“According to Census of India of 2001, India has 122 major languages and 1599 other languages. However, figures from other sources vary, primarily due to differences in definition of the terms “language” and “dialect”. The 2001 Census recorded 30 languages which were spoken by more than a million native speakers and 122 which were spoken by more than 10,000 people.”
~ Wikipedia.

You can imagine what a task it will be for a travelling salesman if he had to cover the entire country or even some parts of it.

And that was my problem. My mother tongue is Tamil. We spoke it at home and my siblings and I still speak it among ourselves. Our children however are more comfortable speaking and communicating in English, and in my case, now, in my home, we use English and Hindi besides the occasional Marathi. Within our extended family, there are Marathi, Konkani, kannada and Urdu speakers, with a branch that has English as its mother tongue as well. Thanks to an education system designed by the English during our colonial times, all of us can communicate with each other with ease in English.

Due to compulsions of my career in sales, I had to perforce learn to speak Hindustani/Urdu, Malayalam, Telugu, Marathi and Gujarathi and though now I am not fluent due to non use, can still follow conversations in all these languages besides being able to read and write in Tamil, Hindi, Marathi and English. I was able to build bridges that have stood the test of time and can reach out to people all over our country even now, despite retiring from active service the last fifteen years.

Wouldn’t you like to be in my shoes?

I suggested this topic for the weekly LBC blog posts. You can see what the other writers of the LBC have to say in their respective blogs.  Maria, Pravin, Ashok and Shackman.

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