Monday, August 13, 2007

You are what you speak....

Language and culture are two of the most important factors that have influenced a person's choice of association. From quite a long time, since human beings learned about a settled way of living and developed a medium of communication, bonds and relationships were based more on that medium, which soon evolved into a LANGUAGE. The inherent urge of a human, for that matter of any living being, to communicate what he/it feels was at the root of evolution of language. The primary doubt that arises at this point is about the X-factor that lead to a more cohesive and structured medium of communication in humans, which probably does not exist in other living beings (may be my superiority complex as human is making me write this). The answer lies in the human mind, and probably the mind itself is the answer. Human beings’ uncanny ability to strive for progress has lead to the evolution of the once rudimentary means of communication into a proper LANGUAGE, as we call it today. There is no doubt that man learned this art (or should I call it science*) of speaking in a language, from animals. However, where the rest of the living beings failed, human being succeeded. He/She developed various languages that gave him/her the capability to dominate other creatures. A tiger anywhere in the world can probably understand the growl of another of its species, but a human being cannot understand more than 4-5 different languages (exceptions might always be there). That brings me to the point where I can discuss about the pros and cons of having thousands of different languages.

The multitude of languages that developed in various parts of the world, in course of human evolution helped man to form the first boundaries of social existence. Though metaphysical in nature, the language barrier acted and still acts as the primary instrument of a man to identify his so called “group”. This “language” has helped man in a variety of ways, starting with forming groups to hunt for food to the art/science of writing and to the highly potent debates among the intelligentsia that create a vast knowledge repository, language had it’s foot print in every giant leap or small step that man made during his evolution. This boon of association that language provided helped man to collocate the vast number of ideas that were prevalent in his realm of contact but were never churned to create knowledge. The knowledge thus created had the potential to better the lives of its users and lead to congregation of people speaking the same tongue seeking its benefits. Creation of knowledge is one of the most important reasons behind the development of human bonds on the basis of language.

Soon after the language barriers, the geographical barriers emerged. For an infinite number of reasons, men transformed the as of now surreal social barriers to physical ones by demarcating their geographical sphere of influence. In many cases people within a given geographical region spoke the same language (there might be different dialects), but in some cases there evolved a hundred different languages within a particular region. As a result the region was split further on the basis of the language spoken. The best example is India and the 29 different states that make up the republic, most of them formed on the basis of language. The people in the northern parts of the country where Hindi is the numero uno language tend to speak in a different manner to a person who is conversant at the same. This can be observed down south as well, where people across four states use close to 4-8 different languages. The difference in the language you speak alienates you among the group and this is highly prevalent in southern India. The person sitting next to you in the bus cribs that films in the local language are not doing well as the number of “non-local” population is increasing, another person at work says to your friend “having been here for 5 years, you still could not get the language (local language), but after working with him (referring me) for 1 year your are able to speak his tongue.”, the cab driver says to your colleague who is a so called “non-local” ,“E bhasha matladatavu swami” (C’mmon boss which language do you speak). Well these are just small examples to show how the divide exists in the minds of people, even after 60 years of independence and development.

This is not to say that a sense of oneness doesn’t exist and people are very much segregated. We still cheer when Indian team wins a match. We savor the moment with the person next to us, irrespective of his nativity and language; we still speak in English to colleagues at work with the same enthusiasm that comes when we speak in our native tongue; we get united in situations of dire need irrespective of the differences. Despite all this, a glow comes in our faces when we realize that the person sitting next to us in a bus in Washington is an Indian and it actually brightens when we further enquire and find that he speaks the same language that we speak. No doubt, your language is a very big differentiator and you are what you speak.

Science -- Ability to produce solutions in some problem domain (from wordweb).

Monday, August 06, 2007

My thoughts, Rain, Matrix and Ice-Cream

I have been thinking about updating my blog for over a year now. Back then when I was reading a lot of novels and fiction it was easy for me to write an article. A book review was one of the easiest ways to put in some words on the e-diary. Times of have changed and I became a busy man (at least I think so.J ). These days I read a lot of non fiction and to write about it requires a lot of thinking, discerning and self interrogation. Well those articles would have to wait , at least for now, as I had a nice little experience yesterday that I would like to put here.

Around 10 months back, four months after I came to Bangalore, weekends started becoming really monotonous and boring. The city was simply the same and I really missed the serene beach of vizag and those weekends at BITS where we used to have nice lachha sessions. The best pastime, at this point seemed to be writing articles, which I used to do a lot during the school days. Well it went on well for some time and as you can see, I somehow lost that habit.

Yesterday, at 1:30 in the afternoon, I started feeling really hungry and thought I should get some food. My feet dragged me towards the ‘spicy corner’ on the main road and I ordered a veg-biryani (parcel). My plan was to have it while watching a movie on that little dumb machine at home (laptop). Well, it was not to be so, as Bangalore known for its unpredictable weather, stood to it’s reputation and it started raining. Now with no other alternative, I asked the shopwala to give a plate so that I can savour the steaming hot biryani before it went cold. As it was raining heavily, I had to stand and the shopwala duly apologized for the lack of seating. Well, my thoughts have already drifted back to the good old carefree days at school. On a rainy day, I used to either sketch comic characters or write small articles with my mom’s guidance. The water droplets in the pool nearby brought back to me memoirs of my first article. I was in my 5th class back then, and on one such day I wrote my first essay. Till then I always depended on my mom for essays, whether it was for the intra school competitions or the inter school ones. That day, my mom said she would not help me as I was becoming overly dependent and asked me to write on my own. Well this article was for no fun and it was a part of the 20 marks assignment that I had to submit to my telugu teacher the next week. My mind was full with a heaviness that was not due to the fear of marks but with the anxiety that comes when one writes his first own essay.

It was the same feeling that crept into me yesterday. I had kept postponing the article for months, but now I realized that it was time that I put my thoughts into a proper format. I was looking for some incident that I can develop into some sort of article, and during all this time I didn’t stop eating my biryani J. Suddenly, the sky that was pelting drops on drops of water till then became silent for a moment and I thought the rain stopped, it staid still for a moment and came in a massive downpour and it was dark all over again (well , all of you who have seen matrix-3, might have by now realized why I had put the movie name in the title. It was exactly similar.) By now, my biryani was over and I decided that I shall put all my thoughts into ink (or should I say colour, on laptop there is no ink J.). Meanwhile the sky eased a little and I came across the ubiquitous MTR-Softee ice cream shop. Well, now it is time to explain the last part of the title. The hero in one telugu movie (nuvve-nuvve) says “Any fool can eat ice-cream when the climate is hot, one who eats ice cream when it is raining, is a romantic fellow”. I don’t know if it had actually inspired me, but I ordered one ice cream and having paid the money I started walking home. I was about to taste the cone and the rain that had already turned into drizzle stopped suddenly giving way to the blazing hot sun, leaving me to decide who I am, A Romantic fellow, who ordered an ice-cream when it was raining or a fool who was eating ice cream in the hot sun. After a few moments I decided to call my self a romantic fool, who just was unable to understand the variety of nature.