May God abide with us as we charge forward…

As we beat a retreat from our nation’s past glories, or gores (mind your language – read in English!) as some see them today – we must sing the hymn, ‘Abide with me’, the first verse of which goes like this

“Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;

The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.

When other helpers fail and comforts flee,

Help of the helpless, O abide with me.”

and the sixth

“I need Thy presence every passing hour.

What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?

Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?

Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.”

The Scottish hymn, said to be Mahatma Gandhi’s favourite, was dropped from India’s Beating Retreat Ceremony (he himself is no longer the favourite, so, naturally) held on the third day after the Republic Day at India’s annual Republic Day celebrations. This year’s celebrations coincided with the 75th anniversary of India’s independence from British rule.

The Beating Retreat Ceremony evolved from a centuries-old military tradition where the sounding of drums after the day’s battle indicated a halt in fighting and withdrawal of the forces.  As soon as the buglers sounded the Retreat, the troops ceased fighting, sheathed their arms, and withdrew from the battlefield. The British trace this practice to 1694 A.D. when King William III ordered his drummers to march down the streets of various towns post a battle.

The Indian present tradition of Beating Retreat after Republic Day Parade was choreographed and adapted from the British pattern in 1952. Since the beginning of the Beating Retreat ceremony, British tunes have been played, until they were progressively replaced by Indian tunes of patriotic songs.

This year, the tune of the hymn, ‘Abide with me’, was replaced by the tune of a famous Lata Mangeshkar song “Aye Mere Vatan Ke Logon” composed by Music Director-C Ramchandra. Its lyrics, penned by Kavi Pradeep, commemorate the supreme sacrifice made by Indian soldiers during the 1962 Indo-China war. The effort was to make the event more Indian. Other Indian patriotic tunes too were added as part of what the government says is an “ongoing process of decolonising India”. “This song is more connected to the mass population because it honours all those who laid down their lives. It’s more appropriate,” the military spokesperson said, according to the BBC.

“Abide with Me” is a Christian hymn by Scottish Anglican Henry Francis Lyte. A prayer for God to stay with the writer / singer throughout life and in death, it was written by Lyte in 1847 as he was dying from tuberculosis. Lyte died on 20 November 1847 in Nice, then in the Kingdom of Sardinia. The hymn was sung for the very first time at Lyte’s funeral. While he wrote a tune for the hymn, the most usual tune for the hymn is “Eventide” by William Henry Monk.

The decision to stop playing the Christian hymn ‘Abide with Me’ at the Beating Retreat ceremony, which honours the country’s armed forces, has divided opinion in the country. The divide has played out across social media and Television channels and WhatsApp groups.

Passions run high because the tune is portrayed, or is, Christian, British (Scottish actually, but who cares but the Scottish) and is a legacy of India’s dominion by a foreign regime. But do we stop wearing a suit because it is part of the same legacy? Well, the answer lies in the Full sleeved / Half sleeved Nehru Jacket! We have Modified it to suit the times.

According to a BBC report, for many Indian armed forces veterans, ‘Abide with Me’ is a defining moment of the Ceremony. “Cutting it out seems like cutting out a piece of tradition and throwing it into the dustbin,” Pavan Nair, a retired army colonel who served for 30 years, told the BBC. Col Nair remembers watching the ceremony as a child and in later years attending in person. “The highlight of it was listening to Abide with Me and hearing the chimes from the ramparts. It was a beautiful, soulful thing.”

There is no doubt that the flavours of our beautiful nation are changing – from its political, Business and Social Leadership (though dynastic, a post-independence generation), to themes, to food, to politics, to traditions which now go back further beyond the Mughal Era. Are we truly independent or are we still ruled by British in Ethnic Wear is a debate that the Government seeks to settle, with a number of strategic moves of this nature…

Change is good, if it’s for good. That again is a matter of opinion and your opinion, if it differs – does it matter? Evidence is, it does not. By the time it does, if ever again, it will be too late.  

