Most of us, especially the current generation have lived, studied and worked in different states of the country. And with each passing state one has seen diversity in food, culture, custom and most importantly language. Unlike UK or US where there is a minor change in a basic template, India is complex. And of all these factors, language is the trickiest and the most difficult to adjust to.
Today, over lunch with colleagues from office, I had a hearty laugh over the anecdotes and funny incidents that have occured in our lives involving languages.
In one instance a colleague recollected a couple, a Tamilian boy married to a Kanadiga girl, based out of Pune. Both husband and wife understand very little Hindi and nothing of Marathi. Of the two the husband was little better.
Husband "I will see you near Shivaji ka putli" and the wife went berserk. Laughing at him leaving this colleague surprised as her hindi was worse than her husband's. Only till she corrected him, "Shivaji ka putli nai, Shivaji ki putli"!!!
I remember my first incident which goes back a decade. I was new to Pune and had gone to visit a friend. Roy is a childhood friend and was then a cadet in NDA. I was accompanied by a maharashtrian friend, Sachin from Dhule, who had never seen the academy. During our conversation Roy asked me if I had picked up anything in the local language and I was ready to flaunt. "Majha naav anish aahe'' (my name is anish), was an ideal beginning. But Roy meant business and asked me how would one propose in 'marathi' and I jumped onto this as i thought it was simple. I just have to add two extra words. How difficult can that be? 'Majha tujhaaivar pram aahe'. Next thing I see was Sachin rolling on the ground laughing his guts out. I thought he mistook us to be gay! It was pretty uncommon phenomenon then, two men expressing love. It only became clear while wiping his tears he translated what i said, "I love your mom".
I knew that day my love life is going to be tough.
Today, ten years later, I am married and language still plays an integral role in everyday humor. My wife is Punjabi and married into a Malayali family. I know you wish to read more about this but I must confess that I may be linguistically challenged but not a fool. I am currently doing my practicals around the phrase 'Hell is nothing compared to an angry wife.'
I love my wife and till this portion she loves me too. Would like to keep it that way :)
But yeah I wish to share that today reminded me of the sitcom, Zabaan Sambhal Ke, a desi verison of 'Mind Your Language' , where Mohan Bharti (played by Pankaj Kapur) was an unemployed engineer, forced to teach 'Hindi' to students from different states and even other nationalities. It used to be a laughter riot with it's '"lost-in-translation" situations. I remember how we used to enact each of the characters during school hours and sing the title song over and over again. I guess I have watched each and every episode without fail when it used to be aired on DD Metro, yes you read it right, Door Darshan Metro!
Never realising that this comedy of errors will seep into our day to days lives, creating many such real life situations and anecdotes.
I sincerely hope, I havent hurt any sentiments and have compleyely refrained from north-south-east-west language controversies. I love our languages and wish I could understand them all. Please feel free to share any incidents keeping the spirit of good humor.
And yeah, if you new to a language, try using sign language but beware! :)
PS: For the present generation, DD Metro was the first entertainment channel other than Door Darshan much before cable T.V. and dish T.V. Will write about it some other day.