‘That means, you like going around, you roam about, you like ice cream from kwality, you come here for that, you liked coexisting with a guy. You’ve lost it all.’
‘Correct! You understood it quickly’
That’s the crux and a very literal translation from my first Marathi story by VP Kale. I was already being judged in the metro for reading a Hindi book cheesily titled ‘dil ki duniya‘ even though it came from Ismat aapa. But our very blackberry, noisy headphone and one call at the call centre metro girls gave me weird looks as I tried to read my Hindi book in silence. Today, they went a step further, unable to understand anything over the shoulder, which seemed Hindi but was clearly not understandable. Finally a girl without any inhibition asked ‘excuse me can you tell me what you’re reading’. I silently said Marathi and to no further reactions. No oohs and aahs those only seem to be reserved for French and Spanish. Here, I was being poor man’s dehaati girl. Far too vernacular of late.
In the beginning of year 2000, my Marathi knowledge was ‘madhuri dixit’ and ‘aahe’. I was always shocked with MTV showing Hitler ads with ‘gheun taak’ and for the life of me I couldn’t understand why Hitler’s German sounded so off. In 2004 I could happily be a part of a crowd speaking only Marathi and reply back in English without misunderstandings.Over the years I’ve been able to see movies, watch tv programmes and make peace. It wasn’t so fun when I began, felt like I was in another country. However, there was learning at so many levels that I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Also, it’s not so hard, when you have patient translator friends. Diaglossia, too, perhaps?
This month for the first time, I tried reading. Because it was trouble enough learning a new language and I would hate to lose it, now that I don’t have people speaking to me in the language. Plus it’s very very rich in terms of theatre, movies and literature. I want to learn it one day to be able to read this and this and the thousand others in the list. I feel like I am in class 3 and can’t wait to read the books from high school. Besides, I melt even to hear a passerby go aga to convince the girl. 🙂
The script is the same as Hindi with some differences which you notice almost immediately. Some extra characters, instead of viraams there are – believe it or not – full stops. Some words end with a bindu which is read as ‘uh’ not ‘um’. The maatraas of many words seem the opposite of what you’d expect them to be in Hindi. It took me 20 mins to go through the first page exactly like when I was 7 and reading ‘ram mele mein gaya’ which was such a huge step. But there was hope, I did pick up pace. Funnily, I can speak Kashmiri, but I can’t read it half as well(?) as Marathi- even if in devanagiri- because the pronunciation is so hard, that it’s impossible to write it as you speak it (almost). On the other hand, even though I think I can read and largely get the gist (if not everything) of Marathi, I don’t ever speak it. I feel all too grown up to make mistakes. I wish I was 7 again to talk. But I can’t even begin to tell you how smug I feel that I could read 😉
VP Kale post one story has felt just fine. There wasn’t much humour, but his rather astute observations of everything commonplace was what I felt taken with. Especially towards the end about photographs.
‘That studio had marriage pictures of many, testimonies of many auspicious occasions, many had forever locked the childhood of their children in these pictures, for many the last memories of people they had lost…and now all of that is in vain…”
I think I can almost start a new post on it. Perhaps in the very digital world of ease we really have forgotten what they realistically meant. There is such availability that we’re even lazy to share at times. Though, after having lost so many pictures since ma left them behind in a hurry, and filling my head only with imaginations of events I have no photographic evidence or negatives for [maybe that’s another reason I dream so much], I think pictures do keep our memories green. No matter which language they speak.
PS: All the translations are mine for excerpts from ‘Negatives’, not necessarily literally how they were written perhaps, but the overview of what I thought they were. At least till I pick up the language better 🙂