Saturday, January 28, 2012

I am an Indian First!

The other day I was talking to a colleague in Mumbai. He started talking to me in Marathi all  of a sudden. It started with a few simple words every person who has stayed in Mumbai is likely to know. Then, we proceeded to have a full blown conversation abt our project deliverables, agreed timelines etc in Marathi. For the record, marathi is not his native tongue and neither is it mine. But I guess he too knows it from having spent a large part of his life in Mumbai. At the end of that conversation, I was quite proud of not having forgotten how to speak fluently :)

The interesting thing comes next, a guy from his team who was on the cal throughout, calls me and seeks clarification abt a point. I explained and asked him why was there a confusion. He says, "Kolkata mein rehne waali Punjabi ladki agar marathi mein bolegi toh confusion toh hoga na!" (If a Punjabi girl living in Kolkata conducts business in Marathi, it is bound to cause confusion)

What should have irked me that m communication skills were being commented upon. It didn't. What irked me that I was not a foreigner speaking a foreign language. I felt like asking him "India mein rehne waali Indian ladki agar Indian bhasha mein bolegi toh ajeeb kya hai?" (If an Indian girl, living in India talks in an Indian language, what is weird about it?)

It is just amazing how we divide ourselves into groups and sub groups and sub-sub groups. If we as Indians can't accept our diversity, how can the rest of the world? I am an Indian first. A punjabi later. An Indian first and a marathi / punjabi / gujrati speaker next. An Indian First and a resident of Delhi / Mumbai / Kolkata next. Lets just accept it, ok? I am an INDIAN first.