mix of Americo-Tamil accent, with words thrown in as is felt applicable, with, of course, Tamil grammar copied and pasted into English. In the past few days, MMM has been subject to several calls from this company and he has come away from each conversation wiser in one way or the other about the English language.
The first of these began with an apology as to how the company ‘cannot able to’ deliver its modem on time. After a few days the modem did make its appearance and was duly connected. MMM was advised that he would soon get a call from the back office on how to activate it and so MMM waited.
The call came and it went like this –
Very good morning sir, are you activate modem?
MMM said he would try. He was asked if he was able to put on the switch.
MMM was most tempted to state that he cannot able to but he demurred and did do the needful.
Whereupon the voice at the other end asked MMM if he found a blue light flickering.
MMM said no and to this the voice expressed relief. MMM made bold to ask as to what could be the repercussion if the blue light flickered. He was informed that this would have meant there was a blunder mistake in the connection.
MMM wonders as to what Shakespeare would have made out of that.
There was a lot more and, in the process, MMM wondered if it would not be better to switch to Tamil. But the voice at the other end stuck to English or whatever it thought it was speaking. Clearly it had been told to stick to the langue anglaise and practice it whenever possible. And so the blunder mistakes continue.