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Shiva was furious. Swearing to teach Birju and his gang a lesson, he was rushing out of his house when his mother blocked the door. “I understand your anger,” she said. “Any brother would be enraged if a bunch of goons whistled and winked at his sister, but please do not go to those fiends! I beg of you. I have a feeling that something bad will happen. You are my only son, Shiva. I cannot lose you! Please don’t go!”


Shiva soothed his overwrought mother and said that she was worrying needlessly; nothing would happen to him; had he ever lost a fight? Besides, he would also take Nandu, Gullu and Mahesh with him; could anyone stand before the four of them? Before the hour ended, Birju would be groveling at her and Rajni’s feet, pleading forgiveness. Telling her once more that he would be fine, he went out.


Before the hour ended, he came back and threw a beaten-to-pulp Birju before her. Thank god, she breathed in relief. Her Shiva had come back safely. “See mom,” Shiva joked. “Your premonitions never come true.” She smiled. “I hope they never do!”



Monumental: (adj) related to monuments; as huge and impressive as a monument.

Origin: adjective of monument. Etymology of monument: L monere, to remind + -ment => ‘something that reminds’

  • Many speakers at Sharma ji’s kriya ceremony said that his demise was a monumental loss to the world of literature.
  • The Vedas are a monumental treasure of spiritual wisdom.

Decorum: (n) fitting behaviour, proper conduct.

Origin: L decorare, to make fitting, beautiful. The word ‘decorate’ too is from the same root.

Guffaw: (v) laugh loudly, go ‘ha ha ha’. Such a loud laughter is also called a guffaw.

Admonish: (v) to warn, advice or mildly scold about something. (n): admonition; (adj): admonitory

Origin: L ad-, to + monere, to remind => ‘to remind about something’

  • The girl picked up the tea-tray to go in front of the boy and his family who had come to see her. “Don’t forget what I told you,” her mother said in an admonitory voice.
  • It is very important to admonish a child the first time he does something wrong, so that he knows that his bad behaviour will not be accepted.

Furious: (adj) extremely anger. Noun: fury, extreme anger. To infuriate someone is to make him extremely angry.

: (n) devil, a devilish person. Adjective: fiendish

: (adj) extremely tense, nervous or excited; too elaborate or too complex or too decorated.

Origin: over + wrought, work => ‘to work more than is required’ => ‘to work up the mind more than is required’

  • The child’s mother became overwrought when he told her that he saw ‘shapes’ at night. “Did this have to happen to my only child only?” She panicked. “What if those ghosts did anything to him?” She immediately ran with him to an ojha who was known for his occult powers. But on her way, she thought of taking the child to her family doctor first. The way she ran into the clinic and the tension on her face made the doctor think that it was an emergency. He couldn’t suppress his smile when she told him about her son’s afflictionThe doctor made her sit outside and talked with the child. Then, he called her and told her that the fearful Shapes that haunted the child by night were nothing but creatures of his own overwrought fancy.
  • Behind his back, everybody laughed at his overwrought politeness and the overwrought sentences he spoke. Just ‘ma’am’ was not good enough for him; he addressed every woman as ‘my dear lady’ or ‘the light of this evening.’ Similarly, every man was ‘my honourable sir’. He never asked “May I do this?” but rather “May I have the honour of having your permission to do this?”

Premonition: (n) forewarning, an idea beforehand of what is going to happen.

Origin: L pre-, before + monere, to remind, warn => ‘to warn beforehand’


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