Skip to main content

Three Bowls of Porridge

A few years ago, I was persuaded to join the local nursery school as a teacher.  I was not qualified to teach, but to  the school principal Ms. Agarwal  my proficiency in the English language was the greatest asset.  She was very particular that I should teach the students to speak correct English.  She also wanted that I should point out any English mistakes going on and correct them.

There were three other teachers.  Two stick thin twin sisters called Usha and Uma, and a rotund, bubbly woman called Veena, who had taught my daughters in pre-nursery.  I'd always found them friendly, but then I was a school parent.  The moment I joined as a teacher, I could feel a chill emanating from them.  The reason was, I later found out, they resented Mrs. Agarwal telling them that a teacher with a better standard of English was required in the school.  The other reason was that I was earning about two hundred rupees more than they were.  I'd told Ms. Agarwal that my husband would not allow me to work for less than a certain amount and she had agreed.  I had thought the amount was small enough, but everyone's salary had to be signed for on the same page.  I couldn't believe that qualified and experienced teachers could work for so little.

I tried my best to teach the children to pronounce English properly.  They were all from Hindi-speaking homes.  I had trouble making them pronounce 'W' properly.  They all said "V'.  They pronounced 'van' as 'wan'.  But they were good children and co-operated with me.

One day I overheard  Usha Ma'am in the next room reading "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" to her class.  My children were doing some colouring and the ayah (maid) was looking after them.  Imagine my horror when I heard Usha reading "Goldilocks saw three bowels (sic) of porridge on the table."  I shuddered with horror.  After classes, when the children were gone home, I approached her and mentioned that Ms. Agarwal had asked me to straighten out any English errors.  I explained the correct pronunciation of 'bowl', making the round 'o'.   I also told her that 'bowel' referred to an organ in the human body.   Usha Ma'am smiled and said nothing.

Sure enough, the next day, I heard Usha Ma'am reading the story aloud again.  Telling my children to colour a picture for a minute, I listened carefully at the open door of my room, hearing Usha's voice through the open door of her room.  I couldn't help smiling.

Goldilocks, poor thing,  was still  struggling with three 'bowels' of porridge.
 

Comments

  1. Oh dear! Funny though!
    The Turks can't pronounce 'v' either...or 'th' which comes out as 't'.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hahahaha! My colleague and I both made the same mistake when sneding around an email to staff - we asked our staff to put their bowels in the dishwasher when they had finished with them. How embarrassing!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Funny story - 'bowels' not the best word really. I work with a russian girl who sometimes struggles with words which people laugh at but I have so much respect for anyone who has learnt a second language. It's something I have never managed to do.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Eheheheh Germans seem to have the same problem... but I should shut up as I'm not English! ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  5. English is not an easy language to learn, just look at the many people for whom English is a native tongue, yet they still say 'turty' for thirty.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I had an English teacher who taught me how to pronounce v and w by asking me to stick a finger in my mouth, pursing my lips around it, taking the finger out and pronounce properly. He finally gave up all attempts at correcting my Indianness!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Thanks for visiting me. Please let me know you were here

Popular posts from this blog

Global Peace - Is It Possible? LBC Post

I can't believe it's Friday already and time for another LBC post.  The Loose Blogger's Consortium (LBC) is a blogging group consisting of about half a dozen of us who blog together every Friday on the same topic.  We are indebted to Ramana (aka blogger Rummuser) for this week's topic.  Instead of just giving a straightforward topic like anyone else would, he posed a question instead.  Is global peace possible? he asked.  I decided to answer his question in a Tweet sized sentence.



Is global peace possible?  Of course it is. If everyone gets in harmony with each other.   But will it happen?  How on earth would I know?


As we say in Ireland (well, as they used to say when I lived there two decades ago), that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Thanks to All-Free-Download for the photo.  Thanks to Lettercount for their character counting facilities.  And thanks to my LBC group for being there every Friday in blogging solidarity.

Good Intentions

I had great intentions for this week.  I'd write a thousand words every day, review six books, get my Loose Bloggers Consortium (LBC) post up well in advance.  And did I?  No, no, no.  I wrote about two hundred words per day and have been trying to read and review two books and still not finished reading.  My target of 19,000 words until today by now is around 15,000 on my 100kWords in 100 Days Challenge.  It seems I'm just not cutting the mustard.

I have the intentions.  I just don't seem to have the mojo to carry out the things I want to do. So many intentions, not enough time.  I've not been sleeping well lately.  Probably very tired.

So - my intention now is to try to get more sleep.  Then carry out the original intentions.That' what I intend to do.  As of now.  Meanwhile, my post is up one day late.

I had to go out to the bank this morning to get some pending work finished.  I clicked the above picture en route.  It seems that after a three week winter, we're…

April Fool (LBC Post)

One morning, when I went to school in 1977, or was it 1978, when I was a first or second year student in the Irish secondary school system (which is 7th or 8th Class in India) I noticed something very odd indeed. It was a notice pinned to the notice board. It read as follows:

THE INTER HAS BEEN CANCELLED DUE TO LACK OF INTEREST

'The Inter' or the Intermediate Certificate Examination as it was known then, now the Junior Certificate Examination, was a pretty crucial examination. It's called the 'Class Ten Board Examination' in India and the High School Certificate elsewhere.

I knew something was wrong, but couldn't quite figure it out. The notice sparked a minor frenzy. When the date was revealed to be April the 1st, everything made sense.

It's strange how the 1st April can take some people by surprise.

I haven't noticed anything unusual this year. Except that today, I have a rather horrible toothache. But I'll have to go get it sorted.

April Fool jokes are…