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Short, lit and loving it

Neha was acting so salty yesterday that I wanted her to swerve.” If you can’t make head or tail of that fictionalised sentence (“acting salty” implies being annoying and asking someone to “swerve” means telling them to leave), then you’re of a certain vintage for whom the English language is defined within the boundaries of the Oxford Dictionary. You’re out of sync with millennial lingo, to put it simply. There are words and phrases that youngsters use these days that would seem like Greek to Shakespeare if he were to read them. That’s why Short Mein Samjhaa Na is a podcast that acts as a handy tool to decode the jargon that people in their 20s or younger use these days.

Aparna Upadhyay is the appropriately-aged 27-year-old who hosts it, and the first episode was released this week. It dissects the word ‘pandating’, which is a linguistic marriage between ‘pandemic’ and ‘dating’. Upadhyay uses a mix of Hindi and English to explain how the word came about after the lockdown in March, when couples only saw each other through video calls, given social distancing. Her delivery is affable and the length of each episode — as the title of the podcast suggests — is short, around 15 minutes. But she manages to pack a lot in within that time, including inputs from two guests who, well, pandated recently.

Plus, she throws in the meaning of related words like ‘quaranteam’ — people you spent the most time with during the quarantine — so that your millennial vocabulary gets even richer.

Upadhyay tells us that she will try to focus more on concept words than acronyms like ‘ngl’ (not gonna lie). “For example, there is a term called toxic positivity. You might not understand the phrase when you first hear it, and I want to concentrate on such words that are trendy but also pique your curiosity,” she says, adding another example — boomers — which is what you’d call people who think that “swerve” is something you use to describe a car’s movement when it’s avoiding collision, and not asking some fictitious Neha to exit a party.

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