Maybe we should not be cynical about change – haven’t we moved from the grinding stone to the Mixie? From an old education policy to a New Education Policy? From an Old India to a New India?

We did so, sometimes out of compulsion, sometimes out of hope and often out of a combination of the two. We cannot beat a retreat now – it’s not an option anymore. But as we charge forward, let’s pray that God does not abandon us as we have, his hymn!

Let’s sing together the last two verses:

“I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;

Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.

Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?

I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;

Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.

Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;

In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me…”

About the Author

Brian Fernandes is Director, Spearhead Media Pvt. Ltd and Managing Editor, Karnataka Today. He writes a weekly satirical column, “Brian’s Subtle Humour” on which appears every Tuesday.

The truth about lies will surprise you!

Let me begin with what Adolf Hitler said and is true to this day. “The victor will never be asked if he told the truth.”  This he said, before he lost.  And it was true. Until he lost! Because what the Victor says is the truth. In His hands, His lie becomes Your truth.  It must if you are to survive. And from there flows the saying – the truth does not lie. It has no need to.

The rule of lie, like the life of Pi,  is that if the victor becomes the loser, the truth is boldly retold! And if its done successfully, theirs is the truth and all that is in it! An old lie (it has to be called out for what it is, to propagate the truth) is put to rest, and a new truth is born. Indeed, the truth does need a lie to exist!

So why is it a crime? Because you mustn’t let sleeping dogs lie! You must repeat it a thousand times till it becomes the truth; that’s a truth propounded by Vladimir Lenin, 1870-1924, Soviet revolutionary & leader and tested successfully by Joseph Goebbels and so many others after him! Indeed its easy, because like light, a lie travels faster than the truth –  “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes” – Mark Twain. And the crime perhaps lies in its repetition.

We all consider truth as good, don’t we? “Oh, such a nice man. He is truthful and honest.” And consider lies as evil. But why? when evidence has it that lies help you succeed in life, and even help you feel good, while the truth when swallowed burns the throat – that’s an old phantom saying that stems from a shot of 60% proof vodka. And that’s the truth!

Sadly the mirror does not have, or use AI to lie. So it tells the truth and you know what happens next. You either create goals for yourself or dig a hole for yourself. Indeed, a lie helps you feel good and cuts the red tape to success, while the truth always scissors or mirrors itself in you, for better or worse! So are both good then? Or are we good with both, when the need arises? I suspect it’s the latter – now go figure if that is a lie or the truth!

Jean Jacques Rousseau, 1712-1778, Swiss-French Philosopher philosophized, “There are always four sides to a story: your side, their side, the truth and what really happened.” It’s the famous South East Asian Quad, that India is a proud member of!

Ok. So, there are 4 shades of the truth – their truth, your truth, the objective truth (third party) and what really happened – this is something that the other three rarely, if ever agree on. I’m still confused. Is there no truth, other than what really happened? Who is to tell that story, and would we believe it? Why not? Is truth just the absence of a lie? Or the absence of another truth that says otherwise? Is the truth what really happened?

If you saw a ghost, would I see it? If I did, then would that become the truth? Did a ghost really appear? Did you come to the conclusion that there was indeed a ghost based on corroborative evidence? Or did you see a ghost when there was none? What is true? And what is real and is there a difference? Who knows but you? And me? And of course the ghost that doesn’t exist? And once convinced we have sighted a ghost, we are ready to defend or offend for it, till the death. That’s when the ghost will come alive!

Does the truth matter? Or only the lie? Must be the truth. Else why would one swear to tell the truth and nothing but, in a Court of Law? Where it’s like the game of truth or dare. They dare you to tell the truth and you dare to and even swear to, without using swear words. The truth according to you and nothing but. And there is a method in the madness. You have to tell the truth, the whole truth in a limited way in response to a yes or no question. You can’t just nod or shake your head! For example: Answer with yes or no. (1)___ , I don’t have brain. (2)___ , I don’t have sense. (3)___ , I’m stupid. You’ve Gotta tell the truth! Don’t lie, it won’t help you feel good!

