Beloved Strangers

Originally posted with Good night already.com. Thought it was a lovely article.

Goodnight Already

Yesterday, because the sun was out, I took Stump, my three-year-old, to a park we don’t often visit. The playground area was overflowing with kids and parents, and so Stump and I were quick to move on. We moved to the sunny field for a while and then Stump pointed to the tennis courts. No one was actually playing tennis. There was just a sunny court, a few puddles, and a little girl, maybe five years old, whose mother was helping her learn to ride a bike. The moment I opened the tennis court gate, the little girl jumped off her bike and ran to us. For a moment I was confused. Was there someone behind us that she knew? Did she mistake my kid for someone else? But I didn’t have too much time to wonder, because she was already standing beside me, tickling the inside of Stump’s…

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Gravitational Waves and Hearing

So we just witnessed what is probably one of the greatest discoveries of Mankind.

The ability to detect and hence prove the existence of Gravitational waves.What are gravitational waves

And being a total layman in the field of science, what I understand from it is that we have gained an additional ‘sensory ability’ to ‘see’ the universe, or rather to ‘hear’ the universe.

Up until now we were only able to perceive the universe i.e, ‘see’ using the electromagnetic spectrum(infrared rays, UV light so on..) but now for the first time in the history if humanity – we can perceive the universe using a different medium : Gravitational waves.

Gave me goosebumps just writing that statement down.

To put it into perspective ,99% of the universe was not available to us for study because we could only ‘see’ (using telescopes and algorithms)and not study it using any other medium.

Until now Einstein’s theory was all we had to postulate the existence of this phenomenon. And today, we have detected it.LIGO Gravitational Chirp: Heard

It’s like a child who has ‘heard’ for the first time.

I am an SLP/Audiologist so you mention ‘hearing’ and we lot have to jump in.

Baby hears for the first time

This is what we have done. We, humankind.This is what our brilliant scientists at LIGO have proven to us and have given us.

Standing ovation people! Standing ovation! To our scientists first and foremost!

And then to us! Humans.

We are a damn cool species!

Awe-struck!

Rosepens

 

Manglish : It’s real, get over it.

So I am a Malayali. This means that my mother tongue is Malayalam, a language native to the state of Kerala, a tiny bitter gourd shaped state in South India.

Now Kerala’s claim to fame in international waters will be more like,” Oh Man!! Mallus?? They are everywhere!!”

The 70’s and 80’s saw large scale migration of people from my community to different parts of the world beginning with the ‘Gelf’ or the Middle East and then the focus of the exodus shifted from Gulf to the Western Hemisphere and this continues to date.

Why is this relevant to this post? Please bear with me.

This lead to a whole generation of Malayalis being brought up outside their motherland and hence being required to be fluent in more languages than Malayalam , mostly being English.But  it didn’t end there,

As a result knowledge in  English lead to some sort of social elevation because of various factors(snobbery) and then this saw a generalization into the homeland. In the land which prides itself on having one of the most complex scripts in the world ,Kerala, it became a matter of pride that the children did not know their mother tongue. This also came along with the option of not opting for Malayalam as a language of study in schools within Kerala and

Voila!

Children brought up in Kerala today claim to ‘not know to read or write’ their mother tongue- Malayalam.

Now all this brought about the rising phenomenon of- Manglish.

Malayalam + English.

I address this primarily to the people who call themselves ‘purists’ who are mostly elder aunties and uncles who do nothing but sit around critisize everything new and young-ish.

The purists heavily criticize the rise of this phenomenon , but the hard fact is a significant set of youngsters today are simply much more comfortable using this sort of combination that purely their mother tongue.

I am not aware if this phenomenon is prevalent elsewhere. I can only speak for what I have observed.

I am a speaker of Manglish.It simply means I use both languages simultaneously when I speak( to people who know Malayalam ofcourse). It has it’s ups and downs. I constantly hear debates and arguments by the purists who blatantly brand the ‘manglish’ as just one of the ways the ‘New Gen’ has degraded themselves compared to the ‘olden times’. Fellow Manglish speakers will identify being in various levels of discomfort with friends, neighbours, relatives and so on about the modifications one has to make while being in different sets of company to your language so as to be accepted in those different sets.

