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The problem of language

We speak Tamil at home. My mom, dad, sisters can read Tamil; they are all fluent. My mom still prefers writing in Tamil. Mom prefers reading in Tamil as well. I can manage without major mistakes on most days. I repeat, most days.

We speak Telugu at office. We have trainings in Telugu. We translate extensively into Telugu. All our meetings and discussions are in Telugu. I can speak in Telugu. Though my accent and dialect is mocked mercilessly by my colleagues, I still manage to speak. I can read a line in ten minutes. Yes, I am very slow.

With friends, auto men, bus drivers and shop keepers, Hindu suffices. The Hindi I know is mostly Hyderabadi. As much as I argue with others, my Hindi is just above average. I can read and write, thanks to the Hindi I learnt in school.

I think in English. I read in English. I write in English. I dream in English. Yet English is not my mother tongue. I converse fluently in English and switch to it when any other language gives me trouble. But I wouldn’t claim to have a superb grasp over it.

Despite knowing four languages, I struggle to call any one of these languages my own. But the struggle also lies in an aspiration for some form of perfection in one of these languages. Which is probably a long road, scattered with learning.