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Monday, September 19, 2005

What's a "hi"?


I thought Hi was no more than a salutation. But seeing the overuse of this small word, I have reason to believe that it is being abused for varied purposes. You see it everywhere. A signification multitude of my mails have the subject "Hi", primarily used by someone who wanted to send me a mail but wasn't sure of the subject, but still didn't want to leave the subject line unfilled. I just got a mail which dealt with a sysadmin-related problem, but even this was greeted with a "Hi" in the subject line. The rest of the mail was entirely unrelated to the preamble of Hi. Don't people realize -- it's perfectly ok to leave the subject line blank instead of filling it up with the unnecessary Hi.

Looking at various other instances of Hi, every chat session invariably begins with a Hi. Actually, it's nice. Follows the KISS principle. Want to begin a letter, say Hi. Want to start a conversation, say Hi. Wish to start a speech, say Hi. Wish to write an invitation, say Hi. The problem is that it's not used as a salutation but as an opener, as if to get things in motion. We don't begin with a Hi because any other thing wouldn't suffice, but rather just to begin -- akin to clearing one's throat before a conversation. What would happen if everything began with a Hi? God would invent you and say -- Hi (instead of tathastu). The first thing you'd speak to a newborn would be -- Hi. Yamaraj would land at your doorstep and say -- Hi. Imagine every research paper beginning with a -- Hi. The morning newspaper starting with a Hi. The PM addressing the nation on 15th Aug and starting with a Hi. Often people look at you with awe and astonishment if you utter the name of one-who-must-not-be-named. But with the growth of Hi, people around you would be sent shuddering with astonishment if you _did_not_ begin anything with a Hi (one-that-must-be-named). Your examination paper question paper would start with a Hi. The answer-sheet will have a Hi already printed. Even then a student will append a Hi. A lawyer would drop the usual "Your Honor" salutation and begin his legal proceedings with the quintessential Hi. The judge, instead of saying "Objection sustained" would say -- "Hi, Objection sustained". The convict, standing before the jury would start with a Hi.

It gets even more painful. Even advertising isn't spared. Hutch is so confident about the applicability of Hi that they pay for gigantic billboards but use only a tiny corner of it to say -- Hi. Probably if Hutch had it's way, when you receive a phone-call, everything else would be proceeded by a machine-generated automatic Hi for bot the caller and the callee.

PS: Even this post begins with a Hi.
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