Monday, 14 September 2009

Fonts & Football

I am supposedly a patient guy. (Unless I am driving, but that's a man thing. No, not just a man thing. According to a recent research, men with longer ring fingers are more aggressive and hence more likely to drive rashly and jump traffic lights etc. They are also supposed to be more fertile! Does that mean that men should now start showing the ring and not the middle finger? That could make for a nice facebook group, Men with long ring fingers. Or, an application on facebook, not run by facebook of course, that tells men their aggression [and fertility] quotient by asking them to submit the length of their ring fingers. In inches please, facebook is American.)

But enough meandering in parentheses and back to, where was I, ah, patience. One of the things that always makes my patience run thin, no it is not telemarketing, is the practice of writing Hindi in the Roman script. Of course, I am only an armchair warrior in this cause. Which is why I get mighty excited when I come across someone who is actually on the battlefield.

The first one I came across was Erin McLaughlin, a design student who is now studying at Reading, UK. She is phenomenal in her enthusiasm and is crazy about all scripts Indian and Asian. You can visit her here and here.

The second one is Adria Chilcote, introduced to me by Erin. She is in Bangalore and working along with a bunch of like-minded people to create a sensible Devnagri keyboard (a few exist already, hence the adjective 'sensible') and a computing system. Later, they also plan to extend their energies to other Indian languages. Read about them here. Read about Adria here.

The third one, who I bumped into thanks to the first two, is the Indian Type Foundry. They have just created a 'Devnagri companion to Fedra Sans typeface'. More power to them.

Elsewhere, in South Korea, a 75-year old woman, Lee Ki-nam, is working to revive Hangul, the Korean alphabet, that was banned during Japanese colonial rule in the last century. You can read the full article on the Indian Express website (or in yesterday's copy of the Express). This is what Lee has to say about her mission: "By giving unwritten languages their own alphabets, we can help save them from extinction and thus ensure mankind's linguistic and cultural diversity." Amen.

Three years ago, an Argentinian called Juan Marcos Troia moved to Kashmir with his wife and three daughters. A professional football coach, he has been  training the local teenagers since then. Two of the kids are off to Spain soon. It is a happy story that makes me sad. 

Sad, because, I can't find too many Indians to name here. (If there are please come ahead and correct me.)


The first time I heard this many years ago, it was told as a joke:

'For anything to work in India, it has to come from abroad. And the biggest example is Mahatma Gandhi. He came back from South Africa.'

I can't laugh at it anymore.

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