English  Easy Winner

 English notes for the +1 and +2 students of  J.J.M.M.H.S.S. Yendayar

+ 1 Lessons

 

+ 2 Lessons

 

 

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Lifting The Veil

It was late afternoon. The writer is given a last minute work by the chairman of his Bangkok-based company. He was to leave the following day to accompany an important Chinese busi­nessman to tourist centres in Northern Thailand. The writer was angry. On his table there were many papers showing that he had a lot of work to finish. He was working 7 days a week. He did not know when and how he would complete all the pending work.

Early next morning the writer met a polite and respectable gentleman wearing fine clothes. The flight took only one hour. The writer and his guest spent the day visiting tourist attractions. There were hun­dreds of other tourists. They were overloaded with cameras and souve­nirs. The writer did not have much liking for the tourists. That evening the writer, and his companion got into a minibus to go for dinner and a show after that. The writer had attended the show many times before. As his companion was talking with other tourists, the writer talked to a man seated in front of him. It was dark. The man was a Belgian and he spoke fluent English. He was holding his head in a funny angle without moving it at all, as if he was thinking something seriously. Then the writer realized that the man was blind because he saw his cane.

The man told him that he lost his sight in an accident when he was a teenager. But this did not prevent him from travelling alone. He is in the 60's. Since he was blind, he used his remaining senses to create pictures in his mind. Turning towards the writer, the blind man explored the contours of his face with his hand. Somebody put on the light and then the writer saw that the man had luxuriant silvery hair. His face was strong and craggy. He asked the writer if he could sit by his side during dinner. He wants the writer to tell some of the things he sees in the show. The writer said he would be happy to do it. The Chinese businessman walked ahead towards the restaurant with his new friends. The writer and the blind man followed them. The writer tried to help the blind man, but he stepped forward, his shoulders pulled up and back and his head held high. It looked as if the blind man was leading the writer.

They found a table near the stage. The blind man then said that the music seems out of tune for his Western ears, but it has charm. He asks the writer to describe to him the musicians. In fact the writer had not even seen the five musicians performing as an introduc­tion to the show. The writer then looked at them and explained that they are seated cross-legged, dressed in white cotton shirts and baggy black trousers. They wore bright-red sashes. Three are young, one middle aged and one is elderly. One beats a small drum, another plays a wooden stringed instrument and others have smaller cello like pieces.

The blind man smiled. He wanted to know what these small instruments are made of. The writer said they are made of wood. The sound box is made of a whole coconut shell. The writer was surprised to see the things himself and at the curiosity of the blind man to learn about these things. As the lights dimmed, the blind man asked the writer to give him an idea about the tourists. The writer said they be­longed to all nationalities, colours, shapes and sizes. He also told him in a very low voice, like a whisper, that very few are neatly or tastefully dressed.

The writer felt that nobody ever listened to him as ea­gerly as the blind man. So he continued with his description. He said that very close to them is an elderly Japanese woman. Beyond her is a blond  Scandinavian boy about five. The woman and the boy are motionless waiting for the show to start. The old woman and the young boy make a perfect living picture of old age and child hood, of Asia and Europe. The blind man said he could 'see' them.

A curtain at the stage opened. Six girls in their early teens appeared. The writer described their sarong-like silk shirts, white blouses with shoulder sashes and gold-coloured headdresses with flexible points that moved in rhythm with the dance. On their finger tips there were golden finger nails some 10 centimeters long. The nails increased the beauty of the movement of their hands.

The blind man was very happy to hear the description of the nails. He says to the writer that he would like to touch one of those fingernails. When the show was ended, the writer goes to the theatre manager to talk about the blind man's desire. He is invited to the back of the stage. A little later the blind man was standing with one of the danc­ers. She was small and her crowned head reached only up to the chest of the blind man. She extended her hands to him. His hands which were 4 times bigger than the girl's reached out and held her hands as if he was holding two small birds. He then felt the smooth, curving sharpness of the nails, as the girl stood still. The writer was happy.

As the evening progressed, the writer made many discoveries that had escaped him up to now. He saw the colours, patterns and designs of local costumes. He saw the texture of skin under soft lights. He saw the movement of the black Asian hair as the heads moved while dancing. He saw the powerful expressions of the musicians. He even saw the flashing white smile of the waitress.

When they went back to the hotel lobby, the blind man gripped the writer's hand warmly. Slowly his hand travelled to the writer's elbow and shoulders. The cane fell with some noise on the marble floor and so people looked. He did not try to get the cane but he pulled the writer towards him and hugged him saying: "How beautifully you saw every­thing for me. I can never thank you enough."

The writer realized later that it was he who should have thanked the blind man. The real blind man was the writer. He helped the writer to lift up the veil that so quickly covers our eyes in the busy world. People have no time to see and marvel at the wonderful things around them. About a week later, the chairman called the writer to his office and told him that the Chinese executive was very happy with the trip. T]e chairman praised him by saying, "I knew you could do the magic." The writer could not tell him the magic was done to him.