Widowed by English

People

Widowed by English

Illustration: Namaah/ Arré

“K

oi discount nahi milega, ji? Yeh mera third time hai, aapke yahan…”

The petite young woman peers over the tall help desk of Touchstone English Coaching Centre in Patiala, hoping to get a markdown. Jashan Waraich, with her long hair plaited into a Punjabi guth and a yellow salwar kameez, is a cheerful sight. But her voice is tinged with disappointment. She waits for a response but all she gets from the receptionist is a finger pointed to a large red-lettered sign. It says, ‘English Only Zone.’ Unable to meet the unspoken imperative, she walks away. It’s not the prospect of forking over cash for yet another test that’s bringing her down. It’s the fear that tomorrow, on her seventh attempt at IELTS (International English Language Testing System), she might fail once again.

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