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?
It is difficult to believe that this one song changed my life. Believe me, it did. I have given a version where there is Satchmo’s trumpet takes the center stage, but the lyrics for the song is what changed my life.
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child Sometimes I feel like a motherless child Sometimes I feel like a motherless child Long way from my home Sometimes I wish I could fly Like a bird up in the sky Oh, sometimes I wish I could fly Fly like a bird up in the sky Sometimes I wish I could fly Like a bird up in the sky Closer to my home
Motherless children have a hard time Motherless children have-a such a hard time Motherless children have such a really hard time A long way from home
Sometimes I feel like freedom is near Sometimes I feel like freedom is here Sometimes I feel like freedom is so near But we’re so far from home.
Now for how that song changed my life. This was way back in 1968 when I was dating Urmeela who subsequently became my wife. I used to go to her home in the evenings whenever I was in town, free from my touring responsibilities and we would inevitably end up having a sing song session with some other friends and her brothers joining in. Urmeela herself could play the piano but since we would be sitting out in the courtyard, she would not participate but would enjoy the sessions.
At that time, this song was one of those songs that simply would not go from my thoughts. I now understand that it is a form of tinnitus, a condition that affects one in ten of us. But while tinnitus is usually a buzzing, ringing or whistling sound in the ear, without any obvious source, in some people it could take the form of phantom music. I go through such periods even now and there is a particular tune that has bugging me the last week or so which will not go away.
To come back to my story, my late mother in law was very fond of this song and would ask me to sing this without fail and so it became my signature song as it were.
A lot of water flowed down the Musi before I discovered that the song changed my life for ever.
When Urmeela and I decided to get married the matter was discussed in a family gathering at her place when my mother in law gave her approval for the idea by saying in excellent Hyderabadi Telugu, that I was a good choice because I could sing well and particularly that song about being a motherless child.
The rest is history.
After all these years however, it has become a fact rather than just feeling sometimes like a motherless child, I am one now and so is Urmeela’s son. He became one four years ago today, as I write this post for scheduling it for the coming Friday.
I hope that you enjoyed reading this post on the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where eleven of us write on the same topic. Today’s topic has been chosen by Maria The Silver Fox. The ten other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Maxi, Maria SF, Padmum, Paul, Shackman, The Old Fossil and Will. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, do give some allowance for that too!