Growing up with seven languages
June 17, 2010Posted by on
I found this great collaborative blog that is for and by students, teachers, and others who share a fascination with language. Any language…I did not bat an eyelid and posted:
I was born in the bustling city of Bombay (now Mumbai; ah! language and politics.) in a middle class Indian family. Due to my father’s transferable job we moved from one place to another quite often. I learnt seven languages in the process and I must say it was quite a learning.
Bhojpuri in Bihar, Punjabi in Delhi, Oriya in Orissa, bit of Bengali, Hindi, English and Marathi, which is my mother tongue. All of this happened when I was seven till I was eighteen. And I loved every bit of it.
Of course, it wasn’t very easy to pick up the nuances of each language (I mean the regional ones. English was mandatory at school and Hindi is the most popular language, that again is political ). From making new friends to even learning expletives, every two years i had to start from the scratch. At some schools, I even had to learn regional language grammar. No marks to guess if I passed .
Every new region threw newer surprises and made me acquire a wider perspective of things. Respecting cultures, understanding social problems and the psyche of the people in a particular region. Today at my workplace, I come across people from all over the country and it makes me and them feel good when I know something about their culture or language. It really helps in networking and making new friends.
People used to ask me where am I from and I was unable to answer this question to their satisfaction. Now, I say I am from everywhere.