Part one – Me and My father
It was Sunday holiday and I was watching TV in night. Suddenly voice of my father interrupted me “Hey Nityam! Please check these medicines, are these same as mentioned by doctor in prescription?” I checked the medicines as per the name mentioned in the doctor’s prescription. “Yes, its OK dad”, I told after verifying. My father took the medicines and gone for sleep.
It was the habit of my father. He always gives me prescription list to verify medicines before taking it. I still remembered first time when my father gave me the prescription list. I was about five year’s old and learning English alphabets “ABCD” at that time. Generally doctors mentioned drugs in prescription list in such a handwriting that no one can read it except druggist, so how can I understand it who didn’t know complete English alphabets yet. Somehow I managed to recognize few characters at that time and on the basis of that, I tried to verify the drugs. But my father never said anything to me. He completely relies on me. He didn’t cross verify or doubt once I approved it, not on the day when I didn’t know even ABCD and not today when I work as an English translator in Indian embassy.
Oops, I just started my talk without introduce myself. I am Nityam Rathore, working as a language translator in Indian embassy. I knew some international languages like Hindi, English, Urdu, French, Russian, Spanish, and Arabic. I am also able to understand some regional languages like Marathi, Guajarati, Tamil, Telgu, Malayalam, and Bangla. Last year my first book ‘One task for Nation’ was published and I got good response of it. I wrote it in English primarily but after the success of it, publisher is going to translate and release it in other languages also. My father had worked as a motor mechanic, in fact he is still doing same work, but previously he worked for survival of his family and now he works because it’s his hobby, it’s the work he enjoyed much. My father told me that he had gone school for few years but he didn’t know till which standard. He doesn’t have any educational certificate, but he is able to read and write Hindi. That’s what his only achievement in education. In the age of twelve years, he joined my grandfather in his garage. He started with repairing of tube puncture and vehicle washing work, and today he is able to repair all kind of vehicle from bi-cycle to a big lorry.
But it’s not the success story of my father as motor mechanic. It’s story of his pursuit to teach something to me. Anyways I come back to the story. I was talking about his habit to verify medicines before taking it. He always assigned this task to me. I don’t know why, but he has complete faith on me, even on the day when I didn’t know complete English alphabets ABCD. Sometimes I didn’t want to do this work but I didn’t tell no to my father. As a child, I was not very open with my father. Anything told by my father, would become strict order for all of us children. If I need anything, I usually told my mother and my mother redirected my demand to father. But my father fulfilled each and every fair demand of me, not only of me but my sibling’s also. Sometime he surprised us with gifts, but we got this gift only via my mother. My father handed over such gifts to my mother and my mother distributed among us. It’s like my father would never hugged me, kissed me and told me ‘this is the gift for you my son!’ and I never got chance to reply him, ‘Thanks Dad, you are the greatest father in this world!’ But we both felt such emotion of each other via my mother. She is the hard knot of our bond.
My father’s habit to ‘check well before use’ is not limited just to doctor’s prescription list. He gave me any paper in which something written in English. Once he handed me the user manual of Philips mixer grinder, when we purchased it in year 1992. He asked me to read and narrate in Hindi for him. I was in second standard at that time, and as per state education board, English language started in syllabus from sixth standard for Hindi medium students. This task became more difficult for me because all I knew about English was just a set of characters from A to Z; but didn’t know how to read and understand words or sentence formed using these set of characters. Somehow I find that there was one more user manual in the box, which is in Hindi; I read and remembered it and narrated completely in front of my father, by holding English user manual in hands. I was very sure that my father would caught my trick, when he will see Hindi manual in the box; and in fact he might caught me on that day but he didn’t tell me anything.
Those were the days when television was pulling attraction of people and Doordarshan was the only channel run on TV. As a child, I liked watching TV more than any other activity. I love to watch many serials like Jungle book, Alif Laila, Tahquikat and Mahabharata. My father had habit to listen evening news everyday from 8:30 to 9. He always called me to sit with him and hear news during that time. We both watched Hindi as well as English news. However, we both were not able to understand news in English. Many times my father asked me about any news in English, but I was also not able to translate it in Hindi for him. Somehow I managed to catch the name of city (e.g. Delhi), person (e.g. Rajeev Gandhi) in the news and told my father this is the news about this person or city. But as a child, I didn’t like watching news. First reason, I was not interested in political news, and second I hate English news as I was not able to understand it at all. I didn’t get any help from anywhere to understand news in English as there was no English taught in my school till fifth standard. Situation became very painful for me when parliament session was going on. Because parliament news was also broadcasted with regular news at that time and I need to spent some more time for the activity that I hated. I was decided at that time that if I would become president of India in future, than I will stopped these parliament session so that no child has to face such torture.
