Recently, a colleague quipped that my work and submissions are very well organised in general. I acknowledge that! I may not be suffering from OCD exactly but yes; I have this tendency to compartmentalize things. As a kid I was fascinated by this one drawer in my grandmother’s table in her dispensary which had neat cubicles where she would stack needles, medicines, paper, cotton, suturing thread, vials and other sundry medical stuff that a doctor needs. My mom too is a very organised woman and these influences resulted in my firm belief in the adage, ‘A place for everything and everything in its place.’ Helps locate things easily! As a kid Shubham used to be surprised when he would always locate the things where I told him he would find them. He wondered if I were clairvoyant. I remember once on asking him how his day was at school, he responded why had I asked since I must have seen it with the power of my all-seeing eyes.😀
This compartmentalization also helped me do well in English as a student. My father has been instrumental in initiating me into the world of word play. He would play all sorts of word games when we were kids. It was then that I realised that words could be broken into small fragments and it made both reading and spelling them easier. I always got full marks in dictation because of that and so did Shubham as this is how I taught him to look at words. I remember he would always call pineapple as pin-e-apple for a long time.
But this sub conscious attempt at compartmentalizing has also led to hilarious outcomes at my expense. I remember there was this stationer on my way to school which I would see and wondered why would anyone buy torn books, I also had a funny thought that maybe here was a place where one could go and tear as many books as one wished. I don’t remember whether it was the way the signboard was painted or how my fragmented mind read but it dawned on to me that it was a bookstore when my friend told me to get some chart paper from the bookstore which I was reading as books-tore. Likewise, you might be aware of ‘HIDESIGN’ the leather goods company. For the longest time I would read it as Hide-Sign, until one day I heard someone say Hi-Design during the course of conversation. I had often marvelled at the proprietor’s ingenuity in calling his goods what they actually were that is hide (leather) and I was disappointed to know it was my own habit of dividing the word into equal segments that had led to the ambiguity on my part. Recently, this blog started being followed by another blogger. Now as is the wont of the internet all of it came as one word and I had a hard time deciphering what it was. Checking the blog, I realised it was a routine Indian girl name but I was reading it incorrect having broken it at the wrong places.
Speaking of such wordplay and the resulting outcome, pronunciations are another thing which I do get mixed up at times or am not certain why a word is pronounced the way it is. Now, I know that vis-à-vis is pronounced as “vis a vee”, but did not know why. It’s only quite recently after Shubham, with his newfound knowledge of French that he learnt during quarantine, explained that in French, the last letter of a word is usually omitted, unless it’s followed by a vowel. But for that I should first know the origin and lineage of every new word that comes my way. So, I tumble and play and have my way with words and go-ogle them on everyone’s favourite browser!