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Chocolate?
No, not chocolate.
Chipmunks?
No, not chipmunks.
Covid-19?
No, definitely not Covid-19. Too much is already being written about it.
Then, what?!!
How about cucumber?
Cucumber?!!!
Yes, cucumber!

I was not going to let that lackluster response affect my decision. It was time to bite the bullet and ….write about cucumbers. Or rather how I pronounced the word till recently. Ku-ku-mbuh.

The powers that be that shaped me and my life… Wait a minute. That sounds overly dramatic. Let me try again. The teachers who taught me, and my parents, and those around me, which makes a whole lot of people actually, for I have studied in a dozen different institutions in three different states due to father’s transferable job, pronounced the word as ku-ku-mbuh. More like, ku-ku-mbuhr. Yup, they didn’t like to ignore the little one at the end. I mean, why have her there if you intend ignoring her altogether, right? At least that must have been the idea.

It is quite late in life, that too after having quite inadvertently passed on the ku-ku-mbuhr genes to my own children, that I found out to my amazement and horror that cucumber was pronounced as kyoo·kuhm·buh. Not only was the last member of the team heartlessly ignored, the first ‘cu’ and the second ‘cu’, as identical-twins-like as they come, were being disguised and presented to us as fraternal twins. Whoa! Trust the English language to play these kind of jokes on you, innocuously put pairs of the same alphabets next to each other and give them different sounds so as to trip innocent people and make them the laughing stock. Cheap shot, I say.

But whatever, I am not complaining because cheap shots or not, I love the English language, or the limited version of it that I know. Now though, you will have to excuse me please. There are some fresh kyoo·kuhm·buhs in the refrigerator which kyoo·kuhm·buhs I got from the market (before the lock-down!) and now I need to go cut those kyoo·kuhm·buhs to make tasty and healthy kyoo·kuhm·buh salad to go with the rice and prawn curry I made for dinner.

[In the meantime spare a thought for the tiny ‘r’ left out in the cold. ‘Pray’ for her and also send some ‘positive vibes’ her way ….and stop laughing!]

© Shail Mohan 2020