Which brings me to another big Question that is doing the rounds because of a speech made by Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to his parliament. During his long speech he highlighted the contrasts between India’s democracy at the time of its independence and that prevailing currently. This had the Indian Government and its cohorts up in arms from their arm chairs, as if it were the truth, when it was not. And that too it was restricted to two lines in his entire speech which can be read here. But why would anybody be riled by a lie? He made similar comparisons with India’s BFF Israel and Singapore’s own democracy too.  Maybe a lie has more traction than the truth – or is it the other way around?

A few quotes from the speech would be relevant here perhaps – just for perspective, not for smiles or miles! Although you are welcome to both in context. You be the judge of whether they are the truth or a lie…

“The quality of a country’s democracy hinges on its people’s values: what they judge to be right or wrong, what they deem important, the causes they espouse, the ideals they embrace.” “Good and functioning democracies have clear, strong norms. These norms are upheld both by the governed and those who govern them, or those who aspire to govern them one day.” and the most important one: “Clear norms and incorruptible values are essential to protect the dignity and standing of Parliament. The system cannot work if the standing of Parliament is called into question. This is why we need to set the right norms of conduct among Parliamentarians, and guard them carefully. Tell the truth always, and do the right thing by Singapore, even when it is hard or awkward – in fact especially when it is hard or awkward. If something goes wrong, or something wrong has been done, own up and take responsibility – do not hide, dodge, or spin further lies, to obfuscate and cover up the original fib. The right norms can only be upheld by people with the right values because norms are not merely social conventions that people comply with for appearance’s sake. They have to be expressions of internal values that people believe in and hold dear.”

The debate was in the context of action to be taken upon a parliamentarian found lying to Singapore’s Parliament and whether this was done independently of the party leaderships’ advice, despite it, or in fulfilment of it.  The lesson we learn is that our internal values dictate the quality of our lies, or of our truth. And from where do we get our internal values? From those that precede us, nurture us, teach us and lead us. That’s the truth! Although we would like it to be a lie.

But then,  can the truth exist without a lie? Light cannot exist without darkness can it? Have you tried lighting a candle in sunlight?  A lie is supposed to be a perversion of the truth, and if there are more than one shade of the truth that vie to be the truth that is told (and retold), can there be a lie? Sigh! Profundity sets limits on the truth.

Maybe the line between the two is so thin that you cross over fairly frequently – like in Kabaddi – testing the limits of your breath! You must ensure it is regular when you lie. You must learn to lie by simply telling the truth! Remember the time you went on a date to a park and when asked where you were, you said truthfully, “to the park”. When questioned further, on with whom, you say, “a friend”. “Telling the truth” is so pervasive in daily life that a new termhas recently been employed by psychologists to describe it: paltering. That it is so widespread in society now gives us more insight into the grey area between truth and lies, and perhaps even why we lie at all.

All this was paltering to ensure I put a smile on your face. Whether that smile is genuine or not is hard to say. Only you know the truth. Lie low until next week and you will find the truth in all of this!


This Article is written in the lighter vein. It hopes to bring a smile to your face, and you must not ascribe motives to its contents. There is no connection to events and characters in real life and if perchance you find a connect with any such real-life event or character, rest assured its purely coincidental.

Image by Arek Socha 

First, man made clothes; now clothes maketh the man!

Lots happening as I write this piece. Not much peace though – Ukraine or elsewhere. Putin to bat, the US and NATO, are having a tough time trying to score even a single run! Everyone is fighting for something or the other that they think is important to them or their brothers, or even sometimes, others! Sometimes they don’t think, but are told what to think, and they think that they thought it too, but not through!. Is that true?  But love was shining on Valentine’s Day.  Love for the Clothing we wear, its form – Uni or disruptive, and more as Go-a went …into its defective (defector) elections.

