Monday, June 07, 2010

413. Why do I have (a) bad English?

Every time I type a blog post, I always try my level best to avoid grammatical glitches and spelling mistakes. But I always end up making at least one error in every post. I don't know whom to blame? Should I blame my school? Should I blame my English teachers? Should I blame my folks? or should I blame my own laziness? I did my entire schooling in a place called Nagercoil. I studied in three schools in my life .

1.Kindergarten to class 5 - Morton English Primary School

English was an enforced language in that school. Our standard of English never improved. In fact, it got bad because even the teachers were not comfortable with the English language. I don't want to sound like a racist here. Still our English during those days sounded like the Chinese speaking English.The following are some of the conversations that my friends and I have had with our class teachers.
  • Miss, Chriz was stole my rubber ( The usage of "was" to denote a past event was used by us and our teachers never corrected us) {Note:Rubber is the Indian English for eraser}
  • Miss, Can I go bathroom? ( I am sure that many of my readers have the habit of peeing in the bathroom.) The word toilet was not much used in my school
  • Miss, I winned ( I have won)
The only solace for me was that we used to converse in English at home. But my sister had a good grasp of the English language. She used to correct me every time and hence I would often resort to speaking in Tamil at home. But still the sitcoms helped me to stay in touch with English. Wonder years, Oshin, Full House were some of my favorite programs on TV.

2. Class 6 to Class 10 - Scott Christian Higher Secondary School

The first English medium school in South India. It was started by Christian missionaries centuries ago. English was an alien language in this school. The yearly tuition fee was Rs.12. I was introduced to Tamil Golden words in this school. Speaking in English was considered a crime by every student who attended this school. Hence I never had an opportunity to converse in English.The teachers were very good. Yet the students were not up to the mark.

But again, the conversations at home helped me to stay in decent touch with the language.. My sister's vocabulary improved by a huge margin and I failed to understand 90 % of the English words that she used. My folks made English a compulsory language at home and I was the butt of all English Jokes at home.(I was the blonde at home. This is why I added the blonde picture in the first place).

When my folks found that their enforced method was not effective, they made it compulsory for me to read the "HINDU" newspaper everyday. I would spend time on the sports column. It never worked for me. I had love for sports; but I hated English very much.

3. Class 11 and Class 12 - CSI Matriculation School

When nothing worked, my folks finally decided to put me in the only ENGLISH-speaking school in Town. Little did I realize that the parents of my classmates from my previous school also had similar ideas. A bunch of guys from Scott School landed up in CSI Matriculation school and we were so comfortable talking in Tamil.

Soon I figured out that CSI matriculation was in fact worser than my previous school. The students of this school were from the families of upper middle class homes , NRIs and VIPs in town. Hence English came very naturally to most of them. But unfortunately, there were lost sheep like me too.

Most of the students were really good. Still the teachers were an utter failure. Mani sir was the best example for this. The British Government should erect a statue for him for his noble deeds in English. He is still surviving as a teacher in the school. A present day student of that school took pains to scribble down Mani sir's golden words in a piece of paper. Click the pictures below to have a better taste of Mani's English.

No wonder the students call him Mutant Mani

My English started improving only after I started writing. I also realized that even if one has a good grasp of the English language but still falls short of ideas and content, he/ she doesn't make a good writer. If only I had stayed inside my comfort zone developing an inferiority complex because of my bad English, I would have never started this blog in the first place.

I would like to thank my dear friend Srini, who takes time to constructively correct my English. There have been many such good souls who have helped me in my blog journey. I sincerely thank all you guys. This post doesn't answer the question, "Why do I have a bad English?". But still you would have sensed the take away pointers from this post, if you understood what I am actually talking about.

Do you think that you are not worth it? Did any one say to you that are a loser? If you are in such a position, I have a story for you

Once a farmer found an abandoned eagle nest and a warm eagle egg inside it. He took it to his farm & laid it in the nest of one of his hens.The egg hatched and the eagle grew up along with the chickens and spent its entire life in the farm with the chickens. It rarely looked up. When it was very old, one day it lifted up its head and saw above it a wonderful sight - an eagle soaring high above in the sky. Looking at it, the old creature sighed and said to itself,"If only I'd been born an eagle".

Many of us are like the eagle. We often curb our capabilities and slumber within our comfort level. We seldom come out of our shell and exhibit our full potential.

