Short and smart

Sms was born with mobiles but messages shorter than the 160-letter-sms have changed history, politics, science, etc. In Mahabharata, Yudhishthira stakes his possessions one after the other and every time that Shakuni takes the dices, shouts: ‘Jitam’ (meaning won), to tell Duryodhana.

Shift to Syracuse, 3rd century BC: Hiero-II, Greek tyrant suspects his goldsmith of replacing some gold with silver in a crown for gods; so contracts polymath Archimedes to detect fraud. Archimedes accepts the challenge.

At the public baths, it strikes archimedes that the more his body sinks into the water, the more water is displaced: making the displaced water an exact measure of his volume. Because gold weighs more than silver, he reasons that a crown mixed with silver would have to be bulkier to reach the same weight as one composed only of gold. Realising he has hit upon a solution, the young Greek math-whiz leaps out of the bath and rushes home naked crying “Eureka! Eureka!” (I’ve found it). The test is conducted later, proving that silver had indeed been mixed.

In 1842 at the age of 60, appointed as major general to command Bombay Presidency Army, Napier is ordered by Lord Ellenborough to Sindh (now in Pakistan), to quell Muslim-insurrection. Orders are only to put down the rebels, but by conquering the whole Sindh province, he greatly exceeds his mandate. He despatches a short message to his superiors: ‘Peccavi,’ (Latin for ‘I have sinned’). His ‘noble rascality’ is appreciated! Later he is made British Army’s commander-in-chief in India.

“My dear Abdullah. I am here. The game is up. Suggest you give yourself and I will look after you,” wrote major-general Gandharv Singh Nagra in a note to Lt Gen Niazi, GOC-in-C, Pakistan eastern command, soon after Indian troops had entered Dacca on December 16, 1971. Rest is history, when almost a lakh soldiers surrendered and Bangladesh was born.

Coming to sms: “Yup, same as in the past, no questions” read a text from Governor Eliot Spitzer. He could have been referring to pizza toppings, but instead he was talking about a different indulgence! After his repeated text messages to an escort service were turned over, and his alter-ego as Client 9 was revealed, Spitzer stepped down as New York’s governor.

After Levi Johnston texted Bristol Palin, with: “I miss you. I love you. I want to be with you again,” nothing was ever be the same — at least for mom, Sarah Palin! How can I not mention ‘ILU’ from a Hindi movie long before the sms era!

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