What's your mother tongue?

What's your mother tongue?

It was in middle school that I changed my thinking language from Hindi to English. I'd just moved from north to south India, and this was a natural part of adapting to my new home. Not everyone spoke Hindi, but everyone spoke English.
Hindi is my mother tongue. It should have been Punjabi, no, Saraiki. My mother tongue has already made compromises, from Saraiki to Punjabi to Hindi.
Throughout my time in Bangalore, Hindi was limited to home. The Hindi at home too morphed into something else, with the infiltration of English and Kannada.
Eventually, I ended up living in countries where the dominant language was not English or Hindi nor any other language I was familiar with. German first, Spanish after. Everyone admires and lauds multi-linguistic abilities. While it looks great on the CV and sounds impressive to tell people that I speak Hindi, English, a bit of Kannada, a good amount of German and some Spanish, I now say it not with pride but with a reminder to myself that my Hindi has diluted and is colloquial at best as a consequence of the many languages I speak now. There are so many times now when the best articulation for a thought of mine is in German/ English/Spanish because I don't remember the Hindi word for it. If adding languages to one's repertoire comes at the expense of the one language that matters the most, I'm not so sure of it anymore.
It was a rude reminder when I tried to write in Hindi 3-4 years ago. I remember trying to write a couplet, and was grossly incapable of doing so. That's how #thehindiproject began. It's a personal project where not only do I push myself to think in Hindi, but write it out too. Being married to a non-Hindi speaker, I've had to now assume double the responsibility to preserve my language.
It is a personal project that doesn't need to address the language of the people that I communicate with, or the efficiency & effectiveness of communication. I understand most of you who keep up with me on Instagram probably don't understand Hindi. This project is solely for me, for the redevelopment of my Hindi and exploring expression in a language that should be second nature to me but isn't.