First of all a big THANK YOU to all those who took the pains to visit my blog, and some of them even posted their comments. It has really been very encouraging.
This piece is dedicated to my city –
Years ago, we all saw how Pankaj Kapur struggled to teach his students Hindi in the famous TV serial “Zabaan Sambhal Ke”. The striking thing about the serial was its chosen theme – Language. An essential component of our personalities, yet most often we tend to ignore the essence of language or zubaan.
More than a decade after the ordeal of Pankaj Kapur, I’m sure many teachers in
However, the three languages are losing their popularity with the Gen-X (read SMS generation) which is busy evolving its own lingua franca. I see youngsters in the city developing a penchant for a language whose etymology is beyond my comprehension. I can bear with slangs, for you can look up their meanings in dictionary and thesaurus. But, what do I do with words whose origins and meanings remain untraceable despite all efforts. They are manufactured in the factory of these youngsters’ minds, circulated among their friends, who probably understand and appreciate them, and then somehow reach mortals like me, who lack the intelligence and taste to comprehend and praise them.
I’m not separated from this young bunch by many years. But, the change seems wide. When I was studying then too there would be a wide circulation of abusive words. No day would pass in my alma mater when I did not hear the word “F***”, used effortlessly and generously by me peers and teachers alike. It was either my upbringing or self-restrain that forbade me from picking such words. Or perhaps it was sheer hesitation or a strong dislike. But, above all, it was a conscious effort not to include them in my lexicon. Today, however, their usage in conversations is considered “stylish” and is also acceptable.
For a city which has earned a distinctive stature for its tehzeeb and whose communication skills are emulated and adored outside, I see the new invention as an embarrassment. I may sound dogmatic. So it be. Someone aptly summed up this change the other day to me: Earlier, it used to be ‘Pehle Aap’ in
What is worrisome is that adults too do not lag behind. In offices, public places or drawing rooms, you cannot miss hearing conversations laced with the “exquisite” vocabulary.
So, is this degradation in language incurable? Is there no Tamiflu (medicine given to swine flu patients) for it? Think before you speak. We were told umpteen times in schools. Then, why not choose before you speak. Choosing words which make the conversations sound decent at least if not eloquent. Perhaps, it’s time we seek some inspiration from the students of Pankaj Kapur, who at least made efforts to make the needful amendments in their language.
Guy De Maupassant once wrote: “My choices are simple. I like the best”. May be, the young brigade can try to pick the best words from the lexicon when they next utter a sentence!