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ANU GARG'S HALF-MILLION WORDLOVERS
By AWAD Copy Editor, Eric Shackle
What must be the world's largest school, the free, world-wide A Word a Day service, will soon enroll its 500,000th student. The prestigious magazine The Smithsonian calls it "a globe-circling cyberphenomenon, one of the most addictive free services available on the Web."
School principal Anu Garg, a 34-year-old computer engineer who works for AT&T in Columbus, Ohio, began his own education sitting under a mango tree in a small Indian village, with a few broken sticks of chalk and a blackboard made by painting a flat piece of wood with soot.
He so loves "the music and magic of words" that he e-mails A Word a Day free to subscribers in some 200 countries in all continents (including Antarctica) five times a week.
With his unique voluntary service, he is helping people everywhere - young and old, teachers, students and office-workers, housewives and college professors - to improve their vocabulary.
Aided by his talented wife Stuti, he spends many hours every week in his modest apartment, sending thousands of words, anagrams and company names to folk around the globe.
Seven years ago (Anu would call that a septennial), he founded his website http://www.wordsmith.org and began sending what he refers to as AWAD (a wad of words) to a handful of his friends and then to their friends as well. His mailing list grew rapidly, as news of its existence was fueled by widespread media praise. His website has won many awards.
Anu has inaugurated an E-mail of the Month Award. Three witty women winners are Sally Atkins (sallyATkins.com), attorney Helen Yu (cyuincourtATaol.com) and coolfemaleAThotmail.com. Male winners include tomATmom.com, breakfastAT10am.com and asleepATterminal.cz
An Address of the Year winner was goofing.offAThome.com, entered by David Caine, who "for his creativity and cleverness... gets a lifetime supply of AT symbols."
Several years ago, Anu created "I, Rearrangement Servant" (Internet Anagram Server) which automatically supplies lists of hundreds of anagrams. It can also be used via e-mail (send blank e-mail to wsmithATwordsmith.org with the subject line "anagram your-name-here"). He receives thousands of requests every day.
Then there are pangrams - phrases like The quick brown fox jumps over lazy dog which contain every letter of the alphabet. The Ohio wordsmith cites two even shorter pangrams: Nymphs vex, beg quick fjord waltz and Jackdaws love my big sphinx of quartz.
Anu and Stuti (who, like her husband, is an Indian-born computer expert) recently founded a website called Namix to provide naming solutions for products, services and businesses.
In their spare time, the Gargs produce ludicrous, satirical, and sometimes strangely accurate anagrams of many of the nation's best-known and most prestigious corporations.
Here are just a few of the gems listed on the Namix Web site which is updated every business day:
Namix also reveals that:
Namix displays a link to a firm whose comical business name has amused folk around the world ever since a Kidderminster, England estate agent, Edward Doolittle, invited his young assistant, Reginald Dalley, to become his business partner, more than 80 years ago. Their firm still uses the marvelous name Doolittle & Dalley.
Copyright © 2001. Eric Shackle Story first posted July 2001.