September 12, 2006

Words I Like...

Words are the essence of communication. Without words, civilization, as we know it, would not be possible and we would still be living in the dark ages. Some words are pleasant to hear and when you hear them for the first time, you like the sound of it and you want to know the meaning and then you want to use that word as often as possible. For me there is a long list of such words but the top five positions would go to:

Quixotic: This word is one of my favorites. I don’t remember where I read or heard it but once I came to know the meaning, I had no choice but to pick up Cervantes’ Don Quixote de la Mancha and read it through. This book, too, is one of my favorites now because I believe there is a Quixote in all of us. A part that sees shapes in clouds, dreams of being a movie star or simply becoming very famous. The monotony and the humdrum of daily life slowly strangles this part of us. The world would be nicer place if we let some more of the Quixote inside us get out. Just a little, too much would make the world a dangerous place.

Hector: Hector was the famous warrior of Troy. Achilles, the Greek hero, defeated him. The word hector, for a long time, was used for a person who was a hero. But somewhere along the line, it began to be used for someone who was a bully or a nuisance. Its this irony and the tricks that fate has played on Hector that endears this word to me, though I use it rarely.

Sisyphean: Sisyphean task is a job that’s never finished. Sisyphus was a cruel Greek King and for his actions, he was forced to roll a big stone up a hill in Hades but as soon as he reached the top of the hill, the rock would slip down again. This word is a representation of life. Every time we think we are near achieving something we set out as target for us, the target seems to move a little further. Life itself is a Sisyphean task.

Narcissus: Who has read of Narcissus and been left untouched. He was a young man who was so handsome that he fell in love with his own reflection. Though this word has negative connotations of vanity and self-indulgent love, yet I cannot feel anything but pity for a man who falls in love with something he can never have.

Augean Stables: King Augeas of Elis had a stable where he kept 3000 oxen. It was on Hercules that the job of cleaning these stables, not cleaned for twelve years, fell on. So, this word means trying to clean up a system or a thing that has been going bad over the years.

There is a longer list of words I like, but these will have to do for now. If someone was to ask me why exactly I like them, I cannot give an answer. Maybe it is the sound of these words or maybe it’s the legends attached to them. Whatever it is, I like these words. What’s your word?

1 comment:

Bean said...

I loved your explanation for liking these words, and especially your sentiments about quixotic. How dull it would be if we didn't daydream.

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