Word games


Word games

"Duly, duly, duly... " Sam listened exasperatedly to his two-year-old brother's song.

Sam wondered what Rakesh meant. The Saturday afternoon dragged on. Sam heard a noise in the kitchen that meant Ma was getting things ready for tea. He carried Rakesh to the kitchen.

"What are you making, Ma?" "A cake," she said. "Cake," squeaked Rakesh. She spread a newspaper on the floor and placed Rakesh on it. She filled a little vessel with water, took out two wooden ladles and a plastic bowl and placed them in front of Rakesh. "Duly, duly," he sang at the top of his voice.

Sam groaned. "Ma, that's the only thing he sings." "That's okay," said Ma soothingly. "All babies have their own language. In fact your favourite word used to be "dumdum". "Who's dumb?" asked Alisha, his sister. "Let me guess, Ma finally told you you're a dumdum." "No, actually she was telling me how I used to point at you and say `dumdum'," retorted Sam. "Alisha, I thought you were studying," said Ma. "I am," said Alisha, "I came to ask you whether I can use the word `sibling' to mean both brother and sister?" "Yes," replied Ma. "You mean Alisha, Rakesh and I are siblings?" asked Sam. "Yes," said Ma. . "Though the amount we squabble we could call ourselves `squiblings'," snorted Alisha. Squiblings! Sam burst into laughter. "Ma, Alisha makes up words a lot," said Sam. "The other day when she had that cold she told me to buzz off and not bother her because she was feeling sniflish. Is sniflish a word, Ma?' "Well, no... not exactly," began Ma. "I told her!" exploded Sam gleefully. ""Yes, but sometimes these jumbled up words work just as well," replied Ma. "Why don't we make up a few?" "How about this: gloomy plus grumpy equals glumpy!"

Glumpy! That was exactly how he felt sometimes. "Your turn now," she said . While he was thinking, their next-door neighbour, Mrs. Verghese, appeared . "Shoba", she called out to Ma.

"Can I borrow your low calorie cookbook?"

"Just take it off the shelf," said Ma. "Are you trying to lose weight, Mrs. Verghese?"

Sam looked at Mrs. Verghese. She did seem rather round. Sam did some quick thinking. "Verghese aunty, I think you should be fappy."

"Pardon?" said Mrs. Verghese.

"Fappy. Fat plus happy equals fappy," said Sam proudly. "How's that Ma?"

Ma gasped.

"Fappy?" murmured Mrs. Verghese blankly. "Ooooh, fappy!" She erupted with laughter.

Ma looked relieved. "I'm sorry, Mrs. Verghese, it's just a game we were... "

"No, no, don't worry, Shoba," chuckled Mrs. Verghese. She waved the cookbook at Sam. "Maybe with this cookbook I'll become tappy. Thin plus happy! Bye for now."

Ma looked sternly at Sam. "Sam, never make remarks about the way people look. It's not polite."

"Sorry ma," said Sam nervously. Ma went back to her cake-making while Sam doodled on a piece of paper. He wrote down all the words he had learnt today. Duly, squiblings, glumpy, fappy, tappy...

Ma popped the cake into the oven and smiled at Sam. "Cake for tea. What do you think of that?"

"Scrummy!" shouted Sam joyfully.

Can you guess which two words Sam combined to make `scrummy'?

(Answer: Scrumptious plus yummy equals scrummy!)

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