No tounge

Brittany Abelein - India

March 14, 2016

 Normal kids have nightmares about monsters living under their bed, being eaten alive by werewolves, or being chased by the boogieman. I on the other hand, had recurring dreams (or nightmares I should say) throughout my life about being mute. The very thought of not being able to converse with someone, or not being able to communicate in a case of emergency had me waking up in a panicked sweat.

 It wasn’t until recently that it hit me like a freight train. I haven’t just been dreaming of this nightmare, but I have been living this nightmare for the past 7 months.

Although phrases in Hindi and limited understanding of Mahrati can get you by, it sure isn’t sufficient. Only being able to hold conversations that last up to 10 minutes, and having talking as one of your biggest hobbies, makes for some uncomfortable interactions. Instructions and commands get misinterpreted, and the only person to blame is (unfortunately) yourself for not knowing the language well enough. (Maybe getting sufficient sleep the night before Hindi class would have helped, but that’s beside the point.)

 You try to pronounce something and fail miserably, people make fun and imitate your Hindi, your grit goes out the door, and you feel like throwing in the towel. “Why don’t these damn people learn English?” (When you’re the one who decided to enter their territory. lols) Through all of the frustrations, curse words, and nervous laughter, many lessons have been learned.

1.      Calm down, and chill out. You don’t always need to verbalize things. Just because you can’t contribute doesn’t mean that you’re any less important. There is just as much to learn observing, as there is when you’re able to converse.

2.      It’s nice to take the back seat. Instead of you asking a billion questions, someone else gets the opportunity to ask things, in hopes of getting to know you better.

3.      Gaining a different perspective and being the “quiet one”. (Don’t want to go too much into it.)

4.      The value of words. You really start to think about things before you say them. Suddenly, you realize just how many things don’t need to be said.


Brittany Abelein