Most wore clothes that did not disturb Law and Order because it was an order. And amid all this, foolish me thought it was a lack of clothes is what would disturb law and order. In fact, I now learn its just the opposite – the more the clothes, the more likely it is that Law and Order will be disturbed, I stand corrected but will not take the clothes stand – like so many others. I prefer not to hang them out to dry even if they are dirty, for there are creases in my clothes that I can’t iron out, even if I’m pressed. But not so, for many others!

Importantly the father of the two-wheeler revolution in India (now everyone rides a two-wheeler and has forgotten how to walk, creating a spate of Hrudalayas) one akin to the White revolution pioneered by Vargheese Kurian (where everyone can drink milk from a bottle not just babies), Rahul Bajaj, passed away a day previously as did India’s most loved Nightingale, Lata Mangeshkar in the previous week. But their legacies live on…

So many important events, events that will shape the world and our lives in the days to come and we were concerned, nay, consumed – we are a consumerist society – by what we wear, or rather who wears what! Because we live in Karnataka! Which reminds me, Karnataka has a service portal / center called Karnataka One – but it now may need to open a new one – Karnataka more than one!

That is for the powers that be to decide to stay in power, but from leaves to animal skins, to animal fur, to yarn made from natural fibre to polyester and lycra that costs helluva lot of lucre, from being hand made to assembly production, clothes have come a long way (some estimate as long as 3 million years ago) as have their designs. Some are designed to cover up imperfections and some are designed to uncover perfection. In both cases, attraction of another human being is the sole objective. The corollary is the question, would human beings repel each other if there were to wear no clothes like similar polarities do in a magnet?

Anyway, what is important (else we would have all been happy without clothes) is that they help protect, preserve and promote. Protect the body from invasive elements like insects and human beings – a reading of a recent High Court judgement about skin-to-skin contact is educative in this regard, preserve the body as it is (not after death – that would be embalming) by preventing the elements from interfering with the body’s internal management software and thus increase comfort, and of course promote – making the body seem more attractive than it really is just like face cream or body lotion. Take the case of the Corset!

First, man made clothes and now “clothes maketh the man!” It is a famous saying that dates back to the 1400’s.  Is it the truth?  Yes possibly. If you are honest, you will know that you are judged based on your clothes and once judged, you are treated accordingly! No FIR or Court required.  But if you dress to emulate or imitate you can actually shape your behaviour or the way you perform. Try dressing as one of your heroes and see the difference! Don’t undress, because you will be no match to your hero!

We all know that we change our clothes to suit the occasion. We do not change the occasion to suit our clothes, and we follow what is called a dress code at occasions, at institutions, at home and generally everywhere, that either defines us or suppresses our definition. It is the foundation of our social and cultural identity, a foundation that is often set in stone or preserved in stone much like the rock inscriptions of yore. We really don’t know what they mean or why they are there, but we are proud to see them!  Their lack can lead to craving in or our carving of by others and therein perhaps lies the conundrum that our polity and politicos are facing!

The challenge arises because clothing is meant to differentiate. It creates individual, occupational, social, and sexual differentiation that we rely upon for our very existence and maybe, just maybe, happiness when you wear a Louis Vuitton or a Gucci or something outrageous!

If clothing is meant to differentiate why make it uniform?  One nation, one colour, one dress code? We are currently fascinated by the concept of One, just like ancient India was fascinated by the Concept of Zero. That’s a great binary environment. If you are not one then you are a zero! 

Its a  loaded question, like Russia’s guns against Ukraine. The USA and NATO are on the other side and Ukraine in the Middle! But it is not as if you can make a fish, a squirrel or an Eagle, by changing its clothes, as in the “The Emperor’s New Clothes” a literary folktale written by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, about a vain emperor who gets exposed before his subjects. Right?

