Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Learning and appreciating languages

It’s always good to know many languages, more so the one if you happen to live in the land of the native speakers. So, I have been taking some initiative to learn Kannada. It seems to be a sweet language and easy to learn, I hope.

When my friends and I were meant to undergo training in B’lore, we had an interest to learn Kannada. It was an urge more out of curiosity than out of necessity, because Bangaloreans seem comfortable with Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Hindi since Bangalore is a cosmopolitan with a multi-lingual population.

I have been asking two of my colleagues to teach me Kannada. I help one of them with Tamil in return. Unlike me, who has no knowledge of Kannada, she already has some understanding of Tamil, so she picks up fast.

I have been making considerable progress (I choose to believe so :)). I have always heard that the best way to learn a language is to speak it; as often as you can and with whomever you can. And that was the theory.

One fine day, two of my friends and I boarded a bus. We had to get down in a bus stop, different from our usual one. Since we didn’t know where exactly to get down, I told the conductor ‘Stop Inform Maadi’ (implying, do inform when the stop arrives).

The conductor must have thought I knew Kannada. He started speaking too many sentences, too fast in Kannada. I didn’t understand one word. I was looking at him with a blank expression on my face. Some people in the bus started staring in our direction.

It was embarrassing enough. To add to it, my friends started laughing, looking at me. And that conductor seemed persistent. He asked me some questions. I just stayed mum. He continued talking in Kannada, as he distributed tickets to others also. He went on saying something looking at me, even after we got down from the bus, till it left.

My friends kept laughing at me the whole time, and long after we got down. Anyways, I know. I have only me to blame :)......It was later that I understood that he merely wanted to say that the stop is close by, so go and stand near the door now itself. I keep telling myself, it should all be taken in a good spirit :)

So, nothing should deter me from using the language. I cant help thinking that it takes so much effort to learn one extra language.….. Phew!! I really wonder how some people excel in so many languages. I remember reading somewhere that Jackie Chan knew about six languages; it is truly fantastic!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

My Best Friend's Wedding

Don’t worry. This post is definitely not a review of the movie with the same title as it. Not even close. It is about my best friend’s wedding. My friend and I have known each other for more than 9 years now, 5 of which we spent together during our school days, and 4 of it in different colleges, but managed to meet up now and then.

She got married on the 2nd of September, 2009. Her marriage was in the hometown village of hers, to the far south of Tamil Nadu. I could not go so far and attend it. And her wedding reception was in Singapore (where she lives right now), I couldn’t attend that either.

Ever since, I had a weird feeling every time I thought of her; for some reason, I felt a tinge of sadness. I was trying to comprehend why I felt that way.I couldn’t help but wonder about a lot of ‘whats’. What if she changes? What if she doesn’t keep in touch? What if she forgets me? What made me feel so lost is that I often wonder if things will ever be the same between us. And my worst fear, what if I never see her again, though I believe that it will not be so.

We do get in touch from time to time, but definitely not like before. I pray to God that he blesses her with every happiness. I know that I will miss her. But, no matter what happens, I know this- nothing can take away the rocking times we had as friends. And will my fears ever come true? Only time can tell.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Unforgettable journey

We remember many days for many reasons. A few reasons are pleasant and a few are unpleasant.
The date was June 11, 2010. I kept looking at my watch from time to time all through the day. I was pretty excited coz I had decided to go to my home town Salem for the weekend after quite a long time (after almost nine months I guess). My parents were meant to be waiting for me in Salem. They had gone there a day earlier.

I got into a bus bound for Salem at 07:20 PM in Electronics City. I got a place to sit when the bus reached Hosur. They were screening the movie ‘Pokiri’ in the bus. I watched it for some time and dozed off before I knew it. I did wake up now and then coz the ride was bumpy. Also, my dad and my brother (cousin) called me from time to time and kept asking me where the bus was.

