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An English Test – A Traveller’s Tales

February 06, 2018 1 min read

A decade or more ago, we were traveling on a train in India – from Mumbai to Bhopal. My children were less than 12 years old and we all enjoyed the constant stream of food vendors that come and go. Samosas, popcorn, chanaa bhel, coconut water, omlettes, alu parathas etc etc etc …..were consumed with fresh delight and then forgotten immediately!

But the memory of a soup vendor lingers after so many years!

He passed us many times between 2 stations carrying a large canister of tomato soup and served them in plastic cups for Rs. 10 each.

The delightful things was that he caught our attention by yelling out “foup foup foup – tomato foup Rs. 10!!”

Maybe the unique way of saying it was an attention-getting tactic. But given that the word ‘soup’ was in the 3rd or 4th language he knew and NOT his mother tongue … we just thought of it as a cute and involuntary error.

But a visit to the V & A museum last week made me rethink the young vendor’s diction!

Here are some examples of writing from centuries ago ….img_9140img_9142




It appears  that my convent education was quite inadequate in learning this foreign language and it was the foup vendor was not wrong after all!

Fuch twists have happened with me fo often that my larder is well ftocked with humble pie!


Feb 2018

jaina mishra | wovensouls






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