Have you read stuff about MNS SS and all the rest about Mumbai? Well I have, and I feel -bad- about it. Here's my life:
I was in Mumbai for some time - close to two years in the early 2000s. I did not know Marathi and did not make any attempt to learn. I worked for a few months with an NGO for a slum sanitation project which required me to interact with locals. I managed. The few phrases that I caught from my friends were stuff like "ikde basna" and "sandaz".
I was in Kerala. No language issues. Forget language - nothing is an issue in Kerala. Strikes, harthals, farmer suicides..nothing. The only issues that Keralites worry about are American intervention in Middle East, Fidel Castro's health, Idea star singer, or whether kids would get into Engineering or Medical colleges.
2005-3 months I forgot when
I was in Dubai. I did not learn Arabic, but my Iranian boss -Behzad Zadeghi- took good care of me. I just got nostalgic and flew back to India.
I'm in Bangalore for so long. I do not know Kannada, except the odd "eshtu" and "gotha". I feel poor in native vocab, but it's ok. My wife knows Kannada, and I tell everyone about my backup. She is from Kerala but she did pick it up big time.
As for me, I plan to learn German. Why? Because I feel like. That's freedom. We gained it in 1947 the last time I checked. But these days, I feel stiffled. Afraid to voice my opinion. Worried about parties, about goons. An average Indian has lots to be worried about. If the global knowledge economy collapse, and if I had no other go, and I have to go to Mumbai tomorrow, and wants to become a driver (I did learn driving last year), what will become of me?
1998-till I die
I travel every year in what was UP then, Uttaranchal later, and now Uttarakhand. I can speak good Hindi, but I do manage with the Pahadis and the villagers of Mana - the last Indian settlement. I speak words of Malayalam and all of us have a good laugh. I love my land.
When I was living in Mumbai with bunch of friends, Balan used to repeat all the time "Mumbai, the city of dreams, the city of hopes."
Today Mumbai calls for aid. Will India answer? The real slim shadys have stood up? Will we speak up and deliver?