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Theek hai: Manmohan Singh’s two words that went viral

India’s Prime Minister is not known to speak much. On the rare occasions that he does speak, he spouts banal utterances, and tends to come across as someone reading out a boring press release.

So it’s news when anything that he says – anything at all – turns out to be entertaining or captures the imagination of the young or the social media savvy. That’s what’s just happened – even if Manmohan Singh could never have intended it to happen.

The inadvertent airing of the question, “theek hai?”, that Manmohan Singh asked DD staffers after they recorded his statement to the nation on the Delhi rape incident has become one of the most viral hashtags, with #TheekHai featuring in the top 10 tags for the third day now – no easy feat.

Singh's speech has earned him a lot of criticism on Twitter. PTI

What does theek hai mean, literally? Samosapedia says it means “'it is alright' or 'it is okay'.
Usually used to express low to moderate appreciation while receiving a particular piece of information. Theek hai implies "almost okay" or "I really have no option but to say yes".”

The twitterati agrees with all the definitions.

Staying in the context of the rape and the aftermath, Sandip Ghose ‏@SandipGhose says
“@madversity NDTV got this one terribly wrong. Now trying to make amends. It's #TheekHai, I suppose :) #SubhashTomar”. Ghose uses the phrase, one presumes, in the context of “it is okay.”

Forbes India, a magazine from the NW18 stable, gets a but of stick when they sent out a tweet no one could understand. Ganju Patel ‏@shubHASHISH says “#TheekHai” to them when he retweets the ForbesIndia apology. @ForbesIndia Sorry, the "Hello" tweet was a sample-tweet automatically sent out by a Plug-in we are testing. All's well here:)

José Covaco ‏@HoeZaay is forgiving. After all, ‘tis the season…”The music is SO LOUD at 11 Union Park Road Mumbai India, I think they found Santa Claus....but #TheekHai Merry Christmas,” he says.

shah® ‏@shahunlimited uses the tag when he uses it to ean “I really have no option but to say yes. “Rs 37 lakh spent on room President Pranab Mukherjee used just for an hour. #TheekHai,” he tweeted.

Monika Kothari ‏@monikakothari09 is having a good day at work – which is no work, and she’s okay with that. “Timepass @ office!!! #TheekHai :D,” is her update.

For a man of a few words, Manmohan Singh must be bemused that these two unlikely ones, Theek hai, are buzzing across the country with more impact than all the speeches that all his speechwriters put together.

Theek hai.

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