Culture and identity – Search for My Tongue – Sujata Bhatt

What things influence your culture and identity?

Class discussion revealed these suggestions:

  • traditions eg Chinese Lunar New Year
  • the language you speak
  • your parents
  • your birthplace/where you grew up
  • the food you eat/prepare
  • your friendships
  • your education
  • your gender/sexuality
  • your position in your family
  • the number of siblings you have

–   and this is always evolving.

 

Source

You ask me what I mean
by saying I have lost my tongue.
I ask you, what would you do
if you had two tongues in your mouth,
and lost the first one, the mother tongue,
and could not really know the other,
the foreign tongue.
You could not use them both together
even if you thought that way.
And if you lived in a place you had to
speak a foreign tongue,
your mother tongue would rot,
rot and die in your mouth
until you had to “spit it out.”
I thought I spit it out
but over night while I dream,

(munay hutoo kay aakhee jeebh aakhee bhasha)

(may thoonky nakhi chay)

(parantoo rattray svupnama mari bhasha pachi aavay chay)

(foolnee jaim mari bhasha mari jeebh)

(modhama kheelay chay)

(fullnee jaim mari bhasha mari jeebh)

(modham pakay chay)

it grows back, a stump of a shoot
grows longer, grows moist, grows strong veins,
it ties the other tongue in knots,
the bud opens, the bud opens in my mouth,
it pushes the other tongue aside.
Everytime I think I’ve forgotten,
I think I’ve lost the mother tongue,
it blossoms out of my mouth.

Sujata Bhatt

 

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