Mother!” Vinay called out when he woke up one morning. “Please give me some dugdh jal mishrit sharkara yukt parvatiya booty. And please hurry!”
“I’ll get it right away,” Mother replied from the kitchen.
“What is the matter, Vinay? Are you feeling unwell?” Mother asked when she entered the room with a cup.
“I’m perfectly fine, Mother,” Vinay said. “What makes you think I’m unwell?”
“Well, you did ask me to get you this concoction of herbs, didn’t you?” Mother said, handing Vinay the cup.
“Huh? When did I ask for a concoction of herbs?” Vinay asked, peeping into the cup.
“Vinay,” Mother said. “Didn’t you just call out to me and ask me to give you some booty?”
“Oh Mother!” Vinay said. “You misunderstood me. I asked you to bring me dugdh jal mishrit parvatiya booty. That’s another name for tea.”
“You’re becoming more and more mischievous, Vinay,” Mother scolded and left the room.
Vinay shrugged and got out of the bed. He then went to take a bath. After a while, he called out to Mother again. “Mother!” he shouted. “I can’t find my kanth langot.”
“What?” Mother said, perplexed.
“I can’t find my kanth langot!” Vinay repeated. “Wherever did you keep my necktie?”
“Please be direct, Vinay!” Mother sighed.
“I won’t be able to finish my household chores if you keep confusing me just because you want to be mischievous.”
Mother then took Vinay’s necktie out of the wardrobe and put it around his neck.
“Mother, I am not being mischievous,” Vinay pleaded innocently. “Really!”
Later that day, Vinay’s teacher was testing the students’ GK in the classroom. “Children,” he said. “Tell me, what is Thomas Edison’s most famous invention?”
Vinay smiled and raised his hand to answer the question.
“Yes, Vinay,” the teacher said. “Please answer the question.”
“Sir,” Vinay cleared his throat and said.
“Edison invented the vidyut prakashiya kanch golak!”
“Sit down if you don’t know the answer,” the teacher said, upset.
“Children,” he then told the class. “Thomas Edison invented the electric bulb.”
“Sir, I was saying the same thing,” Vinay stood up and insisted. “The vidyut prakashiya kanch golak is another name for the electric bulb.”
All the students in the class laughed heartily.
“Be quiet!” the teacher shouted. “Now, answer the next question. Which game is the Ramanuj Trophy associated with?”
“It is associated with ashthkoni kashth falak pe le takatak de takatak!” Vinay said.
“Vinay,” the teacher said angrily. “Are you making fun of me again? I had no idea that you could be so disrespectful.”
“Sir,” Vinay said sincerely. “I would never do that. But please believe me when I say that ashthkoni kashth falak pe le takatak de takatak is another name for table tennis.”
“Please keep quiet for the rest of the class, Vinay,” the teacher said furiously.
Vinay didn’t like being shouted at even though he had answered correctly.
But he obeyed his teacher and didn’t speak again.
“Rahul!” Vinay called out to his friend and neighbour when he returned from school later that day. “Will you come with me to watch the gol guttam lakad battam de danadan match? I have an extra pass.”
“What is that?” Rahul asked curiously.
“Well,” Vinay said. “A gol guttam lakad battam de danadan match is another name for a cricket match!”
Rahul laughed loudly.
“Yes, Vinay!” he said cheerfully. “Even I want to watch the match between India and Pakistan. We will have to go to the stadium by train. So let’s leave right away.”
“It will take time for the sahastra chakra lauh pathgamini to arrive,” Vinay said. “So let us walk towards the sahastra chakra lauh pathgamini viram sthal.”
“Now whatever is that?” Rahul asked, staring at Vinay.
“Sahastra chakra lauh pathgamini is a train,” Vinay explained. “And sahastra chakra lauh pathgamini viram sthal means a railway station.”
“Which language are you speaking in today, Vinay?” Rahul asked, giggling. He was unable to control his laughter. Vinay’s incoherent jabber had made him feel both curious and thrilled.
“We have a new Hindi teacher in our school, Rahul,” Vinay explained. “His name is Mr. Sharma. He says that our national language gives us values. And that we should be proud of it rather than being slaves to foreign ones. Mr. Sharma has also told us how our national language should be respected. He suggests that we talk in Hindi as often as we can so that we discover what a rich language it is.”
“Ah!” Rahul said and laughed. “So that’s what you’ve been up to today.” Praveen Uncle, who was the boys’ neighbour, saw them laughing.
“What’s making you boys laugh?” he asked good-naturedly.
“Uncle,” Rahul told Praveen Uncle. “Vinay has resolved to talk in a new language from today.”
“Really?” Praveen Uncle said curiously. Rahul then told Praveen Uncle about why Vinay was trying to speak in Hindi.
“Son, your new teacher has taught you the correct thing,” Praveen Uncle said. “But you have not understood what he really meant.”
“What makes you say that, Uncle?” Vinay asked, surprised.
“We should definitely respect our national language,” Praveen Uncle said, “but along with that, we should also know other languages so that we progress in life.”
Vinay and Rahul listened patiently.
“Tell me,” Praveen Uncle then said. “Why do we use a language?”
“So that we can communicate our thoughts to others,” Vinay said.
“Vinay,” Praveen Uncle then said. “Is everybody able to understand you from the way you are speaking today?”.
“No,” Vinay said, sounding disappointed. “Everybody is making their own inferences about what I am saying. Mother thinks I’m being mischievous while my teacher thinks I’m making fun of him.”
“Well, Vinay,” Praveen Uncle said softly.
“A language should be such that it is understood by everyone. Did you know that words from other languages were included in Hindi in order to make it easier to understand? That has made it possible for it to reach out to more people than it originally did.”
“Is that so?” Vinay and Rahul asked, astonished.
“Yes,” Praveen Uncle said. “Not only English but words of Sanskrit, Urdu, Arabic, Persian, Marathi and many other languages have assimilated with Hindi. And you will be surprised to know that Hindi is now being taught in schools and colleges all over the world.”
“Uncle, I have now realised that the knowledge of other languages is as important as that of one’s own national language. Knowledge is never a setback in one’s progress. In fact, it facilitates it all the more!” Vinay said cheerfully.
“That’s correct, Vinay!” Praveen Uncle said. “Why don’t we go for some dugdh jal mishrit sharkara yukt parvatiya booty now?’
“What’s that, Uncle?” Rahul asked, confused.
“Tea, Rahul!” Praveen Uncle said. “Your favourite drink!”
“Good idea!” Rahul said, laughing. “And after that, let us all go for the gol guttam lakad battam de danadan match. I can’t wait to see India win!”
Everyone laughed and walked towards the tea shop.