‘Oh…do you speak Marathi??”
City – Pune (Of all the places!)
Myself – A Marathi Manus
Person asking me the question – A maharashtrian.
“Yes” I reply trying to hide my confusion; “don’t you?”
“Never! In fact, I find it irritating even if someone else speaks it in front of me.”
A strange mix of anger and sympathy (both for the same person) build up inside me as I write this.
I believe in freedom of thought. If a person is more comfortable in any other language, he/she is most welcome to use it.
One must however, show the minimum courtesy by not disrespecting anyone’s language or culture. By that I mean ANY language or culture; not just Marathi.
To the Opposite end of this spectrum are the politicians who make such hue and cry over protecting our identity. Western culture is criticized a menace, trying to take over our culture. So they end up doing what they are fighting in the first place --- forcing it on the Society.
All of us should remember Mahatma Gandhi’s words
“No culture can live, if it attempts to be exclusive.”
We must understand that, a language or a culture is too big to be insulted by someone. It is too big to be in danger because few individuals choose not to use it.
So, here’s my advice if you find yourself in a similar situation---
1. Keep calm. Take a deep breath and pretend it never happened; because your language is better off without such dimwits!
2. Remeber what will become of your children if you forget to do your job!
3. Make sure you keep speaking in the same language. The constipated look on their faces is priceless!!