Talking at the Speed of a Tam

After years of communicating to non responsive ears, I had Ady's ears checked. Really. It was just that, I was always talking to him and he never seemed to listen. "Did you really call me?" he'd look at me innocently while I'd be panting and making up for all the lost oxygen from yelling for his attention. There was definitely something wrong. He cannot consistently pretend that he cannot hear me. He's not that great an actor. 

So when I did take him to the doctor, the doc said, "His ears are working just fine" 
"Then why won't he listen to what I say?"
"Is it only with you?"
"I guess so" I answered, trying to understand where he was headed with this.
The doc mumbled something. "Excuse me" I urged. 
"Well, it's just a husband-wife thing I guess. My wife complains of this too" he laughed. 

For the past couple of weeks though, D's been acting the same way. She does not seem to understand anything I say. I have to repeat everything for her.
"She's taken on you" I told Ady. "She doesn't listen too"
"Is it only with you?"
"I guess so" deja vu kicked in at this point. Same question was asked by a different person about a year back. And the same answer given. 
"So then, it's not our problem, it's yours. We know the speed of sound is 343 m/s, so yours must definitely be faster"

Now he had me. Was I really that fast a speaker? Was it why I had to repeat everything twice to every stranger I met? Even, "Where is the restroom", when I clearly was shifting  from one leg to another? Was it why D wouldn't respond to me until I screamed the second time?

So I dug a little deeper to understand my communication style and why I speak the way I do. And here is my research finding. (God, after doing all that useless net research on figuring out the gender of the baby when I was pregnant, I think this is the next one).

I took a step back and really listened to my family, the founding stones for my first words and an integral influence to my jabber. Ady always complained about the way the Tams sound to the rest of the world. He equated our talking to an annoying kids rattle. But like any devoted wife, I didn't believe my husband. And the only reason I was even exploring his hypothesis was because I was having trouble getting through to Driti. 

I also watched a couple of Tamil movies, as part of my research, from Ady's point of view - as a person who doesn't really understand the language. It is difficult, I admit, but the true researcher that I am, I tried not to concentrate on the Tamil. Besides, Ady was the reluctant assisting researcher. (I took away his gaming devices and made him watch a Tamil movie without subtitles - he claims this to be 3rd degree torture). He said he heard a few English words strewn all over the place with "I say" winning the race of the most frequently used phrase. So if I had to chalk out the words Ady could distinctly hear, it'd be,  "Appidiya" and "I say" from my family and "Aiyayoo" and "What Machi" from the movies.

And the conclusion, I agree with a deep heart; it really does sound like we're always in a hurry to finish the conversation because we're about to miss that invisible train.I don't know how we do it. But we just do.

There's a saying in Tamil, just using the subtitles here -"If you can't change at 5, you can't expect to change at 50". Now, I'm not 50, but am a little more than half way there. So here's what I've resolved - to improve my communication with my daughter.I'm going to wait for D to be able to read.I am going to write to her. And till she reaches that proficiency level, I am going to play charades with her. And my only hope for Ady is he'll learn Tamil sooner than later.

It's going to be a huge role change at home. I'm turning the spectator and stepping down from the role of the commentator. I hope my family doesn't fall apart without all those instructions! And Ady says, "Appidiya?" Is that so?

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