My “vernaculars”

I don’t know when Urdu became my identity. It is ascribed one and I love it; really. Born and raised speaking Punjabi, I also learnt foreign languages (like English and Russian) to move about in faster lanes of life but I always express my deeper emotions and inner feelings in Urdu. Two of my books {Izhar (Expressions), Ret Pe Tehreer (written on the Sand)} are in Urdu. This (Urdu) sophisticated language facilitates you to do that. Anyone speaking Urdu in a crowd of people speaking alien languages is automatically a company.

I realized my love for the language when I was learning Russian at National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad. When my Russian teacher Alica used to say, “I have learnt more Urdu than I have taught you Russian.” When Sakina Mirkhajevna used to ask us to sing her songs in Urdu; she could not understand the meanings but, “I enjoy the sweetness with which words flow,” she used to tell.

I learnt English the hard way. I was at a professional academy and order of the day was, “no vernaculars,” even in out private quarters. Knowing that we will be asked to leave food and have a round of the mess running if we spoke in Urdu made us speak English fast. The problem is that I think in Urdu, dream in Urdu and my expressions, oral as well as written in English, still are jerky .


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