One of the biggest regrets for me in life, except life itself, has been my inability to find terms with the language – English. Having studied in hard core Hindi medium schools which always boasted off their one sidedness in sexual diversity, this didn’t help either. Just look around at the fair sex in your vicinity, they converse in the language of queen with such effortless ease that a conversation in an Indian language looks fit enough for lesser mortals. I have always witnessed that it’s the presence of females or the effect of divine liquids forces even the worst to upgrade in their language. I have always faltered on the former, often flourished on the latter.
The main reason I took up blogging was to see if I would write anything apart from my name in this very language with the help of numerous helping aids available. I keep forcing my friends to read it and they have been kind enough with not so discouraging words in the name of sense of humour. I have never disappointed them by always rejecting the discouraging comments.
It’s always been confusing. Like is than is a comparative word or then? If the period between Monday to Sunday is week or weak?
I remember a friend of mine asking me over the chat after I had taken an off from the office due to some illness –
“How are you feeling today?”
“I am feeling week”, I said.
“Wow, I am feeling month”, his reply was.
Or how I never knew if a word separating an L & an N by I & O could mean something other than the king of the Jungle till I saw the movie “Loins of Punjab”. I still cannot differentiate the phonetic differences between these two words. I was explaining to my wife -
“We have nicknamed our MD as Loin”, I said.
“Why?” she asked in a surprisingly perplexed tone.
“Because he is the king of the jungle, my office”, this breed called females will never understand my sense of humour, I thought.
“Then say Lion, not Loin. Did you pronounce it as Loin deliberately? I am sure you did.” May be I should remove the derogatory remark in the previous statement.
“Yeah, I did”.
“To sound funny, But how? I don’t get it.” now reply to this. Thankfully I reached the omnipresent no network zone of Airtel and the leading lady in my life saved her husband’s embarrassment by not probing further into the matter in the comeback call.
But the best accident of a semantic failure I have seen in my life was during my graduation days – and yours truly was not the victim this time, just a catalyst.
The word this time was “pardon”. When someone says something to me and I fail to hear or understand, which often the case is, - I say, “Repeat please” (If I have to sound educated else I make faces to avoid blunders). We had heard the semantically intellectuals to be more stylish and use the word “Pardon” instead. So did this batch mate of mine, lets call him Mr. Babe Magnet which he was. Mr. Babe Magnet was shamelessly sleeping in the class with his head down on the desk. My jealous nature got agitated with his deep sleep and I suddenly fingered him in his ribs and told – the professor is staring at you. As he woke up, he heard the professor telling some definition. Believing that the professor was staring at him and to prove that he was attentive, he asked
“Sir, can you pardon the definition?” having heard the word so often, he actually though pardon means repeat.
“What?” the professor was more stunned with his rich knowledge of the language rather than him sleeping in the class which he wasn’t even aware of.
“Sir, can you pardon the definition?” he repeated his innocent question.
“Sure, but I cannot pardon you. Get out of my class.”
Mr. Babe Magnet got his wish. I learnt what the word Pardon actually means.