(Singing) “What’s my name, what’s my name… my name is Sheila, Sheila ki jawaani… “And dash dash dash.
Stupid, it is not like this. It is like “What’s your name, what’s your name? … My name is Sheila, Sheila ki jawaani”
“No, it isn’t, you are wrong!”
A little girl and her brother were arguing over this matter of immense importance with seriousness and reasoning that our song writers be put to shame if they realized how badly they have been screwing up with word and sentence construction and leaving these little future leaders with their innate logic to figure out the wrong from the right.
A few days back, I was travelling in the last row of seats in the bus, just next to the door. It is one of my preferred seats for being the most spacious one, a comfort for my legs and my chafed knee joints which would otherwise be twisting and turning every five minutes groping for ample space in the congested furrows between the seats. The other one is the seat behind the driver.
So, two seats to my left, there were these two little kids coming back from school and talking at the top of their voices in the otherwise almost quiet crowd. And they were discussing this matter of Sheila singing this song. It was the reason put forth by the little girl that caught my wandering ears off guard.
“Why would someone ask anyone else his or her name and that too twice? When we are getting acquainted with strangers, we say, Hi, What is your name, my name is XYZ. She too is doing the same thing, introducing.” I leaned forward to see the face of this little genius, she might have been in third class or fourth. I looked at their mother and saw nothing. Probably, the point had failed to register there. I looked out, to the fading sunlight on the distant mountains and chuckled.
Ah, innocent kids! But she’s right. This little lady has got a point. Either Sheila was a first class drop out in the English course at school or is having bouts of forgetfulness and panic. Even master Yoda jumbled words, but at least he made sense. We all know what Seductive Sheila meant by that rhetorical question, but still, this-little-lady-has-a-valid-point-to-make. The SMS script has already started to seep into our daily writing style and has started to feed upon the ages old well formed (Not exactly, but still…) English. And now our Entertainment pundits are trying to tweak the correct speaking style too.
Another incident that I remember happened quite a few years ago. It was a singing competition on some channel and Salman Khan was its guest that night. And this guy was singing a song from A Salman Khan’s flick. I still remember the song just because of this incident. “Kyunki itna pyaar karte hain tumko sanam… hamare dil ki tum thodi si fikar kar lo” and then after the song, while all judges were giving comments on the raaga and alaap, Salman Khan pointed out, that it’s not fikar, but phikar. Well there not much difference between the two, the only difference being the absence of a single dot at the foot of the first character, and normally we don’t resort to much arbitration while using them interchangeably in day to day chit chatter. My Ma was never a fan of Salman Khan, but that night, she was amazed on seeing the Show Off Salman Khan having a keen eye and ear on details of this denigrate pronunciation.
We often admire people who have a clear tongue, and a subtle control over the words they utter, both in sense and usage. For example, a news reader, or the announcers at some event. A friend of mine pointed out how crystal clear and beautiful was the voice of the female commentator at the commonwealth games last year. And Republic Day is coming for all those who might have failed to notice it in commonwealth games.
I am not a purist (though I would like to be one) and neither are you. And if you are, then given the present state of affairs in language, you’d soon be bald by plucking out each strand by your very own hands in frustration (and that definitely does not mean that I want to be bald).
So let English, or any language in that case be a blossoming ‘phool’ (flower)in the garden of civilization and if you too are used to using language that might be considered gross, just think once, whom are you fooling?
And why do you think would Sheila say that her name is Sheila ki Jawaani? Is that some kind of surname she uses? Like Laalwani, Advani, Keejwani (ki-jawaani)? Sheila Keejwani, hmm?