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Single, not carefree

Single and left alone" by Vandana Shukla (June 5, 2011 Perspective) was poignant insightful. The Oxford dictionary defines a spinster as "an old woman beyond the usual age for marriage." The word by itself puts enormous pressure on women to marry, partly because of the implicit message behind it : a woman who hasn't been chosen. Those who are married may actually be envious of the single woman because the latter need not follow the husbands' whims, adjust to the in-laws at every step and remain tied to household chores. The hassles faced by single women are often overlooked. Studies indicate, for example, that children with disabilities are more likely to live with single mothers. It is certainly a myth that single women lead carefree lives.

— Harish K. Monga, Ferozepur

Limits of Science

The coupletof Ghalib quoted by Khushwant Singh in his column ( May 28 ) has a minor error. The line is quoted as " Dil ke khush rakhne ko Ghalib, yeh khyal achcha hai". It should read, " Dil ke bahlane ko Ghalib, yeh khyal achcha hai". In the same column the columnist approvingly quotes physicist Stephen Hawking as saying , " One can't prove that God exists but science makes God unnecessary". It is worth recalling the view put forward by contemporary fiction writer Dan Brown, better known for his novel, " The Da Vinci Code". Sunsets, he writes, have been reduced to wavelengths and frequencies, skepticism has become a virtue and cynicism proof of enlightened thinking…science shatters God's world into smaller and smaller pieces in quest of meaning but all that it finds are more questions.

— Deepak Tandon, Panchkula

All is 'OK'

The term 'OK' ( also Okay or its variants okey-dokey and okey-dokje) is used to express agreement or acquiescence. According to the Encyclopedia Brittannica, this expression is probably more widely understood than any other word or phrase in any language. The Concise Oxford English Dictionary explains that the exclamation 'OK' was first recorded in the mid 19th century. It is most probably an abbreviation of ' Orl Korrect', a form of 'All Correct' popularisedas a slogan during US President Martin Van Buren's re-election campaign of 1840. The initials also represented his nickname Old Kinderhook', derived from his birthplace Kinderhook in New York State. According to another theory, it comes from 'Okeh', meaning "so be it", in an American Indian language when it was fashionable to take liberties with the language.

During World War I ( 1914-18), sunset maked the daily cessation of hostilities, to be resumed with sunrise the next day. The commanders would daily seek a report on casualties. Many a time, when there were none, the reporter would tersely say " Ok" to indicate "Zero Killed" ( O for zero and K for killed, signifying all was well).

— Lalit Bhardwaj, Panchkula

Drink to paradise

There were three celebrated poets in Shiraz ( Sudha Mahalingam's article on Poetic Capital of Persia) . Sa'adi was a mystic. Khaju attached himself to various royal courts while Hafiz was a bard of love and wine. People continue to visit his tomb to seek blessings. Fortune-telling was a Shirazi tradition and Humayun, Akbar, Jehangir and even Nadir Shah sought to find out omens from him. On his death, people were initially reluctant to participate in his funeral and say prayers because of his known fondness for wine and drinks. But then someone discovered a verse of his that said, " Do join the funeral procession of Hafiz/ because though a sinner, he is going to paradise" !

— Bhagwan Singh, Qadian



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