[Disclaimer: A humorous take on people who know Kannada really well (to both read and write) and their native is BENGALURU. Most of the conversation happened in Kannada and the literal translations are given!]

A weekend in Bengalooru, you book a cab to go to a place. The driver calls, “Madam I near Central Mall, where are you madam?” I reply “Sir illi Ragigudda arch idyalla alli banni“. He puts the phone down, picks me up. After the route map discussion, he says “Madam nimagoooo Kannada baratha” meaning ‘Do you really know Kannada 😀 ‘. The most frequently asked question in Bengaluru is this!

The driver starts his conversation asking, are you from North India, Bombay, Mangaluru and exhausting his options to nearby Mysuru. I tell him that Bengaluru is my home town, he refusing to believe that any person can still claim this as their home town. I get a call from work, speaking in English he asks how madam English is good, how can Kannada also be good?. Out of curiosity I ask him where is he from and how he picked up English. He narrates his long story of 20 acres farmland in Mandya and how Bengaluru attracted him to come here to why Bengaluru is becoming a bad place to live. I asked him why did he have to leave a profitable 20 acres farmland in Mandya, he says “Bengaluru sakkath jhinkchak madam“. Traffic piling up on weekends, I started reading out the sign boards and was directing him. He stops and asks “Madam you know to read Kannada“, I tell him “First language Kannada saar school alli“, he is still not satisfied with the answer. He gives me this Kannada newspaper and says “Can you really read“. Having read the same newspaper in the morning in my house, I tell him all the headlines and say I don’t have to read this. He keeps mum, and asks whether he could play songs and puts an Iron Maiden song. I ask him “Raajkumar haadilva?“. He says oho annavru, have you met him. I tell him that when I was 6 years I saw him in HAL Airport during my dad’s first US trip, he picked me up kissed me on my cheek and told “Makklu neevu hogbeku aeroplane alli, en kanda nin hesru“. The driver got really thrilled. He passed a judgement that because Dr Rajkumar kissed and blessed me, that’s why my Kannada is very  good else how can Bengalureans know Kannada well. He also said nobody watches Kannada movie, I tell him Ricky cinema nodi bere thara ide.

The whole journey he keeps on telling that Bengaluru doesn’t have anything, hindilla mundilla (no history, no future) I had to tell him the Bendakaalooru story, Kempegowda, Tipusultan, Wodeyars and also about IISc, Vivekananda’s vision. During this conversation I realized that my city has been very wrongly perceived by everyone as the city which doesn’t have its own culture or history. Everyone is trying to make Bengaluru a city they had previously lived not love this city as Bengaluru.  Bengaluru has its wonderful parshe’s, jaathre’s, eateries and most importantly shuddha Kannada speaking population. The cab driver was a wonderful example of misconceiving Bengloor population. After all the quiz he made, he finally told “Madam nim Kannada super,hudgi adru esht chennagi Kannada maatahdtheera” 😀 (Madam your Kannada is super, you speak good Kannada in spite of being a girl). He gave me a chocolate as a reward and apologized for having misconceptions about Bengaluru, Kannada and Girls. Don’t get offended if someone asks you a questionnaire like this and all the non Kannada speaking population, please learn Kannada from kannadagottilla.com and make this question nimge Kannada baratha non existent.