Maybe it’s like a pair of black gloves a – single piece of cloth or leather and colour that covers five fingers of different shapes, size and flexibility. They don’t really alter the differences or cover them up beyond a point…. But they provide a sense of group identity – it helps you belong to a group which gives you strength, brings about discipline, and a sense of equality if not equity.

Equality and Equity – Same colour clothes, but different patterns to suit genders, though none yet for the emerging ones!  A uniform provides equality, but rarely equity. It is expressive of group identity yet controls individual expression. So many paradoxes in one piece of cloth, which if torn, creates an entirely new problem. So, is there a uniform solution for the uniform that express your identity and yet equalizes it like the uniform itself? Work it out before others do! Its the kapdagoras theorem in practice… 

It was Christ Hospital School in London in 1552 that was first school to use a school uniform, and since then it has evolved and expanded its reach across the world to the armed services, manufacturing firms and even politicos in India who first wore and have now ditched the white khadi and the Gandhi Cap (the symbol of self-rule or swaraj and purity and honesty maybe?) and moved on to designer suits. Have the British come back?

Imposed, never voluntarily accepted, the topic of school uniforms has always a multitude of controversies and debates over the years. Debates concerning the constitutionality, suppression of social and religious identity and economic feasibility of uniforms also contribute to the controversy which mostly revolve around rights and freedoms.

All these don’t matter if you don’t have them at all. There is debate only when you are told you have them, believe you have them and yet don’t have them! It’s like when you are presented with beautifully wrapped (with many layers) gift, which when you open, is empty, or like the Russian Matryoshka dolls also known as babushka dolls – a set of wooden dolls of decreasing size placed one inside another until there are none!

Well go looking, and you might find it before the end of the week – the uniform solution to a uniform question I mean. Good luck guys. Stay in-form and in-form(ed), even if not in uniform!


This Article is written in the lighter vein. It hopes to bring a smile to your face, and you must not ascribe motives to its contents. There is no connection to events and characters in real life and if perchance you find a connect with any such real-life event or character, rest assured it’s purely coincidental.

 Image by Aamir Mohd Khan

What’s Love got to do with it, got to do with it?

This is going to be long one. But if you love four letter words, especially love, you will read it through. If not, it is love’s labour lost. And that is another four-letter word you never considered. Right?

February 14 is a saint’s Day. St. Valentine’s Day!  Undoubtedly those who manage (either you must be influential, brave or at home) to celebrate Valentine’s Day today are not saints – falling (without getting hurt) or being in love with another human being is considered an affront to human endeavour to preserve the predictability and order of life – the three of hearts must follow the two of hearts in a deck of cards. Else diamonds, clubs and spades will follow in that order. There’s no place for a joker except at the end of the pack. They could be martyred because they celebrated the day but will never be called saints!

But St. Valentine was a saint unlike any of us. Just to emphasize this point, a brief bio. Saint Valentine (Italian: San Valentino; Latin: Valentinus) was a 3rd-century Roman saint, commemorated in Western Christianity on February 14 and in Eastern Orthodoxy on July 6. (Should we celebrate twice – great opportunity!) He was Italian. Maybe that is where our dislike for him and his traditions stems from? our or their? That depends whether you love, or you hate. He was not one of us and can never be one of US. Of USA? maybe!

He was martyred and his body buried at a Christian cemetery on the Via Flaminia on February 14, which has been observed as the Feast of Saint Valentine (Saint Valentine’s Day) since 496. From the High Middle Ages his Saints’ Day has been associated with a tradition of courtly love.

Today, there is a whole business around his sainthood – from cards to flowers, from lathis to TRP’s, from Signature dishes and Signature tunes to Signature, the blend itself which sometimes (not in all states of the union) helps couples blend well.  Sometimes there are are Teachers and a Black Dog in tow for protection!

