NEVER SAY “NEVER AGAIN”!-Part One

NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN! How God gave me a second life! EFLU—English and Foreign Language University– in Hyderabad DROWNS you in English! Or for that matter any other language or language speci…

Source: NEVER SAY “NEVER AGAIN”!-Part One

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NEVER SAY “NEVER AGAIN”!-Part One

Kuttanlifeissues

NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN!

  1. How God gave me a second life!

EFLU—English and Foreign Language University– in Hyderabad DROWNS you in English!

Or for that matter any other language or language specialty if you have opted for it!

Once you are in, you can’t avoid—unless you jump over the wall and escape, in which case you shall have to pay back the stipend amount and damages– getting transformed into a full blooded specialist and expert.Its like scratching a Tartar;you cant escape the consequences!

I, a classic product of EFLU training–am a living example of that expertise in full play! It was the EFLU training that molded me into an ultra-sensitive instrument for helping men and women master English tongue without causing hem any pain at all!ANYTHING  linked to English is easy for me today just as any language anywhere!In fact I used to speak Amharic as fluently as the Ethiopians…

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NEVER SAY “NEVER AGAIN”!-Part One

NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN!

  1. How God gave me a second life!

EFLU—English and Foreign Language University– in Hyderabad DROWNS you in English!

Or for that matter any other language or language specialty if you have opted for it!

Once you are in, you can’t avoid—unless you jump over the wall and escape, in which case you shall have to pay back the stipend amount and damages– getting transformed into a full blooded specialist and expert.Its like scratching a Tartar;you cant escape the consequences!

I, a classic product of EFLU training–am a living example of that expertise in full play! It was the EFLU training that molded me into an ultra-sensitive instrument for helping men and women master English tongue without causing hem any pain at all!ANYTHING  linked to English is easy for me today just as any language anywhere!In fact I used to speak Amharic as fluently as the Ethiopians themselves;this even made them for a while suspect me tob e some CIA agent planted in their country!.

(The reality is that you CAN master this language more easily than Malayalam, a most difficult tongue globally!)

The moment I hear someone unwittingly code mixing any Indian language with English—90% Indians speak English this way and are shameless enough to call what they blurt out “English”—my ears perk up and I can detect the subtlest influence of the L1 or mother tongue on that language.

The moment I make a chance discovery of a script or writing anywhere—including “national” newspapers- with grammar or usage goofs-I analyze why that goof occurred and what might have been the real trigger!

“Crocodile in Loin cloth”? Oh that is Bengali translated into English! “What is your good name?” Ah, that is a Tamil-English cross breed! “I shall return back tomorrow!”? That is a classic mongrel Malayalam expression presented in English without license! “From reliable circles”? Again translation! Overuse of a verb like “said” in a write-up? Undernourished vocabulary!

”A, E, I, O, U” are the vowels of English!” spoken by someone, may be in a train compartment or at a roadside café? Similar is the mispronunciation of words like “status”!

That comes from wrong teaching at school level by some misinformed “teacher” gargoyle! The insertion of “h” in a name like “Bindu”?  An influence of a language from a neighboring region—in this case Tamil Nadu! (Hundreds of such goofs can be collected into a compendium if you go through “Letters to the Editor” in an English newspaper! Or make an analysis of office correspondence in public offices, say during the 2000-2015!)

I can’t avoid detecting goofs from a distance because of the training that made me what I am today. Naturally if someone makes a mistake in using English I don’t call it a mistake or upbraid him at all. I don’t dirty his script with red ink at all. This is because I understand what a language “mistake is in reality.

I know-thanks to EFLU training that it’s his Broca’s and Wernicke areas on the left side of the brain that caused him to deviate from accepted usage.[This region is right in front of your left ear at the same level. Your language skill is stored there!]

It’s a cliché for me today that I decided to pursue my research studies far away at EFLU(the then CIEFL) in Hyderabad owing to a quite personal challenge that I encountered post wedding in this city without having any elder person to help me get it ironed out. Suffice it to say that within months after my farcical alliance in what used to be called an Exchange Alliance, I found myself toying with suicidal thoughts and even made an attempt once before thinking of my numerous obligations remaining unfulfilled at that time.

The simple fact is that unlike most of my college-faculty colleagues that succeeded in running their marital lives along with what they called research, I reached the CIEFL on a chilly morning with a suitcase containing only a few items essential for survival in their hostel.

That was in June 1977.The previous 9 months had been Inferno for me in manifold ways in the State capital among my so-called in-laws! Gall and wormwood it was and I don’t even like to think of that trauma any longer!

