Friday, July 25, 2014

Going To an Indian Market

A Walk to an Indian Market

Sari = a wrap around dress for women                                                aroma = smell
Bhaiya = older brother (Hindi)                                                            sniff = to smell
Rupees = Indian currency                                                                   offensive = not liked
Footpath = sidewalk                                                                           biodegradable = able to rot                                                                                                          

“Come on kids, grab a bag, we’re marching to the market.” Granny said as she stuffed some Rupees in her bag.                                                                                                                 Four-year-old Sapna complained, “This minute? Why? We just ate our breakfast!”  
Her eight-year-old, brother Sagar said, “Yep, if Granny says we go, we go. Don on your cotton clothes for the muggy and hot Pune.” 
“Okay, okay, got it Bhaiya, but why do we have to take our own bag? We don't carry bags at our home in the U.S.”
“’cause the Indian veggie-vendors don’t give us plastic  bags.”
Granny said, "Hey, children, wait and watch, even your US shops will stop giving the plastic bags. It just adds to the pollution."
Sagar said, "Granny, in California you have to take your own bags, it started some time back, and the rest of the country is following."
Sapana asked, "No more bags from the grocery store, then what will mom use for garbage?"
"She'll use the biodegradable bags."
"Oh, good. How about paper bags? They rot."
"Yep, my smart sis, paper bags work too."
Sagar and Sapna were visiting their grandparents in Pune, India. They changed their clothes, each picked up a cloth-bag, stepped out the bungalow and headed for the market with Granny. They waited on the footpath to cross the road.
ONE bullock cart filled with potatoes and onions, moved at a snail’s pace. Bells fastened around the oxen’s neck warned people to keep out of its path. A shiny sports-car trailed behind.
Sapna’s mouth fell open when she saw people weaving in and around a traffic of zigzagging bikes, motorbikes, rickshaws and cars.
“Bhaiya, wow! So many people!”                                                 
“Yep, India is the most populated country in the world, well, almost, we compete with China.”
“Oh.”  Sapna nodded and held her brother’s hand tight as they reached a busy square.                              
TWO lorries were going to the market with goods. Black coal filled the open one, and pieces
of hay stuck out from the other.
The trio covered their nose to escape the smoke-smell that spewed from the lorries. A sparkling black limousine crawled behind the trucks.                         
THREE buses, two red city buses and another smaller one plodded along as they waited with Granny in a queue at the bus stop.                                                                                               “What do the writings on the bus say?”
"It says, educate your children and keep your city clean.”
Sapna pointed to the pictures on the third one, “And that one’s about computers.” 
"Yeah, it takes people to their work.”  
The line from behind, nudged the trio ahead to get onto the bus. Sitting by the window, Sapna couldn’t separate the people’s chatter from the din of bicycle bells, car and truck horns, barking dogs and other sounds.                                                                                                               She pointed to FOUR boys with heavy bags swinging on their bicycles.  
“Where’re they all going dressed alike?” Sapna asked.                                                    
“To school.”
“Don’t they have any vacation?” 
“Sure they do, at a different time than us, because India's seasons don't happen at the same time as the US seasons.”
They got off at the market. She pulled Sagar's shirt and shouted, “Look!”
FIVE two-wheelers were parked along the sidewalk. Sagar read the names of the motorcycles: Vespa, Bajaj, Lambretta, Hero-Honda and Royal Enfield.
“I wish I could ride ’em.” 
“Dream on kiddo until you are older.” Sagar patted Sapna’s head. 
“Bhaiya, what's this smell?” Sapna wrinkled her nose.
“That’s the aroma of fresh fruits, vegetables and fresh flowers mixed with the smell of smoke, sweat along with the fish smell from the meat market nearby. Which whiff do you find offensive?”
“Yuck, all of them.  I can’t tell the fresh ones.” Sapna covered her nose with her shirt-sleeve.
Granny walked on ahead. The duo ran to catch up with her.

1: one: ek: एक: १           O

2: two: doe: दो: २           O O 

3: three: teen: तीन: ३      O O O

4: four: chaar: चार: ४      O O O O

5: five: panch: पांच: ५     O O O O O

© 2014, Meera Desai Shah

Friday, July 18, 2014

You Need it in Peace but Not in War


The English language is funny; not funny as in ha-ha funny, but different; not different as in you are different than I am, but it makes no sense; again, makes no sense does not mean it has no meaning but it's different. Do you get it? No...I am not giving you anything but do you understand?
That's how this language is and yet it has so many rules, and it is often spoken without following the rules completely or partially. Some rules are easy to forget if you are not a native speaker and did not start with English in your preschool, but you say you  think in English. Well, if someone throws water at your sleeping body in the middle of the night, and the first words that fall out of your mouth are in English, then you think in English!

Ha, today's blogpost is not about the rules in English at all, but just a little quiz, solved after the first sentence by 99% of readers.


You Need it in Peace but Not in War

Thirteen-year-old, Sagar was doing his homework and his five-year-old, twin sisters, Suchi and Soori walked in.

