English Vinglish

I saw English Vinglish last week. In India, English has become the spoken language. Try going to a Mcdonalds or Indigo or Costa or a Five star  hotel and placing your order in Hindi. They will take it with certain looks. I usually go to our favourite Chinese restaurant and ask 'Sabji mein kya hai?' It means what is the vegetable dish you recommend. Well not exactly but loosely. This habit comes from Dhanbad where we used to go to Dhabas on the highway for dinner. The highway was called GT road aka Grand Trunk road. Its quite good now. Those days it was a two lane highway with villages and small eateries and garages. The trucks would be lined up through the night and Dad would spot the Dhaba or the eating joint through the row of trucks.

There was a place called Hind Hotel. They would give whistles to all children made by an alcohol company. Round whistles half white and half  with transparent colours. My favourite was the yellow and white one.The place also had a gaggle of geese walking around. As kids, we loved following them. Mom would ask the waiter"Sabji mein kya hai" So the fresh veggies he had for that day were rattled by the waiter. Most of these dhabas did not serve Basmati rice. They had unpolished rice. So in Dhanbad town, we would buy half kg rice and ask the cook to make it for us. The salad had a sprinkling of lime and pepper and seemed garden resh. Those were non Bisleri days o our lives. Hind hotel had a lawn and a water well plus a tube well. The hard water is what we all drank. No seperate food for kids, no kids menu, no food without spices. I remember eating all of it rom childhood. The cool fresh breeze was invigorating. We would sleep on our way back ,six kids in the back and four adults in the Ambassador. No one fought about the airconditioner or music in the car. We did not have any. Monday we were refreshed to start a week of school.

Monday was also a junk food day in our tiffin box unlike fridays for my kids. Sunday night,we had dinner at a Dhaba and pre dinner, we would shop for some dry snacks. They were always bought from a corner store at Rajendra Market near Bank More. The shopkeeper had just an aisle in the name of a store but he had tasty wafers and 'daal moth'.

Hindi was not a taboo in the place where I grew up. I cant help comparing it to the place where my children are growing up. Though they speak good Hindi by Mumbai standards. I still struggle with the mother and father tongues. Have not been able to teach them either though they understand both. Language is just a means of reaching to yourself and to others. Why are we then making it a status symbol?


  1. memories f childhood...:)
    very nicely written
    keep it on...!!
    love Malli


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