Also interesting to note  that in situations like Arranged Marriage,  the present day youngsters, a good percent of them atleast, give out the criteria (among many others) that their prospective partner be ‘fluent in english’.This in turn is again critisized by the parents saying, ‘How can you be so superficial in your criteria?!’ (And yet marrying a complete stranger does not count as superficial) But that’s a whole another write up.

Now in comes the accent,

Malayalam the language comes with it’s own share of dialects and accent variations depending on which place you come from but mix that with English & depending on which place you come from or you were brought up there is a whole new spectrum of ‘Manglishness’ that begs exploration!

Now why am I writing this?

It’s to tell these purists to eff off.

The world is changing and it’s our duty to change with it.

No one wants to disrespect anyone and neither is anyone superior to the other just because they have had the advantage of being in circumstances where they could learn their mother tongue fluently.

If they are so bothered they should have taken the effort starting in their own homes with their own children to preserve the ‘sanctity’ of their language in a way that would empower the next generation to survive in this world.

Instead of sitting around and criticizing the “New Gen” and their lack of knowledge of Malayalam over your evening tea and the serials and the nonsense drama going on in the Kerala Political scene in the name of Politics ; get off your ass and do something about it!

At least have the decency to admit that the so called decline of the language is a by product of decisions made by a generation of purists such as yourselves when a whole lot of you decided that your children should not give importance to your mother tongue.

The world is changing, your language is acquiring a new form. Get over it.

 

 

 

 

Silence that echoes

They say, ‘Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned’. ‘

Well I say

‘Hell hath no suffering greater than not being able to Voice your thoughts.

I mean literally. Not being able to speak or sign or communicate.

I am a Speech Language Pathologist/Therapist and I work at an excellent center that works with Children who fall in the Autism Spectrum. Now these children face a whole lot of problems but relevant to this write up  we need to understand that children with autism, a lot of them and not all of them, are highly intelligent children but are unable to communicate in conventional terms i.e., are unable to speak. Now this is regarded by many experts in my field to be the result of an associated disorder called Apraxia.

In simple terms it means that though they want to talk and they have all these things they want to tell you but their mouths simply won’t co-operate.

Like you have a hand but it goes down when you want to lift it up. It hits when you want to hug.

Can you imagine every part of you doing that? Especially your mouth, because you talk with it.

Living like that, every day.

The way I see it, if you don’t know what you are missing out on it never really bothers you but that’s not the case with a lot of these children who are diagnosed with Apraxia.

They know exactly where they are failing.

They can’t tell you how excited they are, they can’t tell you they would love to talk to you , they can’t tell you they love being with you, they can’t tell you they are hungry, they can’t tell you if they learnt something new, they can’t tell you how they hate this new teacher, they can’t tell their mother that they love her, they can’t tell their siblings to bugger off if they bother them, they can’t do so many things they would love to do just like any other neurotypical child.

In turn sometimes they use alternative methods which are hugely misunderstood by almost everyone around them and they are labeled ‘dumb’.

And they realize it. Everyday.

They have their ways of dealing with it but in the long run the disappointments pile up.

They still turn up, everyday.

They are just children.

Makes me ask myself, ‘What excuse do I have for not doing my best, everyday’.

I see their sparkling eyes and the glint of mischief in their eyes when they are up to no good.I see the sheer thrill they feel when they realise they said something the right way. I see that explosion of pure mirth from them that words fail in description.

And for those few seconds, we  forget that they are different.

That they lead the most misunderstood lives that can possibly be lead. Everyday.

I give a huge salute to the parents , teachers and all those people who are out there doing their best to make sure these children achieve the best of their potential . And I applaud their efforts every step of the way.

In our field we are trained to be empathetic. And strictly told not to be sympathetic, and after a few years ,you kind of get the hang of it. Kind of. Never quite fully. We are just human after all.

When we go on our daily lives taking so much for granted I only wish that no one looses this one ability- To say what they want to.

Because no matter what goes wrong or right, as human beings we are hard wired to share. It’s what connects us and forms our humanity. It’s what shapes our  identity as individuals in this world.It is one ability we wouldn’t trade for anything else.

With a heavy heart,

Rosepens