November 30, 2022

KITAAB

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Ruminations: Bolo na? by Sachin Ravikumar

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red car on road near green trees

Photo by Anshuman Mishra on Pexels.com

This essay by Sachin Ravikumar is a cross between travelogue and a personal essay, which is the account of a man from South India who unwillingly moves to a city far away from home. He arrives in the metropolis, skeptical of the people and language, only to discover a city that is too busy to care.

As the plane began its descent, I marveled wide-eyed at the number of high-rises we were passing below. The sights filled me with a quiet excitement. Many of these buildings were old, you could tell from their off-white and moldy exteriors. They stood without pomp or fuss, as though their ubiquity was mundane rather than fascinating.

Excited though I was, it was hard to shake off a very specific feeling of dread: encountering Hindi. I was fully expecting to bump into that raw and proper Hindi spoken in Delhi, that Hindi-est of Hindis inscrutable to many a southern ear. Indeed, I was expecting something similar to what I felt during a previous stay in Delhi: being marked instantly as an outsider who would be judged and scrutinized. My guard was fully up.

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