Friday, August 08, 2014

Yalla Habibi, Shlonak Ntha?

I was an NRI for more than half of my life, so it amuses me no end when I see new NRIs conversing in a language they mastered recently. I never found the need to talk to other Indians in Arabic when I was in Bahrain or Dubai so I do not really understand why there’s this new trend of showing off your newly acquired language skills to fellow Indians. And I have noticed how it's mostly prevalent among Indians in Europe.

Picture the scene in Queen when Rani (played by Kangana) visits her relatives in France along with Vijayalakshmi (played by Lisa Haydon). They are conversing in their mother tongue when all of a sudden their relatives decide to talk in French, quick to quote that they are now taking tuition classes for the same. Now shift your focus to Rani and Vijayalakshmi’s expressions. Do you see them going “Wow”? 

Of course not. These were the exact set of expressions I and my classmates shared back in school when our Indian-born French teachers used to chat with each other. That of amusement.

French sir #1: "Ma femme est si paresseux"
French sir #2: "Toutes les femmes sont les mêmes"
French sir#1: "Mais elle cuisine bien"
French sir#2: "Oui"
Students: "Do you think they are bitching about us?"

It’s totally understandable though if it’s a local you are interacting with and you NEED to converse in this new language for them to understand. But it’s not always the case. On Facebook itself, I see so many changes not just in the language used but also the name. I saw one “Maya” become “Màya” and a “Meenakshi” become “Mènaxi” as soon as they landed in Europe. And the worst part is, I am not even sure how their names are pronounced now. 


  1. In the same way, the foreign languages of our sub-conscious communicates many things to us through pictures, symbols, sounds and art in dreams.

    It is a roller-coaster ride and a thrilling journey to be interpreting as how they relate to our life. Sometimes they can foretell our future, change the course of our life or it can just be flashes of insight and awakening to new life from what has gone by.

    The discs of our mind begin to revolve as we understand this unique language giving rise to a beautiful song that is truly ours!

  2. BUT SHE COOKS WELL! I just learnt those words TODAY! What are the odds hahahaha :D

    Great post! :D I am totally going to do a French accent once I go to Europe, even if it lasts all of one day. :P

  3. Lol I tried to do an Italian one today but failed miserably.

  4. So refreshing to finally read a blog from you! It was like drinking a can of sprite after a 'looong' time coz only sprite bujhaye pyaas, baki all (other blogs) bakwaas...:)

    You are right about people being too lazy to comment these days. I've been following your blogs mostly via feeds hence hardly visited your site but guess should've left some comments sometime...going forward will do! So that's one tiny reason to consider not closing down..:p

    Your post reminds me of a funny romantic movie (Vicky Cristina Barcelona) I recently saw on flight in which the character played by Javier Bardem (villain in Skyfall) asks his ex-wife (Penelope Cruz) multiple times to speak in English in front of his girl friend (Scarlett Johansson) but she never listens :) And what is more annoying when you know they are indeed talking about you but can't understand a word of it!
    Nice post!!

  5. I have become B from bikramjit .. in the middle was Bik, bikram, bikky, bikraaaaam.. etc etc and this was our fellow indians doing the most
    at least the english did there best to pronounce my name ..

    and i can totally understand this post ..


  6. I have never experienced this.. but the scene and the movie is hilarious.

  7. Mohan - Thanks for the kind words :) Well I get lazy too so can't blame the readers if they get into a lazy mode as well lol

    Cna - Yup! Saw the movie multiple times already and planning on watching it again


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