Chile is pronounced as Chi-le. Not Chail. Not Chill. And definitely not Chili.
I know this now.
Back when I was 11, Wikipedia was not the go-to encyclopedia. Encyclopedias were go-to encyclopedias.
And to refer one was well, time consuming.
So, when I was 11, we had to do a science (or was it geography?) project. My mom suggested underwater volcanoes. I know, sounds cool, right?
Somehow, the volcano didn't materialize as expected.
What was supposed to be a reaction with brisk effervescence turned into a heavy lump of wheat dough with red cellophane for lava, covered with blue cellophane.
Yes, it looked like a pie during Mardi Gras.
Anyway, when you are a kid, you usually suffer from something called Optimism. So we went to school, with our ugly lump of a natural disaster in hand, ready to face the world.
When the exhibit started, parents started flowing in through the doors, sharing criticisms, comparing marks and dragging unwilling children who couldn't imagine a fate worse than seeing school on Sunday.
Parents love things done by children. A certain category of parents, who I call Insecure Pretentious Dickweeds (IPD) love these things even more. You see, it gives them a chance to:
1. Check whether there is some evil kid who is better than their darrrling son/daughter.
2. Criticize other people's children.
3. Lower morale of other people's children.
IPD's make up about 40% of the general population. In Indian cities, its 89.5%
We were supposed to mention many countries. And so we did. Amongst the God-knows-how-many nations we were naming, we named Chile, which we pronounced as Chai-il. Coz that's what some kid told us.
Every parent (particularly IPD dads) completely ignored our lumpy work of art and instead paid attention to only one thing.
That's not how you pronounce Chile.
And every IPD dad had a new pronunciation for the country...
Also they ridiculed our "project". (Okay fine, so it was a wee bit ridiculous - but c'mon! We were kids!)
That day taught me two things:
1. Never pay attention to IPD dad's. They don't correct you to help you learn. they correct you because they wanna prove that they know much more than you.
2. For all practical purposes, there is no country called Chile.
Every time I think of this incident, I thank God for one thing: non-IPD parents. :D