What is Mass?

Attention, all my Tamil/Tamil-speaking friends! Please take the time to read the following.

For a long time I have been a silent observer of the blatant misuse and abuse of something. I never pointed this out earlier because I thought that the madness will pass with time, but it hasn’t, and also because I generally try to avoid getting into arguments. What I want to point out here is the abuse of the English word “mass”. The word Mass means various things; things like – physical volume, form, quantity, physique, a group of people, and a few other things that a quick googling can show you.
But I am seeing this word being used in place of words like super, wonderful, largest, biggest, excellent, and so on. I think this misuse started with a newspaper advert for some Tamil movie about 15 years ago when I was still in school. The advert proclaimed the hero of the movie, in big bold letters, “The Darling of the Masses”. My understanding of this phrase is something like this: someone who is loved by the common people, which is always the case when it comes to Indian Cinema. While Hollywood heroes love to save the word from Armageddon and aliens, Indian heroes usually are content in saving people from rich bad politicians and their ilk. And thus, most of our heroes become the darling of the masses. Another advertisement for a movie came with the tagline “Hero of the masses”, which was still accurate. Somewhere down the line, this got further shortened as “Mass Hero” (by some fans) and finally has taken the disturbing form “Mass”. The word “Mass” now means a great hero or something like that. What is disheartening to hear is the word being used in sentences like the following:

“How was the movie?”
“Mass”
“Describe the movie in one word.”
“Mass”

And then there is this Taminglish (Tamil + English) adjective — “Marana-Mass”. There are no words to describe what this even means. At this point, I am not sure if this malaise has spread across the other states of India. What prompted me to post this is a Facebook post in a Sachin Tendulkar fan group that I am part of. Someone posted a picture of Sachin with the caption “Sachin the mass”. Now what does this even mean? I don’t think the fan implies the fact that Sachin has gained mass(weight) after his retirement.

So, people, the word mass does not mean what you think it means. Please stop using it in the way you are using it. Thank you.