He is also a patron saint of Terni, epilepsy and beekeepers both of which have relevance when you are in love. You can have the fits or a bee sting so hard, that the pain tears (however you pronounce it) into you – at least for a while until the pain killers take over – the chores, the routine, the opposition, the peer, professional, family, financial, and social pressure. You must experience it to understand it even as others mis-understand it. Or you can choose email over a handwritten letter. So much easier?

For a better understanding, its best I quote Tina Turner from her hit song – What’s Love to got to do with it…

It may seem to you that I’m acting confused

When you’re close to me

If I tend to look dazed, I’ve read it someplace

I’ve got cause to be

There’s a name for it

There’s a phrase that fits

But whatever the reason, you do it for me

Oh-oh, what’s love got to do, got to do with it?

What’s love but a second-hand emotion?

What’s love got to do, got to do with it?

Who needs a heart, when a heart can be broken?

But His love was different, it was for the persecuted. And today he is as relevant as he was all those years ago; only the circumstances are different. Those in love are persecuted, are they not? No. You have got it all wrong. They are persuaded. They are persuaded not to love, not to fall in love (you get hurt don’t you? and you hurt so many others – their families, our sentiments and our traditions and the order of our universe according to us), and not to hold hands, except their own on Valentine’s Day. Didn’t know there was joy in that too! Don’t get that tingly feeling you get when you take the first sip of Fanta! That remains a fanta-sy! Sometimes, a dangerous one. That is why we rust and therefore perhaps we lust!  But that is not the kind of Love (all four-letter words – kind, kinder and kindest) that he promoted. His tradition is associated with courtly love.

Courtly love (Newman, Francis X., ed. (1968). The Meaning of Courtly Love. vii. ISBN 0-87395-038-0) was a medieval European literary conception of love that emphasized nobility and chivalry. Medieval literature is filled with examples of knights setting out on adventures and performing various deeds or services for ladies because of their “courtly love”. This kind of love now ends up in court!

According to Wikipedia, Courtly love began in the ducal and princely courts of Aquitaine, Provence, Champagne, ducal Burgundy and the Norman Kingdom of Sicily at the end of the eleventh century. In essence, courtly love was an experience between erotic desire and spiritual attainment, “a love at once illicit and morally elevating, passionate and disciplined, humiliating and exalting, human and transcendent”. That’s a cutlet on the menu of a 5 star restaurant.

According to Barbara W. Tuchman, courtly love has the following stages!


  • Attraction to the lady, usually via eyes/glance
  • Worship of the lady from afar
  • Declaration of passionate devotion
  • Virtuous rejection by the lady
  • Renewed wooing with oaths of virtue and eternal fealty
  • Moans of approaching death from unsatisfied desire (and other physical manifestations of lovesickness)
  • Heroic deeds of valor which win the lady’s heart
  • Consummation of the secret love
  • Endless adventures and subterfuges avoiding detection

Barbara seems to have nomenclatured these stages from experience. She may not have gone into the aftermath. That is for you to discover or watch Discovery plus!

According to statistics though, India has the lowest rate of Divorce. As I mentioned in a previous article, it is just 1%, because spouses stick to each other through thick and thin, and Covid – literally. But now Traffic Jams are separating 3% of that 1% in Mumbai, according to Amruta Fadnavis, wife of former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. Commenting on the bad road conditions leading to traffic snarls, the wife of the BJP leader said: “Due to traffic, people are unable to give time to their families and 3% of divorces in Mumbai are happening due to it”. It is not clear, what percentage of these couples are sitting together inside their vehicles or waiting for each other to arrive!

When you are “in” love, you either live in or live out your relationship. You become independently dependent – that’s the new Google algorithm for modern or modernist couples – those who wear torn jeans to signify abundance. There’s a lot of talk of Spaces – My Space, Your space. But it may or may not be relevant to know, that Myspace was a  social media network that enabled users to create their own profile pages, engage in various forums, listen to music, and more. It was launched in January 2004, and the site became the world’s leading social media platform. It was acquired for $580 million by News Corp in 2005 but eventually flamed out. It’s also prudent to note that the eternal flame can (now) only be found at the War Memorial.

