When someone speaks broken English

For quite some time now, posters and status updates of this quote are doing rounds on Facebook.

“Never make fun of someone who speaks broken English. It means they know another language.”

english

Most of the people who had shared this, along with the commenters were in agreement with this and cheered the support they had received. Of course, this seemed natural for many to feel so on account of the ridicule they may have faced at some point for their broken English.

When I did think about it, it made me think of my own parents at first. My English grasp is better than theirs. Most of the times when we receive some letter or communication from banks, service providers or such, it is kept aside for me to read. While mum can easily read and understand, she insists that I run through it just in case she may have understood or missed something. I can understand where this comes from because she like many people, had received formal education in Hindi. English classes were either discontinued after primary school, or given very little focus and treated as a second language.

I found it hard to understand why some people would ridicule or make of fun of others in college for their English usage, who had had their education in a regional language. While of our own generation, they were given the same treatment when it came to English, as my mother and most likely their parents did as well. It was a secondary language of which they needed a working understanding because that is what they would end up using for work. It really was/is on the back burner when it comes to being taught.

So when it came to people like them, I understood where their feelings came from. What I still do not understand, and made my eye twitch when I first saw this, was that it was shared by many people who have received a formal education in English! People who studied English in “English medium” schools, where it is the primary language taught. Over the course of growing standards/classes special emphasis is given on aspects like grammar, structure at the same level as prose. People who’ve learnt the language for ten years, out of which at least 5 years have been for correct usage of this language.

I am not saying that we should have perfect usage of the language. Everyone is prone to mistakes at times. Not everyone is expected to have a practical understanding of Calculus, but we’re expected to be able to perform basic math. You can question me for not being able to perform Integration because I studied Calculus till the second year of my college. We don’t expect people to know at which concentrations and thermodynamic conditions stable Iron and Carbon alloys are formed. But we do expect people to know what atoms are, and how elements differ from compounds. All of it is part of the basic schooling we have received.

So people who went to English medium schools are expected to NOT speak broken English, just like everyone is expected to know that it rains on account of evaporation, condensation and precipitation of water, and not because of the tears, or blessing sprouting of some divine being’s hands. So when people speak broken English it just doesn’t mean that they know a second language, but can also mean that they didn’t pay attention to what was taught in school.

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When the phone rings…

He was taking deep long breaths. Slowly as he gathered more strength, he crawled in her direction. He left a trail of blood in his wake, from having been shot in the gut. She was lying motionless a few feet away. Her body didn’t move except for the occasional heave her chest gave when she would take in a breath. She was hanging on like him, for a precious few moments before they would both give way to their injuries. It didn’t take him more than two minutes to crawl up to her, and place his hand over hers but it seemed like forever to her. He smiled, and with great effort opened his mouth to tell her that in the end it would be all right. He turned his face and opened his mouth to speak.

TTTTRIIING TTTTTRIING the phone rang.

What the bloody hell?

This is exactly what first comes to my mind when the phone of someone next to me rings in the cinema while I am all engrossed in the movie. I mean, it is only basic manners to keep your phone on silent or off while you’re in the cinema. Not only can some people not do that, they have to carry on extended loud conversations. I can understand if it is an emergency, or if you’re telling that ‘I am in a movie where I won’t be able to talk to you properly on account of the sound from the speakers ‘, but I cannot understand people telling their dinner plans on the phone. Take it outside and call them back. But let me listen to what is happening in the movie.

But loud chatty callers are not the only ones that get to me. It’s the people who come late, especially if they’re friends. I think there should be an entry time limit, if you’re later than this you can’t enter the cinema house. On the normal day, I can put up with the late comers as long as they don’t give too much of obstructions. But you will have some one or the other who cannot find his way, or will walk abnormally slow and keep coming in front of the screen. It is worse when it is a friend who is late. Because now I will have to wait for them outside with their ticket to get them in. This will primarily lead to two scenarios. In the first I wait for them and miss out on the starting scenes, or I go inside catch the starting and come out when they call me. Not only am I missing out on some scenes, but I end up disturbing other cinema patrons too.

I remember that I had taken a day off to catch the first show of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ and had to cancel the plans as one of my team members had to apply leave for a family emergency. Since only one of us could go on leave, I cancelled mine on account of his reason being more crucial than mine. The next day I went in for the morning show to enjoy the movie in peace. I had already cancelled two calls, but someone from work kept calling. I went out to take the calls, and missed slightly more than five minutes of the movie in trying to explain something (after having the other person fail to understand that I was out to watch a movie). I couldn’t sit back, and left the cinema to catch a different show where I wouldn’t be disturbed. And this was only thirty minutes into the movie.

