Sunday, 23 February 2014

'Bloody Maths'

Oops!!! Did I just say that? But then being a dabba in Maths, I believe, this is the most apt and most honest word that describes my feelings towards the subject, SERIOUSLY. My Maths papers were always dripping with blood marks, sorry red marks, so much so that if you squeeze it, you’ll get enough red to fill an IV bottle.
 Hmm…Did you say, I am exaggerating? Huh! You should have seen my answer sheets.
On hindsight, Maths periods in school were ultra-devastating. The sight of the teacher in itself gave me heartburns, because I knew, once again, I would have no answer to her volley of stupid questions. In fact, i cherished those days when she was absent - haash chalo aaj jaan chutti.

However, I believe, despite my huge dislike for Math, I might have hated this subject a little less, had my Maths teacher being a little less serious-minded. (She was a devil in angels clothing.) When she knew that three-fourths of the class is weak in Maths, instead of throwing her weight around, she could’ve helped us by being friendly and innovating new methods of teaching us. But no, she thought she was right in being stern and serious and it was our fault and fault in our stars if we were not doing well in Maths.  (Perhaps, she took pride in the fact, that only the best and brightest could clear her question papers.) 

Damnit!!! How could she find fault with students when all that she did was scribble some formulas on the board and then go blah…blah…blah…about them. Hello mam!!!This is something that even a kid from 12th standard could do. Being a teacher, that too a Maths teacher, you should’ve been more careful and devised ways that made Maths seem less devious and easy to understand.  But no, you struck to your conventional methods and made life hell for us kids.

And yes, only my father knew how to put you in place during those PTA meetings. Was he not right in arguing with you, when he said, (no he shouted from rooftops for the entire school to hear), that when his kid could score good, better and average marks in rest of the subjects, how come she always failed in Maths. So, there was something wrong with the teacher and not the student. Of course, the Maths teacher used to go numb and dumb in front of my father. She had no right answers to my father’s relevant questions. Sadly, only when my father’s voice boomed across our  school corridors, were the only times she realized that probably she could do something to help me do better. But the next day, she was her usual self, ranting out formulas to the board. Hmmm…some people never change.    
Tenth standard prelims were just over. The teacher had summoned my father once again. Of course, there was no change in my Maths marks. AGGRRRRRR…SHE HAD LITERALLY PAINTED MY PAPER IN RED.

Who will talk down whom was the big question in my mind now? Will my father be the winner as usual, or my Maths teacher will have an upper hand.

Ohmigod…You won’t believe this.

For the first time in my schooling years, the Maths teacher and father spoke cordially. It was literally a bolt from the blue for me then. In face, all their seriousness had been swept off in thin air. My Maths teacher was in a jolly good mood and told my father that she had set the paper really tough, so all the red marks mean nothing. And since, I was able to reach the border line I am quite capable of scoring far more and better in the boards.

Her words seemed unbelievable to my ears. I stood there...simply stunned. 

The post is part of cadbury5Star contest held in collaboration with indiblogger 


Tuesday, 11 February 2014

English Vinglish

Every human being should know two languages: the language of society and language of signs. One serves to communicate with other people, the other serves to understand God’s message.
―Paulo Coelho

Literally speaking, the world eats, speaks and sleeps English these days. And there is no argument here. With 67 countries using English as their first or second language, English automatically scores over Mandarin as the language of the society. It is the most WIDELY SPOKEN, most WIDELY READ, and most WIDELY WRITTEN language of the world, a language that's capable of single-handedly linking several nations together. In fact, going forward, Chinese will speak more of English than Mandarin, thereby becoming the number one English speaking country in the world.

Flags of English speaking countries

So, when Coelho spoke about language of society, in all probability, he meant English. It is no more considered an elitist language, but the language of a common man…language of AAM AADM in India...the language of the masses… a language that’s powering the growth of modern India.

The rise of BPO and KPO culture in India, in turn, the rise of urban middle class can be solely credited to increased use of English language. The city of Bengaluru is best known as the “The silicone Valley Of India” because of its ever growing English speaking IT populace. Little wonder, even Narendra Modi, BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate, keeps harping upon the importance of English education in all his election speeches. 

For us Indians English is our second language. But some of us are so fluent in English that we can give any native speaker a run for their money. Many from affluent families have, in fact, ditched their native tongue and have taken to speaking English almost all the time: and I proudly proclaim that I am one of them.  I speak English at every given opportunity. Some people, including my dearest mom is not in favor for this. As she calls me: ANGREZ KI BETI.  But what I want to tell her is: "Mommy dear why don’t you understand that if i know the language what’s wrong in flaunting it, more so when English is being treated as the IT language of this century. Moreover, you made it a point to get me educated in an English medium school, so you too, in a way, acknowledge the rising importance of English across the globe.  So, then why bother me now."   

Why should you learn Queen’s Lingo?

    You become a part of the educated and sophisticated crowd. Your status gets elevated automatically. 

     Your confidence level shoots up and it positively contributes to your personality.

     You can earn your bread and butter with ease, what with IT companies coming up in every nook and cranny.

     You get to read the best of the books, from Salman Rushdie to William Faulkner.

     You can travel anywhere in the world for work and education as universe becomes a level playing field. 

Inspired by its growing importance and acceptance, all my non-English speaking neighbors have put their children in English medium schools. Though they are pakka Gujjus and can hardly speak and read the language, but these locals have not let these disadvantages deter their spirit. On the other hand, their steely determination to introduce their kids to the word’s most widely used language has inspired them hire tutors to help their kids cope with it. 

So if given an opportunity to go to UK for further studies, i look forward to pursuing English literature and creative writing; that too from none other than Oxford University. Yes, to be the best, you've to be among the best. Yours truly  being an aspiring author, a degree in English literature from UK, I believe, will help me polish my skills as a writer and probably will be my passport to international fame and prosperity. Considering the Queen’s Lingo originated here, I believe this is the best country to polish my English reading, writing skills.

About a year ago, I thought my English was par excellence, until one of my colleagues pointed out that I make silly punctuation errors. Okay, fine, I will work on it, I told her.  This colleague of mine is quite allergic to Indian authors and being an editor for a decade this female finds all Indian authors BELOW AVERAGE. In her words “the kind of punctuation errors these published authors make is really sickening. How could they? Indian writers are really pathetic in grammar, and that’s the reason why I don’t read them. I only read foreign authors”.

Point taken. For this colleague of mine,  grammar is the be all and end all of English. "Damn with the story" she says, " first of all, get your grammar correct." So of late, influenced by her pep talk I’ve started  Grishaming a lot. Mitch Albom and Dan Browns have taken  over Chetan Bhagat and Preeti Shenoy.  But then we do have good Indian English writers, and plenty of them in fact, who have made us proud on the international scene. These extraordinary writers of Indian origin  include Salman Rushdie, Jhumpa Lahri, Arvind Adiga, Amitav Ghosh etc, etc. And who’s the writer of  'A Suitable Boy? Ya, Vikram Seth. All these Indian authors have great  body of work to their credit. But one common thing that binds these authors is their foreign degrees. So, you see, they are not purely home bred authors. If it were not for their foreign degrees, I don't think these authors could have come this far. In other words, it is by virtue of their foreign degrees they could come up with truly great work of art that got them international attention and accolades.

So, if at all, I am given an opportunity to travel to UK on study visa, I look forward to studying English Literature and creative writing in the company of greats. Who knows if i am able to pursue this course, i  may even bag the Man Booker Prize, going forward. Ouch!!!Did i say that.

This post is part of Knowledge is Great contest being held on Indiblogger. 

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