Serendipity’s Adamant Ascetic

(Originally posted on in 2010 – )

It was 13th June, and I had watched the 7:45 pm show of Vedam at Cinemax along with my wife and kids. The evening was pleasant and cloudy with a gentle breeze refreshing the moods as we returned in an auto rickshaw. The auto driver informed that it had rained heavily in the past couple of hours.

Before going to the cinema, I had tweeted a message to the gorgeous Taapsee, the young Delhiite wowing T’wood ( You see, I am a tweet newbie, having created a twitter account recently, and was just getting my way around the twitter world intending to find out what it is and how it works.

Now back home I had some time at hand, since I eat dinner a bit late, particularly on weekends. I picked up the book I was reading currently, “Guide to Style” by Martin H. Mansser (Viva Books). I jumped into Chapter 4, “Choosing Words”, where I had left off previously.

The author uses the word serendipity as an example in the section “Use Longer Words Carefully.” He writes:

“A survey was held in the United Kingdom in the year 2009 to find the nation’s favorite word. The winner was serendipity. It won thanks as much to its musicality and quaintness as to its cheerful meaning. It is not a particularly short or common word, but then the words that people are especially attached to are not necessarily those that they use every day.”

My first encounter with serendipity in the evening.

I kept reading, went into the next section “Enlarging your vocabulary,” where the author writes:

‘Reading and listening carefully were cited earlier in this subsection as the key to increasing your word power. “Carefully,” in this instance, means paying attention not only to the unfamiliar word itself, but to the other words that are used in conjunction with it and to the subject that is being discussed. Let us say, for example, that along with most Britons, you were attracted by the notion of serendipity and the word itself, and that you wanted to be able not merely explain what it means and where it came from but to drop it into a conversation or use it in a piece of writing.’

He then goes on to explain how one could get more familiar with a difficult word like serendipity by using it in sentences properly, searching its usage on the web, and advising us to “practice using new words first in communications where it will not matter greatly if you make a mistake.”

Serendipity twice.

I finish reading the chapter but didn’t feel like moving on to the next chapter. So I logged onto my computer and the net, and on my home page Yahoo, there was a link to an article by Khristina, Five Movies A Girl Must Watch ( Men read women’s magazines, so what’s the big deal about an article. I clicked the link and saw the list. One of the movies was, yes you guessed it, “Serendipity”. I am not so much of a Hollywood movie buff as much I am of Tollywood movies and I had not heard of this movie.

Perusing the page was worthwhile, as it not only gave info about this film and led to its trailer, but also because it guaranteed to the guys that they will score brownie points if they planned an evening with the wife / girlfriend and one of these movie DVDs.

Triple evening encounter with serendipity.

During my browsing sessions, one of the few blogs I ardently checkout, is the blog of James Gosling, ( James is the creator of the Java programming language. His blog is in my favourite list, not just to know what James has to say about computer technology, or to find out what he is doing after leaving Sun/Oracle just after the acquisition, but also because his blogs are right sized. They are neither too long and boring, nor are they too short and shallow. In fact, he is a model blogger for me apart from being a tech icon. So next stop was the blog.

As I was scrolling down his blog page, I noticed his book recommendations on the left side, and guess what, one of them is Serendipity. The complete title is Serendipity: Accidental Discoveries in Science by Royston M. Roberts.

Quadruple serendipity, same evening and I hadn’t gotten out of my chair.

Time to check back twitter, and indeed there was a reply from Taapsee. That was nice, for it was the first ever reply-tweet I ever got. Probably a day to remember, shouldn’t it be? Some one out there in the big world tweeted a reply to me. But more than that, serendipity caught my attention fully, it was on the top of my head, and I thought let ME turn it around and start looking for serendipity myself. A question came to my mind: does Taapsee mean serendipity or have anything to do with it?

In a few clicks, I discovered that Taapsee’s full name was Taapsee Pannu. Both the first name and second name were quite unknown to me, and perhaps to a lot of people here in our state. So I googled the names for meanings, first for Taapsee. Google asked me back, Did you mean Tapasi, and when I clicked it, I arrived at the site on the page that had the meaning of Tapasi. It educated me that Tapasi meant ascetic. No other meanings and no serendipity here.

I continued further with the second name, and Google led me to the same site which informed that Pannu means adamant. Again no serendipity.

My wife was calling me for dinner and I had to get up. So I guess, within the post-movie and pre-dinner book-n-web sojourn I had, my luck ran out.

My evening session at my desk was over. As I got up, I figured that the moral of the story is: if serendipity is finding you, let it continue to do so. Conversely, if you want to do its job and start looking out for serendipity, you may end up discovering something else. Like an adamant ascetic.


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