21st February is International Mother Language Day and our blog is hosting a 2 day celebration of languages. A series of blog posts by people from different walks of life - sharing their thoughts on languages, memories and more. International Mother Language Day is an observance held annually on 21 February worldwide to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.
(This post was sent by Nalanda Tambe. Nalanda is a freelance journalist from Vadodara, Gujarat. She has penned a Book titled ‘Mediatized Realities of Crime Against Women: The Case of Delhi Gang Rape’. Her interest lies in covering Gender Issues, with a straight fine inclination towards Research.)
I hope this letter finds you in the best of conditions. I am writing this letter to you just to make you feel special – of course, which you always have been but because today is the International Mother Language Day, I just can’t stop remembering the sacrifices you made to accept our, caste, culture and language. The journey of a girl growing up in a Gujarati family and then again starting a second, whole new journey in a Maharashtrian family after marriage is simply admirable. You often told me about the dejections you faced when you were just married – oppositions from family members, the tag of being ‘just a matriculate’, cultural shocks etc. and that unknowingly made you the hero of my life, Aai. This letter is all about it.
I always wonder how you felt about the decision of coming into a different family that had different opinions, views, and understanding. To be honest, if I had been in your place, I would have never even thought of switching onto an altogether different ethos. You not only accepted our family, but proved that education cannot teach everything. As a wife you devoted your time in learning the values of our family, as a mother you imparted the correct ‘Sanskaras’ on your children, as a daughter-in-law you treated your in-laws more than your own parents. At every stage of your life, you struggled, either with people or with culture Aai - This letter is all about it.
As a friend and guide, you always stood beside me throughout my life. Your life lessons were brilliant, I must say, because they made me a good person. I remember when I failed, got rejected and was just on the verge to succumb to disappointments, you did not let me do that. Our language definitely is Marathi but, the language of love that you used all the way in your second journey is incredible. That reminds me of your fight yo learn Marathi. I heard from dad about all the funny conversations in Marathi that you used to have initially. But here are you, standing with your head held high. To learn a new language is not that important but indulging in a different language definitely is – This letter is all about it.
I can’t say much, but this is what I feel Aai:
Individual, I was Born - Distinct, Discrete
Explored, Experienced and Discovered.
Travelled and Sightsaw Several Cultures and Faiths,
Violence Against Women, Feminism, Gender Issues, Covered Curiously.
Films, Songs, Parties - Reconnoitered,
Love, Rejections, Life-Lessons, all were Encountered.
‘Experiences make People Learn’, They Say – I LIVED.
All These Learning Started, Like a Plant Growing into A tree,
Teaching me Values and Principles, Marathi Just Evolved in Me.
Praising my Abilities, People Actually Admired my Marathiness,
Nevertheless this Realization Came at a very Later Stage.
I am Known to be A Maharashtrian, Sacrosanct and Religious,
Maharashtrians Cannot be Practical! This Understanding is Simply Dubious.
I Adore the Ways, You have Molded Me Into,
Without you Aai, I Cannot Even Count One to Two.
You Made me Learn English Without Criticizing Marathi,
This was Your Style of Showing Mother Language’s Empathy.
It is because of You, I DO Not just Love Marathi,
I live MARATHI, I Live MARATHI, I Live MARATHI!