English is one language which is really very funny. That way I feel all languages are funny in one way or the other, including my mother tongue, Malayalam and hubby’s mother tongue, Garhwali.

English now scares me to no end. I believe it would have scared my Mom too, a few years ago.

Anu, my first-born, received a bundle of gifts from her Maasi (my little sis) some months ago. It included a huge colouring book, crayons, sketch pens, pencil colours, poster colours, glitters, stickers, scrap book, a cute little colour-me book. Little Love too received the same and is pretty busy with them these days. Along with these there were two Enid Blyton books that were sent especially for Anu and she’s too proud to flaunt them around. She feels she’s grown into a big big girl and that is why Maasi has sent her big big books. Till a few days back, the only purpose of those books was to gain our (hubby and me) attention by holding it close to her face such that she was reading them. It’s only been a week or so that she has actually started reading one of the books, The Enchanted Shoes and other stories.

Picture Courtesy: Google Image Search
Picture Courtesy: Google Image Search

I sensed that she was really making an effort to read the story when she started bugging me with requests to tell her the meanings and pronunciation of certain new words that she had come across for the first time. I did help her with some initially but then I felt it would be great to let her learn to look up for the meanings in a dictionary. That’s exactly what my Mom did for me. So I requested hubby to get her a pocket dictionary.

Certain things definitely are better handled by mothers.  I forgot this.

He brought back a big Oxford Dictionary and presented it to her. And without putting much thought I heaved a big sigh of relief. Little did I know that the situation is going to change in just 2-3 days.

Yesterday, at bed time, Anu was reading the book and suddenly started looking up for a word in the dictionary that her father so lovingly presented her with. Hubby was lying on the bed reading out a story to Little Love. When I entered the room, this is what I heard:

“Homosexual:  a person who is sexually attracted to people of their own sex.”

For a while, both hubby and I stared at each other in disbelief. 😯


After the initial shock, I calmed down, composed myself and asked her what she was looking up for. She was looking for the meaning of the word, ‘GAY’ and the first meaning given in the dictionary was ‘homosexual’. Without getting into any further discussion I took the dictionary from her and upon seeing the second meaning that said ‘happy and carefree‘, I told her that she had looked up for the wrong meaning. Hubby was grinning and winking witnessing the awkward situation I was in. He really enjoys when I fumble for words or am struggling with the television remote to change channels when a steamy hot song/scene is being aired to ensure that the girls don’t see any of it.

Good that it was bed time. I immediately pressed the panic button and stressed that it was time to go to sleep and that I had to wake up early rush in the morning.

This evening while entering home, I was worried that she might ask me for more details about the ‘new vocabulary addition‘. Fortunately, she hasn’t so far.

I think I can now start a complete series of posts under the ‘Dictionary Series‘. 😀

22 Replies to “English-Vinglish”

  1. hahaha!! 😀
    I can so imagine the scene!!! 😛

    My frn’s daughter (a precious 4 yr old!) shouted out the F word in the car in a traffic jam in Bangalore with the grandparents in the back seat!!!!!
    Oh boy!! The expression on my frn’s hubby’s face was absolutely priceless!!! 😀 😀

  2. I like very much that you work hard with your girls and try to teach them. Languages are very important; since they’re still young, I think you should teach them as much as you can because it’ll be harder later for them to acquire the language and they won’t find out the importance of speaking various languages until they are grown ups.

    However, you should be careful and apparently you are, with the sources they get their information from either it’s general issues or religious stuff. Be aware of the sexual thing and don’t let it pass by easily. Explain everything clearly and don’t be shy, that’s based on a personal experience.

    One more thing, teach them how to have an opinion and be truth seekers, it has something to do with their personality. I wish you the best of luck and success. God bless you and your family.

  3. I think this is my first time comment on your space Rekha. 😀
    Homosexuality is nothing to feel bad about. It is just some people are born with. Take it easy. There is nothing wrong for kids to know new things and just because they know, that does not mean they will become one.
    Gay people are also humans after all and there is nothing indecent about it 🙂
    Some people might not accept, its their life afterall, isnt it? 😀
    My 2 cents.

