My Love for Languages

Let’s talk about my special fondness for languages today.

Hello, welcome! Hallo, willkommen! Hola, bienvenido! Namaste, swagat hai! Bonjour, bienvenue!

Now that you are properly(and a little insanely) greeted, let’s get into it, shall we?

Ever since I can remember, I have loved stories. As a kid, I loved having my parents read me bedtime stories and when I could read myself, it was instant love. (And I no longer needed to bargain or annoy my parents into reading me a story, so it was a win-win all around) I had found my passion.No, not stories like you think, but words and in a nutshell, the English language. This passion would eventually grow to encompass not just English and not just reading.

Throughout my schooling, all 14-16 years of it, the one subject that has never wavered from my favourite subject list was English. Other subjects came and went, depending on marks, general understandability, how much I liked the teacher and so on. I studied in an English medium school so, English was everywhere for me and has been one of my strongest assets through the years, due to in part the heavy reading I have done and the amount of attention I have always paid in English. I always tried to have a great relationship with my English teachers(Even when they seemed impossible to my teenage self) because I just really really loved it so much. Just to put this in perspective, my love for it was so all-consuming I sat and read a whole children’s English dictionary for fun. (Really, just get that I was just a giant language nerd.) It is the language I think in and the one I eventually chose to write in, when I discovered a different passion of mine.

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My actual mother tongue, Hindi, was a language I struggled with for a bit majorly with writing it, speaking was very natural(obviously); it’s a completely different script, we were not exposed enough to it, writing it didn’t come to me as naturally as English did(again, probably a lack of exposure thing) and whatnot but I eventually found the beauty within it too. During 9th-10th grade my Hindi curriculum was composed of mostly heavy-duty old and new Hindi literature and classics and these two years did wonders to my vocabulary and command in the language. It was then that Hindi became enjoyable for me, I had been good at it for a few years by then but now I liked being good at it and using it. Still, not as much as English because that was my comfort zone, my proverbial home within the world of languages.

creative Hindi alphabet texture background

I was 11 when I realised I had a major soft spot for languages. We had to choose a third language to study alongside Hindi and English. I took German and absolutely loved it. I loved learning new words, learning to count, trying to read, practising pronunciations, listening to people speak in German and whatnot. I just loved learning languages. Languages, I was certain, were my thing. So, I thrived learning German till 8th grade and even gave the FIT in Deutsch exam(The official exam administered by the Goethe Institut to prove proficiency in german) I ended up getting the highest marks in Speaking and missing the full score by a very little margin. I also loved my german teacher, as has already been mentioned, the teachers were an important part of the equation to me because they had all the knowledge and I wanted nay needed it.

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I consider people who know multiple languages to be extremely wise and knowledgeable and the best people all around. (Did you know Audrey Hepburn spoke 5? How cool is that?) It is my most ardent dream to know and speak as many languages as I possibly can. For now, I am somewhere on the road between bilingual and trilingual; I know, understand and speak Hindi and English extremely well and know just enough German to get by, if I absolutely had to.

I’ve realised that my love for languages stems from how I find it crazy how we humans, so different yet so similar, found a way to strings sounds and noise together to mean the same things and eventually figured out symbols and a whole way of representing it written down. I find the different alphabets and scripts and quirks so fantastic. I find the little similarities you can sometimes find in Germanic languages, Romance languages and languages like Hindi fascinating. Did you know that most languages around the world use a word with ‘M’ in it for their mothers? Like ‘mother’ in English,’mata’ in Hindi,’ mutter’ in german,’madre’ in Spanish? How bonkers is it that all these people in all these different geographically distinct places with their own thriving cultures and value systems found similar ways to describe a mother, something they all had in common?

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There is much more fascinating stuff about languages that someone far more knowledgable(or the internet) would tell you. (I am warning you though, it’s quite the rabbit hole) The reason I wanted to talk about this particular fondness of mine at this moment in time though is that I think, in tough times like these, it is more prudent than ever to realise that despite our differences, despite the different tongues we speak, the ways some of us roll our R’s or seem to be speaking in cursive(Looking at you, French) we are all at the end of the day, the same; just human beings. On that note, I wish you well and bid you farewell, in the same few languages I greeted(Read scared) you with, in the beginning.

