Therea��s this person I know who spouts MBA style jargon every day. He seriously thinks ita��s cool to speak in acronyms. He reduces everything to an alphanumeric mantra. If ita��s 5Ts (Talent, Tradition, Tourism, Trade, Technology) one day, the very next day, he would get rapturous about the 3Ds (Democracy, Demography, Demand) and the 3Ss (Skill, Scale, Speed). By the way, NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) is his latest obsession.
By now, you would have realised that the person I am alluding to is NaMo. Despite being an outstanding communicator with a visible penchant for wordsmithery, hea��s been less than impressive with the nomenclature of his pet government schemes.
The man who gave us the very catchy RSVP (Rahul, Sonia, Vadra, Priyanka) has somehow picked unexciting lemons like Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana, and Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan for programmes with the remarkable potential to transform the face of India.
Perhaps Modi picked the bad habit from previous governments that have been guilty of burying life-altering concepts with mind-numbing names. Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) is a telling example. Herea��s a scheme that ensures 100 days of paid work to every villager, and they go and give it a pedestrian label that feels as long as Warnakulasuriya Patabendige Ushantha Joseph Chaminda Vaas. Even soaps, detergents and mediocre shampoos that do far lesser have far more impactful names.
The problem really lies in using words that have no connection with the masses. When was the last time you heard anyone using shram for a�?laboura��, krishi for a�?agriculturea��, protsahan for a�?stimulusa�� and pravasi for a�?NRIa��? You need to either be a black belt from the Hindi Prachar Sabha or a newscaster from Doordarshan to dabble in such gobbledegook.
So why, oh why, should the very savvy Narendra Modi choose an Apprentice Protsahan Yojana orA�A� a Swavlamban Abhiyaan? Why not take a cue from his pal Jayalalithaa who preferred Amma Canteen over something as banal as Mukhya Mantri Antyodaya Anna Surakasha Bhojanalay. Yes, she overdid it with Amma Cement and what not, but at least she applied the pithy principles of branding and kept it simple and smart. Time to think KISS, Modi.
Got a better scheme for generating names?
Mail ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
So this is the Year of the Selfie, the dictionarya��s most popular new word, (which, according to the Oxford version, means a self-portrait taken with a hand held smartphone and shared in social media. As if you didna��t know!). On social media a�� Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and every form of self-expression in between, ita��s all about that photo you take of yourself a�� with your favourite film star, your yummiest holiday food, your best dress, your bestie, your most fun party last week… well, you get the drift. A Cambridge University psychology lecturer called the selfie habit a�?the thrill of narcissism, uncensored by reflection or judgment…leading to impulsive self-promotion.a�? Really? Then we are a troubled world.
Anyway, why shouldna��t one join the gang? Barack Obama has, so has Justin Beiber. Not to mention Narendra Modi, Miley Cyrus (worlda��s most prolific selfie taking celeb), Paris Hilton, Pope Francis and the Mona Lisa (I kid you not!). No surprises that Kim Kardashiana��s #butt #selfie was one of the most popular pics on the Internet until she decided to a�?break ita�� with her #nudies. And of course therea��s Ellen DeGeneresa�� famous multi-celebrity selfie taken at the Oscars earlier this year a�� the most retweeted photograph ever. Therea��s even a Selfie TV show and a somewhat banal Selfie pop song by that name (with a video featuring David Hasselhoff, Snoop Dogg and Darth Vader!). At any given time, on your social media timelines, there is bound to be more than a few selfies.
According to research, 44 per cent of selfies are taken during holidays and 25 per cent of holiday selfie takers do so even before their flight takes off. For serial selfie addicts, Google provides tips on how to take the perfectly flattering holiday selfie. (Dona��t pout or smoulder unless youa��re trying to be a�?ironica��)
Even ace photographer Waseem Khana��s Facebook profile features him in selfie mode. He has been shooting selfies even before it was christened a�?selfiea��, he says. a�?Leta��s face it a�� wea��ve always wanted to be in every shot, but until now one person had to be left out a�� the one taking the shot. The selfie takes care of that. Now with fancy gadgets and gadget-savvy people, things are becoming easier. Ita��s not a fad thata��s going away soon.a�?
Taking a perfect selfie is quite an art form, Waseem agrees. He has seen some a�?unbelievablea�� selfies, he says. a�?A model in New York sends me the most amazing selfies a�� perfect makeup, clothes and angle a�� ita��s a joy to see them.a�? Meanwhile he has a few tips for serial selfie takers: a�?Think before you shoot. Find a flattering angle, the right lighting, and remember the higher or closer you hold your camera to shoot, the more stretched or wide your face will look.a�?
Ita��s all about selfie-expression in the digital age after all.
Ruma Singh presents a column on observations, insights and whata��s buzzing in the city.