Monday, September 25, 2006

making my day

The ironing guy comes everyday and these days I barely have two shirts to give him on a regular basis, since I have stopped wearing clothes that need ironing. Tough hubby tries his best to dirty as many as possible regularly.

"Aagle hafte aana." (Come next week.) I tell him as I take the crisply ironed shirts.

"Theek hai, bhabi. Aap phone kar dena." (Okay, call me up to collect it.)

"Accha, intercom pe?" (Ya, on the intercom?)

"Nahi, hamara phone number hai na aapke paas?" (No, you have our phone number, right?)

"Nahi hai, accha, number do..." (No... give it to me...) I grab a pen and the night before's pizza delivery bill, lying nearby.

"Aath..thaish... biyaalissh..."

I tried to remember my 2nd standard Hindi. "English mein bolo." (Tell me in English)

"English nahi aata, madam, mein likh ke doon?" (Don't know English, madam, let me write it for you.)

I give him the pen and paper, watch him scribble, and take it back from him.

"Aare, tumne toh English mein likha!" (Wow! You wrote it in English!) I looked at the uneven numbers written in English.

"Yeh English hai kya?" (Is this English?)

"Haan. Tumko aata hain. Kahan seekha?" (Of course! You know it! Where did you learn?)

"Toh mujhe English aata hain!! Madam, mujhe English aata hai! Sirf bolne ko nahi aata!" (That means I know English! Madam, I know English! I just don't know how to speak in English!)

I watch an 18 year old give me the most jubilant smile and go off with a new found pride and confidence, towards a whole new world ahead, waiting to be conquered.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now he has a new world,filled with his new found pride and joy,he knows english and that changes somuch for him:)


6:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why on earth did i write your name instead of alapana? god knows:(


6:51 PM  
Blogger manoj said...

as far as i remember what he might have written or what we use to write is not english..they(english) wrote the roman numerals just as their script.. perhaps it is arebic that we use..more specific hindu arebic(1,2,3,4..)..thats why in hindi and the arebic ( the the so called english )though little difference in signs, are both decimal system..roman is, god knows, what system (i,ii,iii,iv)..
sorry for giving this gyan but couldnt was developed
by our people only

8:20 PM  
Blogger mommyof2 said...

You made his day or even week:-) Sometimes we make people happy without knowing & sometime we try hard but never succeed?

8:58 PM  
Blogger raka said...

you should have let him know that he knows not just English, but also Spanish, French, German, Itialian, portugese, Dutch, Norwegian, Swedish and what not!

Wait a minute! I too know all those languages! You made my day too ..
Hurrah. Only if I could show you what a bid smile I have now :D

9:51 PM  
Blogger Sudipta Chatterjee said...

Oh... yes, must have been an epiphany for him!

P.S. - How come you are in Bombay and can't convert the "Aath..thaish... biyaalissh..."
into numerals??

7:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remembered one of those tantra t-shirt jokes
"Dhobi": The only man who can tell your wife "Bhabhi, main aa raha hoon, kapde nikaal kar rakhna" and get away with it.
:p i know, totally arbit. but it's about dhobi too!

7:28 AM  
Blogger Grey Shades said...

Oh well you atleast made somebody's day! :)

10:22 AM  
Anonymous Gangadhar said...

reminds me of a which an uneducated villager believes he can read and write if he wears spectacles...

10:48 AM  
Anonymous nami said...

awww..that was the best i've heard in weeks... i wish i was there to see his expressions when he said "mujhe English aata hai..Sirf bolne ko naahi aata!!"..hehe

7:24 PM  
Blogger Dreamcatcher said...

aww that was so sweet :)

10:22 PM  
Blogger Prerona said...

so sweet. whenever i come to ur blog i leave feeling uplifted :)

5:04 AM  
Blogger n.g. said...

hi whatsup? here after a long time. regarding ur previous post ... where is this gym in powai? im looking for a half decent place to work out. pls to tell.

