Every time I hear the word roots, my mind doesn’t flash the image of brown, muddy tentacle filled organism, but drags me back to my history class eight years back. My class teacher had asked us about the Slavic nations, we all were clueless. She had practically called us a batch of dumb-set high strung on ignorance. She had called our lack of respect for national history, regional past and personal chronicles tragic, and prophesied that this tragic trait would leave us handicap. Then she added the example of an arrogant little newborn leaf which was so proud of its luscious green colour that it detached itself from the brown tree. It died the very next moment. To her we were all going to face the same fate.
Among the fallen human leaves of my generation, I am a proud member too. Few days back I was told, I need to stop writing in English and start writing in my mother tongue. No good writing happens in one’s second tongue. In its own place and context, it’s a very sound advice. To one who never learned her own language, it’s a punch in the guts you cannot recover from easily.
What if I was raised to be that single leaf which though dies, dies on its own accord. The tree is never to be blamed for the leafs adventure, similarly my lack of love for my mother tongue is not anybody’s fault. I simply never learned it, the period of elementary education in my life was the toughest of all. My brain executed the process of natural elimination. At the age of six I decided not to learn or recall the letters from Bangla and Axomia. My puny little self was drowning in the useless ocean called education, and my brain had no space for a language that would not contribute to improve my C graded report card with ‘the can do better’ remark.
Do I regret now that I cannot read or write my mother tongue, a bit, more than that it stings. It stings because of the hypocrisy I see that is associated with this cycle of holding language on the lips. I can see people posting Facebook Status on World Mother Tongue day, singing songs in native tongue, flaunting the crafted pronunciations all in their mother tongue and of course kill for mother tongue. But breaking off marriages because the future partner has bad English pronunciation, laughing behind a person’s back because they cannot speak fluently in our colonial master’s words. This stings.
It stings hard, like a honeybee’s sting is pouring snake's venom inside me.
I have no respect for people who love shoving the merits of mother tongue down my throat. Yes, I am a handicap in a place where the ‘A’ is read as ‘O’ and being ‘Ol-rounder’ is the way to success. I have no talent for music, I have no love for dance, I can’t spell or pronounce properly, I don’t know many things, I have no qualities that would set me apart in the herd of super talented unique-s. Nope I am bloody hell ordinary, I have no roots, I have no language, I have no history and I am nobody.
But I do have a chubby mother and a sharp tongue.
I am happy to be that vain single little leaf, when I fall, I will die, I might be eaten by goats or I might dry insides the pages of a book or burn in a hearth or simply crumble away.
P.S- I am beyond Ongry
thanking you to bear with me.