DELHI- A MULTI-LINGUAL ROAD TRIP
By Neel Anil Panicker
Traffic makes us mad, doesn’t it? And, if it is about traffic as dangerous and monstrous as we, the denizens of Delhi, experience on a daily basis, then we might as well sign up for hell!
But then what recourse do we have other than to hit the road every single day__ come rain or shine, or come the sleep-deprived double shift working BPO driver behind the wheels of an SUV that hurtles down serpentine roads at speeds that would put even the legendary Usain Bolt to shame?
Or, for that matter, battling for every square inch of tyre space with your typical Dilliwallah who believes from the bottom of his heart that the road and all its vicinities (and that includes the pavements as well as the neighborhood septuagenarian who walks on it alongside his cutesy little dog) are his baap ka maal__ to be marauded and trampled over as and when he so pleases, something the frequency of which has, of late, been increasing in geometric progressions.
And so it was the other day when I happened to take the wheel and found myself stuck in a gigantic traffic jam in the middle of nowhere.
An avalanche of diverse senses began to assault me no end. Soon the slow simmer turned into a boil until it smashed through through the heat barrier. And then it was a free for all.
I found myself quite unwillingly entertained from all sides, a full 360 degrees at that. Left with no other option, I blissfully held out as my ears were treated to a colourful barrage of the choicest of choice abuses, an apt testimony to the rich and varied cultural, multilingual diversity of this great country.
Seated there, trapped and forced to sit through the free non-stop entertainment that was on pristine display, I experienced a flash of memory. I remembered that only the other day a first time Member of Parliament had very vociferously lent his vocal chords and signature to a campaign that called for the inclusion of Bhojpuri as part of the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution, which currently shows a whopping 22 languages.
I wondered, ‘why limit ourselves only to Bhojpuri.’
Going by the rich and enviable linguistic talents of Indians as can be witnessed by the various and varied tongues on proud display on our roads we must immediately launch a nationwide campaign for the inclusion of all patois languages so that all of these local dialects share and rub shoulders with the established ones, and with great pride.
Imagine how lively our lives would then be. All our roads, offices and public squares will resonate with the cacophony of a multitude of high pitched sounds as the air around us will reverberate with a million cackles and clucks, and bawls and bellows, and oohs and aahs__all emanating from a deep conviction that can only come with the surefire belief that whatever syllables escape our lips now enjoy legal lingua franca currency.
More lung power to that!