Every language is a secret waiting to be decoded. On my recent visit to Banglore, a sister city to Chennai in the Indian family, every advertisement billboard, bus destination board, and sign board had Kannada (the local language) words casually scrawled across them. Even though an english equivalent of the same message would be present near them most times, the one lonely word with no translation which could have been as trivial as ‘conditions applied’ always caught managed to catch my eye. The sudden urge to have to know what it was that was written in a form which was inaccessible to me was weirdly perturbing.
Only then did I realise how multifaceted language is. It doesn’t only provide a common identity to the people who live next to each other, but stands as a gate that can be unlocked only by the people with the capability of speaking it. You could try to jump over the fence, utter a few words you’ve overheard to try your best at making sense, but it doesn’t feel the same as a royal entry walking in on the red carpet via the gate, does it?
So the next time you visit a foreign land, or the neighbouring state if you’re in India, keep the local language translation book in handy. Phrases like ‘I have no knowledge of speaking your language’ and ‘I think I’m going to be sick’ might come in handy.
Yet, I know a lot of people who play the ‘hardly knowing the language’ factor super suavely. Some of them, take it to their advantage in one way or another.
Some do their best take on stringing together the right words and manage the situation with their amateurish knowledge.
Some even win over the locals using their broken, and adorable to them language skills.
While some, are just masterminds, who use the same to turn a situation around, make a person or two laugh despite the glaringly unfortunate fact that their fate lies to be trapped in Hitler’s concentration camp.
Guido is the best, isn’t he?