Round as a dot


Every solid object has a shape, while liquids take the shape of the container. Perhaps, the easiest shape to visualise and conceptualise is ‘round’, for how can one not think of a bindi, a manhole cover, a basketball, a bubble, a pupil, a coin, and not think of the shape that characterises them — round.

It was not for nothing that the round shape elicits keen interest, which accounted for the popularity of the ‘Little Dot’ comic series, where Little Dot, in so many circumstances and situations, comes in contact with round objects, very much the way Little Lotta interacts with food and Richie Rich with money!
Like it or not, round objects are here to stay. In fact, when a friend asked me a riddle, “What is round and purple and has conquered the world?” I was nonplussed. “Could it be ‘cancer’?” I queried incredulously, but realised that technically cancer is not round unless it’s a cancerous abscess one is thinking of. “No,” said my friend, “I’m thinking of a really ‘round’ object,” and the correct answer is “Alexander, the Grape!”

I remember an interesting anecdote when I worked as a corporate trainer in a medical transcription company. I would reiterate to my trainees to always transcribe reports verbatim without substituting synonyms of words that mean the same thing, no matter how tempting that could be! Thus the transcriptionist’s transcribed report is a word-for-word rendition of what the dictator had dictated, without adding or detracting words.

Once, when my trainees couldn’t get a particular word, I told them, “Don’t worry, I will give you some tips. It starts with ‘r’ and ends with ‘d’ and means ‘round’. Immediately, one of my trainees shot back, “Why not ‘round’ itself?” as everyone burst into laughter.

I told them that though technically the meaning ‘round’ is the same, one cannot substitute synonyms, even closely related ones, for the word in question. Finally, after wracking their brains and still not being able to get the correct word, I told them, “The correct word which the dictator dictated is ‘rotund’.” Without batting an eyelid, the same trainee immediately shot back, “But, ma’am, I still think ‘round’ sounds better!” I guess some days, you just don’t win.
Finally, the tail piece on the shape ‘round’. A call came for me in the trainer’s room, “Is Heera around?” Pat came the reply from the trainer, “Yes, Heera is round”!

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