What Does It Mean, And in which Godforsaken language??

The battery in the clock that hangs on our bedroom wall ran out the other day, and thereby hangs a tale.

As my editor on this website will gladly and fervently tell you, time for me is a mostly theoretical concept, a metaphysical construct that one can philosophize about, but without any tangible, real influence on my life. Actually, come to think of it, it’s not just my editor – anybody who knows me will gladly and fervently tell you this. And so when the battery ran down, nothing in my life changed. But the Missus insisted that the cell is changed, and so I ambled down to the local store to buy the said cell.

“Ek pencil cell dena, please.”

“AA ya AAA?”

Which brings me, dear reader, to the point of today’s ruminations. Now, I knew that it was the larger one, and told the shopkeeper so, and that little sojourn ended happily enough. But while I made my way back from the shop, I found myself wrestling with a deeply troubling question.


Did nobody, not one single person, in the meeting in which this momentous decision of naming the pencil cells was taken, think of calling them “Small” and “Large”? The rectangular boxy ones could have been called Rectangular and Boxy, and the large, thick ones – you know where I’m going with this. Why call it AA and AAA?

Why call the wireless standards that allow us to connect to the internet wirelessly “802.11 b/g/n”? What does it mean, and in which god-forsaken language? When my car salesman tells me that I have EBS and ABD, I nod intelligently but am reminded of proofs from high school geometry. I have no clue if my phone supports CDMA or not and if my TV is 780, or 1080 dpi. Does the camera on my phone have sixteen Members of Parliament on their board, and are there 821 dragons snapping away at my processor? I admit I get a bit frothy at the mouth talking about this, but I can’t for the life understand why they must obfuscate everything so!

The 802.11 b/g/n thingummy, for example. Why not be commonsensical about it and call it slow, medium and fast internet?

That way, everybody understands what the whole thing is about, and there’s no need to appear like a blathering idiot when you call up the broadband service provider. The internet was down at my home the other day (and by the way, do you feel similarly bereft when that happens?), and the call involved more abbreviations than should have been legally allowed.


Ashish Kulkarni

Ashish Kulkarni

Ashish is a confirmed Punekar, which guarantees eternal undying love for the city, but also mandates an incurable sense of cynicism about it.

He doesn't expect the paradox to be resolved in his lifetime
Ashish Kulkarni