Ek Gaun Mein Ek Kissan Raghu ThaTha

“Does your Hindi have a Tamil accent to it?”

I Swear, I don’t know. I learned Hindi for 8 years in school but I’ve never tried to speak it so I don’t if I speak it with a Tamil accent.

I guess I don’t, at least I can manage to say “come on yaar” and sound like those Hindi-movie-music listening Chennai girls who can manage to converse decently in Hindi.

I am extremely skeptical to mention “Hindi” in languages known on my resume after having learning it for eight long years and not even knowing dhammathundu of Hindi.  Yet it feels like doing injustice to those eight years of Hindi schooling and attending tuitions only to have the “Ek gaun mein, ek kissan…” result.

My ability to read and write Hindi has so far been useful to me only for writing Sri Rama Jayam just before exams. Speaking Hindi has never gone beyond, “Hiiii……..Kaise Ho?”, “Kya Haal hai” (which I’ve picked up from Bollywood movies than the 8 years of schooling). When they reply in fluent Hindi -“Ek dham badhiya!Aap kaise hain. Kya chal raha hai….”, I get all worked up and smile and nod like a person to wise to reply to them.

The rest of the conversation, I have no clue. I am already multitasking between comprehending and preparing for a decent answer. And after too many unwarranted nods and formulating and rehearsing my response inside my head, I give my well prepared reply, “Haan, theek hai!”

Chatting in hindi is better. I can think and respond slowly making sure I am grammatically correct.
Despite the different ways of covering up of this shortcoming, there come those embarrassing oh-you-Pandis-don’t-know-Hindi-moments! I remember pronouncing “Saathiya” as “Sathya” back in middle school and got ragged for it.

Once at the pani puri stall near the ICAI in Chennai, when I’m in the middle of being mouthfuls, suddenly a big herd of people authoritatively barged into the imaginary circle of existing customers and Hindified with a superiority complex saying “Bhaiya, …….”. I was envisaging myself doing it. Or how funny I would look trying to put my hand over someone’s shoulder saying, “Bathao yaar….”.

The worst scenario is workplace. You know the situation is really bad when everyone seems to be friends because they can go “yaar” than “da” at each other and your futile attempts at Hindi become the general topic of discussion between them!

You must understand it. Hindi for some of the non-Hindi speaking-Tamilians is like English for some non-English speaking nationals. It’s a very sensitive shortcoming and we get really embarrassed about our knowledge of Hindi, or rather lack of it.

Phir bhi dosto, hume bus kathor prayas karna padega, hum honge kamyab ek din!

@Hindi speaking folks- Please don’t tell me that last line was wrong. All rights reserved to me. All wrongs released to Juzer Sadikot, who translated that into Hindi for me 🙂

@Tamil speaking folks- sathyama ennakum puriyala


13 thoughts on “Ek Gaun Mein Ek Kissan Raghu ThaTha

  1. I googled the meaning for “ek gaun mein ek kisaan se raha thatha” and i found this article.
    Thanks for bringing back my childhood memories. I thought i was the only person who has this kind of feel. Four years of study and just pass in Prathmic, Madhyama and RashtraBasha public exam made me speak only few known sentences repeatedly (“thumaara naam kyaa hai”, “kaana kaiya”,”aap dhono kyaa bath kar rahe hoo”,”thum kya chahathaa hai”,”dar rahenaa”-Thupaaki effect ). Whenever someone talks to me in hindi , mostly i’ll say “meh hindi pada hai aur hindi likhna but meh hindi nahi baath karthe hai”.

    All my colleagues who joined later in my Hindi tuition spoke well. At first i felt bad not knowing Hindi but now i feel that it’s not bad unless and until travelling to the north side.

    Even i don’t know the meaning of many of the sentences mentioned above and i don’t even care about it except this one sentence “ek gaun mein ek … “. Do you know the meaning of it?
    I’m searching for this in the net for more than two days !!

    1. Haha.. Thank u for the long comment and taking time to write it. I managed to learn some hindi after this blog post… It’s an old one and I can speak enuf to survive now. 🙂

  2. Too good… I can see the reflection of my mind… though I studied for 10 years could not able to continue learning the language after schooling… no one to speak…:-(
    I know to read n write the language but couldnt able to speak.. Also, a worst incident has left a hatred feeling towards the language…

    1. 🙂 Ohh, why hatred ??? Hindi brings together people from every part of the country and if we could speak it well, we would love to, wouldn’t we?

  3. Any language can come only with constant communication,even english for that matter,the more and more we converse in english the better we speak.We dont lose out on words and we could freely speak out our thoughts!! I remember kamal hassan in some speech said that i don find difficulty or fear in going on stage,as in while communicating i feel that the entire audience are my friends,that way i don fear if i stutter or mutter crap!!Sometimes whatever he says might be true,the more we show inhibitions and be phlegmatic we are never going to learn the nuances of any language!! Even i see many of them who have their mother tongue as tamil but make mockery of the language with their pronouncation(I mean how hard is it say pazham?-they keep sayin palam). That s its very rare that south indian singers find their place in hindi music,because we get mocked at for our pronouncation but we don’t mind losing our dignity in allowing them to sing in their language(especially sadhana sargam-alaikum bodhu nilavu udhikum-bulldozer vechu eethara). Even though i speak hindi with ten sandwiches stuffed in my mouth i dont give a damn,i know that is sufficient for survival.

  4. hey!! .. great post! .. i learnt hindi for about four years at school and i can totally relate to what u feel 🙂 .. i had learnt a lot of my spoken hindi from DD Metro those days 😛 so u can pretty much gauge at what hindi-speaking-levels i am at right now. Must be somewhere way below the “ek gaun” level .. and “hum honge kamyab ek din” was part of a hindi song we were asked to memorize and sing at the school choir. 😛

    1. Hi sowmiya! Oh , you would certainly pass for a Hindi speaking chennai-ite! and yes , we had that hymn in school too! Both the English and Hindi version of it!

  5. karthika..ur post s wonderful….my opinion s everybody must b able to understand and to speak a language which rules majority of India..i heard a lot of stories of people,mostly Tamilians,who got embarrsed for not knowing Hindi..is it the mistake of our state government?

    1. Thank you for your views Ma. Hindi is known to the world as India’s national language, whether it is official OR not, it cannot be denied.

      While inability to pick up the language is pardonable, a lot of Tamilians get defensive about it, say Hindi is not the national language on paper and it is not their business. But it is. We’re expected to know it being Indians. In fact, in Oman, they call “Hindi” as “Indian”. They ask me why I don’t speak “Indian”?

      And no Ma, We can’t blame our government. It’s good to study Tamil when in the State, perhaps even a few years of Hindi can be made compulsory. Even otherwise, no one is stopped from learning Hindi outside school when they can join Alliance Fraincais and learn french or join Russian cultural center and learn Russian, etc!

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