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A Calmer You, by Sonal Kalra: No claps, some phrases deserve slaps

Now that ‘privacy’ has made it to the list of fundamental rights, let’s recall a long pending demand of one tight slap for language criminals.

columns Updated: Aug 26, 2017 18:42 IST
Sonal Kalra
Sonal Kalra
Hindustan Times
A Calmer You,Sonal Kalra,Privacy

Among all the theories of evolution, my favourite is that man (and, of course, woman!) kind is moving at a lightning pace towards absurdity. Oh, you don’t think there is any such theory? Dammit. Okay fine, it’s my own — maybe because I’m clearly leading the pack that’s moving towards untouched heights of weirdness.

The other day, I sat and analysed the phrases and slang I often use in my daily communication. A lot of us do. Then I went on the Net and realised that they are the pet peeves of grammar Nazis across the world. But people continue to happily use them. Shall I tell you something my dear buoys? We are totally mental. Because it struck me that some of the most common expressions we throw in so randomly into our day-to-day language don’t mean anything at all. Some are downright dumb.

Starting today, I’ve decided to cleanse myself of verbal nonsense. My dedication to the cause is such that I’ve spent quite a while compiling the following OTS (One-tight-slap) phrases... and how I, or some of those who’ve written about these on the Net react to them. Slap me if you find me dishing these out from now on... only after you allow me to do the same with you.

1 What’s up?: Ha! All ‘cool’ dudes greeting everyone by saying ‘Whassup’, please come here. Tell me what the hell you want the other person to answer. What could possibly be up? The ceiling? The sky? Vaise, tell me one thing. Am I a pervert or does this question sound a bit obscene to anyone else, too?

2 How do you do?: I have the same problem with this one, too. How do I do what? For God’s sake, this doesn’t even seem like a grammatically complete or correct sentence. And yeah, obscene, again. Oh, lord!

3 To be honest: I use this one a lot. Well, not anymore. If you say ‘to be honest’ before saying something, are you suggesting that you are normally dishonest in other things you say?

4 You know what I mean: Yes, I do, Einstein. But that won’t keep you from saying it anyway, will it?

5 It is what it is: Wah, wah. Yeh hui nah intelligent baat. It is=It is. You are a mathematician, Sir. Respect.

6 I thought to myself: Hmmm... could you have thought to ‘someone else’? Would you like the lead role in the next Ramsay Brothers’ film if you have those kind of powers? Consider, please.

7 I’m afraid I can’t: Bachche, it’s okay if you can’t. What are you afraid of? Koi maarega kya?

8 Are you coming, or what?: What, what, what? What was the need to add ‘or what’ here? Are you crazy or what?

9 What’s done is done: Are you the same guy who says ‘It is what it is’? You better be, I don’t want to kill two people.

10 You can’t have your cake and eat it, too: Well, this is supposed to be a famous saying. My foot. If it’s my cake, of course I’ll eat it. What else am I supposed to do with it? Try stopping me.

11 I’m only human: Achha ji? And what are others, vermins who’ve come attached to humans as free gifts?

12 This is my only choice: Dimaag theek hai? The definition of choice is to have an alternative. If you have none, say ‘I have no choice’. There’s nothing like only choice.

13 Take care of your personal belongings: As opposed to what... my impersonal belongings? Oh, you mean something I stole from the fellow passenger? Don’t worry, I consider it very personal now.

14 Bring to the table: This rubbish gets said a lot in corporate meetings. Trust me, I can swear on Chaddhaji’s head that nothing ever gets brought to the table. Not even coffee. Also, when they say ‘he’s on board’... nobody is. I’ve checked very carefully.

15 Barking up the wrong tree: Believe me, barking up the right tree gets no different result. Total. Unadulterated. Nonsense.

16 First things first: Please, it hurts to even joke about this one. Have you heard of a word called ‘Obviously’?

17 I saw it with ‘my own’ eyes: Oh, shit.

Sonal Kalra bought a self-help book to clear her mind of these weird thoughts. But is it really self-help if a book written by someone else is helping her? Do we live in a crazy world? Write in to sonal.kalra@hindustantimes.com, facebook.com/sonalkalraofficial. Follow on Twitter @sonalkalra

First Published: Aug 26, 2017 18:24 IST