When I was a child, growing up in Kuwait, my grandmother, whom I called Atta, had started teaching me to write Kannada. We didn’t go far over the years, but I was familiar with some of the letters. Mangalorean Konkani is written in the Kannada script and I was very familiar with Mama receiving letters from Atta after she had retired and left Kuwait. Atta had taught me to write my name too but I’d forgotten over the years.
A few weeks ago I started learning Kannada with a teacher. My mum and uncle were pleased and sweetly excited – them being naturally fluent…. and me sharing with them fun moments of learning baby steps of alphabets and svaras and vyanjanas etc.
So, my family comes from studying in the Kannada medium before moving to an English Convent High School.
Now, if you see this image 1, that is my handwriting after 4 weeks of Kannada. I’ve written LUVENA. To an untrained eye, with English as the primary language, I have some 6 squiggles corresponding to 6 English letters that MUST read ‘Luvena’! I mean, ‘Come on!!! This is Luvena, whose mother, uncle, Atta AND teacher have taught her Kannada letters!” How cool is that?! I clearly am putting out legit content on Social Media!!! Right?
‘Luvena’ according to Mama, is correctly written as in image 2 – that’s HER handwriting. THIS overrides any BS I may insist that you believe even if I say Image 1 is correct – because it is wrong.
Now, imagine me trying to teach you to write your name in Kannada – when I clearly don’t know enough (but you don’t know that). And you definitely don’t know at all!
Tell me, do you think I’ll be causing you harm? Fraud, even? Or will you absolve me of any wrong doing thinking I was merely trying to uphold my culture and honor my roots? What would you feel? And then replace my Kannada story with Sanskrit. Would you hold me accountable or would you love me so much to allow me to continue with the misinformation because you’re my friend and worse, because I’m an Indian / Desi / SA / woman yoga teacher? Even if you’re a WP/ non native or a Kannadiga. Please post your responses below .. I need to understand my audience, my students.. and myself.