A hot afternoon in Bengalooru (paradox to Bengalooru because my city was coolest), I wait for a bus to go to my house. The most common question asked is this ‘Does this bus go to Jayanagara?’ (Ee bus Jayanagara ge hogatha?). Few bus drivers get angry and say ‘Board nodri’ meaning ‘See the board’ or lightly say ‘oh Kannada gottilva’. So I board this bus and traffic jam in the heart of the city, I start typing a message to my parents that I could get late in Kannada font on my phone.
The bus conductor stands behind and peeps. I was really furious to see him invading my privacy and may be few bad experiences with them saying ‘change illa’ to ‘ivrella pass girakigalu, seat bere beku’ while we were in college, made me question ‘en saar?’. He politely took out his phone and told ‘Madam same phone even I have how do I type Kannada in this?’ and he quickly told the driver, ‘Bharamanna ee madam Kannada type madtare phone alli helskolana thegiri phone’ (this madam types Kannada in her phone, take out your phone as well let’s learn). I was taken aback with this gesture, with huge traffic pile up it gave me some time to interact and teach them.
I explained about Google handwriting input to Google Indic keyboard and also Swarachakra app. It was difficult in the beginning for them,but the way they picked it up was fantastic. The joy for them to type in Kannada had no bounds. He nicely typed out a message to his wife ‘ootakke bartheeni’ (will come for lunch). I could see the genuine happiness on their faces, they thanked me and told its such a bliss to write messages in our own language. Doing this would increase the communication and would promote the language really well. The driver of the bus, also said that he could ask his children who are completely engrossed in their phones to actually type in Kannada, to improve their language.
I just observed that he had about 3 Kannada newspapers in the bus,displaying the love for the language. He says I read specifically about the language,culture and happenings around the city. In fact the first person the tourists ask about the city are these drivers and conductors. When I asked what do you tell them, he says ‘I speak about the language madam,request them to learn the language and speak about Kuvempu, DVG, Shivarama Karanth etc’. I tell him that you have become the true ambassador of the language and the city. He smiled and told duty madam duty. How wonderful is this that my language gets promoted this way, and people with so much simplicity make way for it,rather than giving a ‘Krantikari’ statement. He said I should give you something in return for teaching me how to type in Kannada, I just said sir,next time I ask you ‘ee bus jayanagar ge hogatha’ please don’t ask ‘Kannada gottilva’. Both the conductor and the driver had a hearty laugh.
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Well, the joy of sharing messages in your mother tongue is extraordinary, writing poems,articles are overwhelming.
How many of you have tried writing in your own language in digital format? How happy are you to see the messages, mails and memes in Kannada? If you haven’t tried, start on it today.
To all the kannadigas, ‘ಕನ್ನಡದಲ್ಲೆ ಬರೆಯೋಣ ಅಲ್ವಾ?’