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On (bad) Language


Every kid that went to an “English Medium convent” school in India will have at least one to tell. Most of them are apocryphal. Some are classics that everyone wants to claim as their own. Y'all must've heard at least one. If not, you will after you're done reading:

The bad English incident.

The tales all involve a teacher with a less than perfect command of English, forced to talk to students in English. Why? Because it is an English medium school, dummy.

Like the teacher that warned his mischievous class about the impending arrival of the principal thus. “Be careful, the principal is rotating the school”. Or the guy that asked someone on a particularly sultry afternoon to “go open the window, and let the atmosphere come in.”

When I was in college, a favorite story that did the rounds was that of a professor who went to a movie with his wife. He ran into a student at the cinema. So the next day, he tells the bemused student, “I saw you with my wife at the theater.” Lavanya's teacher was known to tell everyone that “their education was surrendered under the inside of his shoes.”

What I am going to narrate really happened. I heard it with my own two ears. And to make sure I heard it, the guy repeated it at least thirty times a year for ten years. We had strict hair-length requirements, and Monday when we gathered together for the school assembly was when we were checked.

Mr. L in particular enjoyed this chore. He would stand in front of a student, run his fingers through his hair, let it linger for some time and pull it out. And then, he'd advise him: “You should cut your hair cut.” He would then pull back, look at all of us in the line, and loudly bark, “Look your own eye”. Yes, that's exactly what he said, and no, I don't think any of us knew what it meant. We all kept mum though because he had a long cane, and when he beat us with it he would keep asking us to “Take up front”. I think that meant he wanted us to stop covering our asses with our hands, which by the way is bad career advise.

Link: The bad English league. Or this.