How not to speak English..!
SOME three decades ago, I of ten heard the sound of laugh ter surging up my staircase in quick staccato bursts and knew friend Vinay Sethi had not just cracked a joke but was laughing at it himself!
He had to laugh because like canned laughter during a TV comedy, most did not know when to laugh. Being poker faced and cracking a joke in our country doesn’t work. The joke doesn’t crack! Nobody laughs, its often misunderstood and so to get people to know it’s a joke you got to laugh yourself, and this I think my friend Vinay had perfected. His laughter was infectious and within a few seconds I heard others laugh too.
But you can’t keep provoking others to laugh all the time, and so I wasn’t too surprised to find Vinay at my doorstep, inviting me over for the release of his book, “How Not to speak English!”
It was one of the best books I’ve read on how English should not be spoken! Mr Sethi did not start by telling us mortals from some lofty height about the grandeur of the language he’d adopted and now mastered but instead simply and effectively moved the reader through his pages by speaking about mistakes we so commonly make while using the language.
Nowhere did I hear him preaching, nor chiding, but gently leading, explaining not correcting, showing simple methods he’d found worked for him.
I went for the book release at a stately bookshop near Fountain in the city and found the venue of the launch packed, scores of them classmates of Vinay and others he’d made as friends at college in Xavier’s or his teaching years.
I wondered whether they’d all read the book before coming, because this time as he held the audience spellbound with his talk, I found them laughing before he did! I realize now after three decades Vinay had found a solution for his jokes, anecdotes and very amusing conversations, he’d written a book which made Englishmen out of ‘English is our second language’ Indians and had lifted us into becoming Gentlemen, Lords and Ladies of what was once the Queen’s fiefdom!
Very clever of you Vinay Sethi: Instead of lowering the quality of your jokes, you raised us up, through yon book to understand your asides and missiles of laughter you fire pokerfaced!
Pick up a copy, ‘How Not to Speak English’ and you’ll never need canned laughter again..! —Email:firstname.lastname@example.org