Saturday, 19 November 2016

Ape town

               About eight months ago, I moved to the ape capital (Location coordinates: 13°5'N 80°16'E). For a while, it appeared to be the TB capital. Close observation cleared it up: the city has more apes speaking the TB tongue than the TB population itself. I encounter grown-up, non-TB, intelligent city-breds, Muslims, even Malayalis speaking the tongue as if it's the most natural thing to do. I don't understand, is it the popular culprit again - cinema? Can't be; I've watched several movies set in the rest of Tamilnadu, with characters speaking dialects that aren't TB. Is it the Crazy Mohan/S.V.Sekhar dramas (whose characters speak only one Holy Thamizh Dialect)? But there aren't enough of them to start a fad. What is it then? Ah. Absurd superciliousness. [Update (2/7/2017): I'm starting to think it might be circumstantial influence more than superciliousness.]
               And then, there are the 'yaar's. I'm all for polyglotism. But flaunting one's knowledge of the not-actually-national language while addressing 'anpadh gawaar's, and giggling? That's ugly. Boasting, actually boasting that you cannot read/write in your mother tongue? That's absurd. 

               And then, we have the hypocrite. This song mocks women who mispronounce Thamizh. The woman who sang this song, certainly deserved a special mention in the previous song. Interestingly, both the songs were penned and directed by the same guy. Pick a side - you either get to practise poor diction or preach against it, not both. Good news: you're not alone. Bad news: non-native singers have better diction. Good news: your fans are too oblivious to see any of this.

               I have a theory: we ape what we think is superior or attractive. So, what is it that makes TB superior to other dialects? What makes the not-actually-national language superior to other languages? Why is not knowing one's mother tongue cool? Why is mispronounced Thamizh attractive? (Yeah, rhetorical.)

               Ape capital, it sure is.

Glossary: TB - TamBaram. (Go figure.)

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