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Death of the magic words

Gone are the days of kindergarten rules where our world was splattered with words such as ‘Please’, ‘Thank you’ and ‘Sorry’, says Genelia D'souza.

entertainment Updated: Nov 03, 2010 17:23 IST
Genelia D’souza
Genelia D’souza
Hindustan Times

Gone are the days of kindergarten rules where our world was splattered with words such as ‘Please’, ‘Thank-you’ and ‘Sorry’. I remember being scolded as a kid for forgetting the use of a ‘magic word’ whilst asking for something or when I was giving something. A ‘Please’ before every request and a ‘Thank-you’ for every wish fulfiled. But aaj kal.... That’s not how it works. As Amitabh Bachchan once said in Namak Halal — ‘English is a very funny language’ and funny it sure is!

I’ve been shooting in Australia for quite some time now and you can’t help but absorb some of the local lingo during such extended trips.

Genelia D'souzaSo, the other day, when I was back in the city for a shoot, I was confronted with how drastic and hilarious words can be when you change their geographical coordinates. In Australia, the way of the land is to say ‘Cheers, mate’ instead of a ‘Thank-you’. Everybody is ‘cheering’ away, day in and day out. Its a ‘cheers, mate’ for holding the door open for someone or to pick up a dropped pen... And a ‘cheers, mate’ for being served lunch or given your change back. Now if I were to use ‘Cheers’ here, people would either wonder:

a) where’s my glass? or b) feel that I’m craving for a drink!

Lingo terminology, I believe, can actually be made a science! The usage of ‘What’s up with you?’ and ‘What’s cracking?’ has never failed to confuse parents, especially mine. They get a very glazed look on their faces and I can actually sense their eyeballs dying to look up to the ceiling everytime I spout a ‘What’s up?’!! Come to think of it, there is a certain way of saying ‘Dude’ that not a lot of people can get right. ‘Dude’ is a word that reeks of attitude and god forbid anyone from pronouncing it as ‘Due-ude’ which has been known to happen. I may have slight difficulty in controlling my laughter in that case.

But, I’ve come to realise that I’m not the authority on cool lingo anymore! My younger cousins have left me far behind in lingo-ism and some of the slang they use makes my eyes pop! For instance, what in blazes is ‘Psycho Sh*t’?? I’ve heard them use this phrase in situations of distress, excitement, anger and happiness. Like - ‘Dude, I’ve just got some new games for the PS3, man! They are such psycho sh*t!’ Ummm.... Does this mean the games suck, are expensive or are plain awesome?

Or ‘Did you see what he did at the party last night? That was some psycho sh*t happening!’ Which means (and I’m clearly grasping at straws here!) that something untoward happened at the party...someone behaved funnily. Clearly, English has crossed some crazy frontiers when it comes to being the ‘funny language’. Clearly, we don’t know the right ‘magic words’ anymore. Whatever happened to plain old ‘sorry’ and ‘please’? Guess they died the proverbial slow death. Now that’s some psycho sh*t, dude! Hahaha!

Read more Genelia D'souza columns

First Published: Oct 28, 2010 15:52 IST