(That was a year ago)
An ‘ENGILISH’ teaching shop had opened uncomfortably close to where we live. Uncomfortably – because the students parked their bikes and scooties right in front of the gate of our group housing building, and all requests to spare the entrance had fallen on deaf ears.
I came to know about it when our liftman earned a gash over his right ear and came to me for the necessary patchwork. A little history-taking revealed that he had tried to prevent a few brawny ‘engilish’ students from intentionally damaging a frail little Yo bike belonging to the daughter of one of our neighbours.
The whole affair naturally made me curious enough to do some drwatsongiri on my own. So one fine morning I trudged down to the shop on the pretext of referring somebody who was keen on passing the TOEFL. Located within the basement of a mall, the shop itself was a very lacklustre affair – a 12 X 25 ft partitioned cubicle, stuffed with undersized chair table sets having just enough wood to barely stick your butt upon, a fiber glass blackboard, a tired looking PC and a glassless almirah holding well thumbed versions of ageless Rapidex-type volumes. Stacked in the corner were pamphlets claiming to make their students proficint in engilish speaking in 90 hours flat. Noble intentions were writ large on the proprietor’s cheerful countenance – he wanted his pupils to pop in the engilsh pill and take on the big bad world a la Dharam Paaji style, and do everything in chaste angrezi, be it booking a merrij hole (marriage hall), purchajing and raping (wrapping) a gift for a garalfrend or mouthing chic expletives like seet (shit) and other four lettered words fluently like punctuations. It appeared to me that he too was a recent by-product of the flourishing English teaching industry, someone with keen business sense and quick to cash on the wave of Anglo-mania hitting this sleepy neo metropolis. As expected, the proprietor had no idea what TOEFL was, yet he was aggressively forthcoming in assuring every kind of help to whomsoever I referred to him. As a special consideration, he even offered to give a 10% discount on the course fee to my referrals.
He told me that his “ishtudents were moshtly from the Hindi medium bakeground, there were nurses end compounders who want to settal in Amrica, kollejers (Collegers?) heving littal computer no-lage but no English no-lage, ledij who want good merrij but not get good husbend becoj they don’t know english, boys end girls who want to chet on the internet but note knowing efluent English, girls wanting great future by joining air hoshtess course, peepal who want to epply fore English teacher post in schools, marketing peepal who want to epply in benk jobes, tourisht guides end aalso house wifes who want to increase their no-lage of world...”
And who would employ his students? Mosht of our ishtudents go to coal centres, benks, Kingfissure airlines……
Coal Centre? I remembered having passed Hariram Coal Centre by the Chandpole Bus Stand a number of times. But that was a dark and dingy place, and always had trucks either loading or dumping tonnes of coal…..why would Hariram Coal Centre need to employ English speaking graduates by the dozen, unless of course they planned to go global and acquire a few European coal centres on their own! Coal center..? I politely enquired….
Yes sir, big coal centres, Amrican coal centres…..I then realised he was talking about GE and Convergys. Sure they needed effluent English speaking graduates.
I had to come out, as the benches were being filled up by the first batch of the day, all brawns and beauties raring to sharpen their English speaking skills. Why? To gain that extra edge while appearing in interviews for ‘glorified’ jobs, that actually were abominable traps for the ‘educated’ unemployed. As I was leaving, the proprietor enquired what my profession was and if I was interested in joining the course myself. I thanked him and told him that I was a doctor, but had no intention of settling in Amrica. He flashed a big smile and pulled his T-shirt up to reveal his flabby lower abs– “When I waj twanty year old, I had oppen-ducks opreshan”
Appendix – I corrected him.
“Yes, yes…open-dicks opreshan”
I left quickly. I had no intention of discussing open dicks and closed dicks with him. However, I could not stop myself from reflecting on the career prospects of our youth from the Hindi medium background, who take their education as an ignominy and look for ways to redeem themselves by turning to such quickfix methods, and eventually end up on the sidelines of the Great Indian Career Market.
ONE YEAR LATER…
I had almost forgotten about him, so it came as a bit of a surprise when I ran into him again a few days back. Yeah, he was the same guy who was last seen selling ‘english’ to gullible job seekers and who even offered me a 10% commission for all referrals to his ‘engilsh classes’.
He had closed down his English classes this March, as by then, most of his pupils had probably figured out that they weren’t any better off either in the job or in the merrij market with their accents, and that none of the coal centres were willing to coal them even for an interview. Unconfirmed reports emanating from the chowkidaar of our building even suggested that one evening, just before our tutor was about to close for the day, a few of his students had accosted him, quietly pushed him back in the shop, closed the doors and then proceeded to pay him a rather hefty guru dakshina of the most gruesome kind (guru-some kind…eh?), the consequences being a black eye and a noticeable limp detected the next day which he attributed to a fall from the stairs at his home. By the next week, he had truly raped up his classes and was gone. Nothing was heard of him in the following months and it was assumed that he had headed for greener pastures among the teeming suburbs of the city, trying to sell his ideas to the innocent dreamers who looked to the skyline of the metropolis with bloated hopes and inflated aspirations.
But here he was now, right there in front of my eyes and looking every bit cheerful and chubby. Why, he’d even managed to add a few pounds to his paunch and looked quite satisfied with life in general.
He greeted me with a loudish “Hell-low doxaab!”
I returned his hell-low forthwith and said that I was quite pleased to see him. After the preliminary chit chat, I told him that his abrupt departure had robbed the neighbourhood of a truly visionary philanthropist. Sensing that I might start delving into the circumstances which led to his raping up the business suddenly, he changed the topic. But not before he told me that he had found the entire business of trying to teach English to a bunch of rascals a thankless one, and that he had given up on the idea after consulting the whole thing with his wife and his inner shelf (self).
So what was he upto now? It was difficult for me to suppose that he had entirely given up the teaching business. But, as he told me, he was successfully running a clothes store in the downtown, selling the usual stuff…readymadshirt-paints, bun-arsi sarees, bad-shits (both single and double) and sundry other woven merchandise. He had hooked up with a garment manufacturer who supplied him colourful hand printed badshits of the finest quality, or so he told me. “Very smooth and silky”, he had proffered to add.
I enquired if he ever thought of returning to the business of running English coaching classes. “No doxaab, no die-virgin now. I only concentrate on garment bijness.” He was talking about not succumbing to diversions. But suddenly I felt jealous of him. For the smooth and silky stuff he sold, God knows how many virgins he had dying for him!
His cellphone rang once. A missed call. He glanced at the number and immediately proceeded to take leave. “Doxaab I will go now. Misease calling.” I observed that his pronunciation of misease was remarkably similar to that of disease. I didn’t know however, if, he privately equated one with the other! Flashing a broad smile, he gave me his business card. “Next time you purchej badshit, come to my soap. I will give you metching pee-loo cover in 50% discount.” He was gone before I could even thank him for the offer.
But he was polite enough to tell me where he was going. “To my son’s school doxaab. To attend parent teacher mating….”
Moral of the story
Proper market research is essential for succeeding in business. An unscheduled mating is a bonus 😉
This was first posted elsewhere.