Education

If wishes were horses...

“Sorry I’m late. It was my friend’s birthday. He gave us all a very good lunch.”

“That was nice of him. Where did you people go?”

“To the new restaurant that’s right next to Anjali theatre. It’s really fancy.”

“I heard it’s quite expensive too. Your friend must have spent a small fortune taking you and your friends there.”

“A small fortune? Does it mean to spend a great deal of money?”

“That’s right! The expression is mostly used in informal contexts. When you say that the car cost Geetha a small fortune, what you’re suggesting is that it was very expensive. She paid a lot of money for it.”

“I see. How about this example? My father made a small fortune when he sold his old flat.”

“Sounds good. The young couple is planning to visit several countries during the summer holidays. The trip is going to cost them a small fortune.”

“People today are more interested in spending money, rather than saving money. Anyway, my friend didn’t have to spend a small fortune because his father owns the restaurant. Wouldn’t it be great if our parents owned a fancy restaurant? We could go there...”

“You know what they say, if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.”

“Are you calling me a beggar?”

“No, I’m not. The expression ‘if wishes were horses, beggars would ride’ is mostly used in everyday contexts to mean there’s no point in merely wishing for things. You need to actually work for them.”

“In other words, if you got what you wanted just by wishing for them, then all beggars, instead of walking, would be riding on horses.”

“Exactly! If only politicians in our country were less corrupt, then we...”

“If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.”

Overindulgence

“Very good. So, what did you and your friends have for lunch?”

“The birthday boy said we could eat whatever we wanted to.”

“I see. In that case, I’m sure you and your friends pigged out.”

“Pigged out? What are you talking about? You know that I’m a strict vegetarian.”

“Many vegetarians I know frequently pig out on many things. The expression is mostly used to mean to eat a lot; to eat excessively.”

“So when you ‘pig out’, you’re not eating a pig, but eating like a pig. Eating a lot!”

“That’s right! Here’s an example. Mohana hadn’t eaten all day. So, she went to a nearby restaurant and pigged out on different varieties of pizza.”

“How about this example? At wedding receptions, I usually pig out on sweets and ice cream.”

“That’s what a lot of people do! There’s no point in going to the gym Rima, if you’re going to pig out on junk food every day.”

“There are people who eat junk food in the gym itself. Look at the time! I’d better go.”

“Well, you take care. Bye.”

“Before I leave, this morning I came across a new word. It was spelt c..i..a..o.”

“It’s pronounced ‘chow’. It’s frequently used in informal contexts to mean goodbye.”

“It rhymes with ‘cow’, ‘how’ and ‘now’, does it?”

“That’s right. It’s actually an Italian word.”

“I see. I’d better make a move. My mother must be getting a little worried.”

“Ciao.”

“Ciao!”

**********

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” Winnie the Pooh

The author teaches at the English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad. upendrankye@gmail.com

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Printable version | Apr 3, 2020 12:05:32 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/if-wishes-were-horses/article25345516.ece

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