So, I went to a pretty prestigious college in India. One where everyone spoke in English and even though there were different accents, it was a universal language on that campus. Most spoke English fluently.
I never once thought that one of my favorite teachers from there, would end up being such a language snob.
There is this huge never ending cultural war between the North and the South and language is just one tiny part of it. This college I went to was progressive in so many ways, especially being in the South where education has always been top notch. The British, French , Portuguese and …dare I add…the Vatican, has been quite helpful to add in tons of educational resources in return for grabbing whatever they laid their eyes on. So I guess i should be thankful for that.
Attending a college with so many students and teachers, all with different religious beliefs and cultural affiliations was never a hindrance to the friendships I formed in those few glorious years. We all got along for the most part and it was ‘live and let live’ with aplomb.
Years later, I caught up with this teacher and several others, on social network and it was so nice to be recognized and start a new chapter of friendship , this time, as peers.
I quickly realized that we had more differences than similarities, her being staunchly Hindu and Anti-American ( in spite of having visited the US many times and enjoyed its offerings) And I, being a brand new immigrant, trying to get used to a whole new culture here in the US and seeing things from a different perspective.
Well, it was really great at first. She would post funny, witty jokes and it was all harmless.
But lately, with the current political climate in both India and the US being in such upheaval, it reflected greatly in her posts. They turned dark almost at once. Scathing humor, intense disgust and and altogether low view of the US prompted her posts at an alarming rate. All the while staying quiet about the intense unrest that was unfurling in India.
The last straw was her posting a video of some nitwit of a late night tv show host absolutely spitting out his mocking opinion of how someone pronounced Indian words.
And it struck a chord in me. I saw her in a totally different light.
The fact that she found it amusing that a person who wasn’t even Indian was being mocked for his fumbling pronunciation of a language completely alien to him, saddened me. I have lived all over India and I can safely say that I have been humorously thrashed in every place Ive lived in, for massacring each new Indian language that I attempted to speak in! The South made fun of my Tamil and the North made fun of my Hindi. Some of it was in jest.
Most of it was downright hurtful.
It made me wonder why people do this to their own countrymen. Is it possibly because at the very core of it all, people tend to be more myopic in their territory than they realize?
We have accents here in the US that are pretty different. But not really as huge of a difference as Indians from different states in India with every tongue twisting possible way of pronouncing the alphabet…so much so its freshly squeezed verbal juice.
And yet, when all this should actually make Indians more understanding and open minded of the diversity that exists…they put up walls and charge tolls…for acceptance into society.
But I digress. Coming back to this teacher. I found it in poor taste that she would enjoy such mean spirited humor.
This is how society rots. When ‘nice’ people slowly drink the poison of hate.
And keep smiling.