TODAY -

Bier of English towards the burial ground

Rabin Prasad Kalita *



Mr. Basu had been working as a peon in our office. Now that designation is renamed as MTS (Multi-Tasking Staff). During the working hours, hardly we saw him speaking with any other languages except to communicate in English.

Listeners had to fight with tooth and nail to understand his language owing to his comical use of grammar, but he tried his utmost to convince along with the facial expression.

He felt pride of speaking English at all time and tried to gain an extra edge of importance from others. Being his office colleagues for years together, we learned to reorganize his every sentence and had conversation with him accordingly. We enjoyed doing so. He was the master of all wrong English!

I tell you an incident witnessed during a tea break inside the cafeteria. Some of our office staff was enjoying kissing the edges of cups and some of us were still hanging on for one’s turn to fetch a cup of tea.

One of our staff asked Basu daa about his family profile in-between the on- going conversation. He said in his pompous voice this way, “I live a single wife and a son of three fathers”. Alas! We all were waiting to pay homage to our beautiful English on its journey towards the burial ground.

We were about to die of laughing. Sips of tea siphoned into our mouths were sprayed all over with a sound like ‘Bhrooks’ due to the sudden hit of his witty English. Our guffaw (Loud laugh) cracked on the walls and echoed back. Perhaps he meant, “He lives with his wife and also he is a father of three children”.

Later on, somehow he acquired matriculation certificate and this modest qualification had authorized him for a time bar promotion as a clerk after some years. As soon as he sat on his chair as clerk, he showed his attitude to one of his MTS colleagues to bring a glass of water for him this way “Bring a water of glass of me”.

We almost got fainted and prayed mother earth to give us a way in to hide ourselves from this assassin!

As the time went on, his preceding promotion enabled him to face a written departmental exam for the next higher promotion. He kept facing the exam for a number of times, but all proved futile. He could not make that happened at the end, although he tried his best to the fullest. He observed that he failed to write the essay which was common almost in every exam. The essay was “A journey by train”.

He was obsessed to have that written hypothetically so that, he could mug up and write the same in his next chance. Subsequently, he approached one of his senior officers and persuaded him to get that written for his preparation.

Accordingly, he was all set to face the exam and also mugged up the essay including coma, hyphen, colon, semicolon etc. He wrote the exam and came out of the hall happily.

Meanwhile, on the way his officer chanced to meet him and asked, whether he could write the essay or not, because the essay which was given to him for preparation was not the same one. It was “A journey by boat” instead. He felt so sorry for Basu daa.

Basu da smile fully replied by assuring his officer not to worry much. Rather, he said there was hardly a difference except Boat and Train at the end of both the topics. The concept of both the essays was figured out to be same.

So he replaced all the words written as ‘train’ to ‘boat’ tactfully and rest he wrote exactly as it was in the exam copy. His sir somehow could resist himself from falling flat on the floor! He couldn’t speak even a single word and stood frozen for a while with his mouth and eyes wide open.

He felt pity on Basu daa. The complete essay landed in mess. Sentences were read like this:

He went from Lumding to Rangia junction by meter gauge boat. He got down at Rangia Junction from the boat for snacks and got into it at once when the guard of the boat signaled by waving green flag for proceeding farther. After 8 pm, he decided to go to the pantry car of the boat for dinner. After some time the boat stopped and stood on the track for a while to let another boat to cross. And so on….


(A real short story)


* Rabin Prasad Kalita wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer is a resident of Guwahati and can be reached at rabin1966(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on May 03, 2019.



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