Home Columns Anantha Narayan Gobsmacked by the G

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    If LETTERS had personality types, the seventh alphabet would be ‘Jekyll and Hyde’. On the face of it, ‘G’ gushes with positivity. You think of grace, gentlemen, grit, guts, glory, goodness, growth, generosity, genius and godliness. Some of the world’s most desired brands begin with ‘g’. Gucci, Giorgio Armani, Google, Givenchy, Garnier, Gap, Guess and Gillette are as good as it gets. Even the celebrity line up looks eye-popping. You can’t better Gandhi, Groucho Marx, Ghalib, Grateful Dead, Gable, Garbo and Gavaskar, now can you?

    But there is another unseemly side to ‘G’ that no one has really cared to explore. It’s a streak that will make you think twice if you’re planning a sleepover with this character. G is guy, girl and gay at the same time. If it’s Gandhi by day, it’s Godse by night. In appearance, it can be garish and gaudy. In mannerisms, goofy and gauche. In moods, grumpy and grouchy. And in taste, gory and ghettoesque. Many people describe ‘G’ as a goon, gasbag, goofball and germ – all rolled into one!

    The gawky aura that surrounds ‘G’ follows it in other cultures. In Hindi, the gaali is the swear word, galati is a mistake, gadha is an ass, gochi is a glaring error, ghapla is a muddle, gadbad is a messy situation, ghar jamaai is a wimpy husband, g*ndu is an oaf, ghaati is a country bumpkin, ghoos is a bribe and ghotala is a scam. The profusion of G-words with a negative slant can even be felt in public discourse. High tech words like 2G and 3G are the most despised symbols of corruption in India.

    The same trend can be spotted down South. Many slang words that border on the gross have a prominent touch of ‘G’. Galeej is the downright dirty bloke, gilma is sexual pleasure, gabbu is stink, gujili is a smutty chick, and golti is the slur word for Telugus.
    Two of the most prominent baddies who symbolise gore and greed are Gabbar Singh and Gordon Gecko (of Wall Street). Also, the Grim Reaper is the most dreaded figure in western folklore. Given this wealth of evidence, it’s silly to dismiss my theory as gibberish, don’t you think?

    -Anantha Narayan (Know any more gandi baat associated with G? Write to anantha@albertdali.com)

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