Wednesday, May 11, 2016

From Nihil to Nikhil

You never know where you're going to find associations with chant. Last night, Kathy pointed out for the umpteenth time that the Latin word nihil (nothing) is actually pronounced "nee-keel" for our purposes, and mihi is "me-kee." Today, I was checking something on the New Jersey DMV (they call it the Motor Vehicle Commission, MVC) website. Imagine my surprise when the first thing I saw was this:
It turns out "Nikhil" is a male first name in India. I found this a fascinating coincidence, but as I read further, I discovered the sad reason why it was on the MVC site.
"Stop for Nikhil" refers to 11-year-old Nikhil Badlani (top) who was killed by a vehicle that rolled through a stop sign in 2011. Nikhil's Law took effect in New Jersey earlier this year:
Nikhil’s Law requires the Motor Vehicle Commission inform teenage drivers or the dangers of distracted driving in the driver’s manual and in the driver’s license examination. It also gives them the option to take the "STOP for Nikhil Safety Pledge" when getting their licenses. (Daily Record)
The Nikhil Badlani Foundation not only focuses on traffic safety education but also low-cost music education and scholarships for needy children. Nikhil was a budding musician (!) and actor and was already well aware of traffic violations before his death.

So give some second thought before making that so-called "California stop," even in your own neighborhood; I see it done in my development all the time. Had it not been for chant and "nee-keel," I might have ignored this important story.

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