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Let Them Eat Cake

Posted by on January 12, 2011

For extroverts, the world makes sense only when processed verbally. More often than not, this leads to awkward comments, feet stuck in mouths and, sometimes, hilarity. Today was a pleasant combination of all three.

Vasudha, Varun’s sister, has been visiting with us the past week and we’ve had a great time baking, eating Indian food and extending our Christmas holidays as long as possible. Today we were discussing S, the young girl who works in their parents household in India. S is sweet, hard-working and very loyal to the family. Somehow, it came up that she is illiterate.

Me: Wow, I can’t imagine not being able to read. That would be scary. Can’t people trick her when she goes to buy the groceries and stuff?
Vasudha: Yeah… But she brings home the bill and my Mom reviews it, and not everyone is deceitful. We signed her up for a math and Hindi class, but it’s really hard for her to learn as an adult.
Me: No math? Jeepers. I can’t imagine not being able to calculate. I hadn’t thought about that.
(Pause)
Me: Wait. If she can’t read…she can’t use the computer or even facebook then!
Vasudha: (LAUGHTER) You’re like the Queen who heard the people didn’t have bread and suggested they eat cake.

(GASP!) (So. True.) (Sorta)

*Before you judge me, allow me to say that I am not as dumb as I sound. I am actually concerned about literacy and education, and would hate to be seriously compared to Marie Antoinette. (It was hilarious though)

One Response to Let Them Eat Cake

  1. kusum

    S….has d practical wisdom…which she has gained thro’ experience .
    her 6th sense is v sharp…she can gauge d body language…well .often her observation is v correct . she can read…what a normal literate person cannot .
    ….her often used phrase…what do u know….what happens in d world….?????
    [remember vasudha….how she panicked abt her sis who worked in janakpuri…..we tooo…thought……she is over reacting…]
    ….s..is illiterate [can be exploited….has to depend on other person to read instructions…..same way we feel…..wen we visit…non eng…n…hindi speaking areas in r own country .[spend lil time wid…bengalis…south indians…maharashtrians….they will speak in their mother tongue to each other….even if they speak english fluently .
    …S… can operate her cell phone …better than me….n….i’m sure if she finds an interesting person to chat….she will be able to use computer tooo .
    [plz don’t laugh…..person[–swaroop-] who wrote slum dog millionaire….got inspiration from children living in d slums….wen he saw them using computers ..etc…n..these children never went to any school .
    AKBAR the great…was totally illiterate……but he was d wisest emperor we ever had .
    in todays world knowing english is v important .language of internet…i’m glad i know this….n..thats why i’m able to connect to my children who all r sooo far away .

Thoughts? I love hearing from you!