via Daily Prompt: Capable

English is not my mother tongue. I learnt it as a second language from capable teachers. As a learner of a foreign language, you usually associate only one meaning to a particular word. Only slowly do you learn from different contexts that a word is capable of assuming different shades of meanings. One such word is ‘capable’. It started with a plopping sound. Yes. Some one seated behind me sent a paper arrow aiming the black board and it struck the board when the master was writing something on it, provoking an immediate burst of laughter. He turned back and made a quick survey of the situation. To my horror, he pointed his finger menacingly at me and shouted, “You, the one sitting in the middle row, stand up”. Terror stricken, I rose up. I was expecting the worst because that particular master was capable of going to any extent when he got into the mood of punishing the boys. I was summoned and ordered to climb up the table which I did promptly. I knew what defiance would bring me. At that very moment, the headmaster passed that way and he came into the class with a questioning look on his face. The master explained the reason for my standing on the table. I was shaking in terror. He closely examined my face and asked a few cursory questions. Turning to the master, he declared , “He is not capable of doing this”. Then he made a slow scan of the faces of the boys and pointed his finger at the boy sitting on one of the back rows. “You, there”, his iron voice vibrated, “stand up”. The boy in question stood up and presented a face of injured innocence. “Follow me”, the headmaster commanded. The boy followed the headmaster to his room. I do not know what happened at the headmaster’s room. Some time later, the boy came back with a crest-fallen face and apologized to the master. The headmaster not only proved himself to be a competent preceptor, but a capable psychologist as well. As for me, I learnt the use of the word ‘capable’ in a different context – with the meaning ‘having the inclination’.


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