I covered myself with my shawl (how useful dupattas are!) coz it got pretty cold through the journey. When I woke up again they were screening the movie, ‘Imsai Arasan 23 Aam Pulikesi’ in the bus. I started watching it coz I thought it will be nice to watch a comedy movie then and some of the jokes in it are simply hilarious! The bus crossed Dharmapuri.

I turned back to see what everyone else were doing in the bus. Hardly three people were awake. I turned again and started watching the movie. Like the people in the bus, guess the driver also felt sleepy, coz at that instant he drove the bus to the median. The bus which was travelling at a considerable speed, staggered as soon as it hit the median.

For a moment the bus was in the air. People who were sleeping till then, gasped! I was thinking, ‘Okay, anything worse can happen now’ and held my breadth. Nothing can match the adrenaline rush and the fear and frenzy that grips you at that moment. The bus then hit the road. It jerked clumsily and I wondered whether it will ever get its balance. It took sometime before it finally got its balance. The driver managed to park the bus in one corner of the road and by this time the air was filled with the gas from the left wheel (when you stand facing the bus) at the rear.

Everyone got down with their bags. So did I. As soon as we got down, another bus from Bangalore to Salem pulled over, probably seeing the condition of this bus. A few people got into that bus. I couldn’t get in coz I was a little away. The conductor seemed like a nice man. He told me, “Konjam wait pannu ma, antha bus romba crowded ah iruku, adutha bus la innum konjam pera ethi vidaren” (wait for some more time, that bus is crowded, I will send you in the next bus).

I checked the time in my mobile. It showed 11.58 PM. So there I was. Standing in the middle of a road at 11.58 PM, not knowing where I was and not knowing what to do.

My dad called up. I told him I will reach in about half an hour and hung up. I thought I will tell him in person since everything was going fine till now and the conductor said he will see to it that some of us get into the next bus. Less than two seconds from my dad’s call, my brother called me up. I yelled at him and hung up. I felt sorry for him as soon as I did that. I told that myself that it is okay to have yelled since they both kept calling once in five minutes and any person is bound to get annoyed. The number of calls increased ever since the bus crossed Dharmapuri. It was later that I found out that the calls were mutually exclusive coz my dad was siting inside the car and my brother was standing outside the parked car for some fresh air and neither was aware of the call made by the other.

Suddenly I started getting scared. I looked around to see how many more women were there. There was a sizeable number. For some reason it relaxed me. The one, who was sitting next to me in the bus was also standing nearby. Even then, my mind kept asking me weird questions like what is gonna happen next, what if things didn’t go well and I was feeling restless. I told myself ‘Okay fine, if I don’t get another bus in 10 minutes then I am gonna tell dad.’

Just as I was thinking this, a van stopped by. There were some 4 to 5 people in the van. The lady who was sitting next to me in the bus got into the van. Seeing this, I also got in. I sat next to a middle aged man, who was having a sound sleep (and a bit noisy too:) ). I asked the driver whether he will stop at this place called ‘five roads’, coz that was where my dad and bro were waiting for me. He said he will. That was when it struck me that I should have asked him that question before I got in :)

The van had a TV too; which was playing the movie ‘Paiyya’ (lots of TVs and lots of movies I thought). I got down at ‘five roads’. I told my dad and brother about what had happened. My dad scolded me for not telling him sooner. Anyways, he was glad nothing had gone worse.

We then drove to my aunt (mom’s sis)’s place. My two cousins (her kids) had already slept off. My aunt made dosas for me and I narrated the entire story to my mom and others between mouthfuls. My granny scolded me for traveling alone and so late. But that’s just typical of her; she can scold me for anything and everything (wink).

My dad, mom, bro (cousin) and I then drove to our place which is far from my aunt’s home. I was telling the entire story again to my mom down to every detail. She didn’t seem bored. So I went on and on. My dad slept off. My bro, who was at the wheel didn’t speak much; he seemed tired after a long day. As soon as we reached home, I felt relieved and had a good night’s rest. And that was that.

So, all went well. I thought on the day it happened that I should write about it. It has taken me so many days to write though. My bad! When I think of it now, I feel that it is one journey I will never forget for the rest of my life.