Saturday, June 18, 2011

Switching Languages

Well, it's not the first time to happen to me, but many times. I feel it is very strange. Sometimes, I also feel that people are strange. I don't really have an answer for this. But, I am never concerned about it. I just accept it as a joke on my part :)

First time it happened to me in my college during my first year of engineering. It was a mechanical lab session where all the students where are asked to solder some pieces metal together in order to form a required shape. I went to the lab assistant asking for more pieces of lead. You know, we had to melt those pieces, using a soldering gun, on the joints. I said, "Sir, box khaali aagide, Lead pieces illa. Nanage innu swalpa beku." in Kannada (The box is empty. There are no Lead pieces. I need some more). He stared at me with a great surprise. His eyes were bigger than they were. Now, I was surprised to see him taken aback wondering what made him to be surprised. I knew something went wrong. But what was it? He cleared his throat and finally he said "Hmm, tum  ek-do minute ke liye wait karo, mein leke aatha hoon." in Hindi (Wait for couple of minutes, I'll get them). This time, I was surprised to see him reply in a different language. I was about to say "OK sir, thank you" in Hindi when I started stammering because my tongue finds its difficult to switch languages quickly. I managed to say "Ada...ba...than...ka..da..", then tried very hard to stop talking and  managed to mute my voice. Later, I kept wondering - I think he understands Kannada, but he is unable to speak it or did he think I didn't know Kannada? What makes him think so? After a short while, I thought latter was true when he was talking to his colleagues in Kannada.

Later today a similar thing happened when I was waiting at a bus stop. It was quite late. I was doubtful whether I could catch a bus this time around. I asked a man who was standing close to me, "Sanjay Nagar ge hoguva bus sigabahude, eega?" in Kannada (Can I get a bus which goes to Sanjay Nagar by any chance now?). His quick reply was in English, "I am waiting for the same bus. We will be lucky if we get one. Time is already up. We might have missed it, but I am still waiting for it hoping that I did not miss it!". I nodded approvingly. This time I made sure my mouth is shut not to speak out anything! I was little surprised. It reminded of the situation which happened during my engineering. Again, after a while, I saw that man talking to a fellow passenger in Kannada.

These are the instances I can remember now. There are many more if I recall. There must be something about me that makes some people decide that I am a non Kannadiga. Am I so different by looks to some people that they fail to recognize me as a native Kannadiga? What's on me? I don't know. I just let it go. As long as it's not bothering me, I enjoy these moments and laugh about it. On a final note, beat this tongue twister:
How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? He would chuck, he would, as much as he could, and chuck as much as a woodchuck would if a woodchuck could chuck wood.