Pic.: Harsha Pahuja

Many years ago, I was watching one of the episodes of ‘The Great Indian Laughter Challenge’. The contestant was Sunil Pal…  The dialogue in the act went something like this…

Stranger to the drunkard: “Naam kya hai tumara?”

Drunkard: “Lalloo.”

Stranger: “Accha hai.”

Drunkard: “Toh rak lo!”

So quick and so spontaneous – and, moreover, so fresh - was the response – ‘Toh, rak lo'... that I, instantly, decided to ‘keep’ it!

It would have passed off like something just street-smart or funny; but, I could flip the coin over and find a priceless law of success engraved on it:
“If you like it, please keep it.”

If you, now, remember the ‘Law of Attraction,’ then, remember this, too:

Whatever you deeply like, even subconsciously, you do attract in you.” Fair enough. But, if you consciously decide to ‘keep’ it… make it your own… then, it does become your own!”

The Sunday before last, * Arpita, who has two school-going children, was talking to me. “Sir, I grew up in UP and, though I studied in an English-medium school, I have big difficulty speaking fluently in English… It has affected my self-confidence.”

I pepped up Arpita. I told her my own story… how I had grown up in my village through a vernacular-medium school… how anxious I was as a young man about English… and, how, when I got in me this burning desire to become a fine teacher like my hero – Prof. B.S. Raman… yes, when I got an ambition far bigger and stronger than my fears, I learnt how to overcome my anxiety about speaking and writing in English… Yes, I told Arpita my own story… and, then, I asked her:
“Tell me, Arpita, what is your ambition – the one bigger and stronger than your problem and fear?”

Arpita, took home the message… That, to beat our fear, there had got to be a dream greater than the fear … there had got to be a greater reason to burn the bridges behind us… That, if we deeply and truly liked it, we should, also, deeply and truly desire to ‘keep’ it… make it our own…

Not just say, “Accha hai,”…

But, as the drunkard said, “Toh rak lo,”… yes, we should decide to keep it!

And, yesterday was a Sunday again. Young-lady Michelle, a close relative of mine, had found a suitable boy for her through one of the matrimonial sites… They had met a couple of times over past few weeks, liked deeply each other and, now, had wanted their parents to approve their choice… I had the honor to accompany Michelle’s family…

All went well…

There was this cute-little-chubby girl, Leesa. (about the age eight or nine). She had one of the most charming faces, adorned with an equally charming smile… so enchanting it was, that while leaving their home, I asked the little angel:
“Sweetheart, have you heard of the English expression: ‘The Face/smile that launched a thousand ships?’

Obviously, the little-one hadn’t. She blushed…

“Helen of Troy had it,” Leesa’s aunt helped…

“You have a disarming smile, dear,” I complimented the little-one sincerely, “you can disarm an entire army with your smile.”

The fair-little face turned completely pink!

For a boy like me - who, leave alone the colorful idioms and phrases, couldn’t even form a proper sentence in English, who was paralyzed with self-doubts - this liking for colorful English expressions had come through the same Lalloo’s laws of success: My dream – to become a fine teacher and writer like my idol – had to be far mightier than my problem, self-doubts and fears. And, to own what I had liked, I had to keep it!”

I wish to share, here, how and from where I had picked, liked and kept some of the English expressions… Just the tip of the iceberg…

“Am I my brother’s keeper?”… When my Sunday teacher had dramatized before us, the little kids, the famous reply of Cain to God (Filled with jealousy, Cain had just slayed his brother Abel… and, God had asked him, “Where is your brother?”)… Yes, when the time was ripe, Cain’s line did become mine!

Mr. Ramakrishnan, our senior-most trainer and an impressive communicator, would spice it up with plenty… Mythology, Scriptures, History, Politics, Literature or even Hollywood and Bollywood… yes, he knew them like the back of his hands… He would, constantly, dish out from Shakespeare’s ‘Merchant of Venice’ these:
‘Pound of Flesh”
‘If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?’

From ‘Julius Caesar, we would get from Mr. Ramakrishnan these, so often:
‘Caesar’s wife should be above suspicion’
‘‘Caesar’s Will,”
‘You, too, Brutus,’ (He would put is in authentic way: ‘Et tu, Brute?’

Ramayana’s  ‘Lakshman Rekha’ or ‘Agnipariksha’, Mahabharata’s ‘Chakravyuava’ or  ‘Brahmastra’… Mr. Ramakrishnan used them spot on… To him, the focus had to be like Arjun’s: ‘See nothing else except the eye of the bird!’ The devotion had to be that of Eklavya: 'Be ready to give away your right thumb!’

‘Insha Allah’ or ‘Maasha Allah’ sounded trendy when they came from Mr. Ramakrishnan’s mouth. To convey to us the importance of being humble, willing and ready, he, always, had this one with him: “If mountain won’t come to Muhammad, then, Muhammad must go the mountain.”

Whenever a young-boy’s inner part of the tie hung beyond the outer part, Mr. Ramakrishnan had this teaser: ‘Your Sunday is longer than Monday!’ And, when a young-one impressed him with his speech, he would exult with gusto, ‘Mogambo kush hua’… which meant, we all had to give the young-one a standing ovation!

Well, all this is coming back to my mind, today, because of one casual conversation between that stranger and Lalloo, the drunkard… “Accha hai”… “Toh, rak lo.”

It had become an important Law of Success to me…  

And, trust me, yesterday, to Michelle and her man, we elders said the same thing, when they both had said, “Accha hai/Acchi hai”…

Yes, we told them: “Toh rak lo!”

We are so happy, that they did it!

* Names changed



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