Tuesday, 25 August 2009

What ?!?

Swami Nikhilananda said:
"Think in the language in which you speak; a literal translation seldom gives the right meaning"

This is a small incident that happened a year back. I had attended a wedding reception, and I happened to be talking to my friend's father. The conversation was quite interesting, and he was doing most of the talking. We were both standing and talking, and I had my dinner plate in my hand. He had already finished his dinner... So, as we spoke, I found him saying "what?" at the end of each sentence. Like, for example, "The situation is getting really bad these days... What?" And when he asked me this, I thought he was just testing if I was paying attention or not... So, I repeated whatever he said, "The situation is getting really bad these days"

But as we spoke more and more, he went on adding "what" at the end of every other sentence. I didn't understand why he kept feeling I was not paying attention to him, and I kept repeating his sentences... And I was not able to have my dinner properly. Finally my parents asked me to finish up faster as we had to leave shortly. So I excused myself, and finished dinner. The other day, I was talking to the friend, and he also put "what" at the end of his sentences. This surprised me a little, because I knew that this could not be hereditary in any way.

At that moment it struck me - They speak Marathi, and in Marathi, they put the word "kai" which stands for "what" in the end of sentences. Perhaps these guys were doing literal translation from Marathi to English in their minds. So, I was thinking and chuckling to myself what my friend's dad must have been thinking of me for repeating each and every sentence of his :P I thought he was asking me to repeat, while for him, it was merely a way of talking. He must have thought I am an idiot for repeating every sentence... Oh well, I guess the next time he says 'what', I will just smile and nod along, what? :-)

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