Yesterday’s wormhole: Lakshadweep

The path in:

While updating books on Goodreads (step #1), I saw someone had read and rated a new Amitava Ghosh book. The book’s name is Gun Island (#2).

The book’s description began with the definition of the word बन्दूक (bundook) which is the Hindi1(#3) word for gun.

That made me try and remember the Hindi word for Island (#4).

I couldn’t. So, I tried remembering names of some islands in India (#5). The only two that came up were the Andaman & Nicobar islands (named in English, by the British), and Lakshadweep.

Lakshdweep = Laksha[^2] + dweep. This reminded me that dweep (द्वीप) is the hindi word for island(#5).

I thought (wrongly, I later realised) that Laksha was just a short form of the hindi word Lakshya, which means target. This meant that the name of the islands would mean ‘Target island’ in English.

This piqued my interest in them, wondering what gave them that name. What also bothered me was that despite knowing about the islands most of my life, I had no clue about the people, language, culture, etc on the islands. The Andaman & Nicobar islands get a far larger share of public mind space in India. No one bothers much about the Lakshadweep. Off I went to Wikipedia…

And the very first thing I learnt was that I had got the etymology of the name wrong. Dweep was correct – stands for island. Laksha wasn’t a shortened form of Lakshya (target), but a form of the Hindi word for hundred thousand—Lakh (लाख). So, the name didn’t mean target island, but a hundred thousand islands. It is, after all an archipelago of islands, not a single island.

About the culture, language, etc… well, go read the article and do some Wikipedia wormholing yourself :)

Continue reading Yesterday’s wormhole: Lakshadweep

Today in Wikipedia wormholing

It started with this photo of Dubrovnik on Instagram

It mentioned ‘Siege of Dubrovnik’, so looked it up to read on it.

From there, went to read about Operation Tiger (1992), and the Battle of Konavle.

In parallel tabs, also read about the Bay of Kotor and the peninsula of Prevlaka.

Bay of Kotor, lead to reading about KarstificationMontenegro, town of Herceg Novi, and (from Montenegro) about a 12 Km long beach called Velika Plaža. Montenegro seems like a good, slightly off-beat place to visit.

At this point, I took a detour from Wikipedia to Google maps, and spent a while exploring the region… Mainly bay of Kotor.

Returning to Wikipedia, resumed with the war articles. Next up, from Operation Tiger in 1992, to Operation Storm in 1995. It was, apparently, the biggest land battle in Europe since WW2!

Also open, though yet to be read, are articles on Operation Summer (1995)State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs, and Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (1918–1929).

Think they’ll last me the night 🙂

P.S.: The featured image is from xkcd.

Just another ordinary upbringing

The details of my life are quite inconsequential … Very well, where do I begin? My father was a relentlessly self-improving boulangerie owner from Belgium with low-grade narcolepsy and a penchant for buggery. My mother was a 15-year-old French prostitute named Chloé with webbed feet. My father would womanize; he would drink. He would make outrageous claims like he invented the question mark. Sometimes, he would accuse chestnuts of being lazy. The sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament … My childhood was typical: summers in Rangoon … luge lessons … In the spring, we’d make meat helmets … When I was insolent I was placed in a burlap bag and beaten with reeds — pretty standard, really. At the age of 12, I received my first scribe. At the age of 14, a Zoroastrian named Vilmer ritualistically shaved my testicles. There really is nothing like a shorn scrotum — it’s breathtaking … I suggest you try it.

Dr. Evil