Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Case of Hindi, Sanskrit and Maternal Influence

It was an early Sunday morning and I had quite ambitiously managed to capture the look of someone who parts his hair with a generous smear of Arnica hair oil and stares blankly at his math textbook in an attempt to show sincerity to the feminine parent walking in and out of the room, instructing the domestic help to wipe the edges of the floor in compensation for the weekday she took off the previous week. While it seemed like I had completed my Masters in verbosity and a false sense of ability to appreciate literature, as reflected in the previous sentence, a big question about my literary pursuits through high school remained unanswered.

Should I be taking Hindi as my second language in the ninth grade or Sanskrit?

The answer was as simple as choosing between Jennifer Aniston and Jennifer Lawrence. It’s best to pick the one you relate to more. Not like I relate to being the emotionally distraught female lead in Silver Linings Playbook, but if it counts, I share my birth year with Lawrence. So, as I had almost made up my mind to pick Hindi, my mother decided to relate to the one she shares her birth year with and picked Sanskrit.

The arguments in defense of my choice were one, that I topped my class in Hindi the previous year, and two, I enjoyed the subject. Also, I hated studying Sanskrit. But then of course, haha, who said that mattered? ROFLOL overbearing parents *cough*

The Mother’s argument was that Sanskrit was more scoring. Made sense if the discussion was about who among Aniston and Lawrence scored more in the number of husbands till date, but then of course, haha, who said that I scraped through the class average only in Sanskrit while topping Hindi mattered? ROFLOL children’s interest *cough cough*

As both parties found themselves at a deadlock, an arbitrator (The Father) was appointed, who performed his duty to the fullest by appreciating the Gobhi Paraunthe heavily that morning and awarded that the subsidiary company comply with the holding company’s mandate in line with the Ahuja Group’s overall objective of unhindered growth and peaceful organizational culture.

The defeated party cried foul, and on insistence of the Maternal Highness, the matter was directly thrown to the highest appellate authority, Hon’ble Sri Krishna.

The Mother initiated me into the process quite diligently. An equal number of chits with each ‘Hindi’ and ‘Sanskrit’ had to be prepared and placed before the Hon’ble Bench. The proceedings involved an hour long recital of Saraswati Chalisa, Hanuman Chalisa, Krishna Chalisa and the Gayatri Mantra, which both the Mother and I sang in unison, followed by the Lord’s Prayer which I had learnt in school and only I recited as a closing argument. The Mother attempted to beat the little cymbals in rhythm to “Our Father, thou art in heaven…”, and in effect, did not let me have the last word before His Highness because “do not bring us to the test, but deliver us from all evil… om shanti shanti shanti om”.

The Lord gave his decision by inaudibly suggesting that I pick a chit. I complied.

“Hindi”, the chit said.

“Woohoo!”

“Shut up, you’re taking Sanskrit.”

P.S. I scored a 95 in Sanskrit in my tenth grade. Who knows, I would have scored a perfect score on Hindi had the judgment not been vetoed by the other party.


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Image Source: cepuckett.com

4 comments:

  1. The influence of Sanskrit in my life has been very profound. With an upbringing replete with chants of The Bhagavat Gita, The Gayatri mantra and numerous other Shlokas, complete with Shloka competitions, I enjoyed the learning process. Learning the language also helped me understand "language syntax" per se and I was able to appreciate the beauty of the "Shabdah"s and their utility. Also it served as a window to understand several other Indian languages by drawing parallels. I was once conversant in Sanskrit, I just would love to be able to speak it now.

    Yesterday I stumbled on this blog:
    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/sanskrit-spoken-language-nupur-dave

    Hope you enjoy!

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  2. Okay, now, be honest: did the proceedings really involve an HOUR LONG RECITAL of chalisas and mantras? If yes, I applaud your patience, dude. I would have given up at the mere suggestion of such an ordeal. Also, thanks for making me laugh again. :)

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  3. Omg this was so funny!! I had to choose between French and Hindi in 8th grade and the funny thing is that my decision was made in 20 seconds. My parents are South Indians so they struggled with Hindi anyway and so we all decided that why not struggle with a foreign language and suck at it and let no one know rather than suck at a language that the whole country speaks. :P

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  4. I am extremely impressed along with your writing abilities, Thanks for this great share.
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If you had 5 Jalebis, how many would you give me for writing this post?

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