12:12 PM  
Blogger shub said...

sweet! :)

12:17 PM  
Blogger venkat said...

Anumita,I thought that you knew Hindi well! You Speak Marathi,Assamese? Any other Indian language? Is Assamese very different from Hindi? Do you speak Bengali too?I would love to speak Spanish and French, and trying not to forget a little bit of Hindi I learned when I was in Lucknow.Learning languages after a certain age is not easy.

12:38 PM  
Blogger Mukta said...

so sweet! really! man! I cant help smiling!

3:07 PM  
Blogger Priyanka Mahanta said...

Hey, how r u doing? Another sweet one from U. I know how u must have felt to see the boy leave with the most brightest of his smiles. And mentally converting numerics from hindi to english is a big pain for me too. I can manage with the language with a few grammatical mistakes here and there but numerics are the toughtest, no?

5:01 PM  
Blogger V N said...

Thats a wonderful post, Anumita!!
Dunno why, but u just had a broad smile plastered all over my face, with ur writing!!


6:50 PM  
Blogger itchingtowrite said...

so nice. can imagine the thrill of the dhobi fellow... totally unrelated, but an office boy from my office used to do all finance/ tax/ related work for us- standing in queues for submitting forms , IT returns etc. when i was applying fo my PAN card- he thought I wudn't know how to fill it so he took great pride in his knowledge of the forms & actually dictated what i had to write. for another colleague he filled up the form itself!!

10:52 AM  
Blogger anumita said...

alapana: Want to exchange names? ;)

manoj: Is it? Anyway, what we use as english is what we accept as english.

mommyof2: His happiness made my day too :)

raka: Good good. Keep smiling.

sudipta: Bombay or wherever, I am dumb, okay. I can never convert.

the_girl_from_ipanema: That's a good one :)

grey shades: I guess so. He was so happy.

gangadhar: Tell me the story please. Or post it on your blog.

nami: Yes, his eyes got big and suddenly he looked like he climbed mount everest successfully!

dreamcatcher: :)

prerona: Thanks, this made my day.

n.g.: I dont live in Powai, I used to work there. So this gym is not in Powai. Ask around, you will find one there too. By the way, you asked me a year back too about gyms in Powai :)

shub: Thanks.

venkat: I know hindi. I just dont know how to count, which besides English, I dont know in any other language at least beyond 20.
Also I am really bad with languages. I know as much Marathi as I know French. (I went to the Alliance and at once time could speak French!)

mukta: I know I know. And I cant help smiling since you got back your phone.

priyanka: I think you will still be great with hindi since delhiites speak it a lot. Here you can get by with english so there hasn't been much effort too :(
But I maintain I speak decent hindi :) just cant read and write numbers.

velu: Thanks. Am glad you enjoyed reading.

itchingtowrite: I know what you mean. I think office boys are really smart! They really know too much.

4:02 PM  
Blogger Tulan said...

Hey Anumita

Great post! that kid knows english now. Even Dhobi these days are getting educated. Well they will as long as nice people like Anumita are there to bring out their potential hehehehe

1:23 AM  
Anonymous Parmanu said...

"..I have stopped wearing clothes that need ironing"

Excuse me, but what kind of clothes do not need ironing? I'd find them most useful.

12:49 AM  
Blogger Tulan said...

Anumita u r a fantastic write i must say. i am reading ur entries fromn the very beginning and i love what u write and how is funny most of time as well as emotional. great stuff

3:19 AM  
Blogger Shankar said...

what a sweet story - the lad's face at that moment must have been priceless - you made a person happy, and that must have been priceless to you. :)

9:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As someone struggling to learn Hindi, I like coming back to this post to read again the Hindi/ English dialogue.

The actual conversation is inspiring for someone unfamilier with the language, and instructive.

Could we have some more situations of everyday dialogue in Hindi/ English, shukriya.


2:48 PM  

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