Posts

Multilingual and loving it!

Image
I was born into a multilingual family. My paternal grandparents are Bengalis, but my grandmother grew up in Shimla and Dehradun. She spoke and read Hindi voraciously as well as Bengali. My grandfather, having run away from his home at 15, made Mumbai his home. Hence, he learnt to speak and read Marathi. After marriage, the duo moved to Khadakvasla in Maharashtra. Here, they perfected their Marathi reading, writing and speaking skills. They passed on the love of languages to their three children.
Years later, when my father, a Bengali, met my mother, a Jain Gujarati, they fell in love. Getting married ensured that their kids, i.e. my sister and I, picked up Gujarati as well. So today we speak English, Hindi, Marathi, Bengali and Gujarati. Then I went on to marry a Gurgaon boy who has Multani Punjabis ancestry. So Punjabi is added to my list of languages. Also, I can pick up bits and pieces of Konkani and Odiya. I wrote the below post during a chance discussion in my then organisation o…

Dadu's spoon

Image
It is heavy; scratched, weather-beaten, worn out over the ages and yet, it survives. Being held in a brown coloured plastic cutlery holder currently, it sits almost abandoned among the new ones. They are shiny, lighter when held, cleaner even as Papa often suggests.
We leave it alone. Try to ignore it as if it would stir something in us that we are not ready to face. In fact, even if it is the only spoon remaining in the holder, we wash the used ones. It is thick, impenetrable also just like Dadu. If I were to drop it, it would make a loud thud on the flooring. Like his spoon, if Dadu bellowed, which he often did, we would all run helter-skelter.

Denser than most I have ever come across; heavy with memories of his past, his then present and future. As I said, it is like no other – of no consequence, a misfit among the new set. We can't be rid of it though. It is a bane and a boon. Bane when it topples the cutlery holder, unbalancing its weight, beneficial when it came handy to balan…