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subjects of limericks

 subjects of limericks

as an avid collector and lover of limericks, i have always been astonished with the huge variety of subjects that limericks have touched. today i intend to cover a few interesting subjects.

1. qualities of a limerick:

there are quite a few limericks in my stock that very lucidly explain the qualities of limericks themselves. my favorite one under this category is the one given here-below:  

the limerick packs laughs anatomical

into space that is quite economical.

but the good ones i’ve seen

so seldom are clean –

and the clean ones so seldom are comical.

2. trans-genders

as per a recent supreme court decision, trans-genders have been now accepted as the third sex. i recalled the following limerick on the subject:

there once was this guy named stan
who had some trouble being a man
he wore a dress and high heels
and drove a chevrolet with pink wheels
and soon stan became a tran

3.childhood pranks

during one of my transfers to various places, when i was working in the bank, i had occasions to face some naughty children in a multi storeyed building where i was staying on the second floor. a gang of  3-4 children used to press the call bell button just outside our apartment and run away. when i used to come outside to enquire who had rung the bell I used to find no one. i wish i had recalled the following limerick then and taken a strong action but I always forgave them.

there once was a man from peru
who had a lot of growing up to do,
he’d ring a doorbell,
then run like hell,
until the owner shot him with a .22

4. archimedes/physics

archimedes as we all very well know, was a greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor, and astronomer. he is regarded as one of the leading scientists of the world and among his advances in physics, are the foundations of hydrostatics, and the principle of the lever. without going into much technical details,one of his famous principle states that a body immersed in a fluid is buoyed up by a force equal to the weight of the displaced fluid. i recall having studied the principle in school and college. i also vividly recall the anecdote connected with the discovery. he was reportedly so excited by his discovery that he forgot to dress and ran naked to the street shouting “eureka” (meaning “ i have found it”). the following famous limerick celebrates the occasion:

archimedes, the well known truth-seeker,

jumping out of his bath, cried “eureka!”

he ran half a mile,

wearing only a smile,

and became the very first streaker.

5. chemistry

until liquefied petroleum gas became common as a kitchen fuel, kerosene was mainly used for lighting stoves and lamps and for cooking etc. basically it is a hydrocarbon. there is no chemical formula for kerosene i recall from my college chemistry days. benzene is also a hydrocarbon but with the molecular formula C6H6. it is a constituent of crude oil and has many uses too. i recalled these aspects when i read the following limerick, where “been seen” has been amusingly spelt as “benzene”:

there once was a girl named Irene,

who lived on distilled kerosene.

but she started absorbin’

a new hydrocarbon,

and since then has never benzene!

6. suspense thriller

i used to love reading detective novels and murder mysteries. i also loved watching suspense thrillers or movies in my childhood. the main thought used to be what is going to come / happen next. often i tried to guess who the culprit or the murderer was but I seldom got it right. so the following limerick is a sort of suspense thriller. read it and join me in the guessing game:

a bather whose clothing was strewed,

by winds that left her quite nude,

saw a man come along,

and unless we are wrong,

you expected this line to be lewd!

7. mathematics

the number π is a mathematical constant, the ratio of a circle‘s circumference to its diameter, approximately equals to 3.14159. it has been represented by the Greek letter “π” though it is also sometimes spelled out as “pi“. while using this constant in school or high school mathematics, we generally used it as 3.14 (upto 2 places of decimal). its full value is often expressed as 3.14159265359 or in short 3.14159. i always recalled this limerick when i wished to remember the value of pi.

’tis a favorite project of mine,

a new value of pi to assign.

i would fix it at 3,

for it’s simpler, you see,

than 3 point 1 4 1 5 9

Saving Water!

Saving Water!

Letters to the editor

Financial Express  22ND APRIL 2014

I read an interesting Editorial in FE of 18th April 2014 titled “Exporting Water”. Here is what I wrote to FE and  today’s paper has published it.

