Tamil and Me
From my childhood, I have been surrounded by Tamils. Well if you grow up in Bangalore you'll have at least a couple of Tamilian friends. But Tamil never invoked any interest in me, no offence please but I have always resisted learning the language.
In school, I had 3 close friends (Anitha, Arati and Nita) or best friends like we called them then, who were Tamilians. During my middle school, I spent a lot of time with Nita and picked a bit of Tamil from her. Then I picked more Tamil from Anitha - we used to study together during 10th standard. In college, Sowmya and Sumana represented the Tamilian community in my life. But we always spoke in English and I was happy to forget whatever Tamil I knew. But I watched Tamil movies. With filmmakers like Mani Rathnam, its difficult to keep away from them.
Then came Arvindh. I agreed to meet him because he was from Bombay and thought that he would speak Marathi. He said that they (his forefathers) were Kannadigas settled in Tamil Nadu but he was born and raised in Bombay. He spoke a bit of Marathi, fair enough. But after marriage I felt that its the other way round - they were Tamilians who spoke a bit of Kannada - they speak Kannada with a Tamil accent and a lot of Tamil mixed in it, they watch only Tamil channels and movies (Hindi and English too, but no Kannada), they read Tamil magazines - I'm the only one in the family who can read Kannada!! Once one of his uncles suggested that I learn Tamil, I smiled and resisted.
In MS also, my roommate was Mallika, a staunch Tamilian. But my resistance was almost broken when I decided to go to Chennai for my MS project. The project was too good to resist. I dug out whatever little Tamil I knew and picked up some more words. I managed pretty well. I could negotiate with the auto drivers there, bargain at shops or basically, learnt enough to survive.
I almost broke my resolve when Gurudev spoke to me in Tamil. I understood whatever he said and answered in my limited Tamil. I decided it was time to break the resolve, but the interest faded when the next time I spoke to HIM, it was in English and thankfully HE answered in English.
But that urge to learn is creeping in again. The resolve not to learn is turning to resolve to learn. I am slowly and consciously picking a few words here and there and registering them in my memory. Who knows, in a couple of months, I might speak fluent Tamil. So much for my resistance!!! All it needed was Sri Sri.
Tags: Tamil , Kannada , Learning
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.