I learned to love my mother in many ways.  One was with the intention of repairing her language of ‘broken’ English.  To a formal inspection of proper English manners, I was updating her on the positive usage of clear-cut words and phrases, like: please; may I; thank you; thank you very much; with pleasure.  To her great delight and my own satisfaction, these lessons on etiquette were taking place while we were sojourning in London, together.  Motivated by the desire to show her quick grasp to her own self and me, I heard her at the chemist’s shop, revalidating all she had learnt.  Loud and declarative, my mother announced to the young man at the counter, “Please may I thank you, thank you very much, with pleasure.  Now I demand one comb, one tooth-brush, one orange juice with no sugar, at once, at once, most badly.”  Accelerating the ‘English-thoughts’, I saw her hand stay wide awake with a zooming speed and motion while she spoke.  It seemed her arm was being driven by some electric power. When we stepped out of the shop, she wanted a report on her performance.  Before I could return to her, with a show of utter determination, my mother said to me, “I knew, I was not one bit wrong with the words.  But, why was that lad looking, as if, I’d scared him?”


Geeta Chhabra


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