Sorry, but I have to do this. Write another post on the Spelling Bee, I mean. I know, I just finished one. What, you ask, do you think this is Sun TV? Is this Spelling Bee week? Or have you run out of ideas already? No, nothing like that, please, just this one post. This will be short. And quite painless, I assure you.
You see, I cannot stop thinking about those kids on the Spelling Bee. For one thing, how do their parents realize their children are geniuses at spelling?
I can imagine a scene when Mr. And Mrs. Agarwal return home after visiting friends. “You know”, says Mr. Agarwal, “that Rakesh Gupta is such a slob”. Four year old Bunty behind them intones “Slob. S-l-o-b. Slob. Etymology, Irish. Meaning, Slovenly or Boorish person. Usage in a sentence – Rakesh Gupta is such a slob.”
The parents turn around and hug Bunty and say “Bunty, you are so wonderful! You should go to the Spelling Bee!”
I also notice that quite a lot of these kids are home schooled. Presumably, this means they spend a large part of their time learning various languages and preparing for the Bee. This can lead to interesting consequences. Picture this scene – Mrs. Gupta asks Mrs. Agarwal, “So what does Bunty do? Which school is he in? Does he come first in class?”
Mrs. Agarwal replies, “Oh no, Bunty is home schooled. He is learning spelling for the Bee.”
Mrs. Gupta looks pityingly at Mrs. Agarwal. “Oh, Bunty is still learning spelling?”
She draws up to her full height and says proudly, “My Tinku can form whole sentences. Why, even yesterday, he told me, “Mom, I want pizza”. Maybe you should put Bunty in a regular school. He will learn more than what you teach him at home.”
Mrs. Agarwal is, as Bunty would say, f-l-u-m-m-o-x-e-d.
Then there is the issue of what happens after these kids acquire a vocabulary the size of several dictionaries. Surely, they cannot try out their new words with their friends. If they did, that would only work for about 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, they would no longer have any friends left. So the logical course would be to use their new, extended vocabulary at home.
“Beta, what do you want for Diwali?” Mrs. Agarwal asks Bunty.
Bunty replies, “Mom, can you get me a Catawba sweater and Boondockers?”
Bunty is only asking for a maroon sweater and sneakers, but does Mrs. Agarwal know this?
And tell me, how do you ask your child to break it up into simpler words for you?
When I think about all this, I feel rather sorry for those Spelling Bee parents. Now I know why they all look so happy during the finals. They are sooo relieved it’s all over.