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Back in 9th, we used to have Hindi as a compulsory subject in school. I was pretty bad at the language and writing essays in Hindi was one of the hardest things ever.

One time, in a very important exam, we were put to the task of writing a letter in Hindi as part of the language paper. What we had to do was write a letter to one’s friend offering one’s sympathies on the friend’s father’s demise. As luck would have it, I didn’t really understand the topic because of the use of one word that I didn’t know the meaning of, and simply made a guess. So instead of writing a letter of condolence to my friend, I instead wrote a letter offering my heartiest congratulations on my friend’s dad’s promotion. I think I substituted the word meaning ‘death’ for ‘promotion’ throughout the entire letter that I wrote due to which it turned out to be a complete disaster.

In the letter, I wrote things like ‘I am so happy that your dad finally died; I always knew he had it in him and I always knew this would happen’, ‘your dream has finally come true’, ‘please congratulate your dad for me’ and ‘I am sure your whole family is having a great time celebrating your dad’s death’.

I almost failed my paper because of that faux-pas but my friends and I still have a great laugh about it.

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