Last evening on my way back home, when I boarded the bus all the seats were occupied. So, I stood leaning to the pole in the bus. In the seat next to where I was standing seated were a mother and her two children. On seeing me stand, the mother asked her younger one, a little boy to sit on her lap but the little boy refused. The mother asked her daughter to make place for me. The girl stood up obediently. I sat next to the mother where the daughter was seated earlier.
I felt guilty since the girl had to give up her seat for me. So I asked the girl to sit on my lap. The language of conversation was Kannada. The girl gave me a blank look. I repeated again. This time too I got the blank expression. The mother pitched in just in time and said “Why don’t do speak to her in English?” I nodded and asked the girl to sit on my lap (this time in English). The girl gave me a smile before sitting on my lap. I asked the mother where were they from. Kundapura the mother replied. Now I was surprised. Kundapura is very much a part of Karnataka just a few kilometers away from Mangalore. The memory of Kundapura Kannada I had heard in college brought smile on my face. Kundapura version of Kannada is very colourful 😉
Now the inquisitive me was more curious. I asked the mother if her daughter studies in a central syllabus school for which the answer was negative. However the mother added her daughter studies in an English medium school and hence she is unable to speak in Kannada. This surprised me. So I began chatting up with the girl.
The girl said she was in standard 7 and Kannada is a part of her school syllabus. She also added she can read and write Kannada. Now this surprised me. Isn’t speaking easier as compared to reading and writing? And when you are able to read and write a language how can you not understand it?? Or is it that the kids and (sometimes their parents too) just think it is fashionable to say they do not know their regional language inspite of having studied it in school? I have come across a few people who think speaking in their regional language will make them inferior. However surprisingly, they do not feel the same about Hindi. Guess Bollywood has to be given credit for it 🙂
I just hope the kids understand that it isn’t fashionable to not know your regional language. It would only make you look stupid when you say you have stayed in this region/state all your life and not know the language spoken in the region. Also your ability to speak to speak a language does not make you any inferior!