She frowned, shook her head disapprovingly and said, "This is bad. Madrasis speak only madrasi. Everyone must learn Hindi. It is the National Language no?". There are only few things that are as annoying as the sentence above. But then I checked myself. Why should I get upset just because she's an idiot?
So I explained to her about this whole new thing called Tamil and about how there's no such language called Madrasi. She nodded blankly - poor thing was denser than I thought!
She reiterated the need for every Indian to learn Hindi, citing her own example - about how she learnt Hindi in school along with Punjabi.
I told her, "Maybe we can follow Singapore's model in language education".
"Yea yea, Singapore is very good", she nodded her assent.
"Yes, even though Malay is the National Language, they learn English and their own mother tongue in school. Malay isn't a 'must learn' you know', I said.
'Oh', she said. She clearly didn't expect that. And changed the topic.
Speaking of Malay, its one of the interesting languages and also easy to understand a little if you know English. For one, it uses the English alphabets. And most of the words are derived from English, Tamil, Hindi etc. For example, consider the following - 'I went by tren to the nearby pasar. It was a long walk from the tren stesen so I took a teksi. On the road I saw many elektrik lights. I saw a farmasi shop and a telekommunikasi shop.'
No, I haven't misspelled. Its how they were spelt in Malay. Any trip to Malaysia is spiced up by trying to decipher the road signs and a finding a small joy when a word is understood. 'Must learn' or not, learning a new language is interesting, no?