Relentlessly googling for the answers to my prayers , I shrieked with joy when my searching eyes finally found themselves focussed on these words…
“MALAYALAM, a Dravidian language of India, was recently rated one of the hardest languages to learn by the World Language Research Foundation”, read the google page.
Yes, finally I found proof to win my argument! Having been taunted for ages ,well it seems too long ago now, for having possessed exemplary (sarcasm at its peak here!) speaking proficiency in the language.
India, being the land of cultural, religious and linguistic diversity finds itself home to 22 beautiful recognised languages. Malayalam being one of the hardest known languages among them. Obviously it’s a piece of cake for malayalees..being their mother tongue and all. But for poor souls like me who end up in God’s own country with a slightly funny slang and grammatical errors, we are done for !
I love the language but its too damn hard to get a hang of: the confusing alphabets (most of which sound alike) and the tricky tongue twisting phrases to be familiar with . To all those people who have mastered this tongue , I salute you folks!
But since life is oh so kind to me! , thankfully I now have a saviour to take care of my special needs. Tis, my good friend and closed confidante is my on demand translator..nobody gets me like she does! However complicated the sentence be, she is spot on. People have actually started asking her directly what it is that I was implying. Talk about reading one’s mind! She processes my string of Malayalam words into bits that my dear friends can understand.
So why have I not decided to end the charade and learn Malayalam once and for all?
My friends find my weird, partly correct partly wrong shreds of malayalam amusing . I have been using that as a conversation starter quite often. Probably this is what Chandler felt like! I use my broken language and the humour that follows to my advantage, making people laugh , some may call it absurd but it eases the tension when I meet new people. We all have our crazy theories to adhere to. This just happens to be one of mine!
Between La spelled as ല, ള, ളെ, ലെ , Ta spelled as ത, റ്റ, തെ, റ്റെ , Na Spelled as ന, നെ and pronouncing the “zh” in Vazhappazham , Malyalam is fun! And I love ente(my) quirky Malayalam!
She knew it and so did I , since the symptoms were quite clear : school was just school , a sacred entity where knowledge was attained , time was spent reading books mostly textbooks all day long, no hour long conversations on the phone , no enthusiasm in any thing school related and Amma saw right through me.
I was great at making friends .I was just bad at keeping them.
Yes , I was “un-befriendable”. Careful now! I said i was! no need to reach for those tissues just yet! So then ,obviously something changed .
Even though my life sucked , I occasionally found solace while reading about characters whose lives closely resembled to mine : “The nerd who is always left alone”. And just so you know ,nerds do like being called nerds. I am just kidding ! How would I know ..for I am not one for sure ! ;P
But enough with the joking around ,it’s a fact that almost everyone goes through this feeling sometime or the other in their lives. When life seems to offer you nothing but trouble in the friendship area. Nothing seems to work out and you lose every single bet and your ship keeps sinking. As expected it actually falls under a different kind of worldly pain because we are social animals after all. No amount of reading books or watching movies can fill that gap where a friend resides. Believe me for I have tried .Its hard to find the perfect friend and its equally hard to keep them .Sometimes I used to jump from one group of friends to the next ,it was pretty cool actually keeping in mind that you got to know a lot about whats happening in class, you took up just enough time so that you don’t feel like you are intruding .All in all ,a phase where I just got by. Inspite of it all there is another misery that exists the ordeal of losing yourself and your identity in that struggle for friendship .There has been plenty of times where I have questioned myself and my tastes just because my so called friends found it crappy . That led to my days being spent wondering what was wrong with me ! Agonising and forcing myself to change and what did it all result into …nothing but more anguish and pain for me because now nobody knew who the real me was. It was a big mess! alright! It’s only later that I realised how stupid I was for considering that this was the right way. And then one fine day it finally dawned on me that it was high time to stop the theatrics and accept myself for who I was really was.I am who I am, there is no denying that . I had to stand up for myself . How could I expect others to like me if I don’t do it myself. Only then would others appreciate me . And that made me embrace it even more .All that was left to be done was to make the most of it .
My life certainly reformed for the best . I was living my life as it ought to have been lived . Agreeing to my flaws ,correcting them and most importantly staying true to myself.
As one very wise man once said “Weird becomes normal among the right people . If you feel weird , you haven’t met the right people ..yet . Embrace it, don’t hide it. ”
These words meant the world to me. It made me believe in myself.This crazy world is filled with all kinds of people: wild ,passionate,aggressive ,devious,sympathetic …you name it! It’s only a matter of time before you find your bunch of weirdos. So just hang in there!
And to all my friends who helped me bounce from “unbefriendble” to “befriendable”…I love you guys !
