Yesterday I was assigned the job of taking my brother’s daughter to the park for her daily evening hang out. As my bhabhi was busy with some work, she handed over me that responsibility. It is actually a Herculean task to manage my brother’s daughter, the task which I didn’t want. She is simple uncontrollable. But there I was just hoping everything to finish well. As soon as we landed inside the park she left my hand and ran away to play with her friends.

I, having no work to do till dusk, sat in the corner observing people who had come there for their evening walk. This newly built park draws a good number of people daily. There was one thing in common among most of them. Earphones in their ears while they walked briskly. There was one more irritating thing in common among almost all and that is the language English. I always wonder why it is like that. Can’t they just talk in any of the Indian languages? Every person by default starts to speak in English with another person. It just freaks me out. Unable to make any changes to their mindsets I just sat there irritated. An elderly person came up to me expecting to get some information. He was in his 40s, wearing a 3/4th and seemed quite an Angrez.

He asked “Is there any HDFC atm over here?” He had quite an American accent though not completely.

I replied “Sorry, I don’t speak in English”. The driving force behind my immediate arrogant reply was the irritation. I just can’t accept our own people talking in English.

He understood the reason behind my reply and sincerely switched back to Kannada. He again asked the same question but in Kannada.

I replied “ide. Hypercity mall munche HDFC bank matte atm erdu ide.” (Yes. There is an atm and a HDFC bank just before the Hypercity mall).

He expressed his gratitude and left for his second round of brisk walk. Though I did quite a good job in sticking to my mother tongue and forcing that person to use the same, I sometimes feel it is so difficult to use Kannada words for everything in my conversation. It is almost impossible to do that. Because we are so used to English that there are many things we do not know what they call them in Kannada, Hindi or any Indian language. It should take nothing less than a revolution to get Indians talk to other Indians in Indian languages in India. Angrez toh chale gaye Hindustan chhod ke. But they left their language rule us forever.

As I was just beaming with confidence because of my win over that Angrez, an elderly woman in her 70s began to yell like a child and drew my attention. She saw some spark in one of the lampposts in the park and got scared.

She yelled “Somebody call BESCOM. Phone up BBMP. These wires are emitting some spark. It is not safe for the children to play here. Do something. Call the concerned person”. Everything in English.

The in charge security of the park calmed her down and told her that is not a spark. It is just a blinking light indicating that the lights would be switching on in a moment. I didn’t know even oldies liked to be Angrez.

My god! Most of the Gen Y kids don’t know their mother tongue. Because they are taught English right from the time they learn to talk. They speak in English even in home. They are prepared for the cut throat competition of the 21st century. Kids are told if they don’t speak in English they will not be on par with other kids. This is nothing less than sheer nonsense.

The mindset, especially and unfortunately in Bengluru, is that if you can’t speak in English you will not get the expected respect. People look at you with a sorry face. Sales people turn up in the afternoons and struggle to make an impression (talking in English) while selling their stuff.

One afternoon a young guy turned up at our home. He was marketing a newly published Oxford dictionary. He was explaining the stuff in English but was struggling to make it. But my brother, like me, who doesn’t like to use English except in unavoidable circumstances, was asking him everything in Kannada. The guy was talking in English and my bro in Kannada. It was funny. The sales person owing to the defeat switched back to Kannada. He made us aware about his product and left.

Irritation will have no limits. I am just trying to make a change. Let’s hope for the best.


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