“You are so smart Juggernaut, you answer every question in chemistry class, can we form a study group with you as the group leader to help me and few others to understand chemistry and other subjects?” asked Mallikarjun. Mallikarjun recently joined the school in 12th grade; he was tall with a well trimmed fine mustache, looked older than most students in the class though with ready smile looked too innocent for his age. His cheeks were rough with mild bloody eruptions as if rubbed against coarse sandpaper on a regular basis.
Juggernaut was pleasantly surprised to hear that somebody called him smart. Nobody either at his home or school called him smart.At home he was infamous for making mischief and was called a “Skylark” for playful behavior. After the school, he never opened the school bag at home, he thought that the bag was intended to store and carry books to school;event at school he opened the bag only if teachers insist. The only subject he paid some attention was Chemistry and sometimes Physics; and scored well in the tests with no effort.Since the new student Mallikarjun asked him to start a study group, Juggernaut took the responsibility of study group leader very seriously; to avoid embarrassment of failing to answer questions from the study group members, Juggernaut started reading all the subjects seriously before the beginning of each study group session. To his own surprise, Juggernaut was getting good grades in other subjects as well besides Chemistry. Unexpectedly, Mallikarjun became a catalyst in Juggernaut’s education endeavor.
English as a subject was taught from early age in India. Most Indian students were well versed in English not only as subject but as a language of learning other subjects in physical and social sciences.Mallikarjun though started poorly in all the subjects, he improved considerably along with other members of the study group and they all attributed their success to Juggernaut’s leadership in the study group.Mallikarjun started communicating only in English at the study group sessions to further improve his vocabulary in English.This annoyed some of the study group members since they preferred to speak in the native language. Nevertheless, Mallikarjun continued his practice of speaking only in English using big words, sometimes he made up new words and expressions in English that sounded bizarre and weird.
After several of weeks of comradeship during study group sessions, Mallikarjun invited Juggernaut to visit his home in another part of town.His house was few hundred feet from temple of Hindu Goddess Lakshmi know to bless her devotees with wealth. People in business and young women seeking rich husbands were the ardent devotees of Goddess Lakshmi.
Mallikarjun’s house was a row-house on a very narrow street with open sewer drains on both sides of the street creating hazard of falling into if one was not mindful of street topography. Pedestrians, people riding bicycles and rickshaws mindful of each other shared the narrow path with utmost caution. Walking slowly, Juggernaut followed Mallikarjun into the house, momentarily blinded from entering dark home from bright sunlight.
The living room was large with stuff stored along the walls some in metal trunks stacked up against the walls; a large high-rise bed occupied one corner.Since no lights were lit, it was hard to see if anybody was sleeping on the bed. Mallikarjun introduced Juggernaut to his elderly mother and older brother as his good friend and mentor to the embarrassment of Juggernaut not used that kind of introduction. After spending some time in the large room, Juggernaut heard a feeble voice from the bed, with close attention he noticed an old man curled up sleeping on the bed. Without paying much attention, Mallikarjun pointed towards the old man on the bed and said “he is my father a rogue suffering from paralysis.” Juggernaut was shocked to hear the word “rogue.”The word ‘Rogue’ in English was meant a scoundrel or a scamp, a person with a bad character. In native language, the word ‘rogee’ is a person with a disease. Mallikarjun’s creative English vocabulary went haywire in the context to call his father a rogue to describe his father afflicted with paralysis. Baffled with the use of word ‘Rogue,’ Juggernaut pretended as if he heard nothing.
Mallikarjun proficiency in English was improved to such an extent, after completing High School, he went straight into the business of selling life insurance. Fluent in English, he impressed potential clients to buying into expensive life insurance policies. People were carried away with his fancy English words and bought insurance coverage well above their needs from Mallikarjun.
Decades later, Juggernaut was travelling in a train suddenly recognized a familiar voice describing the benefits of having a life insurance policy only to meetMallikarjun trying to peddle insurance policies to fellow travelers in the train.Mallikarjun has all the praise for Juggernaut for allowing him into the study group that led him into successful insurance business. Juggernaut in return praised Mallikarjun for giving an opportunity to become a serious student from an easy going student life.Flashed into Juggernaut’s mind, the word ‘Rogue’ Mallikarjun used years ago to describe his father’s disability from paralysis. Though his English failed then to describe his father’s medical condition, he was certainly mesmerizing people now with his English to buying into insurance.