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Aum and ego

For many long years I have been intrigued by the word Aum and wondered if it has an equivalent in English. Khushwant Singh writes.

columns Updated: Feb 18, 2013 02:22 IST

For many long years I have been intrigued by the word Aum and wondered if it has an equivalent in English. It does not appear in the Oxford English Dictionary which has hundreds of Indian words which have been absorbed eg shikar, jungles, bungalow, mulligatawny etc. At one time I had assumed it stood for God. That is not so. It is the first letter of the Gayatri Mantra which beings with “Aum Bhoor Bhuwah Swaha. “I have come to the conclusion that it stands for self and haamaain (pride or egotism) are some of its derivatives. The Gurubani warns people against having too much of it. “Maumain deergh rog hai – egotism is a foul disease.” And in the same breath assures – daaru bhee iss mahin, in its has its own remedy.

There is a Scottish adage which runs as follows: “May the gods the gifty gee us // To see ourselves as others see us. This applies aptly to the controversy between Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and the netas of sight-wing Hindu parties – the BJP and the RSS. Shinde had said that the two parties were running terror camps. This provided Pakistan. Another opportunity to deny its role in terror cases. They went on further to assert that the Minister was free to take action against the terrorists behind the Samjhauta Express blasts but had no right to insult India’s spiritual heritage.

India’s spiritual heritage is one of peace with its neighbours and not saber-rattling which is BJP’s favourite pastime. The top priority of our foreign policy has been to remain on good terms with out immediate neighbour, Pakistan.

New Star I am happy to announce the discovery of a new star in India’s literary landscape. It is Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan with her second novel Cold Feet (Penguin Books), published very recently. I should have done so earlier because I did give her first two novels: You Are Here and The Life and Times of Layls the ordinary.

Although it is a plain and simple love story, she handles her theme with the skill of an accomplished author. I recommend it to my readers for its unputdownability. Besides being a born story teller, Meenakshi is a good-looking young lass — as you will see in the pix.

Spy Camera
The 34-year-old man from Kagawa Prefecture, was observed behaving suspiciously on a Japan Airlines flight from Takamatsu to Haneda airport,” a police spokesperson told reporters in Tokyo.

“He was caught red-handed, taking what is known as an “up-skirt photograph” of a young female flight attendant, with a micro camera camouflaged as a pen, and was detained in police custody on his arrival at Haneda airport.

The intention was to charge him with an offence of a sexual nature under the prefecture-level ‘meiwaku boshi jorei’ (nuisance-prevention) ordinances, which cover criminal activities such as taking photographs of sexual nature by stealth.

“Unfortunately the application of these laws is based on the exact location where the offence was committed, and here a problem arose. The City Police Department tentatively judged tht the photo was taken at 8.09 am, over Hyogo Prefecture, based on witness accounts and their own analysis of flight data.

But when prosecutors recalculated all the available data, they could not rule out that the photo might have been taken over either Osaka or Kyoto prefecture, and eventually dropped the case, due to the inability to pinpoint which prefectural ordinance would apply. The man was released on Sept. 20th, even though dozens of upskirt photos of flight attendants had been found on his personal computer.”

(Courtesy private Eye, London)

Notice on a Temple wall
One day a bachelor, who was a poor tipper, talked into his favourite restaurant and ordered lunch. A new waitress served his meal and received a three cent tip. When he came in the next day, she thanked him for his ‘generosity’ and she said she could tell the character of a diner by the way he tipped.

“Yea? What can you tell aboutime?” he asked.

“You put three pennies in a neat row,” said the waitress, “and that shows you are a very tidy person. The first penny tells me you are frugal and the second tells me that you are a bachelor”.

“That’s true,” he agreed. “But what does the third penny tell you?” “The third penny tells me your father was a bachelor too!”

(contributed by Vipin Buckshey, Delhi)