I have tried discussing this with some friends whenever I have made my first ever movie plans with them. A friend in particular says that movie watching is a leisurely activity, and it is ok for people to come late as they have bought the tickets. I agree that they have bought the tickets, just in the same way that I bought mine. That doesn’t mean that they should come in the way of the leisure of other audience due to having coming late and so on …

 

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda

Why I don’t want to get married

For now.
I was rummaging through some of my old files and stumbled upon a questionnaire a friend had sent to me about marriage and my preferences. The idea of marriage is that when two people get along well/love each other or are deemed to be good matches for each other (by families of said people) and decide to make it public that they intend to live the rest of their lives together. (Of course is it a public notification or approval may lead to another blog sometime in the future.) All this is fine as long as you consider some of the aspects involved in it.
A couple of my friends have gotten married by now, and some people look upon realizing that I am of all 25 years of age (Silver Jubilee for the win) tell me that I should get married as well. The thing about some of these friends is that they had started dating / seeing each other sometime in college. So take 1-4 years of the college time and add four more years since to get about 5-9 years of being in a relationship during or after which they took a joint decision to get married. I can live with marriages that lead from that. I mean you have spent time close to a person to have known that person well enough to make and estimate of how they will turn out to be and take a call on that. When they felt the time was right they decided to marry each other.
When they felt the time was right and not age. Who came up with the idea anyway? You’re of the right age, you should get married now. Seriously, dude? Yes I am at an age where I have a job  and have my wisdom (limited as it may be) can be counted on to make some life decisions, does not mean that I get married now. It is the time that is important and not age (Of course you’re old enough to be an adult that is). It is different time durations for everyone. Some think a few months of being in a relation is fine, while others think years. It’s totally based on the said two people involved.
Doing household chores makes me think about it. A few days ago I had posted this as a status update on facebook: 
Tonight I thought if it would be different to have been married. I came back just before 1(noon shift) and too tired to cook but hungry. It would seem so easy to wake her up and ask her to make something (even if it is instant noodles for me)
Comment by me: Of course like Dumbledore said, we must choose between what is easy and what is right
Now I had come back from a shift work at 1 in the night (or morning) and was hungry. Unfortunately there were no cookies or fruits in the house that day (as I had eaten them all up and not restocked). Since I was tired I wondered if I had been married, wouldn’t it seem easy to wake her up and have her cook something for me. Easy doesn’t always mean right. Imagine being waken up in the middle of a sound sleep to cook something for someone (Of course she could be doing other things as well like a friend pointed out. She could be at a friend’s, or reading, or watching a movie, etc… But let us for now get with the idea of her being asleep when I come home). Imagine being woken up from a sound sleep just to cook something for someone.  Some people would like to tell me that this is not any someone, and since she is my wife she is supposed to do it for me. I don’t want her to do things for me just because she is my wife, I want her to be my wife because of the things she does for me.  Similarly I don’t want to do things for someone just because I am married to her, I want to be married because of the things I do for her or am willing to do for her.
Similarly, this has to do with things like my bed as well. I am in general not much bothered about my bed. I can sleep on beds and floors with equal comfort. As long I change my sheets regularly, I don’t bother much. Which is why before they get ironed, my washed clothes get dumped on my bed along with a book that is half way of being read,  along with what is today an empty bottle of water(I should pick that up once this is posted). The idea is that I don’t want my preferences to add work for her or make her cringe. It would make sense to have such clothes in a neat pile in the bag in the corner of the room or that empty section in the cupboard. Since it doesn’t matter to me that much I dump them on the bed, however it would matter to her (it being her bed as well).

When I think of kids, I end up at times freaking out about whether they will eat non-veg or pray or not. I like to eat, veg and non-veg inclusive. If my wife eats non-veg as well then things are all great. And I have no problem being with someone who is a vegetarian. I mean it’s a matter of not putting non-veg in her plate or gargling real good with mouth wash after dinner or just plain old eating away from her eyes when I do.  Things will be fine based on the understanding me and my wife of not forcing things on each other. Bring kids into the equation and you have an unstable reaction. What if she brings up kids with the idea that eating meat is not good because we are killing innocent animals for it, which is a bad thing to do. And then they see daddy dearest eating a chicken burger and enjoying it closed eyes and lost thoughts. I don’t know how the conversation will go from there.

