English is not my first language.
But I grew up at a time where English was considered the only way to be respected, acknowledged, or heard.
Even though my parents worked really hard to send us to a lovely English medium school, it didn’t help me get better at the language.
What helped, as luck would have it, was having neighbours whose daughters became my best friends at a young age.
Their first language was Konkani.
So the only common language for us was English.
Everyday, speaking to them in English gave me the training that I couldn’t have ever afforded.
It set me up foundationally.
Public speaking then honed the skill.
But I still think in and speak Hindi as my first language.
It’s my comfort language.
My mind language.
Today, I see India very differently.
Yes, English still remains the dominant business and administrative language.
But there is acceptance, learning, and growth through your mother tongue.
When I meet people who speak English only to operate with the external world, I remind myself where I have come from.
Your command over English is NOT equal to your strength in communication.