Once in a while, something just pops up in the mind that makes you really go crazy about it. When I was in school, all of a sudden I developed a strong urge to speak in Marathi. I could not crush the desire nor put it behind me; the language sounded too melodious to resist. Also the various dialects in which it was expressed were truly soothing to the ears.
In our state of Goa, even though Marathi had a very strong command on many aspects of our lives, it was the language Konkani that we generally spoke. So even while I understood Marathi very well, I was not able to articulate it correctly as there was no one with whom I could properly communicate with, neither in the school or in the house, nor in the neighborhood. I coaxed my friends and siblings to converse in the language but no one seemed interested, and when I would utter a few lines of my newfound obsession, they would become so annoyed that they would shut their ears and order me to stop; leaving me fuming at their attitude.
But then, my craze was such that nothing could hamper my interest. So I began talking to myself, which was quite audible to everyone around. However, that too did not last for long as my siblings started teasing me, ‘pagal apne aap se baatein karti hai’ and the elders too discouraged my actions, as speaking to oneself was taken as a sign of insanity.
But my unwavering determination brought me one step further, and I decided to ‘speak- in- my -mind’. The best time I thought would be on the way to school and tuition as the commute was roughly around 20 minutes. So, riding pillion on my father’s scooter became the favored place for my practice. The back seat was the space where I felt in solitude despite the noisy traffic on the sides. There I started describing nature to myself in— Marathi — in my mind. The lush green fields, chains of interlocking hills, tall coconut trees reaching the sky, and even the long stretch of the beach I saw on the way. I admired everything that I could see. This persisted for quite a long time. But after some months—projects, assignments and exams inhabiting my mind and having no one to speak to in this language—my craze underwent a silent demise.
Getting back to present time, a few days back, we had a new neighbor; an elderly lady who came to stay on the same floor, opposite our apartment. We would often talk waiting on our balconies, it is then when I understood that she could speak a number of languages and was also highly fluent in Marathi. Here was the thing I was desperately looking for… someone to speak with.
Once again I was gripped by my old desire and was all set to work on the method of ‘talking in my mind- in Marathi’ though I did it with a little twist this time. I integrated this practice with some of my favorite activities, like organizing closets, mopping the floor, watering the plants and so on. I practiced speaking purely in the present tense, like as I mopped the floor I described the entire mopping activity to myself: I am getting the bucket- I am filling it with water- I am adding the floor cleaner and so on. But it was strict present tense that I used just to ensure that I would not stray away from the subject.
I did this practice with tasks that I loved doing and never with the ones that I disliked. Like I never tried it, while doing the dishes, it is one of the chores I hate completely, (so much so that nobody dares to invade the kitchen when I am doing the dishes. It’s a horror story in the kitchen at that time.)
In addition to this, I also devoted some time to reading, writing, learning new words and watching some online videos. I subscribed to some Marathi TV channels as well. This activity continued for a quite long time. I stood entirely dedicated to the practice. I should say there was a lot of improvement in the way I spoke. My balcony friend always helped me with my mistakes and showed me where I needed improvement.
But there was also something else that I noticed; whenever I did the mopping or some other favorite activities; I became deeply mindful and aware of what I was doing. Maybe it was because I would always talk about the present moment in my dialogue. And this was also having a great effect on my meditation. I could concentrate a little better and for a longer time.
So summing up everything together, these activities did make me fluent in Marathi, also made me mindful; but the best part was that it made my husband happy. WHY? As I am doing things mindfully with awareness, there is less clutter accumulating in the house. The house is looking pretty organized and clean, which he always loves to see.😆
So get ready friends to learn a new language and be fluent in it as you mop the floor.😄😄
Image credit: rogean-james-caleffi ,unsplash