My loyalty wavers.
One is of the home. The other, of a faraway land.
She, of my home is chaste as the sun; giving admission to no one new, dwelling with those who passed her fire test long ago and gained entitlement to her dominion.
The other, of that faraway land is libertine, admitting into her territory, anyone high or low born, from anywhere, who knocks on her door thrice.
At times, even passers by, whom she takes a fancy to, she abducts.
One lives on her own terms; terms engraved on hard granite, never making compromises.
The terms of the other are etched on sand, easily blurred by a wave of time or a breeze carrying the grit of another shore.
Even the hot breath of a vagrant peering into her room, turns into vapour, a term or two of hers.
One sublime. Only those possessing a taste for the esoteric avail her society.
The other is the hope and assurance of the unlettered.
The form of one is unchanging.
The other, who feeds from the hands of those countless acquaintances, is becoming voluptuous by the hour.
One is impeccable. Flawless. Solemn. Deserving worship.
The other is full of idiosyncrasies, some charming, some annoying. Yet, her popularity is irresistible.
She befriends all and that’s why she is much loved.
She is prancing about. Sometimes here, other times there, everywhere all at once...
She changes colour and form, style and manners...with time and land...
And for all that debauchery, whenever I have had an occasional glimpse of her dazzling white pure form, in those fresh hours of dawn, among her own people in that antique land, I sigh and sigh again and sigh some more.
Between the Sanskrit language and English, one beautiful, the other coquettish, one white and unblemished, the other purple with bruises of debauchery, my loyalty wavers.
Sanskrit, with a vocabulary that’s inviolate, a grammar engraved on hard granite, giving admission to no letter from another tongue, ‘more perfect than Greek, more copious than Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either’, is of my land.
English, full of unscientific idiosyncrasies, growing by the year with words, slang and colloquial taken from many foreign languages and rolled about the far from malleable tongues of all sorts of people all over the world is of another land.
Yet, for all the purple bruises that debauch the Oxford dictionary, when I read those passages written in the pure dazzling white of Queen’s English, during the dawn of the language two hundred years ago, among the English men of her own land, like that dispatch sent by a British Resident in Hyderabad to Lord Wellesley in Calcutta in 1786 - where every preposition, every conjunction is put to its best use, brevity is non-existent but a sentence spanning an entire page exemplifies economy of writing, the observance of the highest code of propriety is untiring, the solemnity of words clothe the banality of content, everything gross is alluded to with admirable finesse, the unmentionables are never once mentioned but are conveyed though with skilfull insinuations – when I read those solemn English passages, my loyalty wavers and I sigh and sigh again and sigh some more.