De' fine Eductaion

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18 year old Champa had arrived to work as a Nanny for me when I was a 10 year old. A Gujrati high school drop-out, she had confessed time and again that she found it extremely difficult to survive in Mumbai where life was getting increasingly influenced by the English language, with each passing day.
I soon realized that my proactive mother had dutifully taken up her cause without further dilly-dally. She could play Nanny the rest of the time but that one hour every evening, she’d take up my homework and also sit Champa down for her lessons.
Many lessons in numbers, alphabets and building of words later, progress was still very slow but my mother in all perseverance had gone on to teaching her singular and plurals.

“One root, two roots. Ok? But sometimes One tooth and many teeth.”, my mother taught. And she repeated.

“One foot, two feet. Got it?”

“Got it!” she said.

“Now you’ve learnt enough let me test you. One boot, then two…..?”

“Beet!”, pat came the reply.

Even if those patient lessons in English continued and Champa was able to speak fluently some day, I still couldn’t imagine how she’d ever be able to understand why ‘A Slim Chance’ and a ‘Fat Chance’ are the same. Or that a Guinea Pig is neither a Guinea nor a pig!
Why is it that whether you sit down or sit up, the results are the same?
How come Writers write but Fingers don't fing? And Grocers don't groce and Hammers don't ham?
Unless one grew up with such eccentricities, how could an adult be educated enough to KNOW this confusing language?

When Amitabh Bachchan rolled out that dialogue in Namak Hallal on T.V.,  Champa who was shelling peas sitting on the floor near me, started rolling over and laughing her head off. She couldn’t have concurred more with him at that particular point when he said, “ …because English is a very phunny language!”

It suddenly brought back that other scene from the Hindi movie Chupke Chupke to my mind when yet again, the actor Om Prakash tried to educate his driver and was bombarded with some very unique Questions, “ Agar T-O To (pronounced as Tu) hai, D-O Do (pronounced as Du) hai to G-O Go(pronounced as Gu) kyun nahi?” I also remembered the wife’s hand pulling the pallo over her nose at such a repulsive thought.
I thanked my stars that I was not Champa’s teacher and thus wasn’t at risk of being at the receiving end of such atrocious questions.

Champa had been taught telephone manners too and showed a little confidence in speaking a couple of sentences in English, now and then.

I overheard her once answering a phone call on our landline, “No, Madam is busy. Sorry! May I give her the MASSAGE?”

At yet another occasion she asked at the stationery shop, “Give me 10 A-4 size SHIT please.”

We used to poke fun at the Gujrati accent at school, which I thought was unfair but now that it was falling on my ears in reality, I couldn’t help smiling.

Champa would come and dutifully inform my mother, “Madam, guests in the HOLE! I will bring SNAKES?”
Champa was pretty loud and clear when she spoke English and teaching her pronunciations was an entirely different ball game!



 ****


One Sunday I heard my mother comment aloud, “Who says education in India happens only at schools?” Champa, wherever you go keep your eyes and ears open and you will have learnt the language in no time!”

I only realized my mother’s folly a little later when I walked to the bazaar with my mother and Champa in tow. I spotted some very interesting boards.
One read `Froot Stal’ and another boasted of ‘Froot chooce’. Though she kept pointing out and I corrected the spellings for Champa, my mother walked along with a sorry face.

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I spotted another sign, ‘Do not stick posters here. Stickers will be prosecuted.’ And to think Champa had trouble expressing herself in English. These literates really needed to go back to school too.

Yesterday I received an E- Mail with photographs of signs with abominable spelling mistakes. And they immediately reminded me of that incident and Champa’s Adult Education sessions.





****



It was my summer vacations and I clearly remember my mother and Champa had managed to move onto more difficult lessons in her education. My mother was now teaching her a lot of Maths.

“How much did you spend on the groceries today?” my mother asked Champa on her return from the market.

“Madam, I spent Rs.103 and 50 paise.” She replied.

“Why didn't you round it off to Rs.100 and 5? That ways it would have been convenient for you to calculate how much you are to get back. Rounding off figures makes it easier to remember too.” instructed my mother.

A couple of days later, we were planning a weekend outing, so my mother called upon Champa, “Go to Dadar Station and get me 2 tickets for tomorrow’s journey to Pune.”

“Okay Madam.” Said Champa and left for the station with the money.
When she’d come back, my mother asked, “What time does the train leave tomorrow?”

Champa replied promptly “10 a.m.”

The next day we reached the station, dot on time but the train to Pune hadn't arrived. We thought it must have been late. So my mother approached a T.C. with our tickets.

 
“No madam,” he replied “The train has left on time at 9:45. a.m.”

My mother slapped her hand to her forehead when she realized what Champa must have done. She had simply rounded off the train timing to make it easier to remember!

The apt words that sum up my experience with Adult Education:
Strange as it seems, no amount of learning can cure stupidity, and higher education positively fortifies it.- Stephen Vizinczey


Hats off to the Operation FLAW (Functional Literacy for Adult Women), though it sounded defective by its abbreviated name it did turn out to be a roaring success, eventually.

