Saturday, December 13, 2008

Pop Quiz

What do these words and phrases have in common:
puissant, rascally, indolence, diabolical, instrumentality, Kilkenny cat functionalism, nocent, pachydermic
Option A: They were all taken from the Reading Comprehension section of the most recent edition of the GRE.
Option B: They are all from V R Krishna Iyer's article in yesterday's Hindu.

There is a lot of sense in what the retired judge has to say, but this gets buried (should I say 'interred') in the pompous verbiage. To be fair, I get a sort of perverse pleasure watching these words jostle for space before making an uneasy peace with their cohabitants whom they would rather die than share a sentence with normally -- it's almost like reading bad poetry -- but the message gets lost. Some sample sentences:
Are our expensive defence systems so goofy and gullible that hostiles in guile, with brute objectives, can reach a busy city, march inside a seven-star hotel and indulge in diabolical destruction with vindictive terrorism?

Even where Ministers and bureaucrats wine and dine, nocent neglect is writ large

The perspective of the executive at the State and Central levels is bureaucratic and pachydermic; pomp and power of office is the focus.
I wanted to add a few more examples, but for some reason, I seem to have developed a headache all of a sudden.