I am also not a religious person (anymore) and don’t pray or observe fasts or days. The two of these things have absolutely nothing to do with each other. However which religion (and how much of it) you follow can be an important part of your identity. When kids see their mom praying and visiting temples (or any other religious place) and dad not giving a hoot about it and question me why I don’t pray, what do I tell them? That I don’t pray because don’t believe, or bother more about humans than gods. Will they imagine me a ring of fire behind me every time they see me eat meat? Of course none of this may come in to picture, or before it does me and my wife would have some sort of understanding on how to get the kids through this and leave it totally up to their choice. But I tend to freak out about it at times.
That being said, I don’t want to get married for now because I don’t have anyone to whom I can relate enough to get married to. When the time is right and we both think, it will be marriage time.  

Punishment and Justice

Ever since the Delhi gang rape I have been thinking of something. Not because this is the first rape case, or the first gang rape case, but because of the level of depravity the rapists sunk to after raping the girl.

For those of you who are not aware of this case, a girl and her friend took a bus. The driver and his friends beat the girl and her friend with a rod and then went on to rape the girl turn by turn. Then they beat her more and inserted the metal rod in her vagina. They stripped the girl and her friend and tossed them out on the streets. The girl’s injuries were so harsh that her intestines had to be removed. There was hope that she could have a transplant but she died of her injuries.

This case has brought the people of the nation together. People began to voice their concerns loud in forms of protests. Why don’t we have strict anti-rape laws? Why isn’t it safe for women to go out in the open? Why must they be blamed for the rape and not the rapist? What punishment should be given to these men? Some people demanded capital punishment, while some demanded castration. People took to the streets in protests asking for all this. Some people blamed the rapists, the police, the government, there were few who looked inside.

Why look inside do you ask me? I will tell you why. When this barbaric case came to light, many people wept for the all the girl had to face, and cursed the rapists but many also asked “What was the girl doing at that time of the night with a male friend? Why did she take that bus? When we all know that it is an unsafe place for women why did she watch the late show? Did she do something to instigate the rapists in to beating her so badly?” 

I fail to see how it all matters. If she dressed a particular way and the men got so aroused, they should have kept their arousal to themselves. Instead of teaching women how to dress teach the men to control themselves. Women get raped irrespective of the clothes they wear (sari, salwar kameez, jeans, skirts, etc.), of how old or young they are (teens, toddlers, old), or where they are (home, office, public transport, streets). The key aspect here being that there are men who rape, and it is this fact that must be addressed if you wish to get to the root of it all to eradicate.

A fact I believe that contributes to this all is how girls and boys are brought up. Traditionally we are a society which is biased towards the men. This is why we tell girls not to get raped instead of telling the guys not to rape. Idiots. I think it is very easy to blame the victims, and get away with that instead of correcting centuries old incorrect thinkings.  It is easy, but not right. To quote Albus Dumbledore, “We must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.” We need to teach the generations that are to come and that have already come that girls are in no way lower than guys. This means that you cannot just go and have her if you find her attractive; you cannot rape her if she says no. No means No. It’s not just a matter of finding someone physically attractive or pleasing to the eyes. It’s the idea that you want her and you must have her, her consent not being of any matter to him.

 Then you have people who agree that such people are who cannot control themselves, that they are mad dogs or bulls of sort. So they tell me that if one sees a mad dog running or a mad bull you don’t go there and run like mad when it charges towards you. First of all, these are men we are talking of not animals. But I understand where this logic comes from, if we equate them with animals since they can’t control themselves; then they must be treated like animals of such sort. Tie them and lock them up before they bite, put them down.

Now regarding what must be done to these rapists, I was personally of the opinion to not give them capital punishment. Well because if you kill them, it’s the end for them while the girl continues fighting for her life. Instead send them to prison, and make them pay for all her expenses (medical and otherwise till she lives). There is difference between punishment and justice. In discussion with a friend Desi Girl on this that “Justice is the closure for the victim and punishment is about extracting penalty cash or kind from the wrong doer.” However now with the girl being dead I wonder if we should make an example of these rapists. For now it’s a case of not just rape, but torture and murder. So yes, the rapists must be punished, but what about justice? Justice needs to be served to not just her but to all other people who have been raped.

If you want to do your bit about justice and preventing such cases please ‘look inside’ as well.

In one of my google searches in, I found this video.
(Contains violence and dramatized gore)