Saturday, November 2, 2013

Reading in Kannada!

Today is "Kannada Rajyotsava", a day to commemorate the formation of our state on the basis of the Kannada language in the year 1956 that was rechristened as Karnataka in 1973. Though I am a proud Kannadiga well versed with the spoken language, I confess I am not very proficient with the written word!:-(  The other day when my husband, (the in-house Kannada expert) worked late, it was a challenge for me to get Abhay's Kannada homework done! What was merely an inconvenience soon became a catastrophe when my husband had to travel on work for a couple of days right when Abhay had his Kannada test! Well, I could barely manage to read the Kannada newspaper, let alone coaching someone in Kannada, that too as CBSE II  language!  But the funny thing is that  amongst my colleagues at work....I am considered the best at deciphering Kannada documents!:-) Anyway, this got me thinking that if this is the language standard of people like me who are supposedly localities, what about others who’ve recently made Bangalore their home? Of course, one can’t expect everyone to be familiar with the Kannada script, but is it too much to expect an earnest attempt to speak the local language or at least accurately pronounce the kannada names or place? I have known so many people who’ve probably lived their whole lives in one place without knowing an iota of its local language!  What’s the false prestige in anglicizing the vernacular language when you can make the extra effort to  get a French or German word "right"!! So here's to all the people in Karnataka......Kannada Rajyostavada Shubhashayagalu!  

Today being Kannada Rajyotsava, we read a story in Kannada, but I was also on the lookout for a Kannada picture book that Abhay could read with assistance.  The Kannada version of “Ranganna” by Arthi Anand Navneet, illustrated by Kavitha Singh Kale and translated by S. Divakar was perfect for his reading level in Kannada. An endearing tale  of an elephant named Ranganna who lives in Dhobighat. Ranganna loves to look at the colours around him – whether it’s the colourful clothes left to dry, or the colourful flowers being sold near the temple, or the vibrant shades of the saris, dupattas or bangles or the rainbow painted across the sky or the nail polish worn by his little friends, Anushka and Adithi! So enamored he is with their nail polish colours, that one day he makes an unusual wish – to have each of his toe nails painted with different colours. Amused, Anushka and Adithi take an entire day to complete the elephantine task of painting Ranganna’s nails with eighteen different bottles of nail polish…..and Ranganna couldn’t have been happier……and well, who said elephants can’t dance?!:-) Complemented by vibrant illustrations and available in eight local languages, Ranganna  makes a delightful  read…especially for younger ones! 


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