Quaint stories are indeed pretty
But with them you only get so far
Just for a moment stop being witty
And write a story that's rated R
Regular readers of this blog would know that my sentiments towards the Hindi language aren't exactly what one would call 'fond'.Gobind Ballab Pant shakes his head in disgust. And it took some explaining (to myself too) to establish that it was only socio political and nothing purely linguistic.But of late I have been trying to question these things about my 'beliefs'. I try to sift out some which were perhaps not quite true but just forceful self-reiterations (please do not try this at home).
And so the pure linguistic question came up and I was sifting through memories to see what went wrong between Hindi and me. I never believed in this 'relative ease of learning' that is widely touted as Hindi's usp. For instance, you have to know the words for the numbers from 1 to 100 in order to know the words for the numbers from 1 to 100. My knowledge was in spurts. Till 13 there was Madhuri. Pachpan thanks to 555 detergent jingle. Chappan thanks to Nana Patekar. It went nowhere.
Learning Hindi from films and BR Chopra mythologicals is not as easy as they make it out to be. I first went to Bombay armed with two expressions: "AyushmAn bhava" and "mein maa bannEwAli hoon". Yet I did continue to depend on pop sources because even the traditional streams are not based on a building block approach to language learning.I remember learning bigger Tamil words through the neat mathematical additions of smaller words. Naturally I assumed that is how the Hindi world worked. And boy was I wrong.
As an early teen discovering the Hindi language and hitherto unknown parts of... English and Tamil too, I had a wry smile worked up when I struck up on the word khudkushi. Khud- self and Khushi-joy. One can't help but put two and two together. I could trade the knowledge of this word to my Hindiflunking brethren to boost my flagging middle-school popularity to an unassailable high, I thought. That my hopes were dashed perhaps the Freudian explanation for the virulent antipathy I nurse.
For all those spelling bee kids who ask for context: The sentence I heard it in was: woh ladki nahi mili tho khudkushi karEgA kyA ?