On Language

November 3, 2010 at 9:15 AMNov (Cinema, Friends, Media, Slice Of Life, Soliloquy)

“The documentary was quite melodramatic but it was entertaining”- this was the reaction after the screening of a documentary. I was stunned by the reaction. The film was of the struggle of two sisters, showing their aspirations and their agony. I couldn’t resist myself and shouted “how can you find others life entertaining?” there were people to calm me down and I shut my mouth. Later the person who made the comment came to me and said “Sir, it’s not that I was being insensitive. I dint mean what you thought. May be I should have put it in better words”.

Later outside the hall, Sunil Sir told me about how one person after watching another documentary (which I had missed) said “It was a chilled out documentary”

That night Sunil Sir and I was discussing the same and we both started feeling that our generation had lost language. With our vocabulary becoming small, we have been abusing language and this in turn has polluted our sensibility and sensitivity also.

Bike is ‘sexy’ to the boys of my generation, the road is also ‘sexy’, the bike ride over that road is also ‘sexy’ and ‘sexy’ is the girl sitting behind! Anything good is not just good. It is ‘Fucking good’ and if something is bad it is not just bad but ‘Fucking bad’! The room is ‘fucking cool’ and so is the view from the balcony, so is the curtain hanging and the bed sheet which is sleeping on the bed.


Marx says that the material activities in which we indulge shapes our thoughts, feelings, creativity and sensitivity also based on which we build philosophy, politics, ethics, law, religion and also metaphysics.
Marx calls this as the ‘language of life’ which is directly related to labor.

Ngugi Wa Thiango in his ‘Decolonizing The Mind’ speaks of three aspects of language as a communicative medium. The first one being Marx’s ‘language of life’ the second being the ‘verbal’ and the third one being ‘symbolic’ which indicates written words.

Now looking back at what Marx said, we can say that ‘verbal’ and ‘symbolic’ languages also like ‘language of life’ shapes our thoughts, feelings and creativity and sensitivity on which we build philosophy, politics, ethics, law, religion, metaphysics and literature, which will stand as a testimony of our times which we will pass on to the next generation which will shape their language and sensitivity.


As Sunil Sir and were discussing about our generation losing its language and thus its sensitivity, my friend Smitha Kaikini messaged me asking to read her daughter Srajana’s blog. After Sunil Sir and I reached his house I logged into Srajana’s blog and what a relief it was! No, my generation has not lost its language and its sensitivity completely. But yes, most of us, need to mind our language.

08 September 2008

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