SPARKLERS

Good morning!

Diwali has come and gone and how! The aftermath (repercussion, aftershock) remains though, in the form of pollution, heat and protruding waistlines. Yeah, I’m cynical about the use of crackers and nothing that anybody says is going to change my opinion on the ill-effects of crackers on the environment. As for the waistlines, well, most of us are, at the moment, avoiding the weighing scales like plague.

Anyway, the good thing is that all of us got a long break to unwind and that’s the best part of Diwali, apart from the yummy food and the social interactions.
I have lots of queries for today:

The first one comes from Sharukh (this one’s a Desai and I’m not kidding). He
wants to know what is ‘taramandal’ called in English.

To answer your question, Shahrukh, I have had to find out what is ‘taramandal’ called in Hindi. And here you are – it is ‘fuljhadi’ in Hindi. In English, the word for ‘taramandal’ is ‘sparklers’. Probably one of the most harmless of all the crackers…

The second query comes from Nidhi. In her own words, “If I’m going to the terrace and have reached the middle and not the top, what will I say that I have reached the middle or the centre?”

Nidhi in that case you have reached halfway. You could say, “I have reached halfway to the terrace”.

Third query comes from Kajal, a reader from Gandhinagar. She says: “I want to know, is it proper to use the term handsome before a lady? You have used it in one of the stories you told long back.”

Kajal, the word ‘handsome’ according to the dictionaries has five different meanings:
1 Appropriate, suitable
2 Moderately large
3 Marked by skill or cleverness
4 Marked by graciousness or generosity
5 Having a pleasing personality and usually impressive or dignified

Examples:
– The garden build outside their bungalow was very handsome.
– There were many handsome paintings in the exhibition.
– He was your quintessential tall, dark and handsome man.
– The girl looked handsome in her new attire.

The word ‘handsome’ can be used for both men and women. However, over a period of time, the adjective ‘handsome’ got associated with men alone and the adjective ‘beautiful’ with women. Therefore, it is not wrong to use ‘handsome’ for women, but as per the contemporary or the popular usage, it would be better to use it only for men.

Some synonyms of ‘handsome’ (According to Webster’s):
Classy, courtly, fine, graceful, elegant,majestic, refined, stately, tasteful
Fourth query comes from Tarun. He wants to know the meaning of ‘to be swept off your feet’.

‘To be swept off your feet’ means to be completely taken in by someone, in such a way that you’re left stunned; it also means to suddenly fall in love.

Example:
– Her beauty swept him off his feet. However, she, it seems, has no interest in him.
Fifth query comes from Jigar. He wants to know the meaning of ‘backslapping’.
Jigar ‘backslapping’ means ‘praise or friendly support expressed in a very enthusiastic way, it could actually involve slapping on the back’. Keep in mind that ’backslapping’ is fine when it is with friends or other people of your own age group, but you cannot be on ‘backslapping’ terms with either your bosses or your teachers.

Example:
– He has an obnoxious habit of trying to get on backslapping terms with his seniors.
– Dhrupad has promised to get the work done; he says he’s on backslapping terms with the officer.

With this I close for the day.

Keep smiling…

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