Why not Bangalore?

A question I encounter very frequently but I don’t know how to answer is “Why do you stay in Pune rather than Bangalore?”¬† At times I just say I got a job here. At times I say my hometown is equi-distant from here so it doesn’t make a difference. On some other days, I ask people if they can get me a job in Bangalore so I can move ūüėõ¬† But mostly I am confused why is it that people ask the question. I am away from home in either case. In fact it is the same national highway that I’d take from both destinations to go “home”, just in opposite directions. The only difference is when I go home from Pune my phone is in “roaming”.¬† Oh ya that is there. Bangalore is in the same political boundary as my hometown! But I don’t feel the same kinship with Bangalore that others want me to feel. Reason? Because although it is in the same state the language (actually dialect) and the culture is quite different. I don’t feel at home!

Well that was a pretty long segue to what I wanted to speak about today. Language, the culture and interconnection! Since I am a recently converted insomniac I don’t know what to do in those wee hours. And I end up binge watching YouTube videos. In one of those videos, Sudhir Mishra, the film-maker of “Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi” fame, says Women and Dalits take to English much more easily than others because English words or language is not as exploitative to them as their native tongue. That explains why I can’t bring myself to read a lot of Kannada literature inspite of being quite proficient in the language.¬† That extends to Kannada movies and newspapers even. And consequently I can’t feel the connect to Bangalore that others feel or atleast expect me to feel. He says “Bhasha is attitude”. On the same lines, another script-writer Jaideep Sahni (Chak De India) says “Bhasha is behaviour”. They couldn’t have been more correct. Thanks to them now I feel validated. All these days I felt like I was cheating on my mother tongue! Hail YouTube and the hail the Internet! I have been on the receiving end of quite a few jokes and taunts because of my love for English language. I still love Kannada but I just can’t enjoy the literature as much.

The dystopian¬†novel, 1984, explores this brilliantly where the Oceania government has introduced this new language Newspeak. Newspeak has a very limited vocabulary and no negative terms. It is a language designed to remove even the possibility of independent thinking or a rebellion. Orwell said ‚ÄėIf thoughts can corrupt language, language can also corrupt thoughts.’ Very interesting theory indeed.

There is a reason the current Government of our country wants to impose Hindi on us. Because without imposing the language there is no way they can impose the morality that comes along with it. And that precisely is also the reason why some others are opposing the move.¬†Anybody familiar with the South-East Asia can attest, here¬† English isn’t just a language but a class. If you can speak English well, it immediately puts you in a different league. French is a language synonymous with class, luxury, sophistication and fancy.

However, there is one thing. Because of colonization and subsequently the emergence of the Internet now we have a large population of the World that speaks English but thinks in a different language. The other language can be any Kannada, Chinese, Spanish and the list goes on. English can be called the lingua franca of the World. Well almost. Culturally also due to capitalization we are becoming pretty similar. You can find a McDonalds and a Starbucks be it Denver, Dubai, Delhi, or Denpasar! Is it a good thing? I don’t know and anyway that is a topic for another day. This cultural melting pot has created another language for us which could very well become the lingua franca of the World: Memes. Have you been following them?

And while I am thinking all this on a Saturday afternoon, here’s my brain to myself.

Bole_toh

So I’ll go eat something while you ponder on what language you think in and and tell me how can I ask for biryani in that language¬† ūüėÄ

 

Respect

When it comes to boasting about India, the first thing people invariably mention is ‘The Great Indian Culture’. Our great culture is supposed to value respect for elders and respect for women. Neither of which is seen in practice. We supposedly treat women as goddess and touch our elders feet as a mark of respect. While state of women is well-known, elderly abuse is an issue that isn’t talked about so much.

I thought let me confirm if my understanding of respect is correct before commenting on the gap between theory and practice. And here is what I got.

  • Respect – To feel or show deferential regard for
  • Deference – affected or ingratiating regard for another’s wishes

Ah! so my understanding is correct. That also confirms another person’s¬†understanding – Upendra. He is a Kannada actor/writer/director who in one of his films says “India is great, Indians are not”.