Goodbye! Auf Wiedersehen! Adios! Alvida! Au revoir!(Did you notice the A’s everyone uses here and the H almost everyone uses in their greetings? Languages are SO incredible.)

THIS POST’S QUESTION: How many languages do you speak? Comment below with what you think about it,I’d love to hear from you!

My Love For Mythology.

Let’s talk about my relationship with mythology today.

Hi! Today I will talk about one of the great loves of my life that I don’t believe I have addressed on here in a manner it deserves (Read: aside from a few references to it here and there I haven’t talked about it all) It is actually quite surprising and shocking that I haven’t addressed it on here yet and it has been almost three years since I started sharing my thoughts with you. So, today I share with you one of the bigger pieces of me: my love for mythology.

I was very very young when I had my first encounter with mythology and let me tell you, it was love at first sight. (Or encounter, in this case, but sight has more poetic charm now, doesn’t it?) Being born in a Hindu family, I was very small when I first heard the stories of Vishnu’s many incarnations, Shiva’s abode on the top of the Kailash, Ganesha’s many intellectual and food driven adventures and so many other stories. I heard these stories before I was capable of reading myself and they completely captured my imagination.

As I grew older, I was able to read these myself and reading and rereading the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, which are very famous great epics from India was only the tip of the iceberg that was the world of Hindu mythology for me. The many gods with their many different forms and different powers, the sages with their curses, the Asuras or the demons, entirely fascinated me. It was great fuel to my very active imagination and it was only the start to a love that well, as of now, would last a lifetime.

Then, like many travellers of lands far away, I stumbled upon the Greeks. Greek mythology was and probably is my favourite mythology to date(With the Hindu mythology) The Big Three with their three realms, Zeus with the skies, Poseidon with the seas and Hades with the underworld, Persophone and her travels changing seasons, Medusa’s fixating stare and monsters like the Minotaur or the Hydra were incredible stories to my 7-year-old brain. I also loved it more because of just how similar it is to Hindu mythology. The same many gods, the god of thunder, rain and lightning as king of the gods, the whole big three business, the similarities are endless and can be a post themselves.

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A picture of the council of gods I found at http://maggiesemple.com/greek-mythology/

After the Greeks, I found their more disciplined and stricter descendants and neighbours, the Romans. The parallels with Greek mythology were obvious and established but the differences were what fascinated me. Poseidon’s might staying not as mighty as he becomes Neptune, the much higher reverence to Mars, the god of war because Rome fought a lot of wars, the importance of the beauty of the gods in Grecian tales versus the war generals of Rome, it was amazing to me that something born from the same place went two such different directions.

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I found this picture at https://www.realmofhistory.com/2018/03/20/15-roman-gods-goddesses-facts/

After that, I stumbled upon many very different mythologies, the Norse with the tales of Thor and Odin, the Egyptians with Ra, Osiris, the eye of Horus and Set’s wrath and even mythology associated with younger religions like Christianity, Judaism and Islam. It is a love that has only grown over the years and an interest that I am highly passionate about. Passionate enough that when I found a friend who loved mythology the way I do, we seriously discussed having a mythology youtube channel together. (It never happened because duh, that’s how most plans with your friends go)

I would be remiss to not mention the wonderful boon that Rick Riordan has been to the world of mythology. His books brought my favourite myths to life in the modern world in the most literal sense and I am so thankful for his books because they have not only popularised this obscure love of mine but also expanded upon my knowledge and love of the Greek, Roman and Egyptian mythology. (I haven’t read his books on the Norse mythology yet but I’m sure they’ll have the same effect.)

In conclusion, this has been my ode to my love, mythology and I’m glad that you could join me on this nostalgic little journey where I profess my love for one of my biggest passions, mythology. Thank you.

THIS POST’S QUESTION: Are you interested in mythology? What is your favourite mythology? Comment below with what you think about it, i’d love to here from you!