My Journey through languages…

In Bihar, Chennai, kerala, Life, Places, quote, Travel, Writing on January 14, 2011 at 11:59 pm

Reference: The power of the world

This post is inspired by Charlie, my blog buddy. It’s been 3 days since we exchanged greetings, but seems we know each other since ages. I am not praising him all because he has dedicated an entire post to me. But the very idea of writing this post, came from him. His post “How I learned french German and Spanish?” covers his entire journey of life till date. So I dedicate this post to Charlie  🙂

Language of the world

Journey of thousand miles begins with a single step…

Hindi hinterland

The day I took my baby steps out of home, My dad suffered a lot. Being a first born child has its pain and agony. For the first time I saw tears in my mother’s eyes and ting of envy in my brothers 😉 . I guess, having grown up at different places had induced some inherent capability in my genes to adjust to places, language and food. 😛

My first step took me to another Hindi land away from home. I managed to pass a decent time there.

A map of the distribution of native Telugu spe...

Image via Wikipedia

Tryst with Telugu

Then came my tryst to an altogether different language zone. My first job brought me to Andhra Pradesh. It was completely an alien turf. Food, weather, language lifestyle… everything was different. The Jamshedpur upbringing definitely helped me to not only survive but devour south Indian food.  😛  But the language was a major problem. Conversing with top echelons of the company is always easy. Thanks to the British legacy. But the real problem was dealing with engineers and laborers. I didn’t know Telugu and they didn’t know English. That was quiet a bad phase for me. Gradually I took up to learn Telugu and in sometime I was at conversational level with them. I feel, the love for Telugu is still there, when I mix up Telugu dialect with Tamil or Malayalam. 😀

kannada language

Brief Stint with Kannada

My brief stint in Bangalore was not much of help in learning new language. But here I honed another skill- to bargain. My daily interaction with Bangalore autowallahs always ended up with lots of bargaining. I used to negotiate and re-negotiate for auto fares.  I never had a clue that this skill of mine was to be soon utilized in Chennai.

Rendezvous with Tamil


Anyway, I moved to Chennai. The stories of anti Hindi attitude of Tamilians had already created so much ruckus at home. Mom was particularly worried and was disapproving of me going to Chennai. Her usual fear would be my health ( though I still weighed around 80 Kilos, why do all mothers feel the same? However you grow, they will be still worrying to death, for you. I love you maa). I decided to learn Tamil as soon as possible. By looking at my complexion no body would say I wasn’t a Tamilian (at least that was a plus point 😉 ). Tamil unlike Telugu wasn’t easy. I could manage to learn few basic words. Most of my friend were either a mallu (originating from Kerala, knowing Malayalam) or a Tamil ( born brought up.. Now getting married and probably die here in CHENNAI – that was for you Christo.) I never felt an urge to learn Tamil anymore, since all my needs were being met without even speaking a single word in Tamil. Anyway, college came to end and I missed not being to Kerala. Without Kerala my south India trip was In-complete.

Now What?

As if god was hearing to my plea, when I said this. Next I heard was, ” You are being placed in Kerala”… my God. By all what I had heard and known. Malayalam was the most difficult of all the south Indian languages. For Kerala, I only knew, two of its famous actors – Mamooty and Mohan lal and the fact that Some I.A.S officer from Bihar Cadre had Coined the term “God’s own Country for Kerala.  How would I manage to survive? …Voice said  how did you manage all this time, don’t fear.. When I’m here. I could barely smile at this joke of his. I came down to Kerala. It was all smile on my face when I heard few Hindi words. My-my I had  not expected this. My view towards Kerala changed at that point of time. In office, again British legacy came handy, and  with others I would use all my knowledge of Sign conversation I had learnt while watching deaf-n-dumb news on DoorDarshan. Just kidding, I was surprised to know that people here in Kerala could really speak Hindi well.

Kerala in pictures

For now, I am in Kerala cursing them all for not giving holiday today. When Entire north India, Tamil Nadu, Punjab etc are enjoying holiday on the occasion of  Makarsakranti, Bihu and  Pongal, I just came from office… tired… cursing … envying my colleagues (who are having some 2-3 day holidays at a stretch).

  1. Hey Rajiv,
    I’m glad you are having a good time in Kerala. Don’t worry about the holidays, I am sure the hartals will make up for that. 🙂
    Where in Kerala are you now?

  2. Meaningful post. My story is similar to yours, here it is in a nutshell

    Native – Kerala / born n broght up in Hyd / first language Hindi / friendship – all tamil / English – majboori.
    Grand total = 5 languages (out of which 3 are read/write and 2 only speak, which includes malayalam my mother tongue.

    As Sunil said, hartals in kerala exceed the number of national holidays, so relax and lean back, you are better placed than colleagues in other states 😉

  3. Greetings from Forsyth,Georgia, Rajiv!
    What a wonderful surprise your story is to me. Thank you very much. 🙂 As I awoke this morning I didn’t want to go in the email box, because it said I had 188 unread messages, uuugh!

    So, I did something I never do. I signed-in to Yahoo by mistake, something I have not done since I switched over to Mozilla Fire Fox, and Google. I had not used their search-engine since Google took over search leadership in the world.

    Typed in my name and found to my utter & complete surprise “My Journey Through The World,” which introduced me an array of Indian cities I never of before. Great job on the article, it really kept my attention.

    Today, I will write and amazing story about a new friend of mine, Nanaje Giduturi, and here is his level of English writing. I am going to try and teach him better. He wrote: “praise the LORD,how u are doing, we miss u in last wednesday , i hope i can see you in this wednesday ; happy ”CHRISTMAS” for all your family………………….. ”
    Nanaje took a Christian name which he uses here in the US; it’s Jeremiah. More later on that subject.

    We are freezing here. If you type Charlie Courtois on Facebook, you can see my yard pics for Foto-Friday on Newsvine.
    Good cheer, young chap,
    PS: Must be kind to your British, forgot how you said it, but your backgraound learning English, nevertheless!

    • Good job Charlie 🙂 Teaching is the noblest profession (certainly after Doctors) I’ll look forward to your new post
      good day

      PS. just curious! how old are you? 🙂

      • I will be 75 in August this year.
        I wish you would send me a copy to me when you email. It took me too long to find Nanaje name.
        Or, just post on each others articles.

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