Wednesday, 3 December 2014

What's with the youth and Jdha?

With the dawn of modernization in Bhutan, people are also modernized. Like a car can't leave behind its wheels, in the same way a place can't be modernized without the people getting involved in the process. Modernization is not only the clear water in a cup, but also the dust which has already settled at the bottom and most of the time, evade our eyes. People want to see what they like to see, and they believe what they think is best for them. Although there are many drawbacks of modernization, the most subtle (according to me) is the change in the language, which has been escaping the sharp ears of the listeners.

Youth today has inculcated in themselves the habit of saying 'jdha' or 'ja' after every few words. Be it in a school, a market or office, the most commonly used word you find a speaker speaking is 'jdha' or 'ja'. I being a teacher, hesitate most of the time walking beside or along groups of students who are conversing, it's par for the course that sooner or later, you will hear one of them uttering this mono-syllabic word. The amount of reprimanding has no effect on them whatsoever. It seems as if, the word has already and unknowingly attached itself with their language. It is either a suffix or prefix for them. Sometimes, when they utter this word in front of their family members, they don't even blink an eye, because they are not aware of the fact that, they have used that word. This is how much comfortable and spontaneous they have become using it. They have been exposed too much to different kinds of ICT whereby, they watch movies where the characters are mostly seen using the 'F' word in every situation, and they also read books, where again the 'F' word is mentioned time and again. 

Linguists say that language is culturally transmitted, hence, the society we live in has a direct influence over the kind of language we use. So. should we blame the modernized society or the youth themselves? But, before we play the blame game or pass the ball in somebody's court, I would like to put forward few instances on which I have first hand experience. I have seen a father uttering this word in front of his son, a friendly neighbor teaching this word to a toddler because when the toddler repeats it they find it amusing. I have also seen a friend teaching this word to a friend. And worst of all, I have heard (not personally experienced) that they were and still are teachers who use this word in their classroom.

According to the Behaviorist Theory of language acquisition, a child learns language through constant reinforcement and imitation. In other words, a child learns language by observing and listening to its environment in parrot fashion, they speak what they hear, or simply put, they just imitate the elders. And this theory also states that, in the process of language acquisition, constant reinforcement is necessary. So, if the child uses right language, positive reinforcement should be provided and if the child uses negative or abusive language, negative reinforcement should be given.

Now the questions arise, was there nobody to reinforce them when they started uttering this words? Or were they oblivious? Is it the parents/friendly neighbor/teachers/friends or society as whole responsible for the type of language they are using?
I can't ignore the fact that, yes, they get negative reinforcement whenever they use abusive language and also the fact that they know they are not supposed to use it. But still, why? The only logical explanation I can find is that, it is already deep rooted in their mind. It has already become a habit for them to use it and they do so unconsciously. Had there been someone to guide them while they were in the early stages of learning language, I believe they will be more careful.

It is an undebatable fact that, the youth today not only use these words to express surprise, sadness, happiness or shock but also that they can't speak few words without the help of this word. So, we as a parent, teacher, a member of society, a neighbor, should ask ourselves, what can we do to correct our youth? How can we bring change in their language? How can we prevent our future generation from using this abusive language? . 

Saturday, 4 October 2014

R.I.P Dupli

I should say the winter of 2008 brought a new light in my life. The light was in the form of a furry ball, whom I called Dupli. He was no more than two years old, when he forcefully started making his presence at my house time and again. And since I too loved animals I took him in. He added a new meaning of happiness to my household. He made me realize that a real home is never complete without an animal. My daughter was the happiest of all since now she had a playmate. Whenever she played with her kitchen set, he was always there to eat and drink whatever she had to offer. Year by year he started growing up into a sturdy cat, who never backed away even from a dog. He had so much attachment with us that he used to wait for us in the evening seated on the compound wall and the moment he heard the honk of our car, he used to come to the parking to receive us.
Although he was a sturdy cat, he was a bit lazy and never made an effort to perform his rightful duty, i.e, to catch mice. We used to tease him saying that he would be the only cat in the whole universe who was scared of mouse. But when he was in the mood to play, he would turn the house upside down and i had to literally chase him outside which was a bad idea indeed because, one day, when he was turned out of the house he didn't come home for almost 2 hours. I searched for him but he was no where to be found, and since it was lunch time, I sat down to have my lunch. After few minutes, I heard him meowing near the door. I got up and opened the door, and to my utter surprise there was a cat covered in mud. It took me few seconds to recognize him then, I had to leave my lunch half finished to bathe him. Such were the fond memories he left for us for he left this world on 3rd October, 2014. I exactly don't know how old he is, but I assume him to be nearly eight years old.
We were devastated by his sudden death as his death was not natural. 3rd October was a day for celebration but it was red letter day for me. The day began as any other day; I got up and found him meowing near the water filter. When i checked his cup, it was empty, so i filled it with water and after drinking the water he went downstairs to my mom's shop which was a daily routine for him. I was busy loading the washing machine when I got a call from my sister saying that Dupli was dead. I was shocked, my hands started shaking and while going downstairs, the only wish I made was to let it be a joke. But when I reached there, I saw him lying on the floor, without any movement and i could see traces of foam on his mouth. I just stood there staring at his dead body and couldn't even bring myself to touch him. I wanted to cry, but I controlled myself and put his dead body in a cartoon and came upstairs where I left go of my emotions. My daughter was not home when this incident happened, but when she returned and found out he was dead, she let out a heart-wrenching cry.
After an hour we decided to bury him. I took my niece and my daughter with me and drove away. They were seating in the back seat and still crying and touching him. So, i asked them not to touch him and the reply my daughter gave me made me cry even harder. She said."Please mummy, let me touch him because from tomorrow I will never be able to touch him again."
Later we came to know that he had consumed a poisoned food which one of our neighbors had kept for mice. A thoughtless act of my neighbor cost me my dear Dupli. And I am bewildered that this kind of people still exists. Don't they know that if that poisoned food was consumed by their kids who are not even 4 and 2, will kill them? How can they keep such stuffs when they have toddlers running around in their own house? I don't know whom to blame for my lose; should i blame Dupli for consuming the poisoned food? Should i blame the neighbors who kept it? Or should i blame myself for letting him roam freely? But no matter whom i blame or whom i accuse, one thing is for sure, I will never have my Dupli back. He will always be remembered and loved. And today also, I witnessed my daughter going to sleep crying and hugging the toy he used to sleep with. Dupli, wherever you are at the moment, you will always be remembered and loved. we miss you!