Friday, September 4, 2015

A matter of words and context!

Adesh Srivastava, the Hindi film composer and singer, passed away on 5th September 2015, a day after he turned 50! May his soul rest in peace!

It is such a coincidence that just a few days ago, I was made to watch a video in which Adesh Srivastava was present! Why I was made to watch that video, is quite interesting!

Our development team was preparing for the demonstration of one the systems to a new group of users. At the end of the preparation, one of the programmer was requesting me to be present during the system demonstration. He said it would give them confidence to do a good presentation. I replied that they have become experts on the system, hence, there was no need for my presence.

One of the programmers, said “we want you to be there so that you can give us ‘history’ after the presentation”. I could not quite understand what he was trying to convey. The other team members stared with puzzled looks as well. We thought that, he was having difficulty in using the right terminology, may be getting confused with some other word!

To make us understand what he was talking about, he started playing a video on YouTube. It was a video of an Omani singer, Asma Mohammed Rafi, who was one of the participants in one of the seasons of SaReGaMaPa TV musical show. I remembered that season, it was one of the most entertaining of seasons, more so because of the Omani singer! But I was quite flabbergasted why the programmer was showing us that video. What was the connection between a system presentation and a musical show! He looked at our confused faces and said, “Wait, wait, it will come”.

At the end of the song, the judges started giving grades for the song rendition. Adesh Srivastava, one of the judges, was the first to judge and he gave “History” grade, the highest grade.  At that moment it dawned on me what the programmer was trying to convey! He wanted me to be present during the system demonstration and give my assessment of their presentation. I started laughing at the whole thing!

The programmer was right in what he was trying to convey but it did not make sense to me until he showed the video. The word “history” has its many standard meanings as we know, but in that season of SaReGaMaPa, “History” was one of the grades for judging the songs, others being “Hit” and “Superhit”.

It just goes to show, that it is not just the words that are important, but also the context which is more important! Because, sometimes a word spoken out of context, could convey entirely a different meaning and could even create utter confusion and chaos, sometimes even misery!

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