Imagine my surprise when, a couple of years before, a recruiter in India sent me a mail which went like "please send me your resume and I will revert back to you." So I looked up the dictionary to find out if they changed 'revert' to mean something else.
1. To return to a former condition, practice, subject, or belief.
2. Law. To return to the former owner or to the former owner's heirs. Used of money or property.
3. Genetics. To undergo reversion.
v. reÂ·vertÂ·ed, reÂ·vertÂ·ing, reÂ·verts
To return to a former condition, practice, subject, or belief.
To undergo genetic reversion.
Main Entry: reÂ·vert
Function: intransitive verb
1 : to come or go back (as to a former status or state)
2 : to return to the grantor or his or her heirs as a reversion ÂreÂ·vertÂ·ible /-'v&amp;amp;amp;amp;r-t&-b&l/ adjective
v 1: go back to a previous state; "We reverted to the old rules" [syn: return, retrovert, regress, turn back] 2: undergo reversion, as in a mutation
The way I understood things were that there were two states.
State1: The state of a person/law/situation at time 0.
State2: The new state of the above mentioned entities at time 1.
Now at Time 2 - if your situation goes back to state 1 again - it means you have reverted. If human beings suddenly started giving birth to monkeys - we have reverted back to our previous evolutionary state. If you are an ugly ogre and then became a handsome prince. When you revert - you become an ugly ogre again. So you say to the other ugly ogres - "I was a handsome prince before but I reverted back to you". This is how the word revert is used.
So when I read the mail from the recruiter I thought - "Is she calling me a monkey or an ogre". I was thinking she hasn't even seen my resume and she already thinks low of me. In fact she thought I was some kind of a lower state and she had progressed to a newer better state. Now she suddenly feels she is going to revert back to - a older worse state - which is me. I have to say my confidence in her wasn't necessarily high at that point.
Turns out "revert" means "reply". This was like dawning moment, an awakening, an epiphany. So I understood that if a person says, "I will revert back to you". It means the person will reply back to me. Who would have guessed this? [ Answer: the person who would have guessed mangoes = contract.] It is like a waiter in Saravana Bhavan coming and asking you " Sir do you want conglomerate dosa". You gulp down some water. Slowly absorb the shock. Think for a while and figure out that now people are using "conglomerate" and masala interchangeably. If "interchangeable" and "goiyyaka" were also being used to indicate the same meaning, I have to say "people are using "conglomerate" and "masala" goiakkably". What else has been changed recently?
Does it look like I am protesting against such sacrilege on the English language? Wait.. lets hear some typical responses from our countrymen on this subject. It should go something like - "How dare anybody protest? Mera Bharat Mahan. We are patriotic Indians. We have more command over the English language than anybody else. Who stops us from making up our own meanings to words. This language is anyway not perfect. Why not add some Indian style imperfection to it. Jai Hind"
My biggest worry is - who the hell is making up all these new meanings? Who first started the trend of using "revert" and "reply" goiakkably? Is there a masala of these people somewhere out there who are making pickles (decisions) like this?
Anyway coming back to the mail-from-recruiter incident. A colleague in Dallas jokingly asked me the same question. I think he was struggling hard to control his laughter when he asked "Now is this usage of revert in such a context common in India". I thought - Thats cheating. I found this joke before him. He is not the only one to find this usage funny. I laughed hard at that recruiter too. I am from India and No! this is not common. Nobody taught this in school. You can roam anywhere in India and you will not find many people in the academic circles reverting back to each other like some gene mutation virus broke loose. In my 20 odd years in India I have never seen such a usage of revert. Never.
Suddenly the software generation and the computer people morphed the word to have new meanings. And it makes no sense. There is no mango signed with Thesauras to allow the usage of revert and reply goiakkably. Some pranksters are making dubious pickles out there which is putting a lot of other people to shame. Pee you. Good-Underwear