The Vice Chancellor Dr SK Verma—and later Dr Ramesh Mohan– was a friendly man but a martinet too when it came to extracting the required workload from us. Every single day we had to read up at least 25 references in the library and submit the assignments on the very next day. It was a non-negotiable issue. Every week there were tests in the First Semester to weed out the unfit. Every test script would be graded and if someone got a D or below—E or F that was—he could book his return ticket home forthwith. Those getting A Grade would be noticed for their style of working. Those securing B and C would be admonished to work harder to be able to secure consistent A.

Again no compromise on the timings. We had to be inside our rooms—though we were all college lecturers from across India—before 7 pm sharp so that we could go for supper at the same time. No family rooms and no family life at all except for the faculty. Food patterns was North Indian with only 100 grams of boiled rice per day.

This was how I became work-culture-minded and how I truly understood a college teacher job to be a mediocre job line with 80% underutilization prospects for creativity and also severe soul rusting traps built in! If that was so in my case I realized I owed it to myself to overcome that limitation by making use of extra opportunities for being of use to the world when I was in service!

And this was how, with true genuine understanding and help from the head of the institution where I was serving at the time, plus a government permission to leave the campus without prejudice to my routine work for giving training to others, I made a nice for myself as a language trainer for many training programs –CAIIB, Civil Service, BSRB, PO exams, Competitive tests held by the UPSC, CAT/MAT/ATMA? XAT etc. for MBA admissions, and GRE or GMAT for admission in American Universities!

  1. My wins abroad!

EFLU Training sedns you out with its degree ONLY as a world class product, capable of winning anywhere in the world!You CAN’T make a mistake in your specialty-mine was ELT or TESOL!- till you die!

I left India in 1981 December for Addis Ababa, where, after my academic credentials got checked, I was deputed to the Addis Ababa University School of Pedagogical sciences. I was designated as ELT Inspector General, allocated a vehicle—a Toyota Land Cruiser– and  a chauffeur by name Hailu to make inspection at over 4700 schools and also impart training to the English teachers in these institutions.

Actually now you can understand how I lived in that chilly-weathered mountainous nation with a jacket over me, almost all the days traveling over terrains that  were totally unfamiliar and often so muddy that you couldn’t dream of what might happen if your vehicle sank in that mud!

We shall continue this memoir in our next blog!

CHAMPING AT THE BITS TO LEARN NEW SKILLS!

Kuttanlifeissues

I AM A BORN REBEL AND ICONOCLAST!

Hi Good Morning to all of you!

To think of the infinite possibilities with the culinary arts-cooking in simple English- makes me astounded. The fact that ever since my birth I was not exposed to this glorious skill makes me think rather badly of my own late mom too. May be, she thought in the conventional manner that I might never find this interesting!

Did you know that this world is full of food preparations of various kinds from country to country, that over one hundred thousand different recipes can be downloaded from the Internet any moment and also that you could have Christmas every single day of your life at home if only you take time out to prepare a single masterpiece for the family?

Since I got born and grew up in this country India I was accustomed to thinking–and taking…

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CHAMPING AT THE BITS TO LEARN NEW SKILLS!

I AM A BORN REBEL AND ICONOCLAST!

Hi Good Morning to all of you!

To think of the infinite possibilities with the culinary arts-cooking in simple English- makes me astounded. The fact that ever since my birth I was not exposed to this glorious skill makes me think rather badly of my own late mom too. May be, she thought in the conventional manner that I might never find this interesting!

Did you know that this world is full of food preparations of various kinds from country to country, that over one hundred thousand different recipes can be downloaded from the Internet any moment and also that you could have Christmas every single day of your life at home if only you take time out to prepare a single masterpiece for the family?

Since I got born and grew up in this country India I was accustomed to thinking–and taking it for granted as a permanent truth too, the April Fool that I have been all along!- that it’s the WOMEN’S obligation to cook up curries for the family.

Today, for the first time I broke that convention in this home of mine! (As a college teacher I was never really content and snug; every vacation I went out to study something new—beekeeping, angling, German (Grundstufe Eins), first aid etc.

I prepared all by myself a delicious mackerel –actually Stuffed Mackerel- curry with some ginger and garlic sauce at dawn today!

And I couldn’t I believe that it was indeed I that had done it!

For some 15 days now I have been engrossed in mastering the skills associated with steam cooking–of A to Z food delicacies– and also rehearsing the skills!

I am told that most Chinese families have taken to steam cooking in a big way since zero nutrients in raw food materials get leached away.

