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Lemon Juice, Horoscope and Dates

My three true stories with explanations for poor English word power.

Because of exposure to television, internet, mobile and other gadgets of telecommunication, modern day child is far more intelligent than her/his parents and grandparents. He has great vocabulary not only in English but also in Hindi and Gujarati. But what was it like in the past? To know that you have to go through this article.
1. Lemon Juice

In 1969, I was 19 years old, studying in I M.B.B.S. at Surat. My friend and room-mate accompanied for visit to a South Indian restaurant near Chaupati, Surat. Being from a lower socio-economic group, money crisis was a permanent issue. So we planned to order something available at a minimum price. Lemon juice was quoted 50 Paise for a glass. We placed an order to share the drink. We, both of us, unaware of the English word ‘lemon’, only ‘juice’ was known to us! We were surprised and shocked to see "Nimbupani".

2. Horoscope

In 1974, I had completed M.B.B.S. and doing an internship at M G G Hospital, Navsari. Because I had completed my basic qualification, my father thought I should get married. So there was a meeting with a girl to marry and her parents. We had a long interview discussing with and about each other. Everything went well and suddenly she demanded my ‘Horoscope’. I had never heard the word horoscope and she was the one to raise my vocabulary by one word!

3. Dates

In 1987, we had a habit of visiting friend's home for night stay without prior notice or consent. Accordingly, my wife Dr Bhavana, daughter Vaishali and son Rahul and I went to Dr Laxman C. Solanki's residence at Vankal, near Dharampur (Gujarat). His daughter Rinam demanded for ‘dates’. Well, as ever, I was hearing this word for the first time, so I wanted to see what was served. To my great surprise, it was nothing but a dry fruit known as ‘Khajur’ in Gujarati. Well, it is only recently that I know about pomegranate, custard apple, rose apple and what not.

Such true real-life stories can go on and on, but I will stop here. Let me tell you something about why this limited word power persisted.

Our education system of 1963 used to start teaching the English language as late as from standard VIII. So beginning of learning this language started at the age of 13. My teachers of English - M B Naik, C D Vaidya, Vice-principal D T Agarkar and principal R M Desai taught me in standard VIII, IX, X and Xi respectively at D C O High school, Killa Pardi (Gujarat). They gave more emphasis on grammar and teaching from Pathmala - I, II and III. So the grammar was perfect, but word power was poor.

Staying in Gujarat, you need not learn too many English words because you do not need them. But nowadays, practically all the children study in English medium school and use English words here and there, so need of better word power has emerged as a must for me and so all this. (Their poor knowledge of mother-tongue Gujarati is a different issue - a great tragedy of not knowing mother-tongue.)

Now you may ask about the pronunciation of English; I will tell that some other day. Till then, "Best Luck!"

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