The above image is just the tip of the iceberg in India. According to the Census of India of 2001, India has 122 major languages and 1599 other languages. With that background, let me tell you my problem/s.
My late mother’s tongue was a mixture of Malayalam and Tamil spoken by a community called Palghat Iyers. My late father’s was pure Tamil. In deference to the latter’s comfort, the former changed to speaking the Tamil spoken by the latter and so I grew up speaking that Tamil.
What is my Mother Tongue?
My late wife’s mother was a Telugu, and her father was a Bengali. They spoke Urdu or English at home and my wife did not know either Telugu or Bengali.
At our home, we spoke mostly English and Hindi now, and our son grew up using both.
What is my son’s Mother Tongue?
My daughter in love’s mother is a Bengali and her late father was a Maharashtrian. She grew up speaking Marathi at her home. She has moved into our home where she too speaks Hindi and English mostly but, Marathi for effect when needed.
Just supposing I get a grandchild what will be her/his Mother Tongue?
How do I solve this conundrum when the census taker comes visiting?
A person from London is called a Londoner, from New York a New Yorker, from Glasgow, a Glaswegian and so on. In India, one from Mumbai will be called a Mumbaikar, from Delhi, a Delhiwala, and so on. I live in a city in Maharashtra in India called Pune. A resident will be called Punekar.
That preamble was to introduce you to a new word that I learnt today.
It is defined as “a person having the habit of giving opinions and advice on matters outside of his knowledge or competence.”
Instead of that tongue twister, Maharashtrians, that is, people who live in Maharashtra, India, will simply call a person of that nature a Punekar.
For my readers, I think that I am an exception that proves the rule. What do you think?
That took me back to the early nineties of the last century and Chris Rea.
I posted this in response to SG and we then exchanged the following messages.
SG: Please watch the programme if you can. It is on BBC 2 here, I think. It is hosted by two aging comedians in their early 60s who are recovering from life threatening health conditions, so a lot of meditations on life and mortality (all presented in a light-hearted way).
I: I have seen a few clips on youtube recommended by some friends. Quite interesting but, not my cup of tea. I am not as old as you are.
(There is over two decades of age difference between us.)
For those interested, the lyrics for Chris Rea’s song:
I’m going fishing I got me a line Nothin’ I do’s gonna’ make the difference So I’m taking the time And you ain’t never gonna’ be happy Anyhow, anyway So I’m going fishing And I’m going today I’m going fishing Sounds crasy I know I know nothing about fishing But just watch me go And when my time has come I will look back and see Peace on the shoreline That could have been me You can waste whole lifetime Trying to be What you think is expected of you But you’ll never be free May as well go fishing.
Chris Rea interview – summer 1991, for the song ”Gone Fishing”.
“I know a lot of people have remarked to me they have listened to the record, “I like that song, that’s what we should do, just go fishing, forget about everything”. The funny thing about that song is as I say in the song, I don’t know anything about fishing. he bottom line of the tune is that when you get to the last day of your life and you look back, and you see how many hours you’ve spent in traffic-jams, pushing and shoving, how many hours you’ve spent elbowing people out of the way and being elbowed out of the way; You just thing to yourself I wish I had all them hours back, cos I may as well have gone fishing…”
A friend called me up to inform me of a misadventure that another mutual friend SC and the latter’s wife had had. He could not give me the full information as his had come from second hand sources.
I therefore called my friend who took some time to answer the phone but, on seeing my name on the caller id slot, started off by letting off a big laugh. This surprised me as I was expecting anything else but this as his opening. When he had calmed down, he said that he was glad that I had called and that he was planning to call me any way to share his misfortune with me.
The story that unfolded was that the 80 year old SC had slipped and fallen in their bedroom two days ago. He found it difficult to straighten himself as he had fallen between a dresser and the bed and also was hurting badly. His wife, hearing his shouts came to rescue him and in trying to, also fell down and had broken her fore arm bone in two places. Now, both were in agony and on the floor and unable to get up but, luckily, SC was able to lay his hands on his cellphone that had fallen below him. He called his neighbour who had to break down their entrance door to gain access to their flat and in the process gathered a few other curious neighbours as well.
The whole crowd came up with many suggestions culminating finally in one of them calling for an ambulance from a nearby hospital and finally the two were evacuated to the hospital for treatment.
I could not hold myself back any further at this point and asked him why if he had undergone all this he laughed as he answered my phone and his response showed why we are friends.
He said, that for the past two days, he had been reviewing all that had happened and was shocked at the response of the crowd that had gathered in his room before he was shifted. In his words, it was mostly morbid interest on how both the oldies had got into the distressing situation. He said, instead of those ghouls, had I been there, I would have lightened up the situation, taken charge and pointed out the comic side of the drama. He therefore was planning to call me to give his comic version when coincidentally, my call had come in while both were still in a hospital room. He just burst out laughing impulsively and was glad that I had called.
Both are well on their way to full recovery albeit with bruised egos and lighter wallets. Both however are facing their misfortune with humourous fortitude if that is the term to use in the situation.
In my post Learning In The 21st Century, Nick had commented as “Indeed, resisting change is pretty futile when so much is changing so fast. If you resist change you’ll soon become an eccentric old hermit. I’ve got used to all the constant changes in banking procedures, in payment methods, in booking arrangements, in airline security and a hundred other things. And we’ll be doing everything differently again in ten years’ time.”
I had responded with: “Resistance is really futile in modern conditions. A simple example has been the rapidity with which cash based economies have moved to digital payment ones.” Here is one proof, even if it is a spoof.
Jungle is a word that originated in India from Sanskrit. We use it to describe any wild growth. For instance, during the monsoon when in our part of the world the predominant colour is green, my late wife used to call our small garden a jungle as our gardener was simply incapable of keeping it under control. Consequently, the gardener was very affectionately called Junglee by her. You can see from the photograph taken just this morning, that he continues to be our gardener and continues to be a Junglee.
What triggered off that memory was this little nugget that my beloved sister sent me this morning in WhatsApp. Another new word learnt. I however don’t think that I am a Memophilist just because I have a jungle at home. Or, do you think that I am?