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Mothers are the last people you say ‘sorry’ to

She knows you’re having a major ego problem just saying the three words. She knows you want to. But then, what will your friends say? Aren’t you supposed to have the eff you attitude? Aren’t you supposed to be fashionably rejecting vegetables that your mother has painstakingly cooked the entire morning, famished and exhausted in the scalding heat?

Here comes another lecturer who tells me what or what not to do. She’s probably 40ish. O women!  😦

What’s hugely disturbing for me are 2 stupid words that are being stereotyped to the d. Ask the 20ish spike haired boy what being you mean and the customary reply comes – It’s about being comfortable in your skin and give the world the middle finger if it turns its back on you just because you’re different.

Will you kindly put to rest, a nagging worry of mine, Just how many of you are different? And if you really are different, then you’e simply joining the ‘different‘  crowd. So you see, you actually are no different!

Talking of mothers, Bengal remains to be the only state world over where speaking your mother language (Bangla) is looked down upon. English is the name of the game. Bangla? Well it’s what the slum dwellers speak. It’s crude, raw and has no finesse. There’s even an expression called Bangla in Bangla which translates to ‘ordinary/crude/lacking sophistication.’

I spent 14 painful years in a school that was afflicted with the English Fever. Unfortunately, I loved Bangla and still do. What brought more bad luck was the fact that, I usually topped the class in Bangla. Now, that you cannot tolerate! Aren’t you a modern girl who’s supposed to wear clothes to tease vicarious pleasures and talk fluently (preferably with a fake accent) a language that our colonizers have kindly bestowed upon us?

I was punished for it. I did not have the permission to be good in the language with which I called my mother when my first lisping word found voice. I was excommunicated and jeered at. I miss Bangla. In fact, am thinking of starting to write in that language again. Time has rusted my hold on the language. I falter at spellings. I had rejected it to belong to the popular groups. And as I already told you, saying sorry is difficult and better left that way.

Languages are vessels of various types, shape and forms. Bangla can be an earthen pot, English, a stout beer mug to a dainty wine glass, Spanish, a quirky coffee mug. Each language has some non sharable tools and senses, like human beings. Bangla smells of the rain washed earthen pot. Looks like a drenched village girl reveling in the first rains after the scorching summer days, feels like running bare foot on dewed morning grass, sounds of the fisherman returning home after a long day at work, Bhatiali songs on their lips and tastes like the mahua, a fruit that is popularly used by the santhals to brew local liquor.

There are similar ‘associative sense triggers’ in other languages. This makes translation a challenging job.  You can perhaps transfer or translate the sense, the language, the meaning. What you cannot or possibly find difficult is the essence, the little silences, the subject-mood-language correlation. It’s fate. Every language comes with its own sound, taste, smell, feeling, look. You cannot express the unsayables into an alien tongue. I salute all the translators who’ve gone closest to this.

I was almost dying today. I was almost getting hit by a bike while crossing. As usual it was completely my fault. Crossing Roads comes a close second to ‘road sense’ in my list of handicaps. The guy screeched to a halt and said haltingly: “What the hell?” For the first time, I wasn’t angry at being abused. I felt a sudden sadness. The boy was sincerely trying hard to pronounce those words: W-H-A-T   T-H-E   H-E-L-L?

I could easily make out that he was much more comfortable in Bangla. The perfect abuse would read:

Sala, chokher matha kheyecho?”

But no. He’s among the million pilgrims on the way to El Dorado: where you will not be jeered at, where your mother tongue is a nuisance to your existence, where you can pierce your body, get cozy in boisterous parties, drink yourself to idiocy and much more. Bangla? What’s that?

There’s still time guys. In fact, there always will be time.

However late you are, your mother will be awake and panicked.

Whatever you choose to wear or not wear, you’re still the naked thing that popped out of her tummy one fine day.

Your language is your mother. Your mother is who you are. Your mother is the one who makes you different.

And she knows you’re sorry.

Yours Joblessly,   The Jobless Ideator

P.S. – I leave with an eccentric and passionate voice confessing his love for his mother land, Bangla.

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