    1. Hi Bhavana, thanks for stopping by and taking time to read. I totally agree with your views. However it seems you got me wrong. I have nothing against homosexuality. But I feel it is not something that I can or should explain to a 7 year old. Isn’t it? 😀

      1. 😀 hmm,. you have a point. Not sure how that can be explained to kids.
        Since I have no kids, I agree I do not know what I would have done in a similar situation 😀
        But reading habit is such a good thing to teach a child..

  4. I still have the book – the enchanted woods…one of my favorite!
    Awkward!! Haha loved this cute post! These days children grow up fast and with a maturity that baffles me…this is the way they learn…somehow however had we try to screen things from them there are so many mediums where they can catch up on these ‘funny’ English words no?

  5. hahaha i was just remembering the kind of situations i’ve put my mother through 😛 enjoyed reading your post 🙂 btw which part of kerala are you from??? 🙂
    i’m a malayalee myself 😀 (though i’ve never stayed in kerala)

  6. Love the way your daughter went on to pick the first meaning and then look for that word once again in the same dictionary 😀 If not anything, she ll turn out to be smart and extremely self reliant in the future 😀

    Given that she is already 7 yrs old, it won’t be too much time before she needs to be introduced to homosexuality as a concept at least by you, right? Get ready for the crazy teenage years, I’ve got at least a decade more to go, by when friends like you will have wonderful real world advice for me 😉

  7. haha…been there Rekha.
    My 10 year old is also at a stage when he is using his dictionary more often and there are words that I wish did not exist.

    Would love to join in with ya on the marathon of words existing in the modern dictionary 😉
    Good post!

  8. 🙂 Yes, you can, Rekha! You just brought on a spate of memories of my son Vidur….at that age! One of the initial words he looked for was gay, too. What really stood out for me was his initiative to dig deeper. 😀 Delightful read!

  9. haha That was funny. Kids do put you in a soup often. But you know, you can just tell her that it is when a man feels attracted to another man. Young kids will not pester you much more. And when later she is older, you can tell her in detail. But trying to divert or hush up may make her feel that it is something taboo or weird and she will make a mental note to find out more. As far as TV viewing is concerned, I don’t see anything wrong in them seeing kisses. They understand kissing as a form of love! Anything more adult, my husband and I prefer to watch alone. And, they understand when we say that it is not for kids. Just my two cents.

  10. I feel you on the purchase of the dictionary. I am sure there are kids size and kids friendly dictionary out there, right? Right? Anyway the Oxford dictionary that the hubs bought for my 7 yr old has been sitting on his study table after being used less then 10times. Its so heavy and the words are so tiny that my 7yr old does not likes it 😦

  11. LOL 😀 Kids have this knack of putting us in awkward situations. I believe in today’s times we need to be open with our kids and need to share accurate and age-appropriate info about the ‘taboo’ topics. They always surprise us with their understanding and such conversations are good to forge wonderful relationship with kids too! Happy parenting Anu and lil Love 🙂

  12. Ah, the joys of parenting I tell you. I had the same problem with ‘Pollyanna’. It had the word ‘ejaculated’ which in archaic English means to shout out loud. And you can only imagine my horror when I came across the same. Fortunately the school handled it much better by giving meanings of big words. Since then the book is no longer a part of the syllabus…………..but then again, how much can you do? And I agree with your point about too much too fast. I guess you did the best you could.

  13. Ha ha…Kids do lovely things to draw attention….Even I remember holding books just to draw a surprised attention…The books mostly were some University Level Economics Books , from my Father’s stock..he is a Economic Professor at an University in Kolkata…And the books weighed more than me at that age 😀

  14. True! As a mommy, I too am in some situation where I cannot answer their questions. At those time, I switch of the light with a note of telling them tomorrow which they eventually forget as the next day they have some other questions to ask me …ah! as children grows up, we tend to become more aware of their surroundings .

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