English Vinglish – Could have been the story of my Mother
It had been quite sometime since I had watched a new movie. Today I finally got the chance to watch English Vinglish. I must say after a long time a Bollywood movie has touched my heart. English Vinglish Indian comedy-drama starring Sridevi after a long time. Apart from being a fantastic, entertaining movie with a wonderful cast and story, it reminded me of my mother’s effort of learning English. In a situation where Sridevi was my mother could have very well been there.
Yes. When I was a kid my mother had taken English-speaking classes. A very kind and humble professor in my school had introduced English-speaking classes for parents, free of cost. My mother was very fond of learning English. She has read my brother’s KG class books and my primary school books very fondly. She also used to ask me the meanings of the words. When I was a little kid I used to refer to dictionary to explain meaning of words and other references to my mother.
For an hour every evening classes were conducted for parents and to my surprise I was the only student with a parent who wanted to learn English. If I am not mistaken I was the only child who used to accompany her parent to this class. Needless to say I was the professor’s pet. I was a curious, innocent, and an ignorant student, perhaps considered as a teacher’s pet. This used to help parents understand the language better. For an instance: Why ‘one of the DOGS’? and why not ‘one of the DOG’?
When Sridevi asked why not ‘the India’ and why ‘The United States of America’, I could totally relate to her. But then what happened to this English learning? Like Sridevi’s husband in the movie said that she is born to make Ladoos, that is what happened with my mother too. In fact, this is what happens with an average Indian woman. There is a whole generation of housewives who have gone through this. It is not just about speaking English. She wants to do more than just cooking for her husband and children. She wants to learn new things. Maybe she wants to take up a hobby or hone her skills or do something else that she loves.
Is learning English that important? May be it is for those who are working. May be not so much for the housewives. Then why can’t we accept this fact? I believe that my mother and my maasi (maternal aunt) are two of the most talented housewives whom I have met in my life. Why should she feel any less just because she doesn’t know a language that is widely used? My mother is good at singing and she can cook anything perfectly by just looking at the recipe once. My maasi is a great cook too and she does amazing work of cloth tailoring. They will solve your problems in a jiffy. Every itch and any unpleasantness disappears the moment they know of it. Are we making them feel lowly of themselves? Are we the reason why they give up their dreams?
So what should she do? The right question to be asked is what should WE do? We should support her and try to understand what she wants. Our mother cooks for us and does house work not because she has to. That is because she loves us and keeps our interest before her interests. All she cares about is whether are we fed and taken care of. And if we cannot support her we should not discourage her at least. I remember I was my mother’s only support when she did try. I still correct her at times. Mostly with the pronunciations. And I chuckle while I do so. Not because I want to mock her. Just so that it doesn’t sound rude.
Her other obsession is singing. She sings well (explains why I can sing well too). But she always wanted to take professional training. I could not do enough to help her learn English. But I will do all I can to enroll her into a singing class. I hope I am successful in doing this.
And one more thing. If we do not appreciate our loved ones for what they do, someone else will. So never look down upon anyone because of their weaknesses. Someone will help them someday and you will only be left feeling ashamed of yourself. She has helped you become someone. Now it is your chance to help her achieve that she wants to.