Bollywood · childhood · communication · English Vinglish · Hawa Hawai · It's what I do · language · Sridevi · teaching

Farewell, Ms. Hawa Hawai

Recently, Bollywood actress Sridevi passed away.  She was an icon and her movies with their songs defined my childhood.  The other day, one of her movies was playing on TV.  I decided to sit down and watch it since it has been on my list for a while.  It was weird seeing her playful and fun personality on the screen, knowing that she wasn’t here anymore.  
Anyway, the movie was called English Vinglish and is about a housewife who decides to learn English.  I’m not giving away much more than this.  It is a good film and you should watch it.  There’s this scene where the main character, Shashi, is visiting New York City and decides to go to a cafe for coffee.  Miscommunication is the theme of the scene.  She finds it difficult to understand and explain what she wants and others find the same to be an issue.  Each person involved misinterprets what is going on.  Right or wrong, their perception fills in the gaps of the missing communication pieces which leads to a disastrous encounter and emotional breakdown for Shashi.  
I cried.  This scene resonated with me.  I can clearly see played out just about anywhere.  Though I am a native English speaker, sometimes I feel like an outsider who is trying to get the words out and hoping someone can hear me.  Watching the scene made me realize that this is one of the reasons I do what I do.  Language shouldn’t be a barrier to getting what you want.
I know we’re all busy and just want to get things done and move on to the next thing.  But, a little compassion with a dash of patience can make a world of difference to someone who is struggling.  Thank you, Ms. Hawa Hawai for this lesson and for the laughs.  

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