Pic.: Bhushan Thakkar
How we first hear and how we first see something… normally, that’s how we believe it to be!
For example, as a kid, I grew up in a village in Mangalore, where I studied in a local, vernacular-medium school… And, while playing cricket in our dried-up paddy-fields, I first heard someone shouting – ‘HOUSETHAT’…That’s how I thought one should appeal to the umpire to call a batsman out! So, what I first heard in our paddy fields, remained with me for many, many years – even till I finished my college, in fact!
Yes, ‘How’s that?’, to me, was ‘HOUSETHAT?’!!!
But, what’s interesting is that, as far as I remember, for all those years, no one had to ‘correct’ me… no one had to tell me either kindly, rudely, sarcastically or mockingly, “Hello, it is not ‘HOUSETHAT?’… It is ‘How’s that?’”
The day I realized my mistake myself, I just corrected it. It was all over. I said, “Next”!
Yes sir, you won’t believe, how many are there to be corrected… How many ‘HOUSETHATS?’!!
Let me tell you, how, one more of it got corrected, last morning…
Mr. Rajendra Mehra, a Hindu Punjabi, is a very, very affectionate gentleman, who lives in our colony. He is one of our oldest residents, and, also, one of the most admired and respected souls. Though a senior citizen with snow-white hair and beard, he is full of youth and energy… can jell with any age, class and type. He is, also, a character actor in movies and TV shows, which keeps him even more sporting and playful at heart.
And, yesterday, when he posted on FB a picture of his with stunningly done-up sardarjee pagdi, I couldn’t stop myself from commenting. “Shashrekaal sirji”, I greeted in my comment.
“Satsriakal, Jerry sir”, Mr. Mehra replied, instantly.
Before my eyes took the next blink, there, I edited my ‘dumbness’:
Mehra sir did not have to point out to me my dumbness - even though he must’ve realized it - to correct me. He was kind and gentle… In that kindness, I noted my own shortcoming and simply corrected it…
Thanks to my dumbness, I googled to know more about what the famous Punjabi-Sikh greeting meant. I was happy to know this:
'Jo Bole So Nihaal, Sat-Sri-Akaal'… It, roughly, meant, "He/She Be Blessed Who says Truth is God".
“Thank-you sirji, thank-you Googleji.”