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Thank God for Email

I’m not sure what we did before the email, but I doubt if reading unexpected letters was such fun. I have a collection of correspondents who often have me in splits, writes Karan Thapar.

columns Updated: Apr 23, 2008 11:29 IST

I’m not sure what we did before the email, but I doubt if reading unexpected letters was such fun. I have a collection of correspondents who often have me in splits. And I’m not talking of the ha-ha jokes, it’s the funny peculiar variety I find most enjoyable.

For instance, last week, my cousin Bharat Sahgal sent me the results of a first grade class test: 26 students, each of whom is only six years old, were given half of a well-known proverb and asked to complete it. What they came up with is not just astonishing but rather clever and very funny.

Here are some of the results: Strike while the bug is close; Never underestimate the power of termites; No news is impossible; Don’t bite the hand that looks dirty; A miss is as good as a Mr; The pen is mightier than the pigs; An idle mind is the best way to relax; Where there’s smoke there’s pollution; A penny saved is not much; Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and you have to blow your nose; When the blind lead the blind get out of the way; If at first you don’t succeed, get new batteries; Two’s company, three’s the Musketeers; and, the winner, Better late than pregnant!

Another gem was from Kris Srinivasan, a more regular source of email wit and humour. But unlike Bharat, what he has sent are intriguing questions.

You have to think of the answers as you read the following selection:

1) Why are a wise man and a wise guy opposites? 2) Why do overlook and oversee mean opposite things? 3) Why does no one say ‘It’s only a game’, when their team is winning? 4) If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular? 5) Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker? 6) Do infants enjoy infancy as much as adults enjoy adultery? 7) If 4 out of 5 people suffer from diarrhoea, does that mean the other one enjoys it? 8) If people from Poland are called Poles, why aren’t people from Holland called Holes? 9) Why is it that people say they ‘slept like a baby’ when babies wake up every two hours? 10) If a deaf person has to go to court, is it still called a hearing? 11) If electricity comes from electrons, does morality come from morons? 12) Why are you in a movie but on TV? However my favourite is: If I am is the shortest sentence in the English language, could it be that I do is the longest sentence?

Of course, Kris’s questions are capable of raising a few thought-provoking issues as well. For example, how important does a person have to be before he is considered assassinated instead of just murdered? To be honest, I’m not sure it simply turns on the victim’s importance. Daniel Pearl was only a journalist but his death is spoken of as an assassination. The why and how of the murder could play a part as well.

But sometimes Kris can alarm you by the strange connections he is able to spot. Consider this: Do the Alphabet song and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star have the same tune? Surprisingly, the answer is yes! If you don’t believe me try singing the two songs and see for yourself.

However, when it comes to strange coincidences, Kartik Malhotra has stumbled upon the most bizarre one. It seems the number 9 played an eerie role in Benazir Bhutto’s life.

She was born in 1953. That’s 1+9+5+3=18 = 1+8 = 9. She died in 2007. That’s 2+0+0+7 = 9. At the time she was 54. That’s 5+4 = 9. But, hang on, Kartik isn’t finished with just that.

The first suicide attack was on 18th October. The second fatal attack was on 27th December. And she was married on 18th December. Before that she was in self-exile for 9 years, starting in 1998 (1+9+9+8 = 27 = 2+7 = 9) and came back in 2007.

Finally, written in Urdu, Benazir Bhutto has 9 alphabets.