The Glorious Linguistic Diversity Of Farzi

Most of us speak at least two languages fluently. And we zoom in and out between the varied differences in the words, the notes, the intonations, the beat, the tonality, and other linguistic details fluidly and without a thought.

So…I’m three episodes into watching my second Indian TV series ever. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my first and only so far has been Raj & DK’s The Family Man. I dig those two guys and their work.

So…while I may or may not review Farzi after I finish watching it – there is something else that really struck me after watching episode 3. This one 30-second scene epitomizes the saying – Show. Don’t Tell. While a minor scene in the overall landscape of the show – to me, it was such a smart scene that is so, so, so relevant to the world we live in today.

Vijay Sethupathi’s Michael is separated from his wife and is an unwelcome guest to his child’s 7th birthday celebrations. Within a span of maybe 30 seconds, and in between his drunken ravings in a mix of English and Hindi, he then addresses his wife in Telugu (her mother tongue), and then mutters under his breath snarkily about her in Tamil (his mother tongue).

Yep. FOUR languages within a 30-second period.

THIS.

This is the beauty of the multi-linguistic diversity of our country. I know that my American friends on my other FB profile will lose their collective shit over this ability that many of us Indians innately have and don’t ever think about. Like an American friend once told me, and not in jest, “Roops…given that it’s the ONLY language we know – most of us don’t even speak English as well as we should!”

But we Indians – most of us speak at least two languages fluently. And we zoom in and out between the varied differences in the words, the notes, the intonations, the beat, the tonality, and other linguistic details fluidly and without a thought. This is OUR STRENGTH.

I don’t want to get political with this post…

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But why on earth would we want to give this innate strength of ours up?

Why wouldn’t we celebrate this incredible diversity that we have been blessed with?

Why are we so hell-bent on all of us wanting to sound the same?

Throw in a LOT of Marathi as well within all this…this show is a smorgasbord of languages!

Don’t get me wrong. While I do ‘think’ in English – Hindi comes a very close second. I live and breathe in Hindi almost as much as I do in English. And say what you will – there is NO LANGUAGE on this planet that does cuss words better than Hindi. Only Hindi speakers will understand the sense of accomplishment and deep inner satisfaction that comes from mouthing off ‘behen…” or “madar…” or ‘chut…a'” or ‘gaa…” —–

Ufffff yaar! Un shabdon ki baat hi kuch aur hai.

BUT even these cheap thrills aren’t worth sacrificing our linguistic diversity for.

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About the Author

Roopa Swaminathan - The Messy Optimist

Hi...I'm Roopa. I'm also a messy optimist! I'm an academic-cum-artist. I'm a writer, filmmaker and professor of creative writing. Academically, I've a Double Masters and a Phd read more...

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