Meet the team :
The Image in This Post is a Teamwork by THE BLUE INK SOCIETY

Comments

Phoenixritu said…
ROFL! This is a fun read. All the best Vibz

Go Blue Inkers Go!!!
Anonymous said…
Lol... Nice one Vibz.. :D:D

ATB.. :)
Shilpa Garg said…
A cool funny post, Vibhuti!!
All the best for the contest!
Cheers :)
Karthik said…
Beet? Shit? Guests in the hole, I will bring snakes?? ROFL.. :D
Hilarious, Vibz. :))
Though these things are seen and heard everywhere, the way you've presented it is remarkable. Kudos!
Enjoyed it to the core.
All the best!
We'll rock for sure! :))
Hey My Teamies, Ritu Di & Manna: Thanks a ton..Glad you'll enjoyed the post. BIS rules! :D
Hey SHilpa..
glad you found it funny...:D
I think ur 55er was apt too..:D
ATB for BPL
KARTHIK, dude u said it man!
We see all ths happen around us so many times and it did happen at my own home too..SO enjoyed relating it..Glad you enjoyed the story!
Witty Jester said…
Cool made my evening,beautifully expressed :)
Deeps said…
Hilarious read, Vibz! Thoroughly enjoyed it :)

Good luck to you :)
T F Carthick said…
First time I am seeing you attempt humor. Your really experimenting with every genre possible. Enjoyable read. Once critical feedback though - it did not seem woven tightly enough. But it is very difficult in a humorous post - weaving together the various funny incidents into a tight story line. But to your credit you were atleast better than the 3 idiots scriptwriter.
Guria said…
Enthralling! Had a good time reading your post! That was some lesson!! :D
T F Carthick said…
By the way your commentary on funny English pronunciation reminded me of this one. How do you pronounce ghoti?

gh as in laugh - f
o as in women - i
ti as station - sh

Heard this one before?
Lazy Pineapple said…
Funny post :) brought a smile to my face...
Sayak Shome said…
It's hilarious, but what your post portrays and conveys is actually sad.
Neha said…
now imagine, a Gujarati girl is reading this post..she knows exactly how things are being pronounced! not only the ones mentioned here, but many more..sigh! :D

enjoyed reading this post..very nostalgic :P
Sree said…
Lol...hilariously nice one Vib maayi!! :)
Had a good laugh at the events in Champa's life...Englees indeed is a phunny language!! :D
Arif said…
You capitalized on the Gujarati humor very well and the lesson for all - Rounding off is not always cool! ;)
Vinay Leo R. said…
Hehehe! :) This was good Vibz.. LOL! :)

Boot and Beet? Shit? good pronunciation humor u've incorporated!
Hey Witty Jester, thnk you've visited my blog for the first time?
Happy to know u enjoyed the read..Do keep comin back..Ur comments are treasured. :D

Hey Deeps,
Thanks for the wishes. ATB to you too Teamie..:D
The Fool, I always look forward to your comments because not only do you tell me where Ive done well but you also point out where I fell short, from your point of view.
Thanks a ton and continue with your frank commnets. I really do appreciate the attention you give to my stories. Yes, I am exploring my writing skills presently.
And that was so informative
GHOTI is supposed to pronounced as FISH? Are you pulling my leg?
Never knew that...Whoa!
Thanks a ton for that!
LOL
The Fool, I always look forward to your comments because not only do you tell me where Ive done well but you also point out where I fell short, from your point of view.
Thanks a ton and continue with your frank commnets. I really do appreciate the attention you give to my stories. Yes, I am exploring my writing skills presently.
And that was so informative
GHOTI is supposed to pronounced as FISH? Are you pulling my leg?
Never knew that...Whoa!
Thanks a ton for that!
LOL
@ Guria and Lazy Pineapple: Happy to see youll visited here. And glad youll felt this post was funny. HUmour can get challenging at times with a topic like this one..LOL..

@ S Shome: Yes, ur right. Its really sad that many in India are still deprived of proper education but if we privileged citizens understand our responsibilities towards them maybe some day the scene may improve!
@ SHenoy Mamma, Am so happy to see that this story of mine succeds in making a guy like you, with such great sense of humour, laugh!
It doesnt come easy to me u knw..:P
Thanks for the complimnt..:D You made my day!
Hey Neha, Are u a gujarati?
Am relieved to know that this post has made you laugh. That must be your great sense of humour and sporting spirit! Thanks a ton for the compliment. Do keep visiting my blog..Would love to hear from you..:D
@ Arif: SO this post was educative after all wasnt it? Glad you had a good laugh! Do visit again! :D

@ Saurabh: Hahaha
Trying to be funny was difficult so I just told a tale from my life's episodes..Haha..Yeah SNAKEs khavanu che Ke?
Ahhhaaa LEO, I lock horns with YOU this time, don't I?
YEah, There were more such pronunciation goof ups I coult narrate but dint want to lengthen it. SHort and Seet it is, My humorous story!
magiceye said…
nice to see a humorous take on a serious topic! well done!!!
Gyanban said…
I wish there was an option to post photographs in the comment section - I would have loved to share my collection of hilarious photographs - one Indica taxi read -Girls are dummy I lou mummy. !!

Very refreshing post - thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
Thanks Deepakji, yes a serious attempt at humour..LOL.. Thanks a lot..If it wasnt for that sweet letter of inspiration from you I had lost hope in my capacities to come up with a good humourous post!
Seriously, Thanks a ton. I appreciate all the help you've given me as a teamie!
Pushpz said…
Lovely read!! enjoyed reading Vibhuti
Dhiman said…
Lol right through the post :D ... its true how people from different parts of Indian pronounce in Phunny ways ....
Journomuse said…
Very perceptive and wonderful post. It was really lovely to read it. Will keep coming for more..:)d
Gursewak(GURU) said…
Loved the way the topic was presented with examples.....:)....Nice pictures
pal said…
He he he, very phunny post :-) Enjoyed reading this.
pal said…
He he he, very phunny post :-) Enjoyed reading this.
Journomuse said…
Very perceptive and wonderful post. It was really lovely to read it. Will keep coming for more..:)d
Dhiman said…
Lol right through the post :D ... its true how people from different parts of Indian pronounce in Phunny ways ....
Witty Jester said…
Cool made my evening,beautifully expressed :)
Bedlam said…
Lol... Nice one Vibz.. :D:D

ATB.. :)

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