When we were young, reading articles in the Times of India was mandatory on the weekend. At least one article, we had to read aloud, even if we didn’t understand some of the words. The words that we didn’t understand, we were to look up in the Oxford Concise Dictionary and ask our father, if we still didn’t understand. We could then proceed to read the comics, and cut out stuff from the paper for our scrap-book. The idea, was to understand and learn good written English. We were often, also subjected to listen to the BBC at 7pm. The idea here, was to learn pronunciation. When we were young, It was a good Sunday.

It has been many years since I’ve heard BBC Radio, (apart from the time when I was in the UK, a few years ago, and listened to the news on BBC Radio) but I can assure one thing now. If you want your child to learn written English, Times of India (TOI) is not what you want your child to learn from. The TOI-let paper is no longer the Guardian (no pun-intented) of the language.

Yesterday, I was at the BBC at 8pm.

This is a different BBC; British Brewing Company. A nice pub with an iPad enabled menu; supported by waiters carrying connected iPod-touch devices, who end up confirming, at your table, what you ordered on the iPad. Beats the purpose, if you ask me, but hey, when there’s beer, I tend not to complain, except when it is over-priced.

So much for the context. (The folks at BBC are super, if you ask me; happy, helpful bunch – not those stuck up servers that you experience elsewhere). This post has less to do with the place I was at; much to do with the folks I was with. Good friends. Great Conversations.

IMG_4362 - Version 2

We talked of many things. Dreams, for example. And while we were doing so, I got two very strong sanctions that I am a good story-teller. Management, for example. Apparently, I am able to juggle the beginning, middle and end of a story to good effect, with enough clues to interest my audience to stay till the end. Responsibility, for example. I was tired tonight, and was hoping that my fatigue would not bring down the mood for the evening. Ambitions, for example. I actually would have dampened the mood, except, these were my friends – and by sheer presence – they washed down the dampening mood. Quandaries, for example. In other words, BBC lit up with a thousand lights, as soon as they entered. [Even if they made their star entry at 8:38pm. The delay is immaterial; their presence vital]

This isn’t the first time that this has happened – this is definitely not the last. We already have a promise of the next weekend. Most of my friends know; just when we think the evening is done, I have that one little bit more to say. These two people knew it; understood it. Just then, it became a wonderful evening. If my best friend was with me, it would have been perfect, yet it was wonderful. I missed her; they missed her. But we are good friends because we know what our friends want, because we know where we want our friends to be.

So they may call you a sucker for good conversations, but you have to feel good about that accusation – because it is such a wonderful feeling. When we were young, BBC meant something else; a pub today, hijacks the acronym; but in essence serves a similar purpose. Expression, comprehension, and such. What was once passive becomes active and interactive.

I am grateful to my parents and my teachers for giving me a voice and the sense of articulation. I am grateful to my friends for their attentive listening and understanding. Without the both of you, my thoughts and my ideas would have amounted to nothing. I’ve said this before, but I will say this again: all that is good of me, I owe it to my parents, teachers and my friends. All the mistakes, I owe it to myself. Parenting is telling you what the way is; teaching is telling you why the way is; friendship is walking with you along the way; irrespective.

When we were young, we used to listen to the British Broadcasting Company. In the new BBC, we are talking.

The grammar is still local; the speech is fast; the context is assumed – but a wonderful evening has been had.

I think, that counts for a lot. Viva BBC.


PS: KS, share with SS



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