When I was in third standard, my father brought me a book ‘Rapidex English speaking course’. This book was guaranteed to teach English in sixty days. There was a lesson and assignment given for each day in the book. Total sixty lessons were there in the book. My father told one of our neighbour boy to help me in learning English from that book. That boy was in tenth standard at that time. He usually came in evening to teach me lesson every day. But he was also not very good in it. Many times he was not able to teach me some things in the book. In spite of the fact that this book was in English, I loved that book. First thing to love is that, it was the gift to me from my father. Although he didn’t tell me, I understand it. Second thing I liked colourful printing and sixty days concept of that book. First lesson started with English alphabets ‘ABCD’ and I was happy that I was completely aware about first lesson. Later lessons covered topics like verb, noun, articles, tenses, grammar etc. At the end of each lesson, generally a conversation was given in both languages Hindi and English. This conversation demonstrated about how one can use all things explained in that lesson in daily life. As a child, I like this conversation more than lesson, because it contains interesting talk between father and son, teacher and students, guest and host etc. I generally read the sentence in Hindi first and tried to resemble the English words with Hindi sentence. This action really helped me to know the common English words and their meaning in Hindi. Although I was not become very good in English by reading this book in just sixty days, it felt me familiar with English alphabets at least.
One day my father started English News paper for me. We lived in a middle class colony of our city and no one read English news paper there. My father paid some extra money to paperboy for it. That was national news paper ‘Hindustan times’ Delhi edition. Our paperboy collected it from railway station where Bundles of this news paper came from Delhi. Delhi was very far from our city and trains took twelve hours to reach our city from Delhi, so paperboys got new paper with one day delay. Newspaper of date 17 reached to us at next day 18. But my father had no issue with it. He gave that news paper to me for reading. I usually started reading news paper from last page because there it contains sports news. I love to read cricket news. Generally I found very colourful pictures of sports personalities on this page with full coverage of match. Although I hardly understand anything, I love to read complete coverage of cricket match in English there. Apart from match coverage all I do with newspaper was just viewing images. One more section I like in English news paper was bollywood news, because it contained interesting bollywood gossips with colourful photos of my favourite actors and actresses. But I opened this section only when no one was looking at me. Sometimes when I heard foot step of any one, I turned the pages randomly. Sometime my father torn down bollywood news page from newspaper; especially when it contained very bold photos of bollywood actresses. I still remembered the days when movie Rangeela was about to release; I got newspaper without bollywood news section for almost a week as it usually contained very bold images of Urmila Matondkar at that time. My father encouraged me to at least read all news of first page daily. Many times he pointed to any place on first page and asked me what news printed there. Initially I found difficulty in translation but soon I got solution of it. I read Hindi news paper before English and later narrate that news when my father asked about same news in English news paper. Later my father also encouraged me to read editorial page. Initially I didn’t like reading news paper but soon it came into habit to me.
English language started in our school from sixth standard. So a new subject “General English” had entered in our school curriculum, when I was in sixth standard. Initial lessons of our general English text book were very basic; in fact first lesson was just about English alphabets ‘ABCD’. Next few lesson deals with common English words like A for Apple, B for banana etc. I was very happy with this new subject as I already knew the meaning of most of the words taught in these lessons. After few lessons on common words, noun and verb used in English, the book started to teach construction of simple sentence with these words. Everyone in the class found this subject very tough and hard to understand, except me. This is very obvious thing, that how can a child will be able to read and write English alphabets ‘ABCD’ by practising initial lesson of text book in just few days; specially the one who never see and make those curves of English letter till the fifth standard. But this was not the problem with me, I am able to read, write and understand everything about those lessons as I already practised those things in past years due to the efforts put by my father. Everyone in class looked me, when they faced any difficulty in English subject, even the boy who topped the class in previous year, also had tough time with this new subject. He always asked me at first, whenever he had any queries in the lessons. I still remembered one day I taught complete lesson to him before teacher deliver lecture on that lesson, and he was so surprised (I must say shocked!) by it. I came across many new words in English due to my habit of newspaper reading, sometimes I asked about such words to our school teacher also in the class. Everyone in the class looked surprisingly at me when I asked about such words to teacher. Many times our teacher didn’t know the meaning of that word, and told me that she would inform me about that word tomorrow. Next day she looked the meaning of that word in dictionary and conveyed me in the class. Soon I enjoyed this trick to impress my teacher and surprise everyone in the class; I searched new words in newspaper and asked about it in the class. Soon, I was known as the ‘Master of English’ in the class and I felt proud of me. But I didn’t have idea that soon my myth will be going to wash out.
Link to part two – https://baramdekidhoop.wordpress.com/2011/07/24/insult-of-my-father-2/