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A certain part of this week was spent in video shooting for a Telugu Channel. It being my mother tongue, have spoken the language right from childhood, though a little contaminated by the local language around me during that time. Still, I always spoke Telugu.
When I came to Tamil Nadu, for the first few years I spoke and thought only in English. I remember it was my second program in Tirupur, must have been the year 1989, and it was an English class. The first day of class, I was quite concerned as 30% of the participants could clearly not understand the language. The only option was to either ask them to drop out or for me to learn their language. So that night, I sat with a few very enthusiastic volunteers to pick up some Tamil key words for the second day of class. Day 2, I tried my newly acquired Tamil on them. They could not have understood much but they seemed quite amused by my efforts and the class turned into a spiritual process for them and a Tamil class for me. They were so deeply connected with me that every day, class would end with tears of love and communion.
Then I discovered it was my Telugu and Kannada pronunciation that were coming in my way of speaking Tamil. I consciously and systematically set out to demolish these languages within me that I had been exposed to and fluent in right from my childhood. This week’s Telugu video shoot had my tongue in knots. Cannot believe that it has become so difficult to speak my mother tongue.
Two hectic days in Delhi, and now I am in Kathmandu. Kathmandu is such a delightful place, deserves better administration. People of Nepal are simple and intense. A few years ago, when I had a chance meeting with a retired general of the British Army who served in the Gurkha (Nepali) regiment, we had such interesting notes to share about the Gurkhas. The United Kingdom still maintains a Gurkha regiment and recently added a female Gurkha regiment too. There is a saying that goes about in the British Army, “If anyone says that he is fearless in the battlefield, he is either a bloody liar or a Gurkha”.
From here to Kailash – it does not matter how many times you have been there, it does not fail to excite you.