I thought to write about this, since the last Monday where I had to do a webinar for Global Youth Forum on Climate Change in my native language. To start properly with the plot I am a Sri Lankan Tamil by nationality and Hindu by birth.
First, the topic might say the emotion I am going through but to make it clear I have not given up on my heritage completely buy I may have forgotten on the way towards maturity.
According to lots and lots of literature, I’ve read Tamil language and Hindusim are the oldest in the history of linguistics and religious doctrines, respectively. With both labels together, I should proudly roam around, right? Sadly, I am not.
My parents and grandparents are all the same stereotype South Asian households which used to respect and value their customs and norms generation by generation. Hundreds of fastings, thousands of festivals, tons and tons of rules and regulations all were there when I was growing up. Fridays are for vegetarianism and posh temple visits. Mom and dad spend nearly half a year with no food nonsense (or they say ‘fasting’), and I was not allowed to enter the ‘Pooja room’ (bonsai versions of traditional Temple) during my periods, funerals and weddings were not occasions but traditions and so on.
No offense, to that. My grandparents were tad old school though but my parents were a bit open-minded, and me when growing up with tons of books with me; never thought to be proud of something that has been occurred because of my birth. I know it sounds crazy, but deal with it.
BUT… I never abandoned Tamil language. I was sent to an English medium school and from there up to now (Grad school) my entire syllabi have been English so I never had felt uncomfortable in either speaking, writing, or even thinking in English. TO be honest, I have (or I thought I had) a fair share of Tamil knowledge until I got the invitation for a webinar in GYFCC 2020.
When they were sending the invite I responded to them, yes, and once after that, I got to know it was in Tamil. Then there were several callbacks and I tried to cancel but they denied it… it's a long story. But the key point is I was reluctant to do a webinar in Tamil.
This made me think for a while, that I have been really negligent on this fact that I have abandoned a language (I don't mind for the religion though; atheist alert!) that I am fluent in for the sake of learning (or literally living with) another language.
I usually prepare the presentations for webinars and practice them for a couple of days but this one I had to practice for more than a week just because (I felt) I wasn't comfortable with the way I speak at the audience.
I could see this reason for the struggle through my timeline because I have been a blogger for the past couple of years and a writer for a long time since school ages; yet I haven't written a single post in Tamil. Even I don't know how to type in Tamil.
I get it..! We, Easterners for the sake of better opportunities, promising studies, and for a brightened (?) future we have to stick to our non-native yet global language though. But have you thought about the price you are paying for that?
PS: I started reading Tamil books again to refresh my knowledge of books and the oldest literature. And started practicing Tamil typing (of course without an on-screen keyboard)