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1971Take care!

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  • Moderator, ShimlaHangout
    Apr 30, 2006
      OK! Bye then. Nice being with you. Take care, huh?”
      “It was great talking to you and catching up. Now you’d better keep in touch. Bye sweetie, take care!”
      “Dear Mom, this is just a short mail to tell you that I’m doing fine here. Couldn’t catch up with you earlier but I’ll be more in touch now. Bye. Love you. Take care!”
      This “take care” business bamboozles me. Take care of what? Everyone is always advising everyone else to take care. So am I to take care to lock the gate after they have left? Or am I to take care to dust my shoes on the doormat before I enter my house? Or must I take care to modulate my voice to an acceptable level when I speak to the servant?
      Perhaps it’s all about appearance! I should be taking care to wear clean and ironed clothes or should I take care to brush my teeth before I go to bed? Aha! Got it. I’ve got to take care to groom my pet dog. Or maybe, I should take care to cover the milk pateela.
      I was finally a bit irritated with this phrase after I’d been asked 18 times that day to “take care, haan!”. I demanded of the last “take carers” just what it was that I was supposed to be taking care of?
      “It’s just a phrase” they replied. “Why get so hassled about it? Just chill yaar!”
      CHILL! That’s another one of those phrases! Chill what? Chill the milk? Chill the coke? Chill the water? Its funny how all these “phrases” just leave you dangling midair. What do they mean? Where do they come from? How come the world is using them with impunity with nobody challenging them?
      I decided to enquire of one of my friend in the Department of English in Panjab University. Surely the academia was concerned about this insouciant use of phrases that left you floundering for meaning.
      “Oh, yes. One has noticed the use of such new-age phrases among the metropolitan English speakers,” said she “But why let it disturb you? Let it go. Enjoy!”
      Oh! Does it ever end? Enjoy? Enjoy what? Enjoy a movie? Enjoy a walk? Enjoy some golguppas at the chaatwalas? How could such unqualified “phrases” have acquired such significance in the Queen’s language?
      I finally convinced myself that I shouldn’t react so strongly at what were after all only “signing off” phrases which started as being “different” for most users. Too bad they are getting so overused and as such, clichéd and dull, dull, dull.
      Guess I’ve got to be happy with that. Ciao then. Be seeing you. Till then, chill, enjoy and do take care, haan?

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