I was predictably beside myself with rage when I read in newspapers that the Union Public Service Commission had decided to give additional importance...

I was predictably beside myself with rage when I read in newspapers that the Union Public Service Commission had decided to give additional importance to English at the cost of Telugu. Naturally, I ran to the house of my only friend of whom I have written off and on. If I may be pardoned for just one repetition, I wish to say that I marvel at his rare command of both English and Telugu. One look at me and he said: "I can imagine why you are so puffed at the wattles!" Not that I understood what those words meant, but I meekly nodded my head. "You are angry because you believe that if the UPSC implements the scheme Telugu students will be at a disadvantage. Am I right?" "Don't you think so?" I countered with asperity. The reply was rather pat: "No, I don't." Shocked, I said: "So, you don't think students who have studied through Telugu medium cannot make the grade. Is that so?" "Yes, because Telugu and English have become one, so much so that a student who thinks he/she knows English can answer any question in Telugu which will pass for English; conversely, those who regret having studied through the Telugu medium can write whatever they like in Telugu and that will be construed as English."You could have knocked me down with a feather that instant because I could not understand a word of what my friend had said. Noticing my embarrassment, my friend asked me to pipe down. "You need some time to cool down," he said and switched on the TV set. Since he knew that I fancied Telugu songs more than those in any other language, he homed in on a Telugu channel.The first song I heard sent me back years when I had first heard it; a duet by S Rajeswara Rao and Balasaraswati. Then there was an advertisement. What could an English ad be doing in a Telugu programme, I wondered. My friend smiled and directed my attention to the advertisement. But I was far too angry to pay much attention to it. "Have you heard what the dentist told his patient?" That was my friend. Frankly I had not. My friend explained: "The dentist said that after she had used something he had prescribed, she had 'less germs'. Why can't Telugu children write 'less germs' for 'fewer germs' and qualify in the competitive examination?" Obviously, I did not look impressed by the logic. Therefore, my friend switched off the TV set and switched on the radio. A couple of Telugu songs, one each by Ghantasala and SPB, made me cool down, but the impish look in my friend's eyes did not desert him. Maybe he knew what was coming! Yes, here too there was an advertisement in English, and it said "synonymous to�." My friend then opened his mouth: "If you believe that Telugu children cannot write 'less germs' for 'fewer germs' and 'synonymous to' for 'synonymous with' and qualify in the competitive exams, I am afraid you have a poor idea of their IQ, as also of that of their examiners!" � M V
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