“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