When I was a little girl, my grandfather used to spend a considerable amount of time with me emphasizing on good English. We used to go through the ‘Radiant Reader’ and ‘The Hindu’, with me reading out paragraphs aloud. That, for good grammatical sense. Even otherwise, people in my household never spoke a harsh word. I hardly ever heard a swear word from any of the elders. I remember once at home I said ‘Ma, give me 10 bucks!’. I didn’t say anything else, but was given a good hearing on how I should be using the right words and so on. Yep, it was rupees and not bucks! I don’t think I have gone back to that word ever since that incident!
Fast forward to a decade later, I learnt the words ‘suck it’ and ‘fuck it’. I can’t tell you the thrills it gave us (at school) to use these words against friends or teachers (under our breath). They seemed like the biggest weapons we had. How silly!
Why am I telling all these anecdotes from my past? Because I feel that the language train is going down the drain. I must tell you, that I used to spew foul language for a few years! I have been no saint. I have had co-workers look at me with the ‘how can she say those words without flinching one bit.’ NOTE: This is not a girl thing! It’s a thing of social decency. I didn’t care about it back then! But now I do. Maybe because I have realized that while a certain kind of language may sound cool, you come across looking crass. Yes! I am saying that!
I realize this even more now that I am parent. In my other post , I had written about Lishaan saying ‘Fuck’ with glee! It was then I realized that it’s not just curse words, but any odd word that you use. My son has amazingly picked up words I would NEVER dream of him repeating, but that’s happening and I am cringing under my skin! Lesson learnt.
I have begun reading my posts/comments twice before I share them , thanks to the international groups that I am a part of. There are words that are sensitive, for which admins gently nudge you, encouraging to correct your usage. For example: Retard. I haven’t said that word in years. Why? Because I understand its impact and I know that it isn’t the same as calling someone a monkey. No! It hits hard.
The other day, one on of the many chatter groups that I am a part of, someone casually used ‘colloquial’ language. I almost shook my head in disbelief, because the group had about 30 odd people that that person wouldn’t know on first name basis and even worse, it was a support group. But it just happened and I wondered why would someone do that. It is easy to say ‘ass’, but on a social forum/platform it weighs down quite a bit. (no pun intended :P)
All of us have diluted the language (not just English, but any language) to our convenience. Tanglish kills the beauty of the Dravidian language. Hindi is a pot pourri of the Delh, Mumbaiyya, Bihari, Punjabi and ‘imported’ slangs. But, some languages maintain their essence. Recently, I heard my Bengali & Kannadiga friends talk amongst family. I didn’t hear a word of English. I am sure there are other such folk too and I know I am moving from ‘Language’ to language itself. But, it’s up to us to ensure we stick to format. It applies to language, to culture and a few more things. Just a handful, but important things. Manners being one of them.
That’s the bottom line of my post. I saw a trailer last night. A web series about falling/staying/falling out of love. One of the female protagonists in it casually tells her partner that she would squeeze his balls. *no comments*
Maybe we have forgotten what CAN be said in public and what CANNOT be. For those who are raising their ‘But I am a woman’ finger at me, this isn’t about women. This is about men and women. This is about knowing when to speak and what to say!