We might have attempted and failed in achieving our goal in life. If we see some one attempting the same thing, we often discourage them based on our experiences.

We all have an eagle within us. Do we realize that? or Are we still chickened to acknowledge that?



  1. The blonde in the picture looks nothing like you! OMG! And you just had to specify that rubber is used for eraser didn't you? Heh.

    Like the last part. We should not be biased towards another person attempting something based on our experience. Nice thoughts Chriz.

  2. Me encantó, como siempre!

  3. Shhhhh..... Dont give up our school De glorious CSI teachers jus need some coaching from its students...

  4. Lots of things I loved about the post... not in the least Mani saar's thoughts scribbled down religiously by, I am sure, an 'earnest' student. Still 'square with 4 cms radius' ellaam over pa! lol. avarukku paavam English mattum illa, Maths-um varaadhu pola! :D

    Those were nice words on 'comfort zone' and coming out of it. Talking of which, I have reflected on similar lines but with reference to something entirely different in my latest post. I would like you to check it out. It is a little long, intensely personal but I believe one of my better posts.

    And are you kidding me: you studied in a school whose tuition fee was Rs. 12/- annually? :O

    Coming to things I would like to point out in this post:

    (i) the reiterated usage of 'but' (yes I mean without the extra /t/' ;):D) that too in consecutive lines sometimes. well, grammatically it is fine but oftentimes good prose is also about the variety of structures you can employ. Use of 'hence' as well. You can try to restructure those sentences giving you allowance to use other words like 'so', 'therefore', etc.

    (ii) "Speaking in English was an enforced language in that school" - I think you meant "English was an enforced language in school" (I think the sentence would sound better without 'speaking in English'!)

    "We might have attempted and failed in achieving our in life. If we see some one attempting the same thing, we often discourage them based on our experiences." - beautiful lines. I would love to end on that note - but ;) something caught my eye: I think there is something missing between "our" and "in life" in the sentence, "We might have attempted and failed in achieving our (aim? goal? desire? ---) in life"

    And thank you for the acknowledgment. Being with language, specifically English, is not what I do for a livelihood but what I do for a lifetime! Means a lot! :-)

    PS: In the last five minutes I have had three stop-overs in my blog courtesy your link. indha maari visitors kadachaa dhaan undu-nu nenaikaren! ;) :D

  5. thala... i do agree... i always know am bound to make grammar and all other sentence formation mistakes! trying hard to learn... ana one q.. epadi periya comedy ilama yu managed to write a post still baffles me! :)

  6. Thank you. Great post, loved the story.

  7. @gibsy : thanks much

    @TBG : i behaved like a blonde .:)

    @anwesa : nandri vanakkam hai

    @tequila : gonna change my style of writing by dipping subtle humor in serious posts. Gotta share some useful message. just a thought

    @sans : truth is bitter. but sometimes we ought to tell the truth bro :)

    @srini : made those corrections. would be useful for my future posts. thanks much. You are much more capable of pulling on more hits. konjam marketing panna pochu..

    i will check your latest blog post tonyte

    @ Hary : it is easier to write posts like this bro. tough to produce humor articles, because when i write a humor post, i always read it and if i find it humorous- i publish it.. else i would just delete the whole post.. i have deleted many posts like that :)

    @kankan : thanks much.

  8. anne(n) thevaye illa: chumma kindaladichen! irukkara nelamayliye romba sandhoshamaa irukken!

  9. good one man...the post was sincere to say the least

  10. Loved this post - both for the humour as well as the message..

  11. **@anwesa : nandri vanakkam hai

    Which language is this ?

  12. super..loved the post. Reminds me of school days..the burden of studying in an 'english convent school' & Thank You for the story. You inspire, Mr.chronic writer : )

  13. we say bathroom too... think toilet's supposed to be to crude and lavatory is too long for us lazy people to say out loud :)

    yeah, blogging's definitely stepping out of a comfort zone

    and i second what jeega said.. paavam mani sir!

  14. you still make mistakes, not just one but many. but then the fact is that none of us is perfect. but a serious post from you...!!! i wonder what are you upto?

  15. but why this pic?????? :P

  16. Thanks for finally writing about >"413. Why do I have (a) bad English?"
    <Loved it!


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