Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mind Your Language

Having put myself through the paces of a community social gathering, I thought I left with my sanity and dignity intact.

Until I received “feedback”.

All golden (*preen*)…

Friendly? Check.

Of fair countenance? Check.

Linguistic abilities? N/A


Oh, yes, that’s right; I do not converse in my native tongue.

How terrible, and that coming from someone who has ne’er said anything beyond “hello” before proceeding to nestle up with the cronies and reminisce about the good old days when they used to live by a river bed, cross a paddy field and enjoy somebody’s spinach crop (or something like that - I have long since stopped paying attention).

Having been born and brought up outside of the confines of my community well, I have long since come to terms with the fact that I am a social outcast of sorts when it comes to hobnobbing with my country cousins. Any non-conformist accusations were really just water off a duck’s backside.

Until now.

Suddenly, it has become of paramount importance to speak in my native tongue - something that could do, but opt not to simply because a. I’d actually have to think before I speak - something that I am not used to since I can rattle off like 300,000 words per minute without stressing the old bean out too much and b. I’m not really into paddy fields and munching spinach if you get my drift.

So, that imperfect score card kicked off “Operation Force-Her-To-Blah-In-Native-Tongue-Or-Else”. I had about much enthusiasm about the whole thing as a prospective visit to the dentist would evoke. If anything, it only awakened my inner rebel who was now determined not to do anybody's biding!

When my own flesh and blood never had issues with it, must society now force me to conform simply to please everybody?

What makes people think they have the right to go around clamping down on others’ freedom of expression (in whatever language that might be)? And don’t even get me started on this being a nationwide phenomenon. I am limiting my rant to the confines of my immediate society only.

Personality and virtue be damned, society says. What matters is that you uphold tradition. True enough, but does that mean it must be imposed on one such that it breeds resentment to the point of revulsion almost?

At the end of the day, the sad thing is that such imposition has only served to make me believe that the people who can make me feel most like an alien are my so-called community by birth.

Live and let live: is that such a bad thing and is that too much to ask?!


  1. "Your good name? Where is your native?"
    Thumb your teeth at them, Memsaab! Apart from conveying a strong visual message, it is in itself a funny gesture sure to bring smiles to the faces of passers-by with a sense of humour. Score!

  2. Well, they tell me I speak with an accent because I refuse to sound cheap and say crass things when I speak my mother tongue. No, you, don't give in. Bollocks to tradition; it's all about the individual talent here. :) (Sorry, couldn't resist that)

  3. @LBV: I also resort to satirical conversations in my head... but your way is better!

    @Bhumika: You steel my resolve further! Thankee!

  4. Do not worry about them all darling. Not all of them know you wre dropped on your head when a baby! :-P


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