Let This Diwali Shed Light on Some Misunderstood Words

Here’s what they mean, and here’s what they don’t mean!

2 min read

(This article was first published on 26 October 2019 and has been republished from The Quint’s archives on the occasion of Diwali.)

You might ‘know words’ but are you, like us, getting a little fuzzy about what some of them mean? We check in on some misunderstood words this Diwali to see how they are doing.


It’s the 21st century, folks, and if we still hang on to our caste, what would we say it means? Family? Or where you come from? Okay.

But if you think it makes you superior to someone, sorry, but just no.

Dress Code

The plainclothes moral police have been springing surprise checks in restaurants and sidewalks stopping perfect strangers – women – to tell them what not to wear. By using the word ‘dress code’, does one mean that what a woman wears is still considered the nation’s business? Or does it just mean what you have to wear to a friend’s wedding? Will strangers finally mind their own beeswax the next time a woman leaves her house in shorts?


You know that not sharing your information is the equivalent of social media death-by-no-likes, but what you choose to share or not share is your private property. Your privacy does not equal data for those who listen in on conversations and store it in the cloud. A cloudburst must be expected any time now, given how it must be bulging with lunchtime chit-chat from you, the product.



And now, onto some words that once meant something good but are now used to put people down. Intellectual. No guys, an academic or well-read person is not a security threat because of the contents of their bookshelf, and nor does the simple fact of reading make one an ‘armchair’ anything.

Hello, New ‘Normal’

And now, a topic that divides the best of friends whether or not they have ever been there – no, we are not trying to define Kashmir, we are trying to check in with the word ‘normal’ to see if it’s doing okay. Clearly, we have a slight double standard on what is called normal for us versus what's normal for others. While WiFi, phones and shops open during the day are all what we call normal, somehow, communication restrictions and detained politicians are all considered ‘normal’ for Kashmiris.
Is their ‘normal’ (not our ‘normal’) the new ‘normal’?

Our list of fuzzy words could go on and on, but you get the drift. A happy Diwali to you!

(This story is from The Quint's archive we are reposting it on Diwali 2023.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)


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Topics:  India   Diwali   patriotism 

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