Things grow better with Coke
Indian farmers have come up with what they think is the real thing to keep crops free of bugs.
Instead of paying hefty fees to international chemical companies for patented pesticides, they are reportedly spraying their cotton and chilli fields with Coca-Cola.
In the past month there have been reports of hundreds of farmers turning to Coke in Andhra Pradesh and Chattisgarh states.
But as word gets out that soft drinks may be bad for bugs and a lot cheaper than anything that Messrs Monsanto, Shell and Dow can offer, thousands of others are expected to switch.
This amused me, from S. Muthiah's column in The Hindu:
While leaving a recent preview at the Film Chamber theatre, a friend drew my attention to a sign on a door at one end of the foyer. "Toilet now at backside," it read. Apart from wondering where else would it be, I couldn't help but recall the sign while mulling over Prof. David Crystal's view (Miscellany, October 18) on Indian Standard English. Would he have agreed to this usage of `backside' - undoubtedly derived from how `at the back' is used in many of the South Asian languages, as for instance in Tamil: `pin pakkam/pakkathil'?
(The article he refers to is here - Prof. Crystal spoke at the British Council about the future of the "Englishes" -- the many regional variants of English.) Of course many or most deviations from standard English come from translating one language directly into the other. It works the other way, too. I'll say something in Tamil or English, realise that it doesn't sound quite right, and then that I've tried to impose English structure onto the Indian language.