A lot can be lost in translation.
Sometimes your entire identity can be lost in translation!
We Indians have a unique problem when it comes to languages – we have too many of them. The constitution of India recognises 22 languages, while according to the official census we have 122 major languages and 1599 other languages or dialects. Now you might think that having too much of a thing would undermine its importance. Nope. We are almost fanatical about our languages.
All Indians are multilingual, and I don’t say that with pride; its merely a fact.
In school I was formally taught the two official languages, English and Hindi, lets call them A and B, and the state language, lets call it X. At home I was taught the language of my ancestors, lets call that Y. Later on I shifted to state Z, where my son received his education and he therefore studied A, B, Y and Z.
Yesterday I had to fill out an official document. Obviously I filled it out in English, the language that I am most comfortable in. But then for the state’s records everything was automatically converted into the local language Z and I was asked to review and confirm.
So I trot off to my son to request him to do the needful. Anyone who has a 17 year old will understand this is tantamount to calling in a big favour, and there are only so many that we can expect in any given period.
Once the necessary ritual of looking busy, then harried, then bored, were exhausted, he finally graced me with his presence, only to burst into rude guffaws.
My dear parents have bestowed upon me a name which has a beautiful meaning in our native tongue. It takes a particular combination of English alphabets to produce the sounds that compose my name. Unfortunately language Z does not have the alphabets required to accurately produce the same effect. Add to that the software program that does an alphabet by alphabet translation from A to Z, I now stand rechristened to an altogether different name.
It is with deep anguish that I tell you – a rose by another name does not smell just as sweet!
In response to the Saturday Stream of Consciousness prompt – Language