Sunday, June 9, 2013

Grandma and the Hdyrogen Peroxide

Spotted that typo did you?

So did my Grandma - a long time ago.

I spent all of my childhood in a quaint little hill station - ever so many feet above sea level. However, come school holidays, the family would pack bags and travel down the winding hair-pin bends all the way down to Bangalore to my maternal grandparents house.

Marati Style Saree
Courtesy: Google Images
My grandparents lived in a large rambling house in the older part of the city.  Holidays meant the house was packed to the brim with uncles, aunts and cousins.  My Grandma was your typical as-traditional-as they-come types, complete with nine yard saree worn Marati style.

There was never any reason for me to suspect she knew how to speak English let alone read it.

One holiday, it so happened, the rest of the brood had not yet arrived so we had the house to ourselves.  I got busy with a science project.  I slaved over it all morning and lost track of time.  In the interim the whole family had gone out and only Grandma was at home.  She began to get concerned as there wasn't a single peep from me and popped in to see what I was up to.

I proudly displayed my fantastic bristol board with 3D pop-ups and meticulously painted diagrams and the works.

"It's amazing," admitted Grandma.  "Just correct the spelling of Hydrogen."

You can imagine the level of my astonishment!

Some years later I got to know that her father - my Great Grandfather was a Professor of English!  He had actually published books in English.  We are talking about the 1920s.  The books - actually booklets - were topics like "Fifty Frequently Used Idiomatic Expressions and their Meanings" - however, they were very popular (surprisingly the larger percentage of readership were the British!) and my Grandma and her siblings spent many hours sorting and packing the books. Also, since my Grandma and her sisters went to the local school, my Great-Grandfather took it upon himself to teach his girls English at home.

Guess I know where my "writing" genes come from!