Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Nash Effect


The unfair part of studying in a Kendriya Vidyalaya throughout is that by std. VI or VII, just when you feel like a class topper, a whole bunch of english speaking, convent educated children come and join you in your class.  The reason is simple. For parents in transferrable jobs, it is easier for them to have their children move schools when they are younger but as they grow up, it is better to stick to a syllabus and school which will give you an easy admission into the next school. So they switch to the bankable KV schools instead of other high flying convents they were studying in till then.

This comes as a blow to those who have been studying in a KV since std. I. The generally Hindi speaking crowd turns into an English speaking one. The PRT teachers who loved us are replaced by snootier TGT & PGT teachers. They favour the new students who study Civics, Geography, History etc. in English and can rattle off the Five piinciples of Peaceful Coexistence of Nations as opposed to our cumbersome renditions of the 'Panchsheel Siddhant'. 'Chacha Chaudhary' & 'Billo Pinki' are replaced by Enid Blyton tales.

Class toppers suddenly become middle rankers. In one such year when I was trying to scrape my way up the ranking order, I was asked by my English teacher to recite a poem from the textbook. I stood up confident and read out. First the name of the poem and then the Poet's name.

"Ogden Nash".

The whole class burst out laughing. I looked around. Couldn't figure out why they laughed so I continued. A wee bit louder this time, "Ogden Nash". They laughed agin, harder. On closer inspection I realised only a handful of them were laughing. I was confused. My teacher asked them to keep quiet and me to continue. I finished the complete recitation.

I went home and asked Dad if I had said something wrong. He couldn't figure it out either.

Next day at school those children laughed again.

I couldn't contain myself. After the next English class, I asked my teacher where had I gone wrong. He told me that I was pronouncing Nash (as in Cash) as Naash (as in Taash) which means destruction in Hindi. That was all. He told me not to worry about it too much as it was a proper noun and we all were at a liberty to pronounce it as per our accent as long as we didn't deviate too much from the original.

I admire him for 2 reasons.

First, he made me realise that accent didn't make anyone superior or inferior. In fact when I tease my husband these days about his strong 'Oriya' accent, he proudly tells me that, "A strange accent means that the person knows an additional language other than the one he/she is speaking at the moment".

The second reason is that unlike other teachers (the Social Studies teacher who ridiculed me for being confused about Soccrates because in Hindi history books Socrrates is called Sukraat) he did not make fun of me in front of the whole class. He asked me to get more books and study my subjects in both languages. Even though it was enough for me to know 'ushn katibandhiya pradesh उष्ण कटिबंधीय प्रदेश' and sheetoshna jalwayu शीतोष्ण जलवायु' to get good marks, it would never hurt to know that they meant 'Tropical Regions' & 'Temperate Climates' in English. So what if I had to study a few subjects in two languages, one to get marks and second just for my knowledge. It was only going to help me in life.

"No knowledge ever goes waste and it is never too late to learn something new", said he.

I thought he was being unfair and had no busines advising me and my parents on this issue but in hindsight I can only thank him for suggesting so and my parents for taking him seriously. They bought me books in both languages (they were readily available in school book shops).


One Nash helped me when I was a kid.
Another one now.

More I see Nash Edgerton's short films, the more I am inspired to work feverishly towards my short films. To stretch my limits. To learn more. Not just the tricks of the trade but new trades as well. Trades like Photography, Editing, Sound etc. which I dabbled in only at an amateur level till date, I am all set to take them to a higher plane.

He was a stuntman for films like Matrix Trilogy, The Thin Red Line, Star Wars II, III etc. He was a body double for Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi. He makes short films through 'The Blue Tongue' company. He has directed an Austrailian thriller movie 'The Square' and will be see as an actor in Kathryn Bigelow's  'Zero Dark Thirty' in December 2012. He does what he wants to do!!!

Just when I was forgetting Ogden.
Just when I had unknowingly given up the lesson he taught me.
Just when I was getting a bit too comfortable in life, wanders in another Nash to tell me not to let go of my dreams. Not to be complacent and arrogant about what I have already learnt about films. There is much more to learn. Much more than the syllabus I had earmarked for myself.

"No knowledge ever goes waste and it is never too late to learn something new" echoes he through his work, just like my English teacher.

Here is one of his much celebrated short films which he has directed and acted in as well.

(PS: My husband & father never need a mention for I have taken them for granted. But I mention them here because both these times, they have been instrumental in pushing me out of my confort zone. Anybody can teach you a lesson, but you need family who can kick you out of your cozy bed to act on them by being brutally honest with you. These two men kick my butt a lot to keep me me :)

1 comment:

  1. A captivating memoir reminding me of my old college days when we too had our encounters with convent studied students.
    But now a marked difference is obvious -
    you command over and enjoy best of both the worlds-have dexterity in both the languages-a rare accomplishment!
    Enjoyed reading this post!


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