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A few months ago, at Spencer junction, I witnessed an amazing sight – an accidental collage created by a tree, spotlit by sunshine, its rain-cleansed leaves glowing green, and the image of a man on the Jet Airways hoarding in the background, the guy staring up, ecstatic, as if enthralled by the beauty of the tree. I tried to capture the scene on my N72, but then the signal turned green and I had to get going.

Few minutes later…ping, the irony-meter redlined, this was so Ogden Nash…

I think that I shall never see
A billboard lovely as a tree.
Perhaps, unless the billboards fall,
I’ll never see a tree at all.

 

Gotta get that pic for the blog, Gotta…Day 2. I managed to stop the car at just the right place, grabbed my phone, but before I could get the shot, I noticed the girl in the car ahead leaning across to the boy driving the car. Wow! Valentine’s Day…the tree can wait. The girl pulled out her dupatta from underneath her, returned to vertical position and got busy patting out the wrinkles, and the signal turned green.

 

Day 3. I finally managed a shot, but the camera position, shot composition and lighting were all wrong. I guess you can’t recreate a kaleidoscope pattern… 

 

Day 4. Jet Airways had a new hoarding at the site.

 

Then last week, the billboards fell. The trees emerged from the shadows, and reclaimed their territory. Kind of like the end of The Mansion of Gods…


By nightfall, the forest has taken over once again. Only a few Roman remains show that the Mansion of Gods
ever stood there…

 

…which reminds me of the first business venture I was a part of: The Four Star Lending Library, started by Biju, Keeshan, Sridharan and I, when we were in high school. The business plan was Biju’s – enter the market with Keeshan’s Kottayam Pushpanath novels and Sridharan’s Indrajal Comics, buy Tintin/Asterix comics using the revenue, plough back profits to buy more comics…The Mansion of Gods was the first book we bought. We had a great run and build a huge collection of Tintin/Asterix comics till John Sir busted us. Those were the days…

 

Vaal Kashnam: Too bad our underground library experience didn’t inspire a multi-million dollar enterprise. Snigger, snigger.

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That is a mnemonic to help you remember the spelling of Mnemonic. Mnemonics are words or phrases which are difficult to forget, used to remember things that are difficult to remember. (That, OK, reminds me of my fav intro line: Name is Babu Kuriakose, the first name is easy to remember, the second, difficult to forget. BHH)

Through the word mnemonic was never used, in school we imbibed a lot of them:

  • Geography: HOMES – Great Lakes: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior; LONGitudes
  • History: SPA – Socrates, Plato, Aristotle
  • Physics: VIBGYOR; V = IR (Iyer!, Voltage = Current x Resistance, Ohm’s Law)

(Remember Ohm’s Law. Vinu Joseph Cherian – any idea where he is? – invented the Ohm’s Law chant. Here’s how you do it – start saying ‘Ohm’s Law’ over and over again, first at normal pace, then fast, then slow, then very slow, then very fast…When 48 guys do this in harmony, at the top of the voice, the effect is awesome)

  • English: Ass Ass I Nation – Spelling help

(Remember ‘To Get Her’: Mathew Sir had completed a session on syllables, he asked the class to suggest words for him to demo and Joe Antony shouted ‘Together’. Mathew Sir fell for it…to-get-her, the class was ecstatic, and Joe got thrashed)

  • Guitar class: Every Good Boy Does Fine – EBGDF, Treble Clef Lines (I Googled!)

We also developed mnemonics for a lot of schoolboy stuff:

  • ‘APES WIN’ – The Test Playing Nations: Australia, Pakistan, England, Sri Lanka, West Indies, India, New Zealand
  • ‘Pascoe Bowls And Misses Stumps’ – Australian Test Venues: Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney
  • Clockwise – CLOSEwise

I remember the first time I came across the word mnemonics – in Popular Mechanics, in REC Reading Room, 1984 – and also some of the mnemonics mentioned in the article (the power of mnemonics!)

  • ‘My Very Earnest Mother Just Served Us Nine Pickles’ – The Nine Planets (Pluto was not just a dog in those days)
  • ‘Sohcahtoa, Indian Chief’ – Trigonometry : Sin = Opposite/Hypotenuse, Cos = Adjacent /Hypotenuse, Tan = Opposite/Adjacent
  • ‘Washington And Jefferson Made Many A Joke’…(American Presidents, in order: Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Munroe, Adams, Jackson)…I cant remember (!) the middle portion of the verse, but it ends with ‘Ran To Every Kitchen Jar Nook. Ford Capitulated Readily’ (Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan).

judy.jpg

Thanks Judy. Your book on mnemonics took me on a major nostalgia trip…

rajagiri.jpg
Photo from Google Earth.

Check out the website. (The faculty page has some familiar names – Mr. Xavier Panackal, Mr. M. J. Zacharia, and Paulosechettan)

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