KIRAN RAO BATNI writes from Bangalore: I flew Lufthansa from Dallas to Bangalore last weekend, having to stop by in Frankfurt to switch planes.
I usually can’t sleep on flights, but because of a week filled with tiring back-to-back meetings and because of going through hell in the absolute worst seat on the previous flight from Dallas to Frankfurt (the trishanku seat at the back, neither aisle nor window, which won’t even lean back an inch because of the wall, sandwiched between two fat American women carefully appointed by fate), I must have dozed off for about 45 minutes from boarding to takeoff.
I woke up after I guess the very cells and molecules inside me were dislodged from their normal locations, when I thought I heard an announcement detailing the safety features of the aircraft, the journey time, the course of the plane, and stuff like that in Kannada.
At first, I didn’t believe it.
I’ve had these dreams of Kannada making it to the skies and stuff, and I dismissed this off as one of those stupid dreams. But no, the announcement continued for about 30 seconds and ended with the usual courtesies, enough for even my jetlagged brain to distinguish dream from reality.
It was real.
Yes, on 30 March 2008, the Lufthansa plane from Frankfurt to Bangalore created history by making an announcement in Kannada on the land of Albert Einstein, Adolf Hitler and Steffi Graf.
Just to make sure, I checked with the girl in the next seat (if you’re wondering what happened to the two fat American women, you’re jetlagged, dude!) if she had heard an announcement in a strange language other than German, English and Hindi.
Yes, she had heard that strange tongue too!
(Now the fact that she happened to be a Kannadati from Bangalore who for the rest of the flight talked to me in English while I persisted in Kannada shall form, as time permits, the story of another churumuri story.)
However, after the plane landed in Bangalore, when I wanted it and was fully awake to listen to it, the announcement in Kannada did not come. Before I got down from the plane, and as people were disembarking, I interviewed a relatively free stewardess as to what sequence of events had culminated in the Kannada announcement during takeoff and what in its absence after landing.
At first, the lady persisted that no second Indian language had been used on the plane. But I told her how I couldn’t have missed it, how pinching myself is a good test, and how the girl next to me had heard it too. Then she checked with an Indian colleague of hers who confirmed my sanity in front of German women.
It turned out that Amrut Badami, a Lufthansa flight attendant who is Kannadiga by birth and apparently continuation, finds it prudent to always announce in Kannada on flights to Bangalore, for the very same reason why anybody makes any announcement on a plane: so that people understand the safety features of the plane, where the plane is going, and stuff like that.
It met this fellow and thanked him near the mosquito-ridden immigration desk.
Lufthansa is obliged to make announcements only in German, English and Hindi on flights to India. Now I’ll leave it to the elite forum of churumuri readers to decide whether announcements in Kannada should become mandatory, and if four languages are one too many, whether Hindi or German should be dropped on flights to Bangalore.
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A perfect illustration of Kuvempu’s – “elladaru irru, enthadaru iru, endendigu nee kannadavagiru”. It makes us proud to read about this incident.
But to make announcements in Kannada “mandatory” – not a good idea.
Leave it up to airlines to decide. If they want to attract the patriotic Kannadiga/dathi types who will willingly sit through 30 minutes of mundane instructions in multiple languages (including their own), all the best to them, I say…
Making mandatory will mean that all flights in this country will be permanently on the runway waiting for announcements in roughly 20 languages to be completed.
You may note that the Germany is the land of Ferdinand Kittel, who produced the first ever Kannada-English dictionary.
In flights I have flown to/from Bangalore there were no Kannada movies, where as flights to/from Chennai do have Tamil movies! What could be the reason?
There are many people who do not understand any thing other than their native tounge, and kannada in this case is definetly justified.
There are many stories of son, daughter settling and the old couple visiting the phoren land would definetly ease thier tensions. But safety being paramount even sign language is welcome i suppose.
