When– Quand– कधी. Who– Qui– कोण. Where- Où– कुठे. What– Quel– काय.
These words are Q words– the Question words!
I was talking to my daughter Priya, who now lives in Montréal, Canada. French is the first language in the state of Québec. As a doctor, she must learn French to take her license to practice. Her daughter Rhea goes to a French medium school. Her Husband, Nikhil, works in an IT firm; he is not mandated to learn French, but he knows that it will be useful to know the language. So he is also learning the language. That is how the French language came into the discussion.
I have considered four commonly used words in three languages English, French, and Marathi, our mother tongue. The surprising part is all these words start with the common letter in each language. Priya told me about the similarity. I liked the coincidence.
Many times, we face all these questions in life, and I am beginning with “When”. When do we mature in life? When are we able to absorb pressures and changes in life? Probably, never. When we are young, it is straightforward to shout, howl, or cry when you are not able to handle the pressure. Can’t see the momma around shout, cry! She comes running, leaving everything aside. You have enough of whatever you are doing, walk out, consequences are for others to face.
Our tempers cool down, and we learn to absorb a few pressures that are a part of life even if you don’t like it, but we are never fully prepared for all the events. As you leave home, things start becoming complex as you enter the bad, bad world. You find your way through the maze called life. Next stage is when am I going to settle down, marry, and so on.
We get married, raise a family, then we go through the same cycle that we have gone through. At every stage in our life, we face a question when are things going to stabilise? When will I get peace in life? The only time you are at peace is when your life ends!
Who is the next question that we always have in our life! Who am I? Who is going to support me? Who are you to advise me? Such doubts keep on coming in our mind. When we meet someone new, we introduce ourselves as, “Hi, I am Pramod!” People call me Pramod because my parents called me Pramod. But my official name is Shrikrishna. Now that is getting complex. Why a person’s official name is something, and the name by which he/she is known is different? It can lead to some funny incidents as I had gone to a meeting in a large organisation. I go there quite often. But they had changed their gate entry rules. When I reached the window, I gave my business card. But the lady asked me for a driving license as the identity proof. I gave my driving license. The name on the license is Shrikrishna. She refused me entry. I had to talk to the concerned person and change the get entry mentioning my name as Shrikrishna. Now it became even more complicated. The lady finally went to her boss and showed him my business card and the license. He came out and smiled at me. As he knew me, he smiled and said, “Ok, sir! You may go inside now!” Finally, the mystery is still unresolved. Pramod or Shirkrishna! Who am I?
From the list above, the word “Where” has always put me in difficulty, since childhood. In school days, we would go out to play in the evening. Sometimes we would play cricket, football. At other times we would play Table tennis and Badminton. Reaching home on time was a difficult task. My mother would always ask me, “Where were you?” It meant, “Why are you late?” But I would follow the literal meaning of the word and give different stories every time. In the end, I would go to my mother. I would say, “I am sorry! From tomorrow, I will come on time.” I would go try to embrace her, but she would smile and push me and say, “Go wash. You are smelling of sweat.” Most of the QA sessions would end smoothly. But once in a couple of weeks, these sessions ended in my Father taking over from my mother and then….
I tried a similar stunt of coming late a couple of times after I got married. But nobody had told me the consequences of coming late when one is married. Starting within four weeks of marriage, I am at home five minutes before the expected time! 🙂🙂
The next complex word in life is “Where”. Where is my English notebook? Where are my trousers? These and such questions were raised regularly by me in younger days. Not that I have changed much, but now I have learned to locate the missing stuff discretely. In younger days, the question was meant to prod my mother to help me. But after marriage, one does not get generous help as mothers give. 🙂🙂
The question “Where” is sometimes ignored. Other times the response is, “When are you going to be neat? Why don’t you keep your stuff in the right place?” In the end, the better half will still be generous and keep the missing stuff on the table again discretely.
In olden days while looking for addresses and locations, “Where” was the question that was asked many times before we finally located the place. But now the communication between people has reduced, and Google baba is adding to it. But let me tell you, sometimes Google baba is not as smart as we think!
“What” is the last word from the list. By now, you must have already thought “What the hell is Pramod writing about?” “When” is he going to stop writing?
By now you folks must have understood that the meaning of words, question words changes with context. For me, this was more of a fun blog. The mere coincidence that three languages have the same first letter for four different question words in the respective language encouraged me to write the blog. I would now like to study the science of etymology, the science of words. In the future, you will read more on this subject. Cheers!