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Abetting abbreviations,

George N Netto, Jan 20 2018, 22:58 IST

I'm incurably addicted to abbreviations. I use them as an aide-memoire on the big calendar in my study and, having coined them myself, I can easily decipher them at a glance. However, the cryptic entries cluttering each month often leave my better half flummoxed, quite understandably.

The other day, peering at the calendar with knitted brows, she asked, "What do 'IPL' and 'ICC' stand for? Are you looking for an administrative job in cricket?" "No," I clarified, "It's to remind me that our damaged 'idli patram lid' and the fridge's 'ice cube container' need to be replaced." She chuckled.

"And what about 'VOA' and 'BBC'?" she persisted, her curiosity aroused. "Are you trying to outsource some work from them?" I replied in the negative and painstakingly explained, "I need to 'verify our account' with the provisions store and 'bring back curtains' that have been stitched by the tailor. My wife didn't conceal her amusement.

"Surely, there's nothing wrong with your 'DNA'," she remarked, a trifle alarmed, seeing this abbreviation over another date. I hastened to explain it stood for 'do not argue' with anyone as suggested by my astrological forecast for the day. Then she was shocked by the 'expletive' 'SOB', until I told her it innocuously expanded to 'sound out boss' on a new proposal I had. She giggled appreciatively.

"But what's this?" she demanded next, eyeing me suspiciously on finding the abbreviations 'POT' and 'TNT'.

"Are you messing around with drugs and explosives on the sly?" Smirking, I dispelled her fears: the first was a reminder to 'pay our taxes' and the second signified 'toenails trimmed'. I told her that I liked to know how often I needed to trim my lower extremities.

"'SOS' seems to imply you're in some danger," she observed next. Then, getting used to the flow of the tide, she added, "But I suppose it's something harmless." I replied rather irritably, "It stands for 'sell our shares' - especially that worthless bunch that's brought us more queries from the income-tax department than financial returns!"

"You appear to be updating yourself with the assistance of 'RTI'," she said, spotting the prominent abbreviation. A feeling of déj vu seemed to be settling over her. Once again, I patiently explained, "It's a reminder to ask the sweeper to 'remove trash immediately' from our front yard."

"I really don't see how you could be involved with any 'PTA' or 'UFO'," the lady of the house persisted, her eye running down the calendar. "I'm not!" I snapped, my patience wearing thin. "I just need to 'paint the almirah' and 'urgently fly over' to Chennai for an important meeting tomorrow."

"And now, there's just one more abbreviation that needs to be added," I muttered. Rising from my chair, I added 'GNN' to the medley adorning the calendar. "But, for heaven's sake, those are your initials," my wife remonstrated.

"Yes!" I agreed and added, "They also indicate that I'm 'going nuts now'!"

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