Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Poor English

Source: Google Images
The other day I was in a CST bound local train. It was a Saturday, so the train wasnt too crowded. A gujju man, probably a garment trader (I overheard him talking to his suppliers on the phone), was complaining to his wife, about their daughter's poor English skills. I gathered (using my limited understanding of Gujarati) that he was returning from a Parent-Teachers Meeting. 
His daughter's class teacher apparently had told him that she should be encouraged to speak English at home, as her English was - Terrible. I could sense he wasnt too comfortable with English coz he said 'Englees' instead of English.

I wondered what the big deal about English is! There are so many Europeans who are probably as bad at English as that Gujju trader, but dont lose sleep over it. Dont get me wrong, I have nothing against English, in fact I love the language and the flexibility it has. But I love it no more than I love Hindi, Marathi & German. But this post is not about this, this post is about something else.

At Byculla station, we got place to sit. He opened her result card and worriedly gazed at it. I sneaked a peek. What standard did his daughter study in? When do parents start getting paranoid about their kids?

I couldnt see what standard she studied in, but I could now see her scores - grades, rather. A in Art, B+ in Hindi, A in Maths and C in English. She has to be in primary section if they give her grades instead of scores, I thought. He turned the page. III B. She is too young for him to worry about her English, I thought. He shouldnt worry so much about what the teacher says about her. Not now, there is time. What did the teacher say that made him worry so much?

Then on the green result card, I read the comments of the teacher. "Good student. Can do 'more' better!"


~Arshat Chaudhary


  1. :)

    This is the exact expression I have as I finish reading this post right now Arshat!

    I live in Gujarat and am surrounded by such people who feel studying in "Englees" medium is a big achievement even if their child cannot speak a single sentence properly.

    But in this post I pity the child, not only the parents are fussing about her language but even her teacher (who herself is having a mashallah knowledge of English! ;) ) is fussy. And such instances leave a very bad impression on a child's psyche. For an A in Maths is unnoticed here while a C is English is highly noticed as if it was in Bold and Italics.

    They grow up to have very low self esteem and tend to look down upon themselves because of such constant negative feedback.

    I hope and pray the child outgrows all this to become a confident individual.

    P.S: Sorry for the long comment, could not help it as it triggered something in my mind!

  2. It was funny. Yet you have rightly touched upon how things have got to be these days. Parents are pushing their children too much. I wonder what they think kids are or childhood should be. Topping your class? Or getting more marks than the neighbours' kids, or your co-workers, best swimmer, best gymnast, best singer.. the list of expectations never ends? Is that it to a child's life! Kids are not trophies! Childhood is supposed to be the most carefree and impressionable time of our lives. And learning should be allowed at one's own speed.. never in a rushed way. It dents a child's self esteem! And look at the poor girl's even poorer teacher..! It's bad. :P

  3. Well....I did not have the heart to go over to my son's teacher (my son just completed nursery) and tell her that it is yacht and not yatch and that it is spelled 'yyaa-wwwttt' and not something like latch!! Whether I should have made my point is besides the point. But then, so much for the school standards!

    Anyways, that was an amazing write up :) I too blog here at

    Do visit when you get time :)


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