Language – A Common barrier?

Like any other day, I was greeted by the young security lad at the elevator. Being just two weeks into office, he was familiar with my face, routine and time. He asked me “Hindi?” At the back of my head ,I knew where this was going . I replied “Thodasa malum hai”. (The one dialogue l know properly in Hindi ,even in my sleep!) Then he asked again “ Kannada?”. I replied “ Kannada gothila”. Finally he asked “ Malayalam?”. I nodded at him with a smile saying “ achae thera se malum hai” and he laughed. Being South Indian, language is one barrier that I commonly come across when interacting with people from different regions. Fortunately, being in Bangalore, especially at my workplace, all of them converse with me in English and I respond back in English. Although they speak in Hindi amongst friends , because of my “thodasa Hindi malum hai” I can understand Hindi quite well. Sadly ,this isn’t the case in many corporates ! Just to quote an example, my friend was working with this firm in Delhi for her internship, ( He who shall not be named!). She told me that despite being professionals in senior positions they all spoke to her in Hindi and asked her if she was born and brought up in the South, just because she replied back in English. Truth be told, she’s a Delhi-ite herself and speaks Hindi fluently. When she came down to Bangalore, most of us spoke in English to her and it was difficult for her to converse back in Hindi at a fast pace. Kuch Kuch hota hai, na! Similarly, my elder brother works in a large corporate and he tells me that many of the times they make him speak to their foreign clients as it becomes difficult for his seniors to continue a conversation with them. I am not saying my brother is the “William Shakespeare” of his time, but it’s because he continuously speaks the language which makes it easier for him. (He also speaks fluent Hindi and does an excellent job in arguing with auto drivers in Hindi!) What I’m trying to say is it’s important to develop a common language such that it would be easier for everyone to converse and feel comfortable. Yes, I know- being Indian, I should know my “Rashtriya Basha” Hindi- but I’d like to just highlight the fact that English is an international language and that’s one language we should know how to speak and also converse even at our work place. If it wasn’t that important , we wouldn’t have textbooks printed in English and taught to kids! Many might have different opinions on this, but this is I, as an individual have to say. At the end of this, you can have three inferences a) this article makes no sense b) this article makes perfect sense c) this article makes sense for those who have sense. You are the judge of what you make of the situation.

By: Crystal George- Business Development Executive.

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