Ancient Boy”, “Ancient Girl” and “Ancient Parents” are three common phrases one can see in the matrimonial ads of Kerala, as if some mummified entities have broken out of their graves, like in some Hollywood films, and are on the prowl looking to hook up young girls and boys. It is, however, nothing dreadful of that sort, but mere proclamations by the prospective parties indicating their mighty and ancient family origins, aeons back, at the origin of civilisation itself!
Some ads use the grammatically correct term “from an ancient family”, which, though tolerable to the eye and the mind, raises further questions. Primitive human life is supposed to have originated about 2 million years ago on the earth and all human beings can trace their origins to this momentous occurring.
Reason and logical thinking originated about 10,000 years ago which also is common to all human beings present on the earth. How can, therefore, one family proclaim itself to be ancient, implying that many others are not? It is, therefore, factually wrong and when ancestry is being bandied about, what is actually being conveyed is that they are not mere hoi polloi but sheer corps d’elite, the real upper crust. But then the language is all wrong, though nobody bothers about such fine points.
Another interesting feature very common is to call every male and female as boys/youth and girls irrespective of their age. One can often see “48-year-old boy”, “50-year-old youth”, “45-year-old girl,” etc. The Malayalam word for a prospective bridegroom is “cherukan”, meaning a young man, and for a bride it is “pennu”, that is a young girl. Since marriages normally take place during youth, these words were apt but they have come to stay in Malayalam, irrespective of the age of the prospective parties. A literal translation may be reason for these “boys” and ”girls” appearing in the matrimonial ads for candidates well past their middle age. It is jarring to the eye and the mind.
Maybe it is time for the newspapers and the matrimonial portals to proofread so that such howlers are eliminated. At the moment, whatever matter is provided is published and hence the bloomers. This may, however, remain mere wishful thinking as the advertisers may not agree to any tampering to their wording and the newspapers and the portals may not like to take up the responsibility for the wording.
Anyhow, what has been conclusively proved is that all these self-proclaimed corps d’elite are quite hoi polloi when it comes to the correct use of language.
Then I saw an ad written in very correct language giving a detailed account of the applicant and his expectations of the bride. While the language was correct, the other details stumped me — he was 80 and claimed that he spent a “Life Term”, meaning 12 years, in solitary life in his ashram, was looking for a healthy, good natured match willing to be his constant companion for 20 years. He had even decided how long he is going to live!