Have you ever heard of a Garden-path sentence?
Consider this one (from Wikipedia)
“The horse raced past the barn fell.”
Lovely, isn’t it? Did you notice that when you reached the end of the sentence, you went back to the beginning to read it again. Ergo, Garden Path sentence! The English aren’t as good as the French who have words to describe almost anything. But they sure can come up with pretty colorful alternatives.
In case you are still in the woods/garden, the sentence is a perfectly valid statement. It means that the horse (which was) raced past the barn, fell.
Here’s another one. I’m sure you won’t get it on the first go.
“The old man the boat.”
Recently, I came across a, what I like to call, garden-path headline from The Hindu
The festival with a unique identity
From November 14 to 23 Chennai set to get an eclectic choice of music. November Fest – Let the Music Begin
Nothing funny about the heading. That’s until you see the attendees of the launch conference. You would have expected some big names of music to be there to entice the audience into an “eclectic choice of music”. Well, they were big names alright, but not the kind you would imagine. 🙂
Promoting music: (From l to r) Kulbhushan Seth of Casio, V.H. Harris of LG Electronics, Victor Niranjan of AVT, V. Kalidas, vice-president (advertising), The Hindu, K.K. Raman of DLF, G.P. Chadha of Maruti Suzuki, and Ramakanth of Nippon Paints at a press meet in Hotel Taj Connermara, Chennai, on Tuesday to announce the launch of The Hindu Friday Review November Fest 2008.
DLF? Nippon Paints? Music??? That’s when I went back to read the heading again.
I have had to sit on some dias when our company sponspored an event, but never as the main and sole participant of the event. And you would think that these guys would know that their involvement with the event was limited to images of paper Gandhijis. Couldn’t be farther from the truth. Each of these guys came and gave a punch dialogue to justify their companies synonymity with the event. If I didn’t know better, I thought I was reading it from a joke book. Here are some of the lines, and I swear, I am quoting verbatim!
“They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, but we believe that the way to the heart of a Chennaiite is through music,” said K. K. Raman, DLF Limited
G. P. Chadha of Maruti Suzuki India Limited, compared the experience of driving a Maruti car to the soothing effect of music. “This is proved by our number one rating in customer satisfaction for the last nine years.”
On the other hand, Ramakanth V. Akula, of Nippon paint, drew parallels between music and the business of painting homes. “Colour and music have a lot in common – they raise the spirit and evoke emotion,” he said.
“We will bring our unique blend of coffee and chicory for that special filter coffee experience to this year’s Fest as we did for the others,” said Victor Niranjan, AVT Coffee.
I guess anyone could say anything about anything these days. Imagine if Barack Obama, Sarah Palin, Ahmadinejad, Sourav Ganguly, Raj Thackeray and Karan Johar were also present at the meeting. To the question, “So what does your being here have to do with the event?”, their responses would be:-
Sarah Palin commented “Well, you know, we’ve always been hearing those Russians playing music across the border. So I, you know, know music”. It must also be reported that she looked quite stunning in her 2 lakh diamond studded dress which she chose to wear for the event.
Ahmadinejad chose to say “Music doesn’t screw your life. Sanctions on the other hand do. If America listens to this festival, they may get some oil from the singer’s head. If they don’t listen to me, then…”
Karan Johar remarked “I was just passing bi and I thought I would stop bi here. Usually, the events I go to are such a drag! Everyone here who’s at the festival look so happy and gay. Not much is straight here .. even the posters are slanting a little. The music has inspired me to come out of my closet and declare it once and for all .. I need a fag!”
“Naan kuthina vayaru lenda rathum, kadicha kai lenda rathum aana padina kadhu lenda ratham varum da” – If I punch you stomach will bleed, if I bite your hand will bleed but if I sing your ears will bleed.
As captain said this, the reporter noticed that he kept pushing into his eye. “For effect”, he said.