There was a Hindi dictionary, Gita Press Hindi dictionary, that formed a big part of my childhood. My father had got for me when I was 4-5 as a birthday gift, I had cried because I wanted what others were getting, but slowly it entered my life in a grand manner. It was cheap, and I was happy. It did cost some rs 50 or lower, and that’s why father could afford it.
I spent my free hours just randomly looking for words. It hame in handy once in a big way.
In cental school at Barrackpore, when I was in 7th grade, our Hindi teacher gave us a surprise quiz. He gave us 50 words that we has to decide whether they were feminine or masculine.
HIndi is very peculiar, I guess other Indian languages are similar. Assigning sex to inanimate objects! We all know the rivers are feminine, mountains are masculine, but deeper you dig, it becomes tricky.
I had to guess correctly. Had to think very deep for those 30 minutes or so. The teacher graded the paper immediately, and found I had made 17 mistakes.
I was shocked. Couldn’t believe it. I took the paper back home and diligently checked each word.
Found that in 4 instances the teacher was correct and I was wrong. But in 13 other instances, according to Gita Press Dictorary, the huge one, I was right and the teacher – wrong.
Was super excited, Next day carried the dictionary to school. The dictionary was heavy – about 3 kgs – and I was a super slimmy guy – less than 50 kgs – so it had a considerable effect.
When I saw the teacher and informed him in an excited voice that he was wrong he would check the dictionary.
He didn’t seem excited, and almost ignored me. He didn’t open the dictionary even once.
Two years back was coming back from Lumbini, the bus has its destination as Gorakhpur, saw the signs of Gita Press there. Want to thank Gita Press and all its workers who made that dictionary possible.
I would very much like to buy that dictionary for old times’ sake – for Rs 50 or lower if possible.