Yes , the inevitable had to happen. There are a few handful of days when from the moment you get up from your peaceful sleep everything goes just according to your whims and fantasies : its your favorite dish for breakfast (yumm!) , the teacher is a good fifteen minutes late to class , your friend saves you the best seat in class! Ah you begin to feel that life is bliss when oops! you realize you jumped to a conclusion way too soon. Your day just could not get worse . The surprise test had to be held today of all days. It had to rain on the way back to the hostel and you had to leave your umbrella behind.
You guessed it right! Today was one such awful day for me so to speak. I wanted to spend my day quite productively actually. I had planned to do so many things, keep track of my projects and maybe do a little bit of studying too! but then the inevitable happened someone just had to tick me off today and then it was just downhill from there. I start making mistakes and then I lost concentration and I managed to mess up everything in the end.
I felt very obnoxious and just like that the entire day was ruined. Finally as soon as my phone rang grabbing the opportunity I released all my pent-up anger at my poor mom who just happened to call to ask me if I would come home next week(bad luck ! I guess).
But then time heals everything( oh jeez! what would I do without it? I felt grateful for time to have actually flied) and realization dawned upon me that I was such a fusspot for having wasted my time and simply put my day to no good use.
Everyone of us has been on the either side of things and yes the part that comes after you recover from your fit of anger is the worst. I knew I had some damage control to do. I called up my mom and apologized for my rude conduct. Being my mom ,as she forgave sweet little me ,she ranted on about not taking things too seriously and just focussing on your goals and all that philosophy (well I did inherit my dramatic skills from my mama) .And then she told me something that I had forgot, well what we all really seem to have failed to remember pretty often and it really changed the way I thought there after , she enlightened ,” we are humans after all!!!” ;p 🙂
Being early December it was between tension and merriment for us.Our exams were soon going to be over and then we could enjoy our Christmas holidays in peace, that was all my friend and I could think of as we tried hard to concentrate and study. Since I was going nowhere with my calculus I decided to change the subject and switch to a more comforting one ,specifically chemistry . At least all one had to do was be familiar with the compounds! As I was too lazy to get up and fetch my book from the next room I asked my friend ,on whose bed i was sprawling , for her text. As I was brushing up on my organic chemistry I found a particularly old and scrunched up piece of paper hidden deep inside the pages. It looked as though it was kept there a long time ago and somebody had forgotten to remove it. I looked over to her and seeing that she was trying to hard to grasp some math problem I decided not to disturb her and read the contents for myself. Mind you it was not like I was invading on her privacy actually we were very close to each other and shared even the tiniest and weirdest secrets with each other. It read something like this:
Why is it the same story always! My mom keeps reprimanding me for my ways . I feel sorry but yet keep treading down that very path. When am I gonna stop and mend my ways! Whenever something like this happens I make a list of things I could do to change myself ; look at the bright side and hope that this time I really succeed in my goals. But no! my minds spins around and resorts to its favourite mantra “Ignorance is bliss”. And this makes my parents sad. Reading what I have written so far you must presume I am such a considerate person and regret doing this. But the hard truth is that I don’t even try to remember this feeling of remorse when I go back to my old self. I put a shield over my thoughts and hide from my feelings which hurt me and do what I do best ,which is run away from it. I just don’t know what to do…
GEEZ! I was shocked beyond belief.I hardly expected this. I shot up a quick glance ,relieved to see her engrossed in some work pointing the pencil at her head as if threatening her brain to make sense of whatever she was studying. I swiftly folded up the paper in a hurry not wanting my friend to see that I had not only found it but worse that I had even finished reading it.
But I couldn’t believe it. She was always so light hearted and cheerful. Yes , she had her flaws but who doesn’t? Ok maybe she spends more time watching and browsing stuff online than studying and maybe she sleeps most of the time(I do that too!) and not engage in resumé enriching activities.
Its only when I read between the lines and inspected my own life from her point of view did I understand what all the fuss was about. The note applied to me and everybody else in the same age group.The fact that we were exposed to billions of opportunities around us to gather knowledge and sharpen our skills and yet despite all this what we finally choose is to lazily lay down on our comfy beds and move only our opposable thumbs to update our WhatsApp status! Its just that we are so used to it these days that we don’t find any fault with it. But yeah all this sounded too familiar, after all I had been on the receiving end of this from my own mom plenty of times.
Sigh! I realised we have all been there. Who am I kidding? We are still living in that phase as we speak where we are too confused to know what we are doing with our lives. But its not our fault it is just how the world is programmed at present, I guess! But that still doesn’t mean we can’t do anything about it.