But ordinary flames can be found everywhere – on Facebook, Instagram (Telegram too, not the old one, but the new) Skype, Messenger, Pinterest, Snapchat and not the least Tinder and Grindr!  Love letters have been consigned to the flames – literally and Email’s are for “may I have your Daughter’s / Son’s hand in Marriage?”  That’s when Tradition and Technology and the couple, must blend like in a Mixie?

A couple from Tamil Nadu brought tradition and technology together when they hosted their wedding reception in the metaverse. Dinesh SP and Janaganandhini Ramaswamy got married on February 6 in Sivalingapuram, a small tribal village of Tamil Nadu. However, friends and family from across the world were able to attend the wedding reception that followed as it took place in a virtual world.

Metaverse is a virtual 3D environment where users can ‘live’ and interact with others through digital avatars. It combines multiple elements of technology like augmented reality, blockchain and virtual reality. This is the new reality! The problem is thereafter they have to live in the Universe, purchase realty and face reality! A whole new season of Big Boss!

Well good luck Valentines. You now know you have history on your side. All you have to do is stay home, stay safe and celebrate the day in the Metaverse – for better or worse! One piece of advice though. Don’t wear clothes that disturb law and order. Blue is just fine!


This Article is written in the lighter vein. It hopes to bring a smile to your face, and you must not ascribe motives to its contents. There is no connection to events and characters in real life and if perchance you find a connect with any such real-life event or character, rest assured its purely coincidental.

Image by 2023852

Enjoy your signature; it is a sign for the times!

Last week, my cousin invited me over for lunch. She said she had cooked her signature dish – a lasagne – an Italian dish, but now with a touch of Indian in it, which, when I had tasted previously, I was like – you cannot eat just one spoonful! Naturally, I said yes. I was glad to say yes – I was waiting for an opportunity to break my meal monotony, – though I realised that it is that monotony that kept me alive and kicking myself at every lost opportunity – even when I wanted to say no out of courtesy, and then wait to be pressed or pleaded with to come over! The yes came out rather quickly in the circumstances. I just hoped my desperation was not very obvious. There is a parallel at election time i

I had just dug into my plate and the first spoonful was hovering near my oral cavity, when my cousin got a call. It was her bank manager. The bank manager changed her expression from welcome and triumph over a well-cooked signature dish to one of disgust and despair. He told her that the cheque she had issued earlier had bounced – her signature did not match.

Was worried now, about how it would affect her signature dish – what if that too did not match expectations? I took the risk and gobbled it. Luckily for me, it was no Gobbelsian lie, like so many we hear these days and believe, because they are repeated a thousand times. It was the genuine article.

But one phone call from the Bank Manager, got me pondering over an important part of our personality – our signatures – be they dishes or the one we dish out on paper to certify and assert our identity – which more often than not, do not, because they are illegible or have no relation to our names. Is that why our names, neatly written or typewritten, follow it?

Often our signatures define our personalities by their slant, their complexity, their illegibility, their beauty, their flourishes and even their height and width which are truly representative of human differences – you will understand if you look in the mirror and then glance at your fellow beings around you. I understand you do not do that much because of WFH, but if you do, you will be enlightened without an LED or sitting under a tree!

Indeed, there are those that can tell you how kinky, slinky, pinkie, whiny, or their opposites you are, just by looking at your signature – not even reading it, because mostly they cannot. Here are some clues to who and what you are … if you are signature angles upward – well you are upwardly mobile, maybe on your mobile only. Cannot say. But seriously you are maybe, ambitious, optimistic, creative, and full of vitality and you know what that means. If it angles downward – you are possibly the opposite… Your cup, or maybe the page you are on is only half full? If it is a straight drive – well, you are balanced and in control? But do you want that? A flat line on an ECG means you are dead!

