Bongology

Posted: August 25, 2011 in For a thought....
Tags: ,

First please read the link:
http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/erratica/entry/drumming-for-bongo?th=1#comments

Now that you have read the famous Erratica version of Bengalees’ accshent…, and you have laughed several time at the way she made fun of the Bengali accshent… let me now enlighten you with something I have experienced.
After I stepped out of the small ‘well’ called India, into a vast arena called global space, I underwent a massive transformation in the way I looked at people. Before this, I had the idea that you have to talk in the American accent in Canada and you had to know perfect English to be able to settle down in the foreign land.
But, the reality was quite different. Not only are people here not being able to speak English with proper grammar, they didn’t have any stock of words. For instance, if you spoke about a garbage-bin, they will understand you perfectly, but if you say ‘dust-bin’ or ‘rubbish-bin’ people will only stare at you. Simple words like ‘encounter’ or ‘disperse’ will make perfectly Canadian people with English as their mother-tongue look at you squarely and ask, “Sorry?” If you say, “Pardon” instead of “Sorry?” they won’t understand. They don’t even understand “Double P”. They would instead say “P P” while spelling a word.
I took almost two years just learning which words they use and how to incorporate just those words in my vocabulary, trimming my word usage to the minimum.
Moreover, there are several accents used in English language and the beauty of this place is that you are appreciated for your own accent. There are the Polish accents, the Spanish accents, the Caribbean accent and the Indian-Pakistani accent and many more. Far from criticizing them, if you actually try to copy the Canadian accent, they will actually say, “Sorry?” till you come down to your own accent and speak.
In fact, people cannot often remember my name and then I tell them, “You can call me Carey (omitting the ‘b’ in my name). But if I introduce myself to people as ‘Carey’, they will ask, “But Aren’t you Indian? How do have a Canadian name?”
It so happened that once my husband, whose pet name is Rony, was calling a Canadian and said that his name was “Rony”. The person on the other side said, “But that’s your adopted name, right? What’s your real name?”
So Rony said, “My good name is Aniruddha, and my REAL pet name is Rony.”
The person refused to believe it and gave a lecture at how different names and accents from different cultures and countries sound so beautiful.
In fact, the other day, a Polish lady, Irja, came to my house and saw my gods and goddesses, asked curiously about them and was enthralled at my religion. We spoke at length about our skin color differences and religions and accents and how this array of cultures is making Canada such a global meting pot.
Well, when I landed here I spoke about India being a cultural melting pot too. But after reading such immature articles in such renowned newspapers I feel ashamed. India has such biased and narrow-minded writers like Bachi Karkaria… I wish Karkaria would come and stay with me in Canada for a year. I am sure she will go through a metamorphosis and be able to write better in future.
Thanks for reading.

Comments
  1. Sudip says:

    Porlam. Loved the article.

  2. apu28 says:

    Thanks Sudip. 🙂

  3. Chiranjib Chatterjee says:

    Wonderful article and well written !

  4. goutam bhattacharya says:

    Could not agree with কাবেরী (i guess that’s the blogger’s name) more.

    Having lived in Canada for several years, i have great respect for the ethnic and cultural diversity built in the system as well as in society.

    One of the reasons we love the English language is the myriad ways in which it is spoken around the world. It is a living language. Many of us have encountered Engrish in China. Vive la différence!

    A part of my pride in my Bong-hood is our ability to laugh at ourselves — perhaps the only “জাত” in India who have a finely-honed sense of humour. i have lived in several states of India, and have had excruciating experiences of the lack of humour among Indians in general.

    Talking about vocabulary, as a popular e-mail forward says about the American language, “A vocabulary of 27 words interspersed with ‘like’ and ‘you know’ is not an acceptable form of communication in the civilised world.”

    To quote from personal experience (published somewhere):

    After a long introductory meeting at Bombay, Tom the American says, on our way to the restaurant for lunch, ‘I must pay you a compliment.’ We ask him to feel free to do so, and he says, ‘You speak surprisingly good English.’ We tell him, ‘Thank you, Tom, but so do you.’

    Apdi dikri Bachi, in her dotage, has gone overboard in the piece under review.

    goutam.bombay@gmail.com

  5. apu28 says:

    Thanks Goutam for your comment. 🙂

  6. apu28 says:

    “A vocabulary of 27 words interspersed with ‘like’ and ‘you know’ is not an acceptable form of communication in the civilised world”…. lolllsss… absolutely… whenever I walk past young people talking in a group, I hear ‘like’ and ‘like’ and ‘you know’… 😀

  7. i think bongs have that sense of humour to take bachi in their stride. about the chief minister she could be a little more careful about her facts – pakistan is not at the border of bangladesh; north eastern states not countries. we dont take roll calls of guests we invite. problem is she doesnt listen to anybody. she needs an advisor not ‘chamchas’. as the CM she has to understand that she represents a state already battered – and ridiculed – to no end. why add to it ? she could have spoken in bengali and if necessary had an interpreter. it would have been dignified. she has to be more careful.

    • apu28 says:

      You know what? When I was in India, even I could take the humor in my stride… but when we are so far away from our motherland, we become very touchy abt such remarks. Abt Mamata taking ‘roll-calls’ of guests… well, that’s always been her quirky style of operation… Mamata Modus Operandi!!! hahahahaha… I quite enjoy it, at least when u r out of her firing range. And I beg to differ abt her using an interpreter… She knows English. Most leaders of the world, whose mother tongue is not English, speak English with faltered grammar and heavy accent. I see no wrong in that.

  8. nice article but Rony is indeed a non-indian and borrowed name so the pov of the lecturer on names of diff cultures isnt very wrong … after all india is one such place where some of us still copy … rather get influenced so to say

    • apu28 says:

      If ‘Rony’ is a borrowed name, so is ‘Sunny’ and ‘Chinky’ and ‘Sonia’ and ‘Micky’ and a humungous number of other names existing in every possible household. We don’t really name our offspring “Gopal’ and “Kalu’ anymore. These are the y-age nick-names and they are universal. It’s just that the continent of America do not know that there exist a world beyond the two giant oceans they are surrounded with. hahhhahahaha

  9. vidhya singh says:

    I’m Rajasthani and somehow I found myself among Bongs. You can call it comedy of errors but I was the only non-bong among that bong speaking group on facebook, and they asked me Bidiya tomar biye hoe gayechi? it took two three minutes in getting what they asked, biye is marwari word too, so marwari my mother tongue came to my rescue, so B.A. of dikri Bachi was hilarious in my case, I just love bong sense of humor, and I feel proud on their ability to poke fun, in otherwise dull life, its like sunshine.So don’t take it as an offence,I was able to relate with Bachi. As sometimes non bongs are real perplexed believe me.I admit despite my immense love for Bongo language I do feel helpless, I’m now learning Bengali. :0)

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