Just finished watching today’s episode of ‘Satyameva Jayate‘ a couple¬†of hours back and today’s subject was old age. In this episode,¬†Aamir Khan highlighted the plight of the aged in our country¬†in-spite¬†of our respect for them. Journalist¬†Pramila Krishnan talked about a practice called ‘thalaikoothal’ in some¬†parts of Tamil Nadu where the family gets rid of the old people by¬†killing them. He also showed the abandoned elderly in thousands.

While this might not be happening everywhere, some common courtesies like offering a seat for the senior citizens in the bus seem to be missing. In fact, I have had to ask people to give the seats reserved for senior citizens to them many a times and people do so only after giving you a stare and making faces.

The good thing about the show is that it just doesn’t highlight the issues but also tries to debate on how it can be solved and highlight a few who are already trying to address the issue. One solution for this as proposed by¬†Himanshu Rath of Agewell foundation is economic independence and being vocal about the problems being faced. I couldn’t agree more. I feel the same applies to¬†women’s emancipation as well¬†( hence I included this topic also¬†here). ¬†I remember having a discussion with a friend once¬†about¬†the same, who opined that we need to build the right culture and women¬†going¬†out to earn is not a¬†solution. True, but I believe till we build the culture( which is going to take a while), economic independence is a great enabler.

Nani

My sweet nana

He also showed some more people who are old but their spirits are as young as ever and they continue to live a great life.  We saw a 90 yr old mountain rappelling and applauded. That reminds me of one more such spirit: my granny( nani).

She seems tireless. Never once have I heard her say she is old. She is still the first to rise in the morning. Helps in household chores and looks after grand kids. She travels extensively. She is the most excited one whenever a family function is¬†to be organised and makes sure she attends all of them no matter what time and place. She is aware of the latest fashion in sari and jewellery. She is even aware of the latest in the grapevine. This post is dedicated to her. ūüôā

And at last, respect for the show ‘Satyameva Jayate’ in the real sense.

Where are we heading to?

ÔĽŅFor a long time now, I have been meaning¬†to write a post on “Where are we heading to?”. But whenever¬†I think of this topic I have so many thoughts I was never able to articulate my thoughts well enough to write a decent post. Today morning when I read Pritish¬†Nandy’s column “Too much tosh on sale“, for most lines I found myself saying “My thoughts exactly”. Esp. when he says “Are we losing out something somewhere or is this a new culture we want to build where the past does not exist and the future can go to hell?” and “We have reduced all enterprise to the making of profit and bred a nation of carpetbaggers”

A big Question mark

Where are we heading to?

We live in a very er… well interesting times. All the modern creations of man, the Internet, the space ships, the ubiquity of¬†technology was dreamt¬†of at one point or the other much before they actually came into existence. Though most of them seemed like fantasy¬†then they are very much here in reality now. But as a side effect of these developments we have a social structure that none of us dreamt of. The irony¬†is captured rightly in these words:

The paradox of our time in history is that

we have taller buildings, but shorter tempers;
wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints;
we spend more, but have less;
we buy more but enjoy it less.
We have bigger houses and smaller families;
more conveniences, but less time;
we have more degrees, but less sense;
more knowledge, but less judgement;
more experts, but more problems;
more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry too quickly,
stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.
We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life; We’ve added years to life, not life to years.

We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor.
We’ve conquered outer space, but not inner space; We’ve done larger things, but not better things.

We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul; we’ve split the atom, but not our prejudice.
We write more, but learn less; we plan more, but accomplish less.

We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait; we have higher incomes, but, lower morals.

We build more computers to hold more information to produce more copies than ever, but have less communication;
We’ve become long on quantity, but short on quality.

These are the days of two incomes, but more divorce; of fancier houses, but broken homes.

These are the days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throw away morality, one night stands, overweight bodies,
and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. Where are we heading ….?

what has led to these trends(At least from my perspective)ÔĽŅ –

  • We have reduced all enterprise to the making of profit – health care, education, arts, music, sports,you name it
  • ¬†Life is a number game-¬†We have reduced everything to Numbers,Quantifying and measuring everything including ourselves(Human resource utilisation).
  • ¬†Material wealth and external appearances are of paramount importance. Values at an all time low and moral standards have hit a new low.
  • ¬†We have become too result oriented and we want everything quickly…….

What do we do to remediate these? Good Question….

Forget about going anywhere do we at least know where we are? Guess it’s time for a reality check.