Are you bigger than you are? Or do you believe you are bigger than you are? Check your signature. The phrase “size matters” does have some science behind it! Your confidence and maybe your narcissism is directly proportionate? Check it out and see if you need to work on to create your own space on the page!

Do you know why Doctor’s prescriptions are legitimate but illegible? Because they have quick minds that work faster than their hand can move. Similarly, you! Do you have a quick mind? That maybe speeds ahead of you. Or maybe you do not want people to know what you are thinking or your motives? Or is it that the more legible it is, the more straight forward you are?

Is your signature incomplete? Do you short circuit it? Keep it concise because you are too busy with more important matters? You are perhaps independent of peer or seer pressure. It is an effective way to be, but you might also be lonely and long-standing relationships may escape your embrace rather frequently!

Your embellishments or shall we say flourishes – dots, underlines, extended lines etc indicate something or the other – the x factor in you. Maybe you can get on the show. You may not win though unless there is an upward slant.

So, should you alter your signature after you have been enlightened? Well clothes do not make the man, or woman. All they do is cover up the inequities and imperfections… to the extent they can. The naked truth, seen with the naked eye is always a revelation!

Regardless, one has to wonder how a signature remains stable in its dimensions – from perhaps early teens to late 80’s – the new old age according to Ian Robertson, dean of research at Dublin’s Trinity College of Neurosciences. Is it because of fear that change will hamper our finances or the future? Or is it something inherent in all of us? Is it biological, or intellectual? Stable, even as we evolve, in size, maturity, strength, and then wane in the same way?

The signature was not always a signature – that came in 15th century – 1530 to be precise, Previously, in 3500 BC, a seal was the first signature. The Sumerians invented it. Typically, these seals were attached to a small round cylinder about one inch in length and would be pressed into wet clay. They still exist and are used by those three and two letter investigative agencies in India to prevent tampering with what they have already tampered!

In AD 57 came the Japanese Hanko Seal. Then in 15th century – 1530 to be precise, the first signed document came about – it was a Scottish document. Incidentally, Signature is also a highly recommended blended scotch that you do not have to sign for when you buy unless you are under the voting age – not the marriageable age. It helps you get ready for marriage perhaps – that is why!

Interestingly the role of a signature in many consumer contracts is not solely to provide evidence of the identity of the contracting party, but also to provide evidence of deliberation and informed consent. That is why the thumbprint (which too is meaningless unless you have a name below and a database to match it – which we have now, but not in the days of yore!), the names, and the witnesses! Ignorance of what is written before you sign is not bliss! It is a sign of the times, that people dispute what they have signed to signify consent after deliberation. Nothing strange in that – that is how divorce came about – This is not what I signed up for, one or the other will say, hours after they have changed out of their wedding gown or suit, as the case may be. Real roses wither, paper roses do not! They are proof of informed consent!

And now, because your hands are not steady, or you have not studied, has come the Esign or the digital signature. eSign, or eSignature technology, is a digital workaround to the traditional method of signing paper documents by hand – handwriting is a forgotten art. Cursive writing has become cursed writing! And it is environmentally friendly, so they say. That is where they would like to keep your head in the cloud, and your signature, so that you do not fret about the heat signature of your electronic device, or it scrappage!

It is time to sign off without a signature. The eSigned budget document is being read out by the FM in parliament even as I write this, and by the time it is done with, you will have to sign a whole new bunch of documents to sustain your identity.

Enjoy your Signature, but do not let it cloud your judgement!


This Article is written in the lighter vein. It hopes to bring a smile to your face, and you must not ascribe motives to its contents. There is no connection to events and characters in real life and if perchance you find a connect with any such real-life event or character, rest assured its purely coincidental.

Image by Edar