If at all a research were to be conducted, I am sure native Kannadigas would be identified to have a highly evolved left hemisphere, the one responsible for learning languages, while compared to human beings anywhere else. Our left hemisphere not only grasps new languages faster, but is also responsible for making us our tolerant-towards-other-languages selves.
In a group of children playing in one of the play areas of a multi-crore, posh, Bangalore apartment complex, the kid that is conversing to all the other kids in their respective mother tongues, is sure to be a Kannada speaking kid. It is a given that the kid can fluently converse in Hindi and English.
In any given MNC in Bangalore, you will find groups or teams of people conversing in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and you will not be able to easily spot a Kannadiga among them, expect for the discriminating racial features, and sometimes they camouflage so well, even that can be challenging to spot.
Karnataka emulates this tolerant and language-benevolent nature of its native habitants by allowing hoardings, placards and boards to be in written in either English and Kannada or English only. There are times when you will find boards in English and Hindi with no trace of Kannada whatsoever. The destination boards on BMTC buses are also in both English and Kannada, making commuting easy for non-Kannadigas.
I personally know non- Kannadigas living in Bangalore for decades and living luxuriously while only knowing the basics of the language, like, “maadi (do)”, “yake (why)”, “ashte(that’s all)”, “super”, “swalpa(little)”, “gothilla(don’t know)”, “yeshtu(how much)”, yes, as minimal as that and super is not even a Kannada word.
While I am proud of belonging to such an accommodating culture, I also know of some benefits and privilege speaking Kannada in Karnataka can provide. Some of the benefits right off the top of my head are as follows:
- Bargain deals from local vendors while they mercilessly loot non- Kannada speaking people. Don’t tell me you don’t bargain.
- Entertaining auto/cab rides, because the drivers are overwhelmed by your Kannada speaking ability, which is such a rarity in the city. Their amusing stories can be a saving grace during terrible traffic jams. They even give back exact change. Yes, that happens!
- It is extremely easy to get work done by the infamous maids.
- It is also easier to coax plumbers, mechanics and electricians to attend to our crisis faster.
- Sometimes, only sometimes, an extra helping of sweet/food in your office canteen/roadside vendors.
- Security guards take extra care of your vehicle or belongings.
- You know it is not a myth that BMTC conductors can actually be extremely nice.
- Special preference at all Government offices and Indian banks, even from the grumpy ladies.
- If you are non- Kannada person who speaks Kannada, the natives treat you like a star, because your kind is the rarest kind to find.
- Making friends becomes easy as Kannadigas tend to hold on to any Kannada speaking person they find in the almost barren land of Kannadigas and non- Kannada speaking people come to you because they need your assistance to get all the above benefits for themselves or maybe just because you are nice.
There is an easier way to be able to learn the native language of Karnataka. www.kannadagottilla.com is an initiative to help you learn Kannada via your smartphone. It cannot get easier than that, can it?
Psst…We the KannadaGothilla team encourage people to join us, learn from us only so that in turn we learn their language. Our left hemisphere is greedy, way too greedy.
Register, learn, speak, teach, also adding another language to your CV, makes you cooler, doesn’t it?