Lost In Translation

By Monday, October 06, 2014

For a girl born and brought up in North India, the south of the country was always a place you went only for vacations. There was never even an option to shift there or live there no matter how beautiful or good the city was, simply because of the wide culture difference.

Its hardly been 10 days since I shifted here and I have already had that culture shock - no wide 'pandals' for Durga Pooja, no holiday for that Dussehra and Diwali is celebrated one day before the actual day ( Can anybody explain me why ? ) Long story short I had to go to office on Dussehra and will have office on Diwali too.

But luckily where I am working, its not just the local Kerala people, I met people from Bengal, Maharashtra, Andhra,Karnataka and Punjab. And for the first time I am actually realizing how diverse our country is and how many different regional languages we have. 

I am going to be really honest and say we North Indians are very proud of Hindi and if someone is in 'our' land and talks in some other language we get offended because we feel they are probably talking about something they don't want to share. But coming here has helped me break all these stereotypes. People talk in their regional language because they grew up hearing that and that's what they are comfortable in.

This is also the first time I have seen Hindi as a minority somewhere in India. The people on my right constantly talk in Bengali, the ones on my right go on Kannada while there is Malayalam somewhere in background and I just sit there looking at their faces. 
After a few days of being lost in translation I got good at reading people's faces, it doesn't matter what the people are actually saying, you can easily tell their emotion behind it just by looking at their face.

But the most weird thing of all was the one language that helped us communicate no matter where we came from was - English. I know English has been downgraded as taking over the country and our culture but it has also sort of connected us in a way we could have never been before.

Leaving you with a picture from the Kovalam Beach

Hello Kerala!

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  1. You've moved to the state that I was running away from my entire life ! Enjoy ! :D If you're In TVPM don't miss all the culture shows in the city. They are a blast !

    1. I didn't know there were culture shows here ! I'll try to find out about it..thanks :)

  2. I am glad you are getting used to Kerala..
    Kovalam is beautiful. isnt it?

  3. Culture shock, yes, undoubtedly. You'll get used to it, however :)

  4. Hope you had a good time during Onam at least!

    1. Is it bad that I don't even know when Onam is ? :(

  5. As you said India has diverse cultural and religious beliefs. South India has one, North India has one and North-eastern completely different one. Good one and nicely written ritika.

  6. There's lot waiting for you. Most you'll enjoy I am sure :) Best wishes (My guess is you will soon learn one or two languages now :D )

  7. Hope you had a good start :)
    I had the same experience two months back, at first it was tough to adjust with language and people there but then I started liking the place.
    well I'm sure you miss northern delights over there :P
    Don't you ??

  8. Hi Ritika,

    Good to know that you are in Gods own country and Welcome to the beautiful land of Kerala. :)
    I hope you are enjoying the beauty of Kerala.

    I can really relate to whatever you have said in the post. As a Malayalee I know that we are reluctant to accept these things. But you are true and I have many friends in my office itself who are from different parts of India and getting used to the nuances of Kerala.

    One thing for sure is that you won't get disappointed by the beauty of Kerala and you can travel a lot of places to explore it. Another interesting shock would be the people of Kerala :)

    You can meet two extremes here. One, who are forward thinking and live in the present world and the other who are still living in the 80's. But overall we Malayalees take care of our guests and treat them well except a few.

    I hope you will enjoy your time in Trivandrum and Kerala and looking forward to read more of your experiences here.


  9. South is a beautiful place for vacations.. Have seen quite a lot of it :) but to stay there is a different story all together. Keep hanging :)

  10. Give it a little more time & you will find yourself comfortable... given the positivity in your writing.And who knows when it is time to leave you may feel too attahed...

  11. we are a nutty bunch, still give us a chance...

  12. If nothing else you'll get a lot of unscheduled holidays! ;)
    Enjoy. .

  13. I lived in Karnataka for 5 years and never did I feel alienated or hurt. I was never your typical 'North Indian' or maybe my upbringing was such that I was made to fall in love with all types of Indians. My parents would regularly say stuff like, 'Kannadigas are very smart' or 'Bengalis have the blessing of Goddess Saraswati' so, I was fully trained to accept anything that comes my way with respect.

    But yes, I couldn't learn to write Kannada. I regret that.

  14. It's always great to explore new culture, isn't it?

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