Good morning! A few days back in a workshop at a corporate house, I was very surprised to observe that the participants even at the middle level management find it difficult to differentiate between simple words like ‘bed’ and ‘bad’ — everyday words like- anxious, intrigue and optimistic are completely alien to them. Surprisingly, most of these people have done their higher education in English medium colleges. Where and when did the things go wrong? Did their teachers in the school fail them? What could be the reason for such a poor grasp over a language that is used day in and day out, in almost all the activities of our daily lives? I am still trying to figure out the answer for myself. Okay, the other day I forgot to write down the pronunciations of these two words: When the spelling is ‘Lion’, the pronunciation is- LAA- YUN (‘YUN’ as ‘SUN’) When the spelling is ‘Loin’, the pronunciation is- LAW- YUN (‘YUN’ as ‘SUN’) I hope this has made the pronunciations clearer. How about a story today?
The Lord Krishna and the Lapwing’s Nest
It was the battle of Kurukshetra. The white conch shells were about to sound, the elephants were to march forward, and the attack of the archers was to commence. The moment was brief and terrible. Banners were flying, and the charioteers preparing for the advance. Suddenly a little lapwing (a bird), who had built her nest in the turf (land) of a hillock (small hill) in the midst of the battlefield, drew the attention of Lord Krishna by her cries of anxiety and distress for her young. “Poor little mother!” He said tenderly, “let this be thy protection!” And, lifting a great elephant-bell that had fallen near, he placed it over the lapwing’s nest. And so, through the 18 days of raging battle that followed, a lapwing and her nestlings were kept in safety in their nest by the mercy of the lord, even in the midst of the raging field of Kurukshetra. What according to you is the moral of the story? All right, the other day, another participant, Suhas, in another workshop asked me a question. Madam, is this sentence right – “The rain is raining.” Nope! Suhas, it isn’t. The rain cannot ‘rain’, it may ‘reign’ (rule, control) till it chooses to, but it cannot ‘rain’— rain can ‘fall’. Ah! I’ve confused you, haven’t I? All right, let me put the sentences like this: The rain is raining. (Incorrect) It is raining. (Correct) Rain is falling. (Correct) But when in a sentence, the word ‘reign’ is used then the meaning is different. ‘Reign’ means to control, so: ‘Rain is reigning’ would mean, ‘the rain is controlling (by falling hard, by clogging up the roads…). Bye for now!