In India  we are used for generations to BOIL food items in a vessel—hence the large number of vessels that we use in our messy kitchens—but when we boil, the food —which is often costly in the market –loses many of its nutrients. These get washed off in the water. And to cap it all, we don’t use this water for our use!

With a steam cooker—especially electric steam cooker with many stacked containers—the kitchen can be looking pick and span.

I recommend PHILIPS! Or Black and Decker, though its price is stiff.

I understood that much of the world follows this full-health-guaranteed skill in preference to boiling, which is the only thing we find the women in our own homes doing.

I also came to know that glucosinolates-anti cancer compounds – in cruciferous veggies like cauliflower got leached away as a result of mindless boiling, which, as a cooking and food processing technique,  was not as efficient as steam cooking.

EVALUATING LARKIN THRU SOME POEMS!

Kuttanlifeissues

VIEWING LARKIN THRU HIS POETRY!

Yes, it’s a fact that Philip Larkin has been more eulogized than many other 20th century poets but evaluating him and pigeonholing him among other contemporaries is not, for that reason, easy.

Born in 1922, he brought out his second anthology in 1955 with “The Less Deceived”.

THE LESS DECEIVED:

The poems in this anthology testify to his mastery of the poetic craft because the poems possess sure organization and craftsmanship, with a much wider range than that of Kingsley Amis, Donald Davie or Wain, for instance!

Many of these poems deal with subjects which could easily have been coated or suffused with sentimentality—a girl’s photograph album, the idea of a girl’s maiden name, myxomatosis (a disease that has been deliberately spread among rabbits in an attempt to exterminate them, and which has a slowly paralyzing effect on the animals instead…

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EVALUATING LARKIN THRU SOME POEMS!

VIEWING LARKIN THRU HIS POETRY!

Yes, it’s a fact that Philip Larkin has been more eulogized than many other 20th century poets but evaluating him and pigeonholing him among other contemporaries is not, for that reason, easy.

Born in 1922, he brought out his second anthology in 1955 with “The Less Deceived”.

THE LESS DECEIVED:

The poems in this anthology testify to his mastery of the poetic craft because the poems possess sure organization and craftsmanship, with a much wider range than that of Kingsley Amis, Donald Davie or Wain, for instance!

Many of these poems deal with subjects which could easily have been coated or suffused with sentimentality—a girl’s photograph album, the idea of a girl’s maiden name, myxomatosis (a disease that has been deliberately spread among rabbits in an attempt to exterminate them, and which has a slowly paralyzing effect on the animals instead of quickly killing the poor creatures!)

One poem in this anthology draws upon an account of the rape of a drugged girl given the mid-19th century social study in Mayhew’s “London Labor and London Poor” .The abandoned girl lying on the bed merges into the vicarious grief of the poet; the first is put concretely the second in impersonal but sensitive abstractions:

“What can be said,

Except that suffering is exact, but where

Desire takes charge, readings will grow erratic.”

The poem then moves on to its balance of grief on the one hand and self-deception on the other, where the actual scene and its meanings complement one another!

For you would hardly dare

That you were less deceived, out on that bed

Than he was, stumbling up the breathless air

To burst into that desolate attic

The above poem proves him to be a master of the balance between concrete and abstract.

He has the ability to ‘feel’ his way into a complex emotion or resolution by beginning with a concrete situation perhaps quite a trivial one, and then to use this situation as a sort of parallel implicit in his resolution!

In this anthology he displays the negative virtues of the Movement—the avoidance of erudite allusiveness, and distorted syntax of the Eliot School, the political purposiveness of the Audenesque generation, and what he calls the “common myth kitty” of Dylan Thomas and the 1940’s.

Instead his poems have both clarity and subtle irony and a polished formalism; exact in observation and without any trace of illusion, they mirror realistically the contemporary scene in our society!

In “The Poets of the 50’s, Larkin wrote:

As a guiding principle, I believe that every poem must be its own sole created universe and therefore have no belief in “tradition” or a common myth kitty or casual illusions in poems to other poems or poets, which last I find unpleasantly like the talk of literary understrappers, letting you see they know the right people.”

In “The Pleasure Principle”, Listen, volume 2, No.3 Pp 28-32, he declared,

But at bottom, poetry like all art, is inextricably bound up with giving pleasure, and if a poet loses his pleasure seeking audience, he has lost the only audience worth having, for which the dutiful mob that signs on every September is no substitute

NEXT, PLEASE:

This poem opens with the simple idea that , much like Mr. Micawber, you and I are always waiting for something to turn up and Larkin uses his image of these mostly elusive hopes ,the proverbial ship(as in the cliché phrase “When my ship comes  in…”!)

