“You have always done well in all your exams. I am sure you will be a topper this time too,” said Lokesh’s mom.
Today was an important exam for Lokesh which might get him a good job with lots of money at the end of every month.
But when Lokesh saw his question paper, he couldn’t understand a word!
“Which language is this? Can I get the question paper in English?” Lokesh asked the teacher who was standing there to see that no one cheats.
“I am sorry. You should know Telugu to pass in this exam,” said the teacher.
Lokesh was shocked. He could not believe that he can ever fail in an exam, and that too because of a language!
Lokesh came home and cried. His mother said,”Lokesh, do you remember, you used to hate Mathematics when you were small. But instead of crying, you practiced and practiced till you could get no sums wrong. Can’t you be the same Lokesh again?”
Mom’s words made Lokesh feel good. He made a promise to himself, “If language is where I fail, I am going to master all the languages in the world.”
And then, Lokesh started learning languages. He started with Indian languages first. He realized that there are 1652 languages in India, but he conquered them all. And then slowly, he learnt all the foreign languages too.
Lokesh was enjoying. Languages are good fun!
One night, when he was working hard learning to write the last human language that was left, a strange light filled his room. He heard a voice.
“Lokesh, you are great. You failed in an exam, but didn’t lose heart. Instead, you made the reason of your failure your strength. You have now become a true hero who can solve all the language problems in this world,” said the voice.
“From now on, you are not an ordinary man. You are the Lingo-man. Here take this. This is your lingo-booster.” Suddenly a strange looking thing appeared on his study table. It looked like a mini-fire extinguisher.
“What is a lingo-booster?” asked Lokesh. But when he looked up, nobody was there.
After that strange day, the Lingo-man, just like the Spiderman and the Superman, started saving the world from language problems. He helped a man, who could speak and understand only Tamil, talk to a doctor who did not understand a word of Tamil.
He helped a Hindi speaking girl make friends in her school in London, where no one knew Hindi.
He also helped a German couple talk to the taxi driver in Mumbai.
But he still couldn’t understand the importance of the lingo-booster. It was a cylindrical object, which seemed to have no use at all!
But he was sure, it was something very important.
One day, when the Lingo-man came back home from a long, tiring day, he opened his bag. Alas! The lingo-booster was not there!
“Who stole my lingo-booster!” cried the Lingo-man.
And that’s when he heard an evil laughter.
“How are you Lingo-man? You are such an ordinary human-being. I wonder, how you got the precious lingo-booster!” said that evil-looking man.
“Who are you? Give me my lingo-booster back,” said the Lingo-man.
“I am someone who deserves to be the Lingo-man, not you. If the lingo-booster cannot be mine, then it cannot be yours too!” With this, the evil Fussy-lingo threw the lingo-booster in a gutter nearby. The Lingo-man punched him hard, and ran after the lingo-booster. He realized that the water from the gutter goes into the sea, so he reached the opening from where the gutter water falls into the sea.
The shining lingo-booster fell from the gutter, straight to the bottom of the sea into a dark pit on the sea floor. When the Lingo-man entered the pit, he got very scared. It was a mermaid’s cave. The mermaid was not like the beautiful ‘little mermaid’. She was like the mermaid who Harry Potter met during the Triwizard Tournament. Scary and ugly. When she spoke, it sounded as if she is clearing her throat and clicking her tongue and sometimes roaring and growling like a lion. Scarier.
“I want my lingo-booster back,” the Lingo-man pointed at the lingo-booster.
When she didn’t give it back, he jumped and tried to snatch it away from her. All of a sudden, a current passed from the mermaid to the Lingo-man through the lingo-booster. The very next moment, Lingo-man could understand her language!
She was saying, “Who are you? Have you come to catch me?”
To which, the Lingo-man replied in the mer-language, “I am your friend. And I just need my thing back. I will tell no one about you.”
The mermaid was surprised to hear a human speaking her language. She let him go with an ugly smile.
The Lingo-man was back on the shore. He now understood the real purpose of the lingo-booster.
From that day, he became the master of not only all the human languages, but also the languages of animals, birds, insects, aliens and ofcourse, mermaids!