Thursday, January 26, 2012

English: more than a language!

What does a language do?
 Yes you are right! It communicates.
In the case of other languages (Hindi and all regional languages) in India, they might be only the vehicle of communication but not the English (which has become very much a part of India).
In most cases, in India, when we try to communicate in English, we try to communicate our status in society as well. Speaking in Hindi in a mall or a posh hotel is considered tacky. When we speak in English, we want others to rate us better on the scale of education and upbringing.
In a way this language is a glass through which we want the world to see and judge us.
No doubt, to have the knowledge of a language as rich as English is terrific, but to use it to get the attention of the surrounding or convey the social status (fake or real) is what that irks me.
I fail to understand utterly that when I can ask a salesperson about products in Hindi or Bangla (or any other regional languages) why would I ask him/her in English? And more often than not, I have found salespersons themselves starting the conversation in English, when they can very well communicate in Hindi or the regional language.
If we as Indian think that communicating in Hindi, Bangla, Asamese, Kannada  ,Tamil, Panjabi, Marathi, Malayali  or any other regional language is a matter of shame, then I feel as a society we  need to mature. And using English to serve some petty purposes of social activities belittles the sublime importance of this (English) language as a communication tool.
At a juncture when United Nations has registered its anxiety over extinction of several languages across the globe, it becomes only necessary for us to preserve the mine of languages that we have in the form of national and regional languages through using them more and more in our daily social interactions.
Only by respecting our own languages, we can respect English language. Otherwise every time we use English to show proximity to a class that is superior to other language speakers, we disrespect the soul of the (English) language.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Being Mediocre!

According to the legend,  Adi Shankaracharya’s parent Shivaguru had a dream in which Lord Shiva gave him two choices: either a prodigious son with a short lifespan or a mediocre one with longevity. And Shivaguru, opted for prodigy. And thus Shankaracharya was born.
My focus of this post is not the Shankaracharya, but the fascination with the prodigy and indifference towards mediocrity that lie within human society. We all long to be the best in life. We admire and adore that is the best. It is in human nature to yearn for extraordinary and perhaps this yearning is behind the many feats that human civilization has achieved.
But is being mediocre such a sin that Shankara’s parent opted for a prodigy? No doubt that the prodigies contribute to the world in more substantial terms than who are not, yet the value of being mediocre in this world becomes no less.  Being mediocre means having no special skills yet having strong zeal to excel. Being mediocre means having the opportunity to improve upon with every single day that is passing by. And learning new things everyday  accomplishes the goal of being a human. And as long as we accomplish this goal, there should be no shame in being mediocre. 
All gods of ours have to be extraordinary in their image. We cannot tolerate our gods weeping and being weak. That is why we often glorify their lives with events that make them a larger than life existence. But we forget that our gods have also felt average and mediocre on occasions. When wife of our lord was abducted, he must have also felt being average and mediocre human being, when our lord had to retreat from a battlefield, he must also have felt average and mediocre.
 What I am trying to say is that being average and mediocre is also about being part of God and Nature. So being mediocre should also be respected when we consider about traits of human beings.
We should celebrate mediocrity for it ensconces in itself the seed of grit to grow with life.
P.S: This post is outcome of some ‘inspirational talking’ from Sujatha Sathya (an accomplished writer and a fellow blogger) at the time when I was feeling de-motivated to write anything.