Consult the Helix

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There are certain words I absolutely hate using, not because they’re dull or they don’t have meaning, actually it’s the complete opposite of that. Some words are so small yet vibrant, and full of information that they’re a drag to use. Words with a lot of information are dangerous, because they tend to be adjectives; and as time goes on and language progresses these adjectives gather more and more connotations, most of them negative. What are these words? Words like “random”, “crazy”, “socialist”, “Muslim” and “nerd”. The last one is particularly interesting.

I don’t like calling other people nerds, not because it’s a bad thing. Today the connotation of the word nerd has done a switcheroo since fifteen years ago – it might actually be cool to be a nerd. I don’t like it because it’s so all-encompassing, which is why I don’t know if when I call someone a nerd I am being incorrect. Shakespearean connoisseurs, Dr. Who fanatics, 4chan basement dwellers, competitive VGC battlers, comic book readers, movie enthusiasts, computer programmers and gamers all come under the vague jurisdiction of this one notorious word. And I don’t know anyone who fits under all those colourfully dotted umbrellas.

But for the convenience of most people, I guess I am one. After all, this blog itself has one of the most childish yet nerdy beginnings; me bragging about my prowess in Pokemon. And that hasn’t changed. After the release of Pokemon X and Y I’ve returned to the competitive battling scene a little bit – you might see me around more often, bragging about defeating some illustrious characters. The past year or so I’ve been whiling away my time, and I think it’s time to take up a more intense and thoughtful pasttime. No doubt, Pokemon might not sound like the toughest thing to do. Infact my dad just told me that it’s for first grade kids, and I don’t disagree. But first graders don’t battle on ladders and learn about EVs and IVs and do damage calculations about imaginary monsters on randomly coloured pixels.

I have read many books in my day and drank many cups of tea, so when people ask me how I’m good at English, and they do every few years or so, I have to tell them the truth. It’s ALL from Pokemon. I don’t think my vocabulary ever increased after reading Orwell’s essays or the hundreds of whimsical autobiographies, but bit by bit those moves that Pokemon use, combined with their abilites and not to mention the great NPC dialogues granted me mastery over this language.

My ratata is definitely in the top percentage of ratata.

No joke. The amount of time spent playing Pokemon is tenfold that of the time I spent actually reading. Perhaps that’s not such a good thing, but that’s the trade-off for catching them all.

Follow Upamanyu Acharya:

Upamanyu Acharya is a writer who doesn't write. Sometimes he's an artist, musician, photographer, physicist or lazy student. His hobbies include being vague, bending rules, time-travel, and embellishment of words. This is his personal blog where he writes on topics ranging from leadership skills to the consistency of jam.

2 Responses

  1. N

    I wouldn't attribute your skill with the language entirely to Pokemon. Reading is important. There's a reason why people who are well read are better writers, or, for that matter, storytellers. It's not just because they can think of interesting material, but because they can express it in a way that appeals to people, something which they understand, having read a lot of books themselves.

  2. Aditi Kanksha

    I wouldn't really call those words dangerous. More like you've got innumerable interpretations by now, that figuring out what it was originally supposed to mean and even what it means today, is kind of difficult.

    But damn. From where do you come up with words like switcheroo? I'll tell people to play pokemon if that truly helps. 😛

    Its been quite long since you posted something but the posts get more vague (for lack of a better word) yet interesting every time. 🙂

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