WOW-Write over weekend
I am a Bengali by birth but never lived in Bengal. I was born in Madhya Pradesh and so introduced to Hindi language from a very young age. We spoke Bengali at home though.
When I was around 9 years old, my father took up a job in Porbandar, Gujarat. It was a huge change in terms of culture and language. Porbandar is not a very cosmopolitan place. That was the first time I heard Gujarati language, that too Kathiawadi Gujarati. Me or my family couldn’t make out a single word that the locals spoke! My mother had a tough time handling the maid, milkman, and other local people. On top of that, I had Gujarati as a compulsory language in school. I learnt the language in 7 days flat to give my first exam and scored the highest!
Now its been more than 30 years and I am in love with Gujarati language. It is a language I love as much as I love my mother tongue Bengali. Whenever I meet a Gujarati or hear the language, there is an automatic smile on my face. It is “familiar” zone for me.
The language that I couldn’t understand when we came to Gujarat is like a lyric to me now, its like a second language to me. I spent around 16 years of my unmarried life in Gujarat and love the people, culture, and the state may be more than West Bengal where I have never lived. I can read and write the language very well. I jump at any opportunity in conversing in Gujarati to “my” fellow Gujarati people!
I live in Mumbai now where again there are a lot of Gujaratis in my vicinity. My kids also have a lot of Gujarati friends. My love of the language is so high that I have taught my kids also the language to an extent. My son’s friend’s Gujarati friends’ parents converse with my son in Gujarati and he responds!
Gujarati folk songs are something which I can sing. Navratri and Garba excite me! I always refer to Gujarat as “aapdo Gujarat” meaning “our Gujarat.”
Gujarati language is very, very close to my heart because this was a language that I learnt and heard when I was a little kid and grew up listening to it; its a part of my existence now. I grew up in that culture. Gujarati is a part of me…