चाळीसएक वर्षांपूर्वी पु.ल. देशपांडे मुंबईत वरळीला राहात होते. त्याच परिसरात असलेल्या आदर्शनगर वसाहतीत वेगवेगळी मातृभाषा असणारी मुलं तिथल्या मैदानावर खेळताना आपापसात ज्या `इंग्लिश' (खरं तर त्या भाषेला `मिंग्लिश'च म्हणावं लागेल!) भाषेत बोलत, त्याच भाषेत पु.ल. देशपांडे यांनी त्याच कॉलनीत राहणारी श्रीमती सुनीताबाई यांची भाची मीरा ठाकूर- आत्ताची डॉ. मीरा नगरकर- हिला ती शालान्त परीक्षा उत्तीर्ण झाल्यावर पाठविलेलं हे पत्र! प्रथमच घेतलेल्या टाइपरायटरवर `बिब्लिकल मेथड' नं- म्हणजे `सर्च ऍंड दाऊ शॅल फाईंड- शोधा म्हणजे सापडेल' अशा पध्द्तीनं अक्षरपट्टीवरील मूळाक्षरं शोधत शोधत स्वत:च एका बोटानं टाईप केलेलं हे पत्र... पु.ल. देशपांडे यांच्या आजवरच्या प्रकाशित वाड:मयात नसलेलं!
777, Shivajinagar, Pune-4
777, Shivajinagar, Pune-4
Got Your Letter to your dear Mai-atte in Marathi and in English to me. What lovely English you write man! I and your dear Mai-atte simply `chat ho gaya yaar!' Well, i shall also make `thoda thoda' attempt to write in my desi English- like desi ghee you know. In the fust place our haartiest congrats to you on your getting 79% marks in the S.S.C Exam. The highest number of marks this your Bhai-kaka ever got in his `Zindagi' was 60% in `drill'. How you know? i tell you how. Our Ponga Pandit Dreel Mashter (May his soul rest in peace!) said, `Right turn' and i righted my turn. So 25 marks. He said `left turn' and i lefted my turn. 25 marks. So here it became 50% Then he says `lef righ, lef and righ; like that fastam fast. i fastly and fastly do lef and righ. lef and righ. 10 marks more. 60% O.K.? Then he shouted `Staaaaand at ease' and I standed and `eased'. (If you do'nt know ask your Shivaji-Park Bhaikaka what is the meaning of ease. But don't ask him to ease." When i eased befor that Ponga Pandit Dreel Mashter he Shouted `you fool get out'. I getted out. a little wetted of course with in all 60%. But Your Mai Atte was a `bada scholar you know what. She get 198 out 200 in Maths. Really. Not bundle. And not in Dreel but in Maths. in S.S.C All you Thakur-lok Mathswala you see. Dadarwala Bhaikaka get 90% Mohan kaka 91%, your father 92% Chandukaka lost his 93% by only 60% but now he is the hightest because always in the airplane. What good joke no? Dinesh, Umesh, Sumitra, Shubha, Satish also. Of course sometime examtaker giving marks sleeping sleeping also. How much % you get in maths? Our time sala exam'ner never sleeping yaar. Always wake an exam and give small small marks. But once i made 90% marks in Math in fust standard Marathi Munisipaltywalla School, Gamdevi Bombay-6. Tell you how. Really i was getting 9%. I did some more Maths on my result card and draw one small circle before 9 and make 9% into 90%. Grandfather says - my grandfather not the teacher's grandfather - `Arey shubash - you get 90% marks in Maths, good good good. But you get 90 marks in Maths and total marks in all subject is how 89 only? How's that?' He shouted how's that so bigly that like cricket humpire I say `Out' and lift my hand with by mistake and little finger up. I was you know the bestest fass bowler in Marathi fuss Standard but was soon made Humpire by public demand. Then my Grandfather take Card to my that teacher (May his soul simply rust in peace.) Then dialogue. My Grandfather: Mr. Purshottam's Grandfather: Do total - do total. This boy (I was a boy that time)- gets 90 marks in Maths; and there is histry, there is Marathi there is jogrupy etc. etc. and you total 89? What are you doing in the school Mr. Teacher? Teaching or shaving?' Teacher Both. (G.F. Red with more more angriness.) But the teacher was right. He actually was doing both. Teaching and shaving. Part time in school and more part time in Saloon, opp. School. Then teacher looks at the Card. Starts laughing and laughing and laughing like villain in Hindi film when he pakdaos the she - hero only one in the room with her father gone to Darjiling to eat cold weather. jus like that yaar the teacher laughs. G.F. saying: What happened for laughing? Who is dancing here naked before you?' Hearing my G.F. say naked in the open class everybody laughs. Teacher shouted `Shut up' and the class shutted up. Then teacher to my G.F. Look here Mr. Purushottam's Gra fa, this is his original mark-shit. He turn 9% in 90%. Chor-ka baccha. If Purshya gets why 90 even 19 out of 100 I shall put Satyanarayana to the whole Bombay from Kulaba to Virar and give dinners to all on both the sides of the railway line. How's that?' This time i did not say out but actually ran out and never went to that school again. And here you actually make 79% and Sumitra 80% in S.S.C. yaa Allah Great. You must thank your mother and father for not teaching you and spending their time to teach other people's children and other people spending their money asking your F and M to teach them, that is not your F teaching your M or your M teaching your F, but their other people's children.
So now you go to college kya? Good good. We were happy to know that all your uncles and aunties giving you cash and kind prizes. I tell your Mai-atte to give you prizes but she says Mitra has written that you know why? Because she does not need any more prizes . What Your Mai-atte 98% 420. 2% good for Dinesh only, who pleases her by taking bath every day when in Poona and once in 15 days in Bombay. But do'nt worry your this Bhaikaka loves you so much that you tell what you want I give you. Promise. Like you i also get a letter from Sailor Sunil from Vancouver. in vancouver it seems every sailor hasto write letters. may be Post Office is free. He Writes in English to Practise his English on us. Thank God. But if he learns boxing or karate who will he practice it on? Think.
How is Girish? Our love to him. umesh as you know has joined the indian Air Force. When Sardarji join Air Force it is Hair Force and when Umesh joines Air Force it is Air Farce Do'nt, tell him this joke because when he becomes squander-leader or something like air-filled marshall he may throw a bomb on Roopali and break our earthen Kundi limbu tree. So congrats again and wish you many more 79% to 99% not like me but real, till one day some Prince-charming will pick you up as the 100% best wife for himself like i picked up your Mai-Atte.
Yours very very very Affectionately.