That night we had managed to cram for five hours and decided to take a short break. Utilising this opportunity I sat up straight and began ,”Hey girl! Just got off the phone with ma. It was the usual today! Stop wasting time! Do something productive! She looked at me ,her eyebrows raised as if asking me silently why this now and then she looked away (oh that was close!), “Ah well! I don’t really know what we should do about it.” Taking this as my cue I replied”I know ,why don’t we take up online courses during the holidays and even throw in a typing course and a bit of cooking too!” the words escaped out of my mouth even before I knew it.”Hah, your mom must have shaken you up pretty bad if you had to include cooking”. I left out a long breath. Anything to get us back on track I thought. She continued,”But you know how it is. We are too excited in the beginning to even finish it and then as usual we leave it incomplete.” I leapt to my feet , “No! Not this time we ought to do it, not for anyone else but for ourselves , so that we can be different and stand apart from others! What do you say? “,I asked her expectantly . And she didn’t disappoint me,”You are right. Better late than never. Screw up the old routines let’s create new ones!” And did we? …yup we sure did! All it took was two things: one secret confession and one strong friendship.
When life becomes unbearable, you must know how to dream…ring … the bell had rung signalling the end of the period.”Ok, we’ll see the rest of it tomorrow”, saying so she had hardly left when the class resorted back to its general state of pandemonium. As I looked around, I could see my friends either struggling to concentrate on their so called formula books or throwing tantrums and getting on each other’s nerves (such were my classmates). But amidst all of this, I just sat there on my feet, frozen and oblivious to the entire world before me whilst I couldn’t help but wonder at those mystical words that I had just heard and more importantly at the speaker, my marvellous English teacher.
Every human being who has been a student obviously, at some point of his life would have come across that perfect teacher, that role model, who inspired you and amazed you side by side. As I look back on my school days I would like to write just this once, about my teacher who made me see life as I had never before imagined, my Meera ma’am.
To say that she was highly proficient in English would be an understatement. As far as I knew, her knowledge seemed to have no bounds. She would be speaking about Wilfred Owen’s par poem one moment and about Modi’s memorandum the next. Every class offered something new and exciting, it could be anything; a surge of determination, an ocean of love and even a feeling of hope. Yet when she stated something that we already knew, to our surprise it never sounded cliche. We often got to look at different perspectives which we had never thought about. It opened up new horizons. Yes, you cannot imagine how eagerly we waited for her classes.
She was no ordinary women. What she had said earlier was actually the secret of life. Dreams motivate you to think and work further. Why do people commit suicides and heedlessly end their lives?… because they have lost their capacity to dream, I realised. Be it any syllable that she spoke, it always made sense. There was wisdom sparkling in her eyes and we could see that she calculated everything that she ever did. It was evident in her mannerisms. Yet being so young even I could realise the extent of mind control and patience she brought into play to be … well perfect! She often remarked that the hardest task in this world is not the physical task of trekking past hard terrains but the art of controlling one’s mind. And I believe that I have found it to be true on numerous occasions.
The way she used to carry herself around the classroom, displayed an aura of its own and I truly admire her for that. As for my part, I always tried to be extra attentive in her class. You always be o n your best if you want someone’s respect and affection. Unfortunately in my case I had be “good” for a very long time which stretched for far more time than I imagined it would. Amidst all this I did learn an important lesson, to impress someone great you had to be at least equivalent to their greatness apparently.
Being born in a fairly small town of Kozhikode, I led a very simple life basking myself in the glory of the sun and appreciating the beauties that nature had to offer. And my early school life too portrayed a bland streak as I was taught by by the normal robotic teachers whose work life spun around the never ending cycle of tests, projects and term exams. And to prepare for my college entrance exams I had to choose a different school in a different city.But my arrival to my new school had in store for me surprises galore. In addition to good friends and an awesome schooling experience, I dared to discover my role model, my mentor, my teacher. Having read numerous such accounts about teachers who created history by transforming purposeless children into well informed civilised beings during the annual affair of the well celebrated Children’s day, I always longed to have at least one teacher who would leave a lasting impression on my mind. The almighty must have felt pity on me for i received more than what I had asked for; a guru who left me in awe of her.
Once ma ‘am remarked that pessimists make good writers . Coincidentally I was a pessimist; moreover I wanted to become a Writer. I needn’t say anything more, right? Frankly I was overjoyed when she said so! Furthermore I had won a prize in an All- India writing competition a few years ago leading to my trivial story being published. Keeping all this in mind I wanted to envision my future prospects of being a writer. But out of nowhere intense fear crept into my mind. What if she disagrees? What if I ruin that divine yet delicate bond? I decided to keep quiet. And soon the days passed into months and now I write this excerpt today not knowing where it will lead to. But I strive for that day when I grow up to be someone more worthy , more deserving so as to be able to stand before my invaluable teacher and tell her how much I loved admiring her.