I was lucky to have had the opportunity to spend a good part of a day a couple of weeks ago with an amazing group of students and faculty from Massey University, New Zealand. They were traveling through south India on a study tour – trying to understand how Sustainability, Social Responsibility and Entrepreneurship is growing among different communities in a completely new setting for all of them.
We discussed about the words we use to describe activities and objects. About how we have to often reject conventional meanings/interpretations and reinvent old meanings. About how sometimes we need to look for new words to capture the essence of what we would like to convey to the listener and not what the conventional / mainstream uses for that particular thing.
I brought up the case of the ‘polished’ rice. This refers to husked cereal grains that have been processed to remove the husk and further stripped to remove the nutritious bran layer. After laying out my case that this nutrition deprived form is referred to using a superior connotation (polished) as compared to the unpolished rice used for the more nutritious and sustainable form of the same rice, I asked if we can have a quick brainstorming on possible names that would reflect the true meaning of the material on hand.
Within a few moments one of the students hit gold – bleached rice. I think its a splendid choice to describe the rice grain with its nutrition stripped – bleached millet rice. I have started using it in my conversations and am slowly working it into my writings, presentations and talks.
And the rice with its bran retained, I think, would be best descried as healthy rice, nutritious rice, natural rice, etc.
So, bleached rice and nutritious rice. I would love to hear your thoughts on these !