But like some stupid cases, stretching things too much is bad but this lady hostess story should be made more public so that other can take a leaf out of that story.
Well, I have travelled British Airways a few times and Kannada is one of the languages of announcement. “Heathrow ge suswaagata.. horagina taapamaana… ” They also announce that the indian crew in the plance can speak hindi, kannada, tamil and telugu and I did speak in kannada with the indians in the crew. I have not heard anything like this in Lufthansa. Can I also point out that in sinagpore airlines, the food menu is printed in kannada also?
Agree with Mohan, and in fact I too would like to stress the same. Many parents will be going abroad for the first time to meet their children. Language do pose problem for them. Excepting Kannada they will not be knowing any other language. A sentence or two in the beginning heard in their mother tongue will definitely ease the pressure. It may be a business trick, still it is welcome. I enjoyed reading the write up. Auf wiedersehen.
While flying from Heathrow to Bangalore on British Airways, there were 2 Air Hosts doing announcements in Kannada. They talked in Kannada with passengers. Nice to ask “swalpa neeru kodtira”…..
Mohan: People who do not understand anything but their mother tongue (native tongue) go to Dallas to sell Kadlepori or what?!
The British Airways flights to Bangalore do that pretty much every time now. Infact there are at-least two people who can converse not only in Hindi, but Kannada, Tamil and Talugu.
As rightly earlier said making mandatory may no be effective.
It’ll be even nicer to ask “Swalpa beeru kodtira?”
This is news to me. I was not aware that foreign airlines actually understand that Kannada, not Hindi or English, is the local language of Bangalore.
Rama – Warped logic again. Why not? As someone pointed out, many people would be traveling abroad for the first time. People (parents of IT engineers) may know English but not fully conversant to understand it quickly. I also read recently, that a few villagers are going to US to participate in a handicrafts show or such something. Are they not entitled to understand safety instructions?
You think you are a smart alec, but scumbags like you cause emergence and growth MNS and KRV and give them a reason to exist?
neTge odO avaru bardirodna!
IF you read the comment carefully, they are parents visiting siblings, not going to do kadlepuri business!!
If the purpose of the announcements are to be considered – mainly safety – it should be made in a language understood by the majority, if not all. Since a flight to Bangalore is likely to have more people who understand Kannada, the announcement should be made in Kannada. I have seen stewardesses getting exasperated on flights to Singapore from Chennai because the announcements are always in English and Hindi and the passengers speak only Tamil. Almost similar incidents are frequent on flights from Kerala to the Middle East because most of the passengers cannot make head and tail of what is being announced. Though things have changed a little for the good now a days. So, I feel it should be mandatory to have Kannada announcements on flights to airports in Karnataka. Air travel is no longer restricted to the educated English speaking elites alone.
anna amrut badami — yelle iru ,hege iru chennagiru.
rajyotsava prashasti nimage sigabeku. keep up the good work.
I have flown in & out of Bangalore through Singapore Airlines & they had the menu printed in KANNADA. I was thrilled by that and had written to them expressing it.
I think you should (every one of us should) also write to Lufthansa and ask them to continue making announcements in KANNADA.
They do not go to US or to any other country for selling kadle puri, instead they take kadle puri to give it to their beloved children living there. I know the difficulties faced during travels (especially by elders) who know only mother tongue and nothing else.
Whenever I travel back to Bangalore I hope to hear at least some of the passengers conversing in Kannada leave alone announcements in Kannada but usually I get a feeling I might have boarded the wrong flight to Delhi or Mumbai. But I do get a huge sense of relief after stepping out a few steps from the terminal doors when greeted ‘Banni Saar’, ‘Yellige Saar’ by the cab/auto guys.
I have traveled in British Airways. If the departure of arrival is Bangalore, I get to hear the safety instructions in Kannada.
Amruth badami ge nanna hrutpurvaka vadanegalu.Thumbha kushi aaithu odi.
