lost in translation

I had a dissapointing revelation few days back!

As most close to me know already that though I am a born Tamilian, I am more comfortable with Malayalam owing to my upbringing in Kerala. That also accounts for me being more fluent, both in verse and speech, in Malayalam than Tamil or Hindi or for that matter even English. Malayalam used to be a compulsory subject for me in school and I can confidently claim that I am pretty good in it (I learned the Tamil alphabets on my own and still can only stutter through reading any text in that language and my spoken Tamil, well, all know how that goes).

I have not got any opportunity to use Malayalam in writing for almost 5 years now ever since I landed in US. I never lost touch with the language (or so I thought) since I regularly read Malayalam news online. But what I forgot to realize was how much I had not used the language in my writing. And to my own horror I realized it few days back. I had to translate some notes to Malayalam and I just couldn’t get the letters right! Usually, I just sleep walk through the words, but this time I messed up the letters with similar looking scripts (and there are quite a few similar looking letters in Malayalam).

I am afraid I have to confess with at most shame that I might be losing touch with my first language. I feel embarrassed about myself since I never expected it to happen…feels almost like what I would feel if I ever forgot how to ride a bicycle. I maybe over reacting a bit, and for as much trivial as it sound, my worry is valid given how much low I feel about the whole issue.

I recollect an incident last year. The last time I had to write something in Malayalam was for Vidhyarambham (Aayitha pooja) and while writing in Malayalam, I misspelled the very first letter itself...no wonder I had hard time finishing my studies last year!