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Beyond Castes, Cultures, Mindsets, and Languages

Rock top cottage, Old Manali

Language – A Barrier?

Evra, a crazy french woman. Roger, a fun Spanish guy. A fantastic couple.

We met at Rock Top Cottage, Manali. The hotel has a panoramic view overlooking the river nearby. My room was as cosy and had a similar view with the constant pleasant buzzing of the river and a pleasant breeze.

After the trek to the nearby temple and the long walk around the city, we were absolutely tired and decided to stay indoors and enjoy some cool breeze, music, wine and conversations, in broken English and a little bit of French and Spanish. The two of them didn’t quite understand English but they could understand basic words and sentences. We were enjoying a lovely combination of wine and the local yak cheese.

This is when I realised that we would have shared so much more had we spoken the same language, although, at the same time we did share something so unique that made me think that language is not as important as enjoying each other’s presence, regardless of the mode of communication.

Language, that people with limited vocabulary have, which i believe is pretty much all of us, is just not enough to communicate completely. In those times, we use certain analogies, metaphors, stories, references to ideas (like films, music, culture, science, history, art) to communicate as close to as possible. So even though there was a language barrier, there were ways to communicate.

Most of the conversations, along with unrelated words strung together to form a sentence, coupled with non-verbal gestures and eye-contact is how we connect with one another. This solo trip to Manali made me realize this and I learned a lot more life lessons.

In the digital age, we send a smiley on social messaging apps. Sometimes, without that smiley, it is hard to detect whether the person was sarcastic or serious. So in real life, we speak with passion or depression, speak about peace and violence, directing another person to respond or listen, and we communicate all of this through certain non-verbal ways which are more powerful than the words themselves.

Respond not to the words, but to the intentions is my one-line-takeaway from the time I shared with Evra and Roger.

Posted in Travelers Escapades.

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