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?
If yesterday, I had an opportunity to write about siblings, today, I write about friends.
The first story starts with my daughter in love’s mother who is a Bengali calling me to wish me a happy new year on Bengali New Year day on the 15th inst. She regretted that she had to do so late in the day as she was under the impression that it was on the 16th inst. It was only when her relatives called her that she realised that it was on the 15th. She regretted not having a Bengali Calendar.
I decided to surprise her and requested a friend MLB in Kolkata, to obtain one and send to me which he promptly did. It arrived yesterday and when I get the next opportunity, I shall present it to K. In the meanwhile I have sent her a PDF version to her on WhatsApp.
The second story starts with my daughter in love getting me some palm fruit. While talking to my cousin in Navi Mumbai I shared this news with him and both of us went very nostalgic for it as, it used to be available in plenty during the summers in our childhood at the place where he grew up and where we used to go for our vacations.
He had not had it for over six decades and I decided to surprise him with some through the good offices of a friend of mine SST, who lives close to him in Navi Mumbai. I rang my friend up for help and he promptly went shopping for it in the morning and got a dozen delivered at my cousin’s place at 11.00 am. My cousin was zapped and over the moon and I was happy that I was able to do that for him.
The next story goes back to last June when I wrote about Jack Fruit Seeds. The same friend KVP, from Kerala who features in that post sent me about a kilogram of the seeds which arrived this morning , thanks to the restrictions on movement of goods being less stringent now, than they were last year this time. I am now set for the next couple of weeks till our own season for the fruit starts when I will be able to get as much of the fruit and the seeds as I want.
So, three friends from three different places helped me give some joy to others and myself thanks to modern communication methods and courier services.