Sapna, age: 14 by Anushka Sen
Mishti, age: 9 by Deshna Dugad
Munni, age: 3 by Harshaali Malhotra
Pari, age: 4 months by Vihaa Gori
These are Rikara’s daughters
Pinky is Om’s mother.
Shakti is Om’s father.
‘And what is your reason to learn English’
The teacher asked Gauri.
Gauri: um….my family speak English in p…pub…public but I don’t know English we….well…I…wa..nt…want….to know.
Teacher: oh ok. Well I hope these next four weeks will help you feel like you are fitting in.
Gauri sits down smiling. Just then..
Teacher: yes Gauri?
Gauri: I have…baby…daughter..she four months…I need…leave at….2.
Teacher: ok Gauri, that will be no problem.
Gauri: thank you maam.
The teacher goes to the board and says: good morning class. So I have heard everyone’s reasons for learning English. And within four weeks, you all will speak fluent English. So let’s start with the basics! What we say every day.
As she spoke, Gauri slowly went back to that day:
Three days back:
Sapna friend’s mum came to Gauri and started to speak pure English: Hi I am Naiya, commonly known as Maya’s mother these days.
Gauri in mind: why does everyone speak this English? ‘talking’ hi…I Gauri….Sapna’s mother.
Naiya: glad to finally meet you Gauri. Maya has been telling me that you’re a great cook. She tells me to learn cooking from you.
Gauri tried to pick up all the information. Om and Sapna saw Gauri struggling.
Sapna: arre aunty, even your food is fabulous!
Naiya: such a talented little liar! You know Gauri, we should hang out sometimes and talk about these two children.
Gauri: yes..wo…would love that.
Om: relax Gauri, just speak in Hindi.
Gauri nods, feeling quite bad.
As Sapna was walking with her friends, she heard a group of mums talking.
Mum 1: you know Sapna’s mum.
Mum 2: ek minute, Sapna Oberoi?
Mum 1: yes her. Her mum is so bad at speaking English!
Mum 3: you know what I heard. I heard that she was taken out of school when she was only 8.
Mum 4: bechari! She couldn’t stay in school long enough to learn English.
Mum 5: illiterate.
The mums turned to her. The noise and music stopped as well due to Sapna’s yell.
Sapna: don’t say such things about my mum. She is the world’s best mum and just because she doesn’t know English doesn’t mean you can gossip about her behind her back!
Gauri was confused and looked up at Om asking: what did they say?
Om: that they were talking behind your back.
Gauri: because I don’t know English.
Om: Gauri, leave it yaar.
Gauri felt bad and without saying anything, she ran from the place as fast as she could. She reached the house and collapsed crying on the sofa.
A few hours later:
Sapna in Hindi: why mum? Why couldn’t you have just stayed home? Then none of this would have happened!! Why are you so weak in English? You are ruining my social life!
Om: Sapna, is this the way to talk to your mum? Say sorry!
Pinky: why should she? Sapna is right! Look at your wife Om. Her not knowing English is affecting Sapna’s social life. This woman will never learn anything in life.
Gauri: oh really?
Gauri: no Omkaraji, don’t stop me. Mummyji, I never wanted to go to the fair instead you all made me go. And Sapna, I am very sorry for ruining your social life.
She runs upstairs and then she entered her and om’s room, locking the room and then collapsed on her bed, crying. Just then an ad appeared on her phone and it mentioned learn English in four weeks.