Just Ask For 'HCF'
We human beings donât like long names. Weâd rather abbreviate everythingâ¦itâs convenient and it also saves time! Weâve done it very regularly with films (DDLJ, K3G), with celebs (SRK, BIG B, J-LO & K-JO), with film genres (Sci-Fi, Rom-Com), with placesâ¦thereâs Cal for Calcutta, CP for Connaught Place and in case you didnât know, NOIDA stands for New Okhla Industrial Development Authority!
Back in 1991-92, when speaking about sex and condoms in public was a strict no no in India, the rebellious Pooja Bedi did a famous condom ad campaign and walked straight into our living rooms through the telly, and into our bedrooms via our fantasies. The campaign went a long way in educating people about safe sex and spreading AIDS awareness. Where it also succeeded was in getting people to shed their inhibition. Earlier, a man would fumble for words every time heâd visit a shop for the contraceptive, but now all he had to do was âJust ask for KSâ. The tagline of the Kamasutra Condom ad helped a man remain a man at the chemistâs counter!
We were just boys then (in Class 9) and had no business with condoms (canât say that about the youngsters today though!), but we liked the acronym âKSââ¦we found it âcoolâ. Since we didnât have any reason to use âKSâ (the word too) on campusâ¦we gave short forms to other âwearableâ things. So, Kurta-Pajama became KP, Kolhapuri Chappals were KC and WT stood for White Trousers. A random term that really became popular was BKR (Baap Ka Raj).
It didn't take too long for our abbreviated conversations to shift to the School Dining Hall. A regular feature of our breakfast was AKT (Aloo ki Tikki) and at times when we got lucky, BJ (Bread n Jam) made way for AKP (Aloo ke Parathe) with AKA (Aam ka Achaar). Every Tuesday for lunch it was either KC (Kadhi Chawal) or RC (Rajma Chawal)â¦and for dinner (since Tuesday was a âpure vegâ day) weâd wish for CB (Chhole Bhaturey)! Of course, School food was nothing compared to stuff that was HM (Home Made). Hence, weâd often bunk and âtreatâ ourselves to Bun Oms (Bun-Omlettes) or BTs (Bun Tikkis), almost always accompanied by Thums Up, our favourite CD (Cold Drink)!
Even my friend Sharib Khan became Khau Khan (and later, KK) for his voracious appetite for food, among various other âmouth wateringâ stimuli.
Itâs been some time since we graduated from School, and weâve gotten rid of all these âcoolâ nametagsâ¦but one that I continue to use (I discovered itâs pretty universal) is HCF. One canât go to Delhi (and any Delhiite living away from home will vouch for this) and not visit Nirulaâs for their heavenly Hot Chocolate Fudge. Even their staff is aware of the popular term. All youâve got to do is, âJust ask for HCF.â