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My son was a slow speaker. Being born in a multilingual home and exposed to a melange of languages, he would get confused. He would often lapse into gibberish whenever anyone attempted a conversation with him. People would look at me questioningly hoping that as a mom I would be able to decode his gibberish and provide a sensible translation, but instead I would often respond with a helpless shrug. This was not because I couldn't translate, of course I could,I mean even if I couldn't decipher what my kiddo was saying, I could definitely make up something,who would know? But my helpless shrug was more out of despair. I was worried sick about my sons delayed speech. A well renowned speech therapist suggested that we stick to one language to enable the child speak with ease.
Being a classic example of a 2 states couple & after much deliberation we chose English as the mode of communication with our son, instead of our mother tongues. We felt it was an apt choice as we ourselves spoke to each other in the same language. Within a couple of months my son started speaking effortlessly. He now speaks nineteen to the dozen with almost anyone he can get hold of, from the domestic help to our neighbors, all listen to him with rapt attention. His expanding vocabulary and fluency gives me immense joy! People are often awestruck seeing this pint size fellow yapping away in the queens language and I have had several parents complimenting me on the same.
However I have also had quite a few people passing snide comments like-yeh angrez yahan kaise paida hua? Why doesn't he speak Hindi? How will he manage? Blah Blah Blah.While I would immediately sound apologetic and explain the delayed speech aspect to them, I began to realize I need not do any such thing. My son manages to interact with kids speaking in any language without any trouble. He has already started speaking bits & pieces of Hindi and soon enough he will pick up Malayalam as well. His ability to grasp things in pre-school was also fast as he was well versed with the medium of instruction.
But I often wonder why people are hypocritical about this language. While most of us are enamored with it and would love to master this language, there are several people who are extremely cynical about it. These people actually secretly harbor the desire to speak this language with panache but choose to vent out their frustration through other means and ways. They garner immense satisfaction by labeling the English speaking crowd as show-offs and anti-national. They are also the kinds who would ensure that their kids study in nothing less than an English medium school. We live in the 21st century and its time we understood the global significance of this language. Whether it is to climb up the career ladder or make an impression, you need to be proficient in this language. Movies like English-Vinglish have gone a step further and shown why even moms like us need to get the hang of English. Its no rocket science after all, dedicating an hour a day to reading English newspapers and learning two new words daily can make a remarkable difference. Replacing your desi soaps/serials/movies with English serials/soaps/movies can do wonders. Downloading the dictionary app on your phone can help you find the meaning of new words almost instantly. So people lets stop resisting change and instead empower ourselves.