The difference here is that this endlessly long armada of pro0mises is concretely drawn, a literal fleet appearing and then slowly passing by only to disappear on the distant horizon. But none of these is OUR ship but only the ship of destiny or fate, which follows right behind you and me, carrying absolute and eternal oblivion with it!

Notice the violent contrast Larkin draws between the easily conversational first stanza just below (Quote 1) and the superbly controlled foreboding in the last one (Quote 2):

Quote 1:

Always too eager for the future, we

Pick up bad habits of expectancy

Something is always approaching; every day

“Till then” we say….”

Quote 2:

Only one ship is seeking us, a black-

Sailed unfamiliar, towing at her back

A huge and birdless silence. In her wake

No waters breed or break.”

Speaking of Larkin the light of what you have read this far, I must say that Philip Larkin never has a penchant for purity of diction. His lively episodic themes, his eye for objects, his ‘novelist feeling’ for variety of narrative effect and his sheer enterprise in inventing colloquial lyric structures of his own gives his whole work a fructifying informality and versatility of tone. He also possesses a most congenial poetic presence.

He is the very antidote of an exile!

Larkin likes the Welfare state idea because it offers, in his eye, a basic security to all without making any of the old grandiose demnadns-0sacrifice patriotism and service.

“No one really starves” he wrote in “Toads”, by way of his characteristic minimal tribute to the Welfare State concept, imputed to all that live on their wits, who, having opted out of the toad’s six days a weak tyranny and rejected its sickening poison, favor a life of freelance improvisation! Of course the Welfare State may diminish the need for wits but it at least relieves the anguish of wit-livers!

The urban crowds that we get to see often in Larkin poems is not that of London or that of any “megalo metropolis”  as David Gascoigne called London in his poem “Night Thoughts”  but a Baudelairean incarnation through exploration of an urban inferno written since the last War!

Now, before touching Church Going, which represents the later phase in his poetic evolution, we shall scrutinize “Whitsun Weddings”!

THE WHITSUN WEDDINGS:

Wedded life with its inevitable quota of conventionality, monotony, adventure, surprises, and even amazement: that’s essentially the theme of this remarkably composed poem. It’s written in 10-line stanzas with a monotonous regularity that is remarkable; all are rhymed and scanned in the same monotonous manner.

The second line in each stanza has 4 syllables and 2 stresses –the element of surprise I spoke of- and the other 9 lines have 10 syllables and 5 stresses each. The first 4 lines rhyme abab, and the final 6 dispose of 3 rhymes in the pattern cde cde.

There is nothing to puzzle us here! It’s all straightforward, the traditional and in form but not in theme.

The thorough commonality of it all! Is what makes married co-existence all the more exciting; all the surprises are contained within it!

Suggesting that romance of the Wordsworthian kind has nothing much to do with wedded life, Larkin boldly eschews almost entirely the incantation the carefully modulated sonority the passion and the rhetoric familiar to us from the Romantic poets (E.g. I was a traveler then upon the moor-WW)

The peculiar power of this poem derives from the taut tension generated between the elegant and metrical pattern achieved without the slightest form of strain however, on the part of the poet. Its apparently casual tone and informal diction and grammar are also impressive. Larkin takes us into his confidence and travels with us through his reminiscences.

All details are given— Time 1:20 pm, three quarters empty train, half open windows, hot sun. He has caught the train, not his usual one, and he relaxes “all sense of being in a hurry gone”.

Note the effectiveness of the rhythmic repetition of phrases beginning with “all” And the way the last of them runs over the end of a line to stop at “gone” seems to echo a kind of relief at having no need to make any further effort to make till the terminus is reached.

Mr. Larkin’s rhetorical effects are refined and subtle.

Bye, bye Larkin for the time being!

See you later!

ON RE-VISITING PHILIP LARKIN !

Kuttanlifeissues

THE SELF-SNUBBING ENGLISH POET—PHILIP LARKIN!

Typical of a group of self-snubbers and self-loathers, Larkin is forever promising to be a wit and then appealing to the reader to pity him instead. Not a world’s sorrow and loss of meaning but the sullenness of a man who finds much squalor in his own spirit and so fears to liberate himself from it. E.g. :

“Why should I let the Toad work…as cold as snow?”[Toads]

In “Look Back in Anger” and “Lucky Jim” the speaker’s assumption that he is in an inescapable predicament seems to Americans more stubborn than unavoidable. Larkin’s poems of refusal to participate such as Reasons for Attendance  and Places, Loved ones, have about them an air of spurious self-alienation as opposed to a poem like Edwin Muir’s “Interrogation” whose tragic authority derives from awareness of the myriads…

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