Kandithavaagi karnatakadinda horaduva hagu baruva flights nalli kannada kaddaaya madbeku.
I really happy to hear this….
Good work by Amruth Badami!!
I have travelled in Gulf air few times and i havent seen anything in kannada. The entertainment is in tamil, telugu, hindi, urdu and english languages.
Hope Gulf air learns from Luftansa and other airlines.
before Emirates/Gulf Air or KLM, let our Rlys learn this and bring back Kannada boards.
Prash speaks for all of us. Flights into and out Karnataka should include Kannada among the languages used.
Amruth’s story inspiring because no matter where we go, all we get is ennda and ekkada.
Ennada and ekkada in Bangalore.
I mean Bengaluru.
“ekkada” as in kannada :-) Just kiddin!!!
Command to the Flight Attendant:
” Yenamma, osi Yennae thak kond baa!”
Please compare the endeavours of BA- in line with the multicultural policy of Britain — and Singapore Airlines to reach out to local populace vis-a-vis the ‘national language’ only hubris exhibited by some of our cheap domestic carriers. I have only heard Jet Airways announce the schedules of their filghts in kannada(once in kannada for every 20 announcements in english and hindi). Even our Richard Branson’s airlines doesnt give a shit, while he is ‘handpicking’ the air hostesses.
Also, the aviation minister praful ‘pimp’ patel has succeeded in obviatiating any local hues to the new bangalore airport. Look how he reacts when it comes to his own state
Do trains coming into Karnataka or going out of Karnataka now have destinations in Kannada?
Kennedy should have said, “Ich bin Berliner,” instead of “Ich bin ein berliner.” When you talk of “ein berliner,” you refer to a popular pastry/dessert made in Berlin. The demonym is a plain Berliner rather than “ein berliner.” Ein Benngaluriga, probably means the famous one-by-two coffee!
DakuTre, Badami avarige Rajyotsava prashasti bekiddare avaru apply maaDabeku, angeya vosi recomendasion nimdu beku…If Badami wants/wanted a Rajysotsava Prashasti heshould apply, and he needs your recommendation too. Yelladaru iru yentraadaru iru ni kannadiganaagiru. Allave? World Cup Cricket match naDeyuvaaga omme Chemmanur Jewellers Kannada ad noDi santhoshaapaTTa kannaDigaru thumba jana.
Avaru kadlepoori marakke hogalee, mattu innoo aenaadaru maarakke hogali, KannaDa dalli hELiddare nimagaekamma aDDi.
“Kabaab me HaDDi andare iddaeya.”
Kannadalli maathaadi Badami thamma hemme thorisiddaare. I am glad he has not gotten into any kind of trouble on account of his brave act. Lufthansa must also be thanked for respecting our sentiments.
Ramesappa, ee dhanigolge raajyosthava geejyothsava prasasthi kodi antha andu avrige avamaana maadabyaadi. Aa prasasthi thagandiro bikanaasi maaneeyaralli yesu jana arhathe itkondavre?
Maana marvaade enu goththilda nimma kumbaarasaamy CM aadre, aavayya nimage ee prasasthi kotte kodthaare annisthaithe. Avarige ondu koti kodalu nim thava kaasu aitha? Prasasthi bandorige bengalurinally sitoo sikkuthaithe. Neevu adna yeldu kotige maarabaydu.
Nam baase bagge neevu masthaagi post barediddeerappo. B. A. maadkandiro kumaarnige “ha” manthe “a” henge byaare antha elkodi budhhi.
dear All, the flights will have not only Kannadigas right! There might be some Kurgis, Tulus and Konkanis. So the pilot should learn at least 3 more languages before taking off. Talk practical! This is an exeption and will not happen every time!
This indeed is the difficulty of being humans with emotional attachments. Practically speaking, there should be one language and one jaathi in the whole world. Money power will eventually decide the issue. Until then we keep struggling to remain ourselves.