Saturday, June 19, 2004

lernen deutsch bitte?

I started learnen-Deutsch last monday. Went with moderate expectations as regards classmates, but even the moderate expectations were dashed!! class is filled with rural folks from all sorts of rural places in Tamil Nadu. Don't wanna sound like some urban snob, BUT THIS IS THE CITY FOR BAGVAAN-SAKE!!!!

Not one city bred (read dressed in jeans, t-shirt and reasonably friendly kind) person. About 20 men and 4 women including yours truly. girls sit together and boys sit together. Girls talk mostly to girls and viceversa. Girls dress in salwaar kameez and have their hair oiled and tied up. Boys avoid catching girls' eyes and look away while blushing furiously if they do so accidentally.

One boy acted hip and tried conversing with yours truly. What happened is as follows: First day after class, I was standing in the bus stop for a ride home, when this dude Balasubramanium walks to same stop and stands next to me. He is from this town in interior Tamil Nadu called Madurai. He starts a conversation with me, and after one or two banal exchanges ('Does 24C come here?', 'Yes', 'Where you working?', 'Nowhere'), he asks, "Can you understand Hindi"? to which I reply "Yes, sort of." Then he says, "Yagan bike negi ai tho boguuth muchkil ai." This is a horrible south-indian accented hindi "Yahan bike nahin hai to bahut mushkil hai."

Why do tamilians have to impress fellow tamilians by trying at all cost to speak in any language expect their mutual mothertongue? This used to happen in Bangalore too, where in the area i lived in, every single ayya, anna and akka were tamilians. But each one, from shopkeeper to neighbourmaama to milkman, would insist on speaking to me only in English even if I only talked to them in Tamil!

Coming back to German class, I cut quite a sorry figure everytime I crack a joke and the only response I get is a blank stare of incomprehension from each of my classmates! eeeuuuugggghhh!!


Rohit Jayakaran said...

I am so glad someone I know feels Madurai is a less important place than people would want you to believe. Here in London I call anyone who is not from Chennai as a villager. Sorry folks...but we City people fell this way. You should see how some people who come from some unheard of place think the world of it...hats off to your guys...had I had your spirt about Cheanni...well it would be capital of the India by now...gosh I miss chennai.

Anonymous said...

I won't lie, I was asked by a friend to read your fledgling short story, and comment on the same; a pity this mututal acquaintance is unaware that I am averse to artistic commentary. My belief: an artist's work is theirs, theirs alone;if we - the reader - don't understand, then: pity.

About your work. I am not sure what to say, even how to say it; in truth: there really is no need. I understood, and believe - even understand. But maybe if I continue to write I can explain myself better.

You are not sure you want to write, eh? I used to feel the same way. Stopped writing for months because of it. Didn't do anything else, simply slept - dreaming of future careers. Pitiful, really. Nothing happened. Even my dreams became boring re-runs. My writing sabbatical ultimately forced me to make a choice - between perpetually printing under vocation: unemployed or: unemployed (but writing). Chose the latter.

Familiar: you want to write what has never been written, move and position the words like it has never been, churn and continously fermentate the end even as you have just started the beginning;And when you feel you finally have it, you subconsciously begin to mummify your own creation, leaving nothing but a sense of helplessness, hoplessness and pain. Been there. Living there. Dying there. And if-you-believe-in-immediate-reincarnation being born there constantly.

There is something I would like to tell you. If I were to pick either your under-development (not being sarcastic) short story or your consant entries, I would choose the latter without batting an eyelid. Why? There is so much more life when your pen is free; your cynical but truthful observations are reflections of the same. Remember: write only because you want to.

Don't let your thoughts be bound by what people will or won't understand (or whom you can become), just let go; push your words out of the nest, let them fly, let them go. If they wish to come back, they will. If not - so be it.

If you feel I have overstepped boundaries by giving you an unannounced lecture on the art of writing and writerhood - then my apologies. If an apology does not suffice, do not fret, I shall send you an audio tape of our mutual friend being bludgeoned with a twix bar the size of Berlin. After all, he was the one who suggested this. But I must add: the pleasure has been all mine.

P.s for the P.s
You must have discovered by now I turned to writing since it is the only medium where I can jabber -preach- jabber -preach...without being asked to shut shop.I could swear I hear the world crying, "Please!Mercy."