Sunday, March 30, 2008


Sure this is something all parents teach their kids in their wonder years. The idea being one should not use abusive foul language to hurt others and also one could say it reflects badly on the users temperament. But I have a point here. Why should minding language be restricted to abuses? Why cant we teach our children and ourselves to ‘mind our language’ when we are in a group of people who don’t follow our reverent mother tongue per se?????????? Why is that beyond any norms of etiquette? Especially in a multilingual country like India where languages of the north and south are as immiscible as oil and water it’s a pity that minding our language is most definitely not a part of common etiquette.

We Indians keep boasting of our ‘unity in diversity’. But are we really united on any common page apart from cricket?? I sooo wish that it could be converted to a scripted language. But the reality is far from it. Indians from each direction actually cling to their state and language identity till death do ‘em part!! And if you may like this language pride definitely blooms at the expense of making every other language under the sun seem like an inutile shrub. Ive seen Bengalis embellished in the “sshh” est best caught in the twister of some “shaauth” Indian language call it pebbles in tin box while the people down south retaliating equally well by vehemently sticking to their incomprehensible language on the streets and public transport to “communicate” with the gaping “north indians”!! Yes harassment in public transport has a new name – regional language.

Who says you need a miracle machine to feel like Mr. India. Just the other day I had a first hand experience of feeling invisible. I survived a lab meeting where every single person (except me offcourse) spoke in kannada relentlessly, vehemently and insensitively for 4 hours at a stretch! Well, yes I definitely belong to the slower section of the populace who have no claims of having a flair for languages nor picking new ones up quick .Will someone be kind enough to suggest a survival strategy for us??

Ive met people who clump together like rouleux to their ‘country cousins’ and refuse to speak in any other language apart from their own. Leave alone people there is one unique piece in my lab who even expects her experimental lab rats to follow orders is kannada!!! This particular lady has a history of killing animals with her ahem … words! In a self narrated episode she admitted that a poor gineapig had to wash its hands off its life to her rebuke!! Well the science is that these creatures have sound processing ability more sensitive than a karan johar hero!! It must have been the sheer decibel level of her ‘endearment’ that must have burst its tympanic membrane and ruptured its blood vessels!!! But somehow I like to think it was’nt just her decibel. The intricate phonetics of her ‘kind’ words also must have had a devious role to play in killing that little thing. Well if you are wondering whether I have any personal grudge against her, you are wrong. I am just one of her victims. Yes I too don’t follow her mother tongue!!

I really wonder how many victims the likes of her will claim till they become sensitive to peoples feelings… I have a quick and effective solution in mind .All such insensitive souls should be air dropped in Zulu land for a day!!

Most people from south India are audibly more comfortable in English than in Hindi and just the opposite for people who hail from the north. The former don’t like recognizing hindi as the national language because it is so very different from their Dravidian mother script while the latter stick to hindi with fanatic adamence. I feel the problem is not so much about the language than it is about the lack of our sensitivity to the feelings and needs of fellow beings. Wonder why empathy is a feeling so very difficult to evoke in us. I so desparately hope that someday soon those empathizing mirror neurons fire and we really mind our language ….. till then the count of language victims increases


At November 23, 2008 at 2:37 PM , Blogger AJITHKUMAR R R said...



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