Hindi is no longer Hindi. This does not come from the snobbery of a true-blue Sanskritised mindset but from observations in common, everyday, even run-of-the-mill Hindi parlance. The way one talks with the milkman, the grocer, boy-Friday or the taxi-wallah all points to just one thing — Hindi ain’t the same no more. I am ready to bet that we barely have another five years to go before spoken Hindi goes on a permanent hike. We’ve heard the laments as well as the admiration for the new phenomenon of Hinglish. In fact, dictionaries even incorporate some of the standard usages of Hindi in English. The fallout of this khichdi (pardon me) has as much of an impact on Hindi as it has on English.
Is this a result or a symptom of defocus? If English has lost to Hindi, the latter too has suffered great damage. In fact, matters have come to such a head that if you, as I do, speak Hindi sans any English nouns and verbs, you are looked at quizzically, if not outright queerly. You definitely don’t read an akhbaar but the ‘papers’. You use a pillow, never a takiyya. And worse is that we don’t even realise that we mix the two languages.
Young mothers scolding their children thus becomes a hilarious act. “Behave properly, nahin tho evening ki outing park mein cancel.” Or “hands achhay sey wash karo”.
But the award for this easy duet between English and Hindi should go to boy-Friday — “Aap shopping list write karein, lala ka brain centre mein nahin.”
It is a task tearing him away from FM. But listening to some of it, I got a fair idea of who was responsible for this new horror language. One radio jockey boomed in a baritone, “Aap express aur share karo ki is state mein what you feel…” Thanks to my thick skin, I didn’t collapse or explode!
I would love to expound more on this but Pinky, my maid, has ordered me to stop and get home on time since, to quote her, “Mujhe clean bedsheets change karnee hain aur table set karna hai guests key liye.”
And Pinky, I suspect, was Gulabo before this ‘tongue’ took over.