Saturday, November 03, 2012

Mind your Ps (NaBloPoMo Day 3)

NaBloPoMo November 2012
One post every day in November
Did anyone of you speak P language as a child? It was an extremely handy skill to have in one’s repertoire. With P language in your armoury, you could speak your mind out without fear of being eavesdropped upon, without fear of being heard by anyone at all.

The elders, if they heard you, would be completely flummoxed by the sound of a language in which the words didn’t stand apart from each other at one-arm distance as we had to during our PT sessions., but clung to each other making the unlearned listener wonder where a sentence began and where a paragraph ended.

The language itself was very simple. All you had to do was split every word into its syllables and then mould the P into the sound of that syllable. Once you had mastered that down, you could be fluent in no time at all. Ipit wapas thapat sipimpaple. In fact, it takes much longer to explain the basics to a first-time speaker than it takes to get it right.

No grammar, no special phraseology, no pronunciation exceptions. And the best part was that the rules were flexible enough to be moulded to the needs of other languages as well.

One girl started it at our all-girls school (I like to think I was that girl). Before we knew it, most of us were firing away from all cylinders. Of course, even then there were girls who couldn’t quite get a grip on the language and it was hilarious to see their confusion. At our school, the language caught on like wild fire. I think girls have a natural affinity for languages. I remember thinking of it as one more language in which I could yap.
One of the teachers walked into a class one day and found everyone busy speaking in a language that she could not make any sense of. English, speak in English, she shouted, or tried to, over the din.

We obliged immediately not because we were obedient. I mean, we were – just not at that moment. We obliged because it was our secret language and secret languages must never be heard by the Establishment; they have to grow and flourish without attracting too much attention. We didn’t want anyone to catch its rhythms. They must not even be written down. Which is why they have no script, no alphabet.

The best thing about P language was that it was less a language and more a secret code whose intricacies only we could decipher. Its thrill lay in the fact that it was ours, a legacy of childhood, never taken seriously by the grownups. In its simplicity lay its strength.



  1. I definitely remember that P language...wasn't every good at interpreting it when others spoke it though!! :D

  2. I could never be skilful at the P language. :(

  3. Roshni and Shubha, If only you had practice. There is no such thing as being bad at P language. It is an all-embracing language. And it is never too late to learn. Comes in handy at times. Hopope youpu leaparn ipit soopoon.



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