Aye Aye Captain!


Money can’t buy happiness said the good old proverb! “Whoever says money can’t buy happiness didn’t know where to shop!” said the tagline at a local store! Thinking and contemplating this thought there I was in a strange English speaking land doing the thing I love the most. Yup! Shopping! The colors, the flavors, the shapes, the uniqueness in everything attracts you in a strange way and they all somehow wanted to come home with you. Getting lost in the zone of shopping I met him.

One look at him and I could tell he was from India. The minute I met him, the typical Indian in me woke up. We wouldn’t have shared a smile at each other when we would have met in India. But meeting him at a strange land evoked the one common thing we share (our ethnicity) and we smiled at each other and greeted each other with the now universal language, English.

After the formal greeting, he switched his conversation to Hindi and asked me about my whereabouts. Hindi, a language in which I’m quite comfortable but not proficient enough. And his hindi dialect was too difficult for me and after managing 2-3 questions with my broken Hindi, it was getting too difficult for me to comprehend what he was saying and I politely asked him to switch to English (a common language in which both of us were proficient enough).

The minute I said that, he was surprised and asked me (in English) whether I can’t understand Hindi. On hearing my reply that my Hindi is pathetic in his standards, his temper rouse. He accused me to a fellow friend of his that I must be some really linguistic freak south Indian who doesn’t want to understand and learn the national language and also told me that I should be really ashamed to call myself an Indian and still not to learn the language that unites the country.

I was quite taken aback by this comment. There I was, trying to make a conversation with a fellow human being in a language that both of us understood. There I was trying to make an effort to appreciate and speak the language of the other person. And the other person, not even trying to make an attempt to learn my language nor my cultural background was trying to put me into a category of “language freak” south Indian. I didn’t entertain to have further conversation with him and returned home. But this particular incident kept boggling my mind.

How is that all of a sudden it is labeled as a freak when you just love your language and you are appreciative about it and when some person who makes no attempt to understand your culture and is in a need to force upon their language on you is considered liberal? Talking to people of your race, about your race is racism whereas considering your race is the pure breed and trying to impose your language, culture and religion is just a sheer act of uplifting people from their own miserable shell?

I really don’t understand. Why is it so difficult for so many people to understand that everybody has a head and they can think of themselves and instead keep trying on this push marketing strategy all the time?