A Few Good Things

"Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller." – Ibn Battuta

A Few Good Things

Month: November 2014

Contradictions, Oxymorons and some thoughts from a jet lagged mind

Thanks to the jet lag – I have been up since 1 AM. So don’t be surprised if this blog entry confuses you. Its going to be a desultory piece talking of Contradictions and Oxymorons and more.

I first got introduced to the word ” Oxymoron” in Class 8 while reading about the sinking of the Titanic. The author beautifully described the morning after the disaster when the first rays of the sun fell on the ice bergs amidst the flotsam and debris of The Titanic as ” Tragic Splendour


An oxymoron is a compressed paradox: a figure of speech in which seemingly contradictory terms appear side by side. The oxymoron has also been called “the show-off” figure, one that gives voice to life’s inherent conflicts and incongruities. The true beauty of  an oxymoron is that, unless we sit back and really think, we happily accept them as normal English.

Paid Volunteers, Kind Cruelty, Open Secret, Pretty Ugly, Original Copy, Clearly Confused….. are some wonderful examples of Oxymorons. Here is a paragraph I found that is packed with Oxymorons and it does make an interesting  read.


It was an open secret that the company had used a paid volunteer to test the plastic glasses. Although they were made using liquid gas technology and were an original copy that looked almost exactly like a more expensive brand, the volunteer thought that they were pretty ugly and that it would be simply impossible for the general public to accept them. On hearing this feedback, the company board was clearly confused and there was a deafening silence. This was a minor crisis and the only choice was to drop the product line.


From Oxymorons lets move to a few other interesting examples of contradictions using colours.

  • A bright clear blue sky symbolises endless possibilities and optimism, and getting the blues plunges you into a world of despair and gloom.
  • Blue also stands for peace and tranquility – wile the deep blue sea is ominous and its depth has hidden mysteries.
  • Its often a that a Green Horn shines in a green field project.
  • A red carpet welcomes you but red tape pushes you into a maze
  • The color Green can symbolise freshness and a verdant atmosphere , at the same time you can be Green with jealousy and negativity.
  • A newly wed glow in her dark red saree and Code Red stands for Violence and death while the Red Cross is the beacon of hope for many.

And as a parting shot a few more interesting contradictions I picked up from a  post on FB today from Ashutosh Kapoor.

  • In a  play / theatre you rush for front row seats , while in the same auditorium you want the rear seats to watch  movie
  • Soap removes oil , but no soap can be made without Oil.

Is life black and white or is it inevitable that you have to manage shades of grey.

There are no right answers , I guess contradictions is a part of life and its all a function of your own perspective.




Creative Writing – A Project for your Child

The ICSE board had an interesting section on Creative writing. While most exams gave you a topic to write in the class 10 ICSE exam we were given  picture and asked to write about it. It was a wonderful exercise as one could stretch  ones imagination. Right there in a class of 30 you could see the students who had the creative spark early in life – while most captured the essence of the picture directly a few would give flight to their fancy and come up with a very different perspective that was entertaining.

I tried the exercise below with my children and was fascinated with the answers I got. Try it with your child and get them started on a journey of creative thinking.


Write a creative essay in 250 words

Creative Writing Project

The End



99% of the children will immediately write about the fear in the Man’s mind – the 1% creative guys will talk about what is going on in the Tiger’s mind. If that happens with your child – rejoice you just discovered a very creative kid at home.





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