Do you know we Nepalese are multilingual? Those of us belonging to an indigenous group have our own mother tongue, Limbu in my case. And we have our National language ‘Nepali’ . We are taught in English in schools and colleges. And we watch so much Hindi movies and TV that we end up learning Hindi and understand Urdu and Punjabi. Hindi and Nepali are both derived from Sanskrit language as is Bengali so if you have basic knowledge of Sanskrit, you learn all these languages easily. I think a Southeast Asian picks up these languages naturally if he/she hears them often enough.
But other Asian languages are different and very difficult to learn at least for me. Whenever I am watching a foreign drama; Korean, Japanese, Chinese or Persian, there’s a fleeting moment when I wish I could learn the language. But they are in different league and too damn difficult to learn. When we were in school, one time we got a Chinese channel CCTV, probably by accident from our cable provider and we used to watch a drama. This was before the internet explosion. I and my best friend Sabi, then nemesis and neighbour used to follow it religiously. The drama didn’t have any subtitle so basically we guessed the story and everything. We were so obsessed with the drama that we had to watch it everyday. It was an emotional love story so we used to cry a lot. I remember we’d be crying in front of the TV and my mom and others would be sitting behind us in the sofa in the living room and my mom would ask “Are you even understanding or just crying?” and she’d laugh. There would be two kind of emotions in the room; us crying and mom laughing at us. But we had few laughs too, the time when Sabi’s cousin from Darjeeling was visiting and when she saw Sabi and her sister crying while watching the same drama, she was so impressed because she thought they understood Chinese!
I have watched a few Taiwanese dramas now. ‘In Time With You’ is by far my favourite. Someday, I want to visit Taiwan or even live there for sometime, soak up the culture. With these feelings, I was trying to learn Mandarin through some mobile apps. I could learn the characters, but the sound, the pitch while pronouncing, I am not sure I can even produce such sound! So, I said “F* it. Maybe later. Much later”.
I loved the drama ‘In time with you’. This one was in my ‘to watch list’ for a long time. In fact, I was saving it as it had good reviews. I fast forwarded through some episodes towards the end but nevertheless I ended up crying in some scenes. I thought this drama had some similarities with a Hindi movie ‘Tanu weds Manu’ which is one of my favourite movies, one that I can watch again and again because of the story, music, songs and especially the characterisation of the male lead. You cannot help but feel for him, admire him, and marvel that such man can exist! If only…