LINK to the Editorial:

Saving Water: Your editorial “Exporting water” (FE, April 18) rightly and shockingly highlights the excess quantities of water being used in cultivation of rice in Punjab as compared to that being used in West Bengal. Reports by agencies such as the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) seem to have been merely kept in files without taking any concrete action to correct such gross wastage of an important commodity such as water. Scientists and agricultural experts need to focus their research lenses on developing better qualities of seeds that are not only high-yielding and pest-resistant, but also use minimal water for cultivation and harvesting. There are frequent reports on experimentation being done by some universities in this field but unless the commercial viability of growing rice with less water is established, such reports are only like the proverbial oasis in a desert! One may recall about reading a report on a new type of rice being cultivated by the University of Agricultural Sciences in Bangalore which reportedly has many advantages over typical rice varieties – it requires less water to grow, it is higher in protein content and it emits less methane over its life-cycle. Reports further confirm that this rice uses 60% less water than conventional rice. Let us be hopeful that word about such successful experimental approaches to rice spread. Concerned authorities need to think, decide and implement an action plan to avoid the potential water crisis. After all, let it not be so that in times to come, the most abundant thing on this planet becomes its rarest commodity.

JS Broca, New Delhi


Link… :

A better banking system


A better banking system

This refers to the news item “Bandhan Financial, IDFC win banking licences, India Post in the queue” (FE, April 3). Though the long wait for granting new bank licences has finally ended with RBI deciding to issue permits to two of the 25 applicants, yet some sections feel that the announcement at this juncture when elections are about to be held is one more effort by the current government to win some popular support from the masses. Here one may recall the words of former World Bank economist Percy Mistry who said that the political leadership still believes the Indian electorate comprises a bunch of babies that should be given jalebis at election time. In spite of every election which has shown that the electorate wants development and good governance, more than 90% of our leaders seem proud to remain economic illiterates. He had rightly expressed a fear that he did not see the prospect of political stability that would provide the kind of comfort that foreign and domestic investors will need and demand for the next few years. Answering to a specific question as to whether it makes any sense in giving new banking licences for bringing more people into banking fold, he had said that it did not. He also elaborated that the problem in India is not that we do not have a sufficient number of banks but that almost 70% of our banking system is state-owned, inefficient, non-inclusive … Hence, the necessary safeguards should be built by our policymakers to ensure that our banking system becomes not only vibrant but also remains healthier.
JS Broca ,
New Delhi


This was the heading of the cover story in Business Today’s issue dated 13TH April 2014. I enjoyed reading it. Here is my feedback by way of a letter to the editor of BT:
Dear Sir,
Your cover story on “India’s Coolest Start-ups” in your special issue (BT 13TH April 2014)was a very engrossing account of how ideas can be nurtured and how dreams can be translated to dollars through enterprise by leveraging use of latest technology.
Each of the 16 start-ups listed by 5 members of your eminent jury, is a test-case in innovation, creativity, out-of-the-box thinking and drives home the point to wannabe entrepreneurs that this is how they can come out clear winners in the present competitive scenario, with products and services that can make our lives easier, convenient, interesting, enjoyable and savvy.
May the tribe of such “start-uppers” increase to create a more positive image of our somewhat forgotten old phrase “Mera Desh Mahaan” in the global geographical and historical context and to continue to re-confirm a popular slogan : ”Humm Kissi Sey Kumm Nahin” (We are not less than anybody else).
Kudos to BT and its Team for such a priceless Collector’s Issue!
J S BROCA,  NEW DELHI, Subscriber No: BT1593014
In the latest issue of BT dated 27th April 2014 with the cover story titled Election Economy, a shorter edited version of my letter has been published as under:
Cool Customers
Your cover story on “India’s Coolest Start-ups” (April 13) has analysed how ideas can be nurtured and how dreams can be translated into dollars through sheer enterprise by leveraging the latest technology. Each of the 16 start-ups chosen an illustrious jury of five, is a test-case in innovation, creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. May the tribe of such start-ups increase to create a more positive image of “Mera desh mahaan”   globally and propagate the new idea:”Hum kissi sey kum nahin ”. Kudos to the BT team for bringing out this special collector’s edition.
J S Broca, New Delhi