I’ve always had a big problem with how people treat accents.
It’s all fine to crack a joke and get a party going with a Bangla or ‘Madrasi’ accent, but I don’t get this self-righteous mockery of accents that’s different from what one considers right.
And guess who gets bitchiest about accents? Indians. And about whose accents? Asian accents.
Somehow a German or a French or Italian (or any Western-appearing person) speaking English with an accent is considered cute.
But if a Mallu rolls his Rs or a Tamilian breaks his Ds or a Bong mixes up B with V, then the crouching Shakespeare inside us roars in indignation.
What is particularly ironical is those from some parts of India who cannot speak a sentence in English without interspersing it with Hindi slang, have the gall to talk about the accents of those with a much better command of the language.
Our primary language and cultural influences are bound to affect our accents — it’s only natural. So why try so hard to disassociate ourselves from it, or judge people on their accents?
I come across so many parents who choose to send their kids to international schools, so that they have a ‘cool’ Brit or American accent. Seriously? Since we cannot strip our skin and turn it a caucasian rosy white, this is the next best thing? The funnier thing? Parents of these kids — parents who studied in regular Indian schools in India — adopt the accent much quicker than the kids.
Next time we want to accuse someone of racism let’s think about glass houses and stones and all that…
In case you are curious, I have a proper Madras accent, with a bit of Anglo-Indian influence (‘cos my teachers were).