Suchi said, "Bhaiya, what is p...u...t?"

Sagar said, "Put, as in put this book away."

Soori said, "Okay, what is b...u...t?

Sagar said, ""But, as in but I want you to eat this food right now and not later."

The twins pouted, "Awww..., he has heard these before. Let's get back to our room."

The twins left. 

Sagar smiled and welcomed his sister, nine-year-old, Sapna.

"Hey, sis, what is present in peace and not in war?"

Sapna said, "That's easy, it's happiness that's missing in war but found in peace."

"Nope. Try this. What's once in hell but twice in heaven?"

Sapna shrugged.

Sagar tapped his paper in hand, "Okay try this. Without it there would be no live, love, life, hope or friends."

Sapna crinkled her nose, "What is it, some sort of feeling? A letter? An emotion?"

Sagar said, "Feeling and emotion are the same, but yeah, something like that, you said it."

Sapna mumbled, "Feeling, emotion, a letter? I got it!"


"Ask me more and I'll tell you."

Sagar looked at his paper, ""Okay, here it is, all emotional relations like Father, Mother, Brother, Sister, Wife & Friends don't make sense without it."

Sapna smile, "Ha! I knew it. It's the letter 'E'"

Sagar smile, ""Right. You got it, sis."

Sapna said, "And I will tell you this... see, hear, smell, or taste as well as eye, ear, nose & tongue are lost and incomplete without an 'e'."

Sagar said, "Sapna, you are as smart as I am, now let me get back to my work. I give you an advice 'Go' without an 'e'."

Sapna also got up "Yeah, Bhaiya, your Eminence, I leave all the 'Ego' with you, I will just 'go'."

Sapna left.

The End

© 2014, Meera Desai Shah

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Things to Make Life Easier. Easier?


Every now and then I come across a column that tell me how to live or how to behave and so on. When I read some, I tell myself, that makes sense, I have read it before or I better remember this. Recently, I came across something about speaking, that made me feel, hmmm, this is nice and worth following. One person who read the points given here, commented, following these would kill some cultures!


Things to Make Life Easier. Easier?

Sixteen-year-old, Sagar, picked up an apple from the kitchen and brought it to the den along with the sheets of paper and sat in a comfortable chair. He started to read them.

Twelve-year-old, Sapna, walked into the den with the eight-year-old, twins, "Bhaiya, help me get these girls settled in a game or something."

Soori said, "Not a something,..."

Her twin Suchi added, "Yeah, forget the something, play a game with us."

Sagar looked up, "Guys, let me finish this that mom left on my desk."

Sapna asked, "What is it?"

The twins asked, "A plan for a game?"

Sagar shook his head, "Guys, sit down, and listen. I can make it simpler for you, these are seven rules of speaking."

Suchi said, "Speaking what?"

Her twin said, "We know the rules about not cheating and not stealing and..."

Sagar said, "Stop! Listen!"

"You don't have to scream at us, just tell us nicely."

Sapna sat between the two, "Girls, be quiet."

Sagar said, "Thank you, Sapna. The first one is, give up dogmatism."

Soori said, "We don't have a dog..."

Sagar glared at her.

Sapna said, "Girls, go to your room, I'll tell you the rules once I learn them." 

The twins left.

Sapna asked Sagar, "Bhaiya, even I don't know what dogmatism is. Are they going to be more and more difficult as you read the seven rules?"

"No, sis, I started with the seventh, the rest are easy, dogmatism is being rigid, stubborn, especially in an argument."

Sapna said, "Okay, I will try not to be stubborn."

"The sixth is not lying."

Sapna nodded, "Easy, mom and dad always tell us not to tell a lie."

"Actually, the fourth and the fifth go together. The fourth one is don't complain, and then making excuses is the fifth one."

Sapna scrunched up her nose, "I guess I just have to do my homework without complaints or excuses."

Sagar said, "Right, do not tell why you couldn't do it or complain about it, just do it The one before that is give up negativity."

Sapna made a face, "Uh...uh... negativity?"

"Yep, don't be pessimistic, I guess it means be enthusiastic when you talk. The one before that is stop judging."

Sapna raised her eyebrows, "Huh?"

Sagar laughed, "It means don't be excessively critical of your brother, don't tell him he's doing this or that wrong," He smiled, "And also don't be critical of your friends and others."

Again, Sapna scrunched up her nose.

Sagar said, "And the first one is do not gossip, don't spend your time speaking about others."

Sapna said,, "Hmm...I guess I'll have to find a way to remember the seven about what to speak and what not to speak. Do you remember them Bhaiya? Let's see, what are the seven to avoid? Hmmm...Gossip, Judgement, Negativity, Complaints, Excuses, Lying and Dogmatism."

Sagar gave her a high-five, "Sapana, you already remember them! I sort of do too. The hard part is following them."

Sapna nodded, "Right. I wonder how much of this the twins will understand." She took the paper from Sagar's hand and went towards the twins' room.

The End

© 2014, Meera Desai Shah